This is the camera that Fujifilm fans have been waiting for. Today, the company is announcing the X-T4, its latest flagship mirrorless camera. It looks very similar to the X-T3 introduced in 2018, but Fujifilm has evolved the hardware in a way that will make the fourth-generation camera an irresistible upgrade for some.
At the top of that upgrades list is in-body image stabilization. This is the second camera in Fujifilm’s lineup to gain IBIS, which helps you capture tack sharp images at slow shutter speeds that, on the X-T3, would likely come out blurry. Here, there’s no need to dial up the shutter speed or ISO to compensate for hand shake. IBIS also helps get the most from Fujifilm’s lauded prime lenses (like the 35mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2), which don’t offer the same lens-based stabilization that some of the company’s zoom lenses do. This will be a big deal for people who shoot video with their X-T4, as Fujifilm’s entire lens arsenal is now at their disposal and will capture smooth, steady recordings when fitted to this camera.
Fujifilm has created an IBIS system that’s better, smaller, and lighter than what it put in the X-H1, and that allowed the company to keep the X-T4 close in size to its predecessor. This new approach uses magnets instead of springs. 18 X-mount lenses (out of the entire 29-lens lineup) will get 6.5 stops worth of stabilization on the X-T4. The others will give you at least 5 stops. If IBIS alone somehow isn’t enough for your video shoots, you can also enable additional digital image stabilization, though this will crop in on the frame by 10 percent.
The X-T4 retains the X-T3’s excellent video recording capabilities, able to capture 4K clips at up to 60fps with a maximum bitrate of 400Mbps. Pro videographers can record 10-bit F-Log straight to the SD card. There’s also now a 240fps super slo-mo mode (in 1080p), joining the 120fps frame rate that’s available on the T-3. Here’s a nice touch: movie mode gets its own placement on one of the X-T4’s dials, and the camera separates your settings (and Q button preferences) for stills and video. You can switch between the two without having to mess with menus each time. The X-T3 was just as much a video camera as it was a stills shooter, and it helped Fujifilm pick up serious momentum with YouTube creators. Having individual settings for both modes will make things easier for X-T4 owners.
The other big change is the rear touchscreen LCD, which is higher resolution (1.62 million dots versus 1.04 million on the T3) and now — finally — flips out to the side and lets you see yourself when taking selfies or vlogging. If you’re shooting in rough conditions or want to avoid the LCD lighting up, you can flip it so it faces into the camera body. There’s a bit of a tradeoff in that taking shots from the hip has become more of a process. On the X-T3, you could just tilt the screen upward towards you. But now you’ll have to pull it out to the side first, which will make street shooting more obvious and heightens the risk of bumping it into something. You can see what I mean here:
The electronic viewfinder is mostly unchanged, which is fine because the X-T3’s was already sharp and immersive. But there are new “boost” modes that change the behavior of the EVF. You can put it into low-light priority boost mode to lower contrast and pump the gain. Resolution priority reveals more detail). And frame rate priority will switch the EVF to a buttery-smooth 100fps. Again, these only impact how the EVF looks to your eye and have no effect on your images.
The X-T4’s mechanical shutter has been reengineered and is noticeably quieter (Fujifilm puts it at 30 percent) than the X-T3’s. The two UHS-II SD card slots are now side by side instead of staggered, which is one of the more obvious examples of how the company moved things around to make room for the magnetic IBIS system. Another is the Q button, which has been relocated up to near to the top of the camera. Unfortunately, a bigger sacrifice had to be made to find space: the headphone jack for monitoring audio is gone, but there will be a USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter in the box for this purpose.
The last main improvement area is autofocus. Fujifilm says the X-T4 has brand new algorithms for autofocus and is more accurate at tracking eyes and faces. Continuous shooting with the mechanical shutter has been bumped up to 15 frames per second, an improvement over the 11fps in the previous camera. (You can still hit up to 30fps with the electronic shutter.) The company says the X-T4 generally has a higher hit rate than the X-T3 when firing rapidly.
Elsewhere, though, the X-T4 and X-T4 are fundamentally similar. They use the same 26.1-megapixel X-Trans 4 CMOS crop sensor and contain the same X Processor 4 chip. They both have 425-point phase detect autofocus that fills the entire frame. Rumors indicate that Fujifilm will bring a lot of what it can from this camera to the X-T3 in the next few months; annoyingly, the T3 still lacks the Classic Chrome film simulation and HDR shooting mode that debuted on the X-Pro3. On the X-T4, HDR gets prominent placement with its own spot on a dial. There’s also yet another new film simulation, Bleached Bypass, which “creates a beautiful desaturated, high-contrast look” that Fujifilm likened to a less intense version of the aesthetic from the movie 300.
As with prior models, the X-T4 will be sold standalone (for $1,699) and also as a kit with either Fujifilm’s 18-55mm lens ($2,099) or 16-80mm lens ($2,199). The camera comes with a new battery that’s good for up to 500 shots in normal mode or 600 if you put it into economy mode. (The X-T3 was rated at 300 shots.) It’s a new shape that’s similar to batteries from Canon and Nikon, which means your older ones won’t do any good here. There’s no traditional battery charger in the box, which might frustrate some people. But Fujifilm does throw in a wall charger that looks like it’s for a smartphone, which is appropriate; the X-T4 now supports high-speed USB-PD charging. A dual-battery charger can be purchased separately.
When you’ll be able to get your hands on the X-T4 is, unfortunately, a little complicated at the moment. Based on what was said at a recent media briefing, Fujifilm expects to take a significant hit from production delays and constrained supply tied to the coronavirus outbreak. The goal is to have the X-T4 out sometime in April, but unless you place a very early preorder, don’t be surprised if you run into a lengthy wait. Even the already-announced X100V might be hard to come by for a while.
I’ve owned every iteration of the Fujifilm X-T cameras, and I don’t think there’s been an upgrade that’s had me more excited than the T4’s in-body image stabilization. It opens new creative possibilities and is a life-saver for people (like me) with hands on the shaky side. If you own a camera from Sony or Nikon that already has IBIS, this probably doesn’t seem all that radical. And depending on how and what you photograph, in-body image stabilization honestly might not be a game changer. For me, it is. And it makes an already-great video shooter even more capable.
Fujifilm didn’t merely cram IBIS and a flippy screen into the X-T3 and call it a day. You’re getting a new, more discreet shutter, improved autofocus, and more. Yes, it’s the same image sensor (and processor) as the X-T3, but if it fits your photography style, the X-T4 should make for an impressive leap over its predecessor.
But the photography landscape has changed quite a bit in the last year. Both Nikon and Canon have joined Sony in releasing formidable full-frame mirrorless cameras — and they’re constantly getting better via firmware updates. Nikon’s Z6 can be had for only around $100 more than the X-T4. And try as they may, no company has been able to unseat Sony’s incredible eye-detect autofocus yet. But I can’t wait to review the X-T4 and see if Fujifilm has truly delivered its dream camera. 2019 was a great year for camera lovers, and it’s looking like 2020 could wind up even bigger.
Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge, except for Fujifilm promotional images.
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