I just turned 41 and having sold my business in the last 6 months I find myself searching for a purpose in life. As a child many of us had ambitions of changing the World or making a difference in some way. I was no different. I grew up with a great sense of social justice. At the age of 6 or 7 I aksed my town mayor why, if he was so concerned about poverty, didn’t he just sell his expensive gold Mayors’ civic regalia ( a gold chain that UK mayors wear) and give the money to the poor. Everything seemed so simple at that age, with clear solutions to obvious problems.
Yet here I am in 2023 looking around me at the largest income divide since the 1930’s, inequality, corruption and a seemingly unfair World dominated by an elite ruling class that seems to sway everything in their favour including the laws of the land. I find myself wondering what on earth can I do to actually make a difference to these huge inequalities.
I’m often sat in my house in the Philippines watching the news from the UK (and to a lesser degree the US and Europe) and cannot quite believe the seeming apathy with which the masses are allowing our civil rights and liberties to be eroded by those in power. First we had the War on Terror, a seemingly noble cause. However the Governments of the West seemed to have taken this as an opportunity to consolidate power with the enactment of many invasive and overreaching laws that diminished people’s rights. Our right to protest in the UK is now being attacked at every opportunity. The ability to peacefully protest is absolutely fundamental to everything that we now consider to be ‘our rights’ as citizens. Without this right to protest we wouldn’t have the vote, minimum wage, workers rights or many other things that we currently take for granted.
The income gap between the rich and poor is now huge, much larger than it has ever been in my lifetime. The average cost of a home in many western countries makes it impossible for the average working person to own a place to live without incurring huge amounts of debt. Huge amounts of quantitative easing (printing money) benefits the rich for many reasons, not least because it acts as a huge inflationary boost which in turn increases the value of the stock market as well as their other assets such as housing and commercial property while the working classes are subjected to below inflation level pay rises (if any at all), yet still have to pay out for the increased cost of living. Should it all go a bit pear shaped then the Government will bail out the banks and the people will pick up the tab in years to come via increased taxes, exactly as happened during the global financial crisi. If you were one of the elite you would be laughing all the way to the bank (quite literally) at this no risk way of making a fotune.
Did you know that the average income of the top 0.1% of American earners increased by 345% between 1979 -2019 yet in that same time period the average salary of the bottom 90% of earners only increased by 26%.
The rich and powerful consistantly look to tilt everything in their favour, whether it be through shady business deals such as those regarding the purchase of PPE equipent in the UK, implemeting laws that take away our rights or just downright spying on us with no justification. The UK Government wastes billions of Pounds overpaying for defence and health contracts, purchasing their mates useless PPE equipment and through general incompetence. Yet, as we speak they are removing our right to protest, increasing the tax burden on the average working man at an alarming rate while removing us from the EU, mainly because those in power did not want their offshore, tax reducing accounts to be subjected to new EU laws that were due to come into force.
All this serves to highlight my generally jaded view of those in power around the World and my search for what I can do to make a difference. At 41, I am blessed with a lovely 6 year old daughter who is my best friend and quite honestly, sole purpose for getting up in the morning. I don’t want her to inherit a World that is ever more polarised, selfish, self serving (and quite honestly with the coming of social media), vacuous and vain. I spend my time trying to teach her morals, empathy and interest in the World around her but I must confess, sometimes it feels like a losing battle.
So what has all this got to do with photography? Photography has become so commonplace with the near total uptake of smartphones, as well as the constant posting of absolutely uninteresting and uninspiring photos on social media that I have found it very difficult to motivate myself to even go out and take photos anymore. It feels as though I am trying to fight the current of selfies and self promotion. In this World of 2 second attention spans how do you even create anything meaningful anymore? Everything has been shot to death, unless you’re a half naked, beautiful woman or you’re pretending to have an unobtainable ‘dream lifestyle’ then no one gives a shit about your photos. When did we all become so obsessed about what people think of us as well as so materialistic?
If I’m completely honest, I look around and it depresses me. I have to fight every day to keep my sanity as I find myself unable to comprehend a lot of people and their behaviour these days. Maybe every generation feels this as they age and are replaced with a younger generation who they fail to understand.
I no longer try and compete in that World. For me the answer is to come off social media, don’t give a toss about how many likes an image gets, don’t ask why this photo got liked and that one didn’t. Nothing makes sense in that World. Good photography is not about likes, popularity or recognition. The purpose of photography is to tell a story, to highlight it in a way that captures the imagination, causes one to stop and consider for a moment or it enables a change to happen in some small way. It should evoke a respone or emotion in the viewer and possibly make them reconsider what they thought they already knew.
Although photography could be considered an art form I don’t believe it is enough just to create a beautiful photo unless it has some other purpose. Now maybe that purpose is simply that the creator enjoys the process and I have no issue with that. We all need our therapy. For me, photography is just the medium to tell stories and the stories I intend to tell going forward will not be about pretty places or my ‘fantastic Instagram worthy life’ but of people and their struggles as well as those of our planets animals and environments.
The poverty and inequality that I see everyday in the Philippines is like an amplified version of the same inequalities found in the West. The divergence here is that it often means the difference between getting an education or not, eating or not, being subjected to abuse or not, getting justice or not and at the extreme, life and death. At the same time I see humanity’s almost total disregard or care for the environment and other animals that inhabit our planet. Resources are used and abused, things no longer of use are tossed aside with total disregard for the impact it is having on our planet. There are many deep rooted causes for these attitudes but at the crux of it, it is very difficult for someone to consider the well being of the planet or its creatures when they are worried whether they have anything to eat for dinner and may not even be aware of the impact of their actions because they have not received education on this topic.
In the future I plan to search out these stories and use my photography to observe and highlight them in my own small way. Whether that makes a difference is yet to be seen, but if it changes the outcome even just for one child here I’ll have made a difference and that’s all I can ask.
I will still be doing camera and lens reviews but only if and when I have something of note to say having used it extensively in the field.
In this post I am putting the Sony A7III vs A7IV to see how the two compare. Is the Sony A7IV worth upgrading to from the Sony A7III?
I originally owned a Sony A7III back when it was released in 2018. I was pretty impressed with it as you can see in my review at the time. The Sony A7IV intrigued me as I wanted to see how they could improve upon what is still one of the best hybrid cameras, even in 2022.
In this article I am going to cover everything that you need to know when considering the Sony A7III vs A7IV including image quality, video quality, ergonomics, menus and all the upgraded features. If you would rather watch then my video comparison of the Sony A7III vs A7IV Can be found here . The video shows screen recordings of the AF in action, the IBIS and video quality as well as everything else.
Sony A7III vs A7IV – Ergonomics
The first thing that you notice when you put the Sony A7IV next to the A7III is that the new camera has gained a little size over its predecessor. In terms of weight they are within a few grams of each other but the size difference, particularly the depth of the camera is more noticeable than the figures would have you believe. The mark III feels quite small and dinky in comparison to the latest mark IV version. The A7IV is deeper due to Sony adding a fully articulating screen (more on that later) and improving the heat management of the camera.
The grip has also grown and now offers more depth and provides more purchase on the camera, particularly when operating it one handed. Those with larger hands will definitely appreciate the added space and comfort. The A7 IV now weighs in at a measured 658g with the battery which is only 8g more than the mark III.
One of the most obvious changes to the A7IV is the switch to a fully articulated rear LCD screen. The previous model had a tilting mechanism often favoured by purely stills photographers but the new, articulated screen works much better for hybrid shooters like myself.
Not only is the new screen fully articulating it has also increased the resolution from 0.92 million dots to 1.04 million dots. More importantly the screen now has a 3:2 aspect ratio which matches the cameras sensor resulting in less wasted space on the screen.
The Sony A7IV’s screen now uses the touch screen functions to much greater effect, allowing you to use it to navigate the menus as well as the usual AF funtionality. The A7 III touchscreen was mainly limited to selecting AF points. The new one feels much more modern and in keeping with what we have become used to with modern gadgets like phones and tablets.
The EVF on the Sony A7IV has also been upgraded to 3.69m dots from 2.36m dots on the A7III. The improvement is welcome and a noticeable one but it is not class leading compared to some of the competition. The refresh rate can also be boosted to 120hz, double that of the older model. Everything else remains the same on the viewfinder.
One of the ergonomic changes that I find most satisfying is the increased size of the buttons on the mk IV. The AF-On button is now substantially larger and the AF joystick has also been enalarged and also flattened slightly which definitely makes it easier to move your AF point as desired.
The record button has been moved to the top of the camera instead of to the right of the viewfinder. In all honesty I don’t mind either location but given the choice I prefer the new placement as it is more in keeping with the other cameras that I use such as the Canon R5 and Nikon Z series bodies. I would prefer the Menu button to be on the right hand side like Nikon and Panasonic cameras so that it can be selected one handed.
There is now a dial below the PASM dial which allows you to switch between photo, video and S&Q modes. The dial is lockable as is the unmarked exposure compensation dial (it can be set to whatever you want now). There are also 3 custom setting slots on the PASM dial as opposed to 2 on the A7III.
The Sony A7 IV now has dual UHS-II card slots with slot 1 also accepting CF Express type A cards. You will need either V90 rated SD or CF Express A cards to record in the higher video resolutions/bitrates now available on the A7 IV. The A7 IV wont allow me to even try using a Sandisk Extreme Pro 170mb/s card for these higher quality video settings. I ordered a couple of these cards to enable recording using the higher quality video modes and they work well.
There is also a new locking mechanism on the memory card door. You now have to slide the lock (similar to the A7III) and at the same time slide the memory card door towards you. It is kind of awkward to be honest and one of the things that I prefer on the Sony A7III. Also the strap lugs on my A7IV are quite thick and can get in the way of the memory card door when opening. It’s not a big deal but something that I have noticed.
The A7IV uses the latest Sony menu system and my goodness what a difference it makes. The old Sony menus were a confused mess fo the most part. I often still find myself searching through them to find certain options and settings.
The new menu system is now much better laid out and for the most part it is logical and much quicker to find what you need. I particularly appreciate that it gives you a preview of the items contained within the selected menu option so that you don’t waste time diving into a menu only to find that the setting you needed is not there. I’d go as far as to say it is now one of the best menu systems available.
One thing that has caught me out and something that I find annoying is that when you set the camera up to use a picture profile in video mode, the camera carries this across when you switch back to photo mode. So I shot a bunch of images this morning with the log profile set for photos. Why Sony thought this was a good idea I do not know. Luckily I shoot in RAW + Jpeg so had the RAW files to fall back on.
Sony A7III vs A7IV – Image quality
The main headline grabbing upgrade for the A7IV is probably the increase in resolution from 24mp to 33mp. In all honesty, if this were the only reason that you are considering an upgrade from the Sony A7 III then I would save your money.
The increased resolution is nice to have as it enables a little more cropping room but the difference is not enough to justify the expense of an upgrade. You’re going from images measuring 6000×4000 pixels to 7008x 4672.
Yes, there is a little more detail in the 33mp images but it’s only just about enough to go up one print size. It does make the A7IV a more interesting proposition for landscape photographers who also have a hybrid workflow, perhaps aspiring youtubers who focus on landscape photography may give the A7IV more consideration but for most people resolution alone, while nice to have, likley isn’t the main reason to upgrade.
From my testing dynamic range remains essentially the same so at least that resolution bump has not come at the cost of dynamic range.
In terms of high ISO noise performance, you can see from my test shots below that the A7III and A7IV perform very similarly.
The A7III does slightly better once above ISO 6400 but once you down size the A7IV file to match the A7III dimensions it is actually a tiny amount better.
One thing that I have noticed is that the auto white balance in the A7IV does a better job than the A7III. I often had to apply fairly significant corrections to the A7 III images as they sometimes gave a magenta or yellow tint depending on the lighting conditions. I have not found this to be an issue with the mark IV. Outdoors the colours are very similar as seen below.
Skintones have also been improved on the A7IV vs A7III, particularly in mixed lighting conditions. This quick portrait was shot in window light with auto white balance and auto ISO. The AF nailed shot after shot. It really is impressive and the more I use it the more I appreciate just how easy the A7IV makes everything.
The A7 IV now also adds the ability to shoot lossless compressed RAW files which helps to save some card and hard drive space without compromising image quality.
You can also shoot in 10bit HEIF format instead of Jpeg. In theory this should give more colour information than the 8bit Jpeg files but in use I haven’t noticed any difference. You also have to consider that HEIF is a relatively new format so before shooting chekc that they are compatible with your device/PC.
A7 IV vs A7 III – IBIS
The IBIS in the A7 IV is said to give 5.5 stops of image stabilisation compared with the 5 stops quoted for the A7 III.
I wanted to test out whether there was any real world difference so I shot my usual tests handheld at 24 mm on the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8.
I found that results were so similar as to not warranty any further testing.
It is impossible to explain the difference in IBIS performance for video without showing the footage so please see my video here
This is where the A7IV shines against the A7III – Auto Focus
The AF in the Sony A7 III was always pretty good, especially as Sony updated the firmware to add better Eye AF as well as animal detection. However this has been improved again, with the A7 IV taking advantage of the BionZ XR which Sony claims is 8x faster than the BionZ X found in the mark III.
The A7 IV has 759 phase detect AF points giving 94% coverage vs 693 with 93% coverage on the A7 III. The increase doesn’t sound like much but more importantly it puts it in line with the A1 and A7SIII which I suspect will allow it to benefit from any AF improvements added to those bodies.
The phase detect points now work down to f/22 (vs f11 on the A7III) and the AF will work in -4 EV vs the A7III’s -3 EV.
When I first noticed that you can now change the AF point selection colour from white to red I gave a little prayer to the camera gods as this was something that I often had issue with in previous generation Sony cameras. When using the A7III and the A7R2 I owned before that, it could sometimes be incredibly difficult to know which focus point was being activated if the colour matched the background. It’s funny how small things can sometimes turn out to be instrumental in giving you a feel for whether you will like to use a camera or not.
The A7 IV has ported over the same AF algorithms found in the top of the line Sony A1 which adds real time eye AF and subject tracking. The A7 IV also adds human/animal AF that works in both photo and video mode. There is also vehicle tracking for photography as well as the ability to select bird eye AF.
Having tested this out on some not too challenging geese and pigeons I can say it does a great job.
Again, it is best to watch the video for demonstrations of just how good the AF in the Sony A7IV is.
In use I have found it to be as good as anything available (including my Canon R5). In fact I would even put it a notch above the R5. It locks on really quickly and is accurate. To see this in action subscribe to my Youtube channel and hit the notifications bell as the full video will be released soon which includes footage of the AF captured on an Atomos Ninja V. You can now see the video here
With Eye AF turned on it is the quickest system that I have used to pick up the subjects eyes and it can do it even when the subject is quite small in the frame. Mind you, the Sony A7III is no slouch in this area either.
I could see a discernible difference when shooting the Sony A7IV vs A7III. It is simply much quicker to react, pick up the subject and place that green box over the eye.
When the subject either turned away from the camera or left and then returned to frame it was significantly quicker to regain focus on the eye than the A7III. The MK III did not always pick up the subject’s eyes again quickly and on some ocassions even failed to do so at all. I believe this is due to the older algorithm scanning the entire scene to re-aqquire the subjects eyes whereas the Sony A7 IV has been programmed using machine learning to prioritise looking for a subjects eyes in the same area as it last detected them. Whatever the technicalities it is a marked improvement.
The Sony A7III was one of the first true hybrid cameras, bringing together great stills and at the time, excellent video specs. However times have moved on and the lack of 10 bit internal video as well as 4k is starting to show against the competition.
The A7IV has adressed this and now offers upto 4k30 with no crop whereas the A7III tops out at 4k25 without a crop. Once you go to 4k30 there is a 1.2x crop on the A7III. The recording limit of 30 minutes found on the A7III has now been removed too.
As well as the usual S-log options the A7IV now includes S-Cinetone.
Importantly the A7IV now offers 4k60 full pixel readout (no binning) but this does crop to APS-C or 1.5x.
Where the A7IV has definitely taken things up by several notches vs the A7III is with the codecs and colour depth available. This is great news for those wishing to colour grade their footage in post.
The A7III only offers 8bit 4:2:0 internal shooting options whereas the A7IV now shoots 10 bit 4:2:2 internally with the option to use the H.265 codec or All Intra H.264 at a bit rate of 300mbps for 30p or 600mbps for 60p footage. Lower data rates are also available for those who don’t need the added grading headroom or simply want to save on disk space.
Below are the various 4k codecs and bit rates available.
4K All intra has fixed settings as follows :
24p – 4:2:2 10 bit 240mbps
30P – 4:2:2 10 bit 300mbps
60p – 4:2:2 10 bit 600mbps
The A7IV does away with the Micro HDMI port and replaces it with a full sized HDMI which is so much more sturdy.
It also adds what Sony call Active stabilisation. This is basically a digital stabilisation using information from the gyro on the IBIS. The field of view crops in a little to allow this. This is something that I tested for my video review and will show there.
The A7IV now lets you adjust (in 7 steps) how quickly focus transitions are performed as well as 5 steps of control for how quickly the AF will switch from one subject to another.
An interesting concept and one that I have seen carried out extremely well by DJI is the focus mapping option. This shows you which areas of your image are in and out of focus by colouring the areas. I’m still not convinced on its usefulness so will report back when I have had time to use it a little more.
Sony A7III vs A7IV – Conclusion
When I saw the specs for the Sony A7IV I wasn’t blown away. There was no one aspect that really stood out to me as groundbreaking or a must have. A little more resolution, an articulating screen, a new menu (again), a few extra video modes and promised AF improvements didn’t really seem like that much considering how groundbreaking the A7III was back in 2018 and how long it has been since then.
I have had and owned at least one of each generation of Sony’s A7 series bodies since the A7R. I have always appreciated their technical abilities, groundbreaking specs and ability to push the boundaries for autofocus. However, I have never gelled with one the way I have with say, the Fuji X-Pro 1 & 3 or the Nikon Z7II or Canon R5. The difference, I have always felt is that those feel like cameras made by a camera company that understands photographers. They get the little things right in terms of button placement, menus, ergonomics, design and handling. These things really do make a massive difference when it comes time to pick up a camera and shoot.
The Sony A7IV is the first Sony camera that I have picked up and felt like it is finally designed by a company that understands what we as photographers/videographers want. There are no headline grabbing features that blow your mind the way that the Canon R5, Sony A1 or Nikon Z9 did at release but the whole is definitely more than the sum of its parts when it comes to the A7IV.
After having shot a lot with both of these cameras side by side, if it were my money and I had to decide between the Sony A7III vs A7IV , I would buy the A7IV without doubt. It feels like a camera, makes everything easy and gets out of your way and lets you shoot. Not to mention that I would no longer consider a camera without 4k60 video.
I hope that you found some value in this article and it helps with your decision. Please don’t forget to help out in anyway you can by subscribing to this blog, my yotube channel or buying through my links. Any help is much appreciated and allows me to spend more time creating content like this.
In this post I’m going to walk you through the best settings for your Sony A7 IV. I’ll start by helping you to setup the camera out of the box and then move on to the best settings for photography on the Sony A7 IV. If you are looking for the best video settings for the Sony A7 IV then these will be available soon in a separate article. The Sony A7 IV allows you to setup completely seperate custom settings and options for photography and video.
I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on the Sony A7 IV pretty quickly even though you can’t find one in stock at a lot of stores. If you would prefer to watch then checkout my video instead.
Being a previous user of the Sony A7 III (Sony A7III video review) I’m very familiar with the Sony system but there are a few worthwhile changes on the Sony A7 IV that make setting it up a little different.
Let’s dive straight into setting up your brand new Sony A7 IV out of the box.
Setting up the Sony A7 IV – out of the box
When you turn your camera on for the first time you need to set your menu language. I’ll select English here.
Then set your time zone. I’ll be selecting Lisbon/London. You can also turn daylight saving on/off. As we are in January this is set to off in the UK at the moment.
Now select the way you want your date to be formatted. As I’m British I’ll go with D-M-Y or day, month then year. My American friends can choose M-D-Y.
Set the date and time accordingly (note the format is using the 24 hour clock).
Next you can choose to register your phone with the smartphone app. I’ll do this later via the smartphone regist option in the menu system.
That’s the basics setup.
Sony A7 IV setup – menu options for photography
Hit the menu button to the left of the viewfinder and you will notice that the Sony A7 IV is using the latest Sony menu system.
To select any option you can either press the direction on the rear dial or you can rotate it to scroll up and down through the options. Right is enter and left is to go back a step.
Here are the settings that I use for photography.
Camera Icon menu option 2/52
JPEG/HEIF switch – Jpeg
Image quality settings
File format : Raw + Jpeg
Raw File Type : Lossless Compressed (gives the best quality raw files but saves space over uncompressed)
Jpeg Quality : Extra Fine (again gives the best Jpeg quality)
Jpeg size: 33m (if you want smaller Jpegs for social media or as backup then select medium 14mp or small 8.2mp)
Aspect ratio: I leave it to the native 3:2 aspect ratio and do any cropping on the image in post. You can select between this, 4:3 slightly shorter on the long edge, 16:9 standard film aspect ration and 1:1 for square format
I often use Sandisk cards with my cameras as I have found them to be very tough and reliable. If you are looking for a card for your Sony A7 IV then I always buy from Amazon as they have a great returns policy and usually the best pricing. Cards linked below:
Long exposure noise reduction – I leave this on as it captures a black frame at the same shutter speed after a long exposure in order to map hot pixels and noise and remove them. You can do this in post if you prefer. Having this option on will result in the camera taking a second exposure for the same length of time as your first, so can involve a lot of waiting around if your exposure is 1 minute or more.
Scroll down and you will move to Option 3/52
High ISO NR : Low. I like to do most of my noise reduction in post so I keep this set to low. This will only affect your Jpeg files.
Colour Space : Adobe RGB if you plan to edit, sRGB if you are going to post images directly online. Adobe RGB gives more colours but sRGB is the standard used online.
Format– Always format your memory cards before use to minimise the chance of corrupt files and data loss.
Rec Media Settings: This is where you can select how the camera records to your memory cards. You can choose between slot 1 for photos and slot 2 for video, Simultaneous recording which saves the same files to both cards at the same time ie backup, or auto switch which will automaticall record to the other card when one becomes full. I choose the first option to keep things simple when transferring my media to the computer.
Camera Icon Menu (Option 5/52)
File Number: Set to series
Set file name : I set this to ‘A74’ so that I know which camera has recorded the images when I load them onto my computer. You can choose any name you prefer.
Write Copyright info: On
Set Photographer: Add your name
Set Copyright: Add your name or company name.
I shoot in Manual mode but if you shoot in aperture or shutter priority with auto ISO then you will need to set your ISO values using option 13/52 and 14/52.
Sony A7 IV best settings for landscapes and non moving subjects
Choosing your autofocus settings will depend on your subject.
Option 20/52: Single Shot AF
Priority Set in AF-S : AF
Focus Area: Spot Small
Face/Eye Prior in AF : Off
For manually focusing set 20/52 to manual focus and turn peaking on as below.
Peaking display: On
Peaking level: High
Peaking colour: Red
Sony A7 IV best settings for portraits
Focus mode: Continuous AF: On
Priority set in AF-C: Balanced
AF Tracking sensititvity: 4
Focus area: Wide
Face/Eye priority in AF : On
The Sony A7 IV does an amazing job picking up a subjects eye, locking on and sticking with it even when they turn away from the camera for a second. It quickly locks back on to the same subject so I almost always use eye AF when shooting portraits.
Finally if you don’t want to hear the autofocus beep everytime the camera attains focus then head over to option 49/52 and turn audio signals off.
I hope you found this useful and hopefully it saved you a bit of time scrolling through the vast menu system of the Sony A7 IV. If you got some value from this post then please share it with your friends or anyone that you think would also find it helpful.
In a future article I shall be going through the best settings for video on the Sony A7 IV as well as showing how I set up the custom modes and function buttons for photography and video.
As many of you will know I have spent the last decade travelling the World and in that time I have fluctuated between carrying a full sized Manfrotto 055 XProB tripod to not using one at all.
However when I don’t have a tripod with me I always notice that I miss shots and that I don’t work as hard at my compositions. Therefore I have spent quite a lot of time researching the best travel tripods available and have now been using the Manfrotto BeFree Advanced travel tripod for a couple of years.
I thought it was about time that I reviewed the tripod so please check out my latest video review over on my Youtube channel
If you are new to Fujifilm or simply looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest that Fuji has to offer you have probably looked for comparisons of the Fuji XT4 vs X Pro 3 but how do you choose between them. What are the main differences and more importantly what are they like to use?
I’m fortunate enough to own both of these top of the range APS-C models from Fujifilm and have used them both extensively. I bought mine from Amazon as I like their returns policy and customer service.
One thing that I should mention straight off the bat is that if you are a videographer then you can skip the rest of the article and just purchase the Fujifilm X-T4 as it is much more suited to video work due to its larger battery, fully articulating screen and better video specs including 4k 60 and 10 bit internal recording as well as IBIS.
For those of you who are primarily stills shooters then the choice is somewhat more difficult.
The Fuji X-T4 is like a sports saloon car, it can go fast and do virtually everything that a 2 seater convertible can do but with a bit less style and of course you can’t put the roof down on a sunny day (the roof in this case being the X-Pro 3’s hybrid viewfinder).
So let’s start with what the Fuji XT4 and X Pro 3 have in common:
26.1MP X-Trans IV CMOS APS-C sensor
maximum continuous shooting speed of 30fps (with crop) or 20fps when using the e-shutter
hybrid autofocus system with contrast and phase detection (max. 425 points)
dual SD card slot (UHS-II compatible)
Both cameras are using the same 26mp X-Trans IV sensor which results in identical image quality. They are both powered by the latest X-Processor 4 and offer the same hybrid AF system and in use they appear to be pretty much equally as fast. Neither are laggy when switching between menus items or indeed switching the camera on. The X-T4 may have a very slight edge in face detect AF due to the latest algorithm being employed but in the real world they are pretty much neck and neck.
Both are weather resistant and I have no issue using either of them in less than perfect weather. The feel in the hand offers very similar build quality but in a different way. The XT4 feels more dense and solid and it should as it weighs 609g vs the X-Pro 3 at 497g.
They are so similar in size that it is not even worth writing down the measurements. However when you pick them up they feel worlds apart.
The XT4 feels very solid, weighty and like a workhorse with its enlarged grip (compared to the XT3). It is a very nice design and I must admit that I do like the look of the camera. However the X-Pro 3 feels different to other cameras due to its range finder esque styling, beautifully machined and subtle finish. I should say that I have the standard black version not one of the Dura coated models.
The X-Pro 3 is probably the most beautiful camera that I have ever owned and that includes models such as the X100T (in silver) and a Silver Pen F, both of which are among the best looking digital cameras ever created. Pictures on the internet don’t do it justice. They really don’t.
In use there is no denying that the XT4 makes more sense for most people. It offers an individual ISO dial rather than the slightly fiddly design on the X-Pro 3 where you have to lift the shutter speed dial and twist it to your desired ISO speed. This also feels like a weak point that may be prone to break in the future but to be fair it hasn’t yet.
The XT4 also continues to use the D-Pad which offers up extra Fn buttons that can be programmed to your liking. I can happily accept cameras from Fuji with or without the D-Pad but if given the choice I would retain it.
That X-Pro 3 LCD Screen
The other main physical difference which may or may not affect you depending on your shooting style is the XT4’s fully articulating LCD screen vs the highly contentious inward facing screen on the X-Pro3. The Screen on the X-Pro 3 faces inward and only opens downward. This Is supposed to encourage you to use the viewfinder and avoid constantly chimping your images giving a pure and authentic photographic experience. Okay, I made that last bit up but I think that is the general idea.
The screen on the X-Pro3 while not conventional is actually not a dealbreaker for me unlike for some. It actually works well in practise and as I use the camera purely for stills, particularly, street, candid portraits and documentary photography it offers the only function I would ever want in those scenarios which is the ability to shoot from the hip on the street in order to be discreet. Plus if I want to review my photos I can easily do so via the EVF.
The rear of the screen has a second display which is permanently on and shows the current film simulation with what looks like the label of old Fujifilm film emulsions. Maybe it’s a bit cheesy but I quite like it. The display can also be changed to show your current shooting setting.
As much as I like the X-Pro 3’s rather novel LCD screen there’s no denying that for most, it is not as useful as the fully articulating one found on the XT4. If I was solely a street shooter or just taking travel/documentary type stills then my opinion would be different but as I shoot a lot of landscapes as well as some video too, the fully articulating screen offers more flexibility. I can reverse it to check framing when creating video and it offers a variety of positions should I be shooting at high or low angles as well as in portrait orientation. It also closes with the LCD screen facing inward which means it is protected and you can ignore it altogether should you wish.
In the end which screen you prefer will depend on what type of photographer you are and how you shoot. I imagine that someone coming from using their mobile phone for photography would find the X-Pro 3’s screen quite limiting. However I very rarely use the LCD screen on any camera to compose my photos so being forced to use the viewfinder simply is not an issue for me.
Prime or Zoom?
I choose whichever one will serve me best for whatever I plan to shoot on that occasion. If I’m heading out for landscapes I grab the XT4 along with the 10-24mm and 55-200mm lenses. If I am going on vacation with the family and just want a camera with me for candid shots of them and anything else encountered then I usually put the X-Pro3 with the 23mm 1.4 or 35mm f/2 in a small bag along with the 56mm 1.2, a spare battery and a powerbank. IMO the X-Pro 3 suits prime lenses and the XT4 works better with the zooms. Both of course can work well with either.
Fuji XT4 vs X Pro 3 EVF/OVF
The EVF on both models is virtually the same although the XT4 offers a little more magnification at 0.75x vs 0.66x and aa much larger viewfinder eye cup which helps to shield the viewfinder when shooting in bright sunlight. . In use the differences are hardly noticeable. Even though I am left eye dominant I am fortunate to be able to use either eye. The range finder style viewfinder on the left of the X-Pro 3 does have some advantages when shooting people as you are not quite so hidden behind the camera. This allows me to feel more connected with my subjects and be more aware of what is happening outside of the field of view of the viewfinder.
The hybrid viewfinder on the X-Pro 3 offers all the benefits of an EVF as well as providing an OVF. Using the lever on the front of the camera you can very quickly change between the two. You can also superimpose a small electronic image onto the OVF which can aid in focusing.
The design is excellent and although I have preferred EVF’s for sometime now the OVF can come in very useful when shooting on the street. For instance, it would allow you to perfectly time someone walking into frame and capture them in exactly the right position in your image due to the lack of any delay.
Of course, the XT4 now has IBIS which can be useful when wanting to keep your ISO as low as possible as it allows you to shoot at shutter speeds not otherwise possible. If you shoot mostly people then the benefits of IBIS are probably not all that important as you will usually be using a faster shutter speed. It does allow for a little bit more creative control by enabling you to add motion to your images, for instance blurring the motion of subjects while retaining perfect sharpness of the surrounding scene.
If you are a travel/ landscape photographer and would rather not bring along your tripod then the IBIS in the XT4 is at its most useful. Allowing you to keep the ISO as low as possible to ensure the best possible image quality. I have found that with the Fuji 10-24mm lens I can consistantly handhold shots at the wide end down to 0.5 seconds. As useful as this is, if I am going out to do landscape photography then my tripod will be coming with me and so the IBIS becomes redundant. It is useful for grabbing quick shots which would otherwise require bumping up the ISO so it does add a level of flexibility that the X-Pro 3 lacks.
The XT4 also uses the larger capacity NP-W235 battery which offers significantly more shots than the NP-W236s used in the X-Pro 3. I get about 900 shots from the former and around 500 from the latter. Both cameras can be charged via USB-C so I usually only carry one spare for each and then recharge from a power bank. So although the new battery in the XT4 is definitely welcome it is perhaps not quite the deal breaker it would have been had neither of the cameras been capable of charging over USB-C.
When out and about shooting street and documentary photography I have noticed that I get a better reaction to the X-Pro 3 than the XT4. The design is minimalistic with no obvious Fuji logo on the front of the X-Pro3 and the classic range finder esque styling seems to be viewed as less threatening. I guess it looks more like an old film camera, a novelty if you will and so people pay it less attention or they enquire in a positive way about what camera it is. Yes you will get asked if it is a film camera quite a lot. Either way the reaction or lack of definitely makes me feel a little more confident and comfortable pointing it at strangers on the street.
Fuji XT4 vs X Pro 3 Conclusion
In the end the choice will come down to what type of photographer you are as much as the specs.
As an owner of both models my opinion is that for pure stills, perhaps with a focus on candid/street/documentary photography the sheer pleasure of owning and using such a unique camera would have me gravitate towards the X-Pro3 even though it is less flexible, less fully featured and actually more expensive than the XT4. For this type of photography I prefer using prime lenses and that is where the X-Pro 3 makes sense and shines. Attach the 23mm, 35mm or 50mm f/2 prime lens on the X-Pro 3 and you have a discreet, lightweight, weather sealed and very capable camera that (without sounding too poncy) epitomises the joy of photography, at least for me. It is a pleasure to use and it doesn’t hurt that it is as beautiful as it is capable.
With all that said, for 90% of photographers the XT4 is probably going to make more sense. It is cheaper, more capable, more comfortable to hold for long periods has better battery life and works better with Fuji’s zoom lenses (especially the red badge lenses) thanks to the larger grip and the option of a battery grip.
Add in the IBIS, fully articulating screen and better video options and it is one of the most well rounded mirrorless cameras available in any format and despite my love of the X-Pro 3, it is the one I would choose if I had to pick only one camera. However it doesn’t make me feel the way that the X-Pro 3 does and there is definitely something to be said for that.
Which one would you choose? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
I am currently spending quite a bit more time publishing videos on Youtube as I see it as a great way to get more eyes on my content, create a community and allow myself to move forward with my landscape photography.
When I’m out and about (and online too) I often get asked about how to edit photos in one of the many software programs available. By far the most commonly used photo editing software is Adobe Lightroom. I have been a Lightroom user for over a decade so thought it would be a good idea to create a video with 5 easy editing tips to take your photos from the Raw file to the finished edit in no time at all.
The Fujifilm XT4 that I am reviewing is my own. I purchased it in October 2020 as it featured several important upgrades over the XT3 that convinced me that the XT series could finally be my main camera system. So here I am in 2021 reviewing the Fujifilm XT4.
The XT4 is Fujifilm’s top of the range X series camera. It uses the same 26mp X-Trans sensor as the previous generation of X series bodies. Having experience with the XT3 I already knew that the image quality that can be achieved with this sensor is excellent both in terms of resolution, dynamic range and high ISO performance. I will include sample images below just in case you are unaware of how this sensor performs.
For me, the image quality that I would get was a known quantity and one that I knew I was happy with. However, the upgrades that made me look more closely at the XT4 were more on the handling side of things.
As I spend a lot of time out shooting with my family in tow, I often find that I don’t carry a tripod on these types of trips. Having been a long-time user of Olympus cameras and their excellent IBIS (in body image stabilisation) the inclusion of IBIS in the XT4 was a very welcome addition. So how well does the IBIS work?
With the Fuji 10-24mm f/4 lens attached the IBIS in the XT4 works alongside the OIS in the lens to give a claimed 6 stops of image stabilisation.
I took a series of images to see just how effective the IBIS was. Normally I can get sharp hand held images on the 10mm end of this lens shooting at 1/20th second. If the shutter speed drops any lower then my keeper rate goes down. 1/15 of a second and below and it becomes a bit hit and miss.
With the IBIS turned on I found that I could consistently get sharp handheld photos at 1/3
to ½ a second. This is with excellent technique. If I shoot in a more casual manner, then I cannot achieve sharp images with slower shutter speeds than 1/5 second.
So, the XT4 IBIS in combination with the OIS in the 10-24mm lens is giving me approximately 4 stops of stabilisation at the wide end.
I repeated this experiment using the Fuji 55-200mm lens and found that I could consistently get sharp handheld images at the 200mm end at 1/10 second whereas normally I would have to be shooting at 1/320 giving me around 5 stops of stabilisation. This is pretty much in line with what Fuji says the XT4 IBIS will give you alone and about a stop under the 6 stops they claim the combined IBIS and OIS of the lens will give.
Overall the IBIS is not quite as effective as that found on the Olympus EM1 III where I could regularly handhold wide angel images at 1-2 seconds but I’m still happy with it when you take into account the larger APS-C sensor found in the XT4 giving you better ISO performance. It allows me to just about get down to speeds where I can add an element of motion to water which is the main reason I would be shooting at those shutter speeds.
Build quality and handling
When I first opened the slick black packaging of the Fuji XT4 and held the camera in my hand I was very pleasantly surprised. My previous experience with the XT series ( I have owned the XT1 and XT2 and tested out the XT3) was that they are well made but always felt a little hollow. I was not a fan of this feeling as I like a camera to feel solid in my hand. I take my gear all over the World and I want it to feel as if it can stand up to some serious work.
The XT4 immediately felt better and much more solid. Yes, it weighs a little more at 607g vs 539g for the XT3 but it feels much better built, does not have that hollow feeling and the grip has been enlarged which makes it much more comfortable in the hand. It is now 2mm wider and 5mm deeper than the XT3 at 135 x93x 64mm. The size now seems just about a perfect compromise between feeling solid, well-built and comfortable in the hand without being too bulky or heavy. Please do not change this Fuji as I think you nailed it this time.
The shutter mechanism is now rated to 300k actuations compared with 150k on the XT3. This alone speaks to the improved build quality and gives me confidence that the XT4 will easily cope with professional use.
One of the most significant (and controversial) changes comes in the form of a fully articulating rear LCD. I know that some Fuji fans prefer a standard or 3-way tilt screen as found on previous generations, but I find a fully articulating rear screen to be the most flexible solution. It allows you to tilt up and down as well as front facing when horizontal and it also allows you to flip it 90 degrees to the camera body when shooting in portrait orientation. Not to mention that you can conveniently close it so that the screen faces in towards the body and is protected from being scratched or damaged. I understand that for ‘from the hip’ street shooting it may be less balanced and subtle but I rarely do that so don’t miss that ability.
While I love the screen, I do have one gripe with it. Well actually its not with the screen itself but with the cheap flappy port covers for the mic and remote sockets. They get in the way when you are setup for video and then want to flip the screen from rear facing to forward facing. I wish Fuji would have made them removable but they didn’t. Inexplicably they did decide to make the memory card door removable. Surely that is the wrong way around.
Lastly the other change that was especially important to me was the use of the new NP-W235 battery which lasts much longer than the older generation NP-W126s found in the older generation cameras. I can now shoot well over 500 shots on one battery and as I have the battery grip and two additional batteries this can easily see me through a long weekend landscape photography shoot. The camera itself can also be charged by USB-C which is great as I have a ton of power banks lying around so I can just bring one or two power banks on my trips and charge all my devices including the camera.
Something that I am not so fond of is that Fuji does not include a proper charger in the box. Only a cheap looking Phone style USB charger and USB-C cable is included so you must charge the batteries up while in the camera. Not great if you need to charge batteries while using the camera. The same can be said of the batter grip as there is no way to charge this separately. You must attach it to the camera and then charge all 3 batteries together. Again, not really the best solution as it would be nice to be able to charge the batteries in the grip while using the camera. It’s not a big deal though because the batteries now easily get me through a day’s shooting and I can simply plug everything in to a power bank at night to charge them.
There are a few other additions to the XT4 which may be of interest to you but are not that significant for my use. One is the addition of Classic Chrome film simulation. This is a beautiful filmic looking preset that I find works very well for side lit scenes and Caucasian skin. However, as I shoot a lot of my portraits in Asia it doesn’t work so well for Asian skin tones, so I only tend to use it when I’m back in Europe.
The Fujifilm XT4 now also allows for 240 fps HD video capture but I must admit I have not used it thus far being primarily a stills shooter. The video specs of the XT4 are excellent and varied, offering a lot of options for professional video capture which I will be exploring more later in the year if I can get back to the UK once this damned pandemic is dealt with. The Eterna profile along with very good 10 bit 4k video means that the Xt4 is more than good enough for my video needs.
Finally, as promised here are some image quality samples for those of you who are unfamiliar with what the 26mp X-Trans sensor can produce. The image quality is basically unchanged from the XT3 and X-Pro 3. I own an X-Pro 3 and get exactly the same images from it as I do the XT4.
The AF performance and in particular face and eye detection is slightly improved in the XT4.
So why would I (and you) choose the Fujifilm XT4 over rivals such as the Sony A7II (which I have also owned)?
For me there are 3 main reasons.
Firstly, and most importantly (for me) the handling, ergonomics and joy of using the XT4 is beyond the A7III. The XT4 feels like a ‘real’ camera with its manual dials for ISO, shutter speed and aperture. The Sony feels like a smart phone on steroids and as a bit of a techno dinosaur I prefer the more analogue feel of Fujis. If I enjoy using a camera and it makes me feel inspired then I generally get better images with it.
Secondly, I wanted a rugged but lightweight camera system (note I said system) and while the XT4 may not be much smaller than the A7III/Z6/EOS R etc, when you combine it with the vast array of Fuji lenses (particularly the Zooms) then the kit as a whole is still significantly smaller than a full frame kit. My go to lenses for travel are the trio of 10-24mm, 18-55mm, 55-200mm and the 35mm f/2. This all fits easily in my bag ( Lowepro Flipside 400AW) with room for a spare body, batteries, filters, laptop, hard drives, mics, Mavic 2 Pro drone + 3x batteries and more.
You can build out quite a small full frame mirrorless kit but I always found it limiting to only stick to the smaller cheaper lenses and having used Sony cameras with the GM series of lenses in the past I found them unbalanced and unwieldy on the A7 series bodes. I understand why many use them and would never discourage that but for me the Fuji system does what I want at a size and weight that I am happy with.
Finally, an important factor in any decision is price. The Fuji system has options from cheap to expensive but overall, the cost of building a comprehensive kit around Fuji is cheaper than that of full frame and IMO the difference in image quality between APS-C and full frame is not worth the additional cost. In fact, I skipped it altogether and also added a medium format camera to my kit for those occasions where I need it.
I have just released a quick video on Youtube of a landscape photography session I had the other day using the Fujifilm XT4. If you are interested in what the Fuji XT4 or other Fuji cameras can do then please do take a look at the video.