Fujifilm’s modern mirrorless bodies draw inspiration from vintage film cameras, from the leather-like wrap and silver color option to the classic top dials. But what classic camera design is the best inspiration, the film SLR or the rangefinder? To answer that question, look no further than the SLR-like Fujifilm XT5 vs. X Pro 3, a rangefinder-inspired body.
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While classically inspired, Fujifilm’s XT series arguably has more in common with other modern mirrorless bodies. The viewfinder and flipping LCD screen, not to mention the menu navigation buttons, are all similar to the likes of Sony, Nikon, and Canon. But, the Fujifilm XT5 sits halfway between the modern and the classic with the labeled top dials for shutter speed and ISO, not to mention the silver color option. I switched from a DSLR to the XT4 more than a year ago. While initially hesitant about the transition, I now can’t imagine a life without those top dials and an aperture ring around a metal lens.
Meanwhile, the Fujifilm X Pro 3 is arguably the most film-like experience of the digital camera realm aside from the Leica M10-D. Yet, the camera does so in a hybrid way — offering a mode with a more “normal” screen. In an era where Gen Z is buying 2000s compacts to feel more connected with the moment than shooting from a smartphone, the X Pro 3 harmonizes photographers with the moment (and still delivers excellent photos).
While I own the XT4 and have tested the XT5, XH2, XH2s, and XE4, I hadn’t yet experienced Fujifilm’s higher-end rangefinder-style line-up. I changed that and called in a loan to compare the Fujifilm XT4 and XT5 vs. X Pro 3.
The Big Picture
Much of choosing the Fujifilm XT4 or XT5 vs the X Pro 3 comes down to style. The X Pro 3 has the most film-like experience and the least separation from the moment itself. The hybrid rangefinder viewfinder and clever dual-screen offer a balance between the new and old shooting styles. (And the offset placement means your nose isn’t squished into the back of the camera.) The viewfinder offers more than just a unique experience, though, offering an advantage when shooting underexposed scenes or in low light when using exposure preview mode enabled. Sadly, the X Pro3 lacks in-body stabilization. It’s also a bit slower than the XT4. Image quality is similar to the XT4, but the newer XT5 has a steep jump in resolution.
While the Fujifilm XT5 and XT4 still have some of that film feel, it’s a bit easier to jump into. There are more dials to use, and in-body stabilization is included. The grip is also a little bigger — as is the battery life. The LCD screen can be viewed while still tucked into the back of the camera. The centered electronic viewfinder aligns more with what other mirrorless cameras offer. Both the XT4 and XT5 are also newer models, with the X Pro 3 an aging 2018 launch. The XT5 has a significant step up in resolution, though a slight reduction in high ISO and low light autofocus performance.
Choosing between the two body styles will come down mainly to personal preferences — and the genre you shoot most. The X Pro 3 feels more connected with the moment with its unique viewfinder. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it for street photography and photojournalism. The XT series is still my preferred body for portraits and weddings with its stabilization and extra top dial; the XT5 has the most resolution, and the XT4 has a bit better autofocus speed.
(If you’re having trouble deciding between the XT4 and the XT5, read our Fujifilm XT4 vs. XT5 comparison.)
Fujifilm XT5 Pros
- High-resolution 40.1-megapixel sensor
- Animal eye AF
- 7 stops of stabilization
- Lighter and smaller
- Battery life of 740 shots
Fujifilm XT4 Pros
- Better autofocus than the XT5
- The screen can still flip closed
- 6.5 stops of stabilization
- 15 fps burst speed with a faster buffer
- Older models are more likely to see discounts
Fujifilm X Pro 3 Pros
- Hybrid OVF and EVF
- Clever dual-sided screen
- Most “film-like” shooting experience
- OVF focuses faster in low light and underexposure
- Narrower and lighter
- More affordable
I tested the Fujifilm X Pro 3 and XT5 on separate short-term loans from the company. I own two Fujifilm XT4 bodies and several lenses. For autofocus tests, I used the XF 16-80mm f4 lens.
Fujifilm XT4 / XT5 vs. X Pro 3: Ergonomics
The body style of the XT series and X Pro series cameras sit in entirely different categories. The XT4 and XT5 are inspired by film SLRs. The X Pro 3, on the other hand, is a digital rangefinder camera with a wildly different viewfinder and screen setup. While both cameras are a joy to use, the main reason to choose one over the other is the vastly different ergonomics.
Buttons and dials
The Fujifilm XT5 and the older XT4 both have nearly identical designs, styled after the dials of a film SLR. The top houses dials for shutter speed, ISO, and exposure compensation. A stacked dial design also fits in burst mode, bracketing, HDR, and switching from stills to video onto the top plate. (The aperture is adjusted on the lens). A switch at the front swaps between single and continuous autofocus, while controls on the back include a joystick and menu arrows. Despite the top dials, the camera still has additional dials at the thumb and forefinger.
The X Pro 3 still has some top dials, but the relocated viewfinder squashes them together more. The shutter speed and ISO dials are built into one dial. Pressing the button and turning adjusts the shutter speed. Lifting the outer ring and twisting adjusts the ISO. That still leaves room for an exposure compensation dial and the front and rear dials by the thumb and pointer finger. The drive mode is relegated to a button instead of a dial. The menu arrow buttons standard in most camera bodies are missing on the X Pro 3 — instead, the joystick is also used for navigation.
Despite drawing much of the design inspiration from film, the XT4 and XT5 have a viewfinder that will immediately feel familiar to any photographer who has shot with a mirrorless camera. The electronic viewfinder displays a preview of the image with shooting data.
The X Pro 3, however, has a unique hybrid viewfinder. In its default mode, the Reverse Galilean viewfinder is an optical type with a digital overlay. The overlay uses a rectangle to show what part of the scene the lens is zoomed in on. Plus, it still has the autofocus point overlay, meter, and other details like battery life. At first, I thought the view was a bit odd. Shooting with the 16-80mm f4 lens, I could see it through the viewfinder. But the more I shot with it, the more I enjoyed the experience. Shooting with the rangefinder style viewfinder felt a bit like shooting with a manual focus lens, forcing me to slow down and put more thought into the composition.
However, a little switch on the X Pro 3 changes the viewfinder mode to the electronic type. Presto chango, now you have a viewfinder like the XT4 and XT5. Switching back and forth without digging into the camera menu is a huge advantage. When you want that optical viewfinder for shooting in limited light or the simple joy of it, it’s there if you’re not going to disable the exposure preview mode. And when you need a full electronic viewfinder, it only takes a second to switch.
The X Pro 3 has another obvious difference in that viewfinder — it’s on the left rather than centered. One perk of that rangefinder style is that you can use your right eye and avoid squashing your nose against the back of the camera. I always end up with make-up smears on the back of my XT4, but that’s easier to avoid with a left-side viewfinder. If you shoot with your right eye, you can also open and close the left to check the surroundings, which can be very helpful when using a longer focal length.
If you want to break a chimping habit or pretend you are working with a film camera, both the X Pro 3 and XT4 can hide the LCD screen. But both cameras go about it in entirely different ways.
The XT4 uses an LCD screen that has a hinge on the side; the XT5 has a metal frame that allows it to tilt but won’t allow it to shut against the camera body. The screen can be pulled out to the side to view it from an odd angle. The XT4 and XT5 screens can be viewed while tucked in the camera, while the XT4’s can be closed completely against the back of the camera.
Like the viewfinder, however, the X Pro 3 takes a hybrid approach that mixes a more film-inspired approach with the full functionality of a typical screen. In the closed position, the back of the LCD screen has a mini e-ink screen that displays the color profile, ISO, and white balance settings when set to the classic mdoe. This is inspired by film cameras, which usually have a window so the photographer can remember what type of film is in the camera.
The screen can flip out from the bottom to access a fully-functional LCD screen that supports reviewing the photos and live view. However, the screen must stay flipped down to view this way — it doesn’t tuck up nicely into the body of the camera like the XT4 and XT5.
Grip and battery
The XT4 and XT5 have a larger grip than the X Pro 3. I prefer a bit larger grip, but shooting with the X Pro 3 wasn’t uncomfortable either.
The larger size of the XT series allows for a larger battery. The XT5 is rated to 740 shots and the XT4 to 500. The X Pro 3 is rated for 370 shots, but you can get 440 if you don’t use the electronic viewfinder mode.
Released two years apart, the Fujifilm XT4 and X Pro 3 seem to have more in common regarding construction than the newer XT5. The XT4 and X Pro 3 have a leather-like wrap and metallic top and bottom plates. The metallic plates on the XT4 are a bit textured (and, in my opinion, slightly nicer) than the X Pro 3.
Lighter than its predecessor, the XT5 feels noticeably different than the XT4. As an XT4 owner, the XT5 materials felt lighter and less luxurious. But, had I not had an XT4 to compare it with, the difference would be less noticeable.
Thankfully, all three cameras are weather-resistant.
Focusing and speed
Fujifilm isn’t really known as a brand for fast action — and if there’s one thing I think Fujifilm needs to focus on for future generations, it’s the continuous autofocus. Both the X Pro 3 and XT4 have similar specs for autofocus and consistently missed a handful of action shots. The XT5 feels a little behind, trying to keep up with that more pixel-dense sensor.
While there’s little difference in performance on fast action, the X Pro 3 does have an edge in low light. However, this advantage is largely due to the ease of switching between the optical viewfinder and the electronic one. Turning the exposure preview off often speeds up performance when working in limited light or underexposed scenes. In the OVF mode, the X Pro 3 seemed to lock on in underexposed scenes a bit faster than the XT4. Yes, you can turn the exposure preview off on the XT4 and XT5, but it’s a faster swap with the X Pro 3.
Ease of Use
The classic styling of Fujifilm cameras makes them a joy to use — it’s really the body style and the film simulation that won me over to the system. With separate dials for shutter speed and ISO, I found the XT4 and XT5 a little easier to use. Photographers coming from other mirrorless systems will also find the viewfinder, LCD screen, and menu buttons more familiar.
With a bit of practice, the X Pro 3 is still easy enough to adjust the shutter speed and ISO from the integrated dial without pulling my face away from the viewfinder. What’s great about the X Pro 3 is that there are more shooting options that keep me more at the moment. The two different viewfinder modes provide that safe standard option but easy access to the hybrid viewfinder that feels more like film.
The XT4 and X Pro 3 house Fujifilm’s 26.1-megapixel XTrans CMOS 4 sensor, meaning image quality should be nearly identical. The biggest difference is that the X Pro 3 lacks in-body stabilization, so the XT4 and XT5 can shoot at slower shutter speeds handheld. The XT4 also has a 15 fps burst with the mechanical shutter, which could help with timing more than on the X Pro3 at 11 fps.
There are more differences when comparing the X Pro 3 to the XT5, with nearly four years between the two bodies. The XT5 houses a 40.2-megapixel sensor which means more detailed photographs, though the difference may be less noticeable with older lenses that aren’t designed for a high-resolution sensor. The XT5 wins right up until passing ISO 6400, where the X Pro 3 and the XT4 produce noticeably less grain than the higher resolution sensor.
Fujifilm X Pro 3 Image Samples
Fujifilm XT4 Image Samples
Fujifilm XT5 Image Samples
Which one should you buy?
The Fujifilm X Pro series and XT series draw inspiration from completely different genres. What differs most between these two body styles is the shooting experience. Both designs make my hands happy. But the hybrid viewfinder and LCD screen on the X Pro-3 encouraged me to slow down much in the same way that a manual focus lens does. This is the body I would choose if I shot largely street photography and photojournalism.
The XT4 and XT5 have a few more dials. That and the more traditional viewfinder and screen design make the camera ideal for fast adjustments. I also prefer the larger grip, and, as a newer model, there are more options, including faster burst modes and, on the XT5, animal detection autofocus. The XT4 is the camera that I chose as a wedding and portrait photographer, and trying out the X Pro 3 hasn’t changed my mind. I still prefer the SLR style for portraits and weddings. The newer XT5 offers that same design but with more resolution and smarter autofocus modes. The higher level of detail, however, seems to slow down the autofocus system a bit more than on the XT4.
You can pick up the Fujifilm X Pro 3, Fujifilm XT5, or the Fujifilm XT4 using our links in this sentence.