Buyer’s guide to Fuji X-Trans Cameras
It was exactly 9 years ago – January 2012 – when Fujifilm introduced the X-Pro1 camera together with three lenses to launch the famous X-Mount system. Since then, many different Fuji camera bodies have been introduced, and I’ve also shot and owned a few ones up to this day. I really love all different cameras – no matter which brand – but especially the unique Fuji user interface makes me grab my current X-E3 almost every time I go out for a shooting.
But when friends or other interested folks approach me for some advice about buying a new camera, I realized that even though I really love my X-E bodies, I often would recommend a totally different camera to them. This led to the idea of making my Fuji X-Trans camera buyer’s guide video that is linked here! But I’m including some of the essential information contained in that video also in this blog post!
As most frequent Fuji X Passion readers might already know, Fuji bodies that use X-Trans sensor come in three sensor generations (16, 24, 26 MP) and six body lines: X-T „single-digit“, X-H, X-S, X-T „double-digit“ and then, of course, the two „essential Fuji“ lines: X-Pro and X-E. All in all, there are 16 different camera bodies over the years.
(Note that I am not including the basic X-M1 which later led to the X-A line with regular Bayer sensors. I’m also not including the great X100 series with the fixed 35mm equivalent lenses.)
The four Fuji X-Trans sensor generations
My personal general recommendation is to pick a body from the third and fourth sensor generations, thus either 24 MP or 26 MP. They all deliver great image quality, even the 16 MP sensors. Basically, when you zoom in to 100%, any Fuji sensor will look the same, even at higher ISO. So the difference in image quality comes down to the difference in resolution. My conclusion is that the added resolution of the newer sensors is an advantage, especially considering that we’re increasingly using 4k or 5k screens or even 8k TV sets these days.
But what’s maybe even more important is that the newer sensor generations come with significant improvements in low-light AF, also the viewfinder and rear screens are not as noisy when you, for example, are doing night shots on a tripod with 30 second (or longer) exposures.
Between the 24 MP and 26 MP bodies, the performance difference is maybe a bit more subtle. Of course, the newer 26 MP sensors are better in terms of continuous AF, eye detection, video AF, stuff like that. So for action-oriented shooters, this is a worthwhile upgrade. When you are more the laid-back type – landscape, travel, no fast-moving subjects – the 24 MP cameras are still super capable, I don’t find them to be really slow or lacking in performance actually. And they’re a lot cheaper on the used market.
I’m not a video guy (though I run my own YouTube channel…) but note there can be several subtle or not-so-subtle differences regarding video features and video performance between the different Fuji bodies. For example, the X-Pro2 was the first Fuji body with 24 MP sensor in 2016, and it was also the only one with 24 MP that offered full-HD video at the launch date. 4K video was made available with the firmware update version 4.00. All later 24 MP bodies offered 4k video. But again, if you’re a true video guy, maybe only very few Fuji bodies will really appeal to you anyway.
My personal Fuji picks & recommendations
Which camera is the best for you? This is a very personal decision! All Fuji bodies (and in fact, almost all other cameras just as well!) are great these days, so the choice depends on what your focus in photography is on, what body style you prefer, how big is your budget, all these questions. But my feeling is that some of the Fuji bodies really stand out a bit from the crowd, and hence these are my recommendations (including very rough begin-2021 European pricing):
The one that does it all:
Fuji X-T4 … 1799 EUR (new)
If you’re not budget-constrained and don’t mind the weight, this is the Fuji body to go for in my opinion. It is much more versatile than the X-Pro3 in my opinion. (But as I said, there’s no bad Fuji camera out there. If you want the X-Pro3 instead, you’ll know that already!)
The top pick on price/performance ratio:
Fuji X-S10 … 999 EUR (new)
Packs all the X-T4 performance – and also even IBIS! – in a much smaller and more affordable body. Be aware though that this one doesn’t use the Fuji user interface!
My budget tip:
Fuji X-T2 … 450 EUR (used)
A well-made, durable body, great viewfinder. Good if you’re on a budget, you’re not overly focused on action and sports, and you don’t want any compromises in image quality. The only issue with this one is there’s been some talk about certain reflection patterns in very specific backlight situations. I never experienced that but others did – so maybe investigate on this before you buy!
The Fuji for camera connaisseurs:
Fuji X-H1 … 570 EUR (used)
If you want something truly big, hefty and luxurious in a Leica R8 or Contax AX kind of way, this is the one to go for. From the huge, well-made body to the quirky OLED display, it just looks and feels „classic high-tech“ great in your hand. Also, it’s the cheapest option with IBIS today!
If you want compact and elegant:
Fuji X-E3 … 350 EUR (used)
My pick if you like it small and light-weight, are looking for good overall performance and you love the classic Fuji interface and reduced design of the X-E series. But be aware that the viewfinder image is really small! I am really happy that they will continue this line with the X-E4, rumoured to be released this year, but I feel that in terms of price/performance, I will still recommend the X-E3 as well. It would have been different if they’d included IBIS in the X-E4!
Okay, that’s my summary and buying advice for the Fuji X-Trans system cameras. Be aware that – whatever my recommendations above – every Fuji camera can be a great buy if it meets your needs and you can find it at the right price. There are no real dogs out there.
So have a great time selecting the right Fuji body four yourself, stay healthy and let’s hope for many photo opportunities again!
“My name is Thomas C. John. I was born in 1975 and have been crazy about photography since I am 6 years old when my older brother handed me over a Kodak pocket Instamatic camera. I’m working in content creation for websites, infotainment apps and other media and currently live in Cologne in Germany. I do photo assignments as well as dive deeply into my personal photo projects. To give back something to the great photography community out there, I recently started my own YouTube channel. Maybe I belong to the last generation that learned photography when it still was a totally analog process. So also analog still feels very natural to me and continues to be an important part of my creative work.”