Fuji X-T4 vs Fuji X-T3: Why I Still Recommend The Older X-T3
Fuji X-T4 vs Fuji X-T3: Why I Still Recommend The Older X-T3
Last Updated on December 16, 2020
When Fujifilm announced the Fujifilm X-T4, the little grey cells in my head got together and put together a plan that eventually led to my switch from Sony to Fujifilm – a move from full frame to APS-C.
Like many Sony video shooters, I waited for years since the first rumors of the A7sIII for the camera to come out and give us everything we wanted in a hybrid photo/video camera. For me, I just needed 4K 60 fps with a higher bit rate for projects where my clients wanted slow motion and also 4K.
I’m often hired as a one man production who can shoot fast and lean and often asked to get both stills and video in the same span. For that reason, I have a very compact cinema kit that relies on the A7sII and A7III instead of something like the Canon C300 or Sony FS7.
And I was getting more pressure to regularly deliver 4K 60 fps.
So I Switched From Sony To Fujifilm
By the time Sony finally announced the camera, many other camera makers announced upgraded cameras that compelled shooters away from Sony. I was one of those shooters who found everything he needed in something like the Fuji X-T4 while getting those features in an even more compact system. So far, I’ve learned quite a few real world things about shooting with the X-T4 and for the most part, I’m very happy.
I make camera recommendations all the time and I was recommending Fujifilm cameras longed before I owned one, just because I love the direction the company was headed and because all the cameras are so gorgeous.
So now that I own an X-T4, you’d think that its the camera I recommend, but as you can read in the headline, I’m still long on the older Fujifilm X-T3 for one big reason. From a photographer’s standpoint, I can probably get a slightly used X-T3 for half the price of the X-T4, while getting 90% of the features.
The Similarities Between The X-T4 and X-T3
There are so many articles out there detailing the differences between the X-T4 and X-T3, so I won’t go in-depth into the specs, but instead focus on the main features and general concept behind the two camera.
Both cameras have the exact same 26 megapixel X-Trans IV sensor. When it comes to Fujifilm cameras, they have always been more focused on putting the same internals in different bodies rather than using the same body and putting in different internals, like Sony.
The X100V with its built in lens also uses the same sensor as the X-T3 and X-T4. As is the X-T30, which is aimed towards enthusiasts. Let me try to clarify this. Fuji has a enthusiast-targeted camera from the previous generation sharing the same sensor as their flagship camera from this year.
You can view it as the company not innovating fast enough or you can see it as them making a product that does not require yearly upgrades. For my part, I see way less FOMO with this approach because choosing one body over another doesn’t mean you have to choose between different sensors. You will get incredible image quality across the board.
With the new free firmware update on October 28, 2020, the X-T3 now has the same faster autofocus as the X-T4 and faster subject tracking. X-T3 owners now have 3x faster autofocus. How great is that?
You buy a camera two years ago, and then two years later the company gives you a free update that brings it up to par with the features found in a newer camera that was released this year. This is not the first time Fuji has done that. Fuji shooters have long know about Fujifilm’s ‘kaizen’ updates that regularly update older tech with newer specs.
The Differences Between The X-T4 and X-T3
Same sensor, same autofocus now. $999 vs $1699 new. Where are the differences?
The X-T4 is what I consider Fujifilm’s first serious push to get into the video shooter market dominated by Sony and Canon. It took everything good about the X-T3 including the 4K 60 fps that was already there, added IBIS (built in image stabilization), a fully articulating tilt screen, and a larger battery.
To me, those are the only three main differences. For me, they were crucial, but I’ll dive in deeper to explain why it may not be necessary for you if you’re choosing a Fuji camera for the first time.
As far as other minor differences, there are a couple of new film simulations and effects, slightly improved image processing, and more dedicated Stills vs Movie settings.
Once again, I love all these upgrades, especially the dedicated Still vs Movie settings, but I am a full on hybrid photo/video shooter. Most of my gigs are international, which makes me lean towards less equipment and, many of them involve me shooting both photos and videos.
For photographers and those who occasionally shoot video, the $700 difference can go towards several lenses that will yield much greater return on your money.
You Actually Might Not Like That Fully Articulating Screen
Believe it or not, a lot of stills only shooter prefer the more simple tilt screen on the X-T3 because it aligns better with the shooting axis of the lens. If you want to shoot at the waist level, you simply tilt the screen upwards.
To get the same waist level angle, you have to flip the screen out on the X-T4 and then rotate it to point towards you. It will not be to the left of the body and the lens, which makes for a more awkward shooting/viewing angle for most photographers.
It’s taken me some time to adjust to it as a photographer, but as a videographer, it’s indispensable to have the able to articulate the screen in difference directions including flipping it to the front in a ‘selfie’ mode.
For discreet or on the run shooting at the waist level, the protruding screen to the left can be a hindrance and a liability. With less moving parts, there’s less chance of something breaking off.
IBIS Is More For Video And Adapted Lenses
Many of my Fujifilm native lenses have optical image stabilization built into lens, so while having the IBIS on the camera does make it a bit more stable, in the real world, it’s not a huge difference.
Where the image stabilization is necessary for me is when I use non-native cine lenses like my Rokinon 35mm t/1.3 or my adapted Voigtlander lenses.
The micro jitters you get when shooting video hand held is not acceptable for me, which was why I never pulled the trigger earlier on the X-T3 in 2018.
If you plan on shooting the X-T3 on a gimbal or will mount a lot of heavy accessories onto a cage, those hand held jitters will almost be completely eliminated.
From a stills perspective, IBIS is nice for longer focal lengths. Personally, I’ve found that between the better low light capabilities in most cameras nowadays along with the shorter focal lengths I prefer, I wouldn’t miss it if it wasn’t there.
The Bigger Battery Is Nice But Not A Dealbreaker
Yes, the bigger battery is nicer and arguably more important when you shoot video, but once again, if you are a stills shooter, you can still easily get through a day’s worth of shooting on an X-T3 battery.
On paper the X-T3 battery is rated for 390 shots, while the larger X-T4 battery is rated for 500 shots, which is roughly 20% more.
The batteries are small, so if it was me, I would just have multiple spares on hand. Changing batteries when I’m shooting stills has never ever been a problem. It takes a few seconds if I have a spare in my pocket.
With video, I’m much more careful because I don’t want the battery to run out in a middle of a long clip. Luckily, Fuji does have an auto-shutdown procedure that saves that clips just before dying out completely. If I have a full rig on, it might be toughly to change batteries depending on the configuration. For those instances, I usually will power the camera externally.
What About The X-T2, XH-1, X-Pro3, X-T30 And So On?
There are plenty more options and I’ve been a firm believer than you don’t always need to keep up with the latest and greatest to create good images. Fuji has been steadily upgrading their lines, but they’ve started with a high bar so the differences are very incremental.
There are plenty of professional photographers who are still using their X-Pro 1 or X-T2 like workhorse cameras. I admire that. The X-T2 has a 24 megapixel X-Trans III sensor. The difference is 2 megapixels (negligible) and slightly improved image processing on the X-Trans IV sensor.
From a stills perspective, it’s just as capable as the X-T3 and X-T4 in my opinion, but you won’t necessarily find that big of a price difference between a used X-T2 and X-T3 so that’s why I recommend the X-T3.
If you don’t need the more ‘flagship’ body of the X-T2/3/4, I would recommend the X-T30, which, too, share the same sensor as the X-T3 and X-T4.
The X-H1 was Fujifilm’s first camera with built in stabilization and a bigger grip. It fell into a weird spot and has more or less been discontinued when the X-T4 came out.
There are many deals on a used or stock-purging X-H1 and if you don’t need the 4K 60 fps (it shoots up to 4K 30 fps), you can get another incredible camera at around the same price as the X-T3 with pro features like a screen on the top that displays your settings.
The X-Pro line is a completely differently beast altogether. It’s as stripped down of a rangefinder type digital camera as you can get from Fujifilm. The latest X-Pro3 even attempted to get rid of the LCD screen by making the default position one where you can’t see the screen. You can flip it down to review the image or shoot from the waist level.
The X-Pro is something that you have to use to understand and love, and something that a few lines in this article will not do it justice. Personally, it’s not for me.
The Bottom Line
If there’s one nugget of advice gold I want to impart, it’s that you do not need the latest camera to take good shots. Technology has advanced so much in the last few years, but even back then, people were already elated with the images they were getting out of their cameras.
I know I have been creating images I’ve loved on digital cameras for nearly 20 years now, dating back to the 2.74 megapixel Nikon D1H and even the Olympus SLR-Like E-10. This was taken about 17 years ago on one of the earlier prosumer digital cameras.
Luckily, the X-T3 is a nice sweet spot that gets you the latest tech at a price point from a few years ago.