I’ve owned each iteration of Fujifilm’s X-T series camera. The X-T1 was a breath of fresh air with it’s retro approach to putting the main elements of photography – ISO, shutter speed and aperture, and exposure compensation front and center. Since the X-T1, Fujifilm released the massively upgraded X-T2 which brought us an improved 24 megapixel sensor, 4K video recording and other iterative improvements that made it a compelling upgrade for any Fujifilm X-T1 owner.
With the X-T3, Fujifilm has again iterated on the areas where the prior versions didn’t quite measure up. This time out, Fujifilm has nearly made the perfect APS-C camera.
Starting with the body, Fujifilm kept what was already a solid design. The X-T3 keeps the general features of the X-T1/X-T2 in place. You get your ISO dial, shutter speed dial, exposure compensation dials exactly where you expect them to be. The drive mode dial and the metering dial are in the same places as well.
On the rightside of the camera, Fujifilm made three welcome changes that are sure to please video shooters. First, the door to the right side (if you are facing the front of the camera) is now removable. If you have a bunch of cables sticking in to this side, this is a great change. Second, you no longer have to purchase the battery grip to get a headphone jack, which now resides just below the microphone input. And third, speaking of the microphone input, it now is a standard 3.5mm jack instead of the 2.5mm jack that was previously on the X-T2.
On the opposite side, you still get two SD card slots that can handle UHS-II cards.
The X-T3 uses the same battery as the X-T2, but thru the use of a more efficient processor and software tweaks, it is now rated for 390 shots instead of the 310 or so from the X-T2.
The other small but very welcome change is that the diopter dial is now locking. I can’t tell you how many times I pulled the X-T1/X-T2 out of the bag ready to shoot only to have to adjust the diopter dial that had been accidentally turned. A small update, but a very welcome one.
Otherwise, Fujifilm improved the feel of many of the buttons, making the camera easier to use without looking at it.
Also, in a first for the X-T series line, the X-T3 is available in silver for the same price as the black camera. In the X-T1/X-T2 lines, there was a Graphite version available for an upcharge, so it’s nice to see Fujifilm add a silver version for those that appreciate the even more retro styling it suggests.
Finally, the X-T3 gains a touchscreen. If you’ve used the X-T20, then you already know how useful this can be. You can use it to navigate menus, swipe thru reviewing photos, or even use while your eye is up to the viewfinder as a virtual focus point selector.
Most of the improvements to the X-T3 are videocentric. While the slightly upgraded 26 megapixel sensor isn’t the huge upgrade in imaging size that some had hoped for, a few extra megapixels is always helpful when cropping is a necessity. The new sensor is capable of 4K video just like the X-T2, but this time out, it can handle 4K at 60p (59.97). Plus it also gains the Eterna film simulation, giving you a great starting point for color correcting your footage. If you want F-Log footage, it is there as well, and doesn’t require an external recorder.
With the upgraded video features, the X-T3 is a compelling choice for a run and gun video rig. The Panasonic GH-5 (and the GH-4 before it) has been the go to camera for many content creators, but the X-T3 is going to force some people to take another look and see what Fujifilm has to offer.
My only lingering complaints about the X-T3 and video relate to the battery and the rear screen.
For the battery, keeping the NP-W126S battery that is used by the X-T20, X-E3, X-Pro2 and the X-T2 makes sense, but it’s limiting. I hope Fujifilm revisits that decision on the next iteration and finds a way to build a bigger battery in to this line. Of course, the battery situation can be somewhat mitigated by using the battery grip.
For the rear screen, it’s almost criminal that Fujfilm didn’t use the fully articulating screen found on the X-T100 line, and instead went with a slightly modified version of the rear screen found on the X-T2. Having a fully articulating screen would have made the X-T3 the perfect vlogging camera. For those that want to use it in this capacity, you will need to purchase an external monitor to see your shot as you shoot.
But enough about specs. The best way to see if a camera upgrade is an improvement is to actually get it in your hands and shoot with it.
To that end, I brought the X-T3 along with the kit lens, the 18-55 f2.8 – f4, with me to Disneyworld this past weekend. I’ve included some of the shots below that were taken with the camera. All the shots use the kit lens, except for a few long exposure shots where I used the wonderful Rokinon 12mm f2.0 lens.
All the files are JPEG
I’ve included the images below in JPG format, as there is no RAW support in Lightroom yet for the X-T3 (it’s coming). There is support in Capture One, and I’ll be blogging about that separately a bit later.