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OM System OM-1 II review: the pint-sized powerhouse
10:45 am | June 7, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Comments: Off

OM System OM-1 II: two-minute review

There’s long been a snobbery when it comes to camera formats going back to the days of film. But with digital photography, while this does remain to some extent, the camera landscape is completely different and smaller sensor Micro Four Thirds (MFT) cameras are often some of the most advanced cameras available.

The OM System OM-1 Mark II is one such camera, but it’s more of an incremental update over the original OM System OM-1 than a significant upgrade. However, the new model is still one of the most technologically advanced cameras currently available, offering features and functionality that could easily tempt photographers away from larger format APS-C and full-frame cameras, especially those looking for a lightweight camera system.

The OM-1 II offers many of the same features as the original, including the same 20MP back-illuminated sensor with its 1053-point AF system, 50fps when shooting with continuous autofocus, Live ND filters (software-based) alongside the IP53-rated weather-sealed body to name but a few. The two cameras also look remarkably similar, nearly identical, so what’s so special about the OM1-II?

Olympus OM-1 Mark II

(Image credit: James Abbott)

The OM-1 II is undoubtedly a stunning camera that handles incredibly well and offers features and functionality that I wish my larger sensor cameras had, and I’ll cover many of these in more detail later. But this level of functionality doesn't come cheap – the body-only price is $2,400 / £2,199 / AU$3,599.

This price puts it in the same bracket as many mid-range full-frame cameras, which can seem like a negative when you’re getting a much smaller sensor. However, you're getting a typically smaller and lighter camera system, including the lenses, which most OM System fans favor. It's an easier-to-carry and more compact system that’s capable of shooting any subject, excelling in landscape and wildlife photography.

OM System OM-1 II: design

With its rugged build quality offering IP53-rated splash and dust resistance, alongside being able to withstand freezing temperatures down to -14 degrees fahrenheit / -10 degrees celcius, this compact and lightweight camera is designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor photography. 

The OM-1 II is slightly smaller than the average full-frame mirrorless camera, plus, it’s lighter at 1.32lbs / 599g including a battery and memory card. There are also two SD card slots for dual recording and redundancy.

Despite its slightly smaller size, the camera is comfortable to hold thanks to a well-contoured grip and an excellent thumb plate on the back. If you could say a camera fits your hand like a glove, it’s the OM-1 II. 

There are plenty of direct controls for speedy access to key camera settings, and the menu system itself is well laid out and easy to navigate, which can be an easily overlooked benefit of any camera. Although the OM-1 II looks almost identical to its predecessor, the newly rubberized dials provide greatly improved grip and overall feel.

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Olympus OM-1 Mark II

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Olympus OM-1 Mark II

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Olympus OM-1 Mark II

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Olympus OM-1 Mark II

(Image credit: James Abbott)

Shooting with the OM-1 II is an absolute pleasure, and the 5.76m-dot EVF that now has a blackout-free display when shooting at even the highest frame rates available provides a beautifully clear and bright image. 

The LCD on the back is also impressive, but as is often the case, this is lower resolution than the EVF. The 3-inch vari-angle 1,620K dot touchscreen is convenient, clear and bright, but some of the on-screen icons are on the small side.

The only thing that I don’t like about the design of the camera is that the on/off switch is on the left side of the camera, rather than on the right where you hold the camera. Right positioning makes it much easier to switch cameras on and off when you pick them up by the grip. 

But although in my opinion, this would be much better, the switch positioning certainly isn’t a dealbreaker and is likely to be something you’d get used to if you’re switching from a different camera system.

OM System OM-1 II: performance

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Photo of a daisy taken with the Olympus OM-1 Mark II

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Photo of a robin taken with the Olympus OM-1 Mark II

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Photo of an old tanker taken with the Olympus OM-1 Mark II

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Photo of a pigeon taken with the Olympus OM-1 Mark II

(Image credit: James Abbott)
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Photo of a robin taken with the Olympus OM-1 Mark II

(Image credit: James Abbott)

This is a camera that owes much of its prowess to computational power which includes AI algorithms. I’m not talking about generative AI for image creation, this is AI that aids the functionality and performance of the camera. 

One area where this is put to work is with the improved AI subject recognition that can be set to detect six different subjects as well as being switched off. This subject detection worked extremely well during testing, and the bird setting was fantastic for shooting birdlife, often detecting their eye which is both useful and impressive.

One of the headline new features is Live Graduated ND, which is a digital grad available in 1-stop, 2-stop and 3-stop strengths and can be set to soft, medium or hard graduations (see examples, below). As a landscape photographer who uses square filters, I found these digital equivalents offered harder graduations than my glass filters, but they’re still extremely effective.

There’s unfortunately no reverse grad option for shooting sunrises and sunsets, although the grad can be rotated to most angles. You also have to shoot in manual mode to avoid the foreground exposure from brightening, which is a little odd since you’d expect the algorithm to account for this. Still, it’s undoubtedly an impressive feature.

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Olympus OM-1 Mark II - no Live GND

No Filter (Image credit: James Abbott)

No Live GND filter to 3EV progression alongside a back of camera to show the on-screen Live GND.

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Olympus OM-1 Mark II 1EV Live GND

1EV Medium GND (Image credit: James Abbott)
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Olympus OM-1 Mark II 2EV Live GND

2EV Medium GND (Image credit: James Abbott)
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Olympus OM-1 Mark II 3EV Live GND

3EV Medium GND (Image credit: James Abbott)
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Olympus OM-1 Mark II

Back of camera showing the Live GND guide (Image credit: James Abbott)

The new Live Graduated ND sits alongside Live ND Shooting, which has been extended to ND128 / 7-stops with the OM-1 II to provide long exposure capabilities in-camera, as well as wide aperture shooting in bright conditions. 

The main downside to these two digital filters is that they can’t be used in conjunction, so landscape photographers will need to continue using traditional optical filters in situations where they need to use both ND filters and ND grads. Hopefully, dual shooting could be implemented in a firmware update, and if this is possible it would be phenomenal.

With 8.5 stops of 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS), the OM1-II beats its predecessor here by 1.5 stops, thanks again to software rather than a hardware upgrade. Sync IS also allows the IBIS to work in conjunction with the optical stabilization available in lenses, so when using the OM System 150-600mm F5.0-6.3 IS, for example, I was able to shoot at 600mm (1200mm equivalent) handheld at shutter speeds as low as 1/200 sec, which is nothing short of mind-blowing.

Last but not least, with many of the same fundamentals as the OM System OM-1, image quality is comparable and is overall excellent. ISO handling is best up to ISO 1600 and you could confidently shoot up to ISO 6400 when necessary, although like any camera it’s always best to shoot at the lowest ISO setting possible for the subject and situation you’re shooting. 

Then there's the advanced AWB algorithm that’s claimed to ensure precise color reproduction, which does indeed do a great job and was either perfect or just a little off during testing. Video capture has also seen some improvements, but 4K capture still tops out at 60fps where 120fps would be preferable for slow-motion capture.

Should I buy the OM System OM-1 II?

Olympus OM-1 Mark II

(Image credit: James Abbott)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

How I tested the OM System OM-1 II

Sony FE 24-50mm F2.8 G

(Image credit: Future)

I tested the OM System OM-1 II over several shoots covering different subjects to test features, handling and image quality. Most images were shot simply to see how the camera performed in different situations, while others were shot specifically for being able to assess the results.

This approach provides the ability to test all aspects of the camera in a real-world environment that’s closer to how photographers will use the camera, rather than relying on statistics and lens charts that provide incredibly useful information, but do so in a way that removes the element of subjective interpretation.

With nearly 30 years of photographic experience and 15 years working as a photography journalist, I’ve covered almost every conceivable photography subject and used many of the cameras and lenses that have been released in that time. As a working photographer, I’m also aware of the factors that are most important to photographers and aim to test cameras and lenses in a way that reflects this.

First reviewed February 2024

Panasonic Lumix S9 review – small, simple, powerful, flawed
7:06 pm | May 22, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Panasonic Lumix S9: two-minute review

There's much to like about the Panasonic Lumix S9. It inherits superb video features from its pricier sibling, the Lumix S5 II, and squeezes them into a smaller, colorful body. 

It boasts a 24.2MP full-frame sensor, open gate 6K video recording (taken from the full height and width of the 3:2 aspect sensor), the option to automatically set a 180-degree shutter angle, and one of the best performing image stabilization systems for shooting video on the move. 

Beyond its bigger sibling, the Lumix S9 also brings Panasonic's lesser-known Real Time LUTs color profiles to your fingertips. Fujifilm's Film Simulations have been trending, but Real Time LUTs color profiles are next-level, with no restriction on the look you want. 

Once you're connected to the new Lumix Lab app, you can import a number of Real Time LUTs profiles directly on to the Lumix S9, including a variety of excellent looks made by Panasonic's network of professional creators. This is color grading made easy for photo and video. 

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

With the Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 lens attached, which by the way is one of the smallest L-mount lenses available in 2024. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Design-wise, the Lumix S9 is primarily a video camera, and at $1,500 / £1,500 (Australian pricing TBC) it offers incredible bang for buck. The reason Panasonic has been able to drop the price from the $1,999 / £1,999 Lumix S5 II is simple – this is a much simpler body, and a colorful one at that, designed to appeal to young creatives. 

This is no photographer's tool, despite the excellent-quality 24MP stills: the Lumix S9 doesn't have a built-in viewfinder, or a hotshoe for mounting optional accessories, such as a flash or EVF. The coldshoe is instead limited to other accessories such as an external mic, or even a top handle.  

I missed having a viewfinder. Much of my testing was conducted in bright sunny weather and the flip-out touchscreen isn't the easiest to see under such conditions. 

In bright conditions you can't be fully sure if the Lumix S9 has locked focus on to your subject, you just have to trust it does. To be fair, for the best part it does – the S9 has Panasonic's best ever autofocus system, with human and animal subject detection and both with options for face and eye detection only, or for bodies, too. 

We're missing a headphone jack to monitor audio, which feels like a misstep for a video-focused shooter. You can activate on-screen audio monitoring which gives some indication of audio levels, but there's no easy way to properly monitor sound.

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

The Lumix S9 is a much bigger package with any lens attached, such as the Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 pictured here. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

In essence, this is a full-frame camera for beginner filmmakers who want to point-and-shoot and trust that the camera will capture excellent visuals and audio, and for the whole experience to be as close to using a smartphone as possible.

To an extent, the Lumix S9 is successful in its mission. It's visually appealing, small and simple, brings lovely photo and video color profiles to your fingertips and the app is a nice touch, even if it could do with some refining.

However, considering the target market, I'm not entirely convinced this should be an L-mount interchangeable lens camera, rather a fixed lens compact with a tiny wide-angle fast aperture prime lens – much like the Fujifilm X100VI.

It's really hard to make tiny full-frame lenses, and the new pancake lens announced on the same day as the S9, plus the compact zoom in the pipeline, hardly excite. The smallest fast aperture L-mount prime lenses dwarf the camera and I'm not sure beginners will want to mess around with multiple lenses in the first place.

Design-wise, Sony's ZV-E10 feels like a better bet – with its smaller APS-C sensor and lenses, plus a decent grip. All being said, the Lumix S9 does a lot of things really well, new things, too, and we'll have to wait and see if it hits the mark with young creatives.

Panasonic Lumix S9: release date and price

  • Body-only price is $1,499 / £1,499 / Australia TBC
  • Available from June 2024
  • Launched alongside the Lumix S 26mm F8 pancake lens, which costs $219 / £219

The Panasonic Lumix S9 is available in four colors: Dark Olive (pictured, below), Classical Blue, Crimson Red and Jet Black, and costs $1,499 / £1,499 body-only, or $1,799 /£1,799 with the decent 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, and $2,249 / £2,249 when bought with Panasonic's new travel lens, the 28-200mm f/4-7.1. The camera is available from June 2024, and Australia pricing for all of those options is TBC. 

There's no word yet if the Lumix S9 will be available as a bundle with either of the newly announced lenses, the new 26mm f/8 pancake lens or the 18-40mm F4.5-6.3 compact zoom in development. The pancake lens, which only weighs 2.04oz / 58g, costs $219 / £219 and also ships from June 2024, while the compact zoom is coming later.

At launch, the Lumix S9 is Panasonic's cheapest full-frame camera yet, although the Panasonic Lumix S5 II / S5 II X that shares much of the same tech but in a higher-spec body, is often on sale for a similar cost.

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

You can take off the lens to easily pack the Lumix S9 away in a small bag. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Panasonic Lumix S9: design and handling

  • Newly designed body is Panasonic's smallest full-framer yet
  • No viewfinder, hotshoe or headphone jack
  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • New compact lenses on the way

The Lumix S9 is Panasonic's smallest full-frame camera yet, measuring 126 x 73.9 x 46.7 mm / 4.96 x 2.91 x 1.84 inches. It's not the smallest full-frame camera around – that award goes to the Sigma FP, plus the Sony A7C II is smaller by a whisker.

The body might barely be a handful, but it still needs a lens, and even the smallest full-frame L-mount lenses currently available – excluding the new 26mm F8 pancake – dwarf the Lumix S9. Throw on the excellent 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 and the depth is increased to 133.9mm / 5.28-inches. 

A thumb grip goes some way in providing a secure hold, but with no hand grip you'll probably need to support the camera with both hands, or kit it out with a third-party grip. Relatively chunky lenses are the challenge in handling small full-frame cameras like this – the all round feel is better with a camera like the full-size Lumix S5 II. 

In an ideal world, the Lumix S9 would have a fixed prime lens around the size of Panasonic's new pancake lens, but with a much faster maximum aperture – the Fujifilm X100VI approach. Panasonic could then also install a built-in ND filter, and ultimately create a truly compact video camera that also shoots much better video than your phone.

Still, if you don't mind the size of lenses like the 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 and 50mm F1.8 – both of which I had with the camera for this review – then you can make some excellent quality video.

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

The Lumix S9's Dark Olive color variation looks the part.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

There's the question of which tasteful color variation you will pick: green, red, blue, or an all-black option for those playing it safe. For now, Panasonic's lenses remain all-black; there's no color-matching kit lenses.

Panasonic Lumix S9 key specs

Sensor: 24.2MP full-frame CMOS
AF system: Hybrid with phase-detect
EVF: N/A
ISO range: 100 to 51,200 (ISO 50-204,800 extended range)
Video: 6K/30p 'open gate' 4:2:0 10-bit internal
LCD: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1.84m-dots
Max burst: 8fps (continuous autofocus), 30fps burst
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 5GHz, Bluetooth 5.0
Weight: 403g (body only), 486g incl battery and card

Control layout is super simple and beginner-friendly: on the top there's a shooting mode dial, video record button, exposure compensation, shutter button and control dial. We get a limited number of ports: mic, USB-C and mini-HDMI, but no headphone jack.

As a small, video-focused camera, there's no viewfinder nor the option to add one, while the coldshoe mount can hold an accessory like an external mic, but it won't connect directly to a hotshoe flash.

The 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen is decent, albeit hard to see in bright light. I couldn't find the option to activate a red border to clearly indicate when the camera is recording video, or even a tally lamp – inexplicable omissions for a small, video-focused camera.

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

The S9 body is tiny, but it still needs a lens, which adds considerable depth. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

In-camera menus are fairly-well laid out. If you select the video mode on the top dial, then all of the photography settings disappear in the menu, helping you access video options much quicker.

You'll want to customize video options to get started, for example setting the 'Shutter Speed / Gain Operation' to prioritize shutter angle to automatically apply the 180-degree shutter angle for smooth video footage. This handy option is not available on a lot of other pricier video cameras.

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

The vari-angle screen can flip around for selfies, although the camera lacks a clear indicator when recording videos, for instance a tally lamp or red border around the screen.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

A new LUT button on the rear gives quick access to the unmatched variety of color profiles, which can be uploaded to the camera via the Lumix Lab app in addition to those already included. I went for 'Platinum Steel' by Sam Holland for a moody vibe with soft skin tones, among others.

Panasonic wants to create a camera and app experience that's easier than ever. From my brief time using the Android version of the Lumix Lab app, the jury is still out. Connection is faster than most, but the app can still be awkward to navigate, and appears to be limited to file transfers and uploading LUTs profiles. There could be more than this, including remote control.

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

The Lumix S9's control layout is pared back and beginner-friendly. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Panasonic Lumix S9: features and performance

  • Superb in-body image stablization
  • Panasonic's best phase detection autofocus 
  • Battery life is a respectable 470-shots (depending on lens)
  • Single UHS-S II SD card slot
  • New Lumix Lab app

The Lumix S9 is well supported by Panasonic's best ever autofocus and image stablization performance, both inherited from the Lumix S5 II. 

The S9's bigger sibling was the first Panasonic camera to utilize a hybrid autofocus system, with snappy contrast detection autofocus primarily for stills, and smooth phase-detection autofocus for video, featuring subject detection modes that cover human, animal, car and motorcycles. 

Human and animal detection autofocus can switch between prioritizing face and eye only, or face, eye and body, and in general works really well. 

Image stabilization performance is outstanding. It's possible to shoot sharp photos handheld with shutter speeds in the seconds, while handheld video footage on the go is super smooth – smooth enough for moderate action that you can avoid using a gimbal. 

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

Connection between the Lumix S9 and Lumix Lab app proved quick and reliable using a Google Pixel 6 phone.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

There's just a single SD card slot with support for the faster UHS-II type, and you can capture up to 120 images in the continuous high burst shooting setting, which maxes out at 8 frames per second with continuous autofocus employed. This is no action photography camera, but it's hardly a slouch. 

Battery life is also decent, especially considering the diminutive size of the camera. According to its CIPA rating, the S9 can squeeze out up to 470 shots from a fully charged battery, or 100 minutes of continuous 4K / 60p video recording. 

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High contrast London street photo taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 and custom Real Time LUTs applied

A 'Platinum Steel' Real Time LUT profile (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

The original standard color profile (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Then there's the Lumix Lab app, which at the time of writing is compatible only with the Lumix S9. In my experience using a Google Pixel 6 and the Android version of the app, pairing the camera is quicker and more reliable than most other rival apps. 

In the app you get quick access to a range of Real Time LUTs color profiles. A number of Panasonic's creators have loaded some of their own publicly available and free to download LUTs in the app's Creator gallery, and I've found a look for just about every scenario. 

I've included a high-contrast street photo taken in London with the Lumix S9's standard color profile, and then applied a free 'Platinum Steel' LUT which suited the scene (see above).

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Screenshot of the Lumix Lab app and LUT color profile options

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Screenshot of the Lumix Lab app and LUT color profile options

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Screenshot of the Lumix Lab app and LUT color profile options

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Screenshot of the Lumix Lab app and LUT color profile options

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Screenshot of the Lumix Lab app and LUT color profile options

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Sadly, video capture times are severely limited, capped at just 15 minutes, and further reduced to 10 minutes when shooting in 6K. This is presumably to avoid overheating given the Lumix S9 lacks an internal fan, as opposed to any limitations in the camera's performance, including its processor power and card's read and write speeds.

Most people won't shoot individual clips for longer than 15 minutes, but knowing that you can in any situation is one less thing to worry about, whether that's recording speeches at an event or lengthy vlogs.

Panasonic Lumix S9: image and video quality

  • Superb video features including open gate video recording up to 6K / 30p
  • Real Time LUTs color profiles are supremely versatile
  • New MP4 Lite file format
  • Up to 14-stops dynamic range in V-log color profile

With practically the same sensor and video spec as the Lumix S5 II, you can be assured that the Lumix S9 captures superb quality video, plus sharp and punchy 24MP stills. You can read more about the image and video quality to expect in our Lumix S5 II review.

What the Lumix S9 tries to do differently is bring Panasonic's Real Time LUTs to the fore, through quick access via a direct button on the camera's body and the Lumix Lab app, through which you can easily upload any one of a vast array of color profiles for just about any shooting scenario. 

You can create your own color profiles and save them to the camera, or simply take advantage of the profiles already available through the Creator's gallery in the app.

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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

There's also the matter of a new MP4 Lite video format. It maxes out at 4K, 10-bit 4:2:0, but produces files that are around 40% smaller than regular MP4 files, which are also available in the S9. However, for best quality video, you'll probably want to shoot in .MOV format in 4K 4:2:2 10-bit or 6K 4:2:0 10-bit, even if the file sizes are much bigger. 

Whether it's a light and easy ready-made MP4 Lite video with Real Time LUT applied, or 6K 10-bit video in the V-log color profile with 14-stops of dynamic range that needs to be graded afterwards, there's video quality for every level of ability and shooting scenario. 

How I tested the Panasonic Lumix S9

  • Two brief sessions, including a street photography walk 
  • Paired with the 26mm pancake, 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 and 50mm F/1.8 lenses
  • Paired with the Lumix Lab app

I've had a fairly brief time with the Lumix S9 so far, including a London street photography session and a more leisurely time at home and on launch day. I still have the camera at home and will be continuing to use it ahead of the full review. 

I've been shooting both photos and videos, and tried pairing the S9 with the Lumix Lab app to play around with various Real Time LUTs color profiles and making quick edits to photos, among other things. 

During the London session I was briefly able to use the S9 with the only copy of the pancake lens available in the UK, plus I've had more time using the camera with the 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 and 50mm F1.8 Panasonic Lumix L-mount lenses. 

First reviewed May 2024

Fujifilm GFX100S II review – worth switching from full-frame?
11:28 am | May 17, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Fujifilm GFX100S II: two-minute review

Fujifilm has bucked the trend by launching a new camera that is actually cheaper than its predecessor, despite three years of inflation and the improved features on board. There is, therefore, more to the new Fujifilm GFX100S II than its upgraded features – it's priced aggressively to grab the attention of pro photographers teetering between the best full-frame cameras and medium-format. 

Costing around 10% less than the GFX100S was at launch, the GFX100S II is available for $5,000 / £5,000 / AU$8,700, which is a similar price to what you'd pay for comparable full-frame mirrorless cameras – a sensor format Fujifilm isn't making cameras for, but a market it clearly wants a piece of.

And with a whopping 102MP sensor creating high-resolution images exceeding those from any full-frame model, even those shot with the class-leading Sony A7R V, there are plenty of pros who could be better served by the GFX100S II's larger medium-format.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera no lens attached

The grip of the GFX100S II is supremely comfortable. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Not only has Fujifilm priced the GFX100S II aggressively, but it has trickled down some of the most powerful features the format has ever seen from the pricier GFX100 II flagship, including 7fps burst shooting and AI subject detection autofocus.

It might not be quite as fast as the GFX100 II overall, but the GFX100S II is no slouch and goes some way to put to bed the notion that medium-format is simply slow and confined to a small number of scenarios, such as studio portraiture.

During my hands-on time with the GFX100S II, I've taken photos and videos of animals in a wildlife reserve and been super impressed by the details in those images, but also by the overall speed and autofocus performance in what were pretty challenging scenarios, such as shooting through foliage and enclosure fencing.

The question now for pro photographers considering a larger medium-format camera is less about budget and more about needs. Yes, the GFX100S II is still slower in general than a camera like the Sony A7R V, but not by a lot. And with it you get higher-resolution images with true-to-life colors that are noticeable to pros – at times making full-frame camera image quality feel ordinary.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera in the hand

GFX100S II with GF 100-200mm F5.6 lens attached. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

For balance, we do need to consider the system that a camera is part of. Thankfully, there are numerous decent Fujifilm GF lenses for the GFX100S II. However, in general they are pricier and chunkier than full-frame equivalents.

Also, for most users interested in the format, there might not be enough reason to upgrade from the GFX100S II's predecessor, the GFX100S, which despite being phased out is still available to buy and now at cut prices – just $4,399 at B&H Photo or £3,499 at WEX – and with which you still get 102MP photos.

All being said, if you weren't already sure about the sensor format, the GFX100S II is the most compelling case for medium-format yet.

Fujifilm GFX100S II: release date and price

  • Body-only price is $4,999 / £4,999 / AU$8,699
  • Available from June 17
  • Optional metal grip available, but no vertical battery grip
  • Launched alongside the GF 500mm f/5.6 lens, which costs $3,499 / £3,499 / AU$6,099

Fujifilm is clearly going after those teetering between full-frame and medium format, aggressively pricing the GFX100S II. It's actually cheaper than the GFX100S was at launched by around 10%, despite three years of inflation and the improved features added. 

At $4,999 / £4,999 / AU$8,699 in body-only form, the GFX100S II is going up against some of the best full-frame cameras, such as the Nikon Z8 and Sony A7R V, and is a decent alternative for those that need the best image quality over outright speed. 

Unlike the flagship GFX100 II, you can't buy a vertical grip for the GFX100S II, which would improve the ergonomics with larger lenses and increase battery life. However, you can buy a standard metal hand grip for $120 / £135 / AU$245. There's no word on kit bundles yet, but we do know the sales start date, which is June 17. 

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera in the hand no lens attached

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Fujifilm GFX100S II: design and handling

  • Same body layout as the GFX100S, but with 'bishamon-tex' leather exterior
  • Improved 5.76m-dot non-removable EVF
  • Two-way tilt touchscreen great for shooting at awkward angles

It might look different to the GFX100S, but the GFX100S II has pretty much the same control layout and form factor. The key difference in the looks department is the camera's finish, which is Fujifilm's 'bishamon-tex' leather, as first seen in the GFX100 II (see photo, below). 

The leather finish is a departure from Fujifilm's retro roots and steps into a modern aesthetic that I'm a fan of. Otherwise, it's as you were with its predecessor, meaning a rugged DSLR-style camera with deep and comfortable grip, plus generous displays that include an improved EVF, versatile multi-angle touchscreen and generous top LCD display.

The latest model is actually slightly lighter than the first one, at 1.95lb / 883g, yet remains well-balanced even with Fujifilm's chunkier GF lenses, such as the 100-200mm f/5.6 R LM OIS WR and new GF 500mm f/5.6 that I had during my hands-on.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera's textured grip

The bishamon-tex leather finish that is the hallmark of Fujifilm's medium format cameras today.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

The camera is akin to a mid-size full-frame camera such as the mirrorless Nikon Z8 or the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR, and lighter than a sports-style shooter like the Canon EOS R3. With a GF lens attached, it's not the sort of setup you can comfortably carry for hours on end, but it's easy enough to operate.

Fujifilm GFX100S II key specs

Sensor: 102MP medium format CMOS
Image processor: X-Processor 5
AF system: Hybrid with phase-detect
EVF: 5.76-million dot OLED
ISO range: 80 to 12,800 (ISO 40-102,400 extended range)
Video: 4K/30p 4:2:2 10-bit internal
LCD: 3.2-inch multi-direction tilting touchscreen, 2.36m-dots
Max burst: Up to 7fps
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Weight: 883g (body only)

Fujifilm has been able to improve on the GFX100S without encroaching too closely on the current flagship GFX100 II. For example, the EVF has a decent bump in resolution at 5.76m-dots, with a healthy 0.84x magnification, while the pricier GFX100 II has a 9.44m-dot EVF and 1x magnification, plus its viewfinder can be removed or modified using a tilt adaptor.

While the EVF specs are a step down, the display in the GFX100S II is wonderfully big and bright, though like with a lot of EVFs you get lag in low-light conditions.

What remains the same – and needed no real improvement – is the rear LCD, which is a two-way tilt touchscreen. It can't be flipped around for selfies, but it can be tilted in both vertical and horizontal orientations, making it a breeze to view and to operate from virtually any position.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera in the hand

The large top LCD displays exposure information but can be customized to display other info such as a histogram.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

The backlit top LCD is super-handy, too. It displays exposure information by default, but you can change that to show the histogram among other things. These are the kind of tools that pro photographers appreciate, making the GFX100S II a particularly good landscape photography camera.

For a camera this size, there are relatively few buttons and controls, making each one easy to find, and in general the tactile response of each control is spot on, although the joystick is a little stubborn.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera's rear screen tilted two ways

The two-way tilt touchscreen makes shooting from awkward angles a breeze, though you can't use it for selfies.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

By design, the GFX100S II is a photography-first camera, although there's all the basics to support video recording, including a dedicated stills / movie switch, plus mic input, headphone jack and on-the-go USB-C charging.

We also get twin card slots, although both slots are SD card only. It's another differentiator from the flagship model, which can also hold the faster CFexpress Type B card type to better support powerful features, and we'll get onto those next.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera viewfinder

The viewfinder is fixed, whereas the one in the GFX100 II can be removed.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Fujifilm GFX100S II: features and performance

  • Decent Hybrid AF with AI subject detection
  • Up to 7fps (electronic) for almost 200 JPEGs
  • Dual SD UHS-II slots but no CFexpress Type B support
  • In-body image stabilization specs are optimistic

Fujifilm upped the bar with the GFX100 II, delivering never-before-seen medium-format performance. We can't expect the same power from the much cheaper GFX100S II, but it's no slouch. 

The same X-Processor 5 engine can process 102MP files at 7fps for up to 184 JPEG images or 30 compressed raw files. Those burst-shooting sequences aren't quite as lengthy as you'll get on the GFX100 II, though if you don't mind dropping to 4.1fps then you'll get a huge bump in the number of frames you can capture. 

A comparable full-frame camera such as the Sony A7R V can shoot at 10fps, but we should remember the huge file sizes that the GFX100S II is creating: the full- resolution raw files are around 200MB a pop and measure 11648x8736 pixels. 

Burst-shooting sequences and buffer performance is compromised because the GFX100S II records on to SD UHS-II cards only, with dual card slots, while the GFX100 II can record to much snappier CFexpress Type B cards.

Bear taken with Fujifilm GFX100S II and GF 500mm F5.6 lens

102MP images at 7fps means you can capture superb detail and the best moment. I've heavily cropped into the full-resolution version of this image, shot through a fence with the 500mm F5.6 lens. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Fujifilm says in-body image stabilization (IBIS) performance is improved, with up to 8-stops of stabilization depending on the lens in use. IBIS is possibly the single most important feature of a high-resolution camera like this, compensating for camera shake when shooting handheld to ensure sharp detail.

It's IBIS that enables a 102MP camera like the GFX100S II to break free from a tripod and truly be a handheld camera. Frankly, I found 8-stops a tad optimistic. First impressions are that Panasonic's IBIS in the full-frame Lumix S5 II performs better, as does the Hasselblad X2D 100C. With the new GF 500mm F5.6 lens I was reliably getting more like 4-stops stabilization, but in-the-field tests are hardly scientific and I'll run more diverse tests during a full review.

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Bear taken with Fujifilm GFX100S II and GF 500mm F5.6 lens

Animal detection autofocus nailed sharp focus on the bear's eye (scroll for closeup) (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Bear taken with Fujifilm GFX100S II and GF 500mm F5.6 lens

Animal detection autofocus nailed sharp focus on the bear's eye (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

What you do get, though, is the best autofocus performance of any medium-format camera. Of course, being in a wildlife reserve I mainly stuck with the AI animal detection autofocus mode, and on the whole found it to be sticky and reliable, with visual confirmation that the subject's body and eye is being tracked. I have photos of bears with pin-sharp focus on the eyes (see above).

The Sony A7R V's autofocus is quicker and more intelligent, better able to recognize not just subjects but also its posture. In the low light of an enclosure I found the GFX100S II regularly mistook a gorilla's ear for its eye, whereas I'm sure the A7R V would've nailed it. There were also times that it simply couldn't autofocus at all through a fence, but these are challenging situations for any camera.

Gorilla taken with Fujifilm GFX100S II and GF 500mm F5.6 lens

This scenario often tricked the GFX100S II's animal detection autofocus, which often mistook the gorilla's ear for an eye and therefore focused on the ear.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Fujifilm GFX100S II: image and video quality

  • Incredibly detailed photos
  • ISO 80-12,800 sensitivity range can be expanded to ISO 40-102,400
  • Only 4K / 30p video, but with internal 4:2:2 10-bit
  • Slightly slower sensor readout than the 'HS' sensor in the GFX100 II
  • 20 film simulations

You're buying a 102MP camera like the GFX100 II because detail matters, and you get it in spades – all 11648x8736 pixels of it. Those 4:3 aspect ratio images made with one of Fujifilm's sharp GF lenses are breathtakingly detailed, especially in good light. This camera is an absolute dream for landscape photography.

What's more, such detail gives you immense cropping power, effectively extending your lens, which proved super-handy with the 500mm lens shooting wildlife photography. You can see the full image of a bear in the gallery below and a cropped version of the same image, which would still look great blown up large on screen or print.

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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

I could crop tight on the gorilla from the full scene and still have pixels to spare. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Bear photo taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II and 500mm F5.6 lens

The full picture. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Bear photo taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II and 500mm F5.6 lens

The kind of cropping that you can easily do with such a vast number of pixels. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Image quality isn't just about detail – color matters, too, and I'm a fan of Fujifilm's straight-out-of-the-box standard color profile in this sensor format. Of course, it being Fujifilm you also get the full range of Film Simulations – color profiles inspired by Fujifilm's film, such as Astia and Velvia and most recently, Reala Ace.

I'm not sure how good image quality will be in low light, having just a few examples from my day with the camera. Photos of the gorilla in an enclosure (see below), shot at F5.6, 1/500sec and ISO 12,800, gave me the closest indicator, with detail not nearly as clean as when shooting at ISO 1600 or lower.

The GFX100S II has decent lenses to choose from – I've used a fair few GF lenses down the years and have always been impressed by their quality. They're quite capable of resolving intricate detail, but also of superbly controlling distortion and flare. 

Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

At ISO 10,000, contrast is reduced and detail less clean, but for such big files is possible to mitigate the adverse impact of noise. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

We can't expect the GFX100S II to pack all the same features as its pricier sibling the GFX100 II, and filmmakers in particular will feel the compromises the most. Where the flagship model shoots 8K video, the GFX100S II only records 4K up to 30fps, with no slow-motion option. Still, it's not all bad news, because you can record in superior 10-bit 4:2:2 internally, plus output raw video to an external recorder.

Fujifilm told us that the sensor is a variation of the 'HS' sensor used in the GFX100 II, and its sensor readout is a little slower. This means more potential for rolling shutter in video and in fast action photos, which can look ugly. I'll be checking this out more when I get my hands on the camera again.

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Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Velvia Vivid Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Reala Ace Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Classic Negative Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Eterna Bleach Bypass Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Acros Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

How we tested the Fujifilm GFX100S II

  • 24 hour period
  • Mostly animal photography in a wildlife reserve
  • Paired with the 100-200mm F5.6 and 500mm F5.6 lenses

I had the Fujifilm GFX100S II for a 24-hour period, during which time it was used extensively in a wildlife reserve taking pictures and videos of exotic animals large and small, out in the open and in enclosures, through foliage and with clear sight. 

The camera was paired with the GF 100-200mm F/5.6 and new GF 500mm F5.6 lenses and various focus modes employed including animal detection autofocus. 

First reviewed May 2024

Fujifilm X-T50 review: putting film simulations at your fingertips
9:00 am | May 16, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Fujifilm X-T50: Two-minute review

There have been two branches to Fujifilm’s X-T line, with the double-digit models like the Fujifilm X-T30 and the X-T30 II being the entry-level ones. So you’d think that the successor to the already excellent Fujifilm X-T30 II would also be an entry-level camera, albeit a bit improved. Fujifilm, however, has shaken things up, with the new X-T50 now more in line with the advanced Fujifilm X-T5. It also might explain why the Japanese camera maker has entirely skipped the T40 moniker.

For starters, the X-T50 uses the same 40.2MP APS-C format sensor and X Processor 5 imaging engine as the X-T5, and it also inherits the same 5-axis in-body image stabilization that’s good for up to 7 stops of compensation. 

Fujifilm X-T50 specs

Sensor: 40.2MP APS-C BSI X-Trans CMOS 5 HR
AF points: 425 points
Video: 6.2K/30p, 4K/60p, 1080/240p video and 4:2:2 10bit internal recording
Viewfinder: 0.39-inch OLED 2.36m-dot
Memory card: Single SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II
Rear display: 3.0-inch tilt type touch LCD, 1.84m-dot
Max burst: 20fps with electronic shutter
Weight: 438g with battery and SD card

The sensor has a better signal-to-noise ratio compared to the X-T30 II, allowing for the base ISO sensitivity to be 125 as opposed to 160 in the older model. Shutter speed is faster too, with the electronic shutter on the X-T50 capable of dropping to 1/180,000 second. There’s improved AI subject detection autofocus with eye tracking which, again, brings it more in line with the X-T5 and makes it a whopper of an upgrade over the X-T30 II. Video specs have also been updated, with the X-T50 now able to capture up to 6.2K/30p clips.

Overall, that’s an impressive list of upgrades that make the X-T50 a remarkable camera, with top-notch image quality, both for stills and video. One physical change to the X-T50, however, indicates it might still be a more beginner-oriented camera rather than an advanced enthusiast offering.

On the X-T50, Fujifilm has decided to repurpose the Drive mode dial on the top panel to instead provide quick and easy access to up to 11 Film Simulations. This is an ingenious move to make the camera more user-friendly for beginners, but I suspect that more serious photographers would have preferred the Drive mode dial to remain where it always has been.

There are other features that also suggest this is more a beginner camera than one for demanding enthusiasts – there’s still no weather sealing on the X-T50, the EVF has been inherited from the X-T30 II, and the rear display remains a tilting type with the same resolution of 1.84 million dots.

While the chassis itself looks identical to that of the X-T30 and X-T30 II, there are changes to the button layout that don’t necessarily affect the handling of the camera. That said, the grip is still small and could be uncomfortable to hold over long periods of time, and the joystick is still awkwardly placed. I’m also not a fan of the quick menu button being beside the thumb rest, but it’s easy enough to reach without taking your eye off the EVF once you've built muscle memory to find it.

Compact and lightweight, I’d say that the X-T50 could easily become one of the best travel cameras on the market, but all its upgrades have come at a steep price, which makes it harder to recommend over the X-T5.

Fujifilm X-T50 kit on a table

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

Fujifilm X-T50 review: release date and price

  • Announced May 16, 2024; release date June 17, 2024
  • Launch price of $1,399 / £1,299 / AU$2,599 body only
  • Kits available with new XF 16-50mm f/2.8-4.8 R LM WR lens

Given the upgrades over the X-T30 II, I’m not at all surprised that the X-T50 is a more expensive camera, with a launch price tag of $1,399 / £1,299 / AU$2,599 body only. What does surprise me is just how much more it costs over its predecessor that had a launch price of $899 / £749 / AU$1,585 a couple of years ago. Even taking inflation and the upgrades into account, that’s a steep markup!

And if you want a kit, you can pick up the bundle that pairs the camera with the new XF 16-50mm f/2.8-4.8 R LM WR lens for $1,799 / £1,649 / AU$3,149.

The X-T50's launch price isn’t too much more than the Fujifilm X-T5’s current price of $1,699 / £1,449 / AU$2,899 for the body alone, which represents better value as you get more advanced features here, including dual card slots. Shop for this camera during a major sale and you could likely get it for less than the X-T50 costs.

Value score: 4 / 5

Fujifilm X-T50 kit sitting on a laptop keyboard

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

Fujifilm X-T50 review: Design

  • Similar body to Fujifilm X-T30 II with minor differences
  • Film Simulation dial on top plate
  • Still no weather sealing

When a camera offers oodles of retro charm, there really isn’t the need to change the design... and at first glance, it seems like the X-T50 inherits the same body as the X-T30 series. Not quite so. There are subtle tweaks to the X-T50 chassis which Fujifilm says makes it easier to hold and use. I disagree. 

It's a slightly more rounded body than the X-T30 series, but the grip still remains small when compared to more robust Fujifilm bodies like the X-T5 and the X-S series. It still handles beautifully, although if you plan to hold on to it all day, that grip is not going to be comfortable.

Fujifilm X-T50 camera body

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

For the first time on a Fujifilm camera, there’s a Film Simulation dial available on the camera body. Now, that dial itself isn’t new – it’s the same Drive mode dial on the left of the top plate that’s been repurposed. There are eight popular Simulations already marked on the dial, plus three more that can be assigned to the FS1, FS2 and FS3 options. There’s one marked ‘C’ which, you would think, stands for ‘custom’ but it’s actually an Auto option. So, essentially, there are only up to 11 out of the current 20 Simulations at your fingertips. And unfortunately, you also can't assign your own simulation recipe to any of the custom FS options on that dial.

In use, I found that it’s necessary to take the camera away from the eye to turn the dial, as there’s just not enough grip on the body to operate the selection single-handed. That said, the simulation selection you make is displayed on the EVF as well as the rear monitor, depending on what you’re using to frame your scene, so you don’t necessarily need to concentrate on the dial itself.

If you’re familiar with the X-T30 or the X-T30 II, you might notice that the rear button layout is slightly different. Firstly, there’s no autofocus lock (AF-L) to the right of the rear control wheel, with the previous exposure lock (AEL) button being replaced with an AF-ON option to trigger autofocus and metering. The AEL button has been moved to just above the joystick.

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The Film Simulation dial on the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
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Branding on the top of the Fujifilm X-T50 body

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
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A selected Film Simulation displayed on the rear LCD of the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
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The battery compartment under the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

A couple of other minor differences include the View Mode button beside the EVF no longer being labeled as such and there is now a tiny Bluetooth icon below the Display/Back button.

Everything else remains the same on the body, including the pop-up flash, the exposure and shutter speed dials on the top plate, the awkwardly placed joystick and, for me at least, the equally awkward quick menu (Q) button.

Fujifilm hasn’t updated the EVF or the rear display from the X-T30 II, so you’re still getting a 2.36 million-dot OLED EVF and a 3-inch tilt-type touchscreen with a resolution of 1.84 million dots.

There’s still only a single card slot, but it now supports the UHS-II speed devices, which is an improvement over the X-T30 II. It remains located on the bottom of the camera within the battery compartment, which makes it hard to reach if you’re using a tripod. And despite the price hike, there’s disappointingly still no weather sealing.

There are three different colorways to choose from here, with the X-T50 available in black, silver (as tested in this review) and a charcoal chassis.

Design score: 4 / 5

Branding on the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

Fujifilm X-T50 review: Features and performance

  • Inherits high-res sensor and faster processor from the Fujifilm X-T5
  • In-body image stabilization with up to 7 stops of compensation
  • Digital teleconverter available for 1.4x and 2x zoom

While its physical changes may not be too far off from its predecessor, the Fujifilm X-T50’s feature set makes it a massive upgrade. It’s now essentially a baby X-T5.

As I’ve already mentioned earlier in this review, it inherits plenty from the X-T5, including the 40.2MP sensor and the processor. That’s flagship specs right there and it definitely helps the X-T50 be a far superior camera than then X-T30 II. For starters, the extra resolution gives you a little headroom to crop images to get closer to the subject without losing too much image quality. 

In fact, the extra resolution has allowed Fujifilm to add a digital teleconverter to the X-T50 that gets you 1.4x and 2x magnification, just like there is on the X-T5 and the Fujifilm X-S20. What I really like about the built-in teleconverter is that you don't lose a stop of light as you would when using a physical one attached to your kit, so it's a better option for indoor use. 

However, you lose some resolution when using the digital teleconverter as it works by applying a crop. That’s not a bad thing as you still get great image quality, but your file size will essentially be halved and limits how much you can crop further into the image when you make edits.

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A hand holding the Fujifilm X-T50 with a Film Simulation displayed on the rear monitor

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
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The tilting screen on the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
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The ports on the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
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The rear control panel and LCD display on the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

For the first time there’s in-body image stabilization available in the entry-level Fujifilm X-T cameras, which is an added bonus for both photographers and videographers. Again, it’s the same IBIS from the X-T5 with up to 7 stops of compensation for camera shake. I was sent the new Fujinon XF 16-50mm f/2.8-4.8 R LM WR that doesn’t have built-in optical image stabilization (OIS) and I found the IBIS alone wasn’t sufficient in reducing shake for a video clip while I was walking, but I think it would come into its own when paired with a Fujinon lens with OIS.

Despite inheriting so much from the X-T5, the maximum burst shooting speed the X-T50 can handle is 8fps using the mechanical shutter and up to 20fps with the electronic shutter engaged and no crop. That's identical to the X-T30 II, and while the the 20fps speed is more than enough for several scenarios including wildlife and sports photography, the buffer memory at this speed is very limited, topping out at about only 20 frames during my testing. At 8fps, though, Fujifilm says the camera can save over 1,000 JPEG frames a second. 

The electronic shutter speed, though, is now blistering fast and can drop down to as low as 1/180,000 of a second, same as the X-T5. That's really impressive as more premium pro cameras like the Nikon Z9 top out at 1/32,000 second. This allows you to shoot wide open with a large aperture lens.

A woman descending stairs inside an ornate building

Fujifilm X-T50 + XF16-50mmF2.8-4.8 R LM WR | 1/100 sec at 16mm and f/2.8, ISO 3200 (Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

Photographers looking to capture specific subjects will be glad to know that the X-T50 gets Fujifilm's latest AI-driven autofocus system, with detection for animals, vehicles and more. This works quite well and, during my testing, it quickly picked up boats, birds and people even if they were at a distance. However, as with Fujifilm's autofocus system previously, it's largely lens-dependent and you could struggle a little if you're using older X-series lenses.

The video features here are similar to that of the X-T5, with 6.2K/30p and 4K/60p shooting options available.

All these features are a massive upgrade over the X-T30 II and bring the X-T50 closer to the X-T5. That's where the lines get blurry between what is, on paper, a new addition to Fujifilm's entry-level line but has the specs and price tag of a flagship.

Features and performance score: 5 / 5

The exposure and shutter speed dials on the Fujifilm X-T50

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

Fujifilm X-T50 review: Image and video quality

  • Inherits the 40.2MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor from the X-H2 and X-T5
  • Can shoot videos up to 6.2K/30p
  • Native base ISO is now 125 as compared to ISO 160 on the X-T30 II

We’ve already seen what the X-T5 can do with the same sensor and processor, so it’s no surprise at all that the X-T50 can produce some spectacular results, whether it’s stills or video.

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A green and yellow ferry on a river

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
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A deisel locomotive in an elevated train track

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
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A photo of a cluster of tiny white flowers

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
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A stained-glass domed roof of a building

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
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People walking inside a building with arches

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
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An ornate clock hanging from the roof of a building

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

The camera really benefits from the high resolution and the faster processor, with JPEGs directly out of camera looking stunning, although shooting in RAW will give you more headroom to make adjustments if you need to. I cropped a JPEG of a flower by 38% and, while I did lose a little image quality, it's still perfectly usable.

Of course, the film simulations go a long way in making the images look great as well. My personal favorite is the Eterna Bleach Bypass, but there’s a total of 20 to choose from to help you get creative. And while the C option on the Film Simulation dial is the Auto mode, it seems to default to the Vivid color profile most of the time.

The higher resolution also boosts the ISO performance. Images taken at ISO 3200 are actually quite good as long as you don't have to crop. Noise begins to appear at ISO 4000 in some scenarios, but even those are perfectly usable. I even shot at ISO 6400 and didn't mind the results. Pushing the sensitivity limits, I tested the camera up to ISO 12,800 – while that image wasn't pretty, I think ISO 10,000 will be fine in a pinch but expect to see noise.

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A photo of Yellow doors on blue walls

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
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A black and white photo of a bridge and a jetty

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)
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A stained-glass window inside a building

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

I think the X-T50 is a more photo-centric camera, but it can handle video well. You have the option to shoot at up 6.2K at 30fps but that will incur a 1.23x crop, as will the oversampled 4K mode. This is similar to what the X-T5 also offers and the performance is just as good. And Fujifilm's subject-detection autofocus works well in video too.

Handily, there’s a time duration listed for each video shooting mode, but I found the camera starts to heat up long before it can hit its limit. During my testing I was hesitant to push the video clip limits, so I stopped every time the camera got a touch over ‘comfortably warm’. You will also, of course, be restricted by the SD card you use.

Despite the IBIS, I found it difficult to capture relatively stable footage while walking slowly, as can be seen in the sample above of the galahs feeding on a grassy verge. That said, I'm no videographer and have always struggled with stability when capturing moving pictures. I found it a lot easier to pan with the IBIS engaged. 

Sound pickup by the camera’s built-in mic is quite impressive, but if you are a vlogger shooting outdoors, it would be best to use an external mic for clearer sound. Also note that there's no headphone jack here.

Image and video quality score: 4.5 / 5

Fujifilm X-T50 review: score card

Should I buy the Fujifilm X-T50?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If this review of the Fujifilm X-T50 has you mulling over other options, below are three alternatives that could also save you money.

How I tested the Fujifilm X-T50

  • In-depth testing done over two weeks
  • Used it to capture stills indoors and outdoors, plus video clips taken outdoors
  • ISO tests done indoors

Fujifilm X-T50 kit sitting on a laptop keyboard

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / TechRadar)

I was sent the Fujifilm X-T50 along with the Fujinon XF16-50mmF2.8-4.8 R LM WR lens that launched alongside it prior to the official announcement. I had the kit for about two weeks, during which I tested the camera in different scenarios, including outdoors in bright sunlight, indoors during the day and indoors at nighttime. I also tested the camera under fluorescent and LED lights.

For stills, I had the camera set to capture JPEG + RAW, but based my image quality opinions solely on the out-of-camera JPEGs. I also only used autofocus, and tested it on different subjects including boats, birds and people.

I also spent some time going through the menu system to see how different the setup is now compared to other Fujifilm cameras and also spent some time to determined how the physical controls on the camera would suit different users.

Read more about how we test

[First reviewed May 2024]

Leica SL3 review – the modern Leica workhorse
5:00 pm | March 7, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Leica might be best-known for its legendary M-series rangefinders, but for the past decade it's also been building a modern full-frame mirrorless system called the SL series – and the new SL3 is its most fully-evolved model so far.

Unlike the Leica M11 and Leica Q3, which are built around a compact, tactile shooting experience, the SL3 is a modern brute that wants to be your professional workhorse. It still has classic Leica hallmarks, like minimalist menus and a design that harks back to the Leica R3 SLR, but it combines all of that with modern all-rounder specs.

The main upgrades from 2019's Leica SL2 include a 60MP full-frame CMOS BSI sensor, a Maestro IV processor, phase-detect autofocus, a tilting touchscreen, 8K video, a CFexpress Type B card slot (alongside an SD UHS II one) and a slightly smaller, lighter body.

Leica says that its 60MP sensor is the same as the one in the Leica M11 and Q3, but is engineered slightly differently – which means it has a base ISO of 50 (going up to 100,000), rather than 64. In other words, the SL3 is like the Q3's bigger brother, with its studio-friendly body giving you access to the dozens of lenses available for its L-mount.

The Leica SL3 sat on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

But since the original Leica SL arrived in 2015, the full-frame mirrorless camera space has become fiercely competitive. So with incredible cameras like the Nikon Z8, Sony A7R V and Canon EOS R3 all vying for your attention, is the gravitational pull of that red dot still as strong for pro shooters in 2024?

I spent a couple of days with a Leica SL3 in Wetzlar, Germany to find out – as always, the answer depends very much on your priorities (and your bank balance)... 

Leica SL3 release date and price

  • The Leica SL3's body-only price is $6,995 / £5,920 (around AU$11,435)
  • The SL2's launch price was $5,995 / £5,300 / AU$9,900
  • It's available to buy right now at Leica stores and its online store

As always with Leica, the SL3's cost-of-entry is high. And like most cameras, it's quite a bit higher than in 2019, when the SL2 first landed.

The SL3's body-only price is $6,995 / £5,920 (around AU$11,435), which is somewhere between 12%-16% pricier than the SL2's original price, depending on where you live.

Hands holding the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

The SL3 is by no means the most expensive Leica camera around – the Leica M11 Monochrom, for example, costs $9,195 / £8,300 / AU$14,990 (body only) and only shoots in black and white. But this does mean that the SL3 is now much pricier than the Leica Q3 ($5,995 / £5,300 / AU$9,790). 

That's a completely different kind of camera, but the SL3 is also battling for your attention alongside full-frame Nikon Z8 ($3,999 / £3,999 / AU$6,999 body-only), which looks like a comparative bargain.

Leica SL3: design and handling

  • New 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, but no fully-articulating display
  • Leica SL3 design tweaks make it 69g lighter than SL2
  • Still has magnesium alloy body with IP54-rated weather sealing

Leica's SL series have always felt reassuringly expensive in the hand and the SL3 is no different – it feels like could survive a run-in with a Cybertruck. 

It's a bit of a functional brute compared to stablemates like the Leica Q3, but if you need a hybrid workhorse for stills and video, the SL3 is now one of the best camera bodies around.

Leica SL3 key specs

Sensor: 60MP full-frame CMOS sensor
Image processor: Maestro IV
AF system: Hybrid with phase-detect
EVF: 5.76-million dot OLED
ISO range: 50 to 100,000
Video: 8K at 30p, C4K & UHD at 60/50/30/25/24p
LCD: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2.3m dots
Max burst: Up to 15fps
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Weight: 769g (body only)

Leica has made a few tweaks to the SL series' design in this third-generation, mostly for the better. For a start, it's shaved off some weight – the SL3 is 69g lighter than its predecessor. At 769g, it's still a pretty weighty mirrorless camera, but that puts it somewhere in between a Sony A7 IV and Nikon Z8.

The biggest departure from the SL2 is the arrival of a tilting 3.2-inch touchscreen. Leica hasn't gone as far as adding a fully-articulating display, which it said could have compromised the SL3's bomb-proof build quality.

The top of the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

While videographers might be disappointed about that, the tilting screen is a welcome addition for photographers, giving you the option of shooting from the hip and low angles. It's just a shame it only tilts in landscape orientation, and not when you flip the camera round for portraits.

In the hand, the SL3 is still a satisfyingly solid hunk of metal. Mirrorless cameras don't come built any better than this – the magnesium and aluminum chassis balances nicely with some of Leica's weighty glass (like the Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 I tried it with), and the tweaked grip and its rubberized indent still feel great in the hand.

The SL3 still has IP54-rated weather sealing too, which means it can handle being sprayed or splashed with water. I haven't yet taken one to Antarctica, but there really aren't any weather conditions where you'll have to worry about the SL3.

Two hands holding the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Beyond its new screen and lighter weight, the only other design changes are more minor future-proofing tweaks. There's now a new CFexpress Type B slot (alongside a standard UHS-II SD slot) to support 8K video, plus an HDMI 2.1 Type A port for video shooters. 

Inside, there's also now a larger capacity battery (2,200mAh, compared to 1,860mAh one inside the SL2), but this doesn't translate to more shooting time. In fact, with a CIPA standard rating of 260 shots (compared to 370 shots on the SL2), battery life is one of the SL3's main weaknesses.

In more positive news, the SL3 retains the 5.76-million dot OLED EVF (with 0.78x magnification) from its predecessor, and that certainly hasn't dated. It's still an impressive part of the shooting experience, helping you stay connected to the scene with its clarity, color reproduction and 120fps refresh rate.

The Leica SL3 camera sat on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

On the top of the SL3, there's a new dial on the left and a very handy 1.28-inch monochrome display for quickly previewing your shooting settings. Round the front of the camera there's arguably the most important design feature of all – the L-mount bayonet. This gives you access to a huge range of lenses from Leica, but also the likes of Panasonic, Sigma and Samyang – in total, there are now 84 lenses to choose from.

One other nice design touch is the new illuminated power button on the back, which replaces the traditional switch. This doesn't serve any great functional purpose other than making the SL3 feel more modern, but it's the kind of attention to detail you don't often get from other manufacturers.

Similarly, the SL3's refined menu system (complete with new icons) is an example for others to follow. It's clean and simple, with nice touches like the separate photo and video modes, and is a stark contrast to Sony's 'kitchen sink' approach to software menus.

Leica SL3: features and performance

  • 60MP CMOS BSI full-frame sensor, like the Leica Q3 and M11
  • New phase-detect AF system, alongside contrast/object detect AF
  • Can now shoot 8K video and ProRes (in 1080p)

Given the Leica SL2 was launched back in 2019, you'd hope that its successor would get a sizable imaging upgrade – and that's certainly the case. 

The SL3 has a 60MP CMOS BSI full-frame sensor, which is a tweaked version of the one inside the Leica Q3 and M11. While that resolution is handy for cropping later, you also get 36MP and 18MP modes to help boost the buffer during continuous shooting and save on memory space.

Leica says this sensor gives you an extra stop of dynamic range compared to the SL2 (15 stops, compared to 14), but a more obvious upgrade is the Maestro IV processor and its improved autofocus system.

The Leica SL3 camera sat on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

The SL series has never had class-leading autofocus, partly due to Leica's close relationship with Panasonic (which, until last year's Panasonic Lumix S5 II, had refused to embrace phase-detect autofocus). But the SL3 finally offers a hybrid AF system, combining phase-detect AF (good for video and moving subjects) with contrast-detection and object detection. 

In my brief time with the SL3, its subject-detection worked well and reliably locked onto human eyes, producing a good hit-rate. But animal detection was still marked as being in 'beta' on my sample, so this will need more testing – and overall, it's fair to say that Leica is still playing catchup with the likes of Sony for autofocus, rather than surpassing it.

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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

The other benefit of that Maestro IV processor is that it supports the camera's CFexpress Type B card and, consequently, some video upgrades. The SL2 was already Leica's best ever video camera and the SL3 steps things up with 8K video capture. 

This will be a pretty niche mode, though, as it tops out at 30fps with 4:2:0 10-bit color sampling. More useful will be the SL3's 4K/60p and 4K/120p video modes, which you can shoot with 4:2:2 10-bit color sampling for editing flexibility. Combine that with the camera's full-size HDMI port for external monitors and timecode interface, and you have a powerful, professional video camera – which hasn't been very common in Leica world, until now.

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A sample photo of a car taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a car taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Another bonus for shooting handheld video (and stills) is the Leica SL3's five-axis image stabilization system, which gives you five stops of compensation. That's far from the best we've seen – the Sony A7R V's system is good for a claimed eight stops – but it is still an important difference from the original SL, which had no stabilization. It's also ideal if you want to use an SL3 with Leica M glass using the M-L adapter.

In my tests, I was able to shoot handheld down to 1/4s and get usable results, so it's definitely a useful feature, particularly for shooting in low light. Another quality-of-life upgrade are the SL3's speedier wireless transfer speeds, which use a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi MIMO tech to fire full-size DNGs to your phone in only two or three seconds.

That's quite a big jump up from the SL2, which took around 20 seconds to transfer a DNG file, and it worked well in my tests (as you can see above). The Leica Fotos app itself is a suitably premium experience that's a cut above the efforts from most camera manufacturers, and these transfer speeds make it a breeze to get a raw file onto your phone for a quick edit.

The SL3 isn't a sports camera – and despite having a larger buffer capacity than the SL2, its top speeds for continuous shooting have taken a slight dip compared to its predecessor. 

Its top speed is 15fps, which can manage for a few seconds before the buffer fills up, but it can naturally go for longer if you drop down to 9fps or 7fps. You can also get better results by choosing the 36MP or 18MP resolution modes, so there are options – just don't expect it to match a Canon EOS R3.

Hands holding the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

My biggest disappointment with the SL3 was its battery life. I'll need to do some more controlled tests, but during my brief time with the camera I was barely getting above 200 shots (plus some video) per charge. Its official CIPA rating is 260 shots per charge and Leica is rolling out new firmware (version 1.1) soon, so hopefully that might improve things. But prepare to carry around a USB-C charger or spare batteries.

One other strange anomaly is that the SL3 doesn't support Content Credentials, a new industry standard for protecting the authenticity of digital images. That's a little odd considering the older Leica M11-P debuted the feature last year, but Leica told us that "the reason is that the development of the SL3 was already advanced when this technology became mature".

Because Content Credentials requires a dedicated chipset, this also can't be added to the Leica SL3 via a firmware update. But Leica did add that for "future cameras it's our aim to integrate" the AI-combatting tech.

Leica SL3: image and video quality

I took the Leica SL3 for a spin with the Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 lens, which is a sharp, fun partner for the camera. The option of using Leica glass is clearly one of the main draws of the SL3, but whatever you pair it with, you'll get some hallmark Leica character in your images.

Like the Leica Q3, the SL3 captures tons of detail in its 60MP DNGs. I'll need to spend some more time with them to see how far they can be pushed in editing, but the early signs suggest you can recover an impressive amount of shadow detail from the SL3's raw files.

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A sample photo of the Leica HQ building taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of the Leica HQ building taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of the Leica HQ building taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a saxophone player taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a dog taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of the Leica HQ building taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a shed taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a car taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Those files also have bold, vibrant colors, more so than the JPEGs, although they're also a touch noisier than some full-frame rivals. In my early test shots, noise starts to appear from ISO 1600 and is particularly noticeable at ISO 6400. Still, this isn't necessarily a problem – in fact, the grain is frequently attractive (depending on your tastes) and gives the SL3's photos a filmic look.

Video quality looks similarly pin-sharp at lower ISOs, although the SL3's autofocus seemed to struggle a little more with moving subjects in this mode. I'll need to test this more on final firmware, alongside the 8K mode, before making any conclusions. But my early impressions are that the SL3's image and video quality will be comparable to the Leica Q3's, which is certainly no bad thing.

Leica SL3 early verdict

The Leica SL3 camera sat on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

The full-frame mirrorless camera world has changed a lot since the original Leica SL landed in 2015 – and while the competition is now red-hot between Sony, Canon and Nikon, the Leica SL3 still manages to carve out a unique spot for itself.

While it can't match a Nikon Z8 for outright performance or value, the SL3 is a refined, professional workhorse with incredible build quality. Its simple, clean user interface puts most other cameras to shame and it's now a very competitive – if not class-leading – modern hybrid camera for shooting photos and video.

The special sauce of Leica's distinctive image rendering and lenses are added bonuses, although I hope its disappointing battery life is improved in later firmware updates. Right now, you'll need at least two batteries to last you a full day of intense shooting.

If that isn't a deal-breaker for you, then the SL3 could be the combination of modern mirrorless power and classic Leica minimalism you've been waiting for (even if your bank manager feels very differently). We'll bring you our full review very soon.

Leica SL3: how I tested

  • A day-and-a-half of shooting at Leica Park in Wetzlar, Germany
  • A mix of studio, low light and environmental shooting

I used the Leica SL3 for just over a day continuously during a visit to Leica's HQ in Wetzlar, Germany. I've taken sample photos in raw and DNG formats, although I'll need to spend a bit more time with the latter (on the SL3's final firmware) for our full review. 

I took a variety of handheld shots are different shutter speeds to test the effectiveness of its in-body image stabilization, and also took its new phase-detect autofocus and buffer for a spin during a fashion photo shoot.

My only lens during testing was the Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 lens, which was a great companion if not ideal for all shooting scenarios. I also ran the battery down to empty to test its stamina shooting a mix of photos and videos. 

Sony A9 III review – the high speed camera to beat
11:00 am | November 16, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: | Comments: Off

Every now and then a new camera wows the world of photography, and the launch of the Sony A9 III was one of those moments. So is the buzz around the fastest-ever camera justified? After an extended time with the camera for this in-depth review, the answer to that question is complicated, but all things considered it’s a solid yes.

With the A9 III Sony has upped the bar by some margin for high-performance photography for sports and wildlife. A new kind of sensor with ‘global shutter’ unleashes a number of class-leading features, and crucially eliminates the ‘rolling shutter’ distortion in photos and video that you can get with the electronic sensors used in general to enable top performance in most other cameras. 

Put simply, these combined technologies have realized never-before-seen performance that’s overkill for most, and exciting for those that can afford Sony’s flagship prices: 120fps burst shooting and a maximum 1/80,000 sec shutter with flash sync at any shutter speed are the headlines, and they're yours for $5,999 / £6,099 / AU$9,999.

Sony A9 III camera outside with sunny brick wall backdrop

The Sony A9 III is the first consumer full-frame mirrorless camera with global shutter incorporated into the sensor.  (Image credit: Future)

The A9 III is also a camera blessed with Sony’s best innovation, which we’ve seen before, namely in the A7R V, the camera we awarded ‘Best mirrorless camera’ in our TechRadar 2023 Choice Awards: the Bionz XR processor (the A9 III actually has two of them), an AI-autofocus chip for industry-leading subject-tracking AF, high resolution 9.44m-dot EVF with 120fps refresh rate (which maintains peak performance even for continuous shooting), and a 4-axis vari-angle touchscreen.

We also have Sony’s best camera design to date. The A9 III has a similar form factor to high-end Sony models, which means it’s smaller than rival pro sports cameras, but it features Sony’s chunkiest grip to date, and can be bulked out further with a new vertical grip, which you’ll want to do when using large lenses.  

Burst shooting up to 120fps comes with no compromises in terms of the camera’s performance or image quality – that means 24.6MP raw and JPEG with continuous tracking AF and auto exposure – and is frankly over-the-top excellence, even if it's just for 1.5 seconds at a time. Unless Canon or Nikon conjure up a new camera of their own with never-before-seen features, the A9 III will be the subject of envy in press pits at this year’s Paris Olympic Games.

Closeup of the shooting mode dial on the Sony A9 III's top plate

You can set the continuous high drive mode to 30fps or 60fps and then instantly switch to 120fps by holding down a custom button by the lens.  (Image credit: Future)

That said, an unwelcome bottleneck is the use of CFexpress Type A cards; these offer data transfer speeds only half those of the CFexpress Type B cards used in a camera like the Nikon Z9, which consequently means the buffer takes some time to clear before regaining peak performance, by which point the action being captured might have finished – we’ll unpack buffer performance later in this review.

With a custom button, Sony makes it quick and easy to ramp up to 120fps from a ‘mere’ 30fps or 60fps burst shooting speed. After all, not all sports and wildlife scenarios need such high speeds, though I’m sure pro sports photographers hellbent on capturing that fraction-of-a-second of decisive Olympic action will appreciate having the option. Personally I think 30fps is plenty enough, but I’m not being paid to file images from the world’s biggest sporting stages.

After much testing I can confirm that there is a compromise on image quality that comes with using the new global shutter. Put simply, there’s a hit on dynamic range, plus increased noise, when compared to rival cameras. Those who often shoot in low light will want to pair the A9 III with pro lenses featuring the largest possible aperture, such as the FE 300mm F/2.8, to increase light intake.

Rear of the Sony A9 III camera outside with LCD screen folded away

The dual-axis vari-angle screen can be pulled away from the body at multiple angles.  (Image credit: Future)

More important than outright image quality, however, is that the A9 III suffers no ugly rolling shutter effect whatsoever in fast-moving action photos and video. That also means no risk of banding in artificial light. Add in its superb autofocus and burst shooting skills, and this sports photography and video camera can freeze the action and capture the crucial moment to a level above any other camera today.

The A9 III isn’t for everyone, but it’s now the best mirrorless camera for pro sports photography and video, if its 24MP photo and 4K video resolution are sufficient for your needs.

Sony A9 III: release date and price

  • $5,999 / £6,099 / AU$9,999 body-only
  • New VG-C5 vertical grip costs $399 / £390 / AU$749

The Sony A9 III body-only list price is $5,999 / £6,099 / AU$9,999, which is what I’d expect for a Sony camera at this level, although that's a markup from the Sony A9 II and clearly a lot of money. It’s firmly in the professional sports and wildlife photography camp, and it’s available now, ahead of the Paris Olympics which begin in late July. 

A newly designed body means the A9 III requires a new optional VG-C5 vertical grip, launched alongside the camera, to extend the size and battery life and provide a comfortable way to shoot with large lenses and in vertical format. Sony has recognized that pretty much every photographer that adds the A9 III to their shopping basket will also add the grip, and for a limited time is including the grip for free with purchases of the A9 III – its list price is $399 / £390 / AU$749. I can also see the A9 III being a popular camera to hire for special events and commissions – it's an excellent portraits with flash tool. 

  • Price score 4/5

Sony A9 III: design and handling

  • Larger grip and a new optional vertical grip
  • Industry-leading EVF
  • Abundant control layout

As a camera that's designed primarily for pro action photography, the A9 III has the kind of build quality to withstand tough conditions and inclement weather. It's not a chunky affair like the Nikon Z9 though – Sony mirrorless cameras are always small, even the A9 series. Conversely, most pro prime telephoto lenses are big, so how is the balance of the A9 III? Pretty good, actually. 

It has the familiar Sony mini DSLR-style form factor, except that the grip is chunkier for a better hold. I found it a decent pairing with the FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM lens, which was one of the lenses I had for my hands-on review. With larger lenses like the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS that I had for this test, plus the new FE 300mm F2.8 that I got to try out briefly, the A9 III really benefits from the optional vertical grip. 

A new design means the A9 III needs an all-new optional vertical grip, and I’d expect the majority of A9 III photographers to opt for one – I’d certainly pick one up. Not only does the new VG-C5 grip add a little weight and height for improved balance with large lenses, it offers controls at your fingertips for vertical shooting, replicating the layout of the camera for horizontal-format photos, plus it extends battery life. With the FE 300mm F2.8 lens, which weighs 3.24lbs / 1,470g, attached, there’s a really good balance between camera (with grip) and lens. 

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Top plate from above of the Sony A9 III camera

(Image credit: Future)
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Top dials close up of the Sony A9 III camera

(Image credit: Future)
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Sony A9 III camera outside with background foliage, no lens attached

(Image credit: Future)
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Sony A9 III LCD screen folded out, close up

(Image credit: Future)
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LCD screen of the Sony A9 III camera flipped around to be front-facing

(Image credit: Future)
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Closeup of open memory card door of the Sony A9 III

(Image credit: Future)

In this class, I prefer Sony’s design approach to Canon and Nikon – a small body that can be bulked up with a grip for serious telephoto lenses, rather than a large body that can’t be made any smaller.

We get the same industry-leading EVF as found on the A7R V – the 9.44m-dot unit has a 120fps refresh rate, with no blackout during continuous shooting, and it really does perform flawlessly, maintaining peak performance whatever the shooting mode. Previous models with the 9.44m-dot EVF saw a drop in resolution during burst shooting. 

The touchscreen is also an A7R V special – a dual-axis vari-angle screen that can be positioned at all manner of angles, and folded away completely for protection when not in use. I love how the screen can be pulled away from the body, meaning your view is unimpeded by the viewfinder. Touch function is decent, too, with controls like tracking AF activation, plus a quick menu that can be revealed by dragging from the corner of the screen. 

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Side view of the Sony A9 III camera with 24-50mm lens attached

(Image credit: Future)
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Rear of the Sony A9 III camera, outside

(Image credit: Future)
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Sony A9 III camera outside with background foliage, no lens attached

(Image credit: Future)
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Sony A9 III camera outside with 24-50mm lens attached

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Sony A9 III camera outside with background foliage, no lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

The control layout is comprehensive, too, including customizable buttons that can activate features like 120fps at a push, more control dials than you can shake a stick at, and a grippy joystick to navigate menus and AF points and the like. I’m not a fan of the variety in how dials are adjusted, though. One has a clicked-release lock, another has no lock at all, while the exposure mode dial requires you to hold down the central lock in order to turn the dial. There’s almost too much going on around the body, and it takes some time before navigating those controls becomes second nature.

Rigid port doors can be opened individually to reveal full-size HDMI, Ethernet, flash sync, headphone and mic jacks, plus USB-C through which you can charge the camera’s NP-FZ100 battery – Sony’s excellent battery that’s used across models. Besides being a tad cluttered, the A9 III is a step in the right direction and Sony’s best design camera yet. 

  • Design and handling score 5/5

Sony A9 III: features and performance

  • First full-frame camera with global shutter
  • Sony says it’s 8x speedier than the A9 II
  • 120fps for up to 1.5 second bursts
  • Flash sync speed at any shutter speed, limited only by your flash
  • Sony's best-ever autofocus

Sony cameras are generally feature-rich, but as this is the first mirrorless camera with a global shutter, that’s where we’ll begin. It’s a pricey sensor type previously found only in high-end cine cameras, and it’s long been tipped for the rumored Canon EOS R1 – a potential rival to the A9 III. So what’s all the fuss about this sensor type?

To summarize: it reads every pixel simultaneously rather than line by line, as other sensor types do when using their electronic shutter (rather than the mechanical shutter). Currently, the Nikon’s Z8 and Z9’s stacked sensor with electronic shutter boasts the quickest sensor readout speed (line by line) of 1/250 sec.

You’d be hard pressed to find distortion in Z9 images, but generally there’s a risk of what’s called rolling shutter when using the electronic shutter – a ‘jello’ effect. In most DSLR and mirrorless cameras you can use a mechanical shutter instead for distortion-free photos, but the shutter’s mechanical speed is limited – the fastest ever speed is 16fps in the Canon EOS 1D X Mark III

The global shutter is the best of both worlds: no distortion, and no real limit on burst shooting speed, up to 120fps. 

Burst shooting sequence of an Olympic athlete jumping over a hurdle on the race track at night

Burst shooting sequence of an Olympic athlete jumping over a hurdle on the race track at night with the continuous high drive mode of the Sony A9 III (Image credit: Future)

That’s what’s so exciting about the A9 III for capturing high-speed action – you can move the camera quickly to track your subject in stills or video, or freeze especially fast-moving subjects like a golf swing, and you won’t see any distortion. You also get the fastest minimum shutter speed ever, up to 1/80,000 sec – although currently that’s reduced to 1/16,000 sec when in any burst shooting mode. It’s an action photographer's dream. 

Sony’s latest Bionz XR processor is in play here, only there are twin processors that Sony says bumps up the A9 III’s speed by 8x over the A9 II. That’s needed for such high-speed work, and for features like pre-capture up to one second. We’ve seen pre-capture in other systems from the likes of Panasonic, but it’s another first for Sony mirrorless; pre-capture can record sequences up to one second before you fully press the shutter, another handy trick for capturing decisive moments. 

Bluetits on a lone tree branch captured with the Sony A9 III's 120fps burst shooting

This video of blue tits on a lone branch is a realtime 30fps continuous burst. Shot at 120fps and it could be slowed down 4x. (Image credit: Future)

A global shutter also has no real shutter speed limit when synchronizing to an external flash, save for the limit of the flash itself. That means the A9 III can in theory flash-sync at any shutter speed, where other systems are limited to up to 1/250 sec – for example, the Z9’s max flash sync speed is just 1/200 sec. 

For those who are into flash photography in particular, the A9 III opens up a whole other realm of creative possibilities, cleanly freezing fast action with no motion blur. It also makes portraits with flash a breeze. The example (below) was shot at 1/2000 sec with the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS lens at its maximum f/4 aperture, with the Sony HVL F46RM at full power positioned in a softbox and remotely triggered using the Sony FA WRC1M wireless radio commander. I didn’t have to reduce the aperture to f/11 for an accurate exposure because I wasn’t limited to 1/250 sec. I didn’t have to think about workarounds like a ND filter in order to open the aperture right up; I could simply shoot the portrait at whatever exposure settings I liked.  

Flash portrait with golden sunrise and lake backdrop

Portrait made with the Sony A9 III and the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS II lens. Camera settings 1/2000sec, f/4, ISO 250. Sony HVL F46RM flash at full power positioned in a softbox and remotely triggered using the Sony FA WRC1M wireless radio commander. (Image credit: Future)

Not worrying about the shutter speed limit; being able to use any aperture – these are game-changing flash photography attributes of the A9 III. I thought pairing the A9 III with a flash for such quick flash speed would be a bit of a minefield, and you do need to play around with settings a bit, but in reality it’s not that complicated. Put simply, the A9 III has been the most versatile camera I’ve ever used for flash, and I wouldn’t think twice about hiring it for location portrait shoots. 

Impressive features like 120fps are one thing on paper, but what are they really like to use? Firstly, you’ll fill up memory cards very quickly and create a daunting image organization and editing workflow, so 120fps should only be used sparingly. Fortunately, Sony makes that as easy as possible via a custom button that immediately boosts the A9 III to that super-fast speed from a more modest default speed – I set the continuous high to 30fps, and used the button for a 120fps injection at crucial moments. 

I was typically able to get around 190-200 frames (raw and JPEG) at the top speed of 120fps – in other words around 1.5 seconds of shooting – before the camera slowed right down. Clearly this headline mode is just for decisive moments. At 30fps I was typically getting around 275 frames (raw and JPEG) before the camera slowed down – that’s around nine seconds in all. 

Closeup of open memory card door of the Sony A9 III

Twin card slots can hold either CFexpress Type A or SD memory cards. CFexpress Type B is much quicker and we can hope Sony will adopt faster media in future high-speed cameras.  (Image credit: Future)

Using a SD card for the aforementioned sequences, it took around 30 seconds for the buffer to clear and for the camera to regain full performance once more, while using a CFexpress type A card was a little under half that time. Those wait times are a tiny bit disappointing, given that a CFexpress type B card – used by the Nikon Z9 – is at least twice as quick again. Implementing a redesign to accept type B instead of type A would have made the A9 III completely formidable. Buffer aside, the burst shooting speed and duration are unmatched.

Pre capture is neat, too. You might not want to set it to as much as 1 second, especially with the fast frame rates filling up your card, and 0.5 seconds is probably enough to ensure you capture suddenly unfolding action. I found it particularly useful for bird photography, where subjects move both quickly and erratically.

Olympic athlete jumping over a hurdle on a race track

The A9 III has a remarkable hit ratio of sharply focused action photos.  (Image credit: Future)

In addition to its superb burst-shooting capabilities, the A9 III has the most capable autofocus system of any camera today. You’ll need to get the mode right for your subject, but set to a mode like ‘Focus Area: Expand Spot’ with appropriate subject tracking autofocus, the hit ratio of sharp images the A9 III can achieve in action sequences is unmatched.

The A9 III also has new subject-detection AF modes, including birds and insects, both of which worked decently well in my tests with the 70-200mm F4 lens. We still have human and animal detection modes, which are now more effective than ever thanks to the ‘AI’ autofocus chip equipping the A9 III to recognize subjects in all manner of orientations – the torso, head, eyes and so on.

We also get Sony’s highly effective in-body image stabilization. Beyond enabling the use of slower shutter speeds for photography (which aren’t much use for freezing action), it's so effective that you can get smooth gimbal-like handheld videos, especially when using the Active and Dynamic Active modes.

  • Features and performance score: 5/5

Sony A9 III: image and video quality

  • Same 24.6MP resolution as the A9 II
  • 4K 60p video from full width of the sensor (oversampled)
  • ISO 250-25,600
  • More noise and less dynamic range in low light than rivals

Sensibly, Sony has kept the A9 III’s sensor resolution to 24.6MP just like in the A9 II. That’s a perfectly acceptable resolution for the intended audience of sports and wildlife photographers, and a clear distinguisher from the A1 (and a potential successor), which has around double the pixels. Some may wish for more pixels and more cropping possibilities – the A1 has 50MP – but that would compromise the speed of the A9 III. 

It is of course a different sensor type with global shutter, too, and it comes with a unusual ISO 250-25,600 sensitivity range that can't match that of the A9 II and A1. Those cameras have a base ISO of 100 – a setting that offers better dynamic range and handling of noise than the A9 III’s base of ISO 250. Therefore, if light is good and the shooting scenario merits a base ISO, such as landscape photography, image quality from the A9 II and A1 is superior.

The use of a global shutter has had an adverse impact on the dynamic range and handling of noise of the A9 III, even if it’s just a little. However, we should also remember who the intended A9 III user is – most people won’t buy the A9 III for anything other than high-speed scenarios, using high shutter speeds to freeze the action. In this reality, you wouldn’t be able to shoot lower than ISO 250 anyway, and so the limited ISO range at the low end is a somewhat moot point for pro sports and wildlife photography. 

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Olympic athlete resting by a hurdle on a race track

(Image credit: Future)
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Olympic athlete jumping over a hurdle on a race track

(Image credit: Future)
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Olympic athlete jumping over a hurdle on a race track

(Image credit: Future)
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Olympic athlete in flight doing the long jump

(Image credit: Future)
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Portrait of a sweaty Olympic athlete in the ring during a training session

(Image credit: Future)
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Olympic athlete in training using a punching bag

(Image credit: Future)
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Olympic athlete in training using a punching bag

(Image credit: Future)

The bigger concern is increased noise and reduced dynamic range at the high ISO settings you’ll regularly need when selecting particularly fast shutter speeds, and when shooting in low light. After all, a lot of sporting events are held at night under floodlights, and you won’t get quite as clean image quality from the A9 III compared to rivals – for example there’s more noise in shadows. 

By default, Sony cameras apply fairly aggressive noise reduction to JPEG images, and if you shoot in JPEG-only you may not experience some of the issues mentioned above. 

While reduced dynamic range and increased noise are markdowns for image quality, we need to put this into context. The A9 III can freeze action with no distortion, and nail sharp focus to a degree we’ve never seen before. And it’s these image quality attributes that are more important for action photography and video, where the A9 III scores top marks. Put simply, the A9 III is the most capable sports photography camera available.  

Elsewhere, 4K video up to 60fps is oversampled from 6K – that’s the full width of the 24.6MP sensor. You can also create short 6K slow-motion video clips by using the A9 III's 120fps burst shooting mode and stitching those files together in post. 

Those top frame rates are equivalent to 4x slow-motion video, when played back at the standard 30fps video playback – the A9 III is so fast that you can create slow-motion video from photos at 24.6MP which is equivalent to 6K.

Rival cameras like the Z9 can shoot higher resolution 8K video. However, what’s more exciting than resolution and frame rates is how the A9 III’s global shutter eliminates rolling shutter in video. There’s a pleasing quality to motion in the A9 III’s videos, especially for moving subjects and fast-moving handheld camera shots. In-body image stabilization for video is superb, too, and makes run-and-gun videos without a gimbal entirely possible. 

  • Image and video quality score: 4/5

Sony A9 III: Test scorecard

Should I buy the Sony A9 III?

Sony A9 III camera outside with background foliage, no lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Sony A9 III: Also consider

Sony A9 III camera outside with background foliage, no lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

If our Sony A9 III review has inspired you to think about other options, here are two more cameras to consider…

How I tested the Sony A9 III

  • Early access to pre-production model in November 2023
  • A long term loan period of full-production model, more than a month
  • Plenty of action scenarios, including wildlife and sports
  • Remote flash photography portraits with Sony's own HVL-F46RM

I first used the A9 III in November 2023 at its announcement event. During the event I shot a variety of sports that included long jump, hurdles, high jump, gymnastics and boxing, pairing the A9 III with several lenses, including the FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS, FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM and FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM. 

Three months after its announcement I received a full-production version of the A9 III, which I used for over a month with the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS and FE 24-50mm F2.8 G, during which time I was able to shoot plenty of wildlife and sports, plus portraits with a remotely controlled flashgun. 

During my extended time with the A9 III I've used all the burst shooting modes, including its headline 120fps, supported by the latest autofocus modes. I've rattled off more frames than I care to count, rinsed the battery, recharged, and repeated.  

First reviewed November 2023

Sony A7R V review
4:06 pm | January 16, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: January 2023
• Sony's best AI-powered autofocus performance
• Launch price: $3,899 / £3,999 / AU$5,899 (body only)
• Official price now: $3,199 / £3,699 / AU$5,499 (body only)

Update: February 2024. The full-frame A7R V's max 61MP resolution is only matched by Sony's own A7C R and various Leica cameras including the Q3. Put simply, in this sensor format you won't get better detail in your pictures. Furthermore, it's autofocus is powered by a dedicated AI chip for improved subject detection, and that's still the best AF performance in any Sony camera, now matched by the A9 III. It's one of the best professional cameras that has also dropped in price on Sony's website since its January 2023 launch, making it better value, too. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Sony A7R V: Two-minute review

Sony released the first high-resolution full-frame mirrorless camera – the A7R back in 2013 – and we’ve had an updated model every couple of years since, culminating in the fifth iteration of the series, the A7R V. A lot has changed in the cameras since then in terms of the ergonomics, handling and, of course, the technology employed. But with more rivals on the scene now, the A7R V is up against some stiff competition from the likes of the Canon EOS R5 and Nikon Z 7II.

The Sony A7R V on a table straight from above with lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

Being the newest model on the block, and offering some impressive specs, the A7R V ultimately has little to worry about, despite not providing the highest performance in all areas. Features include a new 61MP sensor and Bionz XR processing engine, up to eight stops of in-body image stabilization, increased burst shooting and AI-powered subject recognition to improve autofocus. Then there’s video capture up to 8K at 24fps and 4K up to 60fps.

Sony A7R V specs

Sensor: 61MP BSI full-frame CMOS
Processor: Bionz XR (with AI processing unit)
Autofocus: 693-point phase-detection
AF subject recognition: human, animal, bird, insects, car, train, automobile
EVF: 9.44-million dot Quad XGA
In-body stabilization: up to eight stops
Continuous shooting: 10fps
Continuous shooting buffer: 184 raw (compressed)
Video: 8K/24p, 4K/60p, 10-bit 4:2:2

Image quality is, as you’d hope, excellent for both photos and video. But with the high-resolution sensor, you’ll need to use Sony’s best lenses in the G and GM ranges with the resolving power to complement the camera. It’s unlikely that you’d be using lower-end lenses if you’re prepared to pay approximately  $3,900 / £4,000 / AU$5,900 for a camera body so it shouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re upgrading from a lower-resolution A7 model and already have some cheaper lenses, it’s certainly something to bear in mind.

Sony A7R V: Release date and price

  • Went on sale in December 2022
  • Launched with a list price of approximately $3,900 / £4,000 / AU$5,900
  • Price close to medium format

The A7R V was announced in October 2022, and was available to buy from December 2022, costing approximately $3,900 / £4,000 / AU$5,900. We might have expected a slightly higher price given the launch price of the A7R IV and the consequent rise in camera prices over the last year or two.

The Sony A7R V on a table straight on front

(Image credit: Future)

That said, the cost of the camera is getting close to that of medium-format models. For instance, the Fujifilm GFX 100S costs approximately $6,000 / £4,800 / AU$9,300 body-only. Those shooting faster subjects such as sport and wildlife, and/or video, the A7R V is undoubtedly the better option, but landscape, portrait and studio photographers could benefit from the larger sensor (1.7x) and higher 100MP resolution of the GFX 100S.

  • Price Score: 4/5

Sony A7R V: design

  • Versatile 4-axis articulating touchscreen
  • Moderate 10fps continuous shooting
  • Dual SD/CFexpress Type A card slots

The overall design of the A7R V is extremely similar to that of previous models, with most innovations occurring under the hood, although there are a few design tweaks that improve upon the A7R IV. Current Sony users will almost certainly feel at home, and newcomers should be able to navigate the main settings with little to no problems. 

On the back of the camera is a new 4-axis 3.2-inch articulating touchscreen, which allows the screen to be tilted and flipped out sideways, and twisted to face forwards; perfect for both stills photography and video. This makes the screen slightly bulkier than on the previous two models, which only had a tilting screen, but this doesn’t impact overall handling. The electronic viewfinder is the same one as on the A7S III, and features an excellent 9.44-million dot resolution with 0.9x magnification.

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The Sony A7R V on a table from above with screen flipped out

(Image credit: Future)
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The Sony A7R V on a table with dual hinge screen flipped out

(Image credit: Future)
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The Sony A7R V on a table straight on back with screen on

(Image credit: Future)

Moving up to the top of the camera, the exposure compensation dial is now unmarked, and like most of the buttons and dials it can be set to perform another function if users wish, although having it set to exposure compensation is the most convenient option, despite the almost infinite ways in which you can customize Sony cameras. 

Just like previous A7R models, there are two card slots on the side of the grip that can be set to record in several different ways when two cards are installed. On the A7R V, the card slots can take both SD and CFexpress Type A cards, with the latter being the faster of the two options. This is great if you prefer the cost and capacity benefits of SD cards, but to realize the full speed potential of the camera, considerably more expensive CFexpress Type A cards are a must 

The Sony A7R V close up of the ports

(Image credit: Future)

Shooting speed has also been improved, and the buffer is also larger, with a continuous shooting speed of 10fps available. Sony claims that up to 583 compressed raw images can be captured in Hi+ mode with compressed raw files. For testing, we used a 128GB Kingston Canvas React Plus SD card with transfer speeds of up to 300MB/s. This allowed us to separately shoot 170 JPEGs in Fine quality, 100 Compressed raw files and 50 uncompressed raw files before the camera began to stutter. It’s a far cry from the claimed buffer performance, but is still respectable, and more than most photographers would ever need.

This card was absolutely fine for shooting 8K video, and the camera was able to shoot for 30 minutes. The camera body did heat up during recording in a 64.5F / 18C room, which wasn’t an issue, but in warmer temperatures when shooting outdoors this could be problematic. One way to aid heat dissipation in warmer temperatures when shooting video is to open the battery door on the bottom of the camera, although this presents obvious risks. 

  • Design 5/5

Sony A7R V: features and performance

  • Subject-recognition autofocus
  • 8-stop image stabilization
  • Improved Pixel Shift Multi Shooting

While the A7R IV didn’t offer a great deal more to entice A7R III owners to upgrade, the A7R V aims to address the deficiencies of its predecessor, and is a much more well-rounded camera overall. The improvements Sony has implemented, alongside the inclusion of some welcome new features, make it significantly more attractive, whether you’re upgrading from an earlier model or switching to Sony from another brand.

One new feature, which is designed to address sensor dust complaints from A7R IV users, is the ability to have the shutter close when the camera is switched off. This might work, but after only using the camera for a few weeks it’s impossible to test this claim. Although, given that  DSLR shutters close after each shot has been taken, and these cameras still suffer from sensor dust, whether it’ll be effective is questionable. 

The Sony A7R V on a table without a lens

(Image credit: Future)

Image stabilization has been improved, with up to eight stops of compensation available when shooting stills. During testing, it was easy to shoot sharp handheld images with a shutter speed of around 1/8 sec, and with a particularly steady hand it was even possible to shoot as slow as one second. For video, Active Mode image stabilization aids smooth handheld shooting, and can be paired with some lenses that feature optical image stabilization for even smoother video.

Pixel Shift Multi Shooting has also been improved. In this mode the camera captures 16 frames, with the sensor position shifted slightly between each, which can then be merged into a huge 240.8MP image that’s claimed to be better corrected for minor movement in scenes. This requires Sony’s Image Edge Desktop software to be used, but it would be much more convenient if these composite images were merged in-camera.

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The Sony A7R V on a table angled front with lens

(Image credit: Future)
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The Sony A7R V on a table straight close up of top controls

(Image credit: Future)
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The Sony A7R V on a table straight from above with lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

The A7R V features 693 AF points and offers Real-time Recognition AF, enabling you to select from Human, Animal/Bird, Animal, Bird, Insect, Car/Train and Airplane. The Human option is much more advanced than simply eye or face detection, and can identify people in wider scenes. The feature generally works well across subjects, but it’s not perfect, and turning off subject recognition requires delving into the camera menu. The best way to switch Real-time Recognition AF on and off is to include this in My Menu, which is the camera’s custom user menu.

My Menu is incredibly useful overall, because Sony cameras are infamous for their labyrinthine menu systems. Another feature worth including here is Bulb Timer Settings. With this, when shooting in Bulb mode you can select any exposure duration from two to 900 seconds, which is incredibly useful when shooting long exposures. With this setting turned on, you can use the self-timer to release the shutter and the camera will time the exposure for you – fantastic when using a Big Stopper.

The Sony A7R V on a table straight on back with screen on

(Image credit: Future)
  • Features and performance 4/5

Sony A7R V: image and video quality

  • New 61MP Exmor R sensor boasts 15 stops dynamic range
  • Impressive ISO handling
  • Sharp video up to 8K video

Image quality in many respects comes down to the optics you attach to the camera, with higher-quality lenses naturally offering the best possible image quality. And with the A7R V, this is certainly the case – you’ll get the best results using higher-quality Sony G lenses such as the 20mm F1.8 and 90mm F2.8 Macro and the flagship G Master lenses. The high-resolution sensor is unforgiving when the camera is paired with cheaper and lower-quality optics, so you do need to avoid these if you want the A7R V to achieve its potential.

With high-quality lenses, image quality for both stills and video is excellent thanks to the new 61MP Exmor R sensor and Bionz XR processing engine. Dynamic range is advertised at 15 stops, and you can certainly increase the exposure of underexposed raw files considerably before image degradation becomes problematic. Photo capture is available in 14-bit raw, compressed raw, HEIF and JPEG, so you’ve got plenty of options.

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A long exposure seascape taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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Details of a bridge against a sunny sky taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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Details of crumbling wall taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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A modern building on a sunny day taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)

ISO performance is impressive within the native ISO 100-32,000 range, with the expanded range taking settings from ISO 50-102,400. The best quality comes at settings up to ISO 1600, with images shot at up to 6400 still looking reasonably good, and those taken at up to ISO 25,600 providing usable results. Beyond this, noise and color loss become very evident, leaving images pretty much unusable.

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Inside an abandoned building taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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Beach homes in the sun taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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A river and sunny landscape taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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Details of crumbling wall taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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A cityscape reflected in water on a sunny day  taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)

Video quality is equally impressive, with 8K video available at 24fps, 4K up to 60fps, and FHD up to 120fps in NTSC or 100fps in PAL, with a 4:2:2 10-bit color depth available. Color profiles include S-Cinetone and S-Log3 among others, so there’s plenty to keep hybrid stills/video shooters happy. Videographers will find the A7S III is a better camera overall for shooting video; you could certainly shoot professional video with the A7R V, but it’s not the best Sony A-series camera for the job.

  • Image and video quality 5/5

Should I buy the Sony A7R V?

The Sony A7R V on a table angled front with lens

(Image credit: Future)

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If our Sony A7R V review has you wondering about alternatives, here are two rivals to consider.

Sony A7R V: testing scorecard

First reviewed: January 2023

OM System OM-5
7:54 pm | November 4, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: November 2022
• Launch price: Body only $1,199.99 / £1,199 / AU$2,150
• Official price now: Body only $1,199.99 / £1,199 / AU$2,150

Update: March 2024. OM System does compact mirrorless camera systems for photography better than anyone, using a micro four thirds sensor that strikes an excellent balance between performance and size, not to mention a huge range of lenses available for all types of photography and budgets. The OM-5 feels great in the hand, looks the part and boasts superb image stablization meaning you can ditch the tripod and pack light. It was a minor update of the EM5 III, but in 2024 it remains one of the best travel cameras for enthusiasts. 

OM System OM-5: two-minute review

The OM System OM-5 is kind of new, but not in a big way. It’s really a refresh and an update of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, with new branding, improved stabilization and weatherproofing, and a couple of new features from higher-end models, including starry sky AF, and live ND filters for longer exposures in bright light. 

The main specs stay the same, including the 20MP MFT sensor, 121-point phase-detect AF, and video up to 4K 30p. That might sound a little disappointing, but there’s more to the OM-5 than the headline specs. 

OM System OM-5 specs

Sensor: 20.4MP MFT Live MOS

AF points: 121-point phase detect 

Video: C4K 24p, 4K 30p, FHD 60p, High-speed 120p FHD

Viewfinder: OLED 2.36m-dot

Memory card: Single SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II

LCD: 3-inch vari-angle touch 1.04m-dot

Max Burst: 10fps mechanical shutter (buffer unlimited JPEG / 149 raw), 30fps electronic shutter (buffer 20 JPEG / 18 raw), 30fps Pro Capture

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mic, HDMI Type D, USB 2

Size: 125.3 x 85.2 x 49.7mm

Weight: 414g (inc. battery and SD card)

For a start, like the E-M5 III before it, it packs a lot of features, controls and performance into a very small body. This is a pocket-sized interchangeable lens camera that can shoot at 10fps, or 30fps with 14-shot pre-buffer in Pro Capture mode. It has Live Bulb and Live Composite modes for watching exposure build ‘live’ at night, and its pixel-shift High Res capture mode can create 50MP images handheld, and 80MP images on a tripod.

The external controls are remarkably well laid out for a camera so small, with a real quality feel to them, and as well as an EVF you get a vari-angle screen. OM System is pitching this as a go-anywhere adventure camera and it’s certainly one of the best travel cameras you can buy, thanks in part to some excellent, compact and affordable lenses. 

The OM-5 may not break any technical barriers, but as a piece of intelligent product design, it’s pretty remarkable.

(Image credit: Rod Lawton)

OM System OM-5: price and release date

• OM System OM-5 body only: $1,199.99 / £1,199 (about AU$2,150)
• OM System OM-5 with 12-45mm f/4 Pro lens: $1,599.99 / £1,499 (about AU$2,850)
• OM System OM-5 with 14-150mm f/5.6 II lens (UK only): £1,499

The previous Olympus OM-D E-M5 III was never a cheap camera, and that’s worth mentioning, because although the OM-5 has a new maker and a new model name, it's largely the same camera.

So if the OM-5’s predecessor seemed stubbornly pricey back then, the same applies now. The OM-5 is a powerful little camera, but it does not do anything remarkable for the money; it's worth its price tag in our opinion, but you're not getting a bargain in terms of value for money.

It’s up against some good cameras in the same price bracket, including the Canon EOS R10, Fujifilm X-S10, Nikon Z50 and Sony A6400, all of which have APS-C sensors. But then the Canon and the Nikon don’t have any lenses to speak of (it’s true!), and the A6400 is an old camera with no IBIS, which leaves the Fujifilm X-S10 as the most serious competitor.

The OM-5 has a smaller MFT sensor, of course. A lot of folk are convinced this gives it a serious image quality disadvantage – wrongly, as it happens. What it also has is a range of lenses that's broadar then those of it's rivals, and the lenses themselves are physically smaller. You can’t use a camera without lenses.

• Value rating: 4/5

(Image credit: Rod Lawton)

OM System OM-5 design and handling

• Mini-DSLR style design
• Flip-out vari-angle screen
• Single SD card slot
• Twin control dials
• Dual mode function lever

For a camera packing this performance, power, and range of features, the OM-5 is very small. This could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whether you're using big professional, constant-aperture lenses, or the smaller zooms and primes from the Olympus range – and whether you're looking for a tiny travel camera or a big do-it-all mirrorless with serious grunt.

With smaller lenses, the OM-5 is just divine. If you want to use larger lenses, it really needs the optional grip (this doesn't take extra batteries; it's just a bigger grip) in order for it to feel balanced and comfortable.

Regardless of that, OM System (not ‘Olympus’, remember) has done a remarkable job of getting a lot of very usable physical controls onto such a small body. 

The OM System f/4 Pro lenses are a perfect match for the OM-5's compact body. This is the 12-45m f/4 kit lens, a stellar performer (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

The EVF is good enough, though it lacks the outright resolution of newer and more expensive rivals, and the flip-out vari-angle screen on the back is a nice feature on a camera as small as this, and a useful one too.

The single SD card slot might deter power users looking for the additional security and backup options of a dual-card setup, but there’s a limit to how much you can fit into a body as small as this. One reason for choosing two card slots is to cover the possibility of card failure, which is rare. Another is to separate stills and video, JPEGs and raw, captures and backups – all of which are reasonable pro requirements, but somewhat outside the remit of a camera like this.

There's only a single SD card slot, but then there's hardly space for more (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

The twin control dials have a smooth, solid feel and a function lever on the back swaps between two sets of adjustments for these dials (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

There are two control dials on the top of the E-M5 and these work really well, and are given extra versatility by the dual-mode lever on the back of the camera which switches their functions. You do have to remember what you’ve set these dials up to do for each function mode, but if you can do that you’ll get a very quick system for changing a multitude of settings from shutter speed to aperture, and from white balance to EV compensation.

The OM-5’s external controls have a quality feel, and a logic that’s very endearing. Olympus (sorry, OM System – it still takes some getting used to) is very good indeed at making the controls on small cameras work as well as, or better than, those on larger ones.

• Design score: 5/5

OM System OM-5: features and performance

• 6.5-stop IBIS (7.5-stop with sync IS)
• Extensive and customizable Art Filters
• Pro Capture with pre-shot buffer
• In-camera focus stacking
• 50MP/80MP High Res Shot
• Live Composite, Live Bulb, Live ND

Practically every camera maker in the world now offers 5-axis in-body stabilization systems which it considers the best on the market. But OM System (see, we didn’t say ‘Olympus’!) and Panasonic between them have, we would say, the best. It’s perhaps to do with the smaller sensor size and mass, or the algorithms used, but the OM-5’s stabilization is pretty remarkable. It has its limits for video – an IBIS system simply can’t smooth camera movements like a gimbal – but for all the perceived ‘faults’ of MFT systems, the stabilization is remarkable.

The 20MP Micro Four Thirds sensor is half the area of APS-C but still delivers very good photo and video quality – you have to be a pixel-peeper to see the difference (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

The drive mode button offers access to 10fps shooting with the mechanical shutter or 30fps in Pro Capture mode (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

The OM-5 has many other strengths. One of these is its Pro Capture mode, which can capture still images at 30fps with a 14-shot pre-capture buffer to allow for your reaction time. So you can half-press the shutter release for a ‘rolling’ capture, then press it the rest of the way when the action starts, and the camera will record the half-second of action while you were still thinking about it. That’s clever. The only drawback is that the focus is fixed from the start – but that’s fine for setups where you know where the action is going to happen, such as the jumps in a horse race or the bar in a high jump.

The OM-5 uses a lot of computational features that include in-camera focus stacking, which you can use handheld, and a 50MP High Res Shot mode, also handheld, for those times when you might actually need the resolution of a high-res full-frame camera – and it really does generate natively higher-resolution images, not some kind of lame substitute.

On top of that, you've got Olympus’s Live Composite, Live Bulb and Live ND modes. The first two are really good for night shots – once you’ve worked out the settings and parameters – while the second promises the same effect as ND filters for blurring skies, surf and water. This is limited to a 4-stop reduction, however, when for long exposures in bright light you really need a 10-stop reduction.

Finally, Olympus’s Art Filters are worth a mention. These are not the pretty plain 'looks' you might get from other cameras, but actually rather good analog effects.

• Features and performance score: 5/5

OM System OM-5: image and video quality

The 50MP handheld High Res mode is perfectly practical for non-moving subjects. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

That's a lot of depth of field for a close-up, and it's all thanks to the OM-5's in-camera focus stacking, which works fine even for handheld shots (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

The OM System image stabilization is amongst the best. This indoor museum exhibit was shot handheld at 0.5 sec (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

A lot has been said, and probably will continue to be said, about the perceived deficiencies of the Micro Four Thirds format. First, it's half the size of APS-C; however, it's also far larger than the 1-inch sensor format widely employed in compact cameras, and far larger again than the sensors in phones and point-and-shoot compacts.

At low-medium ISO settings, you won’t see much difference in quality between the OM-5’s images and those from an APS-C camera. At higher ISOs you might start to see more difference, but again, it’s not huge. If you compare the OM-5’s results to those from a full-frame camera you'll see more difference but, even here, you have to weigh this against the OM-5’s far lower price, its portability and unobtrusiveness, and the performance of its image stabilization system.

This is extremely effective for stills photography, and pretty good for video too. For static handheld shots it’s so steady that images can look as if they were filmed on a tripod, and with care it’s possible to produce smooth panning movements too. It’s less effective for walking and filming, but that’s true of every mirrorless camera's IBIS system. The stabilization in the OM-5 is just about the best on the market, aided no doubt by the smaller sensor.

The OM-5 produces bright, punchy colors and good detail even in low light. This shot was taken at ISO4,000, and shows just how far MFT image sensors and processing have come (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

The JPEG color rendition is really pleasing. This ultra-wide shot was taken with the 8-25mm f/4 lens (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

Thanks to a combination of optical and digital corrections, images from the OM System Pro lenses are effectively aberration-free. This was shot with the 40-150mm f/4 (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

The autofocus is competent without being game changing. It doesn’t have the AI subject recognition found in the latest cameras like the Sony A7R V or Canon EOS R6 II, but its face recognition and tracking seem to be pretty ‘sticky’. It’s easily good enough for casual vlogging and photography, especially since the shorter focal lengths used with MFT systems give you more depth of field latitude anyway.

For its size, this camera delivers excellent video and stills quality, with a stabilization system that gives you a really high hit rate of sharp shots.

It’s also worth mentioning the lenses. We tested the OM-5 with three Pro f/4 Olympus lenses: the 12-45mm f/4, the 8-25mm f/4, and the 40-150mm f/4 (which is actually branded OM System). These f/4 lenses are a good match for the OM-5’s size and price (the f/2.8 Pro lenses and f/1.2 primes are a little large). All three are really well made and finished, and deliver excellent results.

The OM-5 isn’t just small and powerful in its own right; it comes with a small and powerful lens range too, which isn’t just lighter than larger-format alternatives, but cheaper too.

• Image and video quality score: 4/5

Should I buy the OM System OM-5?

(Image credit: Rod Lawton)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider...

Testing scorecard

Fujifilm X-H2S review
2:50 am | September 7, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: September 2022
• Still the only 'stacked' APS-C sensor
• Launch price: $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,449 (body only)
• Official price now: $2,499 / £1,999 / AU$3,999 (body only)

Update: February 2024. The X-H2S remains the quickest camera around with APS-C sensor. It's the only camera in this format to feature a stacked sensor that offers unparalled speed for action photography and video, with 40fps burst shooting and 6.2K 10-bit internal video, plus in-body stabilization. It's still the most expensive APS-C mirrorless camera, but price reductions particularly in the UK make the X-H2S one of the most compelling video cameras and stills camera especially for sports and wildlife. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Fujifilm X-H2S: Two-minute review

The Fujifilm X-H2S is an incredibly powerful mirrorless camera for sports and action photographers who also want to shoot pro-quality video. It’s expensive for an APS-C camera and features like 40fps burst shooting will be overkill for many. But the X-H2S is also a hybrid camera with few peers, and its all-round performance also justifies that price tag.

The key to its power is a new, stacked 26MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HS APS-C sensor. So-called ‘stacked’ sensors, which have a design that delivers incredibly fast read-out speeds, have so far only appeared in flagship full-frame cameras like the Nikon Z9, Sony A1 and Canon EOS R3. But the X-H2S brings some of that performance to a camera with the comparatively ‘low’ price of $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,449 (body only).

The X-H2S may have a smaller sensor than those full-frame cameras, but it’s definitely capable of pro-quality results. Thanks to the combination of that new sensor and an X-Processor 5, it offers blackout-free continuous shooting at 40fps (with the electronic shutter), plus some impressive subject-tracking skills, and the option of shooting 6.2K/30p or 4K/120p video with 4:2:2 10-bit color depth.

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The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Fans of Fujifilm’s signature retro look, which usually includes the tactile dials seen on old film cameras, might be disappointed by the design of the X-H2S. It’s very much a modern brute of a camera, with a more clinical focus on performance. But while it lacks the charms of the X-T series, the X-H2S is an incredibly fun camera to use.

It has one of the best electronic viewfinders we’ve used, while the subject-tracking autofocus (which now recognizes animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes and trains) makes it by far the best Fujifilm X-series camera for shooting moving subjects. Video shooters are also incredibly well-served by a sparkling spec sheet that includes internal ProRes recording.

There’s no denying that the X-H2S is expensive, and many photographers will probably be better off buying an X-T4 plus a lens or two with the considerable spare change. After all, 40fps burst shooting isn’t ideal for your editing workflow and Fujifilm’s autofocus, which is still a little short of the flagship performance offered by its rivals, is more hit-and-miss in this top mode.

But if you do regularly shoot speeding subjects and also need a pro-quality video camera that’s more travel-friendly than many of its full-frame rivals, the X-H2S makes a very compelling argument for being top of your shortlist. 

Fujifilm X-H2S: Release date and price

  • Available to buy now for $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,449 (body-only)
  • Similar price to some full-frame cameras like the Sony A7 IV
  • X-H2S has a smaller sensor but superior performance to its full-frame rivals

The Fujifilm X-H2S is available to buy now for $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,449 (body-only). Some new X-H2S accessories are also now available, including the VG-XH vertical battery grip ($399 / £399 / AU$749) and, for video shooters, a FAN-001 Cooling Fan ($199 / AU$369).

This price makes the X-H2S one of the most expensive APS-C cameras around and it’s a pretty big step up from the Fujifilm X-H1, which arrived in 2018 for £1,699 / $1,899 / AU$3,399. But the X-H2S does combine a new 26.1MP stacked sensor with the X-Processor 5, which allows it to make improvements across the board to autofocus, video, burst shooting and more.

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

The X-H2S faces stiff opposition in its price bracket, including the Canon EOS R6 ($2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,499), Sony A7 IV ($2,499 / £2,400 / AU$$4,299) and Panasonic Lumix S5 ($1,999 / £1,799 / AU$3,199). 

All of those cameras have larger full-frame sensors, but none offer the speedy all-rounded performance of a stacked APS-C sensor, which is the USP of Fujifilm's new flagship.

  • Price: 4.5/5

Fujifilm X-H2S: design

  • Has ‘PASM’ control setup rather than Fujifilm’s traditional dials
  • Excellent 5.76-million dot viewfinder and articulating screen
  • Tough, weather-sealed body with useful top-plate LCD

The Fujfilm X-H2S looks and feels like a professional camera. This may disappoint fans of Fujifilm’s retro dials, but its pronounced grip, top-plate LCD screen and overall heft helps to balance out the longer lenses you'll likely want to pair it with. The X-H2S also has one of the best electronic viewfinders (EVF) we’ve used on any camera.

Weighing in at 660g, the X-H2S is slightly smaller and lighter than the X-H1. But it also borrows many of its design cues from Fujifilm’s medium format GFX series. Its top plate, for example, is pretty similar to the one on the Fujifilm GFX50S II.

This all means that the X-H2S does away with Fujifilm's signature array of manual dials, instead adopting the PASM (Program, Aperture, Shutter Speed, Manual) approach favored by its rivals. You’ll largely be changing shutter speed or ISO using the front and rear dials, which will be a comfortably familiar experience for most non-Fuji fans.

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The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)
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The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)
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The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

While some may miss the dedicated dials of the X-T series, this approach makes sense on a camera like the X-H2S, where settings like shutter speed will be largely tweaked while looking through the viewfinder at speeding subjects. Fuji has also previously stated that many photographers have been put off from switching to the X-series because they find its dials too confusing.

This PASM dial, with its seven custom modes, sits to the left of the viewfinder, though it’s a shame there’s no handy ‘drive mode’ switch underneath for quickly switching between. Still, on the right-hand side of the top plate you'll find that useful LCD screen (for quickly checking settings like shutter speed, aperture and ISO) on the right next to buttons for ISO, white balance and video recording. 

Unlike cameras like the Canon EOS R7 and Sony A7 IV, the X-H2S only has a standard hot-shoe rather than a 'multi-function' one that can power or transfer data to external accessories. If you regularly use flashes or external microphones, you might find the setup of those rival cameras to be a bit simpler and cleaner due to the lack of cables.

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Around the back, the Fujifilm X-H2S is pretty similar to the X-H1. There's a fully articulating touchscreen, which flips around the front for video shooters. One of the main changes is a new AF joystick, which is larger than before and has moved up next to the viewfinder. While we initially found this AF stick to be a bit of a stretch for our thumb, we soon got used to it and found the X-H2S to be very comfortable to shoot with.

One significant upgrade that the X-H2S has over the rest of the X-series is that impressive 5.76-million dot OLED viewfinder. Thanks to its size (it has an equivalent 0.8x magnification), resolution and 120fps refresh rate, we found it to be one of the best viewfinders we’ve used. The resolution remains high whatever focusing method you’re using and it makes the EVFs on the rest of the X-series, and even rivals like the Sony A7 IV, look dated.

Overall, the X-H2S has great handling and is a lot of fun to use. The lack of a drive mode switch beneath the main dial is a bit annoying, as is the absence of a focus mode switch on the front. We also wish the front and rear dials were still clickable like on other Fuji cameras. But the X-H2S otherwise offers a very polished, and customizable, shooting experience for both stills and video shooters.

  • Design and handling: 4.5/5

Fujifilm X-H2S: features and performance

  • Maintains 40fps speeds for over three seconds with CFexpress card
  • Impressive subject-tracking autofocus, if not quite class-leading
  • Useful in-body image stabilization and no overheating issues

The X-H2S is by far the most powerful Fujifilm camera to date and one of the best hybrid cameras for stills and video that you can buy. It may not offer the dynamic range or low-light performance of full-frame rivals like the Sony A7 IV, but it more than compensates with the burst shooting, autofocus and video skills that are unlocked by its stacked sensor. 

Like the OM System OM-1, the X-H2S focuses mainly on speed for wildlife and sports shooters (hence the ‘S’ in its name). It can blast through stills at 40fps (raw or JPEG) when using the electronic shutter, all with full AF / AE tracking and with no blackout in the viewfinder. But how usable is this burst shooting in practice?

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

We did some burst-shooting tests using both a CFexpress card and SD card to find out. You can see our results below. The conclusion is that you’ll definitely want to use a CFexpress card to unlock the true potential of the X-H2S. 

This will let you hit the top 40fps speed for just over three seconds until the buffer slows things down, or over five seconds when shooting at 30fps. While the 20fps mode isn’t quite unlimited, we found you can keep going for at least 15 seconds at these speeds, which is more than enough for most situations.

There are a few caveats to add to this, though. Firstly, we found the autofocus performance to be a little more hit-and-miss when shooting fast-moving subjects like motocross riders at 40fps. 

This means that you’re better off switching to ‘only’ 20fps or 30fps during particularly challenging scenes. Also, while the rolling shutter is minimal when using the electronic shutter, it hasn’t been completely eliminated for fast panning shots. This means you’ll still want to use this camera’s 15fps mechanical shutter mode on some occasions.

Lastly, the final thing to bear in mind when shooting at 40fps is that it’ll leave you with some considerable photo-culling to do before editing. So while it’s definitely a useful more to have for extreme situations, you may not ultimately use it that often for those reasons.

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A young fox in a garden

(Image credit: Future)
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A young fox in a garden

(Image credit: Future)
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A young fox in a garden

(Image credit: Future)

How does the X-H2S’ autofocus perform overall? In our tests, very well. It isn’t a huge leap up from the Fujifilm X-T4, and its tracking isn’t quite as unerringly confident as the systems on flagship rivals like the Canon EOS R5 or Sony A7 IV. 

But it’s still certainly good enough for high-end sports and wildlife shooting, once you’ve tailored it to your needs.

A football player pointing and shouting

(Image credit: Future)

Alongside the usual ability to track human faces and eyes, the X-H2S can track animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes and trains, as long as you’ve selected the right one in the menu. 

One day, cameras will be able to automatically apply the right AF mode to whatever you’re looking at, but for now you still need to manually pick your subject in the menus.

We found the eye detection worked well for portrait shots or soccer matches, proving pretty sticky whether our subject was moving or not. Animal detection, meanwhile, was versatile enough to recognize subjects like foxes and lock onto their eyes. 

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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)

Switching to car and bike autofocus mode at the Goodwood Festival of Speed produced similarly impressive results, with the X-H2S quickly drawing a tracking box around our speedily-moving subject before locking onto a face or head. 

For cars, it’d often default to the front of the car if it couldn’t find a helmet through the windshield. Our autofocus hit-rate was again best when using either the 15fps or 20fps burst modes, so we generally stuck to these for the best results. 

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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to stabilization, the X-H2S is pretty similar to the Fujifilm X-T4. On paper, these cameras offer six-to-seven stops of compensation when shooting handheld, although in our experience that’s closer to four-to-five stops with most lenses and does vary depending on which lens you’re using. 

Still, you certainly get a useful helping hand when using longer lenses and the combination of in-body stabilization with Fujifilm’s digital image stabilization (DIS) can produce tripod-style results when handholding. It’s less useful for moving shots, though, so you’ll definitely still need a gimbal when doing walk-and-talk style vlogging.

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Lastly, battery life and overheating. The X-H2S offers a fairly standard battery performance for a high-end mirrorless cameras, lasting for 390 shots per charge when using the EVF or 580 when shooting with the LCD. That might sound a bit limiting, but you’ll get a lot more shots than that in reality when using burst mode – we took over 1,000 photos before needing to change batteries. You can also add an optional VG-XH grip ($399 / £399 / AU$749) to triple the camera’s endurance.

Video shooters will be pleased to hear that the X-H2S doesn’t have any overheating limitations either. Without any of the old recording limits that we’ve seen on previous Fujifilm cameras, we were able to shoot in 4K for over two hours before the battery gave out. This makes it a good choice for those looking to shoot longform interviews, particularly as the eye-tracking works best in fairly static scenes.

  • Features and performance: 5/5

Fujifilm X-H2S: image and video quality

For photos, the Fujifilm X-H2S offers no major image quality upgrades over its cheaper siblings like the X-T4. That might sound a bit disappointing considering the camera’s price, but the benefits of its new 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HS sensor are its fast readout speeds, which mainly affect autofocus and burst shooting (alongside video).

Those features can definitely help you get shots that aren’t possible on cameras like the X-T4, particularly when it comes to moving subjects. But because the X-H2S has the same 26.1MP resolution as previous X-Trans IV cameras, you won’t see any major quality improvements in the shots themselves.

This is no bad thing. We’ve long been impressed with the results produced by X-series cameras, including the ‘color science’ behind that unique X-Trans design. And it’s no different on the X-H2S, which produces some lovely JPEGs and raw files with a good few stops of editing leeway.

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A young deer calling at Bushy Park

(Image credit: Future)
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A young deer calling at Bushy Park

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)

Our ISO tests produced very similar results to our X-T3, with results very acceptable up to ISO 6400 before smoothing becomes visible due to some increased luminance noise. This is where full-frame cameras still have the slight edge, but the X-H2S’ results from ISO 12800 or above are still certainly usable in emergencies.

Fans of Fujifilm’s Film Simulations – which are based on its classic film stock – will also be pleased to see that all 19 options, from Classic Chroma to Eterna, are available to add a quick bit of personality to JPEGs.

But it’s video where the X-H2S really does feel like a step up from previous X-series cameras, particularly when it comes to the resolutions, frame-rates and bit-depths that are available. 

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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)

You can shoot 6.2K/30p video internally with 4:2:2 10-bit color depth, or 4K/120p slo-mo video if you're prepared to accept a 1.29x crop. Unfortunately, there is also a slight crop when shooting Full HD/240p video and that mode is pretty soft, but the sensor's speedy read-out speeds largely control any rolling shutter issues.   

Pro videographers will also be pleased to see support for the flat F-Log2 profile, which offers 14 stops of dynamic range for color-grading in post. If you bring a CFexpress card to the party, there's also support for three Apple ProRes codecs: ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, and particularly useful ProRes 422 LT. Perhaps our only complaint here is how labyrinthine all the menus are.

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A man's face on the sidelines of a football match

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A BMX rider doing a jump on a track

(Image credit: Future)
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The front of a supercar in the paddocks

(Image credit: Future)
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The grill of a supercar at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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Three boys watching a crowd

(Image credit: Future)
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The front of a racing car in the paddocks

(Image credit: Future)

Whatever settings you choose, the X-H2S’ video quality is generally clean and crisp, even if its slo-mo modes are slightly disappointing – the 4K/120p mode incurs a 1.29x crop, while the 240p mode is best avoided. But overall the X-H2S is a powerful, pro-quality video camera, which is pretty impressive when you consider how capable it is for stills, too.

  • Image and video quality: 4.5

Should I buy the Fujifilm X-H2S?

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don'y buy it if...

Fujifilm X-H2S: also consider

Testing scorecard

Fujifilm X-T30 II review
7:11 pm | May 4, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: May 2022
• A modest upgrade to Fujifilm's APS-C mirrorless hybrid
• Launch price: $899 / £749 / AU$1,585 (body only)
• Official price now: $999 / £799 / around AU$1,349 (body only)

Update: May 2024. Picking up where the X-T30 left off, Fujifilm’s second-gen mirrorless hybrid doesn’t change too much. It remains a beginner-friendly, retro-style camera with a solid set of specs, including strong autofocus and uncropped 4K recording with the same 26.2MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor as before. Given that the original X-T30 is now harder to find in new condition, the Mark II is Fujifilm’s most affordable option for beginners who want a travel-friendly camera with a capable sensor. In the UK and US, official prices have crept up since the camera hit shelves in 2022, although we still think it represents good value in 2024. It’s also worth looking out for deals on the X-T30 II during upcoming sales events: as the model gets older and rumours of an X-T30 III start to circulate, there’s an increased chance of finding discounts online.

Two-minute review

Launched back in 2019, the original Fujifilm X-T30 was intended as a ‘lite’ version of the Fujifilm X-T3, boasting several of the same specifications in a more consumer- or travel-friendly body. 

Fast-forward to 2022, and the X-T30 II represents only a modest upgrade; although considering that the original camera was so good, that’s perhaps no surprise. If you already own the X-T30 there’s probably little point in upgrading, but, if you’re looking for a good all-rounder which doesn’t put too much of a dent in your wallet, and fits neatly into your bag for everyday and travel use, then it’s worth considering – and the fact that it’s a treat to look at is a nice bonus too.

Since 2019, Fujifilm has also had a bit of a shift around in its lineup, doing away with some of its more basic models, and the X-T30 II currently its most beginner-friendly option. But that’s not to say you don’t get some excellent specs for your cash – and indeed in many ways it’s a very similar camera to the superb Fujifilm X-S10

Fujifilm X-T30 II

(Image credit: Future)

Housed inside the X-T30 II is a 26.1 megapixel APS-C sensor, while you also get high-end features such as uncropped 4K video and 20fps shooting (which can be boosted to 30fps if you’re happy to employ a crop). There are also a slew of film simulation modes, a cracking autofocus setup and customizable controls.

All of that could be found on the original X-T30 though – so what’s new here? Well, very little really, but there are just enough incremental upgrades to make the overall proposition very good. We’ll go into more detail below, but the headlines are a higher-resolution screen, the addition of more film simulations and the ability to record high-speed video in Full HD, and greater sensitivity in low-light shooting.

Fujifilm X-T30 II specs

Sensor: 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS

AF points: 425

Video: 4K 30p, Full HD 60p, High-speed 240p Full HD

Viewfinder: 0.39-inch OLED 2.36m-dot 

Memory card: Single SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I

LCD: 3.0-inch tilt type touch LCD, 1.62m-dot 

Max burst: 8fps mechanical shutter, 20fps electronic shutter, 30fps with crop

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 

Size: 118.4 x 82.8 x 46.8mm

Weight: 378g (with battery and SD card)

Given that this is the same basic setup as the original X-T30, we were already confident that image quality was going to be great, and we haven’t been disappointed. Colors are beautifully vibrant, and images have bags of detail – and those film simulation modes are always fun to experiment with.

So what’s not to like? Again, we’ll go into this in more detail below, but the main bad news is the lack of in-body stabilization, a little bit of awkwardness when it comes to button placement, the screen only tilting (not ideal for selfies and vlogging), and of course the fact that it’s such an incremental upgrade over its predecessor that you might be better off just sticking with that camera.

All of that aside, if you’re looking for a good-value mid-range camera, especially to take with you on trips, the Fujifilm X-T30 II makes for a very tempting proposition - indeed we think it's one of the best travel cameras you can buy, as well as being one of the best beginner mirrorless cameras. You’ll get fabulous pictures, an attractively styled body, access to a good range of lenses and a slew of useful specs. If you have a little more cash to play with – and don’t mind going a little bigger – it makes sense to plump for the X-S10, but otherwise, there’s a lot to like here.

Fujifilm X-T30 II release date and price

  • Available to buy now from $899 / £749 (body-only) / AU$1,585
  • Cheaper at launch than the X-T30
  • Cheaper than the Fujifilm X-S10

Announced in October 2021, the Fujifilm X-T30 II went on sale for $899 / £749 / AU$1,585 in its body-only configuration. Most users are likely to buy it with either the 15-45mm or the 18-55mm kit lens, in which case the price is increased. 

The cheaper 15-45mm is lower in quality, but being smaller in size it may appeal to those looking for something ultra-compact for traveling. You can pick up the X-T30 II and the 15-45mm for $999 / £849 / AU$1,694.

It’s worth going for the higher-quality 18-55mm lens if you’ve got the budget, and the space in your bag. At $1,299 / £1,099 / AU$2,099 for the kit combo it still represents good value for money, and gives you more flexibility.

Good news – and perhaps surprising in the current electronics climate – is that the Fujifilm X-T30 II was actually cheaper at launch than its predecessor. It’s difficult to find the original X-T30 now, especially new, but you might pick up some good second-hand deals. 

Less good news is that stock levels in certain regions, including the UK, aren’t always high, so you may need to shop around if you’re keen to buy.

Fujifilm X-T30 II review: design

  • Classic retro styling
  • Tilt-type touchscreen
  • Just one SD card slot 

Fujifilm has used the exact same chassis for the X-T30 II as for its predecessor – so there are no surprises here, for better or worse. What that means is that you get a retro-styled body, which we think looks particularly attractive in the black and silver finish; an all-black model is also available.

As is commonplace with Fujifilm cameras, there’s a scattering of dials and buttons across the top and back of the camera, and a good degree of customization options. Beginners shouldn’t be put off however, as there’s also a good Auto mode which you can use, and lets you happily ignore as many of the dials and buttons as you want to.

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Fujifilm X-T30 II

(Image credit: Future)
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Fujifilm X-T30 II

(Image credit: Future)
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Fujifilm X-T30 II

(Image credit: Future)

On the camera’s top plate there’s a shutter speed dial, an exposure compensation dial and a drive mode dial. Several of Fujifilm’s lenses have aperture rings, but if you’re using a lens that doesn’t have one (such as the 15-45mm kit lens), you can use one of the dual-control dials on the front and rear of the camera to make those changes. Focus mode is adjusted via a switch on the front of the camera. 

A Fn button on the top of the camera can be changed to control a variety of different settings. On the back of the camera you’ve got a joystick for moving focus points around the screen or moving through the various menus available, and there’s a ‘Q’ button which can be used to access commonly adjusted settings. A frustration of the original X-T30 was this button’s placement – it’s awkwardly situated on the thumb grip, and it’s ridiculously easy to push it when you don’t want to, and conversely slightly hard to find when you do. Sadly, Fujifilm hasn’t seen fit to move this for the Mark II version, which is a bit of a mystery considering the number of reviews that complained about it.

The grip on the front of the camera is fairly slight. This isn’t a chunky camera, but it still feels relatively secure and comfortable in your hand; those with large hands may find it just a little on the small side, in which case we’d probably recommend the X-S10 instead.

Fujifilm X-T30 II

(Image credit: Future)

Underneath the electronic viewfinder (a 2.36m-dot OLED EVF, the same as on the X-T30) is a tilt-type touchscreen. Unlike other models in Fujifilm’s lineup, such as the X-S10, this can only tilt up and down, and doesn’t have an extra mechanism to fold out towards the front. For many, this won’t be an issue, but if you’re keen on vlogging or taking selfies, it’s a bit of a shame not to have that flexibility. On the plus side, it’s here that we find one of the XT-30 II’s upgrades over its predecessor, as the screen offers a higher resolution at 1.62 million dots than the X-T30’s 1.04 million-dot panel.

There’s just one memory card slot, which is to be expected on a mid-range camera like the Fujifilm X-T30 II. It’s an SD/HC/XC compatible slot, but it’s a shame not to see it offering UHS-II, especially considering how fast this camera can shoot. It’s also a little awkwardly placed if you’re using a tripod – you’ll find it behind the same door as the battery, next to the tripod thread, rather than behind a separate door on the side of the camera.

Fujifilm X-T30 II review: features and performance

  • Same sensor and processor as X-T30
  • Same Intelligent Hybrid AF system as X-T30, with improved algorithms
  • Improved low-light autofocusing capability

It's safe to say that Fujifilm hasn’t done much more than tweak the original X-T30 for the Mark II iteration, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing when you’re working with some pretty impressive features in the first place. A good example is the same 26.2MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor. This is Fujifilm’s current top-line sensor, also found in its higher-end cameras, so you can’t get better than that. 

In continuous shooting mode the X-T30 II can shoot at 8fps using the mechanical shutter. However, if you’re happy to shoot with the electronic shutter you’ve got the option to record at 20fps, or 30fps with a 1.25x crop applied. This makes the X-T30 II a good option for those who like to photograph fast-moving subjects, though the buffer is relatively small, giving you 26 JPEGs / 17 raw files at 30fps, or 32 JPEGs / 17 raws in 20fps mode before you’ll need to take a short pause – it’s best if you’re therefore able to predict at least roughly when some action will be taking place.

Fujifilm X-T30 II

(Image credit: Future)

Interestingly, if you’re using the electronic shutter, there’s also a ‘Pre-shot’ burst mode, which records images so long as you keep the shutter button half-pressed, saving those captured up to a second before you fully press the shutter, and hopefully ensuring that the moment is successfully captured.

Fujifilm has also employed the same 425-point AF system for the X-T30 II as for its predecessor; again, that put in a solid performance last time, and again it’s the same system you’ll find in the X-S10, the X-T4 and the X-Pro3. As well as the option to select from one of the 425 points, you can also choose Zone AF and Wide/Tracking AF for following moving subjects. Here’s where we see a little difference from the X-T30, as the Mark II version uses a newer algorithm which is designed to more accurately track subjects that are moving towards or away from the camera.

Fujifilm X-T30 II

(Image credit: Future)

Another improvement is the focus point sensitivity, which now goes to an impressive -7EV, compared to the X-T30’s -3EV. In theory this should mean that the X-T30 II is a little more adept at acquiring focus in very low lighting, and that seems to be borne out well in practice – during our testing, it did a good job of picking out fine details even when light was pretty limited. 

Tracking focus performs generally pretty well, albeit not consistently perfectly. It works best when following a subject that’s moving in a relatively predictable fashion, but it’s a solid performance from a camera sitting in the mid-range. If you’re someone who just likes to take the odd wildlife shot, or photograph kids and pets, it’s likely better than you need.

Fujifilm X-T30 II

(Image credit: Future)

Fujifilm X-T30 II review: image and video quality

Given that we’ve seen the X-T30 II’s sensor in multiple cameras, we didn’t expect any surprises when it came to image and video quality. In fact, this sensor is probably the best APS-C sensor on the market right now, so you’re all but assured of good image quality. 

Fujifilm has earned a lot of fans for the way its cameras handle color, and as we’d expect, you get beautifully rich tones and vibrancy. JPEG images directly from the camera look fantastic, while the raw files give you lots of scope to make adjustments as you see fit. 

Shooting in the standard film simulation mode yields pleasingly accurate colors, with skin tones rendered nicely. The many different film simulation modes are also great fun to experiment with; the two new options for the X-T30 II are Classic Neg and ETERNA Bleach Bypass, bringing the total number of simulations now available to 18. It’s worth playing around with all the modes when you first unbox the camera to get a feel for which ones you like best.

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Fujifilm X-T30 II

One of the new Film Simulation modes for the X-T30 II is Eterna Bleach Bypass, a classic film treatment that gives a stylized look that works well for certain subjects (Image credit: Future)
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Fujifilm X-T30 II

Colors are bright and punchy directly from the camera and when shooting in the ‘standard’ film simulation mode (Image credit: Future)
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Fujifilm X-T30 II

Shots taken at high ISOs, such as this one shot at ISO 10,000, reveal little objectionable noise (Image credit: Future)
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Fujifilm X-T30 II

There’s plenty of detail to be seen in most shots, even when you’re shooting at fairly high ISOs. This image was taken at ISO 4000 (Image credit: Future)
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Fujifilm X-T30 II

On the whole, exposures are well-balanced, and the camera produces pleasing results in a variety of situations (Image credit: Future)
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Fujifilm X-T30 II

Skin tones are rendered well, with other colors being nicely saturated, without popping so much as to look unrealistic (Image credit: Future)
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Fujifilm X-T30 II

It’s worth switching to the Velvia film simulation setting when you really want to make colors appear bold and vibrant (Image credit: Future)
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Fujifilm X-T30 II

The X-T30 II might only have an APS-C--sized sensor, but you can still create some good shallow depth of field effects (Image credit: Future)
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Fujifilm X-T30 II

Being able to shoot at 20fps, or 30fps if you apply a crop, makes the X-T30 II well suited to photographing moving subjects – especially those that move in a relatively predictable fashion (Image credit: Future)

Video quality is good, with footage containing plenty of detail. However, the lack of in-body image stabilization means the camera has its limitations for handheld work – you’ll be relying on lens stabilization, or shooting from a stable surface, for the most part. It's fine for the odd video clip, but if you’re looking for a really capable video camera you’ll be better served elsewhere.

One of the disadvantages of a smaller than full-frame sensor is that low-light shooting can result in noisier images. How much you actually like to shoot in very low lighting is worth thinking about, but here we’re treated to pretty clean images up to around ISO 6400, with some noticeable (but not overly objectionable) noise starting to creep in thereafter. 

Should I buy the Fujifilm X-T30 II?

Fujifilm X-T30 II

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

Don't buy it if…

Also consider

If you're looking at rival cameras to the Fujifilm X-T30 II, here are three to consider:

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