Making the Fujifilm X-T5 Make a Lot of Noise — Testing High-ISO on X-Trans V

Lights from a Frosted Window – Williams, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 – “Kodachrome 64” – ISO 6400

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.

Polar – Williams, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 – “GAF 500” – ISO 12800
Train Wheels – Williams, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 – “GAF 500” – ISO 12800
Tracks – Williams, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 – “Kodachrome 64” – ISO 6400
Polar Express Passengers – Williams, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 – “Kodak Tri-X 400” – ISO 12800
Tree Lights – Williams, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 – “Kodachrome 64” – ISO 6400

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm X-T5 in black:  Amazon  B&H
Fujifilm X-T5 in silver:  Amazon  B&H

11 comments

  1. Albert Smith · November 28

    I often wonder what the latest processing improvements could do with an X-Tran II sensor from the X-T1. I have no need or interest in 40 MP, but I would like to see the magic that allows that high resolution sensor have such good noise control applied to a more modest resolution capture. Seems like you could have extremely off the charts ISO numbers, way higher that that earlier generation camera had then with no image degrading noise.

    That could be the ultimate no flash, available light surveillance/journalist tool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 29

      I just took my kids on “The Polar Express” train, and between them moving all around due to the excitement of the moment, and the train’s constant rocking back-and-forth, and the dimly lit coaches at night, achieving a fast-enough shutter speed was difficult (and using a flash would be a little rude to the other passengers). If Fujifilm could make a sensor where ISO 25600 looked more like ISO 6400 on X-Trans IV, that would have helped a ton.

      Like

  2. Marco · November 28

    Hey Ritchie, thank you for this interesting comparison. I keep asking myself what real advantage i would have upgrading from my X-Pro3 to the X-T5, apart from the fact that i think these 2 cameras are 2 different approaches to photography. Till now i think the only advantage would be the chance to have better cropped images with a 40mpx sensor. How are you finding the handling of the X-T5? Does it feel bulky and heavy? I love the handling and heft of the X-Pro3 and i don’t think i wanna go any bigger than this..I like to keep my system compact and light, that’s why the lens i pair my X-Pro3 with are the xf35 f1.4, xf 27 f2 8 wr and xf18 f2 and usually i tend to choose only one when I go out to shoot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 29

      I think the X-T5 is less bulky than the X-Pro3. But, yes, two very different approaches for sure!

      Like

  3. David · November 28

    The high ISO images are unreal, how are you finding the metering? was out in low light and found the images ended very bright. I had to exp com to -2 to make it real to the scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 29

      It’s a good opportunity for spot metering. Otherwise, it will look at all that darkness and think that it shouldn’t be, in which case you’ll have to compensate for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • David · November 29

        Yes. This strangely was spot metered. I need to experiment a bit more.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · November 30

        Well, as long as you can get the exposure correct, that’s what matters. I sometimes have to ignore the meter myself.

        Like

  4. Francis.R. · November 30

    An equivalent of the a7S would be indeed great for most users which either print small or mostly share through social apps. Maybe one day the “small” size could be rather a mode with better high iso definition analogous, but not similar, to who smartphones use super pixeles. For me the advantage would be denser colors, like was the advantage of Sigma cameras with Merrill sensors before Bayer sensors got as good as they are now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · November 30

      Yes, exactly. I think there’d be a market for it if Fujifilm did it.

      Like

  5. Kim Willer · December 4

    Hi
    To Marco:
    Just sold my X-Pro3 for the X-T5.
    The x-T5 is less bulky than the X-Pro3. Other advantages is faster autofocus, more responsive and IS.
    … and I love turning back to the X-T3 screen concept.
    Best regards
    Kim

    Liked by 1 person

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