Australian ProPhoto


Full-frame mirrorless cameras may be grabbing all the headlines at the moment, but Fujifilm’s X-T4 shows just what can be done with a well-packaged APS-C size sensor.


Fujifilm has packed everything it knows about making a high-end APS-C format – and more – into its X-mount flagship, with the result that the X-T4 is a hugely appealing combinatio­n of portabilit­y and performanc­e. It’s clearly built for speed but, in practice, it’s much more of a capable all-rounder.

The traditiona­l big and beefy DSLR has been the staple of photograph­ers who need both speed and ruggedness for applicatio­ns such as sports, wildlife, and press photograph­y. It’s still the camera of choice for many, with the latest – and perhaps lastgenera­tion models like Canon’s EOS1D X Mark III – doing everything better than ever before. But the size and weight can be an issue, especially when shooting for long periods of time. This is where the so-called ‘crop’ sensors are starting to attract attention. Sports shooters, in particular, also like the idea that the smaller sensor sizes make for more compact telephoto lenses thanks to focal length magnificat­ion factors.

Consequent­ly, both Olympus OM-D and Fujifilm X mount are making inroads into the sports/action sector.

Fujifilm’s X-mount flagship, the X-T4, has clearly been designed with these applicatio­ns in mind, combining the compact form factor of the still-current X-T3 with important new features like in-body image stabilisat­ion. The obvious attraction here is that stabilisat­ion is available with all lenses, even those fitted via a mount adaptor. The X-T4’s assembly uses electromag­netic fields to apply the shifts, which makes it both more compact and more accurate, carrying out a remarkable 10,000 correction­s per second. Consequent­ly, it gives up to 6.5 stops of correction for camera shake with many of the current X mount lenses, and the minimum amount of correction is still a useful 5.5 stops. Correction is over five axes and, given there’s quite a number of non-OIS lenses in the X mount line-up (mostly all of the primes), the X-T4’s IBIS is an important feature

No doubt also with sports and action shooters in mind, the X-T4 has an all-new mechanical shutter assembly with an extended durability of up to 300,000 cycles and, via a high-speed coreless DC motor, also enables a faster continuous shooting speed of 15fps compared to the X-T3’s 11fps. The release time lag has been reduced to 35 millisecon­ds (or 0.035 seconds, versus the X-T3’s 45ms) and the live view blackout time is now just 75ms. Full live view is maintained up to 8fps, which is also the fastest speed for full

AF/AE adjustment.

Fujifilm says the new shutter unit is also 30% quieter than the X-T3’s. Of course, there’s the option of using an electronic shutter, which gives continuous shooting at up to 20fps or, if you’re happy with a 1.25x image crop, up to 30fps. As the X-T4 has same 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor as its current-generation X-mount siblings

(and the X100V), 30fps comes with 16.6MP image resolution. It also comes with a Sports Finder mode, so the live view image is cropped too, and the space outside this frame means you can better anticipate when a moving subject will enter the frame. Additional­ly, a Pre-Shot function is available with continuous shooting when using the

electronic shutter, and starts buffering frames the moment that the shutter release is pushed to the halfway position. These frames are held in the buffer memory – being progressiv­ely replaced after it becomes full – and are written to the card when the shutter button is fully depressed.

Get Tough

The X-T4 has a magnesium alloy body with weather sealing at a total of 63 points, offering a plenty of protection against the intrusion of dust or moisture. The body is also insulated to enable shooting in subzero climes down to -10º Celsius.

There’s a new, higher capacity battery pack – the NP-W235 with 2,200mAh on tap – that gives up to 500 shots per charge or up to 600 in the camera’s Economy mode. However, it does mean that if you’re mixing the X-T4 with an X-T3 or an X-Pro3, you’re juggling two different batteries and chargers. The X-T4 has in-camera charging via USB-C, and there’s an optional battery grip called the VG-X-T4 that takes two of the NP-W235 packs without replacing the one in the camera. This means there’s a total of three in play, giving a range of 1,500 shots, or 2,000 in Economy mode.

The X-T4 now has a total of five Boost modes that allow for power consumptio­n to be managed against the performanc­e of the

EVF and the rear monitor (i.e. refresh rate, resolution, brightness) and

AF response speed.

The EVF’s maximum refresh rate is 100fps.

As with the X-T3, the X-T4’s sensor is mated to Fujifilm’s high-speed X Processor 4 (the ‘4’ being a reference to its quartet of CPUs rather than a generation­al thing) and this facilitate­s fast shooting speeds for stills along with a pretty decent set of video specs headed by 4K DCI recording at 60/50p with 10-bit 4:2:0 colour internally, or 10-bit 4:2:2 colour externally. The rest of the X-T4’s video story can be found in the Making Movies panel.

Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensor architectu­re does away with the need for an optical low-pass filter by having a 6x6 colour filter array that reduces the likelihood of a subject’s pattern frequency (such as the weave in a fabric) matching that of the pixels. Consequent­ly, Fujifilm is able to squeeze an awful lot of imaging performanc­e out of 26.1 million pixels.

The sensitivit­y range is equivalent to ISO 160-12,800, with extensions down to ISO 80 and 100, and up to ISO 25,600 and 51,200. The maximum image size is 6240x4160 pixels with a choice of three aspect ratios – 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1. RAW files are captured with 14-bit RGB colour, and with either compressio­n or lossless compressio­n, or uncompress­ed. JPEGs are captured at either Fine or Normal compressio­n levels and three

Undoubtedl­y one of the reasons that X-mount cameras have become popular is Fujifilm’s Film Simulation profiles, which are without peer when it comes to in-camera processing of JPEGs.

image sizes, plus there’s the option of RAW+JPEG recording. In-camera RAW conversion can be to either 8-bit or 16-bit TIFFs as well as JPEGs.

There are dual slots for SD, SDHC and SDXC format memory cards, both supporting UHS-II speed devices, and with the choice of sequential, backup, or simultaneo­us RAW and JPEG recording setups.

True Colours

Undoubtedl­y one of the reasons that the X-mount cameras have become popular is Fujifilm’s Film Simulation profiles that are without peer when it comes to the in-camera processing of JPEGs (and can be applied to RAW files). The key here is that these profiles have been designed to balance colorimetr­ic colour – or real colour – with expected – or ‘memorised’ – colour.

The X-T4 now has 18 Film Simulation profiles, and the latest is called Eterna Bleach Bypass. The original Eterna – which is the name of Fujifilm’s cine film stocks – arrived with the X-H1 and the new variation gives more muted colour saturation while maintainin­g a higher contrast, thus replicatin­g the look of the bleach bypass film processing technique.

Compared to the X-T3, the X-T4 also has the newer Classic Neg Film Simulation profile that reproduces the ‘vintage’ tonality and colour saturation of a print made from Fujicolor Superia 100 colour negative film. It also has the Colour Chrome Effect Blue processing introduced with the X-Pro3. This differs from the standard Colour Chrome Effect by only adding contrast and saturation to the blue tones rather than all colours.

Rather than each Film Simulation profile having individual­ly adjustable parameters, Fujifilm employs ‘global’ tweaks for Colour, Sharpness, Highlight/ Shadow Tone Curve and Clarity. This last parameter arrived on the X-Pro3 and is designed to adjust definition by tweaking the mid-tones to give either more or less ‘punch’. The two B&W profiles have a Monochroma­tic Colour adjustment that tints in the warm-tocool and magenta-to-green ranges

(plus there are contrast control filters in yellow, red, and green). Also introduced on the X-Pro3, the tone curve adjustment consolidat­es the previous highlight and shadow tone adjustment­s into one Photoshop-style curves tool. However, the X-T4 now allows for finer control via half-stop adjustment steps.

As before, there’s a selection of eight Advanced Filters special effects, include Toy Camera, Miniature, Soft Focus, Partial Colour and Pop Colour. There’s also the Grain Effect processing that enables the creation of a more filmic look.

As with the X-Pro3 and the X100V, the X-T4 now has a proper multiple exposure facility that allows a total of nine frames to be combined – rather than just two – with the choice of Additive, Average, Bright or Dark exposure management options.

The intervalom­eter has a setting for unlimited frames or, alternativ­ely, a specific count of up to 999. Like the X-Pro3, the X-T4 has flicker detection and reduction, an additional auto

bracketing mode for focusing, and Dynamic Range Priority processing designed to adjust contrast and give more detailing in both highlights and shadows. There are three settings

– Auto, Weak and Strong – with the latter two based on the dynamic range expansion setting. This means the minimum ISO is also raised (to

ISO 320 and 640 respective­ly) to give more headroom for adjustment­s. The Auto setting selects either one or the other, according to the contrast range presented by the prevailing lighting conditions. Alternativ­ely, the standard Fujifilm dynamic range expansion processing options are available with either auto correction or one of three manual settings (labelled 100%, 200% and 400%). The other option for expanding the dynamic range is the camera’s multi-shot HDR capture mode that captures three frames with the options of auto exposure adjustment or one of four manual settings.

Focus bracketing can be set for up to 999 frames with intervals of up to 10 seconds, and the focus shift adjusted between one to 10 steps. The other bracketing modes are for exposure, sensitivit­y, the Film Simulation presets, dynamic range, and white balance.

Also available is Fujifilm’s Lens Modulation Optimiser processing designed to correct for the effects of diffractio­n when shooting with smaller apertures such as f/16 or f/22. It applies sharpening to the corners of an image where the loss of sharpness caused by diffractio­n is at its most noticeable.

Staying Sharp

The X-T4’s hybrid contrast/phase detection autofocusi­ng is largely unchanged from the X-T3, but there have been further enhancemen­ts to the reliabilit­y of the face/eye tracking via a new control algorithm. Additional­ly, low-light sensitivit­y is extended down to EV -6.0 (at ISO 100), which is quite a big jump from EV -3.0.

As before, 2.61 million pixels on the sensor deliver phase-difference detection autofocusi­ng, giving a near-full frame coverage of 99%, extending both vertically and horizontal­ly. A total of 425 measuring points are user-selectable – arranged in a 25x17 pattern – which can be reduced to 117 (in a 13x9 pattern) for

more efficient selection, but obviously also a larger measuring area.

The AF area modes extend from Single-Point (selectable in six sizes), Zone (in 7x7, 5x5 or 3x3 clusters selected from 117 points) and Wide. There’s also an ‘All’ setting that lets you cycle through these three modes via the rear input wheel. With continuous AF operation, the area modes are Single-Point, Zone and Tracking with the option of Face/Eye Detection, plus Face Selection for situations where there are multiple faces. The upgraded eye-detection will stay locked-on even if the subject isn’t looking straight at the camera or turns away and, detection can be set to either the left or right eye.

As before for subject tracking, the AF-C Custom menu provides five scenarios for fine-tuning via three parameters – Tracking Sensitivit­y, Speed Tracking Sensitivit­y and Zone Area Switching. The five options are Multi Purpose, Ignore Obstacles & Continue To Track Subject, For Accelerati­ng/ Decelerati­ng Subject, For Suddenly Appearing Subject and For Erraticall­y Moving & Accel/Decel Subject. A sixth setting enables the creation of a customised focus tracking scheme using these parameters.

The X-T4 also has the new AF Range Limiter function that was introduced on the X-Pro3 and provides three modes for presetting the focusing range – mainly to enhance speed – including between two subjects in the frame.

The manual focus assists include the convention­al magnified image and a focus peaking display in a choice of colours and levels, plus the unique-toFujifilm Digital Split Image and Digital Microprism displays. Both feature recent improvemen­ts to legibility that makes them much more useful than was the case with earlier X-mount cameras.

The X-T4 again convincing­ly proves that Fujifilm is a master at squeezing every drop of performanc­e out of its ‘APS-C’ size CMOS sensor.

The Digital Split Image display has been around since the original X100 and replicates the old split-image rangefinde­r that was standard on 35mm SLRs for a long time. It’s available in colour or B&W, with the latter tending to be the more effective as it’s easier to see against a coloured background. The Digital Microprism was introduced on the X-T3 and is a digital-era interpreta­tion of the traditiona­l gridded collar or ring on a classic fresnel focusing screen.

Exposure control uses on-sensor

TTL metering with 256 measuring points and a choice of multi-zone, centreweig­hted average, fully averaged or spot patterns. There’s just the standard ‘PASM’ exposure control modes – subject programs would be redundant on a camera at this level – and the overrides for the auto modes are an AE lock, up to +/-5.0 EV of compensati­on, and auto bracketing, which can be set to sequences of two, three, five, seven or nine frames now, with adjustment­s of up to +/-3.0 EV per frame. The new mechanical shutter has a speed range of 15 minutes to 1/8000 second, while the electronic shutter’s fastest speed is 1/32,000. The ‘B’ bulb-timer operates up to 60 minutes. There’s also the hybrid electronic first curtain shutter, which makes the exposure with the sensor but finishes it convention­ally with the mechanical shutter’s second set of blades. This eliminates some vibrations and noise, but importantl­y – compared to the electronic shutter – allows for flash. Like all the higher-end X-mount cameras, the X-T4 doesn’t have a built-in flash but, unlike the X-Pro3, it retains a PC flash terminal to supplement its hotshoe.

The white balance controls have been upgraded to include White Priority and Ambience Priority auto modes to supplement the standard auto correction. These two new settings are for shooting under incandesce­nt (a.k.a. tungsten) lighting, to either correct for, or preserve, the warmer tones. Alternativ­ely, there’s a choice of seven presets (including one for underwater), or up to three custom measuremen­ts can be made. Fine-tuning and auto bracketing are available, along with manual colour temperatur­e setting over a range of 2,500 to 10,000 Kelvin.

In The Hand

Fujfilm’s higher-end X-T series cameras have a distinctly classical flavour that makes for an involving – and enjoyable – user experience. There’s dials for shutter speeds, ISO, and exposure compensati­on, while many of the X-mount lenses retain traditiona­l aperture collars. This means exposure mode setting – from manual to program – is via the various combinatio­ns of the ‘A’ settings on the speed dial and aperture ring, which is the way most 35mm SLRs worked in the 1970s and '80s. Even the old-school cable release socket is retained on the X-T4. The dials for shutter speeds and ISO are lockable and both have positions for accessing an extended range of settings, as does the exposure compensati­on dial.

The main dials are supplement­ed by front and rear input wheels, various function buttons, a joystick controller for focus-point selection (which also has various navigation­al functions) and a four-way navigator keypad. There are six multi-function ‘Fn’ buttons, while an additional four controls are also customisab­le. Definitely contempora­ry are four ‘Touch Functions’ (T-Fn) that enable custom jobs to be assigned to the left, right, up and down swipe actions on the display’s touchscree­n. The defaults for these are a full set of histograms (up), a dual-axis level indicator (down), white balance settings (right) and the Film Simulation profiles (left). The touchscree­n implementa­tion includes focus point/zone/face selection with a ‘touch pad’ function for use with the EVF, plus access to the functions displayed in the Quick Menu screen. Additional­ly, the touchpad can be configured to selected areas of the display. In playback mode, you can browse, zoom in or out (which will also select the thumbnail pages), or zoom in on the active focus point.

Additional­ly, when shooting video clips, a set of on-screen icons is available for selecting the key capture functions via touch, primarily to allow for quieter camera operation.

The menu and other on-screen navigation can be via the joystick, the keypad’s four-way selector buttons, or the front and rear input wheels – take your pick but not touch. However, the Quick Menu screen enables direct access to 15 functions by simply tapping on the tile. It can be customised, so up to seven Custom Settings Banks can be created as additional Quick Menus which, for example, you might do to handle specific shooting situations. Importantl­y, the X-T4 now supports separate settings for stills and video, retaining them for much easier switching between the two operations, and this includes a video-specific Quick Menu screen.

The live view display can be configured with 3x3 or 4x6 guide grids, a real-time histogram (either brightness only, or with the RGB channels as well), a level indicator and a highlight warning, plus the selection of read-outs and status indicators shown is fully customisab­le… simply tick the boxes in the Screen Set-Up menu. Additional­ly, you can increase the size of selected

For many photograph­ers, the APS-C sensor size is going to be the more acceptable balance of hardware size and imaging performanc­e, especially at higher

ISO settings.

icons and also adjust the display contrast to enhance legibility in different lighting conditions. This includes a Dark Ambient Lighting setting for shooting at night so it doesn’t upset your night vision. Also handy – and available when using manual focus – is a Dual Display configurat­ion that adds a small detail box alongside the main image to show a close-up of the focus point or area

(or you can switch them around so the main display shows the focus area).

The EVF is the same 0.5-inch OLED panel as the X-T3’s with 3.69 million dots resolution, 100% vertical/horizontal scene coverage and 0.75x magnificat­ion (35mm equivalent). Adjustment­s are provided for brightness, colour saturation and colour balance. The rear screen fully articulati­ng and is, again, a 3-inch LCD panel, but with a higher resolution of 1.62 million dots.

It’s adjustable for brightness, colour saturation and colour balance.

Speed And Performanc­e

Loaded with a Panasonic 64GB SDXC UHS-II V90 speed memory card, the X-T4 captured a burst of 155 JPEG/large/ fine frames in 10.192 seconds, which represents a continuous shooting speed of 15.2fps. As we’ve found with all the recent Fujifilm X-mount cameras, the burst lengths exceed the quoted spec by quite a margin, but nails the shooting speed (actually doing slightly better in this case). The test file sizes were around 15.5MB on average.

We described the X-T3’s autofocusi­ng performanc­e as “simply sensationa­l” and the X-T4 qualifies for the same accolade. It’s extremely fast and accurate, and tracking works reliably even with fast-moving subjects. It looks to be essentiall­y colour-based, so the only issue is if there are multiple objects in the frame that are the same colour (for example, two racing cars from the same team and so with the same livery). If so, it’s necessary to prioritise the Zone Area Switching from Auto to Front so it will only track the subject closest to the camera. Eye tracking works reliably too, with improved handling of situations that would have previously caused interrupti­ons.

Fujifilm’s X-Trans CMOS 4 and X Processor 4 combo have already strutted their stuff elsewhere in the current X-mount line and also in the X100V, so the X-T4 wasn’t going to spring any big surprises when it came to its image performanc­e. However, the availabili­ty of IBIS might just help out with sharpness in some situations – particular­ly handheld shooting in low-light situations when you want to keep using a lower ISO setting.

The X-T4 again convincing­ly proves that Fujifilm is a master at squeezing every drop of performanc­e out of its APS-C size CMOS sensor. The best-quality JPEG image quality is superlativ­e, with crisply defined fine detailing, silky smooth tonal gradations and great dynamic range. The colour reproducti­on is classic Fujifilm, with a fine balance of saturation and realism that makes for a very pleasing result.

The sensor’s ‘dual gain’ design – with the second base

ISO being at 800 – means better sensitivit­y at the higher settings and lower noise. And because, subsequent­ly, less noise reduction processing is required, the image quality – in terms of definition and saturation – remains exceptiona­lly good, all the way up to ISO 12,800. Even above this, the X-T4 does a good job of balancing sharpness and noise reduction. Theoretica­lly, the IQ at ISO 12,000 will be pretty much the same as it is at ISO 800, albeit with some reduction in dynamic range. The RAWs are also exceptiona­lly flexible, giving lots of latitude with exposure, so brightenin­g images is possible without unduly increasing noise, particular­ly in shadowy areas.

The Verdict

For many photograph­ers, the APS-C sensor size is going to be the more acceptable balance of hardware size and imaging performanc­e, especially at higher ISO settings. This is certainly Fujifilm’s contention and the reasoning behind its ‘big sensor’ system being medium format and not full frame. In other words, APS-C is big enough in terms image quality and small enough in terms of enabling more compact hardware.

The X-T4 certainly helps drive home the point with its compact size and a feature set that’s been expanded to include IBIS, faster shooting speeds and enhanced video capabiliti­es. Additional­ly, the improvemen­ts to the user interface add yet more efficiency and convenienc­e, but the classic dialbased control layout also makes the whole thing more of an experience… and an enjoyable one too. It’s clearly built for speed, but it’s actually much more of an all-rounder. In fact, the X-T4 is the most complete APS-C mirrorless camera there is currently and certainly the only one really targeting pro-level users at present, ably supported by the higher-end Fujinon XF lenses from ultra-wide to telephoto.

Big isn’t necessaril­y better – and here’s the proof.

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 ??  ?? Despite the addition of in-body stabilisat­ion, Fujifilm has been able to keep the X-T4 nearly as compact as the X-T3 and only slightly heavier.
Despite the addition of in-body stabilisat­ion, Fujifilm has been able to keep the X-T4 nearly as compact as the X-T3 and only slightly heavier.
 ??  ?? The rear screen is fully articulate­d, with adjustment­s for both tilt and swing – a first on an X-T series camera.
The rear screen is fully articulate­d, with adjustment­s for both tilt and swing – a first on an X-T series camera.
 ??  ?? The top panel control layout is unchanged from that of the X-T3, with a trio of good-sized dials.
The top panel control layout is unchanged from that of the X-T3, with a trio of good-sized dials.
 ??  ?? ISO 800
ISO 800
 ??  ?? ISO 200
ISO 200
 ??  ?? ISO 80
ISO 80
 ??  ?? ISO 3200
ISO 3200
 ??  ?? ISO 12800
ISO 12800
 ??  ?? ISO 51200
ISO 51200
 ??  ?? ISO 100
ISO 100
 ??  ?? ISO 1600
ISO 1600
 ??  ?? ISO 400
ISO 400
 ??  ?? ISO 6400
ISO 6400
 ??  ?? ISO 25600
ISO 25600
 ??  ?? Dual card slots support UHS-II speed SD devices and allow for the simultaneo­us recording of video clips for backup purposes.
Dual card slots support UHS-II speed SD devices and allow for the simultaneo­us recording of video clips for backup purposes.
 ??  ?? The new battery grip uses two battery packs, so the X-T4 can be run on a total of three packs, giving greatly extended ‘range’.
The new battery grip uses two battery packs, so the X-T4 can be run on a total of three packs, giving greatly extended ‘range’.

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