Fujifilm X-T3 Review
|Full model name:||Fujifilm X-T3|
(23.5mm x 15.6mm)
|Viewfinder:||EVF / LCD|
|Native ISO:||160 - 12,800|
|Extended ISO:||80 - 51,200|
|Shutter:||1/32000 - 900 sec|
|Max Aperture:||2.8 (kit lens)|
5.2 x 3.7 x 2.3 in.
(133 x 93 x 59 mm)
includes batteries, kit lens
|Full specs:||Fujifilm X-T3 specifications|
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Fuji X-T3 Review -- Now Shooting!
Preview posted: 09/06/2018
09/18/2018: Field Test Part I added
Fuji X-T3 Field Test Part I
A few days with the Fujifilm X-T3
by Eamon Hickey | Posted 09/13/2018
|XF 50-140mm f/2.8 WR: 140mm, f/4, 1/250s, ISO 400|
In coordination with the announcement of the Fuji X-T3 last week, Fujifilm provided us with a body to use for a few days. I've had a chance to shoot with it several times now, and I've got some quick impressions along with a batch of sample images to share for an initial Field Test.
|XF 50-140mm f/2.8 WR: 140mm, f/2.8, 1/640s, ISO 12800|
Roller Derby: Challenging the AF system in dark, murky lighting
My first real chance to use the X-T3 came at Fujifilm's announcement event in Brooklyn, where they produced a modified roller derby match for the assembled guests to photograph. I won't waste time talking about most of the small tweaks to the body and user interface—there's very little difference between this new model and the X-T2 in terms of how the camera feels and operates. One seemingly tiny enhancement, however, turns out to be quite nice right from the start: the EVF. It's been moved backwards 3mm, which is noticeably more comfortable to use; now my nose doesn't smash up against the LCD as badly.
|XF 50-140mm f/2.8 WR: 140mm, f/2.8, 1/800s, ISO 12800|
The lighting for the roller derby was atmospheric and murky—not the best for photography—but it certainly stressed the camera's low-light autofocus performance. Of course, we'll reserve final judgment for a full review of the X-T3, but I was impressed with the camera's ability to accurately track erratically moving subjects, in quite dark circumstances, at very high frame rates. I frequently shot at 20 frames-per-second and got a high percentage of sharply focused pictures. It's also true that the no-blackout performance of the EVF at that frame rate significantly improved my ability to frame the skaters accurately as I tracked them. This works, of course, only when you're using the electronic shutter. With the mechanical shutter, there is still a characteristic "slide-show effect" that EVFs exhibit, and which is harder to compensate for than regular SLR mirror blackout.
|XF 50-140mm f/2.8 WR: 83.8mm, f/2.8, 1/800s, ISO 12800|
A brief hands-on with the XF 200mm f/2
Fujifilm also had a handful of samples of their new XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR lens on hand, so I took one for a spin. It's not a small lens, but it's certainly manageable for handheld shooting. For a lens like this, it goes without saying that the build quality is excellent, and the control ergonomics are very good—or at least, I didn't find anything to complain about in a half hour of use.
In terms of autofocus, it was very fast and highly accurate, even with a 1.4X teleconverter attached. Because of the limitations of the shooting environment—a single subject and very murky light with junk in the air—I can't make any other informed comments on it, but it sure makes a favorable first impression.
|XF 200mm f/2 WR: 200mm, f/2, 1/800s, ISO 8000|
Shooting more subjects in Central Park
A few days after the roller derby, I did some more shooting with the X-T3 in Central Park. Again, I gave the AF system a workout on bicyclists and rollerbladers, and it performed extremely well, even at 20 frames-per-second. The clear majority of my shots are well-focused. We'll see how the full review pans out, but I have very little doubt that the X-T3 will turn out to be the best autofocusing Fujifilm body yet, especially for moving subjects.
|XF 50-140mm f/2.8 WR: 140mm, f/2.8, 1/1000s, ISO 1000|
Fujifilm has stressed that the X-T3's new sensor, with its faster readout speeds, significantly reduces rolling shutter distortion. I didn't see any rolling shutter effects in my roller derby pictures, but there's a hint of it in many of the bicycle shots, which show slightly misshapen front wheels. The effect is small—most people wouldn't notice it, but it's there if you look closely. The effect disappeared when I switched to the mechanical shutter, of course, but then I didn't get the blackout-free viewfinder experience, and my framing accuracy suffered. None of my other shots taken with the electronic shutter show anything that I could positively identify as rolling shutter distortion, even some pictures with fast-moving musicians' hands. One quick note: on two of my outings, it was raining lightly most of the time, and it was great to be totally unworried about the X-T3 itself or the two weather-resistant lenses that I was using (an XF 35mm F2 R WR and an XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR).
|XF 35mm f/2 WR: 35mm, f/2.8, 1/500s, ISO 4000|
|XF 50-140mm f/2.8 WR: 140mm, f/2.8, 1/1000s, ISO 800, +0.3EV|
|XF 35mm f/2 WR: 35mm, f/7.1, 1/50s, ISO 160|
A quick 4K video sample
Along with its autofocus upgrades, the X-T3's video features are the biggest story around this camera. Obviously, there's a lot to test, and I didn't have the time or equipment to do that (not to mention I'm a bit of a video klutz). But in Central Park, I happened across a group of drummers and got a chance to shoot a quick 4K clip using the Eterna film simulation. Now, the light was lovely, and the scene is interesting, with rich skin tones and a relatively pleasant color palette, so that definitely gives the clip a boost. Still, to my eye, the Eterna profile really looks good here. It made me want to take the X-T3 out and shoot more video. (Just a note: the clip was shot handheld, with only the optical stabilization in the XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R lens to keep the image steady. Not ideal, but I hadn't intended to shoot any video on that outing.)
Fujifilm X-T3 4K 30p Sample Video
3840 x 2160, 30 fps, Filmed with XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R lens
Download Original (1.69GB MOV)
At the launch event, I had a chance to chat with several folks from Fujifilm, and they confirmed our impression that the X-T3, as of now, offers the best overall performance in the Fujifilm lineup, especially for video and autofocus. When I asked what advantages the X-H1 still has, the answer basically boiled down to IBIS (in-body image stabilization), and the larger, more DSLR-like body for folks who prefer that shape. As I mentioned, we won't make any conclusions before we do full tests, but I'm definitely impressed with what I've seen of the X-T3's autofocus performance, overall speed, and video capabilities.
|XF 50-140mm f/2.8 WR:106mm, f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO 640|
• • •
Fuji X-T3 Review -- Product Overview
by Mike Tomkins
Preview posted: 09/06/2018
Almost five years ago, Fujifilm took its mirrorless X-mount in a new direction with the debut of the X-T1, a mirrorless camera with styling more akin to that of a traditional DSLR. The combination of top-notch build quality, great ergonomics and comprehensive weather sealing saw us quickly swept off our feet by the X-T1 and its successor, 2016's now rather long-in-the-tooth (but still quite capable) X-T2.
An old friend returns with improvements aplenty in a familiar figure
Now, the followup Fuji X-T3 brings the series right back up to date with a subtly redesigned body offering even better ergonomics and a significantly uprated viewfinder, plus a brand-new imaging pipeline based around a new processor and sensor. The latter is a 26.1-megapixel, X-Trans CMOS IV chip that now features a backside-illuminated design, a first for the X-mount lineup. It also has a lower base sensitivity of ISO 160, versus the native ISO 200 of the X-T2.
There's a vastly more powerful AF system, too, as well as a touch-screen overlay on the articulated LCD panel, and improvements to connectivity including Bluetooth LE support (alongside the existing Wi-Fi), plus a new USB-C connector instead of Micro USB. And Fuji is clearly courting video shooters, with a new built-in headphone jack for levels monitoring, added support for DCI or consumer 4K capture at up to 60 frames per second / 400Mbps, and up to 5x slow-motion capture at Full HD resolution.
There's also a significant improvement in battery life, and if you're the kind who likes to shoot light, you'll also be pleased to hear that while there's still an available battery / portrait grip accessory, it's no longer required to gain use of the camera's fastest burst capture rates.
A tour of the X-T3's subtly-honed body
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's rewind a little, and take a closer look at the Fuji X-T3 and its new features. We'll start off on the outside with a tour of the X-T3's body. At first glance, it looks nearly identical to that of its predecessor, but it's actually home to more than a few tweaks in the name of better ergonomics and durability.
If you're considering an upgrade from an X-T1 or X-T2, we have some great news for you. Although the exact size and shape of their controls vary a little, the X-T3 shares its control layout almost exactly with that of the 'T2. Really, the only differences are that the switches stacked wedding cake-style beneath Shutter and ISO dials are now taller and easier to adjust, there's a new "160" position on the ISO dial, and the dials themselves are now beveled inwards towards the top. And since the X-T2 was itself very similar in its layout to the original 'T1, the Fuji X-T3 will also become familiar quickly for those upgrading from the first model in the series.
The electronic viewfinder has been improved inside and out
The handgrips themselves are near-identical to those of the X-T1 and 'T2, but the sharp-eyed amongst you will notice that per the official spec sheet, the 'T3's depth has increased by around two-fifths of an inch (10mm). That change is in large part down to a tweak that sees the electronic viewfinder set backwards a little further, giving you an extra few millimeters of clearance for your nose.
The viewfinder itself has also been replaced with an uprated unit at the same time. The new viewfinder has an extremely high resolution of 3.69 million dots, a significant step up from the already-generous 2.36 million dot count of the X-T1 and 'T2. It still has a manufacturer-claimed display lag of just 0.005 seconds. It also boasts a swift 100 frames per second refresh rate and is said to allow blackout-free burst capture. Sadly, magnification has fallen just ever so slightly to 0.75x, versus the 0.77x magnification of earlier models.
A more durable body and mount brings a slight weight increase
While its magnesium-alloy construction and comprehensive weather-sealing are unchanged from those of the earlier cameras, the X-T3 should nevertheless prove even more durable than before. That's because Fuji has strengthened both the lens mount and the base of the camera. The added strength should make this camera a better pairing with larger lenses which lack a tripod foot of their own.
Along with the larger viewfinder assembly, it does also contribute to a 1.1 ounce (32g) increase in body-only weight, however. Loaded and ready to go -- but without a lens -- you can expect the X-T3 to tip the scales at around 1.2 pounds (19.0 ounces; 539g).
A high-res, high-speed sensor that's naturally moire-resistant
At the heart of the Fuji X-T3 is a brand-new imaging pipeline based around the pairing of a next-gen sensor and processor. The 26.1 megapixel sensor is branded as X-Trans CMOS IV, and retains the unusual color filter array layout which helps make X-Trans sensors more resistant to moiré and false color artifacts compared to traditional Bayer sensors.
As you'd expect these days, the sensor isn't encumbered by a resolution-sapping optical low-pass filter, but even without one, the X-Trans CFA should keep you out of trouble where other cameras might be troubled by image artifacts. (The downside is the added complexity of demosaicing the sensor data, but that's clearly not holding Fuji back in the performance department, as we'll see in a moment.)
A slight increase in resolution and a lower native sensitivity
The increase in resolution versus the 24.3-megapixel X-Trans CMOS III chip in the X-T2 is only very slight, with a little back-of-the-napkin math suggesting an increase of just 4% in linear resolution, with all else being equal. Of course, improvements in Fuji's processing algorithms could make that change more noticeable, but we wouldn't expect a huge step forward on the resolution front. Instead, we'd look for improvements in a couple of other areas.
At the top end of the range, the Fuji X-T3 matches its direct predecessor for sensitivity, but at the bottom end it gains just a little added ground. By default, everything from ISO 160 to 12,800-equivalents is available, and should you need even more you can opt to enable an expanded range of 80 to 51,200-equivalents. By way of comparison, the X-T2 provided 200 to 12,800-equivalents by default, expandable to encompass 100 to 51,200-equivalents.
The new BSI sensor and next-gen processor make a super-swift pairing
Perhaps most significantly, the new sensor now sports a backside-illuminated design, a first for a Fuji X-mount camera. Compared to their standard cousins, backside-illuminated sensors move most of their circuitry to the rear of the sensor, keeping the critical light-gathering area as high as physically possible for maximum sensitivity. That, in turn, can bring better signal to noise levels, and with them cleaner images at like-for-like sensitivity.
And together, the new image sensor and processor bring with them boatloads of performance. The next-generation X-Processor 4 chip has a quad-core design and is said to provide triple the performance of the previous-gen X-Processor Pro chip. And while the X-T3's claimed startup time of 0.3 seconds and its shutter lag of 0.045 seconds are unchanged from the previous generation, it's worth noting that it is doing a whole heck of a lot more in that time than must its elder sibling.
More dependable AE and AF in burst shooting
For one thing, Fuji tells us that during continuous burst shooting, the X-T3 is performing autofocus and autoexposure adjustments some 50% more frequently than in past models, leading to better focus and exposure accuracy across the duration of each burst. And that's despite a big increase in the number of on-chip phase detection AF pixels at play here, as we'll find out in a moment.
And as we'll also learn shortly, that added performance pays dividends for videos too, with Fuji promising rolling shutter levels similar to those of dedicated, CMOS-based cinema cameras.
No need for pricey accessories to get the X-T3's full performance
So how fast can the Fuji X-T3 shoot in its continuous burst mode? The maximum burst capture rate of 11 frames per second with a mechanical shutter is unchanged from the X-T2, but that doesn't come close to telling the whole story. Buffer depth varies with speed, resolution, and compression type, but is always at least 33 raw frames, 60 JPEGs in each burst, and potentially far more.
With the X-T2, you could only access its maximum burst performance if you were shooting with the optional portrait / battery accessory grip attached to the camera. Shoot with the body alone, and the X-T3 will still allow 11 frames per second, where the X-T2 would've fallen to eight fps.
And if you enable the cameras' electronic shutter functions instead of using their mechanical shutters, the difference can become even more significant. Where the X-T2 could manage 14 fps with an e-shutter, the X-T3 will allow as many as 20 full-res frames per second with e-shutter, and as many as 30 fps with an e-shutter plus an additional 1.25x focal length crop. If you don't need the full sensor resolution -- and for distant sports subjects, that'll often prove to be the case -- you'll be able to blow the X-T2 out of the water, especially if rolling shutter is indeed as modest as Fuji's promising it to be.
Take your reflexes out of the equation with pre-shooting
Of course, no amount of burst-shooting performance will save the day if your reflexes aren't up to snuff and you miss the start of the action. That's where the X-T3's newly-added pre-shoot function comes in handy. It starts recording full-res images as soon as the shutter button is half-pressed, and continues to do so until the buffer is full, but without writing any of these images to the camera's storage.
As shooting continues beyond this point, the oldest frames fall out of the buffer to be replaced by newer ones. When you press the shutter button in the rest of the way, the contents of the buffer are written to the flash card, providing you with a burst of images leading up to the decisive moment. All you need do is keep the action well-framed and hit the shutter button as soon as the moment reaches its end. You'll then be able to reach back in time as far as a few seconds to find the very best frames from the sequence.
More phase-detect AF pixels than you can shake a stick at!
We alluded to a significant improvement in the Fuji X-T3's autofocus system previously. The X-T2 offered at most a 325-point autofocus system, and on paper, the 425-point system of the X-T3 -- while certainly a fair bit more point-dense -- isn't really that far detached from its predecessor. But that 425-point figure, set using the smallest AF point size available, only includes the user-addressable AF points. Fuji tells us that the system itself includes a total of 2.16 million phase-detection autofocus pixels.
As noted, the 425-point figure relates specifically to the smallest AF point size provided, by the way. By default, you'll instead have a choice of 117 AF points in a 13 x 9 array. Also, the X-T3's autofocus system now has a low-light limit of -3 EV, a good step forwards from the -1 EV limit of the X-T2. Oh, and one last improvement that's rather nice: You can now use eye-detection with continuous autofocus, or, even during video capture!
The main display gains touch-sensitivity and a revamped on-screen UI
Like the X-T2 before it, the Fuji X-T3 offers up a 3.0-inch, 3:2 aspect LCD monitor on its rear panel, complete with a fairly typical (or perhaps even a bit below average) resolution of 1.04 million dots. And like that camera, this screen is also mounted on an articulation mechanism, allowing it to be seen from a good range of angles (albeit, not from in front of the camera itself.) But there are a couple of important differences between the X-T3's screen and that of the X-T2. For one thing, the X-T3 provides higher contrast than does its elder sibling. And its screen also now provides a touch-sensitive overlay not unlike that on your smartphone, allowing it to serve double-duty as an input device.
Fuji has also extended the customization of the information displays, allowing you to designate certain icons to appear bigger on-screen than they do by default. Let's say, for example, that you want the focus mode, white balance and metering mode icons to appear bigger on your display -- well, now they can. And you can also change the color and contrast of the icons, menus and backgrounds. (There's a cool red-on-dark gray mode which will be particularly well-suited to night photography, as well.)
All the creative options you'd expect, and a couple of new ones too
The Fuji X-T3 meters exposures using its main imaging sensor, and offers a choice of 256-zone multiple, spot, average or center-weighted metering modes. +/-5 EV of exposure compensation is available in 1/3 EV steps. Program modes on offer include the typical selection of Programmed Auto, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority or fully Manual modes, plus a fully Automatic mode that's accessed by the shutter speed, ISO sensitivity and aperture controls to their red 'A' positions.
Shutter speeds range from as little as 1/8,000 second to a maximum of 15 minutes, depending upon the exposure mode, while bulb and time exposure options are also available. X-sync is 1/250 second. Oh, and there's an electronic shutter function which, as discussed previously, should be uncommonly resistant to rolling shutter effect. With electronic shutter enabled, the fastest exposure available is 1/32,000 second. There's also an electronic front curtain shutter option.
All of the usual film simulation functions that you'd expect to find on a modern Fujifilm camera are present and accounted for here, plus a couple of newer ones. First of all, there's a new Eterna film simulation, which aims to mimic the look and feel of Fuji's motion picture-oriented film stock.
There's also the same Color Chrome effect which we saw previously in the GFX 50S medium-format camera, which isn't actually a film simulation, per se, but which does something rather similar. It recalls the look of Fuji's Fortia film, providing higher contrast without also boosting saturation through the roof in the process, and is described very nicely in our third Fuji GFX 50S field test.
An already-capable movie shooter gets even better
The Fuji X-T2 was no slouch in the movie department by 2016 standards, offering in-camera 4K video capture, support for external microphones and headphones (via its accessory grip), full-time autofocus or manual focus options and plenty else besides. But the X-T3 courts movie shooters even more directly, and one-ups its predecessor in quite a few ways.
First of all, you now have a choice not just of recording in the consumer-friendly 3,840 x 2,160-pixel 4K ultra-high definition format, but also the cinema-friendly DCI 4K format which has a slightly wider-aspect 4,096 x 2,160-pixel resolution. And you can do so not just at rates of up to 30 frames per second / 100Mbps, as in the previous camera. Instead, you'll be able to record ultra-high def footage at up to a swift 60 fps with a much more generous 400Mbps bitrate.
Oh, and you can also opt not just for H.264/MPEG-4 AVC 8-bit encoding, but also for H.265/HEVC if you want significantly better video quality. If you do so, the X-T3 will use 10-bit 4:2:0 subsampling internally.
That is, says Fujifilm, a first for an APS-C mirrorless camera. And if you prefer to record externally, you can further output 10-bit 4:2:2 HDMI at the same 4K resolution and 60 fps capture rate. You'll also be able to opt for a 5x slow-motion effect at Full HD (1,920 x 1,080-pixel) resolution, with a 200Mbps bitrate limit for this mode.
Rolling shutter that competes with dedicated cinema cameras
And importantly, given that you're reliant on an electronic shutter for video capture, Fujifilm says that it has worked to reduce rolling shutter (aka jello effect) to an absolute minimum in designing the X-T3. The new high-performance sensor and processor pairing together allow a level of rolling shutter that Fuji is confident will best not just previous Fuji cameras, but rivals as well. In fact, we're told that the company has managed to get rolling shutter down to about the same level as dedicated cinema cameras which are also CMOS sensor-based.
Fujifilm has also moved the headphone jack -- which on the X-T2 was a function of its optional accessory grip -- into the camera body itself, saving you money and bulk if you prefer to shoot without an added grip. And if you want to shoot with the camera tethered to an external recorder, you'll be pleased to hear that you can now remove the connector compartment cover.
Noise levels should be improved, too, courtesy of new noise reduction algorithms including 4K inter-frame noise reduction. And we understand that hybrid log gamma will be coming to the X-T3 later this year, via a firmware update.
All the latest connectivity mod-cons have been added
The Fuji X-T2 was no slouch in the connectivity department, with not just in-camera Wi-Fi but also a super-swift USB 3.0 wired connection. The X-T3 goes it one better, though, adding support for Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy transmission as well as Wi-Fi, and switching the USB connector to the more modern, reversible USB Type-C connector. It's also technically labeled as USB 3.1 Gen 1 compliant, although that's simply a newer name for the previous USB 3.0 standard. Oh, and there's also a Type-D Micro HDMI connector to allow for high-definition video output as well as a 2.5mm remote release jack and a sync terminal.
As for the new Bluetooth connectivity, that's used to allow for an always-on connection with low speed (but crucially, also low power consumption). That connection can be used to transfer smaller amounts of data, and also used to automatically raise a much higher-speed (and higher power-consumption) Wi-Fi connection as needed.
Twin card slots, and they're plenty swift, too
As you'd expect, the Fuji X-T3 still has twin SD card slots (SDHC/SDXC compatible), just as did its predecessor. And they're still extremely fast, supporting not just UHS-I but also UHS-II compatible cards for maximum performance. They're also newly compliant with Video Speed Class V90.
Significantly improved battery life and an available battery grip
Fuji has made a pretty significant step forward in terms of power savings with the X-T3, because despite using the exact same NP-W126S lithium ion rechargeable battery pack as in previous models, battery life has climbed from 340 to 390 frames on a charge, as compared to the X-T2. (Fujifilm didn't say if that's with the LCD or EVF, but we think it's the former.)
That's an extra 50 frames or 15%, and this can be almost tripled to 1,100 frames if you opt for the available VG-XT3 vertical power booster grip accessory with a pair of NP-W126S batteries installed. You'll even get a second set of duplicate controls for portrait orientation shooting!
And there are a fair few other accessories to choose from besides. You can get a chunkier grip without the bulk of added controls or batteries if you opt for the MHG-XT3 metal hand grip, and it doesn't block your SD card or battery compartment doors, either. Fuji will also offer a leather half-case (BLC-XT3), a cover kit with spare sync terminal, hot shoe, connector and grip connector covers, plus the RR-100 remote release cord and BC-W126S battery charger.
Price and availability
The Fujifilm X-T3 will ship in the US market from September 20, 2018. It will be available either in black or silver colored variants, and each will be provided in a choice of body-only or 18-55mm kit lens variants. Pricing for the body-only X-T3 is set at around US$1,500, and for the X-T3 18-55mm kit at about US$1,900.
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