Fujifilm X-T5 Review
January 2nd, 2023
I was late to the Fuji party. I did my first Fuji review in 2018 (starting with the Fujifilm X-T3) and was impressed by the maturity of the system in many ways when compared to other APS-C mirrorless camera systems. In the last four years, however, there has been a lot of changes in the industry. Canon and Nikon have jumped into the space with new APS-C bodies, and companies like Sony have seen a lot of new lenses development (particularly from third parties). But Fuji has also made what I consider to be an incredibly important move in opening up their platform to third party development, and we have already seen a number of new lenses from Tamron, Sigma, and Samyang (along with others) come in Fuji X-mount. One of the more impressive lenses of 2022 was announced right at the end of the year in the form of the Viltrox Pro AF 75mm F1.2 for Fuji X-mount. I pretty much raved over it in my review, which I did on this X-T5. The Fujifilm X-T4 (my review here) was an important step forward for Fuji as it introduced some very important new features to the series, including In Body Image Stabilization (IBIS), an articulating LCD screen, a new and improved battery, and a faster mechanical shutter. What didn’t change, however, was the 26MP X-Trans sensor which we had seen in a number of Fujifilm cameras. That all changes with the Fujifilm X-T5, however, which joins the X-H2 in utilizing an ultra-high resolution new 40.2MP sensor that delivers wonderfully detailed 7728 x 5152 pixel images. The new sensor is definitely the headline new feature here, though there are a number of other improvements that we’ll explore as a part of our review.
As with the release of the X-T4 and the existing X-T3, it appears that the X-T4 will continue to be sold for the present alongside the X-T5 as a cheaper alternative. The X-T4 can currently be had for roughly $1550 USD, while the X-T5 costs an additional $150 and shares the old price point of the X-T4 at $1699 USD. Slightly more upmarket of that is the impressive Fujfilm X-H2 at a price point of about $2000 USD. That additional $300 nets you a more professional grade body, much deeper buffers, improved viewfinder, and more robust video features and is well worth considering if you have deeper pockets.
There is a certain amount of market parity these days, and there are some things that Sony, Canon, and Nikon do better, though Fuji has had a long investment in the APS-C mirrorless space, and it shows in the maturity of the system. These other brands are more focused in the full frame market, but Fuji has focused on APS-C and never entered the full frame space. That has led to more lens development (including a revamping of same aging designs with new MK II version) along with a fully fleshed out accessory market. And, as noted, the opening up of the platform to third party development has lead to some excellent third party options at more affordable price points which helps close the gap with a company like Sony that has long been more third party friendly. I’ve spent time with a couple of new Fuji lenses as a part of this review, including the new XF 30mm F2.8 Macro lens which was a fun lens to play with over the holidays.
There are still some areas where Fuji lags a bit, and my primary complaints are focused on an autofocus system that is largely unchanged here and that lags in some areas behind the other brands along with my continued frustration with navigating Fuji’s Q-menu. I’ve not seen any real progress on their touchscreen capabilities in four years. But while I might prefer the focus and ergonomics of, say, the Canon R7 (my review here), the complete lack of appealing lenses means that Fuji is still offering the more appealing system in general. There are a lot of great things about the X-T5 and Fuji’s approach to APS-C, so let’s take a closer look if the Fuji X-T5 meets your needs for photography and/or video. If you would prefer to watch your reviews, you can choose watch my definitive video review below…or just keep reading.
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Thanks to Fujifilm Canada for loaning me the X-T5 and lenses for this review. As always, this is a completely independent review and my conclusions are my own.
What’s New on the X-T5?
When I reviewed the X-T4, I noted these are the primary improvements:
- In Body Image Stabilization
- New battery with improved battery life
- Fully articulating LCD screen
- New mechanical shutter mechanism rated up to 15fps (from 11fps on the X-T3) and with a life of 300,000 actuations.
These were important improvements, as each of them addressed shortcomings in the X-T3. What largely stayed the same was the sensor performance, autofocus, and basic ergonomics of the camera. In this generation the highlights of the X-T5 are largely around a whole new sensor along with some evolutionary improvements to some other areas. Here are the highlights of the new features:
- 40MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 5 HR BSI Sensor
- 4K 60p, 6.2K 30p 4:2:2 10-Bit Video
- 7-Stop In-Body Image Stabilization
- Lower base ISO of 125 vs 160
- New Tracking/Eye Detect modes
- 3″ 1.84m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
- 20 fps E. Shutter, 15 fps Mech. Shutter
- E Shutter speed up to 1/180,000th second
- 160MP Pixel Shift Multi-Shot
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Connectivity
- ProRes & Blackmagic RAW via HDMI
As before, there are some wholly new specs/features here (sensor, improved IBIS, lower base ISO, 6.2K video) while also some repackaging of existing features. That’s the nature of releasing a new camera in a series roughly every two years. There are the main improvements that are heavily marketed and then other areas that are either retained outright or slightly refined from the previous generation. I’ve seen this with other brands as well. What’s interesting here is that Fuji prioritized miniaturizing everything a bit, as the X-T5 is smaller than the last several generations of the X-T series and most notably the X-T4. The X-T4 was 135 x 93 x 64mm (W x H x D) and weighed 607g, making it pretty substantial for an APS-C body, while the X-T5 is 130 x 91 x 64mm (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.5″) and weighs 557g (16.8oz), meaning that essentially only the grip depth (arguably the most important part to keep “big”) matches the previous generation.
That along with some spec similarities to the higher end Fujifilm X-H2 has some calling the X-T5 a “mini-X-H2”. I personally feel like both cameras have a distinct role to play, however, and there are things that the X-H2 can do well (like sustained bursts of images) that the X-T5 cannot, while others will prefer the more compact body and lower price point of the X-T5.
There is one primary area where the X-T5 has taken a step back compared to the X-T4, in my opinion, in that we have reverted to the tilting type LCD screen of the X-T3 rather than the fully articulated LCD of the X-T4. That may not matter to you, but I personally strongly prefer the flexibility of the fully articulated screen. For one, it allows you to front monitor the camera for video, and as someone who sets up shots and then sits in front of the camera, I can tell you that this can be a big deal for being able to monitor the framing of the shot (is my head half out of the frame?) but also catching some recording issues (full memory card, depleted battery, etc…) Articulating screens are also more flexible for the angles that they can be used at compared to a tilting screen, though at least Fuji’s tilt screen allow them to be tilted on a couple of different axis.
When I reviewed the X-T3, I highlighted a few concerns with the feature set and handling of the camera. One of those was the lack of In-Body-Image-Stablization (IBIS), which was solved with the X-T4 and improved here on the X-T5. I’ve been impressed with Fuji’s stabilization in general, whether in-camera or in-lens, and the IBIS in the new X-T5 is rated at up to 7 stops (over 6.5 stop rating of the X-T4), making it the most robust IBIS system I’ve tested to date by the numbers. I put the X-T5 in the hands of a friend who is an industry professional (he does the ads/branding for a significant company) and he was wowed by the stability of the system for fluid handheld video shots.
At this stage I would say that the IBIS performance in real world use does improve on what I’ve seen with Sony and even Canon, though, as always, I find that getting perfectly sharp images at extremely low shutters speeds is an unreliable process. The practicality of “seven stops” in many applications is not going to happen. For example, I should be able to handhold the XF 35mm F1.4 R for nearly 4 second shutter speeds. That just isn’t realistic. I’m personally more concerned more concerned with eliminating motion blur in normal shots where the shutter speeds fall outside the margins and getting stable handheld video, and by these metrics the IBIS is a success.
Effective IBIS is wonderful because it applies to all lenses, making a longer portrait lens like the XF 90mm F2 (my review here) much more useful and easier to use. It even works with third party lenses, allowing me to successfully handhold this 1/10th of a second shot with the new Viltrox Pro AF 75mm F1.2:
I did note that I saw more reliable IBIS performance with first party lenses (particularly for video) when compared to the Viltrox, though that lens had not even been publicly announced when I was testing it.
Like the X-T4, the X-T5 utilized the newer NP-W235 battery, a 2350 mAh pack which is rated by CIPA to give 580 shots per charge (740 in Economy mode). The battery life is competitive across the board (for mirrorless), and I think it worthy of note that the X-T5’s battery can be charged via the USB-C port in camera by most any power source…including a portable power bank. There is also an included USB-C charging cord and AC power adapter included in the box. I found that my real world battery performance was better than what I’m seeing from the four other cameras that I currently own.
The X-T4 sported an improved mechanical shutter that is largely carried over here. It was more refined and nicely damped than the previous shutter, and also allowed for a faster mechanical shutter speed. My one complaint is that I find that half-depressing the shutter button is a little more difficult than on some other cameras (it’s very easy to slip past half-depressed to taking the shot). I tend to use the AF ON button on the back a little more for that reason. The headline improvement here is in the electronic shutter, which increases the maximum shutter speed from 1/32,000th of a second to a massive 1/180,000th of a second, allowing you to really freeze action (if you can achieve the ideal conditions that allow for such a fast shutter speed). This is probably not really a practical improvement for most people in most situations.
Fujifilm cameras tend to have more physical controls than most other modern cameras. There are dials, switches, and buttons all over the camera body, and many of the cameras functions can be accessed without ever looking at a menu. It’s a decidedly analog approach to a very digital camera, and I personally love it, though other users may find it confusing. It’s a classic SLR design that reminds me a lot of my old Pentax Spotmatic film camera. Initially it took me a few days back with with the X-T3 originally to discover how to do everything I wanted to do (mostly because every camera manufacturer seems to have their own names and descriptions for certain functions. Case in point: Canon calls continuous autofocus “AF Servo”, Sony calls it “AF-C (Autofocus Continuous)”, while Fuji has Continuous AF, broken down into drive modes as CH (Continuous High) and CL (Continuous Low). Know that you may need to spend a little time in the manual to learn all the functions if you aren’t familiar with Fuji’s control scheme.
Another strength of Fuji’s cameras (though one that takes some familiarity to execute) is that most of the buttons and dials can be customized and have different values assigned to them. The basic physical controls are essentially identical to the X-T4 despite the more compact body of the X-T5, with the lone exception that the “Display/Back” button on the bottom now also has a Bluetooth logo on it (Bluetooth functionality is not new, but this shortcut is). I mostly like the configuration of the buttons with two exceptions. The first is the location of the Q-menu button, which moved from right over the mini-joystick (on the X-T3) to the upper right side of the camera where the AF-L button used to be, It’s an unusual place for a Q menu button, and I haven’t really gotten used to it. I also don’t love the location of the buttons and sequence for reviewing and deleting images. Typically the delete button on other cameras is in the location of the Display/Back button. If this is your sole or primary camera, obviously, you will soon get used to the functions.
There are three dials on top of the camera as before, with two of them being “two layer” dials. The one to the left of the viewfinder remains unchanged, having a top mode dial for ISO with a secondary dial underneath operated by a front facing lever. Underneath the ISO dial is the drive mode dial, allowing your to quickly choose basic things like Single AF, CH, and CL, but also to switch into bracketing exposures, panoramas, and more. The second “two layer” control is underneath the TV (shutter speed) dial. I still don’t find a dial for controlling shutter speed to be a very efficient way to control shutter speed, so I find this dial a little unnecessary, but your mileage may vary. It can only select full stops (you go straight from 125th to 250th second, for example) and bottoms out at 1 second of exposure, which means that the shutter speed that you actually need may not even be accessible via the dial. The byproduct is that I personally only the dial for three settings: A (controlling shutter speed via one of the two wheels as per usual), B (Bulb Mode, ditto on selecting the value), and T (shutter speed priority, ditto on selecting the value).
The bottom half of that dial has two options: Still and Video. This allows you to easily change the camera between stills and video setup with the upside being that you can actually customize everything in each mode (including buttons and wheels) and switch between a fully customized video mode along with your typical stills setup.
The third main control dial is for Exposure Compensation, and it’s a dial that I’m always happy to have. It’s the quickest and most logical way to bias exposure in one direction or another if you are shooting in a mode like AV mode, which I often choose if I’m in lighting conditions where visually confirming exposure is more difficult (very bright conditions, for example). The On/Off dial is located around/under the shutter button, and I personally like this location.
The shutter button itself also has a very classic style, as it is threaded on the inside to allow for customization (soft touch accessories, for example).
There are two other control wheels, one located beneath the shutter button and the other located at the back near the thumb rest. These are typically going to be used for shutter speed and aperture value. What’s unique about these control wheels is that they also can be clicked and serve a dual function as a button as well. The rear wheel, for example, I currently have assigned to magnify the image when I’m manually focusing.
There is one final small switch located on the front of the camera, and it is a quick access AF Mode switch, which allows you to switch between M (Manual), C (Continuous), or S (Single Shot). Perhaps the best thing about this switch is that it gives you an easy, dedicated way to access Manual Focus and replaces an AF/MF switch on the lenses themselves. It works well once your muscle memory extends to remembering that it is there. What’s also useful is that on the front of the camera near the grip and on top of the camera between the dials are two Custom Function buttons. The front one (by default) is a quick access to drive mode settings based on your current drive mode. For example, if I’m in CL (Continuous Low), it opens up the menu setting where I can choose a speed for CL (from 3-8 FPS). If I were in CH, it would give me both the mechanical and electronic shutter burst mode options. The second button by default gives you control options for Eye detection. Some of those options include selecting a priority for which eye (right or left) that you want focused on. It’s an interesting mechanic that does give some diversity from Sony’s approach.
Other physical controls take the form of seven buttons on the back of the camera along with a four-position directional pad (each direction can also be programmed for a different function). One of these is a dedicated Q (quick menu) button. This is similar to Canon’s approach, though I prefer Canon’s method of navigation in that menu. There are a number of options there (16, typically) in the Q Menu, which is good, but when you select one of those options with the tiny joystick also located on the back, the logical (at least for me) choice is to select the option you want to change by hitting either the OK button on clicking the little joystick (clicking it in works similarly to the OK button). Instead of opening up the options for that choice, however, it okays the choice already made and closes the Q menu.
Frustrating. Just like it was on the nine other Fuji cameras I’ve tested.
What the camera actually wants you to do is to move over to the desired setting you want to change and then rotate the rear wheel to change the settings (without another dialogue box ever being opened). I don’t find this a very intuitive process even after reviewing 10 Fuji cameras over the past several years and, more often than not, I’ll click either the joystick or the OK button and have to start the process over again. What’s interesting about this is that while you cannot use the touchscreen to select in the regular menus, you can tap on the icons for the various options in the Q menu and it will open up a dialogue box and allow to select the option you want (by a tap on it) in the way that you would expect the menu to work all the time.
The X-T5’s 3.0 inch tilting touchscreen is upgraded in resolution (up to 1.84 million dots) but not functionality. As noted, we’ve lost the fully articulating screen from the X-T4. The touch functionality also hasn’t progressed and isn’t as responsive or useful as Canon’s mirrorless cameras (where all menu options can be accessed via touch and the screen is nicely responsive) or even as useful as the newer Sony cameras. The X-T5 does allow for things like dragging the focus point around with a thumb when you are looking through the viewfinder, and will also allow one to tap an autofocus point and even take a photo through that means. I didn’t find it as responsive as either Canon or Sony’s touchscreens for touching to focus during video mode. There’s some definite input lag before autofocus responds. You can navigate the Q menu (to some degree) by touch, but the main menu has no touch navigation.
Fuji has a wide range of menu options, and nearly all controls can be customized to the user’s preference. Every camera maker has a different way of organizing such menus, and so expect to have to learn where everything is if you aren’t a long-time Fuji shooter, but I found the menus fairly logical once I began to learn how Fuji labels things. Everything is organized under seven main groups: (Image Quality, AF/MF, Shooting Settings, Flash Settings, Movie Settings, Setup, and Network). There is an eighth tab called “My” (My Menu) that will be populated once you select custom functions to be there. I like to task commonly used settings that I haven’t assigned to a physical control to that area. If you aren’t confident navigating menus, however, you may find these menus a little overwhelming. There is a LOT of room for customization, and little instruction for what different settings do.
An experienced user will probably enjoy the controls of the X-T5 (I do, for the most part), but, as noted, not everyone will love the sheer number of controls. It will be intimidating to some. I view the X-Tx series as being designed for those with a fairly strong grasp of camera operation, and probably not designed for beginners. You need to make a realistic evaluation of where you fall on that spectrum in evaluating if the X-T5 is the camera for you or not. The also-new X-H2 has a more contemporary control scheme.
Ergonomically I prefer the X-T5 to Sony’s APS-C cameras but like the recent Canon R-series APS-C cameras better. The X-T5 feels pretty good in my hands, though I would still prefer a grip extender to have more room for my medium-large hands. There is a grip extender (the MHG-XT5) available though a new battery grip has not yet been announced (and it doesn’t look like there will be one, either).
Let’s complete the physical overview. There is a little port on the front of the camera that is the flash sync port. It unscrews and pops off, but is also very small, so be careful not to lose it! On the left side of the camera is a cover that, when popped open, reveals the main connectivity ports, including a micro-HDMI, USB-C, Remote Shutter release, and Microphone port. Charging can be done via the USB-C port, and I was happy to find that even small power-banks would help to quickly charge the camera. You can attach headphones via a USB-C adapter on the main camera, but that means you have to have a dongle along.
The right side of the camera houses the card slots. The X-T5 has two UHS-II compatible SD card slots. The X-H2 has changed one of those to the faster CF Express Type B standard, but the X-Tx series has stuck with SD thus far.
On the bottom of the camera there is a battery door as one previous models, but what isn’t there is the covered port for connecting the battery grip, which makes me wonder if Fuji plans to offer one. Perhaps the grip for the X-T4 didn’t sell particularly well.
The X-T4 sports a OLED electronic viewfinder design with 3.69m-dot resolution and a slightly higher 0.80x magnification (0.75x on the X-T4). That’s better than some older competitors but doesn’t really break any new ground. It has a good refresh rate (100fps) and I saw no blackout under any kind of shooting conditions.
The camera body is made of a magnesium alloy and sports quality weather sealing. Fuji touts 56 different weather sealing points in the body.
If you liked the X-T4, then you’ll probably like the X-T5, for there are little physical changes here other than the slightly reduced size and weight. I do miss the articulating LCD screen from the X-T4 and question this step backwards when it seems that the articulating screen is the standard that most cameras are moving to. I do appreciate the improved IBIS and the overall feeling of quality in the build.
Fuji X-T5 Autofocus Performance
Improved autofocus was one of the core areas of improvement with the X-T3, but the X-T4 and X-T5 have largely maintained status quo. Improvements are more along the lines of improved focus algorithms and potentially better processing of the focus data via the X-Processor 5. Fuji’s marketing says, “X-T5’s higher pixel count increases the number of phase detection pixels, which improves AF-S focusing accuracy on subjects including landscapes and portraits. The camera also incorporates an improved AF prediction algorithm, newly developed for the X-H2S, enabling stable focusing even when using AF-C.” Note that phase detection “pixels” is not the same as phase detection points, as we have the same number of selectable AF points (425) as we’ve had over the past two generations. Fuji’s focus marketing is directed more along Deep Learning AI technology that improves Eye detection and the number of subjects that can be identified and tracked. In addition to human subjects this now includes animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes, and trains.
As before we have 425 selectable AF points spread over most of the frame.
Phase Detect sensitivity is rated down to -7 EV (with the 50mm F1.0 lens), but that will vary depending on the maximum aperture of the lens you have mounted. I had good focus results (though some reduced focus speed, as per usual) in very low light conditions. It always helps to have an edge on your subject (a contrast point) to aid AF, but I was able to lock accurate focus in varied lighting conditions with good success. This shot is at 1/12th second, F2.8, ISO 12,800 (very dim conditions!).
An area where Fuji’s focus system is actually very good is in the tracking of high speed action. I’ve tested tracking with some of their best sports lenses in the past (including the amazing 200mm F2 lens), and at it’s best, Fuji’s tracking can be very good (though one of the older lenses with a weaker focus motor will hold things back). Tracking is improved on the X-T5 the ability to do the Deep Learning AI tracking of subjects. The burst rate with the mechanical shutter is 15 FPS (with full continuous autofocus). This is obviously exceptionally fast, and easily exceeds the 11FPS offered by the Sony a6600 and matches the 15FPS of the Canon EOS R7. The mechanical shutter allows you up to 1/8000th second shutter speeds. You can go faster, however, by selecting the electronic shutter which enables up to 20FPS and is rated at shutter speeds up to 1/180,000th of a second. You can also switch to a Sports Crop Mode (1.2px) that gives you a bit of additional reach and allows the burst rate to climb to 20 FPS, though surprisingly the 30FPS option of the X-T3 and X-T4 is gone. The Canon R7 gives you 30 FPS, and the X-H2S will give you 40FPS, so the X-Tx series is no longer the king in this category. It makes me wonder if this is not an intentional move by Fuji to create more market separation between the X-Tx series and the X-Hx series.
But there was already a huge market separation when it comes to buffer depth. The X-H2 can record up to 1000+ JPEGs and over 400 RAW files at 20FPS, but the buffer fills MUCH faster on the X-T5. It has the higher resolution sensor (relative to previous X-T bodies) but doesn’t have a stacked sensor (X-H2S) or the newer memory technology of the X-H2, so the buffer fills REALLY fast. At 20FPS (that is with the 1.29x crop) Fuji claims up to 168 JPEGs, up to 72 compressed RAW files, up to 41 lossless compressed RAWs, and only 23 uncompressed RAW files. If you want to shoot with the mechanical shutter (and without the “sports crop”), the buffer will fill faster still. You can get 119 JPEGs, 39 Compressed RAWs, 22 Lossless Compressed RAWs, and only 19 uncompressed RAWs. I found that the buffer filled very quickly in my tests, as you’ve got less than 1.5 seconds with RAW files to capture your action sequence before the frame rate drops.
On a positive note, the camera does quite a good job of quickly clearing the buffer after a burst.
I tested the X-T5 during the dead of winter (and during a major series of winter storms), so I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to test tracking, so I’m relying in part on experiences from the past. This is largely the same focus system though with the addition of the AI learning, so it should be better than ever. My “torture test” in the past with the X-T3 and X-T4 was tracking our dog (about a 23 pound King Charles Cavalier Spaniel) playing high speed fetch. I had fairly good success there, though the focus system of the lens was obviously a huge factor (my best tracking success with a Fuji camera has been on the X-T3 because I had the 200mm F2 to use with it!) One area of real strength is that I find the focus system continues to effectively track even when the subject gets close. Here’s a few shots from one 60 shot series in the past.
I did have the XF 100-400mm OIS during my X-T5 review, but using a slower lens (in terms of aperture) in an indoor setting is somewhat limiting because you have to increase the ISO so high. I was able to get some decent shots even under those conditions.
Bottom line is that the AF system is excellent for tracking action, and I’ve considered this to be one of the strengths for the system.
Fuji has been gradually improving their Eye AF tracking via firmware and updated algorithms, and the X-T5 benefits from having the newest iteration of that. I found Eye detection better than on previous Fuji bodies, but still not quite as effortless on what I’m seeing on recent Sony and Canon bodies. I was typically able to get good focus accuracy, though it takes a little more work than on those other brands. You can see from this shot that focus on my eye even at F1.2 is very good:
I also took this shot of Ferrari at F1.2 with the Viltrox, and you can see excellent focus on the eye.
I largely had good overall focus accuracy during my time with the X-T5, though I don’t enjoy Fuji’s approach to whole sensor tracking. It’s fine for the most part once a subject has been selected, but even when you expand the focus area to whole sensor tracking a smaller green box remains. You can move that box around by touch or the joystick, but you essentially have to get that green box on the subject before whole sensor tracking begins. As a byproduct, I feel like I’m going back to my Canon EOS 6D days when I mostly did focus and recompose. You put the box on the subject and then recompose, though in this case the green box will now “stick” on the subject and deliver better end results.
I continue to see gradual focus improvements, but I don’t feel that Fuji is quite at the level of the other major brands in terms of focus performance. The Canon EOS R7 is my current favorite APS-C model for tracking, though the number of native APS-C RF lenses severely limits that potential at the moment. The X-T5 is limited by its buffer depth, so if you are looking specifically for a sports-oriented Fujifilm camera, consider the more robust X-H2 instead.
Fuji X-T5 Sensor Performance
The headline improvement of the X-T5 is the new 40.2MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor that is shared with the X-H2 (and future models, I’m sure). Fuji says this of the new sensor, “The high-resolution 40.2MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor has an enhanced image-processing algorithm that boosts resolution without compromising the signal-to-noise ratio, delivering astonishing image quality.” I’m liking this new sensor, which in many ways seems to deliver more resolution than the 32MP sensor found in Canon’s EOS R7 without adding any new compromises.
If you want even more resolution (and have the right kind of subject), you can use the new Pixel Shift Multi-Shot which utilizes the sensor shifting ability to combine 16 shots into a single 160MP shot…though you’ll have to download the free Pixel Shift Combiner software from Fuji to combine the images (it can’t be done in camera, unfortunately). That’s more of a commitment than I had time to make to this review, so you’ll have to explore this feature for yourself.
We’ve improved the resolution here but have retained the very rich Fujifilm color science that delivers very pleasing images.
Many people love Fuji colors, and they include a number of their film emulations that can give a unique “feel” to images and/or video footage. Feel free to skip over the technical information if it doesn’t interest you; any modern camera can give you fantastic images.
Fuji X-T5 ISO Performance
Fuji tends to be a little more conservative with their native ISO range than other companies and resort to less marketing hype, though I frankly find the ISO performance to be ever bit as good as the best from Canon and Sony (the other brands I test). In this case the native range is expanded slightly, but on the bottom end, as the base ISO is now 125 rather than 160. The native limit is still 12,800, though expanded options at 25,600 and 51,200 are available. I didn’t really feel like there was much of a step back relative to the X-T4 despite the increased resolution, with images at ISO 6400 looking usable in real world situations.
At ISO 800 there is a mild addition of noise only detectable in the shadows. There isn’t a lot of difference from base ISO, however, and moving on to ISO 1600 shows little difference. At ISO 3200 there is slightly less contrast and slightly more noise, and that pattern continues at ISO 6400 and 12,800, where the noise becomes rougher and more visible in shadow areas. The first stop in the expanded range (25,600) looks about the same as what you would find on a Sony or Canon camera (where it is included in the native ISO range), with more visible noise and black levels that aren’t as deep due to “hot” pixels. ISO 51,200 should be be avoided, as image quality is several stops worse even though that is only one stop more. There’s a fair difference between ISO 3200 and 12,800:
Fuji says that the X-Trans sensor produces a more film-grain-like noise pattern, but it mostly looks like the pattern noise I see with most cameras.
What is a strength, however, is color fidelity. I never really see a shift to greens or magenta as the ISO raises, nor do I see obvious banding in the shadow areas. Overall I’m impressed with the performance. This real world image at ISO 12,800 looks perfectly useful to me.
Switch it to a monochrome where a bit of grain is desirable (Acros +R here) and you’ve got a great looking shot.
This is all very impressive considering how much the resolution has increased. The X-T4 had a pixel pitch of 3.74 µm; the X-T5 has a pixel pitch of 3.04 µm. That’s a lot of pixel packed close together, and it is very impressive how Fuji has managed to pair high resolution with fairly clean ISO performance.
Fuji X-T5 Dynamic Range Performance
I value dynamic range within a camera in two specific areas: the ability to cleanly lift shadows without introducing noise or color banding and the ability to recover highlights without introducing “hot spots” where information has been permanently lost.
Having good dynamic range (particularly if you shoot RAW), allows you a lot more creative vision over how the final image will turn out, though it is always worth mentioning that just because you can raise shadows or reduce highlights it doesn’t always mean you should. Sometimes a photo with crushed shadows or blown out highlights is the better one.
Fuji has an extra trick up its sleeve to help you maximize dynamic range performance in such scenes, which we’ll get to in just a moment.
In my tests, I found that the X-T5 did an excellent job of recovering shadows very cleanly. Here we have an image that I purposefully underexposed by four stops. As you can see in the original RAW image, there is very little information left there. In post I added those four stops back into the recovered image. What we find is an image that has been recovered with very little penalty, whether viewed globally:
…or at a pixel level:
I could even recover shadows fairly cleanly at five stops, though you can see some additional noise has been introduced in the checkerboard pattern of the tabletop.
As is often the case, however, highlight recovery lags behind shadow recovery. Even at 3 stops of recovered highlights there is damage done to the image with both “hotspots” (information that cannot be recovered) and the loss of some colors in our swatches.
Sony is about a half-stop better in this regard, but Fuji has one other trick that I previously mentioned. If you move beyond the base ISO to either ISO 250 or 500 (and beyond), two new options open up in the menu. These are DR200 (available at ISO 250) and DR400 (available at ISO 400). What these do is essentially split the sensor readout so that the shadow information is gathered from the current ISO setting while the highlight information comes from base ISO. At ISO 250 that gives you one additional stop in the highlights (DR200), while at ISO 500 you gain two (DR400). This allows you to overexpose the image slightly so that you have plenty of information in the shadows, but since there is one or two stops less exposure in the highlights, you have plenty of ability to recover blown out areas in post. I also find that you retain better contrast even if you underexpose and recover using this method (here’s the DR400 recovered result at three stops of overexposure compared to the base ISO three-stop recovery):
Note how much more detailed and bright the right (DR400) recovery result looks. The shadow information looks the same on the two images (ISO 500 isn’t high enough to really introduce any additional noise), but the highlights are brighter and have much great fidelity. You’ll also note how much richer the colors are in the swatches by comparison. The better retention of highlights has vastly improved the overall contrast. I would pick the image on the right every time. It looks like a natural photograph despite the fairly radical recovery of highlights.
The original looked like a complete mistake (misfiring flash, wrong settings, etc..), while the recovered image looks like a perfectly exposed shot. This is a technique well worth utilizing where needed, though I found that for the most part I did have enough dynamic range to edit as desired even at the base ISO. This shot, for example, of a snow covered dead tree against the sky shows that I’ve been able to recover the shadow information on the branches, keep the snow from being blown out, and even retained the sky information.
That’s a very useful amount of dynamic range, and if you need more, just use the DR200 or DR400 modes. It’s worth noting that due to the increased sensitivity in the ISO (base ISO of 125 vs 160) both of those are available earlier than they were previously, meaning that you can keep the noise down even more than on previous Fuji bodies.
On the video front we find that the X-T5 has Fuji’s F-LOG2 which boasts over 13 stops of dynamic range, meaning that you have more video dynamic range available than on previous models that only had the original F-LOG profile.
X-T5 Resolution and Detail
The new 40.2MP sensor is a whopping 53% higher in pixel count than the 26.16MP sensor on the last few X-T bodies. That additional resolution has a lot of potential value, particularly when, as we’ve seen above, it doesn’t come with a lot of extra baggage in terms of reduced ISO performance. For portrait photographers, that high resolution means that you can take one portrait and get multiple different crops out of just one image.
For landscape photographers, you get the same kind of versatility. I can tighten the crop to show more detail from the scene…and I’m still at the resolution level of the X-T4:
Macro photographers can increase their level of magnification while also retaining plenty of resolution for printing or sharing. I can crop in this much while retaining 100% of the resolution of the X-T4:
I could obviously crop much deeper and still have plenty of resolution for most applications.
Wildlife photographers will also enjoy the flexibility of deeply cropping. In this original shot (not with a long telephoto, obviously), you can barely tell that there is a wild turkey up this tree.
A deep crop reveals the turkey up the tree, however, while retaining enough detail to make it interesting.
I’m having a hard time finding a downside to the resolution here, particularly when there is a Lossless Compressed RAW file option that keeps the file size down to a reasonable 40MB(ish) size, JPEGs are around 18MB, and if you want even smaller file sizes, you now can choose the HEIF image format which delivers 10-bit image quality in files up to 30% smaller than standard JPEGs.
Fujifilm has a solid reputation when it comes to color science. Their long experience with film (it’s right there in the name!!) has translated into a retro-oriented view at film emulation in their digital cameras. You can choose from 19 simulated Fujifilm film stocks in camera from color film simulations to a variety of monochrome stocks as well. These include: (PROVIA/Standard, Velvia/Vivid, ASTIA/Soft, Classic Chrome, PRO Neg.Hi, PRO Neg.Std, Classic Neg., Nostalgic Neg., ETERNA/Cinema, ETERNA BLEACH BYPASS, ACROS, ACROS + Ye Filter, ACROS + R Filter, ACROS + G Filter, Black & White, Black & White + Ye Filter, Black & White + R Filter, Black & White + G Filter, Sepia). One of my personal favorites is Classic Chrome. Here’s a JPEG shot in Classic Chrome that shows off the slightly blue shadows and general look that I enjoy about the simulation.
You can also control grain (if that’s your thing) in camera as well. Most of these tweaks in-camera will only matter if you are shooting JPEGs. If you are shooting RAWs you can do all of this in post. Here’s the same scene from the RAW image rendered in Astia/Soft, Velvia/Vivid, and then Provia/Standard:
Many that have chosen Fuji have done so for their ability to shoot JPEGs and get what they like right out of camera. If that sounds like you, then the Fuji X-T5 might be a great choice. It’s certainly got a lot of customization available for influencing the output. The RAW colors are nice to process as well. Here’s one that I’ve processed using the Velvia profile (and the 30mm F2.8 Macro):
I would recommend that you take a long look at the Image Galleries page to see if you like what is there – most of which has received minimal processing so you can make a fair determination.
Fuji X-T5 Video
A new sensor means new video possibilities as well, and in this case while the X-T4 maxed out at UHD 4K60p video recording at 4:2:0 10-bit, the larger resolution on the X-T5 opens up room for even higher resolution – up to 6.2K at 30P. Video options include:
- [6.2K(16:9)] 6240 x 3510 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 360Mbps/200Mbps/100Mbps/50Mbps
- [DCI4K HQ(17:9)] 4096 x 2160 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 360Mbps/200Mbps/100Mbps/50Mbps
- [4K HQ(16:9)] 3840 x 2160 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 360Mbps/200Mbps/100Mbps/50Mbps
- [DCI4K(17:9)] 4096 x 2160 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 360Mbps/200Mbps/100Mbps/50Mbps
- [4K(16:9)] 3840 x 2160 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 360Mbps/200Mbps/100Mbps/50Mbps
- [Full HD(17:9)] 2048 x 1080 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 360Mbps/200Mbps/100Mbps/50Mbps
- [Full HD(16:9)] 1920 x 1080 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 360Mbps/200Mbps/100Mbps/50Mbps
- [Full HD(17:9) High speed rec.] 2048 x 1080 240p/200p/120p/100p 360Mbps(recording)/200Mbps(recording)
- [Full HD(16:9) High speed rec.] 1920 x 1080 240p/200p/120p/100p 360Mbps(recording)/200Mbps(recording)
4K frame rate still tops out at 60FPS, so you’ll have to drop to Full HD for the best slow motion performance, but this is obviously a pretty robust suite of video options and bitrates. The inclusion of the aforementioned F-LOG2 also helps give you more editing headroom, and footage looks really nice off the X-T5.
The improved IBIS is obviously a huge benefit to the X-T5’s video capture, and the ability to quickly choose between a Stills and Movie setup also helps. The newer Fuji lenses tend to perform better with focus pulls than older lenses (which often showed a lot of visible stepping). When I tested the new Fuji 30mm F2.8 Macro (with Linear Motor focus) during this review, I found that focus pulls were as fast and smooth as what I’m seeing on any other platform.
The X-T5 doesn’t quite match the video performance of the X-H2 (8K, better cooling), but it is still a very robust little platform for capturing video.
The FUJIFILM X-T5 is a great evolution of the X-T4, and the new 40MP sensor is definitely a standout. I definitely prefer it to the older 26MP sensor and am impressed with what Fuji has managed to do with it. It compares favorably to Canon’s 32MP sensor on the EOS R7 while offering superior resolution. Image quality is definitely lovely from this camera.
Some may be a bit daunted by the massive amounts of physical controls, though I personally enjoy that aspect of the camera, and one always has the option to utilize the Quick or Regular menus to make changes instead. The great film simulations and beautiful JPEGs are a delight to many Fuji fans, and that retro aesthetic to the design and the film simulations appeal to the “purists” who only grudgingly accept the digital era.
Autofocus continues to improve, though this is probably the area that I would still like to see the biggest refining in. I would prefer some tweaking to the way that whole sensor tracking and continuous autofocus is handled, as I feel that both Sony and especially Canon have some advantages here. The very shallow buffer also limits the X-T5 as an action camera, though I think it will handle most other photography scenarios with some aplomb.
The X-T5’s greatest competition may just be in the form of Fujifilm’s own X-H2, which adds a number of features including: much deeper buffers, superior memory card technology, 8K video, fully articulating LCD screen, higher resolution viewfinder, has a full size HDMI port along with a native headphone jack, and can be gotten with a vertical grip and cooling fan. The difference in price is only $300, and if your work includes either video or sports photography, it is probably well worth that additional $300. The X-T5 is more compact and has the retro look and control scheme that some love, however. It would seem that the X-T5 is the generation where Fuji has worked to create more market separation between the two lines…which will either simplify or complicate your buying decision. In general, however, it feels to me that Fuji is moving in the right direction, though as always, the price point is just high enough to make you question whether or not moving to full frame on another brand might be the wiser choice. Decisions, decisions…
- The new 40MP sensor is excellent
- Beautiful build with a classic sensibility
- Improved IBIS works better than ever
- Excellent focus system with Deep Learning AI for tracking action
- Competitive burst rates
- Compact body
- Shutter rated up to 300,000 actuations
- Even better battery performance
- Good detail, ISO performance, and dynamic range
- Improved video specs, including 6K30P options
- Huge amounts of customization available for images and controls
- Solid ergonomics
- Great lens selection
- The screen has reverted to tilt rather than articulating
- Eye AF performance still lags behind Sony and Canon
- Whole screen tracking not as smoothly implemented as competitors
- Buffer fills up REALLY fast when shooting action
- Still limited touchscreen
- Q menu navigation remains frustrating
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