This is my little Fujifilm X-T3 Review, a camera I’ve been using a pre-release version of for a couple of weeks.

I’m trying to articulate a lot more of my content via video these days, so you can hear the whole video below, or head over to my YouTube channel where this video lives along with many other videos covering everything from Fujifilm gear to the Business of Photography.

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So today I’m going to do this little Fujifilm X-T3 Review

Now, this is a camera that I had not seen or heard anything about until the rumours started flying.

I wasn’t privy to any insider information and in fact, only when it was officially launched last Thursday could I really see what the camera was all about.

I am lucky enough right now to have one of the UK pre-production models.

It’s on beta firmware and whilst it is pre-production, I don’t expect any differences to the look and feel of it before it hits the shops in the next few days.

As you probably all know I am an ambassador for Fujifilm but I hope those of you that know me, know that I always put content out with as much integrity as possible.

To that end, if there are things I feel are wrong or not working, I’ll tell you and in fact, if you dig deep enough into my review history you’ll see that there were even full cameras that I really just didn’t like much.

Not because they were bad cameras, but they just didn’t do what I needed them to do.

The X-M1 for example and even the X-E1 and X-E2s.

So, honestly, whilst of course I have a good relationship with Fujifilm – I’m not paid to make this content, I don’t get backhanders and the people that feed my family are my clients, not brands.

So, as I said – I haven’t been involved in the X-T3 which means I can’t give you an in-depth review yet.

Notably, because I wouldn’t shoot too much commercial work on a prototype camera and additionally, as we speak, there is no way to edit the RAW files – though I believe Adobe is rolling out an update very soon which will include X-T3.

I’m basically going to talk to you about how I have used it on and off over the last week or so, what I like about it and I will tell you what I don’t like too as there are some of those as well.

Fujifilm X-T3 Review – Ergonomics & Build

When I first saw the specs, I thought, yea, OK, this could be good.

It looks like it’s taking an X-T2 and speeding it up a bit.

And it is a bit like that.

I mean, the chassis is almost identical. It’s made in China and that’s what is keeping the price so low – you are getting a heck of a lot of bang for your buck here – but it feels lovely.

Fujifilm has taken on a lot of feedback from the photography community in this regard.

So, for example, the little door with all the ports behind can be removed which makes putting the camera on a gimble or a rig much better.

All the ports are now in the body. Headphone jack, mic socket and USB-C port are all in the body, which is much better than the way the X-T2 was configured.

There is a grip of course, but literally, all the grip is good for is holding the extra batteries and you can charge via that grip too of course. You don’t even need the grip any longer for boost mode.

This is ace as it kind of felt with the X-T2 that if you wanted to do any filming of any substance, they were forcing you down the route of buying the grip.

I still think the grip is a good thing, but you don’t really need it as such anymore. Kudos Fujifilm for that.

With that in mind, the battery performance is a little better on the X-T3 (I got over 1,000 frames easily and around 45 mins of filming on one charge) and it now offers seamless power handover between the batteries.

Fujifilm have done a remarkable job with the X-T3 based on my brief time with the camera.

It’s like a racehorse compared to a donkey when you compare it to the X-T2.

Not that there is anything wrong with that donkey of course…. that donkey will still get you where you want to get, just a bit slower than the racehorse.

Fujifilm X-T3 Review – Sensor & Processor

We have the new X-Trans 4 processor – I think that’s what they are calling it, which has four CPUs doing all the magic in the background.

One of the big differences between the X-T3 and all of the other Fujifilm cameras is the backlit sensor.

There are a lot of very techy explanations to this on the internet – but my understanding is that all the light gathering jiggery-pokery has been moved from the front to the back of the sensor.

This means that more light can hit the sensor quicker and should also result in better low light performance as all that jiggery-pokery is now going on behind the sensor and not clogging up relevant bits at the front.

And to that end, when shooting with it in low light I can definitely notice a difference. There is apparently a two stop difference in low light performance and whilst I can’t demonstrate that all I can say is yes, it most definitely acquires focus quicker and more successfully, even in low light conditions.

It’s quite epic if I’m being honest.

If you are a wedding photographer, especially one that shoots with available light as I do you WILL definitely notice this difference.

Fujifilm X-T3 Review – My First Picture

When I picked up the camera last week, I pointed it at the first thing I saw, which happened to be my good friend Neale James.

I have this strange obsession of keeping the very first picture I take with any new camera and this is very much just a snapshot as he sat opposite me in the pub:

fujifilm x-t3 review

Fujifilm X-T3 Review:  50mm F2 1/125 ISO 250

Fujifilm X-T3 Review – AF & Speed

Now, I’m not a particularly heavy shooter at weddings, but there are moments where having a very rapid shutter does come in handy.

I have friends in the industry who may shoot upwards of 20,000 frames at a wedding and for people like that, and sports photographers and wildlife photographers they are really going to get the best out of the performance boost in this camera.

In the video above there is a sequence of 177 stills of a Skills Footballer in London.  He is amazing by the way.

This sequence is 177 continuous frames. JPEG of course – all straight out of the camera.

I think the maximum buffer size is technically 200 images before it slows down. Not stops just slows down.

I didn’t use the sports mode for this. The sports mode, by the way, is pretty neat. It will crop the image to 16mega pixels but allow you to shoot at a pretty staggering 30fps.

16mp might seem like a chunk to lose, and in reality, it is, but when you consider what the 16mp X-T1 was like at high-speed burst and compare it to this monster you’ll see just how far Fujifilm have pushed this line of cameras in the last four or five years.

Now, one of the other features that Fujifilm are keen to tell us about is much-improved Face detection.

Face Detection should not be confused with PHASE detection pixels of course – and by the way, the sensor now has 100% coverage of those lovely phase detection pixels which I believe is the first APS-C camera to offer that. That’s another reason the performance is so incredible on the X-T3.

Anyway, back to Face Detection.

It is better. A LOT better than the X-T2. I never used face detection on the X-T2. I just never really saw the need for it but I tried it at a wedding I shot just this weekend for the confetti run.

This is one of the only times during a wedding I would use high-speed burst and I wanted to try it out with face detection.

It worked. And it worked very well. Have a look at the sequence in the video above. Shot with the 23mm F1.4 legacy lens…

Remember those are unedited uncropped etc. I just wanted to see how the camera performed in both continuous high speed as well as face tracking.

They were running pretty quick up that path too. Pretty good I reckon.

That said, it’s a shame that you can’t select faces as such. It’s great that they have made face detection a whole load better, but it would be great if it just had that one final feature.

The face detection works very well in a video by the way.

Fujifilm X-T3 Review – Touchscreen & Menu

Of course, we also now have the touchscreen interface and I doubt we’ll see any new cameras that don’t have that from now on.

It’s handy, especially when shooting weddings when you want to move around the tables and get record shots without lifting the camera to your eye.

Of course, you can shoot by pressing the screen so you don’t even need to press the shutter button.

There are nice touches on the screen too, such as being able to disable certain parts of the screen – so, if your nose keeps touching the left as mine does, you can just switch that bit off.

If you are interested, last week I created a video that steps through the entire menu system of the X-T3.

It’s a bit of a long one, but for those who are interested, here it is:

Fujifilm X-T3 Review – Speed of Older Lenses

When using the camera, I was keen to check the focus speed of the legacy lenses such as the 23mm F1.4 and 56mm F1.2 which are the two lenses I use the absolute most.

And it’s practically tangible that they are quicker to snap focus.

In this image of the gentleman being slapped around the face (it’s a jokey slap, don’t worry, no gentlemen were hurt in real life) I had to react quickly to the moment and the 56 f1.2 shot at 1.2 immediately snapped to the place I needed it to be.

Now, I don’t think the X-T2 was poor at this, I never really had any issues, but there is a clear and noticeable difference in the AF acquisition speed.

Fujifilm X-T3 ReviewFujifilm X-T3 Review:  56mm F1.2 1/6,000 ISO 200

Additionally, this next image from just as the couple started to walk up the aisle. Now, I didn’t want to shoot all of this on the Xt3 so just shot a couple of frames on it with the 56mm F1.2 and once again, flawless.

This church wasn’t particularly dark in fairness, and I would expect the X-T2 loaded with the 56mm 1.2 to be efficient here too.

But you know when you can feel when things are quicker when the gears are grinding smoother and the oil is slicker.

It’s a bit like that.

Fujifilm X-T3 ReviewFujifilm X-T3 Review:  56mm F1.2 1/125 ISO 200

Fujifilm X-T3 Review – Colour Chrome Effect & Monochrome Tinting

Those of you who shoot JPEG will love the Colour Chrome Effect.

It’s pretty subtle in the examples I’ve shot here but I really liked it on a couple of shots I took on the streets using the Velvia film simulation. It really gives a bit more impact to the images.

It won’t be everybody’s taste and you can tweak the strength of it in the camera of course.

By the way, that feature first appeared in the GFX 50S and in that camera, you can only shoot in the single shot mode when using the colour chrome effect – on the X-T3, presumably because of all the new processor gubbins on board, you can shoot with this even in burst mode.

Fujifilm X-T3 ReviewFujifilm X-T3 Review:  23mm F11 1/500 ISO 160 – Velvia with Colour Chrome EffectFujifilm X-T3 ReviewFujifilm X-T3 Review:  50mm F5.6 1/1,250 ISO 160 – Velvia with Colour Chrome Effect Fujifilm X-T3 ReviewFujifilm X-T3 Review:  50mm F2 1/10,000 ISO 160 – Velvia with Colour Chrome Effect
Fujifilm X-T3 ReviewFujifilm X-T3 Review: Classic Chrome with Colour Chrome Effect

Now, onto one of my absolute favourite features and something I’ve been hoping for years.

The monochrome adjustment option.

If you are a jpeg shooter and you love the monochrome images, and who doesn’t love the Acros film simulation, right? You can now dial up or down the temperature of the jpegs.

I love love love this feature. It’s going to save me that extra step of warming up my monochrome images in post-production and I feel this will be a very well received option for those of us who love the jpegs from the Fujifilm cameras.

Fujifilm X-T3 ReviewFujifilm X-T3 Review:  23mm F5 1/500 ISO 160 – Acros+R With +2 Warming

Fujifilm X-T3 Review – Movie Making

Now, I want to talk about the video elements of the camera.

I didn’t buy the X-H1 because, well, I just didn’t really like it much.

Really, I want my cameras to be as small as possible and of course, cameras like the GFX have to be larger because of the sensor, but I just never felt the X-H1 was for me.

You know, I felt I could do everything I needed with the X-T2 when it came to making films.

Now, the X-T3 has really embraced filming and true, it doesn’t have in-body stabilisation like the X-H1, and for some that may be critical, but I tend to shoot my films on a monopod or just with an OIS lens on a gimble.

I’m amazed at how much they have crammed into the X-T3 in terms of filming ability – absolutely amazed.

I want to say, that in my mind, the X-T3 is the perfect hybrid camera for those that may want to create movies as well as stills.

It has some amazing new features, as well as ones that should be standard (like Zebras, tally lights etc).

For example, you can shoot 4k 60fps and up to 400mbs bit rate.

It supports High-Efficiency Video Codec, has intra-frame Noise Reduction and allows you to control bother internal and external audio.

Coupled with that, you can now have all your video settings independent of your stills.

So, if you want to shoot Eterna – Yep, Eterna is in the X-T3, with high shadows for film, but Velvia and no shadows for stills you can. There is no awkward changing of those settings between shooting modes.

This is a very short low light clip I did in Trafalgar square.

I shot that in 60fps 4k and I believe that again, this is the first APS-C sized sensor to support 4k in 60fps.

It’s buttery and beautiful and the footage, even in low light is really amazing for my mind:

I’m told also that by the end of the year there will be an update to the firmware which will allow us to film FLOG to one card, and 4k to another card.

This will be great for backup scenarios.

Fujifilm X-T3 Review – Low Light Shooting

Now, as I said, I’m really blown away by the low light focus acquisition of the camera.

Here is a simple out of camera shot – it’s cropped for youtube, of my little boy reading a book.

12,800 ISO and handheld at 1/55th of a second.

This is a pretty low light room, hence the exposure values but I did try it on the dance floor at the wedding on the weekend too.

Fujifilm X-T3 ReviewFujifilm X-T3 Review:  50mm F2 1/55 ISO 12,800

Again, remember, I won’t shoot too much at a wedding because it’s still a prototype but I will say that it feels so much more responsive than the X-T2, both in terms of focus acquisition and the rendering of very high ISO images.

It’s hard to communicate it but I feel those who shoot in situations like this, or anybody who requires a camera to be able to shoot at full belt, confidently in low light, will really see this as a huge upgrade.

Fujifilm X-T3 ReviewFujifilm X-T3 Review:  16mm F1.8 1/125 ISO 10,000Fujifilm X-T3 ReviewFujifilm X-T3 Review:  16mm F1.8 1/125 ISO 10,000 Fujifilm X-T3 ReviewFujifilm X-T3 Review:  16mm F1.4 1/125 ISO 12,800

Fujifilm X-T3 Review – What’s Missing?

So, as I said, there are a few features or lack of them, that I would have liked to have seen.

I would have loved the camera to have a fully articulating screen.

Not for “selfies” but for the ability to monitor footage when filming. I’m sure it will come to all cameras eventually but it didn’t make the X-T3.

I’d also have loved to have had seconds in the main camera clock.

Again, something a lot of people have been asking for for a long time and on that point, it’s still not easy to sync the settings between bodies.

With the Bluetooth and wifi in this camera, I’m hoping there will be a firmware update at some point that allows us to pair two cameras and sync settings and time. Fingers crossed on that one.

Fujifilm X-T3 Review – Final Thoughts

OK, as I said, I can’t do an in-depth review but I have tried to cover as much of the bases as possible.

I have to give this camera back now and that leaves me with a dilemma.

There are a billion spec reviews out there already and as always with my reviews and previews, I try to base them on actually working with a camera rather than just reading of the spec sheet.

You know, I didn’t buy the X-H1 because I didn’t feel I needed it.

I have always separated out NEED and WANT when it comes to my cameras.

For example, I suppose, I didn’t NEED the X-E3 but I wanted it because it is such a lovely camera to use, had 4k and just felt like a perfect travel camera.

My X-T1 and X-T2 have only ever felt like cameras I had as backups to my X-Pro1 and X-Pro2.

My heart is in the rangefinder style cameras and that will never change.

I’ve been a huge advocate of the X-Pro2 and would in almost all cases use it over my X-T2.

The X-Pro2 has that feel. That lovely Fujifilm heart to it and feels, to me, like a camera I just want to use all the time.

I enjoy shooting with it. It’s a pleasure.

The X-T2 never struck those chords with me. Not once.

It was, and still is, of course, a fine camera but it was a functional camera for me, rather than a pleasurable camera.

Does that make sense?

Now, I have to be totally honest and say that whilst I still adore my X-Pro2s this X-T3 has taken me by surprise.

It is so much better in terms of its capabilities.

Will we ever see an X-Pro3?

Who knows?

I mean, the release schedule was X-Pro1, X-T1, X-Pro2, X-T2 and now we seem to have skipped the next X-Pro and gone straight to X-T3.

What I have to be honest about though, is the X-T3 is better than the X-Pro2 and of course the X-T2.

I will have to buy a couple of X-T3s as I shoot stills and movies too.

In all seriousness, and I feel like I should be putting my hands around the ears of my X-Pro2 when I say this – I can almost see them going into a sulk in my camera cupboard – the X-T3 is, in my opinion, by far the best APS-C camera that Fujifilm has ever made.

It’s a beast.

And for me, at faced paced weddings and in the UK where there is hardly ever any light I think it’s going to be my wedding camera of choice for the foreseeable future.

So there you have it, my honest feelings about the Fujifilm X-T3.

You can buy the Fujifilm X-T3 now via Wex in the UK and Europe.

Please also check out the review of another UK wedding photographer who was part of the pre-release cycle of the X_T3, Marianne Chua.  Her review is here and there are some great points made.

Photokina 2018

I just want to mention that I will be speaking at the Fujifilm booth at Photokina in Cologne next week.

Along with my talks, my great friends Bert Stephani Jonas Rask, Patrick LaRoque will be there and of course others too, including the legendary Zack Arias.

This is the link to the Microsite so you can see what’s what’s on and honestly if you are there, please come and say hello.

It would be lovely to meet some of you.

 

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