It’s april 2020, and we are in confinement for COVID-19 worldwide, and photographic work for projects, assignments and events came to a total stop. However, it’s not because major events are on halt that cameras are not planned. The Fujifilm X-T4 is getting to market this week. I was approached by Fujifilm Switzerland to test a Final Production body of the Fujifilm X-T4, for a few days. Now it’s pouring with rain, we are confined, and it’s time to figure out how to get the most information and the best out of this camera, and to give you my personal review of this camera.
You might have already read my review of the Fujifilm X-T3, and my thoughts on this former flagship camera.
As you might know if you’ve been following my work, or discovered on my website, my work is based on Active, Outdoors & Adventure lifestyle campaigns, corporate headshots and sport events worldwide. So I like to go outdoors, usually with athletes, and get my ass kicked by them as most of them are either world class, or national team level ! So… It hurts, but it’s fantastic.
Now that brings to the essence of why I’ve been going on Fujifilm & profoto for the last years, and my rationale for minimalist gear kit to be able to produce high end work for my clients, and allowing me to keep the pace too.
It’s a YES ! If you’re a fujifilm user, or a fujifilm X-T3 user and don’t need the low tilt screen, everything else makes it the perfect camera for photography and video work.
The Body of the X-T4
So, the most incredible thing about the body, is that reading the reviews from various fujirumours and so on, I felt that it would be really big to take in the battery and the IBIS. But sincerely… side by side, it’s pretty similar. we’re talking a few millimeters on the right and on the depth, but really millimeters, and that’s not much, but for serious improvement.
The body is slightly deeper, that comes with the Flippy screen which needs a new hinge, so we can see 2 bevels on the back, which kind of correspond to the X-T3 bevel and the new flippy Bevel.
Hand Grip & Battery Grip
The hand grip of the Fujifilm X-T4 is very slightly deeper, which makes it easier to hold if we’re using it with a telephoto lens or a front-heavy lens. It comes out properly, and I have a large hand, which allows me to really have it nicely in hand. It’s by all means not DSLR size, so it really stays within the usual Fujifilm style of grip, but with just that extra which makes it nice to hold.
The Battery Grip is quite large, and usual for the camera, and still holds 2 batteries, with Vertical and Horizontal grip for portrait shots, and same features as for the VG-XT3.
What I can say is that i would still like to see the protuberance be taken out of the grip, because it’s an issue for me to store it properly in my bag. Fujifilm had created an amazing Grip for the X-H1 which just went under the camera, and this one could just be adapted, in my humble opinion, to make it convenient for storage.
Function Buttons & new things
The same bezel wheels from the fujifilm X-T3 are found on the fujifilm X-T4. as such as the :
- Iso Wheel
- Single, Continuous, Continuous High mode, etc. Shutter speed
- Exposure compensation
The novelty is quite stunning, whilst it might seem a little one, the X-T4 has updated the order. of the Single, continuous features, to include HDR. The order is now Panoramic, advanced, bracket, CH, CL, S, HDR. which makes total sense as a photographer, to go from one side to the next. It’s way more natural in that order for me than before.
The Video selector is now taken out of this wheel, and is found under the ISO wheel, which allows a very rapid switch from single to Video, making it a true hybrid camera for the photo & video makers. I have not yet found myself on a motorbike or high pace event with the X-T4 to see if that switch changes and will drive me crazy or not by passing on the wrong mode, But to me, that’s a great feature to put that video/single mode on the right.
A new function button has been added to the fujifilm X-T4 between the trigger & exposure compensation wheel, so we can add an extra Fn there when we need it. I find it well positioned and convenient to use located there.
You will also find a few “expected” features as the flip screen which allows for easier vlogging and video making for those of you who are in the field of moving media production.
Dual Card slot
One interesting change on the fujifilm X-T4 is the dual slot which is not parallel, but it’s aligned top and bottom. It’s not a huge change, but they are clearly marked, so we can see which card we put in which slot.
One thing I don’t understand is why slot 1 is below and 2 is above. My logic would say that I read from top to bottom, so 1 is on top, 2 is below, so it surprised me, and for me, i take out the top one before the second one when I let my hands do the work without thinking.
That being said, it’s just something I noticed. The door to the card reader is now removable with a little switch. Putting it back on can take time, it’s tricky with the circular spring, so it’s not just click and go. Watch out if you take it off, you might take a good 5 to 10 minutes to put it back on… Yes, i tried… Don’t ask why, i don’t know myself, but I did. That’s what testing is all about, no ?
Quick Mode Button
YES ! The quick mode button has been moved to where the AF-L was on the X-T3, and the AE-L has moved to the Quick Button position. The AF-On is now where the AE-L was located… i hope you follow, it’s a bit of a tetris, but it’s brilliant. I can access what I need without taking my eye off the viewfinder. Yet another simple but essential improvement from Fujifilm, thank you guys, you’re really listening to users and it’s making a difference.
The menus have slightly changed in the fujifilm X-T4, but not that much. so if you’re used to the usual Fujifilm menus, you’ll find your way.
What has changed, is that the video features are not in the menu anymore. They have split the video menu for when you’re in video Switch mode, and the Photo menu when you’re on still mode.
It’s good and a pain depending on how you do your settings, but there are so many specific features for each that I find it really nice that they placed video with video and photo with photo. It just makes it clean and neat.
As some of you know, we still find the usual simulations from Fujifilm, and with the classic Chrome added to the last body, we can now find the Eterna Bleach on the Fujifilm X-T4. It’s beautiful, with little tweaking it’s just magnificent straight out of camera. I love that soft, desatured look, and i’m sure influencers, and content producers will just love that mode, in both Still and Video mode.
Added to this are the new “chrome effect blue” which can be slightly toned up or down to our liking. The highlight & shadow features now integrate in a curve style menu, takes adapting, but I really like that feature too, because highlight don’t exist without shadows and vice-versa.
A couple of new menus options have been added to cover the features of the IBIS stabilisation. I will be covering the IBIS features on the shoot portion of this post, so won’t go into details about IBIS here.
Hybrid Photo & Video mode
The camera has an HDMI & USB-C port on the left, with a remote and microphone jack ports on the same side. This allows for connection of cables when necessary. One thing which is kind of peculiar is that when you flip the screen, you’ll find yourself stuck with cables and jacks in front of your screen, so if you’re using those features to connect a Rode Video Mic on the top of the camera for example, you’ll have to figure out a way to see your screen.
That’s basically the same issue that we can find on all cameras with flippy screens and external mic. adapters, none solve the issue, they all have the same, so i’m wondering why the engineers have not been using the front of the camera or other locations to connect cables of this type when creating hybrid use cameras.
That being said, as discussed above, the position of the still/video switch is perfectly positionned. However to my liking, there is a slight issue… with my index it’s super easy to go from still to video, but to go back from video to still, i can’t do it without looking at the camera and finding the switch commuter.
I would love to see the “power switch” take a 45° right angle, instead of being at a right angle out of front of camera. This would allow for on-off switch to be dealt with my index (on 2nd phalanx), and the video/still switch to be enabled and disabled by my end of index.
The New battery provides with great life, and I could go with about 400 shots without finding myself out of battery, that’s a great 25% improvement, and i’m really happy about that.
Yes, we could rant that fujifilm X-T1, fujifilm X-T2, fujifilm X-T3 and all other cameras are on the same batteries, but Fujifilm has been listening, and providing a great new fujifilm X-T4 Camera, with IBIS, video features, and extended battery life is what we were waiting for, and they provided us with it in a super compact body.
An interesting thing with the battery, is that it’s slightly heavier than the previous batteries. So when you want to slip it in the slot,it’s weight brings it in by gravity, and as it is bigger, it has 2 rounded tubes shape. That helps guide it in properly.
How can that be useful you might ask ? Well when i’m wearing gloves for example, handling batteries and getting them in without getting the inside of the camera wet could be an issue, and here,e it’s easy. i can slip it in, and close the lid, easy, quick, efficient.
Now, here comes the fun part… or whatever we might think of it. Fujifilm doesn’t provide a battery charger anymore for the camera. There is an USB-C adapter with a power plug, so we can charge the battery only through the camera.
So yes, if we look at it from a user perspective, we can always find a power plug, or a computer to plug an USB-C cable in and recharge. But my concern, when i’m shooting for a whole day or a whole week, such as sport events and video, is that … i’m recharging at night, and i’m charging all my batteries at once. So this forces me to purchase an extra battery charger which has become optional, to charge my other batteries.
That will help the side business such as Patona or other charger brands develop their line, but i must say that for 2499 Swiss francs (approx. 2000€ or 2500USD) it’s a little poor down the line. I do hope they reconsider this somehow, or make changes for the future. Or … just make the charger quite cheap, because i’m not seeing myself have 8 chargers in line with a power extension in a hotel room, or wake up every 2.5 hours to change batteries in the camera body.
That’s a no go, sincerely, to me, it’s a serious issue.
Continuous Shooting buffering
I’m shooting in standard mode, not sports mode, so the full sensor, full data on the files, uncompressed, full fledged maximum details rendering, so maximum storage, and in Mechanical Shutter mode.
I was messing around at home before heading out for my project, and wanted to see how the buffering of the Fujifilm X-T4 would bring something new to the game. I have NEVER seen anything like it before. In JPG Fine + RAW, dual card backup, in Continuous LOW, the camera took 9 seconds before the camera started slowing down and single-shooting, meaning that the buffer was full (I did that with my clockwatch, so it’s not about milliseconds to me). That means 35 images before it started slowing down.
In Continuous Low with JPG Fine only, I pressed on the shutter, and waited… waited… waited… waited… waited… Yes… a bit more, waited… I decided to stop somestage… but it kept on going. My test stopped at 334 JPG images, but it was still not locking up with a full Buffer.
Now, what does the Continuous HIGH give us ? Well again, it’s pretty impressive to me. I’m getting the same results, of 35 images before buffering starts. so time goes much faster, but still, 35 full files.
Testing what my final “continuous High” with JPEG Fine only, and I went to the end, to see what It could give out. So… wait for it… it buffers a little faster than in Continuous Low, but I get 273 JPG’s before it switches back to a Continuous Low Speed, and then after 1 minute it still goes to a slower Continuous, as if it was roughly 1 to 2 images per second.
To be honest, I have never in my life seen such performance from any camera body, from whatever brand I was lucky to own or test, NEVER !
Day 1 of shooting in the rain
It’s been 6 days of intense rain here in Switzerland, but when I say rain, it’s been bucketing down, with grey monochromatic uniform grey clouds, and I was reluctant to bring that camera out in conditions where I would with go out with my camera, but not with a camera which i’m lent to test.
I started by shooting a couple of shots of industrial elements from my balcony, yes that sounds weird, but testing when it’s just tipping down brings challenges. A couple of shots of Eterna Bleach JPG simulation, and no further editing to give you an idea of how the camera deals with it.
However, after a few afterthoughts, here I am, out in a location called “Maison Monsieur” for a stroll in nature. I’m testing out the 100-400 lens with the 1.4 converter and my 35mm (50mm equivalent). Why both formats ? well, i’m out here to test the IBIS on static subjects, or to see how my shaky hands can be dealt with in very low shutter speeds.
Some of the shots below such as the rock formation were shot at 1/40th of a second, using the 400mm at 400mm + 1.4 extension tube. therefore i’m at a 560mm (equivalent 855mm). I’m pretty damn shocked at the end result and quality in the very positive aspect of things. I don’t know about you, but it’s a shock to my system to see such a result.
The images are post-processed with Capture One 20, and I apply my specific presets to these images, liking a slightly gloomy and different tone to them, I tend to push my style a bit, so it’s not Straight out of camera, Most of the shots are shot with the Standard simulation, and some are processed with simulations that I will extend and push in post-production.
I really love the Eterna Bleach and the Chrome negative which give stunning effects to work with.
I’m soaked,but happy of that 1st time out and about. the camera is flabagasting. i’m deeply in love with the sound of the shutter, the position of the buttons, and I can confirm the video switch holds well, and is a pain to switch back to still mode, that will take some adjusting… maybe some SUGRU to make it stick out 😀
Sports, Outdoors & lifestyle
My main area of work is outdoors sports, and I wanted to test this body on a shoot, so here I am heading out for a 17km bike ride (which ended in a 10km ride) with my pack, the Fujifilm X-T4, the 100-400mm, converter 1.4, and the 14mm, & 35mm, plus a flash, remote and my spare kit for cycling. To say the least I had 10 extra kilos on my back… That is teaching me that I need to streamline more, and reach an optimal setup for my gear and shoots. Every shoot is different, planning, preparation, but when you’re heading out with athletes, every kilo counts, and it’s my job to get it all sorted.
So, I went out to an area close to home for a couple of hours of riding, shooting, and having just a massive blast as the weather was beautiful that day.
The shoot was a series of lifestyle moments and riding uphill (yes, it was mainly uphill with a few descents), and I played around with the various simulations and worked on them in Capture One Pro 20 in post-production.
Bike & Gear
As you can see, no camera in the bag, so the fujifilm X-T4 wen tin the little space beside the thermal gear, but I had to use it to take those shots, so that was my set for the ride and shoot. You can see the Profoto C1 in the corner, the Connect on the side, and a microphone Rode Videomic as I had in mind that, if I had time, I would shoot a mini interview, but that didn’t take pace due to time constraints.
A couple of SOOC Shots
As i didn’t want to showcase a series of SOOC shots, because they don’t represent what we can do with photography. As much as I appreciate some don’t edit their images, I like to give them a mood and my personal style, and bring them to what I like in Terms of photography.
That being said, I understand that some would also like to see what comes out of Camera, and therefore I added a couple of Straight Out Of Camera Shots of the Fujifilm X-T4 in standard simulation.
Time to ride !
Heading out for this beautiful ride, I was playing around with photographing the landscapes and mountains with the 400mm with converter, so that’s like an 855mm lens.
I then passed from the Zoom lens to the fujinon XF 14mm lens for most of the shots, and a few with the fujinon XF 35mm for more intimate closeup shots.
You may see a couple of similar shots, by the cabin where I decided to process in Monochrome and in Colour to give a different feel to the series.
All in all, this is a crazy camera. The simulations are stunning, the button positions have really been improved, and the requests from users have been implemented. It’s brilliant, and I can only say that whatever I have read up until now that it’s a Fujifilm X-T3.5 instead of an X-T4 doesn’t do justice to this beautiful new top of the line camera.
I really love the body, it’s slightly heavier than the X-T3 with the battery in it, or without, but the way everything is balanced makes it beautiful to have in hand. The flippy screen is really adapted to the X-T4 video users and influencers, or media producers. On my side, I really like the flippy, but I have an issue, because i’m an outdoors and sports photographer, I appreciate shooting from ground up, but can’t always lie in the mud, flat on my stomach, to shoot, and the tilt screen allowed me to shoot that type of shot without going on the ground.
Now with the flippy, I’d better get some cool Ponchos and plastic pants, and head out to the Elephant Car Cleaners after the day to high-pressure hose myself clean, but hey… users asked, fujifilm delivered, and again,it’s all a question of appreciation.
I really love the still/video feature, as discussed above, between the menu and the switch, it’s great and i’m super stoked with that. I don’t shoot much video, but it’s leading me to start testing stuff, and working in a dual line of still & video for some projects, even for BTS work.
The IBIS is a great feature for video work, and for landscape photographers, that’s a must, and I really saw the difference. In my line of work it’s useful also for astronomy or outdoors shoots at night not including human movement. Because you can have the best IBIS in the world, when people move, you’re buggered, and IBIS or not… you’re in the blur Zone.
However, when you know you can hit 8 stops stabilization between camera and lens, that’s crazy, and sincerely, handheld 1 second and get stabilisation of 1/250th of a second, that’s technology packed in a box. So you might get those awesome long-exposure shots without your tripod some day… or you can compensate for wind on your tripod. Not even speaking of fluid gimbal movements, so Yes, a big Yes to this IBIS integration.
As some of you may know, i’m also a profoto user, and ambassador for switzerland, so this brings me to integration. I can’t go with a camera which doesn’t work with my flashes and vice-versa.
I had that rant that I could not integrate the Profoto A1 last year, but this year, both Profoto and Fujifilm worked together, and I can take my minimalist Kit with me, or have a Fujifilm Connect, the Profoto A1, and even that crazy small but really fun and useful Profoto C1 with me. The whole set and kit is streamlined, everything worked perfectly, it was click, switch on, connect, shoot !
Will be reviewing them in a separate article, but everything works, and it’s just AWESOME ! Thank you to profoto and Fujifilm for all this amazing work and integration of all the line of products. IT WORKS !
What I would like to see improved
So, now I would love to see a few improvements on this X-T4 (And yes, I would love to have Eterna Bleach integrated on X-T3, Please Fujifilm, Please !).
The Battery Grip of the X-T4 has the same issues than the X-T3, and the plastic protection for the Grip under the body is still the same. So I will go back to the drawing board in my humble opinion for this. I would like to see a serious protection for a Tropicalised body without having the risk of flooding it when I have the grip on (because the seal is not perfect, so water droplets do go in… I had that on my X-T3).
That’s a major No, No ! It’s been ongoing for all bodies of fujifilm providing grip since day 1, and to me, I can’t state enough how it’s a problem and would like it to be changed or improved.
The position of the switches, as discussed previously in this post for the video & on-off switch would be great, it could take 45° to solve it, maybe trying to screw the on-off button differently to test that ?
USB Charger…or a proper charger, yes sir ! That’s a must for a pro camera with sport mode, hyper fast buffering, speedy Autofocus, and all the super power packed features it has in it.
X-T3 vs X-T4
So, that’s the big question for many. If you’re a fujifilm X-T1, X-T2, X-H1 owner, there is no question, go for the X-T4 ! If you’re an X-T3 owner, you’re in thoughts, and if you have multiple bodies and all the batteries in your kit, maybe you’ll have second thoughts.
Personally, I would consider going for 2 X-T4 bodies, and I’d drop the Grip, if I can find some battery chargers, or dual chargers which i’d stick together.
The video features, the updated position of buttons, and the excellent rendering of the files that it creates, with the improved simulations would make me switch to this new flagship fujifilm X-T4 body. The flip screen really helps in terms of vlogging and creating my own interviews and working worldwide to shoot my new body of work.
The fact that the system is fully compatible with my Profoto gear really brings everything together, and the seamless integration with Capture One Pro also leads to it being my perfect body for work.
For sports, the battery life really makes a difference, the IBIS if i’m on a bike can provide me with extended options for my shoot. I went out for the whole ride of the afternoon, and used 1 single bar of the battery.
So, quite frankly, YES, I would switch to the X-T4, even though the only thing which bugs me is not to be able to tilt the screen as the X-T3 (so I might keep my X-T3 just for that).
I like having the same 2 bodies, for the simplicity of simulations, batteries, rendering, firmware updates, and compatibility with every part of my workflow, so having two Fujifilm X-T4 would be the best option for me, it’s faster, smoother, better, in all terms, and I clearly am ready to ask the universe for that !
With a lifetime project in mind integrating writing, video and and photography, travelling the world, and connecting with a specific category of people, I believe the X-T4 is the perfect piece of gear for a me as a photographer, or as a developing producer of video body of work.
Fujifilm Switzerland has published a more concise version of my review. Check it out, some other visuals are available there.