Fuji XT3 Review

Fujifilm X-T3 with new sensor and new processor: Mirrorless system camera with APS-C format sensor

With the X-T3, Fujifilm introduces a new camera within its successful X-T series. The mirrorless system camera has a new X-Trans CMOS sensor in APS-C format with 26.1 megapixels and a new, faster X processor, both in the fourth generation. As the first system camera with at least an APS-C-sized sensor, it delivers 4K videos in 60 fps with 10 bits. However, many photo functions also benefit from the fast sensor and processor.

 

Fuji XT3 Review

Fujifilm X-T3 with XF 18-55 mm. For 1,500 Euros, the buyer of the Fujifilm X-T3 gets an extremely robust, weatherproof and at the same time noble and handy case with good ergonomics despite the relatively small handle [Photo: Fujifilm]

Fuji XT3 Review

Fujifilm X-T3 with XF 18-55 mm. [Photo: Fujifilm]

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Robust, non-slip, ergonomic housing despite small handle
  • Large, bright, responsive, high-resolution electronic viewfinder
  • Very bright touch screen with smart folding and swivelling mechanism
  • Excellent 4K60p video function
  • Very good image quality up to ISO 800, good up to ISO 1,600

Cons

  • From ISO 3.200 sharply declining image quality
  • High-performance mode significantly reduces battery life

With the new X-T3, Fujifilm once again improves the performance of the mirrorless system camera, which is priced well below 2,000 Euros in the mid-range, but technically plays along with a new, somewhat higher resolution APS-C sensor and improved video function in the APS-C top class. It also features a flexible touchscreen and a higher resolution viewfinder than its predecessor. So you might ask yourself if you need “more” camera at all? This question and, of course, the question of image quality have been addressed in our test report.

After two years, the Fujifilm X-T3 follows the X-T2 practically seamlessly, which is apparently already almost sold out in stores. In this respect, it is good that the successor will not be long in coming: The X-T3 will be available as early as September 20th. Single-digit models of the X-T series represent the upper middle class in Fujifilm’s product range. They offer almost everything your heart desires, in a beautifully compact case and at an affordable price. The latter is increasing from generation to generation, but Fujifilm also packs a lot of new and highly up-to-date camera technology into the latest X-T generation every time.

This is also the case with the X-T3. Nothing changes in the retro case design, but inside everything is new, one could say. “New sensor, new processor – even more performance” is the title of the press release. The Fujifilm X-T3 is equipped with the new X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor (with a special arrangement of the color filters that deviates from the usual Bayer matrix) and the X processor 4, marking the start of the fourth generation of the X series. The X-Trans CMOS-4 is a rear exposed APS-C sensor. Fujifilm writes that it has four times more phase detection pixels than previous models (X-T1 and X-T2). There is talk of an incredible 2.16 million phase detection pixels. When using the electronic viewfinder, 117 different autofocus areas can be selected manually, and 425 different areas can be selected on the LCD monitor. Both latter values were only slightly lower for the T2, but not significant. The working range of the fast phase detection autofocus in difficult lighting conditions has been extended to -3 EV. This enables an exact autofocus even under difficult lighting conditions – for example, when taking pictures only with candlelight.

Compared to the previous generation, Fujifilm has moderately increased the resolution of the sensor to 26.1 megapixels. The sensor should offer an excellent signal-to-noise ratio, the lowest sensitivity is ISO 160 (previously: ISO 200). The X Processor 4 has four CPU units, which results in an image processing speed that is about three times faster than the predecessor model X-T2. The new processor is not only intended to significantly increase the accuracy and speed of the autofocus, it is also the first in the world to deliver a 10-bit output at 4K/60fps in a mirrorless camera with a sensor in APS-C format or larger (only a few cameras with a smaller sensor have been able to do this so far). This is especially important for professional filmmakers.

Fuji XT3 Review

Fujifilm X-T3 with XF 18-55 mm. The small APS-C sensor in the Fujifilm X-T3 resolves 26 megapixels and achieves excellent image quality up to ISO 800. [Photo: Fujifilm]

Fuji XT3 Review

Fujifilm X-T3. [Photo: Fujifilm]

Fuji XT3 Review

Fujifilm X-T3. [Photo: Fujifilm]

Fuji XT3 Review

Fujifilm X-T3 with XF 18-55 mm. [Photo: Fujifilm]

The X Processor 4 is also capable of immediately processing complex image processing tasks such as Fujifilm’s “Color Chrome” effect and the new “Black and White Settings”. The “Color Chrome” effect, which was previously only available in the mirrorless medium format Fujifilm GFX50S camera, will be introduced in the X-T3 for the first time in the X series. With “Color Chrome”, color depth and contrast of very color-intensive motifs can be fully reproduced even in difficult lighting situations. Due to the very high processor power, this effect can be applied not only in single shots, but also in continuous shooting. In contrast to the T2, the eleven-frame-per-second shooting with the mechanical shutter no longer requires the optional booster battery grip, so that fast continuous shooting with a low camera weight is possible. In order not to miss a crucial moment, the X-T3 has the new function “Pre-recording” in connection with the electronic shutter. The camera starts taking pictures when the shutter release button is pressed halfway.

Thanks to X Trans CMOS 4 and X Processor 4, the Fujifilm X-T3 is supposed to offer a significant increase in performance. Despite the current highest resolution of 26.1 megapixels in an APS-C sensor (only the no longer available Samsung NX1 had more pixels a few years ago), the X-T3 should achieve the same low noise level as the previous models with 24.3 megapixels. In addition, the processor speed is 1.5 times faster than its predecessor for faster and more accurate autofocus, and 2.16 million phase detection pixels across the sensor surface significantly improve performance in face and eye autofocus detection. The performance of the face recognition autofocus in a moving person is said to have doubled compared to the previous generation. Eye Detection autofocus supports AF-C mode and maintains accurate focus tracking even with portraits that include movement. According to Fujifilm, the X-T3 focuses precisely even in difficult motif situations, even if you shoot a person from the side. Face and eye recognition AF is also available during video recording for easy recording of people. AF/AE tracking of fast-moving objects should also be significantly improved: Blackout-free continuous shooting with electronic shutter up to 30 frames per second and simultaneous live view at 60 frames per second. Important in conjunction with the electronic shutter: The rolling shutter effect (distortion) has been halved compared to previous models. The video performance has also improved considerably, we’ll go into this in more detail below.

The electronic viewfinder, which the X-T3 apparently took over from the X-H1, has also improved considerably. Which would be great, because the viewfinder of the X-H1 is a dream! The X-T3’s viewfinder, with 3.69 million pixel resolution and 0.75x magnification, offers an ultra-short response time of just 0.005 seconds and a fast frame rate of 100 frames per second (which is actually more than twice the price of competing cameras). This makes movement in the viewfinder image exceptionally smooth. Even with dynamic subjects, the photographer can determine the image detail very precisely. According to Fujifilm, the X-T3 also has an improved touch screen with higher contrast, wider viewing angle and better usability than previous models.

Fuji XT3 Review

Fujifilm X-T3 with XF 18-55 mm. [Photo: Fujifilm]

Virtually all controls have been retained from the proven predecessor model, with one exception: the diopter compensation on the electronic viewfinder can now be locked to prevent accidental adjustment while the camera is in use. In addition, the connections required for video recording, such as headphone jack, microphone input and HDMI output, are now directly inside the camera body. The connector cover is removable and provides an easy connection for HDMI cable, microphone and headphones. The removable cover is also convenient when the X-T3 is used with a rig for filming. The USB terminal now supports USB type C (USB3.1 Gen1). An external battery (often called a “power pack” for smartphones) can be connected to significantly increase the maximum number of images and the maximum duration of video recording.

Let’s now move on to video performance, which sets new standards. Actually unusual for such a retro design camera, which actually looks like a 100 percent photo camera. The Fujifilm X-T3 is the world’s first mirrorless system camera that can record 4K/60fps 4:2:0 10Bit with an internal SD card. It is also the world’s first mirrorless system camera with APS-C or larger sensor that enables 4K/60fps 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output. Supported video formats include the widely used H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and H.265/HEVC for greater data compression. This allows the use of high 200 Mbps bit rates when recording 4K/60fps 4:2:0 10bit and simultaneous HDMI output during recording. Available video compression options are ALL-Intra (only with H.265/HEVC, not compatible with H.264) and Long GOP. When using ALL-Intra, the video is recorded at 400 Mbps (requires an SD card with speed class V60 or higher).

The reading speed of the sensor is about 50 percent faster than the previous ones, which enables fast reading of 4K/60fps videos. Rolling shutter distortion has been further reduced to better capture a fast moving object. The 10-bit color depth now supported by the camera increases the amount of possible color information by a factor of 64 compared to 8 bits. This is combined with a dynamic range of 400 percent (approx. 12 f-stops) to capture sophisticated motifs, such as a landscape at sunset, with high gradation.

Fuji XT3 Review

Fujifilm X-T3. [Photo: Fujifilm]

The introduction of the new function “4K Interframe Noise Reduction” has reduced the noise by about the equivalent of two f-stops. This new processing process has improved accuracy in the identification of noise. This results in a more powerful noise reduction. The “4K Interframe Noise Reduction” uses difference data between adjacent frames to reduce the noise. In addition, the minimum sensitivity for recording F-Log and DR400 percent material has been improved from ISO 800 to ISO 6,400 to meet the needs of video filmmakers.

In addition to the above features, the X-T3 supports video recording in Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG), a format defined in the ITU-R BT.2100 international standard, following a firmware update to be released by the end of 2018. In response to user feedback, the firmware update for the X-T3 should also enable simultaneous output of movie simulation and F-log material.

As an optional accessory there will be a new portrait and battery handle called VG-XT3. It is protected against dust and splash water and is cold-resistant down to minus ten degrees Celsius. Two rechargeable batteries fit into the handle so that a total of three batteries, including the battery in the camera, can be used simultaneously. The battery capacity is then sufficient for up to 1,100 pictures (“normal mode”). The camera does not need to interrupt operation to switch to a new battery, even for continuous or video recording. The battery handle features a shutter release button, focus lever, AE-L and AF-L buttons, control dials, Q and Fn buttons for the same comfort when shooting in portrait or landscape mode. In addition, the VG-XT3 has a battery charging functionality, so that with the included AC adapter (AC-9VS) two batteries can be charged simultaneously in about 2 hours.

Fuji XT3 Review

Fujifilm X-T3 with XF 18-55 mm and VPB-XT3 battery handle. [Photo: Fujifilm]

The MHG-XT3 comes onto the market as a further handle (without batteries and control elements). It provides a better grip and helps to avoid unwanted camera movements, which can easily occur when shooting with larger telephoto lenses, for example. The camera and handle can be mounted on a tripod, and the handle does not need to be removed when changing the battery or SD memory card. The base can be used as a quick-release fastener when a dovetail mount is used on the tripod.

Ergonomics and workmanship

At first glance, the Fujifilm X-T3 looks like its predecessor X-T2. The Retro case is compact, has only a relatively small handle and is largely made of metal, which in turn is extensively covered with a grippy, grained rubber, which provides a lot of grip. But if you look at the camera in detail, the housing was redesigned fundamentally despite its identical appearance and identical key arrangement. It’s no longer a front and back that are mounted at the bottom on a butt joint and are closed off by an upper lid, but the underside now also consists of one piece like the top, which adds the icing on the cake to the already excellent workmanship. Of course, the housing is protected against dust and splash water.

Despite the quite small handle, which can be extended via accessories, the X-T3 lies quite well and securely in the hand. Those who nevertheless like to hold a more massive grip in their hand can buy the MHG-XT3. In addition to the better grip, it offers a practical dovetail holder for tripods (Arca-Swiss compatible) and has the option of being able to easily change the battery. The X-T3 is mainly operated via control wheels and buttons. Fujifilm does without a classic program selector wheel and instead uses direct selectors for exposure time, aperture (on the lens), ISO sensitivity and exposure correction. The latter is unsecured, but due to its position and sluggishness, it hardly accidentally moves. ISO and exposure time wheels, on the other hand, can be locked and unlocked at the touch of a button. If you don’t like the direct selection wheels and prefer multifunction wheels, you can also set the parameters using these. In addition, the multifunction control wheels on the front and rear can be pressed to switch to a second function depending on the situation.

With the exception of the direct dialling wheels and the selector levers below, Fujifilm essentially dispenses with permanently labelled direct dialling keys. Instead, the assignments of the Fn keys and the four-way dialer can be changed individually. So you need some training time for the operation, even if the basic functions are easy and logical to call. In addition to the four-way selector, there is also a joystick, mainly to control the focus points, but it can also be used for navigation in the main menu. The main menu is extensive and so you have to “reinfuchse” yourself a little bit. A Quick menu is also available for quick access to other important recording settings, allowing 16 functions to be called up quickly. Here, too, there is the possibility of individualisation.

Fuji XT3 Review

Fujifilm X-T3. The Fujifilm X-T3 offers not only a very bright, movable touch screen, but also an excellent, high-resolution and fast electronic viewfinder. [Photo: Fujifilm]

An interesting change compared to the X-T2 is the screen: It still measures about 7.5 centimeters in the diagonal and has a resolution of 1.04 million pixels (aspect ratio 3:2 as with the image sensor), which is fine enough, and with a maximum brightness of 760 cd/m² it is bright enough even in sunshine. There is also the clever folding and swivelling mechanism, where the screen always stays behind the camera, but still allows portrait and landscape shots from frog and ground level perspectives – only Selfies are not possible. New is the touch functionality, which is only used to move the focus point. After all, this works both when using the screen and when looking through the viewfinder. Here, however, the partly somewhat blurred operation of the Fujifilm becomes apparent: at one point in the menu, one chooses the touch AF function, at another one one has to switch on the touch screen hidden. The same applies to certain screen displays: A menu item sets the type of grid that is to be displayed. But then you have to get into the attitude in which you choose which things you can generally fade in. Not everyone finds this without a manual and wonders why it doesn’t work as you would expect it to.

The X-T3 did not inherit the electronic viewfinder from its predecessor, but from the X-H1. Although this means a slightly smaller viewfinder image, the magnification is now 0.75x in 35mm equivalent, which is completely sufficient, but with 3.69 million pixels it resolves much finer, individual pixels are barely visible. In addition, the OLED viewfinder operates at a refresh rate of 100 Hz and has an extremely low delay of 0.005 seconds. This makes the viewfinder fast, fluid, high-resolution and it also shines in terms of colours and contrasts. With glasses the viewfinder is only semigood readable, the corners shadow a little.

Practically there is a diopter correction, which is now secured like with a clock. To adjust the time, in this case of course the correction, the knob must first be pulled out. If you push it back in, the correction is fixed. In addition, one can adjust whether one prefers to see a picture preview in the viewfinder or whether the picture should look more like an optical viewfinder, for which one then does without the white balance and exposure preview. A preview of the depth of field is available either by pressing the shutter-release button or by pressing one of the Fn buttons, if you have assigned it accordingly. It goes without saying that grid lines, recording information, a spirit level, a live histogram etc. can be displayed as on the monitor.

The connections are almost all located on the left side of the case behind a robust and even removable flap (for example for use in a rig). In addition to the USB-C port, which can also be used to charge the battery, there are also the “video” interfaces: One 3.5mm jack socket each for headphones and microphone and one HDMI interface, unfortunately in the mechanically not too stable Micro version. The remote cable release connector, on the other hand, is located above the SD card slot on the handle side. You can even screw a classic cable release into the release button, which has excellent pressure points. The SD card slot offers two slots, both compatible with SDHC, SDXC and UHS II. We could measure almost 110 MB/s as writing speed, so fast cards are recommended, especially for continuous shooting and video recording. On paper, the USB port supports USB 3.1 Gen1, but practically it only reaches 40 MB/s, the brake is on the PTP image transfer protocol, a faster mass storage access like on a card reader is unfortunately not possible.

Fuji XT3 Review

Fujifilm X-T3 with XF 18-55 mm. Typical for a retro camera like the Fujifilm X-T3 are the direct selection wheels for the exposure parameters on the top side. [Photo: Fujifilm].

The NP-W126S with a capacity of 8.7 Wh continues to be used as the rechargeable battery, almost 400 shots are said to be possible according to the CIPA standard. However, if you use the performance mode and wireless functions such as Bluetooth or WLAN, the battery life shrinks significantly. Even if the battery can be recharged via USB, an external charger is included. The removal on the underside of the camera is no problem even with a mounted tripod quick-change plate, the tripod thread is located in the optical axis. The battery life can be extended to over 1,000 shots if the VG-XT3 portrait format and battery handle is used (the X-T2 handle unfortunately doesn’t fit). It has room for two more batteries. In addition, it offers the most important operating elements and an ergonomic handle for portrait and landscape format. In addition, the handle offers a charging connection, via which the two batteries can be charged simultaneously within approx. two hours using the supplied AC adapter (AC-9VS).

Equipment

As a semi-professional system camera, the X-T3 completely dispenses with automatic functions, scene programs or scene recognition. The only way to activate a kind of automatic function is to activate the ISO automatic and select the exposure time and aperture automatically, but this is not particularly “smart”. Much more the necessary intelligence, which exposure parameters are the best for the current subject, is demanded by the photographer himself, who can also give free rein to his creativity. Depending on the subject, the exposure parameters can be set manually or automatically, thanks to the direct selection wheels and the additional multifunction wheels. The X-T3 is just perfect for this form of photography.

The fact that the X-T3 doesn’t have automatic motif control doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any image effects. These exist in two ways. First, you can set which “film” is inserted in the camera. The movie simulation modes are not limited to classic analog movies like Provia (standard), Astia (soft) or Velvia (vivid colors), but also include new digital creations like the beautiful Classic Chrome. Those who like to photograph in JPEG can give the pictures a special look without them appearing artificially edited or losing sharpness and details (unless you select a blur). New is the Color Chrome, previously reserved for medium-format models. Here, especially colourful motifs (e.g. flowers) are differentiated very richly in nuances, which improves the visible colour scheme. In addition, more playful effects such as miniatures, pinhole cameras etc. can also be activated.

Fuji XT3 Review

The tripod thread of the Fujifilm X-T3 is located in the optical axis. A new feature is the continuous housing shell on the underside, which makes the camera look more robust and as if it’s made of one piece.

The X-T3 also offers a panorama function and even multiple exposure. In addition, the bracketing function is very powerful. Not only exposure series can be created with it, but also white balance series shots or film simulation series shots, whereby for the latter two the raw data format with subsequent conversion is recommended, as such “effect” series of shots work purely digitally. The bracketing function allows a maximum of nine images and a maximum of three EV exposure distances – in combination! So if you want to create extreme HDR effects in image processing, you can work with up to +/-12 EV, i.e. a total of 24 EV spread from the darkest to the brightest image! To illustrate that: While the darkest image is exposed at 1/32,000 second, the brightest reaches an exposure time of about eight minutes. Also interesting is the possibility to take interval shots with a start time, a definable interval and a fixed number of pictures of up to 999. Alternatively, the camera can take more pictures if no limit is set.

Face recognition is also available despite the lack of automatic subject recognition, as it is an extremely useful and therefore indispensable autofocus function, especially for portraits. Fujifilm does not only focus on faces, but also on the eyes, which is very useful in view of the high resolution when using very bright lenses with low depth of field, so that not the tip of the nose or the eyebrows are sharp, but really the iris. The X-T3 is even capable of tracking faces and eyes with the AF-C, which works much better than the previous model. This is not least due to the more than two million phase autofocus points distributed over the entire sensor surface. However, these can not be selected individually, depending on the use of viewfinder or screen can be a little over 100 to over 400 points.

The factory-set release priority in AF-S mode is still problematic as well, since the focus priority should actually be set. Fujifilm “cheats” its way to a faster release, at the expense of exact image sharpness. Fortunately, this can be changed in the menu, but this slows down the release. Nevertheless, the autofocus has partly become faster compared to the predecessor model. It takes about 0.2 to 0.4 seconds, depending on the focal length and the associated light intensity, from pressing the shutter release button to taking the picture. With the predecessor model it was always 0.4 seconds. Interestingly, the pure shutter release delay (release without autofocus) has become somewhat slower and is now 0.09 instead of the 0.06 to 0.08 seconds of the predecessor model. These are far from record values, neither for the autofocus nor for the shutter release delay. Nevertheless, the X-T3 can be described as fast. Fujifilm should, however, continue to work on the values. In particular, the shutter release delay is not faster than with an equivalent DSLR, even though no mirror has to be folded up. When it comes to tracking subjects in AF-C mode, the X-T3 does a good job. The focus detects changes in direction and, thanks to the many measuring points, even the smallest motif movements. In low light, the autofocus slows down, but still focuses even in a very dark environment.

In contrast to the predecessor model, no battery grip is needed to achieve the highest continuous shooting speed with a mechanical shutter. However, this requires activating the high-performance mode in the menu, which reduces the battery life and noticeably increases the camera’s waste heat. The mechanical shutter is up to 1/8,000 second fast, but not the quietest. The X-T3, on the other hand, triggers completely silently with an electronic shutter that even achieves short exposure times of up to 1/32,000 second. The speed of the serial shot also increases with the electronic shutter, up to 30 frames per second are possible at full resolution. Especially in Raw, but also in JPEG, these fast image series are quite quickly over, after one second in Raw or two seconds in JPEG. After all, the X-T3 can even take continuous pictures with an electronic shutter before the actual shutter release, which can be helpful for critical subjects.

The mechanical shutter protects against the distortions caused by the rolling shutter effect, even if they are reduced with the X-T3. This does not occur with mechanical closure due to the principle. Fujifilm promises a fast eleven frames per second. In our measurement it was “only” just over ten frames per second, but a remarkable 134 JPEG or 43 raw images long. This also allows longer action scenes to be captured with a high serial frame rate. The fact that there are fewer pictures in one piece than with the X-T2 is due to the higher continuous shooting rate. The bottleneck is, as always, the memory card interface. Once the cache is full, the X-T3 can only take continuous pictures as fast as it can write them to the memory card. This value is slightly lower than that of the X-T2, which means that the size of the buffer memory and the writing speed to the memory card have not been adapted to the higher resolution image sensor. With about 110 MB/s the X-T3 writes to the memory card, which is a fast, but by no means outstanding value. Those who need fast, long image series should pay attention to a correspondingly fast UHS-II memory card on the one hand and on the other hand lower the frame rate somewhat. Even if this is still above the write speed, the buffer does not run so fast anymore, which significantly increases the length of the possible image series. At 5.8 JPEG or 3.3 raw images per second, the memory card can be fully photographed without interruption.

Although video hasn’t necessarily been one of Fujifilm’s strengths so far, and even the X-T3 with its retro design doesn’t exactly look like a camera that masters excellent video recording, it is a true video specialist and currently even a leader among APS-C cameras. It is the only one that is capable of 4K video recording with up to 60 frames per second and high 10-bit color scanning (4:2:2) with the option of storing this data directly on the SD card and/or outputting it lossless via HDMI (however, the micro HDMI interface is not ideal for this due to its low mechanical stability). However, when it comes to combining the various options, there are still a few limitations. The X-T3 can be converted into a video camera by setting the “Drive” lever, which also selects the continuous shooting function, to Video. The live image section is immediately reduced from the 3:2 photo to the 16:9 or 17:9 video format, and depending on the mode, this is even done without any crop. Only with 4K video recordings with more than 30 frames per second is a piece of the video image cut off to the right and left.

The videos are saved with either H.264 or H.265 compression. The highest video qualities and refresh rates in 4K resolution are only available when using H.265 (HEVC), which also requires powerful playback devices. In addition, an SD card with at least V60 as video class is recommended, because at 400 Mbps with All-Intra, a constant 50 MB/s is written to the memory card. The X-T3 can control the Zebra display in adjustable levels and also focus peaking for video recordings. An HDR video recording with HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) is to be submitted at the end of 2018 by means of firmware updates. If you want, you can use autofocus, which keeps subjects well in focus. As with continuous shooting, you can also configure how the autofocus reacts to motion. Also a gain for the microphone level and a timecode function are not missing.

The flash equipment of the Fujifilm X-T3 is pleasingly complete, although it doesn’t have an integrated flash at all. Fujifilm supplies the small EF-X8 plug-in flash, which is powered by the camera via the flash shoe. It opens extremely high, which reduces the formation of red eyes. The TTL flash shoes can also be used with normal flash units with central contact (then without TTL power control by the camera) or compatible TTL flash units. The Fujifilm flash system also offers wireless flashes. We measured a guide number of just over eight for the EF-X8, so it delivers what Fujifilm promises in the technical data. In addition, the flash output can be corrected, ignited at the end of the exposure if desired and even manual output control is possible via the menu. But that’s not all: The X-T3 is one of the few cameras in this class to offer a flash sync connection if someone still wants to use the socket, for example in a photo studio. The shortest flash sync time is 1/250 second and with corresponding system flash units high-speed flashes are possible.

Fuji XT3 Review

The memory cards of the Fujifilm X-T3 are conveniently removed from the side. Both SD bays are compatible with SDHC and SDXC as well as UHS II.

In playback mode, Fujifilm offers a few editing functions, such as rotating the images or retouching red eyes. The integrated raw data converter offers a larger processing bandwidth. So you can quickly conjure up a few JPEGs with individually adjusted settings directly in the camera at any time. As a special feature of Fujifilm, photo books with cameras can also be created so that the orders can then be forwarded to an appropriate service provider offering Fujifilm photo books.

The wireless functions can also be seen. Already at the initial setup, the X-T3 asks for a connection to a smartphone, which is initially established via Bluetooth pairing. The advantage of this connection is its low energy consumption, if it is maintained permanently. This allows the GPS data of the smartphone to be used, for example, and is written directly into the EXIF data when the photograph is taken. Via WLAN the X-T3 can be remote controlled by means of an app including live image transmission, but also a transmission of the images is possible, which even in masses goes quite quickly by the hand. After the appropriate setup, the X-T3 even transfers the images automatically in the home network, so that you don’t even have to connect the camera to a PC anymore. Firmware updates no longer require a PC; they can be wirelessly transferred to the camera via smartphone.

Those who only have a low-power PC but still want to process the large raw data of the Fujifilm only need to connect the X-T3 to the computer and can then use the camera’s powerful processor for raw data development with the corresponding Fujifilm software, which is much faster than with the built-in main processor of older PC systems. In addition, remote control of the camera via PC is also possible, for example in a photo studio or when photographing books or similar applications.

Picture quality

The heart of the Fujifilm X-T3 is the quad-core processor and the new APS-C sensor with a resolution of 26 megapixels. This is actually only slightly more than the previous 24-megapixel sensors offer, so Fujifilm’s promise that the signal-to-noise ratio has remained identical seems quite credible with corresponding technological advances. After all, it is a BSI sensor that offers a slightly more light-sensitive area than conventional image sensors due to the backward exposure. To determine the image quality, we measured it in our test laboratory with the Fujifilm mid-range zoom Fujinon XF 18-55 mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS.

Fuji XT3 Review

Behind this flap are most of the interfaces of the Fujifilm X-T3: USB-C and Micro-HDMI as well as two 3.5mm jacks for stereo microphone and headphones.

The effective resolution of the X-T3 according to laboratory measurements is practically no higher than that of the X-T2, which was to be expected with the marginal jump from 24 to 26 megapixels (four percent more pixels each in width and height). Nearly 63 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) in 35mm equivalent are achieved with 50 percent contrast in the center of the image at short and medium focal lengths when dipping down to F5.6. Fujifilm uses a digital optimization that increases the resolution in the center of the image and also at the edges of the image, depending on the aperture, by increasing the contrast (sharpening) to varying degrees. This leads to slight “waves” in the resolution measurement and also in the determination of the sharpness artifacts, because each specimen of a lens behaves individually, while the image quality optimization must go a good middle way for the respective model. In practice, the 18-55 offers a high resolution from the center to the edge of the image even with an open aperture, the only exception being the edge resolution at medium focal length and open aperture, which is slightly lower than the other measured values. All in all, the lens, which can be purchased for an additional 400 Euros for the X-T3, which costs almost 1,500 Euros, is a good investment. Optical errors such as distortion, edge darkening and colour fringes practically do not occur in the combination.

The promised signal-to-noise ratio, which is identical despite higher resolution, is confirmed by our laboratory measurements. A good 42 dB is at ISO 80 and up to ISO 400 the X-T3 remains in the good range of over 40 dB. Only above ISO 1.600 does it fall below the critical 35 dB mark, but at ISO 3.200 only very slightly. The noise is fine-grained over the entire sensitivity range and free of color noise components. The slight brightness noise becomes slowly stronger with increasing sensitivity and slowly visible above ISO 3,200, and stronger at the two highest sensitivities of ISO 25,600 and 51,200. However, Fujifilm considers this to be an ISO extension, so one should reckon with a loss of image quality. The same applies to ISO 80 and 100, and more about that.

Noise suppression only intervenes measurably above ISO 800, but then quickly results in visible loss of detail as sensitivity increases. At ISO 1.600 they are still within limits, but at ISO 3.200 they are already considerably stronger, so that small detail losses in fine structures are quickly noticed. So the X-T3 isn’t necessarily a high-ISO monster. To compensate for this, the Fujifilm X system offers many powerful lenses that already achieve a high resolution with an open aperture, which is noted here on the side.

Fuji XT3 Review

The battery of the Fujifilm X-T3 is sufficient for almost 400 shots and can be charged either in the camera via USB-C or externally in the supplied charger.

The input dynamics, at least in JPEG, where our laboratory measurements are made, were not exactly a strength of Fujifilm so far. This has improved with the latest camera generation and the X-T3 also benefits from it. In the range from ISO 160 to 12,800, this is over ten f-stops and sometimes reaches almost eleven f-stops. Interestingly, the maximum is ISO 1,600, which can be explained by the stronger noise reduction, which filters out brighter noise pixels from dark areas and thus improves the dynamics as a side effect. At ISO 80 and 100, the dynamic range is less than ten f-stops. This is a result of the signal attenuation required to achieve a lower sensitivity than the basic ISO 160 sensitivity of the image sensor. This can also be seen from the tonal value curve: It runs flatter at ISO 80 and 100 than at ISO 160, where a clear division of the center contrasts for crisper image results can be observed.

The output tonal range is very good in the range from ISO 80 to 400 with over 224 of 256 possible brightness gradations and drops continuously to an acceptable value of kapp below 128 gradations up to ISO 1,600. Thus, fine brightness gradients show themselves to be more and more worse differentiated, the higher one screws the sensitivity. It becomes critical above ISO 6.400 with less than 96 gradations.

The colours have always been a strength of the Fujifilm sensors, which is not least due to the different colour filter matrix that covers all three basic colours in each row and column. Accordingly, the average color deviation is small, even the larger deviations are not too extreme. This provides balanced, subjectively beautiful colors, such as a cyan shifted slightly towards blue or brighter warm tones in the red range. The accuracy of the manual white balance is (objectively) according to the measurement almost perfect, but also the automatic works (subjectively) well. The actual color depth is very high, at low sensitivities the Fujifilm X-T3 distinguishes nearly eight million color nuances. Even up to ISO 3,200 there are still more than four million that can really be seen.

Bottom line

All in all, the Fujifilm X-T3 is an excellent camera that does almost everything right. To criticize there are actually only a few small things, which are almost lost in the mass of positive characteristics. The housing processing has been further improved with very good ergonomics, the interfaces have now been selected and arranged even more sensibly. The performance of the camera is incredibly high, even if it doesn’t have the fastest autofocus. Admittedly, with so many functions to choose from, you have to get used to the operation, especially when it comes to the depths of the menus. The video function is astonishingly good for such a retro camera, and Fujifilm even sets new standards in some respects. The image quality is excellent up to ISO 800, but not bad at ISO 1,600 either. In some cases, however, Fujifilm then quickly degrades, for example with the sharpness of detail, which no longer affects anyone from a stool above ISO 3,200. The X-T3 isn’t a high-ISO camera, but you can combine it with many of the fast, open-diaphragm lenses Fujifilm offers.

Fuji XT3 Review

The VPB-XT3 battery handle not only improves ergonomics, but also offers space for two additional batteries for longer battery life. [Photo: Fujifilm]

To come back to the thesis presented in the introduction, the Fujifilm X-T3 is actually a mirrorless system camera at an affordable price of 1,500 Euros, with which one can be happy without any wishes or with which the focus shifts to the lens wishes, whereby Fujifilm already offers a wide, high-quality selection here. The “set lens” XF 18-55 F2.8-4 is a not to be scoffed at good introduction as a compact, universal everyday lens with high optical performance and good light intensity and at the same time compact dimensions for an additional 400 Euro.

Fact sheet

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Fuji film
Model X-T3
Sensor CMOS APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5
)26.1 Megapixel (effective)
Pixel pitch 3.8 µm
Resolution (max.) 6.240 x 4.160 (3:2)
Video (max.) 4.096 x 2.160 60p
Lens Fujifilm XF 18-55 mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS (zoom lens)
Video viewfinder EVF, 100 % field coverage, 3,690,000 pixels resolution, 1.13x magnification (sensor related), 0.75x magnification (KB equivalent), diopter compensation (-4.0 to 2.0 dpt)
Monitor 3.0″ (7.6 cm)
Disbandment 1.040.000 pixels
tiltable yes
rotatable
swivelling yes
Touchscreen yes
AV connector HDMI Output Micro (Type D)
Fully automatic
Automatic motif control
Program automation yes
Program shift yes
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
Manual yes
Bulb long time exposure yes
HDR function
Panorama function yes, Sweep panorama
Exposure metering Matrix/multi-field measurement (256 fields), center-weighted integral measurement, spot measurement
fastest shutter speed 1/8.000 s
Flash included attachable flash
Synchronous time 1/250 s
Flash connection Hot shoe: Fujifilm, standard center contact
WLAN yes
NFC
GPS external, permanent smartphone connection
Remote release yes, cable release, cable release, remote control via Smartphone/Tablet
Interval shooting yes
Storage medium
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I, UHS II)
Slot 2
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I, UHS II)
Sensitivity
automatic ISO 160-12.800
manually ISO 80-51.200
White balance
automatic yes
manual measurement yes
Kelvin input yes
Fine correction yes
Autofocus yes
Number of measuring fields 425
Speed 0.20 s to 0.45 s
AF auxiliary light LED
Dimensions (mm) 133 x 93 x 59 mm
Weight (ready for operation) 535 g (housing only
)843 g (with lens)
Tripod socket in optical axis
Zoom
Zoom adjustment manual on lens
Battery life 390 images (according to CIPA standard)
– = “not applicable” or “not available”

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Robust, non-slip, ergonomic housing despite small handle
  • Large, bright, responsive, high-resolution electronic viewfinder
  • Very bright touch screen with smart folding and swivelling mechanism
  • Excellent 4K60p video function
  • Very good image quality up to ISO 800, good up to ISO 1,600

Cons

  • From ISO 3.200 sharply declining image quality
  • High-performance mode significantly reduces battery life

Fujifilm X-T3 Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5
)26.1 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 3.8 µm
Photo resolution
6.240 x 4.160 pixels (3:2)
6.240 x 3.512 pixels (16:9)
4.416 x 2.911 pixels (3:2)
4.416 x 2.488 pixels (16:9)
4.160 x 4.160 pixels (1:1)
3.120 x 2.080 Pixel (3:2)
3.120 x 1.760 pixels (16:9)
2.944 x 2.944 pixels (1:1)
2.080 x 2.080 Pixel (1:1)
Panorama Swivel panorama
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Colour depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel), 42 bits (14 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard
Video resolution
4.096 x 2.160 (17:9) 60 p
4.096 x 2.160 (17:9) 50 p
4.096 x 2.160 (17:9) 30 p
4.096 x 2.160 (17:9) 25 p
4.096 x 2.160 (17:9) 24 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 60 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 50 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 30 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 25 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 24 p
2.048 x 1.080 (17:9) 60 p
2.048 x 1.080 (17:9) 50 p
2.048 x 1.080 (17:9) 30 p
2.048 x 1.080 (17:9) 25 p
2.048 x 1.080 (17:9) 24 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
Maximum recording time 29 min
Video format
MOV (Codec H.264)
MOV (Codec H.265)
Audio format (video) PCM

Lens

Lens mount
Fujifilm XF

Focusing

Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus with 425 sensors, autofocus working range of 3, contrast autofocus
Autofocus Functions Single Auto Focus, Continuous Auto Focus, Area Auto Focus, Tracking Auto Focus, Manual, AFL Function, AF Assist Light (LED)
Focus control Depth of field control, dimming button, Live View

Viewfinder and Monitor

Monitor 3.0″ (7.6 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 1,040,000 pixels, anti-glare, brightness adjustable, color adjustable, tiltable 90° up and 45° down, tiltable 60°, with touch screen
Video viewfinder Video viewfinder (100 % field coverage) with 3,690,000 pixels, 1.13x magnification factor, diopter compensation (-4.0 to 2.0 dpt)

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 256 fields, spot measurement, AF-AE coupling
Exposure times 1/8,000 to 4 sec (Auto
)1/8,000 to 30 sec (Manual)
1/32,000 to 30 sec (Electronic Shutter)
Bulb with maximum 1,800 sec Exposure Time
Exposure control Program auto (with program shift), Aperture auto, Aperture auto, Manual
Bracketing function Bracket function with maximum 3 shots, step size from 1/3 to 2 EV
Exposure compensation -5.0 to +5.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 160 to ISO 12.800 (automatic
)ISO 80 to ISO 51.200 (manual)
Remote access Remote release, cable release, cable release, remote control via smartphone/tablet
, remote control from computer: certain functions
Picture effects High Key, Pinhole Camera, Low Key, Miniature Effect, Pop Color, Selective Color, Blur, 1 More Image Effects
White balance Auto, Cloudy, Sun, White balance bracketing, Fine tuning, Shadow, Underwater, Fluorescent lamp with 3 presets, Incandescent light, from 2,500 to 10,000 K, Manual 3 memory locations
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 11.0 fps at highest resolution and max. 145 stored photos, 30 frames per second with electronic shutter max. 60 shots JPEG and 35 shots RAW
Self-timer Self-timer with interval of 2 s, special features: or optionally 10 seconds
Timer Timer/interval recording, start time adjustable
Shooting functions AEL function, AFL function, live histogram

Flashgun

Flash no built-in flash availableFlash shoe
: Fujifilm, standard center contactFlash socket
: F-plugHigh-speed
synchro not with EF-X8 supplied
Flash range Flash sync time 1/250 s
Flash number Guide number 8 (ISO 100)
(flash supplied)
Flash functions Auto, Fill-in flash, Flash on, Flash off, High speed sync, Slow sync, Flash on second shutter curtain, Red-eye reduction by pre-flash, Master function (4 channels and 3 groups), Flash exposure compensation from -2.0 EV to +2.0 EV

Equipment

Image stabilizer no optical image stabilizer
Memory
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I, UHS II)
second memory card slot
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I, UHS II)
GPS function GPS external (permanent smartphone connection)
Microphone Stereo
Power supply Power supply unit connectionUSB continuous power supply
Power supply 1 x Fujifilm NP-W126S390
images according to CIPA standard
Playback Functions Red eye retouching, crop images, image rotation, protect image, highlight / shadow warning, playback histogram, playback magnifier, image index, slide show function, zoom out
Voice memo Voice memo (PCM format)
Face recognition Face recognition
Picture parameters Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, Noise Reduction
Special functions Electronic Spirit Level, Grid Display, Pixel Mapping, Zebra Function, Orientation Sensor, Live View, User Profiles with 7 User Profiles and 12 Options
Ports Data interfaces: Bluetooth, USBUSB type
:USB 3.0 SuperSpeedWLAN
: available (type: B, G, N)
AV connectors AV output: HDMI output Micro (Type D
)Audio input: yes (3.5 mm jack (stereo, 3-pin))
Audio output: yes (3.5 mm jack (stereo, 3-pin))
Supported direct printing methods DPOF
Tripod socket 1/4″ in optical axis
Case Splash-proof, frost-proof up to -10 °C
Features and Miscellaneous X-Processor 4 Image ProcessorVideo recording time
at 4K p60 maximum 20 minutes p30 or less 29 minutesUltrasonic sensor cleaningZonesAF with 3 x 3, 5 x5 and 7 x 7 raster from 91 fields of a 13 x 9 rangeDynamic range
100, 200 and 400% exposure compensation
Video +/- 2VD dynamic range bracket
(DR 100 %, DR 200 %, DR 400 %)
ISO bracket ( /- 1/3, 2/3 or 1 EV)
Movie simulation bracketFocus
bracketPre-Burst Function
approx.

30 images/s with 1.25 Crop max. 20 shots before and after shutter releaseFilm simulation
: Provia, Velvia, Astia, Classic Chrome, Pro Neg.Hi, Pro Neg.Std, Black & White, Black & White (with color filters), Sepia, Acros (with color filters), Eterna/CinemaColor
Chrome EffectLens Modulation OptimizerRAW conversionEye sensor

to

switch from monitor to viewfinderHigh-speed video
2

.

0

48 x 1,080 with 120 or 100 frames per second max. 6 minutes2
.16 million phase AF measuring points over the entire sensor surface

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 133 x 93 x 59 mm
Weight 535 g (ready for operation)

Other

included accessories Fujifilm BC-W126 Battery charger for special batteriesFujifilm
NP-W126S special batteryShoulder strap
, housing cap, flash shoe cover Operating instructions, EF-X8 attach flash
optional accessory Fujifilm MHG-XT3 (Handle
)Fujifilm RR-100 Cable Remote TriggerFujifilm
VG-XT3 Battery Grip

Firmware updates 3.00 for the Fujifilm X-T3 and 1.01 for the X-T30

Fujifilm provides a new firmware update for the two mirrorless system cameras X-T3 and X-T30. While the latter only makes a small jump with version 1.01, which optimizes the response of the Quick Menu key, the large jump from 2.10 to 3.00 on the X-T3 brings numerous new functions and improvements. For example, there are optimizations in eye and face recognition autofocus and focus speed.

The new version of the X-T30 optimizes the accuracy of the face and eye autofocus. In addition, it is now possible to select one for prioritization when multiple faces are detected and only the focus frame around the eye is displayed during eye autofocus. In addition, the autofocus should now react faster when objects are further away. The touch screen function for selecting the autofocus area when using the electronic viewfinder has also been optimized.

There is also a new touch screen control option. In the menu, you can optionally assign a function to double-tap the screen. In interval shooting, the focus joystick push function was deactivated during a series of shots. Improved flicker reduction for continuous shooting and no more indication when no images are included in the image transfer job when the camera is turned on. Finally, Fujifilm wants to have some minor bugs fixed that are not listed further.

 

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