Basic Specifications
Full model name: Fujifilm X-T3
Resolution: 26.10 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
(23.5mm x 15.6mm)
Kit Lens: 3.06x zoom
18-55mm
(27-84mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 160 - 12,800
Extended ISO: 80 - 51,200
Shutter: 1/32000 - 900 sec
Max Aperture: 2.8 (kit lens)
Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.7 x 2.3 in.
(133 x 93 x 59 mm)
Weight: 30.7 oz (869 g)
includes batteries, kit lens
Availability: 09/2018
Manufacturer: Fujifilm
Full specs: Fujifilm X-T3 specifications
26.10
Megapixels
Fujifilm X APS-C
size sensor
image of Fujifilm X-T3
Front side of Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera Front side of Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera Front side of Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera Front side of Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera Front side of Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera

Fuji X-T3 Review -- Now Shooting!

Preview posted: 09/06/2018
Last updated: 10/25/2018

Updates:
09/18/2018: Field Test Part I posted
09/27/2018: First Shots posted
10/15/2018: Field Test Part II added
10/25/2018: Performance posted

Click here to jump to our in-depth X-T3 Product Overview

 

Fujifilm X-T3 Field Test Part II

Out in the wild with Fuji's enthusiast-grade flagship camera

by | Posted 10/15/2018

XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/1600s, ISO 400, -0.3EV

Introduction

While much of the hype and attention these last few weeks has been focused on Fujifilm's medium format GFX system (and with good reason!) let's not forget about their much-loved APS-C X-Trans cameras, namely their latest SLR-styled enthusiast-grade camera, the Fuji X-T3. Sporting a nearly identical exterior design to that of the X-T2, the X-T3 instead offers major under-the-hood improvements, including a new, higher-resolution APS-C X-Trans sensor, an updated image processor, an improved autofocus system and better video shooting capabilities. On paper, the specs of the X-T3 not only make this camera superior to its predecessor but it also currently gives the flagship X-H1 a run for its money. And money, as well, with the X-T3 coming in at just $1500 body-only compared to the X-H1's $1900 price tag.

Writer and photographer Eamon Hickey got to spend some quality time with the X-T3 already, attending Fuji's X-T3 launch event in New York as well as spending some time with the camera afterwards. In his initial Field Test, he came away initially impressed with the camera's AF performance, speed and video features.

We've now secured our own review unit, and I've now had an opportunity to shoot with the new X-T3 in a variety of environments and with a variety of lenses. In my Field Test "Part II" I'll discuss my take on the camera's design and its handling characteristics. I'll also dive into the X-T3's image quality at both low and higher ISOs as well as exploring its autofocus performance.

Let's get started...

XF 8-16mm f/2.8 (PROTOTYPE LENS): 8mm, f/2.8, 1/3800s, ISO 160, -0.3EV

Design & Handling

Okay, so if you're already familiar with the Fuji X-T series, especially the X-T2, you'll feel right at home with the X-T3. Hardly anything has changed with the body design -- hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? However, as someone who hasn't spent much time shooting the predecessors, the handling and usability of the X-T3 is fairly new to me. That said, I'm not completely in the dark when it comes to Fuji cameras, having reviewed and now own a Fuji X100F.

Let's start with one of the main features you'll notice right away when you pick up the camera for the first time: the grip. Unlike most DSLRs and also SLR-style mirrorless cameras, the body of the Fuji X-T3 (and its predecessors) doesn't offer a sizable handgrip. Not only does this design choice keep the X-T3's size fairly slim and manageable, but it also goes along with the characteristic retro aesthetic Fuji uses in their X Series cameras. Many classic film SLRs didn't feature much of a handgrip either.

As a long-time DSLR user and now-owner of cameras like the Olympus E-M1 II, I usually prefer cameras a with nice, sizable handgrip, even though I wouldn't consider my hands to be particularly large. A larger grip not only helps maintain a solid, secure hold on the camera with just one hand, but it also helps with comfort and balance when using larger, heavier and longer lenses. However, I am actually pleasantly surprised by how nice and comfortable the X-T3 feels in my hand. The front grip only protrudes about a quarter of an inch (not a lot to wrap your fingers around), but when combined with the small but critical thumb notch on the rear of the camera, the X-T3 feels surprisingly secure in my hand.

Paired with a small, lightweight prime lens, the X-T3 feels lightweight and well-balanced as well. Using a medium-sized zoom, such as the 16-55mm f/2.8 or new 8-16mm f/2.8, the pairing certainly seems a bit more front-heavy; I usually shoot two-handed in this situation.

However, I spent a lot of time using the X-T3 with Fuji's long 100-400mm telephoto zoom lens. In this setup, having a deeper grip would greatly help with overall ergonomics, as this lens is quite long and fairly hefty. Fuji sells a battery grip for the X-T3 that not only adds a vertical grip but also includes a small front piece that increases the size of the main handgrip. Unfortunately, I didn't have the grip available to test, but if I were shooting with long, heavy telephoto lenses with the X-T3 on a consistent basis, I'd recommend getting the battery grip (plus, you gain the excellent feature of having three total batteries in-use for super-extended battery life performance).

In terms of the controls and button layout, again, it's nearly identical to that of the X-T2, with the exception of enlarging the drive mode sub-dial and metering mode sub-dial that are sandwiched under the ISO and Shutter Speed dials, respectively. The slightly taller size of these two sub-dials certainly makes them easier to adjust.

Much like the X-T2 and other Fuji cameras, including my X100F, the buttons and dials on the X-T3 feel rather small (well, with the exception of the big three top exposure control dials, of course). The front and rear command dials are rather thin, at only around an eighth of an inch thick, and don't protrude very much out from the body. Most of the buttons, too, are equally tiny, with very little travel when you press them. All that said, however, I never really felt frustrated while operating the camera. Compared to the X-T1, the X-T2/X-T3 has improved 4-way control buttons with a better "click" to them. The front and rear command dials are easy to reach and operate with a nice tactile click that aren't too stiff. Given that the X-T3 uses individual control dials for shutter speed, ISO and aperture (on the lenses), I don't find myself using the front and rear control dials for on-the-fly adjustments all that often, as I would with more a "traditional" camera.

Speaking of the separate control dials, while I own an X100F, for my first time out with the X-T3 I instinctively dove into the menus, the Quick Menu, or the Fn button for the setting to change ISO. It took me a moment to realize, "oh yeah, there's a dedicated ISO dial." Fuji cameras are distinctive in their design and control scheme compared to modern cameras, and if this is your first Fuji camera, it might take a little time getting used to the old-school "Fuji way" of exposure settings adjustments.

With that said though, the X-T3 is extremely customizable. Don't want to use that ISO dial? No problem. In fact, by default, if you rotate the ISO dial to the "A" position, you can then use the front command dial to quickly scroll through the ISO levels as well as three available ISO Auto presets (which are also customizable with sensitivity range and minimum shutter speed). Almost all of the buttons on the camera, labeled or not, can be reassigned to all sorts of different functions to fit your shooting style and needs - a very flexible design. The X-T3 even incorporates customizable swipe gestures into its touchscreen controls, as you see in the screenshot on the right. Swipe in any of the four cardinal directions on the rear screen to toggle settings on and off, or modify screen overlay text, among other options. (More on the touchscreen itself later.)

Other physical features include an updated OLED electronic viewfinder with an increased resolution, going from 2.36-million to 3.69-million. However, according to the specs, the X-T3's EVF has a slightly reduced magnification factor, going from 0.77x on the X-T2 to 0.75x. That's likely an insignificant difference in the grand scheme of things, and while I don't have an X-T2 to compare side-by-side, I must say that the EVF on the X-T3 is excellent. It's bright, crisp and very large with little to no noticeable lag. Compared to the LCD-based EVF on my X100F -- which I quite enjoy -- the X-T3's OLED display offers a much larger view (0.75x vs. 0.48x magnification), as well as better color, brightness and contrast.

The X-T3 maintains the same multi-directional tilting rear LCD as on the X-T2, which I enjoy. As more a stills guy and not a video shooter, I appreciate the tilting screen designs rather than the flip-out "articulated"-style screens. I find it easier to shoot from lower and higher angles with a tilting screen rather than having to maneuver a screen out to the side; it's a personal preference thing, I admit. The X-T3's nifty screen tilts both in the horizontal direction as well as in portrait orientation, which is very helpful, particularly when shooting low-to-the-ground vertical landscape shots with an ultra-wide lens.

The screen's quality is very nice, and I honestly have no complaints about that from using the camera in the field. In terms of glare and usability in bright sun, I didn't experience any problems, though to be fair, if I was outdoors in the sun, I was more often than not using the EVF. The tilting mechanism will help angle the screen some away from from the sun if need be.

A new feature for the LCD is the inclusion of touch functionality. I love having a touchscreen as it provides a really fast way to move the AF point/box right where I need it...usually. In the case of the X-T3, I found the touchscreen to be somewhat laggy and not as responsive to touch as other cameras I've used. It still works, mind you, but I feel like I have to be a little more deliberate in my tapping to move the AF box where want it. As with other cameras, the X-T3 offers a variety of touchscreen functions, including a touch shooting feature, tap-to-focus (where you tap to place the AF box, and the camera automatically focuses on that spot) as well as a tap-to-move the AF box (where you tap to move the AF box but are still required to half-press the shutter button to autofocus).

Both AF touch features work decently well (minus the lag, of course), though you can't touch and drag the AF box around the screen. Oddly, the automatic "tap-to-focus" option won't allow you to use the joystick control after tapping on the screen. Instead, you actually have to tap the "[AF] Off" icon on the screen to deselect the AF box, thus letting you use the joystick control once more to move the AF box -- a process that seems rather unnecessary. The touch-to-shoot function also behaves differently than I've experienced on other cameras. Notice I say "touch"-to-shoot and not "tap"-to-shoot. No, on the X-T3 you actually have to tap and hold your finger on the screen in order for the camera to fire a shot, which I found odd at first and made me think tap-to-shoot didn't work at all for some reason or another.

Lastly, I feel it's important to mention weather sealing. I love a camera that I can take out in bad weather, get it dirty, and generally use it without feeling like I need to be overly protective. Now, this is all within reason; I'm not deliberately bashing the camera around or tossing it in the dirt, but the confidence of knowing it can withstand some rain or other water splashes, in particular, is important to me. And, so, I'm happy to report that the Fuji X-T3, along with the weather-sealed XF 8-16mm f/2.8 lens is indeed sealed up nicely against some unexpected rain, as I experienced recently up in the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. A quick shake and some wiping down with a cloth and the X-T3 and lens fired perfectly fine.

An impromptu rain shower is no problem for the weather-sealed X-T3, though be sure to have a similarly weather-sealed lens to match.

Image Quality

The previous X-T2 earned high praise for its image quality, both at low and higher ISOs, despite an increase from 16MP to a 24MP APS-C X-Trans chip. The X-T3 once again offers a bump in resolution, but not as striking of a change as before, going up to 26MP -- making it one of the highest-resolution APS-C cameras to date. (The Samsung NX1 and NX500 used 28MP APS-C-sized sensors.) Resolving power is nice to have if you need it, but as you increase in megapixels, the dynamic range and particularly high ISO performance can start to suffer as you cram in more and more pixels. For the X-T3, going from 24MP to 26MP is not a major increase in resolution, and as an APS-C camera, I think it still falls into a good range: lots of resolving power yet still excellent high ISO performance.

XF 16-55mm f/2.8: 34mm, f/3.6, 1/125s, ISO 200, -0.7EV
100% Crop

Speaking of resolving power, the Fuji X-T3 does indeed bring a lot to the table in that regard. Especially at low ISOs and with a sharp lens, the X-T3 is capable of capturing images with fantastic fine detail, excellent colors and a wide dynamic range. I mention "sharp lens" in particular because at first, I spent a lot of time using the 100-400mm lens capturing shots mostly of birds, often far-off birds and birds in flight. I was initially a bit underwhelmed with the level of detail I saw in my photos. The camera and lens seemed to have no trouble with autofocus (except for cases of bad luck and user-error every now and again where I missed focus completely). However, images were sharp and in-focus, but the detail was not as tack-sharp as I had hoped. I decided to check our lens review for the 100-400mm, and as is often the case with long zooms, the lens does indeed show decreased sharpness as you zoom past 300mm. In the end, I needed to rein in my expectations, not only for the level of detail I should expect from an APS-C camera but also from the 100-400mm, which isn't supremely tack-sharp at 400mm.

XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/1250s, ISO 320, -0.3EV
100% Crop

That said, though, I was able to get very sharp, nicely detailed photos with the X-T3 and the 100-400mm lens, especially if the subject was fairly close.

XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 320, -0.3EV
100% Crop

On another note, when it comes to capturing sharp photos with the X-T3, it's good to remember that this camera doesn't have in-body image stabilization, unlike with the X-H1. I think I've become spoiled by the many, many Olympus, Panasonic and Sony mirrorless cameras that come with robust body-based image stabilization systems that make it easier to capture crisp, blur-free photos in more challenging lighting conditions, especially when combined with optically-stabilized lenses. With the X-T3, I found myself not only with a camera body that lacked IBIS but also frequently with lenses that did not have optical image stabilization (they exist, of course, but most of the Fuji lenses we have lying around IRHQ don't have O.I.S.).

I found myself shooting a lot of indoor events and such with very dim lighting, and in order to get crisp images, especially candid photos of people moving around, I really had to dial-up the shutter speed and subsequently increase the ISO sensitivity quite a bit to compensate. Of course, image stabilization won't help if I'm panning the camera or if my subject is moving. However, trying to capture static portraits and other still subjects in low light is more difficult without some form of stabilization, and I found myself missing this technology. (Dear Fujifilm, please add O.I.S to your XF 16-55mm f/2.8 lens please!)

XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro: 60mm, f/5.6, 1/80s, ISO 640

When it comes to dynamic range, even with straight-from-camera JPEGs, I was rather impressed with the tonal range captured. With bright, daylight scenes with heavy contrast, there was still a very good balance of highlight detail with properly-exposed skies and visible, clean detail in the shadows. Of course, using RAW will give you more flexibility to pull out details in both highlights and shadows (should you need to) and the X-T3 is no exception here.

XF 10-24mm f/4: 10mm, f/4, 1/280s, ISO 160
Unedited, straight-from-camera JPEG. Notice that the sky is not overexposed while the heavily shaded building still has visible detail.
In this overly-edited raw file, I pulled the highlights back and raised the shadows all the way in Capture One 11 just to get a sense of the additional detail that could be recovered from an X-T3 raw file.

Regarding higher ISO image quality, Fujifilm cameras consistently do very well, with the X-T2 being one of the best APS-C cameras we've seen for high ISO performance. Looking at high ISO images from the X-T3, this camera should earn similar praise once we get to that analysis. Despite increasing the pixel count, the camera is capable of excellent high ISO photos. The new 26MP X-Trans sensor and updated image processor do a great job of producing JPEG images with a high level of detail while removing a lot of unsightly noise. If you look closely at high ISO images, of course, you can see noise, especially once you get up to around ISO 3200, but noise is really finely-grained and not very distracting nor detrimental to the overall image quality. The detail that the X-T3 can capture even at really high ISOs is very impressive. For example, just look at the amount of detail in the squirrel fur in the ISO 12,800 image!

XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 12800

At higher ISOs, I can certainly see the X-T3's noise reduction processing at work, and at really high ISOs, the NR processing can start to look a bit "digital" and artificial-looking. Even though the camera's default level of noise reduction is at "0" on a +/-5 scale, I still see the NR processing a bit too strong for my taste, but overall not too bad since you don't typically "enjoy" photos by looking at them at 100% magnification.

XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6: 359mm, f/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 4000, -0.7EV

Autofocus

Lastly, I want to talk about my experience thus far with autofocus. I've used the X-T3 in a variety of environments, both indoors and out, and shot subjects using both AF-S and AF-C modes. Overall, the AF performance of the X-T3 is fantastic. The majority of the time, the AF speed is fast... almost too fast, in some ways. I half-press the shutter, and the shot is immediately in focus. It's excellent. I say "too fast" because, in a way, it's kind of unbelievable; you half-press the shutter and the shot is in focus. Boom.

XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6: 280mm, f/5.2, 1/1000s, ISO 160, -0.3EV
Note: This image has been edited. Please click to see the original.

The X-T3's undergone a big upgrade when it comes to autofocus compared its predecessor. For starters, the X-T3 now offers phase-detection AF across the entire sensor by way of 425 total user-selectable AF points -- 100 more selectable points than the X-T2. Also, the sensor itself is comprised of 2.16 million phase-detection pixels on the sensor (up from 0.5 mil) which helps increase the camera's low-light AF sensitivity from -1EV to -3EV. According to Fuji, there have been improvements to how data is read off the sensor to improve focusing in low light and on low contrast subjects, and faster AF/AE processing helps improve subject tracking performance for fast-moving subjects.

XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 640

In my experience so far, both outdoors in good lighting and indoors with poor or dim lighting, the X-T3 did very well when it came to autofocus performance. As I expected, better lighting conditions yield faster AF performance, especially for larger focusing distance changes. In dim lighting, I did experience a slow-down in AF speeds, but the X-T3 still manages to achieve focus.

Next up

Yes, there's still much more to explore with the Fujifilm X-T3! In my time with the camera so far, the majority of the subjects I encountered were wildlife, landscapes and people; subjects that hardly put the X-T3's claimed top-notch speed and performance specs to the test. While I used AF-C fairly often, it wasn't used for fast-paced subjects. Similarly, I rarely needed to utilize fast continuous shooting rates beyond the Continuous Low setting. In an upcoming Field Test, we will more closely examine the Fuji X-T3's continuous AF performance and burst shooting capabilities.

Furthermore, in a Video Field Test, we'll explore the X-T3's updated and much more versatile assortment of video recording features, which now includes 4K UHD capture at up to 60fps in-camera as well as an internal 10-bit sampling rate -- both a first for an APS-C camera.

Stay tuned for more testing with the Fuji X-T3!

 

• • •

 

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.

 

• • •

 

Fujifilm X-T3 Field Test Part I

A few days with the Fujifilm X-T3

by Eamon Hickey |

First impressions
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.

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.

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