After six years of the X-T2, I was due an upgrade and what a worthwhile upgrade the Fujifilm X-T5 was. I’m here after 12 months of use to share my Fujifilm X-T5 long term review.
Well, here we are then. An entire year has now passed since upgrading my Fujifilm X-T2 to the Fujifilm X-T5 and, personally, it’s been an incredible year which I’ve luckily been able to document with quite possibly the best camera that has ever been made.
I know I promised a review of the Fujifilm X-T5 in my posts last year but, for some reason, I just couldn’t bring myself to write a short article about first impressions. I’m quite glad that I’ve waited the full year to pull this post together as I’m more confident that you will take something from it. My Fujifilm X-T5 long term review will cover my thoughts from 12 months of putting the camera through its paces in every aspect of the type of photography I do.
The Fujifilm X-T5 has documented a year of firsts. My daughter’s first Christmas and her first family holiday abroad. My first press trips to Lithuana and Sicily. It’s also documented a failed attempt at the 365 challenge, a wedding at Runa Farm and many, many aspects of day to day life.
FUJIFILM X-T5 LONG TERM REVIEW
After six years of the Fujifilm X-T2, a camera that made me fall in love with photography all over again, I felt that it was time for an upgrade primarily for faster autofocus and access to some of the newer film simulations. Jumping from the X-T2 through three iterations of the X-T series, I was hopeful that this camera would be on another level to what I had been used to. It’s safe to say that I was blown away by the Fujifilm X-T5 and fell head over heels pretty quickly. As the year has progressed, the Fujifilm X-T5 has been ever present in my life. Despite a small blip with the pressure of the 365 project, I remain ever so smitten with this camera and I honestly think that it’s the best camera for me and my style of photography.
Before we dive in, whilst regular readers of the blog will know by now, if you’re a first time reader I apologise in advance that you’re not really going to get too much detail around the specs and details but more of a ‘real world’ experience. I’m just a regular guy working a 9-5 job who loves photography and just documenting my life. I’m not a pro by any stretch of the imagination but I rely on my camera for my travel blogging and for the odd wedding too. My camera is an extension of me, I want to enjoy taking it everywhere.
MY FAVOURITE FEATURES OF THE FUJIFILM X-T5
IN-BODY IMAGE STABILISATION (IBIS)
One of my most sought-after features for a camera and probably my favourite feature of the X-T5. The Fujifilm X-T5 features a 5-axis in-body image stabilisation of up to 7 stops! 7 stops is insane. In the real world, this really helps in low light environments – I can quite happily shoot at a shutter speed of 1/8 maybe even less and still get razor sharp images. I know that I can also shoot images of people at 1/30 and still come away with sharp photos! The IBIS in the Fujifilm X-T5 will immediately help you create better quality images when the light starts to fade. A tripod is no longer a necessity.
IMAGE QUALITY / JPEG COLOURS
Since 2018, I’ve almost exclusively shot JPEGs with the Fujifilm X-T2 thanks to the unrivalled colours that come baked into the images straight from the camera. Fujifilm JPEG recipes are so good that whole communities are built on the idea that you no longer need to shoot RAW (I still shoot RAW for weddings mind!). I was keen to access some of the newer film simulations particularly Classic Neg and Nostalgic Neg. I’ve been blown away by the Fujifilm X-T5’s colours and dynamic range. I feel that my ‘style’ has matured and developed thanks to the new recipes that I’ve been able to create – my Classic Neg recipe is definitely ‘me’. For all of my new recipes, here’s my post setting them all out!
In terms of image quality, it’s exceptional. Whether you’re printing, viewing on social media or, as I’ve been doing recently, displaying my photos as artwork on the Samsung Frame TV, the quality of the images is so so good. I’ve been super happy with the obvious increase in quality and I’ve received so many more compliments on my photography over the last year than ever before. That must be down to the change in camera right?
AUTOFOCUS / FACE & EYE DETECTION
It was to be expected that I would notice a huge leap in autofocus performance when upgrading so I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. Even in high contrast lighting, I found that the autofocus on some of my older lenses like the Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 has markedly improved. For example, I have been able to capture in-focus and sharp photos of my daughter running around using continuous focus. The focus speed on the newer lenses, such as the Fujifilm 18mm f/1.4, is instantaneous. Lightning fast.
As soon as I held the Fujifilm X-T5 in my hands, I could tell the difference between it and the X-T2 most notably on the tactile ‘clicks’ on all of the dials and buttons. The ‘clicks’ just feel good. To be honest, I don’t use the dials that often (I’m an aperture priority kind of guy) but when I fancy experimenting (eg panning shots) or need quick access to my settings (eg switching to flash photography), it’s nice to feel that the changes I’m making on the dials are going to be accurate.
Sticking with the ‘feel’ of the camera, I love the heavier weight of the Fujifilm X-T5 and bigger grip which just fits my hand so much better than the X-T2. Going back to the X-T2 now feels wrong. It feels as though it would just slip out of my hand. The Fujifilm X-T5 isn’t too heavy, you can still easily carry it all day long (lens dependent), and the bigger grip means that I can handhold the camera as I wander. I don’t always like to rely solely on my Peak Design straps; I quite like the free feeling. Either way, the Fujifilm X-T5’s ergonomics are such that this really feels like a proper camera.
The Fujifilm X-T5 utilises the newer NP-W235 battery and, as long as you’re using the official battery, you’re unlikely to struggle with the power that it can deliver. My type of heavy shooting is say a week-long press trip where you’re taking several thousand images and I probably would have to charge every other day or so. I lasted a full day, up until the evening do, shooting a wedding with just one battery. I do have another official battery for emergencies and I now have the dual charger as the USB charging option isn’t for me.
MY FUJIFILM X-T5 NEGATIVES
LOW LIGHT / HIGH ISO
The first sort of ‘negative’ or slight disappointment that I have with the Fujifilm X-T5 is that, similar to X-T2, photos shot in low light / high ISO are still not great in my opinion especially when involving people. With the base ISO of 125 being a better starting point and with IBIS, hand-held shots in low light can be excellent yet add in high ISO (often when trying to use faster shutter speeds) and the noise can be unbearable at times. In my view, people just don’t look as good in low light / high ISO scenarios so it can be challenging in dark venues for example when shooting weddings. Thankfully though there’s no return to the waxy skin tones of the X-T2!
I’ve now seen consistently that reviewers have had concerns about the build quality of the Fujifilm X-T5. Seeing as I came from the X-T2, the X-T5 feels much more expensive but one thing I did notice is that the silver paint is coming off in so many places already. This is really disappointing given the price point we are talking about for this camera. After 12 months, the paintwork has come off in more places than across my X-T2 (although it is black I guess) which has been battered through ten months of travelling and six years of use.
MISSING PHOTOMETRY DIAL
This is one I’ve mentioned before. On the X-T2, and perhaps even every version since, there was a dial under the shutter speed that you could easily and swiftly flick to change between photometry settings. Photometry is quite important in being able to drastically alter the lighting of a scene so often I would switch between Center Weighted and Spot depending on what look I was after. That dial has been removed on the X-T5 for a simple dial that switches between Photo and Video. For me, it is entirely redundant as I don’t really do any kind of videography. It is possible to assign one of the buttons to bring up the photometry options but I’ve just stuck to Center Weighted for the last year.
CUSTOM SETTING SLOTS
Ok so you’ll have to bear with me on this one. Many people will see the Custom Modes feature as a huge positive especially those that shoot different styles of photography but, for me, I would rather see a return to the seven (here’s how you get an eighth…) slots purely for JPEG recipes. Essentially, you can completely change how the entire software on the camera is setup between the different custom setting slots. So in theory you could have everything set up for wedding photography, street photography, portraits, motorsport, wildlife photography all in the different custom setting slots. I know that this feature has been carried over from the X-H series but it seems a bit overkill for me; I would still rather flick between different JPEG recipes.
THE BEST LENSES WITH THE FUJIFILM X-T5
When the X-T5 first came out, Fujifilm released a ‘Lens Compatibility’ chart setting out which lenses were essentially optimised to work with the 40MP sensor; those that could resolve the full 40MP (at least that’s my understanding). To be honest, I didn’t take much notice of the chart as there aren’t many situations that I would ultimately end up requiring all of those pixels. If one of my lenses was capable of only producing images of 33MP then that didn’t really bother me.
From the get go, I noticed absolutely nothing wrong or any issues in the images created with the lenses that are unable to fully resolve 40MP. Nothing whatsoever.
The Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 therefore remains my favourite lens and, when combined with the faster autofocus speed of the X-T5 (yes it really does make a noticeable difference), it produces exceptionally high quality images. The 35mm f/1.4 lens comes with me at all times and I know for certain that it won’t let me down.
The other lenses from my own personal collection that I have found work really well with the X-T5 are the Fujifilm 18mm f/1.4 (this lens is ultra sharp with instantaenous autofocus) and, surprisingly, the Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2. The X-T5 has reinvigorated the 56mm f/1.2 and turned it into a lens that can at least compete in terms of autofocus speed. I’ve found that I now get more ‘keepers’ from the lens especially when shooting weddings and any focus issues I have experienced are certainly user error – that f/1.2 focus plane is still miniscule. I also recently purchased the Fujifilm 18-55mm f/2.8-4 which I must say seems to work perfectly with the X-T5; it’s nice and light meaning that you can wander all day long and the combination of lens and body image stabilization really helps with using slow shutter speeds at night – perfect for travel and street photography.
There are of course many lenses that work well with the Fujifilm X-T5 and many of those remain on my list of ‘to try/buy’. At the top of that list are both the Fujifilm 27mm f/2.8 and the Fujifilm 50-140mm f/2.8. I’ll keep trying to find a reason to buy those…
MY TOP IMAGES FROM THE PAST 12 MONTHS
It’s all well and good me sat here typing about my thoughts and feelings towards the Fujifilm X-T5 but we all want to see real life examples of what can be produced by the camera. So, for this section, I won’t ramble on, I’ll just pick out a selection of what I think my top images are from the past 12 months (as well as the other images in this post). I hope you like them as much as I do!
As you can tell from this post, I’m over the moon with the decision to upgrade from my Fujifilm X-T2 to the X-T5. Honestly, the differences between the two cameras are night and day which is entirely expected given the technological advances made since the X-T2 was released. The X-T5 really hasn’t missed a beat over the last year and has enabled me to produce some of my favourite (and in my view best) images so far.
For me, I look forward to continue to document my life with the Fujifilm X-T5 over the coming years and, for now at least, there’s unlikely to be anything that will tempt me to change cameras! Maybe I’ll even buy the black version for good measure.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade from another of Fujifilm’s cameras or jump into the Fujifilm system, I’m almost certain you won’t be disappointed with the Fujifilm X-T5. Of course, if you have the X-T4 or another of Fujifilm’s top offerings, the differences may not be that noticeable to make it worth your while but, again, that’s personal preference.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Fujifilm X-T5 long term review and, if you want to chat cameras or have any thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below.
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