In March, I was hiking and tracking musk ox in Dovrefjell National Park, Norway. By my side I was lucky to have the new flagship Fujifilm X-T4 and the XF Fujinon 200mm f/2 (possibly Fujifilm’s best lens), ready for adventure.
I recently parted ways with my X-H1; it was an amicable breakup since we never really bonded. My mind was all set on moving to GFX, Fujifilm’s medium format system, that is until I picked up the X-T4.
Sometimes there’s just an unexplainable feeling when you hold a camera. You intuitively know you are going to love it even before pressing the shutter. It was this way for me with the X-T4.
After my time in the cold with the camera, I truly believe there are strong reasons for X-T series users to consider upgrading to the X-T4. Here are a few points to consider.
Fujifilm’s in-body stabilization (IBIS), as seen on the X-H1, is now included in the X-T4, but it’s smaller, lighter and quieter than before. Many will say they don’t need it, but as a wildlife photographer I have always believed if a feature allows me to capture images which may not have been possible otherwise, it’s worth including.
The conditions in Dovrefjell were, to say the least, challenging. Shooting in -10 °C (sometimes -20 °C with wind chill factor), my hands were cold and numb. With no bean bag or tripod, it’s here where I used the IBIS all the time since I didn’t trust myself to be able to keep the camera steady in the cold.
With only one opportunity to capture images I knew if I messed up I would not get a second chance. With numb fingers, I had little sensitivity and at times I was using different fingers to release the shutter. Having the IBIS engaged gave me the confidence boost I needed to concentrate on my composition and focus on the task in hand.
The vari-angle touchscreen on the back of the X-T4 allows you to flip it to the side for better use when doing videography. I didn’t use it often, but I love the fact that I can fold the screen face-down onto the camera and not see it at all, protecting the touchscreen from the elements. Plus the camera looks more retro with the screen not showing.
Battery life was something that had to be improved, being somewhat of an Achilles’ heel for Fujifilm. With the newly developed NP-W235 Li-ion battery, it’s much better and especially so with the battery grip attached. I was getting approx. 1400/1500 frames a day, which is a significant improvement, allowing me to photograph all day long without having to worry about batteries.
Recharging the battery is now a breeze, and I managed to charge all three batteries in-camera using a USB cable in three hours. It makes life a lot easier.
According to Fujifilm, the X-T4 has a new algorithm for autofocus, making it better at tracking faces and eyes. It’s obviously not meant for wildlife, but funnily enough, I did engage it to see if it would lock on to a musk ox’s ‘face and eyes’ – and it actually did.
Fujifilm claims that the XT-4 has better tracking on subjects moving across the frame, and I never had focusing issues photographing the musk oxen as they moved around feeding in wintery, snowy conditions.
New Shutter System
Fujifilm has engineered a new focal plane shutter unit for the X-T4, providing up to 300k actuations, while able to shoot 15 frames per second in boost mode. It’s a solid improvement to the X-T3’s system.
Other minor changes
There are a few small but well-thought-out changes on the X-T4. The best for me is the switch on the shutter dial from Still to Movie move and individual menus. The SD card is now side by side rather than staggered, while the placement of the Q button to the top of the panel next to the sub-dial is very welcome.
Furthermore, the X-T4 body is slightly more prominent than the X-T3’s in order to accommodate the IBIS. That’s a plus in my books as I use the bigger lenses – usually the XF 200mm and XF 100-400mm, with grip attached – which gives a nice balanced feel in hand.
Indeed as expected, this camera has a well-built, solid feel to it. And in the harsh conditions of the subarctic, it certainly didn’t seem out of place and coped with everything that I (and Mother Nature) could throw at it.
If you are a Fujifilm X-T series owner, who has certain expectations regarding build quality, autofocus, image quality, colour science, ergonomics, ease of use, etc., the new X-T4 will meet and exceed them.
Honestly, we are spoilt by Fujifilm – we get a professional camera with all the bells and whistles at an affordable price. The X-T4 for me, maybe Fujifilm’s best X-range camera yet. Not only does it have the potential to become a cult classic, but it has set the benchmark for the mirrorless platform as a whole.
By Peter Delaney