Fujifilm is arguably the Goldilocks of photography, creating cameras and lenses that find that just-right balance between technical greatness and a sterile lack of character. That’s why the Fujifilm XT5 was so highly anticipated. Not because the XT5 does something no other camera can achieve, but because it balances megapixels with color and character, ergonomics with a classically inspired design.
Editor’s Note: This review was updated in January 2023.
As a wedding photographer shooting with an XT4 on each hip, I was eager to get my hands on the XT5. It keeps the classical look of the XT series, yet adds the 40-megapixel sensor of H2, as well as its processor and scene recognition autofocus. The XH2 takes some great photos, but there’s something about the dedicated ISO and shutter dial on the XT series. The XT5 mixes that sensor with classic ergonomics.
However, the XT5 is no longer a flagship. While it has the same sensor and processor as the XH2, the SD card slots limit the performance. And sadly, the autofocus is a few steps behind the flagship as well.
The Big Picture
Photos from the Fujifilm XT5 find a happy medium between technical greatness and character. The 40-megapixel sensor creates sharply detailed photos, yet the colors are still classic Fujifilm. An updated processor helps the added resolution not wreak havoc at high ISOs. And, with the right lens, it’s easy to make great bokeh and flare. That’s all packaged in a body with a classic look and feel that can withstand inclement weather.
However, the autofocus doesn’t see the same improvements. In fact, it seems to perform a bit behind the predecessor. When I bought the XT4, I was willing to sacrifice a little autofocus performance for colors and character, which meant severely cutting the amount of time I spend editing. But, the autofocus on the XT5 may be too much of a sacrifice for photographers in more demanding genres. I was okay with the autofocus system being a bit behind similarly priced cameras from Canon and Sony. But I’m not okay with the autofocus behind the XT4.
Photographers who want the best autofocus performance are going to want to spend the extra $300 on the XH2 or more on the XH2s. It still falls behind flagships from Sony and Canon, but it delivers Fuji colors with better performance, albeit with wildly different ergonomics. If you don’t need the greatest autofocus performance out there, the XT5 delivers lovely images in a classic body style.
I’m giving the Fujifilm XT5 four out of five stars. Want one? Check them out on Amazon.
- Lovely detailed images at 40 megapixels
- Great color
- Classically-inspired ergonomics
- 7 stops of stabilization
- Great updates to the EVF
- Better battery life
- Eye AF is better, and now works on animals
- The autofocus had more misses than the XT4
- No touch menu
- It needs a dedicated control for switching subject detection AF
- The XH2 has a better buffer because it’s not limited to SD cards
- The tilt screen no longer flips forward or flips closed
I used the Fujifilm XT5 with:
- Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R WR
- Fujifilm 150-600mm f5.6-8
- Fujifilm 18mm f1.4 WR
- Fujifilm 90mm f2 WR
- Flashpoint Zoom Li-ion III
The camera body and the 150-600 is on a temporary loan from Fujifilm; the rest of the gear is from my own kit.
The Fujifilm XT5 upgrades the sensor to 40 megapixels, adding the same sensor, processor, and AI white balance as the XH2. The XT5 also gains scene and animal detection autofocus. The tilt screen and EVF have been updated, with no blackouts using the electronic shutter. But at this point, it truly doesn’t do anything innovative.
As an XT4 owner, the controls on the XT5 feel very familiar. The major difference in the design is the screen. The XT4 has a hinge at the left-hand side that allows it to tilt or flip to the side or forward. The XT5 screen instead pulls outward on a large unfolding metal frame. It can also turn to one side by pressing a button and pulling out. But, The XT5 screen won’t face forward for selfies or vlogging. It also won’t flip closed to prevent scratches or chimping, like the XT4. But, the XT5 screen design does feel much sturdier. Otherwise, the XT5 feels very much like the XT4’s controls.
Editor-in-Chief Chris Gampat tested a silver version for our first impressions review “because life deserves more happiness.” I tested out the black version, so you can see both options. Here’s the full tour of the XT5 camera from our First Impressions.
Here’s the Fujifilm XT5 from the front. Trust us, it really doesn’t look very much different from many of the other Fujifilm XT series cameras.
What have we got up top? Well, on one side of the EVF is the ISO dial, which is wonderful. And then there’s also the diopter, which is incredible. We’ll talk more about that part later on.
On the other side is the shutter speed dial, the viewfinder setting button, the hot shoe, exposure compensation, threaded shutter release, a programmable button, and the on/off switch. Plus, under the shutter dial is even more control.
The Fujifilm XT5 has one programmable button, and there’s also the front dial if you want to use that.
On the back, you’ll find the giant LCD screen, the EVF, and various buttons that do different things. There’s also a D-pad, which to me is a bit odd, but that’s just what this audience wants.
Notice where the joystick is. This is the same as the previous camera. It feels weird.
The screen tilts out and to the side. This is very useful for sure.
The Fujifilm XT5 has the classic look and feel of its predecessors. The wrap feels nice and the controls feel sturdy. The XT5 is a bit lighter than the XT4. I think the metal top plate doesn’t feel quite as nice as the XT4, but I’m nitpicking. Overall, the XT5 overall feels good in the hands.
Weather sealing allows the XT5 to shoot in more conditions without wrangling with a camera poncho or umbrella. I shot with the XT5 in the cold without issues. I splashed the camera with a cup of water and, again, had no issues. I also didn’t spot dust any blemishes on the sensor during the course of my review.
The autofocus on the XT5 reminds me of the first time I tasted dairy-free ice cream: sadness on a sugar cone. It’s not that the XT5 autofocus is awful, it’s just that it’s not as good as the real thing. My child with a dairy allergy has never tasted the real thing. They think dairy-free ice cream tastes amazing. But, if you’ve shot with a recent Canon or Sony, or even the XT4, the XT5 is disappointing because you know what you’re missing out on.
The addition of animal eye AF is a much-needed update, and a nice tool to use. But, it’s not as good as competing cameras. It does fine for a bird sitting on a branch, but it struggles to keep up with motion. The XT5 also doesn’t do as well picking a bird out of a mess of branches as Canon’s animal eye AF. A few times, the XT5 was like “nope, I’ve got nothing” and couldn’t pick up on the bird. Once, it found the bird and put the focus box there, but wouldn’t actually focus there.
Where the XT5 struggles most is with continuous autofocus. If I shot in continuous mode in case a bird on a branch did decide to take flight, the camera would move in and out of focus while the bird was stationary, resulting in several misses. Yes, I know continuous AF is made for movement and not still subjects. But I’ve used other cameras that do so well with continuous AF, I rarely need to switch back to single.
Thankfully, the single autofocus mode is much better. I got the best results with the X-T5 on single-point and AF-S modes. Here, photos were very sharp and lovely. I think the XT5 also had less of a tendency to focus on the eyelashes rather than the eyes when eye AF is turned on.
The autofocus on the XT5 reminds me of the first time I tasted dairy-free ice cream: sadness on a sugar cone.
What’s most disappointing about the XT5 is that the autofocus performs behind the XT4 at times. I shot several series of images with both my own XT4 and the XT5. The XT5 seemed to always have just a few extra shots that were soft. Portraits, photos of my dog running towards the camera, and a dark dance floor. Each time, I had more misses with the XT5 than with the XT4. The worst-case scenario that I tested was a dark dance floor: no house lights, lots of changing, colorful DJ lights, and fast motion. The XT4 missed 23 percent of the time; the XT5 29. Both cameras were in economy battery mode. And, when I retested in Boost mode, the XT5 was still behind the XT4.
At first, I thought it might be because the new processor makes the XT5 faster than the AF. But in the mechanical shutter, the XT5 isn’t any faster. It’s actually one fps slower on continuous low than the XT4. Fujifilm needs to focus its next round of updates on, well, focus.
In short, the XT5 does just fine at portraits and tends to have fewer instances of focusing on eyelashes rather than eyes. But, in both low light and action, I consistently had more misses on the XT5 than the XT4. The XT5 is no longer Fujifilm’s flagship camera and it shows. If you want Fujifilm’s colors and decent low-light autofocus, the XH2s is a better choice.
Ease of Use
As an XT4 owner, jumping into the XT5 was straightforward because I already knew most of the oddities around Fujifilm’s menus. There’s still no touch capability to the menu system, which some will find disappointing. But Fujifilm users will find the XT5 comfortable and easy to jump into.
Photography newbies may have a bit of trouble with the fact that there’s not a green labeled auto mode. You have to turn the shutter speed dial, aperture dial, and ISO dial to the A position for that. But, the XT5 isn’t designated as an entry-level camera, and photographers familiar with manual mode will probably love the simple labeled controls for shutter speed and ISO.
The Fujifilm XT5 has seven stops of sensor-shift stabilization built-in. With the 18mm lens, I was able to shot 1/4 of a second long exposure. The XT5 allows you to shoot in most low-light conditions without needing a tripod.
Another nice feature is the EVF upgrade. The XT5 has a no-blackout viewfinder if you use the electronic shutter mode. Of course, that increases the odds of things like a rolling shutter. But, it’s nice to have regardless. The diopter also has a wider range than what’s offered on the XT4, so it’s easier to customize the viewfinder to your eyesight.
While the XT5 has a new processor like the XH2s, it only sees a minor boost in the buffer. The XT5’s speed is limited by the SD card slot. Yes, there are two of them and they are UHS-II compatible, but the XQD and CFExpress formats are faster, giving the XH2 the ability to record 400 uncompressed RAW files without pausing where the XT5 stops at 19 frames (uncompressed RAW at 15 fps).
I did experience a bug my first few times shooting with the XT5. The settings displayed on the screen would flash on and off, and the menus wouldn’t be available anymore. Sometimes, I could still shoot with the flickering screen, sometimes I couldn’t. At first, turning the camera off stopped the issue. But the last time that it happened I couldn’t get it to stop at all. After a full reset and returning the camera back to factory settings, I didn’t experience the issue again.
Updated January 2023
Fujifilm XT5 firmware Ver.1.02 gave the following
The firmware bugs have been fixed, which caused that the cameras rarely froze right after the completion of the firmware update with the current version using a smartphone (tablet) in which Camera Remote application software was installed.
When updating the firmware with the revised version, please be sure to update the firmware using an SD card according to steps below.
Detail of firmware update steps
We’re glad that this is fixed. Fujifilm has a slew of issues regarding the use of their app and connectivity to cameras. And we hope that they truly take it more seriously.
Exposure on the XT5 felt true to the Sunny 16 rule. If the camera did err, it tended to go a little dark rather than a little too light. That’s what I like to see because shadows are always easier to recover in post than highlights.
Updated January 2023
Fujifilm XT5 firmware Ver.1.01 offered the following changes:
The firmware bug has been fixed, which caused the color reproduction looks bad in the under-exposure area of the image when taking the photo under the following conditions.
[ Conditions ]
・FILM SIMULATION： “NOSTALGIC Neg.” or “ETERNA BLEACH BYPASS.”
・LENS MODULATION OPTIMIZER： ON
・SMOOTHS SKIN EFFECT： “STRONG” or “WEAK.”
・LENS APERTURE：F10 to F18
Other minor bugs have been fixed.
We really have to say this: this is a weird problem. When working with the photos with the new firmware update in Capture One, we didn’t find that shadows were a problem. To clarify further, we also used the settings that Fujifilm referred to.
However, no one would really use these settings anyway if they were photographing a cityscape or a landscape. The reason why you’d use them is for group photos. And as a Fujifilm photographer since the start, this is even more perplexing.
First off, if you’re shooting a group portrait, then you’re probably using a wide-angle lens to get everyone in the frame. Additionally, you wouldn’t necessarily stop down to f10. As a point of reference, in 2018, we published a post on the best focusing style for landscape photography. And the same mindset applies here. I truly don’t understand why you’d stop an APS-C camera down to f10 because you’d get diffraction. If you were using a flash, you could instead raise the ISO and, therefore, the sensitivity to the entire scene. Alternatively, you could use an electronic shutter and stop down to somewhere like f5.6 or even f8. But even that latter aperture setting might be pushing it a bit.
The point here, though, is that there are workarounds. And why Fujifilm would have to actively issue firmware for this when there are other glaring issues with the Fujifilm XT5 is mind-boggling. More obviously, though, it hints to me that a bunch of inexperienced photographers are buying the camera and not actually thinking critically.
With all this aside, the problem shouldn’t happen. But Fujifilm could’ve and should’ve dedicated their resources to other things instead of issuing a firmware that corrected this.
The Fujifilm XT5 delivers a just-right blend of technical greatness and character. The 40-megapixel sensor delivers solid detail, yet the XT5 still has Fujifilm’s lovely colors. Mix the XT5 with a bright prime lens, and it’s a winning combination for portraits. The photos are sharp and detailed, yet Fujifilm’s lenses have a tendency to be less sterile than many modern optics. The updated processor helps the increase in resolution not create horror on high ISO images, though Fujifilm’s lower resolution options still perform a bit better here.
Most photographers choose Fujifilm because of their color profiles — myself included. The colors are still intact here. My running favorite is still Astia because of the way it renders skin tones and creates a soft look without the awful overexposed tendency of a “light and airy” edit. The colors worked universally well moving from portraits to a colorful dance floor.
My only color complaint is auto white balance. The updated algorithm works really well outdoors and indoors. But when shooting indoor portraits with flash the white balance is more inconsistent. You’ll want to select a specific white balance in this scenario rather than auto.
The greater detail in that 40-megapixel sensor can also make less desirable things like skin pores more noticeable, but not terribly so. The Fujifilm XT5 builds in the skin softening feature first introduced on the GFX series, with high and low settings. I found the results pretty natural looking, not like the plastic Snapchat variation. I did prefer the low setting over the high here.
High ISO Images
High-resolution sensors have a greater tendency to produce noise. But, the XT5 doesn’t see a terrible jump over its 24-megapixel sensor predecessor. I actually noticed a lack of detail before I was bothered by grain. The way I typically shoot only occasionally puts the ISO over 1600 because I use bright prime lenses and a flash to freeze motion in low light. With these settings, I really didn’t notice much difference between the XT5 and the XT4. I didn’t mind the noise on ISO 1600 photos shot on a dark dance floor at all.
At ISO 3200, noise is more noticeable. At ISO 6400, photos lack the level of detail and texture the 40-megapixel sensor can create at low ISOs. Where I started to feel bothered by the lack of detail was shooting the 150-600mm f5.6-8 lens with a fast shutter to freeze moving animals. At ISO 6400, there’s a noticeable lack of texture in fur and feathers. The XT5 does lose more detail at ISO 12800 than the XT4.
I printed an ISO 6400 as a 13×19. I wasn’t bothered by grain but did notice the lack of fine detail. There was less texture and the image felt a bit soft. At the typical viewing distance of a wall print, I’m not bothered by it. But, a judge at a photo contest or a client first pulling the print out may look close enough to notice muted details.
RAW File Versatility
RAW files from the XT5 are pretty flexible for a crop sensor. I could easily bring back lost detail in shots that were underexposed by about two stops. The more you play with exposure, the more exaggerated the noise will appear. But I was able to work with images in that two-stop range without being overly annoyed by noise. If you happen to get a great moment but the flash was recycling and didn’t fire, the XT5 will often have enough versatility to salvage the moment.
Extra Image Samples
From day one, the Phoblographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. You’re not showing what the product can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.
Who should buy it?
The Fujifilm XT5 is no longer a flagship — that title goes to the XH2 and XH2s. Photographers could previously give ergonomics priority and choose among the rangefinder X-Pro, the classically inspired XT, or the more DSLR-like XH, without many consequences. With the updated line-up, the X-H2 offers better autofocus performance, albeit a bit behind some of the competition. The X-H2 is also the faster choice, but its ergonomics aren’t for everyone. The $300 price difference is going to be worth it for the more accurate autofocus for many if not most photographers.
The Fujifilm XT5 is still a tempting choice for portraits. The mix of detail and character Fujifilm lenses offer is great along with Fujifilm colors. Eye AF does a bit better at not focusing on the eyelashes, though there will be some misses, particularly in AF-C. The classic dials for shutter speed and ISO will be loved by many. And, the body is both durable and lightweight.
But, the autofocus struggles will discourage many photographers. As a wedding photographer using the XT4, I’m not planning on upgrading unless Fujifilm releases a really good firmware update that improves the autofocus performance. If my XT4 broke right now, I’d upgrade to the XH2 or XH2s. I’d be sad about the lack of a labeled ISO dial, but I would pick better autofocus performance over ergonomics. Similarly, there are much better options out there for sports and wildlife.
Lensrentals lists the following specifications for the Fujifilm XT5:
- Brand: Fuji
- Camera Type: Mirrorless
- Environmental Operating Temperature: 14 to 104°F
- Operating Humidity: 10 to 80%
- Exposure Control
- Shutter Type: Electronic Shutter, Mechanical Focal Plane Shutter
- Mechanical Shutter Speed
- 1/8000 to 30 Seconds in Program Mode
- 1/8000 to 30 Seconds in Aperture Priority Mode
- 1/8000 to 15 Minutes in Shutter Priority Mode
- 1/8000 to 15 Minutes in Manual Mode
- Up to 60 Minutes in Bulb Mode
- Electronic Shutter Speed
- 1/180000 to 30 Seconds in Program Mode
- 1/180000 to 30 Seconds in Aperture Priority Mode
- 1/180000 to 15 Minutes in Shutter Priority Mode
- 1/180000 to 15 Minutes in Manual Mode
- Fixed 1 Second in Bulb Mode
- Electronic Front Curtain Shutter Speed
- 1/8000 to 30 Seconds in Program Mode
- 1/8000 to 30 Seconds in Aperture Priority Mode
- 1/8000 to 15 Minutes in Shutter Priority Mode
- 1/8000 to 15 Minutes in Manual Mode
- Up to 60 Minutes in Bulb Mode
- Bulb/Time Mode: Bulb Mode
- ISO Sensitivity (Photo)
- 125 to 12,800 in Manual, Auto Mode (Extended: 80 to 51,200)
- ISO Sensitivity (Video)
- 125 to 12,800 in Manual Mode (Extended: 125 to 256,000)
- Metering Method: Average, Center-Weighted Average, Multi-Zone, Spot
- Exposure Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
- Exposure Compensation: -5 to +5 EV (1/3 EV Steps)
- White Balance: 2500 to 10,000K
- White Balance Presets: Auto, Custom 1, Custom 2, Daylight, Fluorescent, Shade, Tungsten, Underwater
- Continuous Shooting (Electronic Shutter)
- Up to 20 fps at 40.2 MP for up to 168 Frames (JPEG) / 37 Frames (RAW)
- Up to 13 fps at 40.2 MP for up to 1000 Frames (JPEG) / 23 Frames (RAW)
- Up to 10 fps at 40.2 MP for up to 1000 Frames (JPEG) / 25 Frames (RAW)
- Continuous Shooting (Mechanical Shutter)
- Up to 15 fps at 40.2 MP for up to 119 Frames (JPEG) / 19 Frames (RAW)
- Up to 10 fps at 40.2 MP for up to 1000 Frames (JPEG) / 19 Frames (RAW)
- Up to 7 fps at 40.2 MP for up to 1000 Frames (JPEG) / 20 Frames (RAW)
- Interval Recording: Yes
- Self-Timer: 2/10-Second Delay
- Flash Modes: Auto, Commander, First-Curtain Sync, Manual, Off, Second-Curtain Sync, Slow Sync
- Maximum Sync Speed: 1/250 Second
- Dedicated Flash System: TTL
- External Flash Connection: Hot Shoe, PC Terminal
- Focus Type: Auto and Manual Focus
- Focus Mode: Continuous-Servo AF, Manual Focus, Single-Servo AF
- Photo and Video Autofocus Points: Contrast Detection, Phase Detection: 425
- Battery Type: 1x NP-W235 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion (Approx. 580 Shots)
- Tripod Mounting Thread: 1 × 1/4″-20 Female (Bottom)
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 5.1 × 3.6 × 2.5″
- Weight: 1.2 lbs. (With Battery and Recording Media), 1.1 lbs. (Body Only)
- Lens Mount
- FUJIFILM X
- Sensor Resolution Effective: 40.2 Megapixel
- Sensor Type: 23.5 × 15.6mm (APS-C) CMOS
- Crop Factor: 1.5x
- Image Stabilization: Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis
- Capture Type: Stills & Video
- Interface Media/Memory Card Slot Dual Slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II) [2 TB Maximum / V90 or Faster Recommended]
- Video I/O: 1x Micro-HDMI Output
- Audio I/O: 1x 1/8″ / 3.5mm TRS Stereo Microphone (Plug-in Power) Input on Camera Body
- Power I/O: 1x USB-C Input/Output
- Other I/O: 1x 2.5mm Sub-Mini (Camera Interface) Control
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n), Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), Bluetooth Control
- Global Positioning (GPS, GLONASS, etc.): None
- Item Type: Camera
- Mfr. Model Number: 16782337
- Monitor Size 3″
- Resolution 1,084,000 Dot
- Display Type: Tilting Touchscreen LCD
- Mount: Fuji
- Sensor Size: Crop Frame
- Still Image Capture 3:2 Image Sizes
- 7728 × 5152
- 5472 × 3648
- 3888 × 2592
- 1:1 Image Sizes
- 5152 × 5152
- 3648 × 3648
- 2592 × 2592
- 16:9 Image Sizes
- 7728 × 4344
- 5472 × 3080
- 3888 × 2184
- Aspect Ratio: 1:1, 3:2, 16:9
- Image File Format: HEIF, JPEG, RAW, TIFF
- Bit Depth: 14-Bit
- Video Capture
- Internal H.264/H.265/MP4/MPEG-4 4:2:2 10-Bit Recording Modes
- 6240 × 3140 at 23.98/24.00/25/29.97 fps [50 to 360 Mb/s]
- DCI 4K (4096 × 2160) at 23.98/24.00/25/29.97/50/59.94 fps [50 to 360 Mb/s]
- UHD 4K (3840 × 2160) at 23.98/24.00/25/29.97/50/59.94 fps [50 to 720 Mb/s]
- DCI 2K (2048 × 1080) at 23.98/24.00/25/29.97/50/59.94 fps [50 to 360 Mb/s]
- 1920 × 1080 at 23.98/24.00/25/29.97/50/59.94 fps [50 to 360 Mb/s]
- 2048 × 1080 at 100/119.88/200/239.76 fps [200 to 360 Mb/s]
- 1920 × 1080 at 100/119.88/200/239.76 fps [200 to 360 Mb/s]
- Gamma Curve: FUJIFILM F-Log, FUJIFILM F-Log 2
- Broadcast Output: NTSC/PAL
- Built-In Microphone Type: Stereo
- Audio Recording
- MOV: 2-Channel 24-Bit 48 kHz
- MPEG4: 2-Channel 24-Bit 48 kHz LPCM Audio
- MP4: 2-Channel AAC Audio
- Type: Built-In Electronic (OLED)
- Size: 0.5”
- Resolution: 3,690,000 Dot
- Eye Point: 24mm
- Coverage: 100%
- Magnification: Approx. 0.8x
- Diopter Adjustment: -5 to +3