Fujifilm X-T5 review | Space

Fujifilm X-T5 review | Space


The Fujifilm X-T5 is the latest model in Fujifilm’s X-series camera, following the launch of the X-H2 and the X-H2S earlier in 2022. As a successor to the Fujifilm X-T4 (which came out in 2020), it shares a similarly compact and traditional design, with iconic dials on the top plate for changing the exposure settings.

Fujifilm’s X-series is now ten years old, but the X-T5 brings it up to date with an impressive 40.2MP BSI imaging sensor and the new X-Processor 5, which gives double the processing speed of the X-T4 and a 20% longer battery life.

The ethos of the X-T5 is ‘photography first’ — hence the manual control dials — but it’s no slouch for video either, with 6.2K recording and frame rates up to 29.97FPS. It is a generalist camera designed to perform well across all photographic genres rather than excel at one, and it manages to combine style and substance as it does.


Fujifilm X-T5 review

Fujifilm X-T5: Design

Many X-mount lenses you’d use with the X-T5 don’t have stabilization, so the X-T5’s 7-stop IBIS is a great feature. (Image credit: Lauren Scott)
  • Control dials for ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation
  • Hard to see controls in the dark
  • Weather-sealed against dust and moisture

The Fujifilm X-T5 is an undeniably compact body at just 557g (50g lighter than the X-T4) and this makes it a pleasure to shoot handheld for genres like street photography. Of course, if you’re shooting in the dark the camera is likely to be on a tripod, where the weight isn’t such an important factor, but it’s something to bear in mind if you often hike or travel to your locations and need gear that’s lightweight.

In terms of the overall design, you’d definitely call the X-T5 a looker, and it sports a retro vibe in both the black and silver colorways available. The body itself is made from sleek, brushed metal, and the camera has a robust weather-sealed construction — sealed at 56 points, in fact, to resist dust and moisture damage out in the field.

Specifications

Sensor: 23.5mm x 15.6mm (APS-C) X-Trans CMOS 5 HR

Resolution: 40.2MP

Processor: X-Processor 5

Lens Mount: Fujifilm X

ISO range: 125-12,800 (exp 64-51,200)

Shutter speeds: 1/180000-30secs (electronic)

Storage: 2 x SD/SDHX/SDHC slots

Image stabilizer: Up to 7 stops

Touchscreen: 3-inch touchscreen with 3-way-tilt

Viewfinder: 0.5-inch, 3.69M-dot OLED EVF

Continuous shooting: 15fps (mechanical), 20fps (electronic)

AF: 100% phase detection autofocus pixels

Video: 10-bit 4:2:2 video at 6.2K/30P, 4K/60p webcam mode

Weight: 557g (1.23lb) with battery

Dimensions: 130 x 91 x 64 mm (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.5 in)

The button layout of the Fujifilm X-T5 is defined (much like the X-T4) by three iconic control dials on the top plate of the camera, which allow you to set the ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation by physically turning them. The ISO dial on the far left is stacked, meaning that underneath it there’s another dial for setting the drive mode — continuous (high and low), single shooting, HDR, Pixel Shift Multi-Shot and bracketing. The shutter speed dial is stacked with a Still and Movie switch underneath it, to go from video to photo mode. You can lock both the ISO and shutter dial on the top, which stops you from rotating it accidentally while shooting or when the camera is tucked away in your kit bag.

What about the aperture? Almost every Fujifilm XF lens has an aperture ring on the lens barrel, and this means that all the exposure settings can essentially be changed before you even power up the camera. It’s a tactile approach to handling that really suits traditional photographers as it feels much like a rangefinder film camera, but for those coming from other brands or a DSLR style of handling, it will take a while to learn intuitively.

The X-T5’s LCD screen is useful for shooting low angles, but can’t flip back on itself or face forwards. (Image credit: Lauren Scott)

Many similarly-priced cameras have a light-up LED panel on the top of the camera instead, which will display the camera settings in the dark quite nicely. Although you could argue that the X-T5’s physical dials are actually easier to operate in the dark (once you’re familiar with them), generally, it’s hard to see your settings in low light — I often found myself checking the main LCD screen instead.

Fujifilm X-T5: Functionality

  • HEIF image format gives high quality in smaller files than JPGs
  • Battery life is noticeably impressive
  • Three-way tilting LCD touchscreen

The X-T5 has a retro look and control dial design that’s reminiscent of traditional film cameras. (Image credit: Lauren Scott)

When you buy a new camera it’s rarely because of the processor, but the X-T5’s new X-Processor 5 is responsible for several new features. These include an image-processing algorithm that boosts resolution without compromising on the signal-to-noise ratio (better image quality at higher ISOs), twice the processing speed of the X-T4 and more efficient power consumption for longer battery life.

DSLRs are still the cameras to beat when it comes to battery, but the X-T5 will last for around 700 shots. It drains significantly more quickly for bracketed shots and when using Bulb mode, but a spare battery largely solves this problem.

Unlike the Fujifilm X-T4’s flip-out LCD touchscreen, the X-T5 gets a 3-way tilting touchscreen with a bumped-up resolution of 1.84 million dots. This can be a bit awkward to use for composing nighttime shots when the camera is pointing upwards at the sky. You also can’t flip it out to face you (so no vlogging or self-portraits) or fold it back on itself to keep it protected.

In real-world use, the X-T5 can last a day with moderate stills shooting, plus a few long exposures. (Image credit: Lauren Scott)

Otherwise, the LCD is sharp, color-rich and responsive, and you can choose how much information is shown on the display if you want to see the edges of the frame more clearly. You’ll see the same screen through the electronic viewfinder, which is activated as you move closer to it via a sensor. This is also pleasingly crisp, but again, awkward to use when the whole camera is pointed upwards.

Navigating the camera menu is simple and quick via a four-way joystick. As we’ve mentioned already, the X-T5 doesn’t have exposure modes like Manual, Aperture priority or Shutter priority. Instead, there’s Automatic (A) and Bulb (B), and the rest of the controls are up to you. In truth, this suits nighttime photography well, where you’re likely to adjust the settings manually to account for the ambient light in a scene.

In the hand, the hand is compact and comfortable, but a grip is a good idea for using larger lenses on a tripod. (Image credit: Lauren Scott)

One underrated feature of the X-T series is that by moving the shutter to T, you can dial in shutter speeds longer than the 30 seconds offered by most consumer cameras — a great benefit for capturing very dark skies when minutes, rather than seconds, are necessary for the correct exposure.

The Fujifilm X-T5 has two SD card memory slots, allowing you to shoot both JPGs and RAW files simultaneously. As well as the standard JPEG and RAW (14bit) file formats, there’s also DCF, TIFF (created with an in-camera RAW conversion) and for the first time, HEIF files. This High-Efficiency Image File Format produced 10-bit image quality at a 30% smaller file size than JPEG, which might come in useful if you forget to pack extra memory cards, or need to capture more starry sky shots than planned.

Fujifilm X-T5: Performance

  • Image stabilization is good in low light
  • Image noise at higher ISOs isn’t class-leading
  • Autofocus subject tracking is superb 

The X-T5 has the same seven-stop built-in stabilization as the flagship Fujifilm X-H2S and X-H2. It’s an excellent crutch to rely on when shooting handheld images in low light as you can get away with slower shutter speeds, without camera shake. IBIS also powers the X-T5’s Pixel Shift Multi-Shot feature, which can create an ultra-high-resolution 160MP image with one touch of the shutter button by shifting the sensor by a half pixel between each frame. It’s not a mode that you’d use for fast-moving subjects, but it has the potential to quadruple the resolution and detail with static sky shots.

Moving onto autofocus — again, the same as the X-H2 — the subject detection modes now include animals, birds and vehicles — and they all lock onto targets rapidly. For night sky photography it’s probably best to switch the focus to manual using the toggle on the front of the camera, but it’s good to know that AF tracking is accurate and zippy for a wide range of genres.

Now let’s talk about image quality. Of course, the main downside of shooting with an APS-C sensor (compared to full-frame) is the level of noise you get at higher ISOs. The X-T5 isn’t immune to this issue, but it’s definitely useable up to around ISO12,800. Noise actually becomes more noticeable if you’ve deliberately underexposed images, then try to lift the shadow areas by a few stops in post-processing. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it isn’t class-leading either.

Cameras often render nighttime shots as too warm, but the X-T5’s Automatic White balance is generally very accurate when shooting in RAW. We can thank deep-learning AI tech for that, which identifies orange-tinged colors to avoid color casts. It’s worth mentioning that there are also 19 Film Simulation modes on the X-T5 — which can be applied to JPGs. These are too much of a gimmick for serious astrophotography but can be fun to try out if you’re sending shots straight to a smartphone.

The X-T5 might not be an astrophotography specialist but it’s equipped with a raft of tools to help you capture night-time subjects. The interval timer, for example, can be set to record an infinite number of images at an interval of your choice from a single second to a full 24 hours. This opens up the possibility of capturing time lapses, star trails and other celestial events without the need for a separate intervalometer.

The multiple exposure mode effectively combines up to nine images into a composite, and then there’s exposure bracketing and focus bracketing, the latter of which lets you choose one to 999 frames with a choice of ten-step sizes. Focus stacking shots is a great way to increase the sharpness of night sky images, and the X-T5 speeds up the process.

Should I buy the Fujifilm X-T5?

If you want a camera that truly makes you feel like a ‘traditional’ photographer, the X-T5 is an amazing option that grows on you the more you use it. However, it’s not a nighttime specialist by any means, and the cropped sensor is always going to produce more noise in low light and higher ISOs than a full-frame camera will do. 

Buy it if you like the retro look and want a versatile all-around performer at a reasonable price. Don’t buy it if you want a camera with a totally modern feel, or if all you shoot is astrophotography at high ISOs.

If the Fujifilm X-T5 isn’t for you

If you’ve got a smaller budget than the X-T5 and want a full-frame camera for better low-light performance, consider the Canon EOS 6D Mark II. It’s a cheaper and older DSLR, but it still produces great images, as well as 4K time-lapse videos.

If you feel an affinity for Fujifilm but want its top-performing camera, then spend $300 more on the Fujifilm X-H2 (opens in new tab) which has better video, burst modes and modern handling.

At a similar price, the Sony A7 III is an excellent choice if you’re not dabbling in much beyond night photography, thanks to its exposure-ramped view to help compose astro shots as well as low light autofocus detection.