Just yesterday Fujifilm announced the brand-new X-T5, and I’ve been inundated with questions of whether I’ve preordered it or not. Before I give my answer to that, I want to share my opinion (and it’s just an opinion) on who should buy the X-T5 and why, and who should pass on it. I’m sure many of you are considering purchasing it and are on the fence, so hopefully this helps you.
I think it’s important to have some perspective. New cameras come out all of the time, and each time there’s a lot of hype, which causes FOMO (fear of missing out) and GAS (gear acquisition syndrome), neither of which are good things. I’ve often said that it’s better to invest in experiences than gear—what kind of epic journey could you embark on with $1,700?—and the gear you already have is more than good enough. “Better” gear will never make you a better photographer, but using your gear more often will, especially if you can make an honest evaluation of your photographs and really consider what lessons they have to offer—each exposure, whether failed or successful, is a learning opportunity if you are open to it. It’s always a good idea to take the new-camera hype with a large grain of salt by keeping a healthy perspective.
The Fujifilm X-T5 looks like and seems like a very wonderful camera. Fujifilm listened to those who complained about the X-T4, and made the X-T5 more like the X-T3. That’s good, unless you like the X-T4 more than the X-T3 (there are some who do), then you might not appreciate the X-T5; otherwise, you’re likely to consider the X-T5 to be a nice improvement. Are those nice improvements enough that you should consider purchasing it?
If you print your pictures poster-sized, the X-T5 is for you, because it has all that extra resolution. If you crop extensively, the X-T5 is for you, because—you know—40mp and all. If you find the autofocus on your current model to be insufficient, then the X-T5 is for you, because they improved that. Need to shoot 6K video? The X-T5 is for you. Need IBIS? The X-T5 has it. If your camera is too big and you’d prefer something smaller, depending on the camera you have and how small you want to go, the X-T5 might be for you. Just got to have Nostalgic Negative and “improved” Auto White Balance? Well, the X-T5 has it. None of those things apply to you? Then I would suggest passing on the X-T5.
A lot of times when a new camera is released, it takes two steps forward and one step backwards. I think this is so some future iteration of it can add it back in and call it a new feature or improvement. For the X-T5 it is the optional vertical battery grip, which isn’t an option for the new camera. For most people this is no big deal, but for some this is a dealbreaker, so it is worth pointing out. I have a feeling that once the X-T5 is released, we’re going to start getting reports of overheating issues, so keep that in mind, too.
I started a new short-term project: I’m photographing exclusively with my Fujifilm X-T1 from the announcement date of the X-T5 (yesterday) until the release date (the 17th). The X-T1 started the X-T line and is such an important camera in Fujifilm’s X-series heritage. It’s eight-years-old now (almost nine), so it can’t be any good, right? Well, no surprise to me, it’s still a highly capable camera worthy of use in 2022. In fact, the X-T1 has one advantage over all other X-T cameras, including the X-T5: the file sizes are smaller. That means I can capture more pictures on an SD card, it takes less time to transfer the pictures from the camera to my phone, the pictures take up less space on my phone, the pictures upload more quickly to my cloud storage, the pictures use less cloud data, and the pictures download from cloud storage more quickly. Less is more sometimes. Even though the X-T5 is capable of saving in HEIF, which saves space, the files will still be significantly bigger than those from the X-T1. Certainly, though, the pictures from the X-T1 aren’t good enough for printing, though, right? Nonsense! Some of my favorite pictures that I’ve ever printed were captured on a Fujifilm X-E1, which is even older than the X-T1.
Now I’ll answer the opening question: did I preorder the Fujifilm X-T5? Yes, I did. The silver one. Why? One reason, and one reason alone: Nostalgic Negative. I don’t think this new film simulation is going to be my favorite. I don’t think I’ll like it as much as Classic Negative, Classic Chrome, Eterna, or Acros. But I really want to try it and see what Film Simulation Recipes I can create with it. I think it will be fun to do that. Which brings me to another point: if some new gear will bring you joy, even if it isn’t meeting any other need, then it might be worth it. Maybe. It could be short term joy, and later you’re asking yourself why you didn’t use the money to visit a National Park or something instead, so you better be sure that you’ll really enjoy it for some time to come. The X-T5 doesn’t meet any other need for me. I don’t need the extra resolution, and, in fact, I’m not looking forward to that aspect of it. I don’t need the improved autofocus, as I find the autofocus of the X-T1 to be good enough for me, and the X-H1, X-T30, X100V, and X-E4 that I own are even better. I don’t shoot video (my wife does on her X-T4), and I have no need for 6K. I don’t consider IBIS to be important for any of my photography, but if for some reason I do need it (such as a long telephoto lens in dim light), I use my X-H1, which has IBIS. I have a lot of smaller camera bodies already, so I don’t need another—in fact, I suspect that bigger and heavier lenses will balance better on the X-T3 and (especially) X-T4 than the X-T5. The new and improved Auto White Balance is intriguing, and I’m curious how that affects recipes, but that’s definitely not a selling point for me. The only thing about the X-T5 that makes me want to buy it is Nostalgic Negative, which I’m really uncertain if that’s a good reason to spend so much money (my brain says no, my heart says yes), but I really look forward to using Nostalgic Negative and experimenting with it—I’m quite excited for that!
Should you buy the X-T5? That’s a question only you can answer. I can offer my best advice, but you should take it with a grain of salt, because everyone’s wants and needs are different. I can offer my perspective, but I would recommend getting advice from others, and go with whichever one makes the most sense to you.
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