The Fujifilm X-T4 sits at the top of the company’s X series, and is probably our favorite APS-C camera right now. We found its in-body stabilization, improved AF tracking and larger battery give significant advantages over the already very good X-T3, especially if you shoot video.
But the company’s mid-range X-S10 brings in-body stabilization to a much more accessible price point and shares a lot of the X-T4’s features and capabilities. Does the more affordable camera provide everything you need or is it worth the extra money for the flagship model?
We’ll take a look at the factors you might want to consider.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two cameras is the way they handle. The X-T4 looks and operates like an early automatic film SLR, with dedicated dials for shutter speed and ISO, and assuming you’ll use the aperture ring that’s present on most X-mount lenses.
The X-S10, by contrast, uses unmarked command dials to change key exposure settings and a conventional mode dial for selecting the exposure mode. On the X-T4, exposure mode is defined by which settings dials have be set to their ‘A’ auto positions.
The X-T4 also has command dials, which can be used to control exposure if you prefer, with a combination of dial positions and menu settings letting you hand off control for a more DSLR-like experience.
Other differences between the two cameras are their respective size and build. The X-S10 is a pretty solid-feeling camera, compared to its midrange ILC peers, but it doesn’t have the extensive magnesium alloy construction or weather sealing of the X-T4, meaning it may not survive the same degree of intensive use, long-term.
The X-T4’s larger body also provides space for more control points. Most significantly, it has a full four-way controller, which helps contribute to its total of nine customizable buttons. The X-S10 has six custom buttons. Both cameras also let you assign four functions to directional swipes across the touchscreen.
Hand grips and accessory grips
Despite being the larger camera, the X-T4 has a less pronounced handgrip. There’s a decent lump on the front which, combined with the thumb rest on the back provides a solid means to hold the camera, but it’s more of a late 1980’s SLR-style bulge, unlike the bulky grip of the X-S10 that allows a full-fingered hold.
Third-party bolt-on grips are available for the X-T4, and Fujifilm’s own battery grip provides more of a handhold, but the X-S10 is likely to feel more familiar to anyone who’s used to a modern DSLR.
The X-T4 has a more sophisticated mechanical shutter mechanism that allows it to shoot at up to 15 frames per second and 8 fps with live view. This and a buffer around twice as deep make it more adept at action shooting than the X-S10, whose shutter restricts it to 8 fps without live view. However, in e-shutter mode the X-S10 can match the X-T4’s 20 fps shooting rate so it can keep up, if pushed, albeit for only half as long, despite its slower card slot.
The X-S10’s image stabilization is also rated as being slightly less effective than the X-T4’s. We haven’t noticed any day-to-day differences between the two, so have to conclude that the differences are likely to be in the more extreme situations with certain lenses and long exposure times.
One area where we’ve found little difference is autofocus. The X-T4 represented a significant step forward for Fujifilm, with subject tracking that was much better at sticking to the intended subject and an interface that made clear that it was doing so. We found we had to adjust various settings for the camera to get near the number of in-focus images that the latest Sony, Canon and Nikon cameras now produce seemingly effortlessly, but it’s capable of producing very good results. The good news is that the X-S10 offers similar performance for less money.
Both cameras are pretty good at face and eye detection, though occasionally prone to finding faces where no face exists. The X-S10 lets you configure the AF joystick to select between multiple faces in a scene (which can be over-ridden by tapping the joystick inwards). Doing the same thing on the X-T4 requires customizing a button to access ‘Face Selection’ mode, and forgets this setting when you turn the camera off. This is the only significant difference between the two cameras’ AF systems.
Video AF is again pretty good and, as you’d expect, you can control its speed and how readily it tries to refocus. However there’s no subject tracking in video mode on either camera so, although face detection works well, you can’t track other subjects and can’t be sure of what will happen if the camera briefly loses track of the face you wanted it to stay focused on.
Again, it’s no surprise that the significantly more expensive X-T4 has a better viewfinder than the X-S10, with a 3.69M dot panel, rather than the lower-res 2.36M dot display. I say ‘significantly’ because, while this only represents a 25% increase in linear resolution, in practice the difference is much greater than this might sound.
The X-S10’s viewfinder uses a smaller viewfinder panel which combines with the finder optics to give 0.62x magnification and an eyepoint of 17.5mm (the maximum distance from which you can see the whole panel). The X-T4 provides a much more impressive 0.75x magnification (a little larger than the finders found in the most expensive Pro-grade DSLRs), with a more generous eyepoint of 23mm. This, combined with a larger, more cushioned eye-cup means the X-T4 gives a much nicer view of the world, particularly for glasses-wearers.
Battery and other features
Another significant difference is battery life. The X-T4 uses a larger, W235 battery, rather than the older W126S unit. Some of the difference can be seen in the battery life numbers, with the X-T4 rated as offering 175 more shots per charge than the 325 of its less expensive counterpart.
However, even more than usual, those numbers don’t quite tell the full story. The X-S10, in its standard mode, drops into a low-power mode after around 12 seconds of inactivity, whereas the X-T4 only does so when its Economy mode is enabled. Comparing this economy mode to the X-S10’s standard mode gives a more like-for-like result, and shows the X-T4 can shoot for around 85% longer than the X-S10.
This is likely to make a big difference if you use your camera for extended shoots, if you want to capture video or if you’re traveling and likely to be away from a (USB) recharging opportunity for any length of time.
The X-S10’s single UHS-I card slot is located in the camera’s battery bay, whereas the X-T4 has a dedicated door for its twin UHS-II card bays. But, while the X-T4 boasts support for threaded or 2.5mm remote releases and a flash sync port, the X-S10 features a built-in flash, that the bigger camera lacks.
Video is where perhaps the biggest differences in performance start to emerge. The two cameras may be based on similar components but it’s perhaps understandable that Fujifilm might wish to reserve some of the more powerful features for its flagship model.
The X-T4’s video spec is still one of the best on the market, with DCI or UHD 4K footage oversampled from the full width of the sensor or 60p captured with a slight crop. Video footage can be saved with a variety of compression options including 10-bit 4:2:0 H.265 recording at up to 400Mbps. A selection of capture tools is provided and there’s a ‘boost’ IS mode for when you’re trying to cancel-out any camera movement.
The X-S10 can’t capture 10-bit footage, can’t shoot at 60p and can’t compress with the more efficient H.265 codec. However, most of the rest of the X-T4’s capabilities are present, including F-Log capture and the option to output a 10-bit 4:2:2 signal over HDMI if you find yourself enjoying video enough to add an external recorder. Boost IS, tally lights, zebras, peaking and the articulated screen make the X-S10 a very impressive video option in comparison to pretty much any APS-C camera other than the X-T4.
As you might expect, the X-T4 is at least a little bit better in almost every respect than the X-S10. Its list price is 70% higher, after all. However, given they offer the same image quality and very similar AF performance, it’s reasonable to consider whether you need all the bigger camera’s firepower.
The X-T4’s greater capabilities make it the clear choice if you’re at all interested in shooting video that you plan to color grade and edit, but the X-S10 is still a very capable video camera. If you want a stills camera to really enjoy or that will stand up to some abuse, the larger viewfinder, more numerous control points and more rugged build again hold a lot of attraction. But it’s hard to deny that the X-S10 is an absolute bargain and, for a lot of people, an X-S10 and an extra lens might be the more attractive combination.
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