Hot Take: So, I Bought the Fujifilm X-T3

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I went out and bought the Fujifilm X-T3 on release day, which was September 20th. The spec sheet intrigued me because a lot of the bullet points revealed improvements that would improve my ability to shoot under less than optimal conditions, situations that can sometimes stump my X-T2. Mind you, this is not my review of the X-T3. That will come later when I’ve spent more time with it. As for the features relevant to me, they are as follows:

  • 425 Phase Detect AF points spanning 2.3m PD pixels and 100% frame coverage
  • New 26.1mp X-Trans 4 with BSI, copper construction and ~1/120 sec readout
  • Electronic first curtain shutter for less shutter shock and electronic shutter at up to 30FPS burst with virtually no rolling shutter effect
  • New X-Processor 4 quad core CPU enabling faster AF and EyeAF
  • Improved processor calculates AF and AE on dedicated channels for improved speed in continuous AF and burst modes.
  • 3.69m PPI OLED EVF at 100fps for smooth motion and no blackout in ES burst mode
  • AF focuses down to -3 EV
  • Base ISO down to 160 from 200 in X-T2
  • Dynamic range improved to a full 12 EV
  • 4K 60p 4:2:0 10-bit internal video recording
  • 4K 60p 4:2:2 10-bit external video recording
  • USB-C data transfer, power, battery charging and tethering from a single cable

All of these improvements add up to a huge advancement from my X-T2 and was proven in practice the first day I used it from Rizal Bridge. The spec sheet doesn’t do the camera justice as the total performance is greater than the sum of its parts. Focusing is easier both manually with the new EVF and via AF with the -3 EV and phase detect throughout the frame. This especially helps with smaller apertures or when using filters. The new base ISO isn’t much of a change but for long exposures, that 1/3 stop helps extend the shutter when I need it most. The improved dynamic range gives me more room in post, the faster sensor making the electronic shutter useful even during fast action because of the fast sensor readout. Even the choices in shutter, from pure mechanical to electronic first curtain through fully electronic, and every combination you can imagine, helps limit shutter shock, resulting in improved sharpness by limiting the chance for micro vibrations at the moment of capture.

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While I’d planned to trade in my X-T2 to help fund the X-T3, Adobe dragging their heels on releasing a compatible update to Lightroom forced me to hang on to it since I wasn’t able to edit the RAW files natively. Iridient eventually released an update to X-Transformer, so I’m now able to convert the RAFs to DNGs for use in Lightroom but I’m unable to access the built-in film simulations until it’s updated. This slows my workflow down considerably since I usually begin with an emulsion as a base for my post processing. So now that I have both, I’m considering just keeping both.

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X-T3, 10-24mm ƒ/11, ISO160, 30s, 6-stop ND. Processed in Lightroom.

Honestly, this thing will go toe to toe against the best in class like the Nikon D500 and Canon 7D II. It even compares favorably against entry-level full frame cameras like the Nikon D610 & D750 or the Canon 6D II. This is the APS-C camera the industry will be talking about for years to come. It’s everything people loved about the X-T2 but beefed up internally to rise above everything else on the market.

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