Fujifilm X-Pro3 Review
|Full model name:||Fujifilm X-Pro3|
(23.5mm x 15.6mm)
|Viewfinder:||Hybrid / LCD|
|Native ISO:||160 - 12,800|
|Extended ISO:||80 - 51,200|
|Shutter:||1/32000 - 900 sec|
5.5 x 3.3 x 1.8 in.
(141 x 83 x 46 mm)
|Full specs:||Fujifilm X-Pro3 specifications|
Fuji X-Pro3 Review -- Now Shooting!
by Mike Tomkins
Preview posted 10/23/2019
11/14/2019: First Shots posted
It's been nearly eight years now since Fujifilm first stepped into the mirrorless camera world with the X-Pro1, a camera which while a little on the slow side performance-wise, nevertheless thrilled many photographers with a solid, photographer-friendly design and a completely unique hybrid optical viewfinder. A second generation followed in early 2016, and now the basic formula carries through to a third generation with the Fujifilm X-Pro3.
A "hidden display" design keeps the focus on the unique hybrid finder, instead
While the X-Pro3 bears a striking resemblance to its earlier siblings when seen from most angles, just a glance at its rear deck will be enough to tell you that this is a pretty significant update. Around back, you'll find both an updated hybrid viewfinder that, while still combining the best of both optical and electronic viewfinders in a single unit, sports significant improvements to both. And beneath, the LCD monitor -- now a touch-screen type -- is notable by its absence, thanks to a new articulation mechanism which keeps it out of harm's way until you need it.
This unusual "hidden display" design, as Fuji's calling it, also helps you to focus on the hybrid viewfinder and a more traditional shooting posture, instead of slipping into a more modern arm's length shooting style. (Which makes a lot of sense in a camera whose standout feature is undoubtedly still its unique viewfinder.) Unless you decide to flip the touch-screen down, the back of the camera is instead occupied only by a much smaller, rear-deck color status display and a profusion of controls -- although rather fewer than in past models.
The same X-Trans CMOS 4 imaging pipeline as in the flagship X-T3
Nor is that all. The Fuji X-Pro3 also sports the same imaging pipeline as in the enthusiast flagship-model X-T3, based around the pairing of a 26.1.megapixel, APS-C sized X-Trans CMOS 4 image sensor and an X-Processor 4 image processor unit, both being unique to Fujifilm of course. And the X-Pro3 also has an uprated, hybrid autofocus system which can not only focus in near darkness, but also now locate your subjects' eyes to put focus in just the right place for more attractive portraits.
Other changes in this new model include 4K video capture capability -- admittedly, something which came to its predecessor via a firmware update -- a variety of new film simulations, updated connectivity and more besides, as we'll learn in just a moment.
A brand-new body with titanium top and bottom, and mag alloy elsewhere
In terms of size and weight, the Fujifilm X-Pro3 is basically unchanged from its immediate predecessor. It's said to have exactly the same height and width, and is only a small fraction of a millimeter deeper than before, while weight has increased by a scant 0.1 ounces (2g) or so. Put both cameras side-by-side and you're not going to notice a difference in portability at all. The X-Pro3's dimensions are 5.5 x 3.3 x 1.8 inches (140.5 x 82.8 x 46.1mm), and without a lens (but otherwise ready to shoot), it weighs just 1.1 pounds (497g).
But where the X-Pro2 had a magnesium alloy body, the new model switches instead to solid titanium panels top and bottom, a material that Fuji tells us is seven times as durable as stainless steel, but with half the density. (We understand that the rest of the weather-sealed body is still crafted predominantly from magnesium-alloy, however. In all, there are now 70 weather seals throughout the X-Pro3, up from 61 in the previous generation.)
Courtesy of Citizen tech, Fuji's DR body colors should prove more scratch-resistant
While the standard, "classic black" version of the X-Pro3 bears paint atop these metal panels, prospective buyers are faced with a rather unusual add-on option which promises a more scratchproof finish. (Fans of patina on their well-loved cameras need not apply.) For the titanium panels alone, Fuji has licensed a cold-plasma surface-hardening technology from Japanese watch-maker Citizen, known as "Duratect".
This finish is applied only to the DR Silver and DR Black body colors, and comes at a premium of US$200 over pricing for the base model. In its own products, Citizen brands this finish as "Super Titanium", and claims it to be "five times harder than stainless steel" in terms of scratch-resistance, suggesting it should be significantly more long-lasting than a paint-based finish.
The X-Pro3 in DR Silver
A tour of the X-Pro3's updated body finds just a few changes to front, top and sides
Seen from the front, you could be forgiven for not noticing any change in the X-Pro3's new body, but there are a few to be found if you look more closely. The handgrip has been reprofiled just slightly for a cleaner look, and no longer has a cutout near its top end. Nearby, the indentation for the front dial now stops at the viewfinder selector lever instead of continuing across lens mount. And finally, the AF assist illuminator / self-timer lamp window now bows out a little on its left and right ends, rather than being a simple rectangle.
Seen from the top, the X-Pro3 is even nearer identical to its predecessor. It still has a hot shoe for external strobes, as well as dedicated dials for both shutter speed and exposure compensation, with ISO sensitivity shown through a small window in the former. The function button just right of the shutter release no longer has a silk-screened "Fn" marking on it, but that's the only change visible from this angle.
Turning to the left side, you'll notice that the diopter adjustment control for the viewfinder is now mostly embedded in camera body, which should make it harder to bump and accidentally adjust. Sadly, the sync terminal is now gone, and the connector compartment cover has thus moved up the body a bit. Beneath that cover, there's no longer a Micro HDMI connector either, and so the HDMI logo has been removed from its outside surface. Finally, the USB port has changed from a Micro-B to USB-C connector with an adjacent logo indicating support for in-camera charging. A 2.5mm external microphone / remote release jack remains beneath the updated USB connector.
On the right side of the body, the SD card compartment cover now has a small latch button to open it with, rather than just a small indent to give purchase as you slide it open. And if we're really nitpicking, a screw which holds the top of the body together has moved just a little bit closer to the right strap lug.
Most changes are on the rear, including a brand-new hybrid viewfinder
It's on the back panel where the meat of all the changes are to be found. Starting from the top left corner, the viewfinder window is a good bit larger than before, and the protrusion in which it sits has a much cleaner shape with softly-rounded corners, unlike that of the X-Pro2 which was sharply angled around the eye-detection sensor.
Together, these changes hint at an updated hybrid viewfinder. In a single unit it still combines a reverse-galilean optical finder with electronic bright frame for parallax correction, and an electronic viewfinder, but there are significant changes to both. The optical finder is now more accurate than before, being manufacturer-rated at 95% coverage, rather than 92%, and it should also be both crisper and have less distortion, but with wider coverage. Magnification is now fixed at 0.52x, unlike the variable 0.36x / 0.60x magnification of the earlier OVF.
The electronic viewfinder also has much higher resolution, is fractionally larger and has a change to its underlying technology. Previously, it was based around a 0.48-inch, 4:3-aspect ratio TFT LCD panel with 2,360k-dot resolution, but that's now been replaced by a 0.5-inch, 3,690k-dot, 4:3-aspect Organic LED panel that offers better color and contrast. We understand that the frame rate has also increased somewhat from around 85 to 100 fps, with a smoothness priority option that inserts a black frame between preview frames to reduce motion blur, and is thus said to be "equivalent to" a 200 fps refresh rate.
Eyepoint has also risen fractionally, from 16 to 16.8mm, and magnification has climbed from 0.59x to 0.66x. There's still a -4 to +2 diopter adjustment available, and Fuji is now stating a 1:5000 contrast ratio. (It didn't disclose a figure for the earlier EVF.) The company also claims 97% coverage of the sRGB color space for the new panel.
Beneath, you'll find two new LCD panels, with one hidden behind the other
Below the viewfinder, the X-Pro2's fixed-position LCD monitor is gone, replaced by a new tilting unit which, when folded upwards to its closed position, offers up only a tiny 1.28-inch square color status "Memory" LCD. This smaller screen might harken back to the tiny displays common in the early days of digital cameras, but fear not, there's a larger display lurking behind it. The status display protrudes a little further than most of the back panel much like a memo holder on a film camera, which might seem to put it in harm's way, but we understand that it has a toughened glass cover plate which should protect it from minor knocks and scratches. It can be configured to display basic shooting info such as shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity, white balance, film simulation and image size. Alternatively, it can emulate the look of a Fujifilm film carton lid, showing just the current film simulation, white balance and ISO settings.
The main LCD itself isn't visible at all until you flip the entire assembly downwards up to 180 degrees, giving you a good reason to stick with a traditional viewfinder shooting style most of the time. It also means that even though this is a 180-degree flip-down screen, it's not usable for selfies, unlike most other cameras using a similar articulation mechanism. But on the plus side, it keeps the main LCD safe from harm when you're not using it. This larger screen has the same 3.0-inch, 3:2 panel size and 1,620k-dot resolution as before, with a manufacturer-claimed 100% coverage. But as well as the new articulation mechanism, it also adds touch-screen.
(Ergonomics are perhaps not ideal though, since when flipped out the screen protrudes well below bottom of camera. That will translate to more leverage, making it more likely to cause you to shift off your subject when you tap the display.)
Changes aplenty to rear-deck controls with a much-simplified layout
There are also quite a few control changes, so if you're upgrading from the earlier X-Pro1 or X-Pro2 (which already differed significantly between each other), you'll need to take a little time to relearn the control layout. Most notably, there's no longer a four-way button pad, a feature of both earlier cameras. The drive button -- previously found on the up-arrow button of the four-way pad -- has thus gone back to being a standalone control, and now sits just beneath the flash hot shoe.
Like the original X-Pro1 (and unlike the X-Pro2, which separated these controls), AE and AF lock functionality now share a single button by default. It sits just right of the drive button, roughly where the AE-L button was positioned in the X-Pro2, rather than in the rear thumb-grip as in the X-Pro1.
There are still three buttons to the right of the LCD monitor, but the functions of two of these have changed. At top is now a menu / OK button, replacing that which used to sit at the center of the four-way pad. That change of location has in turn pushed the playback button one spot further down the pecking order, and there's no longer a dedicated delete button in this stack. (It's now a secondary function of the aforementioned drive button, instead.)
Thankfully, there are still twin control dials and a joystick, as well
The remaining rear-deck controls are roughly where they sat before, with a rear dial and joystick control to the right of the LCD, and two buttons in the thumb grip. (The seam between that grip and the titanium top-deck panel is now level with the top of the rear-deck's leatherette trim, for a slightly cleaner look.)
The lower of these two thumb grip buttons is still used to access the quick menu, while the upper button -- previously used for AF lock in the X-Pro2 -- is instead now a user-programmable control.
And finally, we come to the base of the camera. There's not a lot changed here, although the bottom of the new LCD articulation mechanism sits in a cutout in the base which gives it room to flip downwards 180 degrees. The two-hole speaker port -- which previously sat just between the tripod mount and battery compartment -- has also been moved. It's now quite close to the left end of the camera body, a location in which you're probably more likely to accidentally cover it with your thumb or palm when shooting with a two-handed grip, depending upon how you're holding the camera.
The same imaging pipeline we loved in the flagship X-T3 and mid-range X-T30
But enough of the outside, what of the Fuji X-Pro3's internals? At its heart, you'll find the exact same 26.1-megapixel, APS-C sized, X-Trans CMOS 4 image sensor as featured previously in the X-T3 and X-T30. Its output is handled by Fuji's quad-core X-Processor 4 image processor, again as in both the T3 and T30.
We found that combination to have great image quality for both raws and JPEGs in those earlier cameras, so that's good news even if the increase in resolution from the 24.3 megapixel X-Trans CMOS III chip of the X-Pro2 -- which it paired with an X-Processor Pro CPU -- can be expected to be quite modest.
Also rather modest is the change in ISO sensitivity of that new sensor, which still has an upper limit of ISO 12,800 by default (ISO 51,200 if extended), but now starts from a base of ISO 160 (ISO 80 if extended). By way of comparison, the X-Pro2 started from a base of ISO 200, and could be extended to a minimum of ISO 100.
The X-Pro3 is capable of shooting full resolution images at up to 11 frames per second using the mechanical shutter and up to 20 fps when using the electronic shutter. A 1.25x crop mode is also available which can shoot at up to 30 fps with the electronic shutter. Manufacturer-claimed buffer depths are quite generous at 145 JPEGs, 42 losslessly-compressed raw or 36 uncompressed raw frames when shooting at 11 fps. At 20 fps, the buffer depths are 79 JPEGs, 36 losslessly-compressed raw and 34 uncompressed raw frames, and at 30 fps those figures drop to 60, 35 and 33 frames respectively. By comparison, the X-Pro2's burst performance topped out at around 8 fps with claimed buffer depths of 83 JPEGs, 33 lossless raw or 27 uncompressed raw frames.
Improved autofocus and added eye-detection capabilities
In front of the new sensor, you'll find the exact same Fuji X-mount as in other X-series mirrorless cameras. (And there's still no in-body image stabilization in this model, so you'll remain reliant on in-lens stabilization where available.)
Autofocus has significantly improved, however. The X-Pro3's hybrid AF system is inherited from the X-T3 with up to 425 addressable AF points versus 273 for its predecessor, and the X-Pro3's phase detection autofocus is rated to work to as low as -6 EV, whereas the X-Pro2 was rated down to only -1 EV. And while the X-Pro2 offered face detection, the new model supplements this with eye-detection as well, for more pleasing focus in portrait shooting with wide-aperture lenses. There's also a new in-camera AF range limiter function offering two preset options.
A new shutter assembly, but most creative options are unchanged
The X-Pro3 sports a new shutter assembly, and offers an expanded shutter speed range compared to its predecessor. You can still dial in shutter speeds from 1/8,000 to 1 second directly on the dedicated dial on the top deck, and up to 4 seconds is possible in programmed auto mode or 30 seconds in aperture priority. Exposures as long as 15 minutes are now possible in shutter priority or manual mode. There are also time and bulb positions for even longer exposures up to 60 minutes. An electronic shutter mode is also available, with speeds ranging from 1/32,000 to 30 seconds, and an electronic front curtain shutter option is also provided up to 1/2,000, along with various combinations of the three shutter types.
A 256-zone metering system still offers multi, average, center-weighted or spot options. and you can still dial in +/-3.0 EV of exposure compensation in 1/3 EV steps courtesy of another dedicated top-deck dial, or as much as +/-5.0EV through the menu system. (Movies, though, are still limited to a +/-2.0 EV range.) As in the earlier model, there's no built-in flash, but a top-deck hot shoe offers X-sync at 1/250 second, supports auto FP high-speed sync, and the camera offers an optional red-eye removal function.
As you'd no doubt expect in a Fujifilm camera, there are a generous selection of 16 in-camera film simulation effects, two of which are new additions. As well as a Monochromatic Color option which offers tinted monochromatic shots, there's a new Classic Negative film simulation which, says Fuji, was "designed to simulate color negative film that was normally used for everyday snapshots".
A few other creative changes have been added, including a new multi-shot HDR mode, plus new tone curve, clarity and grain effect options.
4K video is technically not new, but it's received some updates regardless
Although it lacked 4K video capture support at launch, the Fuji X-Pro2 was gifted with this capability via a firmware update. It's been developed further for the X-Pro3, however. The capture rate still tops out at a maximum of 29.97 fps, unlike the X-T3 which offers 60 fps 4K capture. But unlike the X-Pro2, the Fuji X-Pro3 now allows a choice of 100 or 200Mbps bitrates for 4K, adds a slightly wider-aspect DCI 4K option, and extends the maximum clip length from 10 to 15 minutes. (As well as 29.97 fps capture, lower rates of 25, 24 or 23.98 fps remain available.).
And if ultra high-def isn't your thing, you can still record Full HD (1080p) content at rates of 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 24 or 23.98 fps, but now have a choice of 50/100/200Mbps bitrates instead of a fixed 36Mbps. The X-Pro3 also adds a slightly wider-aspect DCI 2K (2,048 x 1,080 pixel) resolution, plus a high-speed Full HD mode at capture rates of 120 or 100 fps with a fixed 200Mbps bitrate. You can record standard Full HD for 59 minutes instead of the X-Pro2's 15-minute maximum, while the new high-speed video mode has a 6-minute maximum clip length. HD (aka 720p) capture has been removed altogether.
Updates to storage, connectivity and power
Like its predecessor, the X-Pro3 sports dual SD card slots, allowing you to double your in-camera storage capacity. These slots are now rated as compatible with a maximum of 512GB per card, though, where the X-Pro2 theoretically has a 256GB maximum. Images can be stored as JPEG, 14-bit .RAF raw, or both formats simultaneously.
Both slots offer UHS-II support unlike the X-Pro2 which only supported UHS-II in slot one. The X-Pro3 is also now rated compatible with Video Speed Class V30.
As mentioned previously, wired data connectivity is provided via a new, more modern USB Type-C connector, rather than the earlier Micro-B USB connector found on the X-Pro2. This allows support for faster USB 3.1 Gen 1 (aka USB 3.0) transfer, rather than the slower USB 2.0 High Speed data of the earlier camera. Also mentioned previously, the X-Pro3 drops the X-Pro2's Micro HDMI port and PC sync terminal.
The X-Pro3 also features built-in Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b/g/n) like its predecessor, but adds Bluetooth LE Ver 4.2 for easy pairing, auto image transfer and geotagging by piggybacking off your smartphone's GPS receiver.
Power comes courtesy of an NP-W126S lithium-ion battery pack, which is recharged in-camera via USB (a dedicated charger is not included but is available for purchase separately). CIPA-rated battery life is 440 frames with the optical viewfinder and 370 frames with the EVF. That's a significant improvement from the X-Pro2's 350 and 250 shot ratings respectively.
Fuji X-Pro3 price and availability
Available in the US market from late fall of 2019, the Fujifilm X-Pro3 will start from a price point of US$1,800 body-only, in its classic, black-painted version. Two alternate body colors dubbed DR Silver and DR Black will instead feature a more scratchproof, cold-plasma hardened finish to the titanium top and bottom panels for a US$200 premium.
Available accessories will include an MHG-XPRO3 grip to make the camera more comfortable in larger hands, and a BLC-XPRO3 leather half-case. Pricing and availability for these accessories hasn't yet been disclosed.
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