Hands on with the Fujifilm X-T4
Long-rumored, much-anticipated and inevitably leaked, the Fujifilm X-T4 has finally landed. Although it shares a lot with the existing X-T3 (which we’re told will continue to be sold alongside the X-T4), the new camera brings with some major changes, most notably in-body image stabilization and an all-new, larger battery. But smaller updates abound, at least one of which have the potential to be added to the X-T3 via firmware. So, let’s take a closer look.
Alright, let’s get the major update out of the way first. Without a major increase in size over the X-T3, the X-T4 incorporates a sensor-shift image stabilizer that’s good for up to 6.5 stops of shake reduction with 18 of Fujifilm’s current total of 29 lenses. We’re told the remaining lenses will all be stabilized to a minimum of five stops.
This comes down to the image circle each lens projects. Most XF lenses, particularly the early ones, simply weren’t designed to project an oversized image circle for stabilization in the first place. And a smaller image circle means you simply can’t move the sensor as far before a degradation in image quality. In these instances, five stops is honestly pretty impressive.
New shutter mechanism
The X-T4 also comes with a new shutter mechanism, which unlocks burst speeds of 15 fps with full autofocus and autoexposure. (Like the X-T3, it can also do up to 20 fps with the electronic shutter, and 30 fps with the electronic shutter and a 1.25x crop.) This new shutter is rated to 300,000 actuations, comes with new ‘shock absorption’ hardware, and we must say, is impressively quiet.
Behind that shutter and mounted to the new stabilizer is the familiar 26MP X-Trans sensor that’s currently in the X-T3 and X-T30 (and the new X100V), and we expect image quality to be broadly similar (meaning, very good).
Updated ergonomics for video
While most of the headline video capabilities from the X-T3 carry over, the addition of stabilization makes the X-T4 a much more compelling ‘run-and-gun’ video camera. As such, Fujifilm has tweaked the ergonomics a bit: there’s now a dedicated Still / Movie switch under the shutter speed dial where the metering options used to live. In this view you can also see that the customizable rear command dial is more pronounced and a more rounded, protruding AF ON button makes an appearance.
Speaking of AF ON, Fujifilm has told us that the X-T4 uses an entirely new subject tracking algorithm that incorporates color information as well as the object’s shape to improve tracking ‘stickiness.’ We’ll take a closer look in our full review, but our initial impressions are that the X-T4’s tracking is vastly improved over the (already quite good) X-T3’s. We hope that latter camera will get a firmware update with this new version, and given Fujifilm’s track record of firmware updates, we’re optimistic.
Also, that pattern on the rear screen isn’t shattered glass, we promise. It’s…
The fully articulating screen
…a (somewhat plasticky) leatherette pattern on a new, fully articulating screen mechanism. It sits flush with the rear of the camera, so you have to dig your thumb into the depressed area on the right side to flip it out. In this view, you can also see that Fujifilm has retained both the 8-way AF joystick and the customizable four-way controller on the rear of the camera.
The fully articulating screen
As you would expect, the screen flips out to the side and can rotate forward 180 degrees for vlogging and down 90 degrees for shooting from high angles. It’s a familiar design seen on many competing cameras, unlike the less-traditional two-axis tilt design of the X-T3.
To an extent this is key to the whole camera. The X-T3’s screen is arguably a better choice for stills shooting, in that it stays in line with the camera’s lens and supports both landscape and portrait shooting. The X-T4’s screen arrangement is the preferred style for video shooting.
Drive dial controls
The drive dial has seen some minor tweaks, with the ‘HDR’ function now easily accessible, and of course the ‘Movie’ mode that was on the far left of the X-T3’s dial is absent.
Just to the right is a new eyecup, which we’ve been told has been updated to be ‘40% more rigid’ and stay in place more reliably than the previous one.
Total top-plate controls
Here’s a full view of the X-T4’s top plate controls. It’s worth mentioning that the customizable function button on the top plate has been shifted forward, between the power switch and the exposure compensation dial, rather than being crammed next to the shutter speed dial.
The grip has been tweaked to be a little bit deeper and more comfortable to use with larger lenses.
Moving to the left side of the camera, we can see that Fujifilm has done some tweaking regarding the ports of the X-T4. Gone is the rigid removable port door of the X-T3, with soft rubberized doors taking its place. We’re a bit disappointed by the loss of the dedicated headphone port: like the X-T200, X-A7 and X-T30, users must now use a USB-C to headphone dongle. At least there’s one included in the box.
On the other side of the camera are two UHS-II compatible card slots hidden behind a removable door. This is also where you’ll find the serial number of the camera as well as the stamp for its country of manufacture, which may vary, camera to camera.
The X-T4 is the first Fujifilm camera in quite some time to use a new battery design. This one is dubbed NP-W235, and is CIPA rated to 600 shots when using the camera’s ‘economy’ mode and 500 shots in ‘normal.’ This is a good boost over the X-T3’s rating of 390 shots with the NP-W126S battery.
Getting a grip
The X-T4 also has contacts for the optional VG-XT4 battery grip, for those of you who simply must have a battery grip. Just like the grip on the X-T3 and X-T2, this new grip will hold two batteries, giving you a total of three (including the one in the camera) when it’s utilized. It also includes a dedicated, on-board headphone socket if you don’t like ‘dongle life’, and with a USB PD rated charger, you can charge all three batteries over the camera’s USB-C port.
Hands on with the Fujifilm X-T4
There you have it: Fujifilm’s newest 26MP, 4K-shooting, image-stabilized camera. Is it everything you hoped for and more? Or were you just hoping for more? We see it as a minor-ish update (or even a potential branching of the lineup) that will have a big impact for an audience clamoring for IBIS. And if you don’t need IBIS, we’re pleased that the slightly smaller and still supremely capable X-T3 will continue to be sold alongside it.
Let us know what you make of the new camera in the comments.