Hands-on Review of the Fujifilm X-T3

By |2018-09-17T16:26:12+00:0017 Sep 2018|
Hands-On Review of the X-T3

On 15 September 2018, I had the privilege of using a production model Fujifilm X-T3 at one of my weddings. I want to thank my amazing clients for allowing me to use their images for this review and especially to Fujifilm for allowing me the opportunity to test drive this magnificent beast!

What this review is not: I am not a technical genius with stats and figures and numbers, I will leave that up to the clever guys on YouTube when the reviews start piling in. I am, however, very much attuned to how my kit should operate and feel in my hand and what I expect from it out in the field. I offer only my experience and subjective view.

About the Files: Most of the images presented are edited, whilst some are straight-out-of-camera JPEG files. The JPEG’s were shot in Normal, not Fine, and average about 8 MB per file. I am waiting for Adobe to update their Camera Raw software before I can open Fujifilm’s raw RAF files.

Ergonomics

I did not have a good experience with the X-T2 a year ago. Feel free to read myTo Fujifilm and back, and back againarticle

In-hand, the X-T3 has the same look and feel as the X-T2 as I remember it. I am a back-button shooter, so the small AE-L button was a problem for me on the X-T2; as I found it very difficult to use. The button on the X-T3 feels easier to get to and a little more raised; It might be in my head, but it felt easier to use this time around. I am not a big fan of the top dials, so I have the camera configured pretty much like a DLSR, with my ISO and shutter mapped to the back and rear dials. I love that Fujifilm has adapted the dioptre – you must pull it out to make adjustments and then it locks in place.

hands-on review of fujifilm x-t3

1/100sec @ F3.2, ISO 200 (16-55mm F2.8)

Battery Life

I found the battery life to be more than adequate – I shot 2814 images (way overkill) and used 4 batteries in total. In fact, I have 1 bar left on the 4th battery. I must mention that this is with the camera set on boost mode for the entire day.

fujifilm x-t3 battery life

1/8000sec @ F2.8, ISO 160 (16-55mm F2.8)

Menu System

Comparable to the X-H1: if you are familiar with the Fujifilm systems, you won’t find any trouble with the X-T3’s menu system.

fujifilm x-t3 menu system

1/200sec @F2, ISO 200 (56mm F1.2)

Auto-focus Performance

This is by far the biggest improvement! The autofocus is lightning fast and accurate – noticeably so– even coming from the X-H1! It would just grab focus in any lighting situation I faced. My hit rate was stellar, and I have very few images out of focus. In one scenario I have the bride and groom literally gunning it towards me in a golf cart: out of the 16 frames I took, only two are a little out of focus, and not by much. In another scenario I have the couple dancing in extremely low light: it found focus time after time.

Fujifilm x-t3 Auto focus system 01

1/500sec @ F2.8, ISO 500 (50-140mm F2.8)

Fujifilm x-t3 Auto focus system 02

1/500sec @ F2.8, ISO 500 (50-140mm F2.8)

Fujifilm x-t3 Auto focus system 03

1/500sec @ F2.8, ISO 500 (50-140mm F2.8)

Fujifilm x-t3 Auto focus system 04

1/125sec @ F2.8, ISO 3200 (16-55mm F2.8)

Fujifilm x-t3 Auto focus system 05

1/125sec @ F2.8, ISO 3200 (16-55mm F2.8)

Fujifilm x-t3 Auto focus system 06

1/125sec @ F2.8, ISO 3200 (16-55mm F2.8)

ISO Performance

I am yet to see what the RAW files look like, but what I am seeing from the normal JPEG’s is impressive! In my opinion, 12800 from the X-T3 is equivalent to 3200 from the X-H1. Below are a few images and their 100% crops, nothing done in post. These were shot on the move in very bad light, so judge them accordingly.

Fujifilm X-T3 ISO Performance at 2500

1/200 sec @ F2, ISO 2500 (56mm F1.2)

Fujifilm X-T3 ISO Performance at 2500 close-up

1/200 sec @ F2, ISO 2500 (56mm F1.2)

Fujifilm X-T3 ISO Performance at 8000

1/200 sec @ F1.2, ISO 8000 (56mmF1.2)

Fujifilm X-T3 ISO Performance at 8000 close-up

1/200 sec @ F1.2, ISO 8000 (56mmF1.2)

Fujifilm X-T3 ISO Performance at 12800

1/320 @ F1.2, ISO 12800 (56mm F1.2)

Fujifilm X-T3 ISO Performance at 12800 close-up

1/320 @ F1.2, ISO 12800 (56mm F1.2)

Fujifilm X-T3 ISO Performance at 25600

1/200 sec @ F2.8, ISO 25600 (50-140 F2.8)

Fujifilm X-T3 ISO Performance at 25600 close-up

1/200 sec @ F2.8, ISO 25600 (50-140 F2.8)

Eye AF Performance

I am new to Eye AF and have never really used it before. When I tried face recognition before on my previous Nikon bodies, it was bad. I also played with it on the X-H1 and found it was much improved! With this in mind, I then decided to try it out on the wedding day, using the X-T3, and I have to say I am very impressed! I was amazed at how well it worked, and during the portrait session and reception it came in handy! Both portraits below are shot with Eye AF: an amazing job at F1.2!

I took a behind-the-scenes video showcasing the Eye AF in low light; it is amazing. To view the video, click HERE.

Fujifilm X-T3 Eye AF performance

1/2000sec @ F1.2, ISO 250 (56mm F1.2)

Fujifilm X-T3 Eye AF performance 02

1/2000sec @ F1.2, ISO 250 (56mm F1.2)

Dynamic Range

As I said before, I do not have access to the RAW files yet, so I am working from JPEG only. Considering it is a JPEG and not even the highest quality, I am impressed with the dynamic range. I naturally shoot a little underexposed and then open the shadows and crush the highlights. Judging by what I can recover in the JPEG’s I have high hopes for the RAW’s.

Fujifilm XT-3 dynamic range 01

1/4000sec @ F3.2, ISO 160 (50-140mm F2.8)

Fujifilm XT-3 dynamic range 02

1/4000sec @ F3.2, ISO 160 (50-140mm F2.8)

JPEG Quality

I last shot JPEG 8 years ago. I remember the nightmare of not being able to do much with them in post processing, as it would destroy the quality quite quickly and recovering data was nearly impossible. As I only have JPEG’s to work from, I was amazed at just how well the files held up under post processing. I was able to pretty much follow my normal editing procedure for these as I would for RAW files, which is amazing. I would love to see what the difference would be to shoot in JPEG Fine, as opposed to these that were taken in JPEG Normal.

Fujifilm XT-3 JPEG Quality 01

1/1600sec @ F2.8, ISO 160 (50-140mm F2.8)

Fujifilm XT-3 JPEG Quality 02

1/1600sec @ F2.8, ISO 160 (50-140mm F2.8)

Below is a sreenshot of the changes I made in Lightroom for the above edit.

Lightroom develop settings

What did I not like, or would I change in the system?

I really think all bodies should come with a dedicated AF-ON button at the back, a nice big one like the X-H1. The one on the X-T3 is not bad, but I would prefer it bigger still. I would also like to see the feature of the new Canon mirrorless where the shutter drops down to protect the sensor when lenses are being changed. I am not sure of the mechanics involved but would also love a dual optical/EVF viewfinder like on my X100F for the flagship bodies. Shooting back-lit images at sunset and underexposing the scene is just a lot easier using an optical viewfinder. I would like to see a version where a top screen can be accommodated, though I know the body size is probably not practical.

What did I not like about the system

1/125sec @ F2.8, ISO 2500 50-140mm F2.8

Any Questions?

Feel free to contact me on email or leave a comment below.

About the Author:

Trompie van der Berg
I specialise in using flash and artificial lighting on location and have a true talent for connecting with people. Consequently, I have built a reputation as the go-to guy for anything to do with lighting and equipment. Technology fascinates me; I spend far too much time researching every possible new gadget. Sadly, my new-gear budget reflects that too!

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