Fujifilm just announced the brand-new X-T5!
What makes this camera special? Who should buy it?
To understand the X-T5, one has to go back in time a few years. The X-H1 was Fujifilm’s original flagship, but due to poor timing on its release and an overly aggressive initial MSRP, it didn’t sell well. Fujifilm thought this camera was going to be a huge hit, but instead it flopped… at least until it was heavily discounted. Those who own an X-H1 love the camera, and regard it as one of Fujifilm’s best, a true workhorse. The X-T3, which was announced just months after the X-H1 was released, more or less killed the X-H1, just because it was the first X-Trans IV camera while the X-H1 was the last X-Trans III model. The X-T3 would become Fujifilm’s top selling camera of all time, and was only recently discontinued. The X-T4 came out when the X-T3 was just over a year old, and Fujifilm sold them both at the same time because the X-T4 wasn’t really the X-T3’s successor, but instead was another attempt at a flagship model, kind of a cross between the X-H1 and X-T3 (but with compromises that both X-T and X-H users weren’t thrilled about). Now that Fujifilm has released the X-H2 and X-H2s cameras, there isn’t a “need” for the X-T4, and it’s being discontinued. That brings us to the X-T5, which is the successor to both the X-T3 and X-T4, but is more like the X-T3 than the X-T4, yet sharing a legacy with both models. Make sense?
What makes the X-T5 special is that it walks back some of the unwanted “improvements” of the X-T4—yet improves upon the appreciated features of the X-T4—while in a package more similar to the X-T3, and with the new sensor and processor of the X-H2. So is it better than the X-T3? In many regards yes, in some regards it is a wash (not better or worse), and in a couple of regards no. Is it better than the X-T4? This depends on your definition of better, because the X-T4 was actually a more premium model, but with curious design choices that some don’t appreciate—if that’s you, then, yes, the X-T5 is better, but if you really like the X-T4, the X-T5 might be seen as a step backwards in some ways. I will say this: my wife has an X-T4 that she really loves, but she would prefer the screen of the X-T3/X-T5, so that makes it potentially a better camera for her. I say “potentially” because the screen is just one factor. If the X-T4 handles heat better—say, if the X-T5 has overheating issues when recording video—then that wouldn’t work out well, because she uses it more for for video than stills. “Better” is a subjective term, anyway, that’s perceived much differently depending on the person and how they use their gear. What’s “better” for one person might not be “better” for another—at all depends on your point-of-view.
But isn’t X-Trans V better than X-Trans IV? X-Trans IV was such an outdated sensor and overall technology, while X-Trans V is the pinnacle of APS-C camera technology advancements—doesn’t that mean it’s unquestionably better? That’s tough to say. I’m reminded of when Syndrome, in the movie The Incredibles, describes his new-and-improved superhero-destroying robot. “It’s bigger, it’s badder, ladies and gentleman,” Syndrome announces, “and it’s too much for Mr. Incredible!” Similarly, there’s no doubt that the X-T5 is metaphorically “bigger and badder” than the X-T3 and X-T4 (physically, it’s smaller than the X-T4), but perhaps “it’s too much for” most photographers. While some have decried the X-T3 and X-T4 as disappointments or not “good enough” for some reason, for the vast majority of photographers, both of those models are well above and beyond anything that they actually need. And, of course, with more megapixels come additional challenges—sometimes less is more. The point of this paragraph is that, yes, the technology of X-Trans V is surely an improvement, but, at a point of diminishing returns, do you really need those improvements? Some of you do, many of you don’t—and for those who don’t, the improvements of the X-T5 are really paper improvements and not something that will likely affect your photography in any practical way.
What I just stated is important because some of you right now are trying to decide if you should upgrade, and everyone’s telling you that you should. There’s a whole lot of hype—some FOMO and GAS even—and you’re not sure what to do. I will give you my advice as someone who has never touched or seen in-person an X-T5. Take it for what it’s worth, which is probably not a lot.
If you have an X-T2 and have been thinking of upgrading for awhile, but the X-T3 was too similar to the X-T2 (not enough of an upgrade), and the X-T4 had that darn flippy screen you didn’t like, then you’ll likely really appreciate the X-T5. If you have the money and desire, just do it and get it—I feel like this is the group that the X-T5 makes the most sense for. Those with an X-T3? I have a hard time with this one, because it might be a big difference for you, or it might be pretty much the same thing that you already have, depending on how you use the camera. Those who shoot JPEGs will likely find it significantly different with the new film simulations and JPEG options (although it doesn’t appear to be a whole lot different than the X-T4 in this regard). If you print your pictures poster-sized, those extra megapixels will come in handy. If you somehow find the autofocus lacking, that’s been improved. Use it for video? There’s some improvements there, too. Need IBIS? It has it. But if those things don’t matter that much to you, the X-T5 isn’t all that much different than the X-T3, and won’t necessarily be an improvement for you. So my suggestion to those considering upgrading from the X-T3 to the X-T5 is to think long and hard about how you use your camera and where you find it lacking, if you find it lacking at all. Those with an X-T4, the X-T5 is only an upgrade for you if you hate the flippy screen, if you somehow find the autofocus lacking, print posters, or need a slightly smaller body (apparently the X-T5 is just larger than an X-T1); otherwise, the X-T5 isn’t really an upgrade for you, and I don’t recommend getting the new camera. Still using an X-T1? Buy a used X-T2 or X-T3—there’s about to be a whole bunch of them. So to summarize, the X-T5 makes the most sense as an upgrade for those who currently have an X-T2; it’s 50-50 for those with an X-T3, depending on how you use your camera; many of those with an X-T4 will likely not trade in for the new model, although some will, obviously.
We’ve talked about upgrading from a like-model, but what about those who have some other camera? If you’ve been using an X-T20 or X-T30 and wanting a more premium model, the X-T5 might be just that for you. I don’t think it should be underestimated how many will be moving up from one of those models to an X-T5, or perhaps a used X-T3 or X-T4. I suspect that a used X-T3 will be pretty easily found for $700-$800 in the coming months—they’re still exceptional cameras, and that will be very tempting for those who don’t have $1,700 to drop on an X-T5. For those with an X-H1, I think the X-T4 is just as much (if not more so) of an “upgrade” as the X-T5 (for those who don’t consider the X-H2 and X-H2s to be the “real” successors), and obviously neither are really upgrades, so I don’t see the X-T5 as particularly appealing to the X-H1 owners, although I’m sure some will take the bait. I do believe that those who own an X100V as their only Fujifilm camera (and that’s a significant group… it really is a gateway into the Fujifilm system) will take a long look at the X-T5, as they should, and some will buy.
You might think, reading all of this, that I’m not especially excited for this camera, but you couldn’t be more wrong. I believe that Fujifilm is trying to do the right thing with the X-T5. Fujifilm walked back a lot of the changes that they made to the line with the X-T4, because those changes weren’t appreciated by the majority of X-T users. They did what they should have done (and what I previously suggested that they should do) and make the X-T5 more like the X-T3 and less like the X-T4. Bravo! I think the X-T5 is an important camera for Fujifilm, and a lot hinges on its success. I truly hope it’s a smashing success for Fujifilm, and I think it will be. With that said, I don’t work for Fujifilm, and I want to give good advice—honest advice—to my community, and the best advice I have is this: you shouldn’t upgrade with every new model release, experiences are more valuable than gear, and new gear will not make you a better photographer. On the flip side, if you have the money, and the X-T5 will help your photography in some way or make it more fun, then it definitely might be worth the expense. Only you can decide that for yourself. Trust your gut, and either go for it or pass, and feel good about that decision, whatever it is.
This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.
Preorder your Fujifilm X-T5 in black: Amazon B&H
Preorder your Fujifilm X-T5 in silver: Amazon B&H
Orders will apparently ship on November 17.
I skipped the XT-3 and XT-4. I will be an owner of the XT-5. Over the XH-2 because of size difference, screen, I don’t mind that the EVF is sub to the the H as the EVF in the XT-5 is beyond what I’m experiencing in the XT-2. 40mp/coupled with the new lens breed brings the entire package to the modern era.
I think X-T2 to X-T5 makes a whole lot of sense. Enjoy the camera! 😀
> I skipped the XT-3 and XT-4. I will be an owner of the XT-5.
You are smarter than most.
Have to say as an owner of a X-S10 and a X-H2S, the autofocus isn’t just marginally better, it’s an enormous leap into the top tier, at least in photography (I know the video side needs more work). I have used a R5 and this is absolutely competitive with it if you are using the newer lenses. With the XF18mmF1.4 the H2S picks up my wife’s face and eye half a block away accurately. The XF33mmF1.4 is arriving tomorrow and I expect the same or even better given it’s narrower field of view.
It really makes shooting easier, with less direction and retries needed. I also got a bunch of unsolicited compliments last night on a zoom call with combo, for the first time I let the camera do AF in a meeting and it was just locked in and razer sharp, something my X-S10 + 16mmF1.4 could never pull off.
I find the autofocus on my 10-year-old X-Pro1 to be sufficient. Autofocus on my X-H1, X-T30, X100V, and X-E4 is absolutely amazing, and never a limiting factor for me. An “enormous leap” I don’t think would mean a whole lot for me, because I don’t have any issues at all with the “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” autofocus of the “old” models (diminishing returns). Still, if some advancement helps someone achieve the pictures they’re trying to capture, that’s a good thing, so it’s awesome that Fujifilm was able to make it even better on the new models for those who need it. Hurray!
I think if people got into photography in older eras they already have the skills and muscle memory to handle slower/less accurate systems more instinctively. For me it’s a challenge I honestly do not enjoy when I’m out with people who do not have a lot of time/patience.
That said, when I do have the time to do MF, I love using a Helios 44-4 and I picked up a Mir-20M. Tempted to get a speedbooster for them. But I gotta be with someone who’s got time/patience as I’m not that quick with MF.
I LOVE old Helios lenses. So much fun!
So one thing that’s been bouncing around in my head is that when someone says they are excited about some new or updated future immediately other people seem to talk it down rather than discuss why they are excited about it. You know from my interactions here it bothers me and I’ve been trying to articulate why. Please don’t read this as personal on you, you are nicer than most, but I want to explain why I’m talking about things like autofocus, PSAM and so on in terms of time savers and convenience.
My impression has been that certain photo brands have built communities that believe in doing photography in only certain ways for it to be a respectable art or profession. There are approved improvements and features and ones viewed as lesser, unnecessary or a detraction from the hobby/profession. I definitely see this in the Fuji community, but it’s also in the Leica community (among the actual photographers rather than the ones who use it as a fashion statement), some of the DSLR diehards and so on. It’s not very present in other spaces, Canon shooters rarely discuss how a new feature is a detriment or takes away from the art, they simply decide if it’s worth it to them to upgrade or if it brings nothing new to their workflow/hobby. Their complaints tend to be more about how lower end bodies capable of the feature will have it disabled rather than whether the feature should exist or deserves investment at all.
I’ve repeatedly said that I am in favor of more capable automation and I use the smartphone as the comparison. That seems to grate on people and I’ve been trying to figure out why. I am starting to think this is less about the acceptance of certain technologies and more about a lack of awareness of why some people are into photography and what their capabilities and limitations are.
I am going to use you as the example here, not because I’m trying to pick on you, but because you are the site owner and I think it’s better to use you as an example than a random user, which only seems to incite arguments.
In the example above I mentioned how game changing the new AF system is, and your response was that what existed as more than good enough. I pointed out that I don’t always have the luxury of time and you accepted that, but I don’t honestly think that gives enough of a picture for you to understand why that’s actually so important since ostensibly I enjoy photography so why am I calling out time spent on a hobby I enjoy as a limitation, right? I should just allocate more time so I can learn those skills, right?
Now bearing in mind that my situation is probably extreme, but I’m sure others have similar reasons (family, kids, long work hours, disability, etc) I’ll lay it out. This is not meant to guilt anyone or make myself appear to be a good person, it’s just the facts of my life and why I’m into photography but also why I need more help from the tools than perhaps others think I should.
In 2010 my father was diagnosed with an aggressive and genetic form of early onset Alzheimer’s dementia. My aunt moved in with me and we took care of him in my home until he died in late 2015. It was stressful, exhausting and emotional work and the level of effort we had to put in (alongside a family friend who was a retired nurse) was utterly overwhelming and my life became work during the day, caretaking in the evening, sleep, repeat. The last year was especially hard as he lost his ability to do basic tasks and everything had to be handled by us, but we were committed to keeping him in his most familiar environment so long as we could do so safely. And we did until he died. I lost a lot in this effort, including any semblance of a personal life, my partner who could not handle the strain, and that is when my career basically topped out as I’d demonstrated that family meant more to me than work and Amazon, my employer at the time, was not satisfied with that fact.
By the time of his death, it had become clear that his sister, my aunt, was declining from the same affliction. It is genetic and their mother had it too. I immediately shifted gears to get her diagnosed and without a break between, started taking care of her. Unfortunately, only six months later the retired nurse died unexpectedly, and I’ve been mostly on my own since. While I did manage to pull off a move to Portugal, something I’d wanted to do and something she wanted as well (her deceased husband was in the Navy, and she missed international life) overall my life is back to work/sleep/caretaking and fortunately my current job is 100% remote so I can actually be here for her.
Her care has been ramping up to the level of being 24/7 and I expect she has less than two years left, possibly much less. As before it has had a devastating impact on my ability to build or have a life outside of home, I often go weeks without walking out my front door. The good news is I have a partner, now wife, who I met near the end of my father’s life who fully understands and supports caretaking for your family.
Throughout all of this, which is now 12 years of my life that started only in my mid-30’s due to the early-onset nature of this variation, I have fought severe depression as my peers’ gained hobbies, enlarged their social circles, embarked on trips and adventures and grew their careers. None of those things were options for me, and it feels like I lost the best years of my life. I do not regret my decision, I love my aunt dearly and she was always there for me in my life, but that does not make it any less difficult or depressing.
In 2018 when I had my aunt in Portugal to confirm she actually liked it here before committing to a move, and testing that her memory was not so bad she couldn’t learn a new environment a friend of mine visited us on the trip and loaned me his Rebel T3i. It was a revelation. I had never tried photography and assumed I would be bad at it as I’ve never been able to translate artistic ideas into anything real. I wouldn’t say I was good, but it felt good and when shooting I felt alive in ways I hadn’t in nearly a decade at that point. I ordered an M50 as soon as I got back.
I’ve practiced as much as I can. I view my photography outings as my main source of stress relief. However, as my aunt has declined things have reached a point where outings, which once could be most of a day, are now no more than an hour or two at most, and oftentimes aren’t possible at all depending on her condition that day (she has good and bad days). What this means is that when I do go out I really want the best possible chance of creating something that makes me happy or that I can share with others and every time I go, take a bunch of shots, pop them up in C1 and find virtually no keepers I feel like I wasted the small amount of time I had that week, and due to how overwhelmed I am who knows if I’ll even remember the change I needed to make the next time I go out. I’ve been shooting for over four years now but I’m nowhere near as good as some others I know who started around the same time.
When I switched to Fuji in 2020 I loved most of the experience. I did not enjoy the downgrade in AF however and it set me back. I made the choice to press on and while I don’t regret it, it did frustrate me to have so many fewer keepers from an outing than I’d had with the M50. As someone who was using photography as an outlet to express myself in a life where that choice is mostly unavailable, feeling and seeing the shot I want to take yet the results not being what I expected was disheartening. Yes, I’ve been vocal about what I want from Fuji, but I have my reasons, which quite frankly I don’t feel I should have to explain, and which I will not explain again in the future. I’m not being critical of others for not valuing those things, but they do not know me or why a given feature is important to me, specifically and as a fairly private person I instead lean on more general reasons that apply to the market as a whole since my life story is really nobody’s business.
Now this may sound like a very unique set of circumstances but last summer I realized how it was not. Another feature some Fuji purists have decried is the addition of IBIS, with some on sites like Fuji Rumors going so far as to say it’s not a real photography feature. I’ve never seen anyone here say that, but it gets said there more than it should. For myself, I like having it but also, I started on an M50 and I’m fine without it if I don’t.
The reason I brought this up is one of my closest friend’s father. He is also having some memory loss (other reasons) and I started taking him on my photo walks in the months before I moved to Portugal. He is French and was an avid photographer for much of his life. He gave up about a decade ago because he simply could not hold a camera stable enough and it just ended up being frustrating for him. I started letting him shoot my X-S10 and it was a revelation. IBIS did a very effective job of stabilizing his grip enough to get mostly usable shots, and his shots were *very* creative. I learned a lot about street photography walking with him, and he ended up buying an X-S10 so he could continue after I moved. Since then, I’ve noticed people in the FR comments starting to respond to the anti-IBIS crowd, stating how it lets them do their hobby despite their age and health. I find it heartening that my experience is actually an experience others have had (a couple older YouTube photographers have discussed it, including one in the early stages of Parkinsons).
Now in neither case am I saying that people should go buy the latest and greatest because of features *I* or anyone else find important. I am saying that minimizing the importance of those features to others is often unintentionally minimizing the challenges they face that make those features important. I’ve often called it gatekeeping, and it is, but it’s a form of telling people what the right and wrong way is to enjoy a hobby. And it’s not unique to photography, classic/retro gaming is another space I’m in and they are much worse.
Anyway, I mean it when I say to keep up the good work and this wasn’t directed at you per say. I’m not going to bring all this up again going forward. I just thought maybe people would react a little differently if they had a little more insight into why others may get very excited about designs, features and upgrades that seem minor, useless or counter-productive to them.
I’m really sorry about your loss and heartache. That’s truly terrible, and I wish goodness for you and your family.
I’m going to say something that I truly hope doesn’t come across as offensive, because I absolutely don’t mean it to be. This is something that I tell myself from time-to-time, and I think it’s an important message for all photographers.
For 150+ years, photographers have created incredibly amazing photographs on gear that is inferior or even primitive to what we have today. If they could do it on their lesser gear, you (and I) can certainly do it on our far more advanced gear—in fact, we should be doing it even better and doing it more frequently. The reason we don’t is because we don’t. It’s me. It’s you. It’s anyone and everyone who doesn’t. It’s not the gear. If I mess up on a picture, it’s not because of my camera. The camera is capable, and has been for more than a century. The reality is that I’m the one who’s not capable. It’s my fault. I think blaming the gear is an excuse that takes away our opportunities to learn and grow. Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve, if not for this or that with my gear. It’s someone (or something) else’s fault, not mine. That mentality is paralyzing. The truth is that we are all capable—you, me, and everyone else reading this—if we remove our mental roadblocks that we put in front of ourselves, roll up our sleeves, and put in a whole bunch of work. Hours and hours of work. Unfortunately, oftentimes people (myself included) don’t want to put in the work, but want the easy path. The easy path isn’t usually the best path, but it is indeed the easiest. I hope this comes across as constructive and not destructive, and somehow encouraging, because I mean it in an encouraging way.
To answer your question, though… If we talk about autofocus, for example, the improved autofocus of the X-T5 will truly be a benefit for maybe 5% of photographers (I have no idea exactly what percentage—that’s just my educated guess—and I think I’m probably overstating the number). I think maybe 15% of photographs might claim that they “need” it, but in reality they don’t, they’re just making excuses or being dishonest (maybe even with themselves). For the vast majority of people who buy the X-T5, the improvement in the autofocus will have very little impact on their photography. It will be marginal, if they even notice at all. So that advancement doesn’t affect me or the majority of people in any meaningful way, and I’m not going to be particularly excited for it. In fact, it would be a great disservice if I did, because it would add fuel to FOMO and GAS. I’d rather not add to that. If that’s gatekeeping, I’m proud to help keep that gate closed, because it is helping far more than it is “hurting” (if an argument can even be made that it is). So if the new feature helps you, that’s great. That’s wonderful. That’s awesome for you. But if that new feature will only help a small number of people and otherwise is no big deal, I’m not going to make it out to be a big deal, and make other people who don’t need it potentially feel as if they do and must have it. That would be irresponsible of me, in my opinion.
I hope this clarifies it.
I was all set to purchase the X-T5 (coming from a X-T3), but when I found out the size of the X-T5 was going to be smaller than the X-T3 and the EVF isn’t improving from the current pixel count, I’m now thinking maybe I should go with the X-H2 as I already have a hand grip on my X-T3 and with the bigger lens it already feels smallish… can I live with the PSAM and LCD screen? probably so…what do you think Ritchie?
That’s a really tough one. Ideally, you would have an option like the X-H2 but without the PASM, but that doesn’t exist. Maybe look at the X-T4 or X-H1? Probably sticking with the X-T3 is the best bet—I don’t think the X-T5 is an obvious or huge upgrade from the X-T3. Sorry for the disappointment
Yeah to bad it’s not a buffet, thanks Ritchie.
Ritchie, you don’t think the XT-5 is much of an upgrade over the XT-3? Are you sure about that?
It depends on how you use the camera. It might not seem like much of an upgrade, or it might seem like a significant upgrade. Very much user specific, so it’s hard for me to say one way or the other. It really just depends on the photographer and how they use their gear. In fact, some might actually prefer the X-T3 for a couple of reasons (namely size and the focus mode switch). I think many current X-T3 owners will upgrade and love the X-T5, a few will upgrade and regret it, and some aren’t quite tempted enough to even buy. I believe the majority of people will find it to be an upgrade, but probably not as much of an upgrade for some as the hype makes it seem. I hope this makes sense.
Wow! For the first time since the X-T3 I’m really tempted to pre-order a new camera!
I have to admit though that I’m really annoyed how Fujifilm dropped the Kaizen updates for the X-T3 and that’s holding me back. Why did the X-E4 and X-T30ii that are, supposedly, a lower level than the X-T3 get newer features? I also have an X-E2 and X-T2 that, although I don’t use much anymore, still got plenty of kaizen love.
So I wonder if Fujifilm is going to play favorites with the X-H2 vs the X-T5 with regards to future updates? Should I wait and see? Hmm…
Fujifilm stated that Kaizen is “less necessary” now and to expect less of it. I think that applies to the X-T5 and X-H2, but we’ll see, nobody knows for sure. I believe the Kaizen pullback is a mistake.
Maybe replace the X-T2 with the X-T5 and use the X-T3 for the purposes that the X-T2 does for you now? That seems reasonable. If your current cameras are doing well for you, maybe there’s no need to purchase anything at this time.
Having just bought an X-T4, I feel no desire to buy the X-T5. I’d possibly like the screen better, although I’m on the fence over that one: I sort of start to get used to the fully articulating screen, even if I shoot stills almost exclusively. The additional megapixels are nice, but “nice” is all it is, not compelling. I’m sure autofocus is faster again than its predecessor, but the X-T4 is no slouch either. I still have to find out how good the tracking of my X-T4 is. Couple of years ago I took shots with my X-T2 of our dog chasing an RC car, and there the X-T2 was trashed by my son’s entry-level Canon. But times have changed…. Anyway, although I’m as prone to GAS as the next guy, I try to maintain at least a vestige of sanity by upgrading only after skipping a few generations (from iPhone 10 to 14 etc). Unless the new product is revolutionary. Which this new iteration – as good as it is – obviously is not. What could sway me in the future to a new model is improved low light performance aka at full-frame camera levels. But that may be like wanting that your Fiat drives like a Ferrari :).
Exactly! What you have is already quite nice. One advantage of the X-T4 screen (that few seem to talk about) is that you can close it backwards, kind of like the X-Pro3…. 😮 Can’t do that on the X-T3 or X-T5.
Honest and useful review. I’m considering trading up from my XT-3 primarily for the IBIS that will help my 71 year old hands. Watched the promo video this morning and many of the WOW features , especially video, I don’t need, but I’m tempted nonetheless. My only disappointment so far is the replacement of the manual meter mode dial with a STILL/VIDEO switch. Since I never make videos, this would be a useless control for me. Maybe they moved the meter mode control to an equally convenient spot.
I’ve decided not to order immediately. Will wait maybe until 2023.
It is too bad that Fujifilm didn’t change that back, kind of an oversight, I think. I appreciate your feedback!
Now that the XT5 is out, I’m seriously considering to upgrade from my XT3 to…. an XT4! Because of IBIS, more jpeg options and film sims, longer lasting battery… Is it worth? The drawback is just the screen? Note that I’m interested exclusively in photography, I almost never shoot videos
An advantage of the X-T4 screen that few mention is that it can be placed backwards, kind of like the X-Pro3. That’s how I would use it, anyway. And you can’t do that on the X-T3 or X-T5.
Ok! I’ll get it! 🤣 (at least, I will try to)