A lot of people have asked me if the Fujifilm X-T5, with the new 40-megapixel X-Trans V sensor and processor, is better or worse than the 26-megapixel X-Trans IV cameras when it comes to high-ISO noise. Conventional wisdom would suggest that the lower-resolution sensor would be superior. Is it? Or did Fujifilm pull a rabbit out of a magic hat and somehow make X-Trans V better at high-ISO despite more megapixels?
I’ve spent some time pixel-peeping, comparing X-Trans V to X-Trans IV. Right off the bat I can tell you that both are pretty similar to each other. You’ll have a very hard time noticing the differences without pixel-peeping, and with pixel-peeping, they’re still quite similar. Below I’ve included a massive crop from an X-Trans V camera and an X-Trans IV camera. If these crops were sections of the whole pictures printed, I don’t know how large the prints would be, but they would be very large, so keep that in mind. The picture on the left (revealed by moving the bar to the right) is X-Trans IV, and the picture on the right (revealed by moving the bar to the left) is X-Trans V. Take a look at these two images.
You likely notice that the X-Trans V image is a little more detailed with noticeably finer digital noise, while the X-Trans IV picture is a tad fuzzier with chunkier digital noise. This is a result of the higher resolution sensor of the 40mp X-Trans V camera. What might be less obvious is that there seems to be just a bit more color blotchiness in the X-Trans V image. Perhaps even less obvious, I believe the X-Trans V camera is applying a slightly heavier-handed noise reduction to the picture than X-Trans IV, despite both set to -4 High ISO NR. However, please take all of this with a grain of salt, because we’re seriously pixel-peeping here. In real world photography, both cameras are pretty darn good at high-ISO, and neither are significantly better or worse than the other, and there’s no practical variance between the two. Unless you print posters or crop deeply, you’re not going to even notice a difference—even if you did print large or crop massively, the differences are pretty minor, but I guess you can feel confident that ultra-high ISO pictures will look slightly better (for the most part) on X-Trans V than X-Trans IV. That’s the takeaway, I think: high-ISO on X-Trans V cameras are just a hair better than X-Trans IV, but not enough to make a practical difference for most people. What I will add, though, is that it’s pretty amazing that they could do this while also increasing the resolution. I do wonder, though, if Fujifilm could make—say—a 20mp X-Trans camera with significantly increased dynamic range and high-ISO performance—that’s something I would be highly interested in.
Below are a few more high-ISO examples from my Fujifilm X-T5 camera.
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