- Fujifilm's XT-5 is smaller, lighter, faster, and has way more megapixels than its predecessor.
- It shoots video, but the focus is still photography.
- The Nostalgic Neg film emulation is acceptable.
Fujifilm’s new X-T5 camera doesn’t try to be a movie camera, and photographers are going to love it.
Unlike in the past, where video and stills cameras were quite different devices, modern cameras often combine both. That's great for YouTubers, who get a compact camera that can shoot amazing-quality video with the ability to change lenses. But for the stills photographer, it can mean compromises in size, user interface, and complexity. With its new XT-5, Fujifilm comes down firmly on the photographer's side.
“XT-5 caters to photographers, and many photographers are happy about it. Most camera launches try to focus on photos and videos because almost everyone is an influencer in their own way and uses cameras for making reels, TikTok, photos, vlogging, etc. But that leads to some compromises,” professional wedding photographer Navdeep Soni told Lifewire via email. “XT-5 brings back focus to photography.”
Fujifilm’s XT-5 is the successor to—you guessed it—the XT-4. At first glance, it looks like not much has changed. But under the hood, it’s a serious upgrade. And the hood itself has seen some tweaks. Overall, the camera is smaller and around two ounces lighter than its predecessor, yet it also packs a new processor and a new 40-megapixel sensor, up from 25 megapixels.
We won’t get into all the specs here, but that 40MP sensor is significant for a few reasons. The first is that obviously, it can snap higher-resolution photos. But it also lets you crop an image much more while retaining plenty of detail. And in this case, cropping can happen at the time of capture, so you can effectively zoom in without changing lenses.
The other significant change is the LCD screen, which has gone from a video-friendly tilt-n-twist model that could face the subject for selfies and shooting YouTube videos, to a two-axis design that is easier to quickly tilt and twist.
But what makes it so good for taking photos? Once you get past the sensor specs, it’s down to two things. One is how the photos look. The other is how easy the camera is to use. If you have to call up and navigate an on-screen menu every time you want to change the ISO sensitivity or even the lens aperture, for example, you can’t focus on the task at hand.
Fujifilm’s X-series cameras are distinct for their use of mechanical dials to adjust core settings, which means you can do it with the camera up to your eye and without having to think much about it. These dials also let you check the current settings with a glance and without switching the camera on.
Fujifilm also brings its film-producing heritage to its cameras in the form of film emulations. These are like filters, except that they change how the camera’s processor reacts to light instead of just applying an effect. The B&W Acros emulation, for example, mimics the grain of its film counterpart, and if you crank the ISO sensitivity way up, the grain gets bigger and more film-like.
The XT-5 adds a Nostalgic Neg to its lineup of film emulations, which—to my eye—makes images look like badly-developed photos from a one-hour photo lab in a 1990s mall.
The XT-5 still does video. It would probably be a huge commercial misstep not to do this in 2022 unless you're Leica, that is.
“The day when a camera is released without video features will likely never come. Manufacturers have moved to photo- and video-focused cameras, but as they often share the same tech and, in some cases, bodies, it’s not costly for them to incorporate the other in some form. It’s only extra software in some cases, and you open up your available market to the hybrid users,” photographer SteveV4D said on the Digital Photography Review forums.
But the XT-5 is capable of high-end video. It's just that the camera itself isn't designed around a hybrid approach. For example, shooting video creates much more heat than snapping still images, so cameras often have to be bigger to accommodate better cooling.
If you want a video-first camera, go elsewhere. If you want the ultimate small stills camera and like to shoot video occasionally, this is the perfect package.