Into the Garden with the X-T4

The X-T4 is a new flagship from Fuji, a fantastic hybrid-stills camera with upgrades that seem built for a video shooter in mind. However, I’d say that there are a few improvements to this camera that stand out to me, a primarily stills shooter. I’ve used it for the past week for landscape and nature photography, and I wrote down some thoughts this morning as I visited some local gardens. As a primarily still nature/landscape photographer, I noticed I really like these aspects:

1 – Focus Accuracy and Speed

I had no problem with the focus on the X-Pro3 or the X-T3, but the X-T4 is an instantly noticeable upgrade.

Although the X-T4 shares the same focusing hardware as the X-T3, the new software tweaks make an outstanding difference. Everything was snappier, and the camera locked focus as confidently as I could hope for. In fact, I haven’t had a Fuji camera give me the same outright confidence in autofocus as a Canon 1D series camera until now. It’s simply fantastic (and I hope they update the X-T3 with this new algorithm!).

Continuous mode is where I noticed the most important improvements. Although I’m no sports photographer, I can still appreciate the way this autofocus mode can aid a nature photographer. While I as shooting in the garden this morning, even with the 80mm macro, the camera tracked and focused quickly as I moved slightly in and out of the frame, and “stuck” confidently to what I wanted it to continuously focus on. It just worked, and for the first time in an X series camera, gave me more confidence than I’m used to even though the X-T3’s autofocus worked well.

I suppose I’m just happy that it now acts like a more modern camera. The only reason I really loved shooting with my wife’s Sony A7III was the fantastic autofocus, and I believe Fuji has close the gap in autofocus reliability and speed quite a bit.

2 – IBIS

It’s wonderful! What else is there to say? I loved the X-H1 for this reason alone, but the system works much better than it did before. Fuji improved the stabilization even though the X-T4 is a much smaller body and it seems on par with some of the best systems I’ve used out there.

3 – Shutter Sound and LCD Screen

Animals and butterflies can be sensitive creatures, and the X-T4 has a wonderfully quiet mechanical shutter. Yes, it has an electronic shutter for full stealth mode, but I’m more confident using the mechanical shutter to make sure I get the highest image quality.

I know listing the shutter sound as one of my favorite positives might seem weird. Wouldn’t I talk about the image quality or something more important?

The thing is: the image quality is fantastic. You know this if you’ve shot with the Pro3 or X-T3… it’s the same sensor. Also, you know what you’re getting into with a Fuji as far as the dials and buttons go (although the directional pad that was missing from the X100V and Pro3 makes a comeback here).

I chose Fuji mostly because of the experience in using the cameras just makes sense to me. I love changing settings with the dials, and Fuji is just more fun to shoot and edit than other cameras… so something like the quiet (yet present and wonderful) sound of the shutter does make a difference for me!

One negative is that I just can’t get used to the grip on this thing. It doesn’t feel comfortable in my hand like the X-H1 did, and of course this is purely subjective. I remember others saying the X-H1 felt far too big for their hands. I appreciate Fuji trying to keep the slimmer X-T4 profile as small as possible… but for pure “fun” shooting, I’d rather pick up something else. That means a lot to me.

Although the X-T4 is a amazing machine, I think I’ll be sticking with the Pro3 as my main camera. I love shooting with the Pro3 and while I wish some of the autofocus improvements and IBIS were in the Pro3, I have shot all this time without those improvements and loved the experience. If the form factor of the T4 were a little better for my hands, this might have changed.

Here are some SOOC (straight out of camera) jpegs from this morning’s photo trip, completely unedited in any way using the 80mm macro (so if there are a few that need some exposure tweaks, but I wanted to show these unedited!). Note that I shot most of them with my favorite film simulation, Camera Neg.

"When people ask me where I get my inspiration from, I point to these amazing humans. They have taught me this truth: every story is worth telling. We just need to be brave enough to speak. I’ve been teaching for more than 17 years and I want my students to find their voice just as my family has helped me find mine. I’ve been photographing for just as long, and I believe my photos capture slivers of hope, joy and truth in this world."

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