Can the Fujifilm X-T5 Keep Up With Popular Full Frame Options?

Fujifilm X-T5 and X-H2 were major steps forward for the company, offering a brand new high-resolution sensor in tandem with a range of advanced features that help them compete with a variety of full frame cameras. This excellent video review takes a look at the X-T5 and how it compares with the Sony a7 IV and Canon EOS R6 Mark II.

Coming to you from Alex Barrera, this great video review takes a look at the Fujifilm X-T5 and how it compares to the Sony a7 IV and Canon EOS R6 Mark II. A few years ago, full frame cameras had a significant advantage over APS-C in capabilities. While those differences remain, APS-C has advanced to the point where the extra capabilities of full frame are often only noticeable at the extremes, which many photographers never even flirt with. And so, it is worth considering the advantages of APS-C, which often include smaller and lighter cameras, more portable lenses, and perhaps most importantly, lower prices. For example, the X-T5 retails for $1,699 new, while the Sony a7 IV and Canon EOS R6 Mark II both retail for $800 more. Check out the video above for Barrera's full thoughts on all three cameras. 

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Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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At the moment, Nikon Z5 with 85mm f/1.8 costs $1700 and is similar in size to the Fuji X-T5 but a little heavier (about 140g). That would have been an interesting comparison—$1000 cheaper with better dynamic range and high ISO performance in a similar sized package! Maybe you should have done a four way comparison?

Why test for image quality differences, using only the worst possibly conditions to determine a verdict? The results are based on a fad of shooting straight into the sun, leaving the background overexposed and the subject flat and grossly underexposed. And most photographers then using filters and software hacks to remove the raccoon eye shadows and bring life back into the photos. If that's what a photographers wants, great. But that does nothing to show the rest of the photographers out there who may choose any other method than that, whether outdoor portraits, with or without flash, or landscapes, or street or studio work, how the systems truly compare. It was supposed to be an image quality test. You have several images that aren't even in focus, and that's due to shooting straight into the sun. So that comes down to which camera's AF system nailed it best in adverse conditions. The only takeaway here is the bokeh and noise levels, which was a given.

A few notes/questions:

1. Are the Sharpening and Noise Reductions settings in Lightroom set to “off,” or to the “default” settings for each camera? I don’t think we should assume they were *identical* unless they were confirmed as being such. This would be significantly relevant for the ISO tests. It is entirely possible that Lightroom is applying different noise reduction and sharpening defaults for each camera, much like Fuji images have embedded lens profiles. I would be curious to see a repeat of the ISO tests with all noise reduction and sharpening set to Off.

2. For the “3-stops Underexposed” test, the Fuji does have more overall noise, but I would argue that it’s luminance noise—like film grain—rather than chroma noise (color noise). Look at the model’s hair in all three. There is significant chroma noise in her hair for both the Canon and Sony, while almost no color noise with the Fuji. This could be a result of the X-Trans sensor array. I think your conclusion is incorrect here. I think the Fuji has an overall film-like grain to its underexposed image that could even be labeled as “aesthetically pleasing,” while both the Canon and Sony images have so much chroma noise, as to be unusable. I say this as a full-time Canon user: I’d have to run that Mark II image through Topaz AI or DxO PureRAW before being able to deliver it to a client.

I also noticed for this test that the Sony and Canon images were shot at 100 ISO and f/1.4, while the Fuji was at 125 ISO and f/1.2, all at 1/4000. This makes a difference in this test, and Lightroom notices the difference when you select all three images and choose “Match Total Exposures.” If I set the Fuji image to 3-stops overexposed, add the other two images to the selection and choose Match Total Exposures, Lightroom actually kicks the Canon and the Sony up to +3.77 overexposed. Doing so gives you a better overall comparison.

I set the Noise reduction and sharpening for all three to “off,” set the Develop Profile to Adobe Color, set the Fuji image to +3.00 Exposure, and then chose Match Total Exposures for the Canon and Sony (which put them at +3.77). In actuality, the Fuji has *significantly* less noise when accurately matching exposures. If I’m missing something—or did the test wrong—please tell me, but I think I’m correct here. See the included comparison image.

Most likely the sharpening was set to a value, as it should be. No one tests with sharpening off because no one edits raw files without sharpening.

The reason why Sony and Canon files were at ISO 100 while Fuji was at 125 is because those are their base ISOs. Keep in mind Fuji is using a f1.2 lens while the other 2 was using f1.4 so that negates any exposure difference.

Yes, your test is flawed:

-1. You've turned off sharpening. They are raw files, they need sharpening.

-2. You're blindly trusting some algorithm, Match Total Exposure. From what I've seen and tested, it doesn't work perfectly so it shouldn't be used in a test. We know the images were underexposed by 3 stops, just add 3 stops back. Trust the information you have and more importantly, trust your eyes.

-3. The reason why your test shows Fuji being cleaner is because it's about 3/4 stop darker compared to the other 2.

To me, noise wise, they were actually more or less the same (I downloaded the raws). The reason Canon looks cleaner is because it's smaller size so when you try to compare 100% zoom, the noise isn't as noticeable. On top of that, it's about 1/2 stop darker. And, on the same token, Fuji looked noisier because it's a much larger file so you're going so see larger pixels of the noise.

If you expose them pretty evenly by the subject's face (Canon +3.5, Sony and Fuji +3.0) and export 4000x6000px because that's the smallest size of the 3, they pretty much have equal noise. Below is 100% crop of 4000x6000px.

(click link for the full res)

Hear me out. The Fuji being 1.2 doesn’t cancel it out, it adds to it. It already has a base ISO that is higher, and then you’re adding more light because the lens is brighter. Why not set all of them to the same ISO and aperture for an exact direct comparison? None of this changes the fact that the Canon and the Sony both exhibited heavy chroma noise when pushed, but the Fuji did not, even in the video’s examples.

Also, turning the noise reduction entirely off is a true way of seeing what the sensor is really doing, minus electronic tinkering from the software.

I’d like to remind you that I’m a 20+ year Canon shooter, which I include here not for gravitas, but to mean that I wanted the Canon to win this. To my eyes it didn’t. I’m impressed with the look of the Fuji, particularly when I could buy twice as much gear for the same money as with the Canon.

--- "Why not set all of them to the same ISO and aperture for an exact direct comparison?"

Because base ISO is the best quality of any camera. You're basically hobbling the other 2 if you try to "grade on a curve". Granted, 1/3 stop isn't much. If you're going to be pushing and pulling, it's only fair to set them at their base.

--- "None of this changes the fact that the Canon and the Sony both exhibited heavy chroma noise when pushed, but the Fuji did not,"

That's because you didn't push the Fuji like you did with the other 2. You overexposed the others by 3/4 stop. Here's what the Fuji looks like at +3.77 exp, the same setting you gave the others. It's just as bad. The difference is neglible.

(click link for the full res)
--- "turning the noise reduction entirely off is a true way of seeing what the sensor is really doing, minus electronic tinkering from the software."

Other than maybe, maybe DPReview lab tests, who does that? It would be useless because that's not how raws are edited. By turning off the sharpening, you are just softening the grain. Then, when you edit for real, "OMG, there's so much more grain than before." :D

I disagree. There’s virtually no chroma noise in her hair, while the other two had extreme chroma noise, even on the original video. I get it, you don’t like the luma noise. I think it looks like film grain, which I’ll take all day long over color noise.

While lenses can play a large role in a camera system, when it comes to choosing a camera body or the sensor size, the use case is important. For example, in good lighting, you can get away with a wide range of sensor sizes. I know a few people who use micro 4/3 for their real estate photography work.

On the other hand those cameras will be a bad choice for low light indoor event photography due to the poor SNR at high ISO values where the resulting files have a ton of noise and very little latitude for adjustments.

Beyond that, even in cases of similar pixel pitches from a full frame sensor using smaller photosites, many higher end full frame sensors will use better low noise amplifiers and more of them for some fixed gain levels along with better variable gain amplifiers and better ADCs. For example, compare a Nikon D500 with a D850 similar pixel pitch, and similar generation if sensor tech, but the full frame offers better quality.

As an owner of every Fujifilm X series camera including the X-T5.... I would say no. The X-T5 has a large boost in resolution, but it still doesn't even compare to an older 24Mp Full frame image. Even with 40Mp, theres's still more noise, less details and less dynamic range. The autofocus is improved, but still lags behind the competition. As far as features, it's on par with the competition, unless you factor in video features.

In good lighting and low ISO the raw files hold up pretty well.

Scroll down to the sample raw file section. At low ISO, the dynamic range is quite good, but the droppoff is very quick when you start to get to the 1250 range and above.

Many full frame sensors (even the higher res ones) can usually go to the 3200 to 4000 range before you lose a ton of fine detail.