The Fujifilm X-T5 has been out for some time. It was announced back in November 2022, but I’ve been using it since a few weeks before that so you could say I’ve had the camera for a long enough time to be able to tell you my opinion on it. Is it the right camera for you? What are its pros and cons?
Buyer’s Remorse? No Sir!
The reason I have been using the camera so long is simple. I work in a camera store, and we get review units ahead of the announcements to be able to get our marketing material ready before the embargos drop. I was in no way contacted by Fujifilm, and they did not even know it was going to be me specifically who was going to be working on the review so no need to worry about any of the “He’s paid by Fujifilm” or similar. Well, all of that applied to the initial review I wrote about in an article on my personal blog here named “Ok, I’m interested - Fujifilm X-T5 review”. Read that if you’re interested in my initial thoughts and more technical specs.
Because I liked the pre-production unit so much, I preordered it as soon as the news was official. And I haven’t had a single regret since. It was the first ever piece of tech I’ve actually bought on day one. Usually, I am much more careful when it comes to spending money. I take my time. Do my research. Consult myself and think about whether I even need whatever I’m wishing for. More often than not I end up changing my mind and realizing the purchase is not necessary. This time it was different. Everything felt right. But how am I feeling ten months later?
A Quick Introduction to the Camera
If you are indeed interested in the Fujifilm X-T5, you’ve already read the spec sheets. You already know about the new sensor and the autofocus system. But let’s just do a quick summary for the uninitiated here. The camera features an APS-C 40-megapixel X-Trans 5 HR CMOS sensor powered by a rather new X-Processor 5 in a body smaller than its predecessor the Fujifilm X-T4.
The body is fully weather-sealed, offers two UHS-II compatible SDXC card slots, and can shoot up to 15 frames per second using the mechanical shutter and up to 13 using the electronic one. The electronic shutter is capable of speeds up to 1/180,000s for wide aperture shots on a bright day. The viewfinder offers the same resolution of 3.69 million pixels as the older models. However, it was improved in terms of magnification to now be at 0.8x.
Did I See a Major Difference?
The quick answer to that is both a yes and a no. Whenever I’m capturing an event, a wedding, a concert, or when I’m traveling Ukraine I always take two cameras with me. The first one is an X-T5 with a wider lens like my trusty, battered XF 23mm f/2 R WR and an X-T3 with an XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR. This setup pretty much guarantees not just consistency in color or post-processing, but they also both be controled precisely the same, so I never have to think about it. The only difference is the photo dial being replaced by the still/movie dial on the X-T5, but I always use my cameras on center weighted mode so I never need to change that setting anyway.
It feels nice to be able to effortlessly swap between bodies and not have to think about which camera I’m currently grabbing. The only downside to the X-T3 compared to the X-T5 is the smaller NP-W126S battery. The NP-W235 used in the X-T5 combined with the newer and more efficient processor is just a perfect combo. I’ve never needed to replace the battery with less than 1,300 shots taken on it. The trick is to use the high-performance mode and switch the body off whenever I’m not using it. The startup time is near-instantaneous and the “battery anxiety” many of us have felt in the past is gone. I can stretch the X-T3’s battery to four digits but that is when I’m really pushing it and keeping it on my mind constantly.
What About the Megapickles?
The newer X-Trans 5 HR offers 14 whole megapixels more than the older model found in X-T3, X-T4, and other cameras of the same generation. Can I see a massive jump in detail? Not by a huge margin. Yes, I can crop a bit more aggressively and yes, I do capture a bit more detail, but the difference is not something to be overly excited about. I might be spoiled by using cameras like the Nikon Z8 or the Leica Q3 a lot in the last few months, but even then, I often use the 26-megapixel X-T3 along with the X-T5, as I’ve stated above, and the files complement each other perfectly. Neither stands out.
That being said, I haven’t really seen a difference in grain levels either. For the majority of the time, my cameras sit with their ISO dials set to auto, with the limit being set from the lowest native setting (125) to the highest available (12,800), and I never truly care what number it picks. A grainy image is far superior to no image at all, especially when you are shooting once-in-a-lifetime moments or never-to-be-repeated documentary work like I do. It is truly incredible what the sensor is capable of producing considering the pixel pitch of just 3.04µm. Granted, other cameras like Canon R6 Mark II will get you cleaner files with its pixels being near twice the size, but even still, the X-T5 delivers wonderful results.
A 300% crop of X-T5 (Left) and X-T3 (Right) images taken with the same settings of f/8, 1/250s, ISO 160, and flash. The difference in detail is there, but it is not a major one.
The files are so nice I even find myself shooting much more color than I did before. Those who know me know I am obsessed with black and white. Up until now, 99.99% of my work was captured in monochrome, but the X-T5 has changed that. I often swap between Classic Negative, Classic Chrome, Pro Neg, and even Lightroom’s Adobe color profiles when I’m shooting all kinds of events. The fact that the higher ISO values look grainier instead of noisier helps with my newfound love for color tremendously.
The dynamic range is as good as it has always been even with my previous Fujifilm bodies. The ISO invariant sensor made by Sony allows me to just expose for the highlights and worry about the shadows later. The detail is always there and ready to be brought up by a few slider movements in Lightroom. The grain levels will only increase as if you shot the image at a higher ISO value in-camera.
Is It Fast AF?
One of the major differences I’ve most certainly noticed is the speed and accuracy of the autofocus system. Fujifilm claims the main culprit behind this is the new processor. Whatever is happening under the hood it is clearly working. Saying it is all-powerful and never misses, however, would not be true at all. It is a major improvement compared to older Fujifilm bodies. It can track pretty well, it can recognize subjects, faces, and eyes at impressive distances, and it can even single-point-focus near instantly with the right lens. But there are cameras out there that track even better. The a7 IV from Sony comes to mind, the aforementioned Canon EOS R6 Mark II is more consistent, and don’t get me started on the near-flawless Nikon Z8, which I reviewed not long ago.
Whenever I’ve got the XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR mounted, I use a single point in AF-S mode, and it works pretty well. The speed of the lens holds the AF system back a bit, though. Whenever I put some of my faster glass onto the body though, like the XF 35mm f/2 R WR or the XF 23mm f/2 R WR, I switch to the AF-C mode and choose the wide/tracking AF point. With these lenses, I can be almost certain the shots will be sharp. The only time that has failed me considerably was when I shot an afterparty of a wedding in a seriously poorly lit venue. I trusted the AF square to indicate the correct focus, but when I imported the images into Lightroom, the keeper rate was significantly lower than I was hoping for. The main culprit of that was the fact I selected “Release priority” in my AF-C mode instead of “Focus priority.” Lesson learned.
I’m not even going to talk much about the framerates. 15 fps is more than enough for most uses, and I often just choose the slower options, as I can't be bothered to wade through the files afterward. The last thing to mention regarding the speed is the shutter speed. I truly welcome the ability to use up to 1/180,000 s, as I love using my aperture at f/1.2, even on a sunny day. Shooting a silhouette directly into the sun is a possibility now, though even then, I overexposed the shot a bit.
Built for Anything
As I have said before, I use my X-T5 nearly daily. It’s always in my bag. Often accompanied by my tiny Fujifilm X70, but many times just on its own. I’ve never cared for what weather I’m in, since every single weather-resistant Fujifilm has never failed me in the past, and the X-T5 is no different. It can be a freezing blizzard, a scorching hot day, or a pouring rainstorm, the camera just works. I took it to my latest journey to Ukraine, where I visited Kherson oblast. In a high-risk area as dangerous as an active warzone, your life comes first, and your gear may be third if it is lucky.
This meant I had no time to handle my cameras with a velvet pillow and a feather-filled quilt blanket. I tossed them around, and they got knocked against the door frames of whichever vehicle I was getting in and out of at the moment, often against each other. I followed a humanitarian NGO delivering food and supplies to war-ravaged villages in the Kherson and Mykolaiv oblast. This meant carrying literal tons of flour in large bags. The cameras would often get covered in the fine dust, but they never gave in. Not once have they failed me. The only harm done was the viewfinder eyepiece of my X-T3 that got ripped off probably after getting caught on one of the molle loops of my kevlar vest. The X-T5 came back with me with a few scratches, but other than that, in perfect condition.
Only recently, I happened to have a minor accident. I was attaching a strap to the camera when it slipped out of my hand. Having one side of the strap already attached, I quickly pulled the strap as high as I could, stopping the camera from hitting the ground a mere centimeter away. The whiplash from that extended my tilt-screen mechanism, which is now experiencing a slight wobble whenever it’s extended fully. Nothing major, but boy am I glad it wasn’t the single-point swivel like the X-T4 had. Something tells me I’d be screenless now.
Have I Finally Found the One?
I’ve always been an X-Pro lover. I’ve used all three models and enjoyed them all. Their form factor is perfect for my use and their non-aggressive look helps with photographing people. That being said, the X-Pro lineup has always been a bit nerfed compared to the X-Tx cameras. I got tired of the flaws of the X-Pro3 pretty quickly, and I haven’t really looked back since. The X-T5 is everything I’d want in a rangefinder-style Fujifilm body, but I do enjoy the deeper grip and the extra controls I get compared to the X-Pro cameras.
So, as I have said in the beginning. I’ve got no regrets about buying the camera brand new as soon as it came out. Not a single one. And that is coming from a budgeting enthusiast/part-timer who’s mostly used second-hand gear for the majority of his photographic journey due to the fact they often get the job done just as well. Thanks to the X-T5, I now have full albums of professional as well as personal work I am truly happy with, as well as a plethora of family events, gatherings, and friendly get-togethers captured perfectly, naturally, and, most importantly, honestly.
What I Like
- The compact size without sacrificing the grip and ergonomics
- Viewfinder resolution and speed
- Quiet mechanical shutter
- Fast and mostly reliable AF system
- Beautiful image quality and pleasing “grain” at higher ISO values
- Film simulations (Mainly Acros+R, Classic Chrome, and Pro Neg)
- Battery life
- USB-C charging
- Dual card slots
- Easy and fast connectivity with the new XApp
- Intuitive and fully customizable controls
- Three-way tilting screen
- Fast operation and framerates
- Rugged body and weather-sealing
- Threaded shutter button
- Fast start-up time
- Lockable dials
- AF switch and the ability to map AF-ON to the front button where my middle finger rests naturally
What I Don’t Like
- The consistency of AF tracking in bad lighting conditions when AF-C is set to “Release priority”
- The inability to use an electronic shutter when the flash is set to on even though there is no flash present on the body. A simple warning message would be nice to avoid overexposing the image.