Photography

Fujifilm X-T4 vs. Fujifilm X-Pro3: A difference in form and function

The Fujifilm X-Pro3 and X-T4 both come with features that set them apart from their predecessors. But when Fujifilm released both cameras, it did so with some design changes that were greatly welcomed — and some that weren’t. Both cameras are flagship models in Fujifilm’s popular X series, and both take equally good images, but they target slightly different customers. The X-Pro3 is all about street photography and is certainly the more niche — some might say controversial — model.

Here’s what you need to know about these two high-end mirrorless cameras before pulling the trigger.

At a glance:

Fujifilm X-T4

  • 5-axis stabilization
  • Fully-articulating touchscreen
  • 600-shot battery
  • 26MP sensor/X Processor 4
  • 15-fps mechanical shutter
  • 3.69-million-dot EVF

Fujifilm X-Pro3

  • Hidden, tilting touchscreen
  • ~370-shot battery life
  • 26MP sensor/X Processor 4
  • Hybrid OVF/3.69 million-dot EVF

Design

The most polarizing difference between the cameras is the design. While the X-T4 has stayed true to the design of previous X-T cameras, Fujifilm was more radical with the design update on the X-Pro3.

In a forced throwback to the film era, the X-Pro3’s LCD screen is hidden by default. It’s still there, you just can’t see it until you flip it down. Fujifilm made it purposefully awkward to use while shooting, in an attempt to encourage people to use the viewfinder and stay focused on the scene ahead instead of reviewing every photo. It was a bold, if somewhat confusing, move that not every photographer appreciated. This one choice is what makes the X-Pro3 extremely niche and suggests Fujifilm built the camera very specifically for street photographers.

The X-T4 wasn’t without its own design upgrade. It’s the first model in the line with a fully articulating screen, a broadly welcomed change. This further cements the camera’s position as a still video hybrid, making it more useful for YouTubers and vloggers in addition to traditional photographers.

Another glaring difference in design is the placement of the viewfinder. The X-T4 follows a traditional SLR design, placing the viewfinder in the center of the camera body, whereas the X-Pro3 is more akin to a rangefinder with a viewfinder mounted in the left corner. From the perspective of the electronic viewfinder, this is largely an aesthetics difference — both EVFs offer the same 3.69-million-dot resolution.

However, the X-Pro3 uses a hybrid viewfinder that also features a fully optical mode — basically a window. This is a parallax viewfinder, meaning you’re not seeing directly through the lens, but frame lines overlaid in the viewfinder will give you your approximate framing. This isn’t something every photographer needs — or even wants — but it’s an experience unique to the X-Pro line. Using the optical viewfinder will also save some battery life.

If weight is an important factor for you, the X-T4 weighs just shy of 19 ounces, thanks in part to a new, larger battery. That’s a little more than the X-Pro3 at 17 ounces. Neither is heavy by any absolute sense, and both are far less tasking on the arms than most DSLRs.

For the outdoor shooter, both cameras will give you peace of mind when shooting in harsher conditions as both are weather resistant. Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean waterproof — they can’t survive being submerged.

Image quality and performance

Both cameras come with the same 26-megapixel APS-C X-Trans sensor and X-Processor 4 image processor, so image quality should be identical, all else held equal.

However, the X-T4 sets itself apart with in-body image stabilization (IBIS). Stabilization allows for slower shutter speeds without risking blur from handholding the camera, which could mean shooting lower ISOs in some situations, leading to better image quality compared to the X-Pro3. It also helps steady the preview image while shooting, which is especially helpful when using long lenses, making the X-T4 the choice for birders and sports photographers.

The X-4 is also the faster camera, able to shoot continuously up to 15 frames per second. The X-Pro3 isn’t bad, though, at 11 fps.

While this won’t affect RAW image quality, the X-T4 does also have a new film simulation called Eterna Bleach Bypass that isn’t present on the X-Pro3 (at least, not yet). This creates a muted, low-saturation look that works well for some scenes. We’d hardly call it a deal-making feature, but it’s something to be aware of.

Shot on the Fujifilm X-T4 with Eterna Bleach Bypass. Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

Another area where both systems aline is autofocus. The X-T4 and X-Pro 3 have the same 425-point autofocus system with contrast- and phase-detection. Focus tracking works well in both models, even if it’s not quite class-leading, and face- and eye-detection provide better accuracy for portraits.

A key difference, however, is that the X-T4 allows focus bracketing, making it easier to nail perfect focus or allow for focus stacking after the fact. The X-Pro3 doesn’t have this feature, which for a camera aimed at street and travel photographers, is rather disappointing.

Video

Both cameras shoot 4K video, but if you’re a multi-disciplined content creator and video is a serious part of what you do, then we would have to say the X-T4 is your best choice. In fact, it’s one of the best video cameras, period.

Beyond the fully-articulating screen, it has excellent internal and external video quality. It offers 10-bit 4:2:0 internal recording or 10-bit 4:2:2 external recording over HDMI, where the X-Pro3 is limited to 8-bit either way. It can also shoot 4K at up to 60 fps, compared to 30 on the X-Pro3, and it records at a higher bitrate of 400 megabits per second — twice the of the X-Pro3. Now, none of these things are major concerns to the casual videographer, but they make a big difference to more serious customers.

For slow-motion fans, the X-T4 is able to shoot up to 240 fps in cropped 1080p resolution, for up to 10x slow-motion playback.

Fujifilm X-T4
Fujifilm X-T4. Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

Both cameras have two memory card slots that support UHS-II SD cards for high-speed performance.

Battery life

Compared to other cameras in both the X-T and X-Pro line, Fujifilm has made a significant improvement to the battery life in the X-T4 thanks to a higher-capacity battery. It promises 600 shots per charge in economy mode, although in our testing we found that even in boost mode (which improves viewfinder and autofocus response) that number should still be achievable.

With the X-Pro 3, which shares the same lower-capacity battery as the X-T3, you’re expected to get 370 frames on a charge, but you can squeeze out quite a bit more if you don’t mind sticking to the optical viewfinder. Still, the X-T4 certainly has the edge here.

It’s an easy choice

Objectively speaking, the X-T4 is a better camera than the X-Pro 3. Ergonomically, it’s easier to use and appeals to a broader range of photographic genres. It also wins for both shooting speed and video recording.

The X-Pro3 is a beautiful machine, but it’s made for a narrow niche of photographers. You’ll love it if you fall into that category, but most of us do not.

The Fujifilm X-T4 is for every type of photographer. It’s the closest thing we’ve seen to the perfect camera.

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