Fujifilm’s traditionally styled 40MP model is a sensational camera for enthusiast photographers. Andy Westlake puts it through its paces. Read our Fujifilm X-T5 Review.
Few cameras have captured photographers’ imaginations quite like Fujifilm’s premium X-T models. Ever since the original X-T1 appeared back in 2014, they’ve found favour due to their compact size, robust weather-sealed construction, and traditional analogue control dials. Latest in the range is the X-T5, which uses the same 40MP image sensor as the recent X-H2. But while that model was aimed at hybrid shooters equally interested in both stills and video, the X-T5 is focused primarily on the needs of stills photographers. Read our Fujifilm X-T5 Review.
At a glance
40.2MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor
ISO 125-12,800 (standard)
6.2K 30p / 4K 60p video
5-axis in-body image stabilisation
3.69m-dot EVF, 0.8x magnification
3in, 1.84m-dot 3-way tilting LCD
Compared to its predecessor, the 26.2MP X-T4, the new model is a considerable upgrade. Along with the boost in resolution, it gains subject detection autofocus – 2022’s must-have feature – and 6K video recording at 30fps, albeit with a 1.23x crop. This comes inside a slimmed-down body that’s similar in size to the original X-T1, and which sports a 3-way tilting, rather than fully articulated, screen. Compared to the X-H2, the X-T5 lacks 8K video recording and has a shallower buffer for continuous shooting. But it’s smaller and less expensive, at £ vs £.
40.2MP X-Trans, 23.5×15.6mm
Focal length mag
15min – 1/8000sec (mechanical), 15min – 1/180,000sec (electronic)
ISO 125-12,800 (standard), ISO 64-51,200 (expanded)
Multi, spot, average, centre-weighted
+/-5EV in 0.3EV steps
15fps; 20fps (1.29x crop)
3in, 1.84m-dot, 3-way tilt LCD
3.69m-dot, 0.8x mag
117 or 425
6K 30p, 4K 60p, Full HD 240p
2x UHS-II SD
580 frames; 740 frames (eco)
It’s impossible to ignore that the camera market has shifted dramatically over the past few years, with full-frame mirrorless becoming the dominant format. So the question is whether the X-T5 still offers enough to compete with the larger sensor format. To cut a long story short, the answer is an overwhelming yes; in fact, it’s a brilliant camera that offers remarkable value for money and deserves to be on any serious photographer’s wishlist.
The X-T5 delivers excellent image quality, with lots of detail and lovely colour rendition
Fujifilm X-T5, 16-80mm at 52mm, 1/180sec at f/8, ISO 125
Let’s examine the X-T5’s photographic features in detail. Its 40.2MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor features a back-illuminated design and employs Fujifilm’s proprietary X-Trans colour filter array, which aims to reduce image sampling artefacts compared to conventional Bayer sensors. It provides a standard sensitivity range of ISO 12512,800, which is expandable to ISO 64-51,200.
Also inherited from the X-H2 is the autofocus system, which employs 3.3 million on-sensor phase detection pixels that cover almost the entire frame. With the firm’s latest X-Processor 5 on board, the X-T5 also boasts AI subject detection, which can recognise and focus specifically on animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, airplanes and trains.
Of course, the camera can also recognise human faces and eyes.
Continuous shooting is available at 15fps using the mechanical shutter, or 20fps using the electronic shutter with a 1.29x crop (which gives 24MP images). The electronic shutter also offers super-fast shutter speeds up to 1/180,000sec. One concession to the X-T5’s lower price, though, is a smaller buffer compared to the X-H2: as few as 19 frames when shooting 40MP uncompressed raw files.
In the unlikely event that the sensor’s native resolution is insufficient, there’s now a 160MP pixel-shift multi-shot mode. The camera must be mounted on a tripod – there’s no handheld option – and will shoot no fewer than 20 raw files, with the sensor shifted fractionally between them by the IS unit. The high-res composite image isn’t generated in camera, but instead has to be assembled on a computer.
Other updates over the X-T4 include Fujifilm’s latest 5-axis in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) system, which is now rated for up to 7 stops of shake reduction. The viewfinder is slightly larger too, offering 0.8x magnification compared to 0.75x. The battery life rating is improved to 740 shots per charge, compared to 600 previously, which the firm credits to the new processor.
One thing that doesn’t change is Fujifilm’s excellent in-camera colour processing, with 19 Film Simulation colour modes onboard offering a wide range of attractive looks. Files can now be recorded in the 10-bit HEIF format, which in principle should offer better quality than conventional JPEGs. But as yet, this is somewhat negated by the fact that HEIF has rather limited software support.
Unsurprisingly, one area where the X-T5 lags its hybrid sibling comes with regards to video. However, it still gains plenty of advances over the X-T4. It’s capable of recording in 6.2K resolution at 30fps, with 4:2:2 10-bit colour and a 1.23x crop. 4K HQ output is also available at 30fps via 6.2K over-sampling with the same crop, while standard quality 4K can be output at 60fps from the full sensor width.
Fujifilm’s F-log2 profile is onboard, and capable of recording 13+ stops of dynamic range for colour grading in post-production. A 3.5mm stereo microphone socket is built in, while headphones can be attached to the USB-C port via an adapter.
Film Simulation modes give very attractive colours – this is Velvia
Fujifilm X-T5, 70-300mm at 118mm, 1/75sec at f/8, ISO 640
Connectivity options are much as we’d expect, with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi included. You can connect the camera to your smartphone via the free Camera Remote app, and then copy images across for sharing on social media. You can also use your phone as either a simple remote shutter release via Bluetooth, or with a live view feed and extensive control over camera settings over Wi-Fi.
Build and handling
Perhaps the key attraction of Fujifilm’s ‘traditional’ X-T line is its analogue operation, with top-plate dials for shutter speed, ISO and exposure compensation complemented by aperture rings on the firm’s XF lenses. This makes for a uniquely engaging shooting experience that you don’t quite get anywhere else. And while previously, the cameras have grown slightly larger with each generation, the X-T5 has slimmed back down again, with its dimensions much closer to those of the original X-T1, at 129.5 x 91 x 63.8mm.
In your hand, the body feels impressively robust, with a magnesium alloy shell and weatherproof construction. Fujifilm has pulled off the impressive trick of making a relatively small camera that looks like it doesn’t have much of a handgrip, to reinforce its retro credentials, but which actually provides a secure and substantial hold. However, the X-H2 would still be a better choice for those who’ll be shooting regularly with large telephoto lenses.
What’s particularly striking when you start shooting with the X-T5 is the way it gives direct access to so many key functions. Along with those dials on top, there’s a drive mode switch underneath the ISO dial, whose detailed settings are tweaked using a function button on the front. Then to control autofocus, you get a focus mode selector on the front, and a joystick on the back to position your focus area.
Some photographers will be sad to see that the switch beneath the shutter speed dial selects between still and movie modes, rather than reverting to metering mode like on the X-T3. But you can still access this function from the ‘up’ key of the d-pad, so it’s not a huge loss. Meanwhile the left and right keys are assigned to film simulation and white balance modes, while the down key cycles through the camera’s various boost modes that optimise the live view feed for different shooting scenarios.
It’s good that this feature is so accessible – on most cameras it’s hidden away in the menus.
Last but not least, the Q button on the camera’s shoulder brings up an onscreen quick menu with 16 further functions, including the settings for the subject detection AF This Q menu can also be customised to suit your personal preferences, as can many of the button functions. There’s also a My Menu tab where you can group your most-used settings.
While I really enjoyed shooting with the X-T5, sometimes those top-plate ISO and shutter speed dials can be awkward to adjust, as they require you to move your hands away from a shooting grip. But by setting them to their C and T positions respectively, you can pass their functions to the electronic front and rear dials instead.
One consequence of the X-T5’s design is that you can’t save custom shooting set-ups in quite the same way as you can with most other cameras. Instead, the exposure, focus and drive modes are always defined by the dial positions. However, you can still save all other groups of settings as custom memories for specific purposes such as portraits or action, and then recall them with a single tap of the Q menu.
Viewfinder and screen
Despite having a smaller body than its predecessor, the X-T5’s electronic viewfinder offers a slightly larger view, with 3.69 million dots and 0.8x magnification. While this lags behind the X-H2’s 5.76m-dot unit, it’s still a very fine viewfinder that offers a large, bright and clear view. It’s complemented by a 3in, 1.84m-dot rear LCD, which sees the very welcome return of Fujifilm’s 3-way tilt mechanism. This is perfect for photographers who wish to be able to shoot at high or low angles in both portrait and landscape formats, but don’t need a forward-facing option for self-shooting.
Images are very usable at high ISO settings
Fujifilm X-T5, 70-300mm at 300mm, 1/2000sec at f/5.6, ISO 10,000
Fujifilm previews white balance and colour processing by default, along with exposure compensation across a 3-stop range. A half-press of the shutter button stops the lens down to the taking aperture, previewing depth of field. Compositional aids include a choice of gridlines and two types of electronic level, while for estimating exposure there’s a choice of luminance or RGB live histograms. Fujifilm’s Natural Live View option is also available, which aims to mimic the experience of shooting with an optical viewfinder. This can be particularly handy when you’re shooting in high-contrast situations, and I’d consider assigning it to a function button. Overall, the X-T5 gives an excellent viewing experience.
In terms of autofocus, the X-T5 uses essentially the same system as the X-H2. When selecting a focus point manually, you get a choice of using either 117 or 425 AF points spread across the frame. Alternatively, you can enable face or eye detection, and specify whether the camera should focus on your subject’s left or right eye. Fujifilm users have had these options for years, but now you also get subject recognition, where the camera will detect and specifically focus on trains, planes, motorbikes, cars, birds, or animals. What’s more, as they get larger and clearer within the frame, it understands which specific part of the subject it should focus on.
The way Fujifilm implements subject detection takes a little getting used to. First of all, it’s a separate setting from face detection, and enabling one disables the other. Secondly, it interacts with your AF area selection setting in a fashion that’s perhaps not immediately obvious. If you’re using single point or zone focusing, it’ll prioritise a subject close to the specified focus area, so if there are multiple possible targets within the scene, in principle you can select between them using the joystick. This could be useful when there are several possible subjects to choose between, but isn’t as quick as other brands that let you use the joystick to select directly between outlined subjects. Switch to the auto AF area selection mode, which uses all of the camera’s focus points, and the camera will generally pick whichever potential subject is largest or nearest.
Like most cameras, though, you have to pre-select which subject type you’re interested in via the Q menu. So if you have animal mode selected and then point the camera at a bird,
Despite being designed to resemble a 35mm SLR, the X-T5 is packed full of the latest technology
In line with the X-T5’s retro credentials, the shutter button is threaded for a screw-in mechanical cable release.
On the side of the body you’ll find 3.5mm stereo microphone, 2.5mm remote release, USB-C and Micro HDMI sockets. There’s also a PC sync flash socket on the front.
The X-T5 is powered by Fujifilm’s now-standard NP-W235 battery, promising 580 shots per charge or 740 in Eco mode. It recharges in-camera via the USB-C port.
The matched MHG-XT5 extension handgrip features an Arca Swiss profile for mounting the camera onto a tripod, and a cut-out for easily replacing the battery. It costs £
Alongside Fujifilm’s own range of 36 X-mount lenses, there’s a growing selection of third-party autofocus options from Sigma, Tamron and Zeiss.
Files are recorded to dual UHS-II SD card slots. These can be used in sequential or backup modes, or you can record raw files to one card and JPEG/HEIF to the other.
©the subject-detection system will ignore it. You can set a function button to turn subject detection on or off, but not to choose between the various options, which feels like a missed opportunity.
Once you’ve got the hang of how the X-T5’s AF system operates, though, you’ll find that it’s generally very reliable. With relatively large, predictably moving subjects such as cars and trains, I got nearly a 100% hit-rate even with the relatively affordable XF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 lens. However, it’s probably not as ‘sticky’ as the best systems for tracking fast, erratically moving subjects, and I found it could get distracted by something briefly passing in front of the subject, or sometimes drop focus onto the background. As a result, the X-T5 may not be the best choice for demanding sports and wildlife shooters. But on the whole, it still does a fine job.
When you take the X-T5 out and set to work, you’ll quickly find that it’s extremely pleasant to use. Not only do you get all those alluring dials, it’s also extremely quick and responsive. If you prefer not to draw attention to yourself while shooting, the mechanical shutter is extremely quiet; switch to the electronic shutter, and the camera can be completely silent. The metering system is extremely reliable, meaning that you normally only need exposure compensation for aesthetic effect. Auto white balance is practically flawless.
None of this would matter if the image quality didn’t measure up, but the good news is that it’s very impressive indeed, in both JPEG and raw. In fact, the output quality is simply stunning; you get stacks of resolution from that 40MP sensor, along with plenty of dynamic range at low ISO. You can lift three or even four stops of shadow detail before noise becomes troublesome.
Then there’s those lovely Fujifilm colours. If you want to grab a shot from the camera and show it off on social media with no additional editing, no brand is better for giving attractive output. I tend to gravitate towards the Velvia / Vivid mode for landscapetype shots, and Astia / Soft for everyday shooting. There’s a case to be made that you don’t necessarily even need to shoot raw much of the time, unless you’re making significant tonal adjustments.
If there’s one area of concern about the X-T5’s performance, it would be the raw buffer, which is as few as 19 frames in fullresolution uncompressed raw. One solution is to switch to recording compressed raw files only, which at least doubles the buffer depth. You can also get greatly increased burst depths by combining compressed raw with the electronic shutter crop mode and dropping the frame rate; in fact at 10fps, you’re limited only by card space. I saved these settings, along with subject detection and AF tracking, as a Custom Setting memory.
In my hands, Fujifilm’s in-body stabilisation worked as well as most other brands, giving reasonably sharp handheld exposures at shutter speeds as long as 1 second towards the wide end of the 16-80mm f/4 OIS zoom. The main question is how much blur you’re willing to accept – you might see some obvious camera shake when examining 40MP images close-up onscreen, but still have a picture that’s usable for many purposes.
One feature that isn’t really practical is the pixel-shift multi-shot mode. Not only does it chew up vast amounts of card space, with each sequence occupying the best part of a gigabyte, it’s also a pain to assemble the composite files on a computer. More often than not, Fujifilm’s Pixel Shift Combiner flags up that it’s detected an error, and if you examine the resultant 160MP files, they’ll be beset by artefacts such as jagged diagonals. Anything that moves between frames will be rendered as a pixelated mess. I’m just not convinced it’s worth the hassle.
Fujifilm offers a good range of lightweight weather-sealed lenses. Here, I used the XF 70-300mm F4-5.6 R LM OIS WR
Fujifilm X-T5, 70-300mm at 214mm, 1/400sec at f/8, ISO 125
Clearly, some Fujifilm users might be concerned about whether their existing lenses will be sharp enough for the 40MP sensor, especially after the firm released a list of those required to get the most from it. But my advice would be not to worry about it. You’ll never get worse results from any given lens with a higher-resolution sensor; instead, it’s just a question of whether the extra detail you record is fully proportional to the increased pixel count.
The X-T5 may not match the X-H2’s 8K recording, but there’s more than enough on offer here for photographers who’d like to be able to shoot high-quality video occasionally. The quality of its footage is very good indeed, aided again by those lovely Fujifilm colours. Fujifilm’s IBIS provides a good degree of stabilisation, allowing you to shoot handheld and pan smoothly across a scene.
ISO and noise
The crops shown below are taken from the area outlined above in red Thanks to its 40MP sensor, the X-T4 is capable of recording noticeably more detail than most full-frame cameras – indeed you’ll need to spend a lot more money to get anything that fares appreciably better. Fine detail is maintained impressively well up to ISO 1600, but then deteriorates progressively; however to my mind, images are still entirely usable all the way up to the top standard setting of ISO 12,800. I would though, as is usually the case, steer clear of the extended settings; ISO 25,600 might be okay when there’s no alternative, but ISO 51,200 doesn’t look good at all, with little fine detail and crushed blacks.
IT’S OFTEN said that that there’s no such thing as a perfect camera, but let’s just consider what the Fujifilm X-T5 offers. Firstly, it’s uniquely enjoyable to shoot with, thanks to its analogue controls, excellent viewfinder, and 3-way tilting screen. Secondly, it delivers superb image quality, with stacks of resolution if you need it, good high-ISO performance and effective image stabilisation. Plus, of course, that lovely Fujifilm colour rendition.
Fujifilm’s X system also offers plenty of lens choice, especially now third-party makers are getting in on the act. There’s a good mix of high-end zooms and smaller, more travel-friendly options. You really should be able to assemble a lens set that suits your needs, for less weight (and money) than a comparable full-frame set-up.
When I was casting around for a list of cons, the few I could dredge up were minor. The biggest practical issue, arguably, is handling those 40MP files. If you really need a deeper raw buffer, better handling with large lenses, or more advanced video, you can spend an extra £ on the X-H2.
However, the X-T5’s attraction really shines through when you start looking around for alternatives. Elsewhere in APS-C mirrorless, only Canon’s EOS R7 comes close to the resolution, but it’s difficult to recommend due to the extreme paucity of matched RF-S lenses. You could perhaps buy a full-frame camera, but to match the X-T5’s resolution and all-round spec, you’re looking at much more expensive models.
Ultimately, nothing else on the market can quite match the all-round package that the Fujifilm X-T5 offers enthusiast photographers at the price. If you’re not tied down to an irrational fixation with 36x24mm, it’s pretty much perfect.
BUILD & HANDLING 10/10
AWB & COLOUR 10/10
DYNAMIC RANGE 8/10
IMAGE QUALITY 9/10
- Superb image quality in both JPEG and raw
- Engaging traditional analogue control dials
- Relatively compact size
- Robust weather-sealed construction
- Very capable subject-detection autofocus
- Effective in-body stabilisation
- Gives access to extensive X-mount lens range
- 40MP files may be overkill for some users
- Limited full-resolution raw buffer
- Ineffective high-res multi-shot mode