Fujifilm has been busy releasing all sorts of cameras in the past two years, and it seems like they aren’t slowing down. While the X-T4 is set to be revealed later this month, one shouldn’t skip over the X-T3 when considering an upgrade to an existing Fujifilm kit or getting introduced to the company’s offerings. It’s pretty dang easy to use, looks super good and is more than capable of helping you take great pictures of whatever you want.
I switched over from a Canon 5D Mark III to the X-T1 in 2014 when it launched and then fate moved me into the X-T2 in 2016. I’ve been more than satisfied with the X-T2 and hadn’t been planning to upgrade as of yet. I definitely followed the announcement of the X-T3 in 2018, however, and I’ve done my fair share of reading of the specs and features. Having clocked a lot of hours with the cameras preceding the X-T3, this camera looked mighty fine to upgrade to or at least play with if I could.
I got lucky a couple months ago. Fujifilm let me get my grubby hands on the X-T3 in exchange for a couple thoughts.
So I unboxed it, slid a battery and card in, and slapped a lens on it.
It’s familiar — in the best way.
To me, that’s where this camera really shines. I was able to grab this camera, replace my X-T2 without having to read the user manuals and documentation, recall a few features that I had read before but then forget to turn them on, and jump into shooting. I feel like anyone who picks up this camera could definitely turn it on, adjust settings and get a great image without jumping heavily in to the settings.
I was able to fit in two photo clients in my busy life, but I didn’t make enough time to sit down and read over some of the features that I had wanted to try before getting to the two shoots.
But the lack of all the exploring of features and specs didn’t keep me from appreciating and enjoying this camera at all!
The ease of access to the camera’s main functions and dials makes this, along with the cameras preceding the X-T3 in this series, super simple for someone who has a basic understanding of the relationship of aperture, shutter speed and ISO to jump in and take photos. Even if someone didn’t have that knowledge, the programmed modes can’t get any simpler than point and click. And I’d contest that that’s enjoyable.
At a glance, I didn’t consciously notice anything different to the X-T2. The layout is so similar to the X-T2 which again, is super familiar, so I didn’t think much more about it — which is extremely enjoyable.
I recall that the knobs on the top of the X-T2 were a bit thinner, and I think it also had one less setting on the ISO wheel. The body feels just a tad bit thicker and a little bit heavier, but it seems about the same width.
So basically, it felt like shooting with the X-T2 — it felt good and felt right for me.
But of course, if everything was just like the X-T2, it wouldn’t have been as popular as it has been.
Many simple improvements!
Fujifilm made improvements to the simple and useful areas — the viewfinder, autofocus and low light performance.
From the moment I had first put the camera to my eye, I knew that the electronic viewfinder had been much improved on. The X-T1 to the X-T2 had a similar differentiating experience and I felt like my X-T2 had been thrown back a decade. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the X-T3’s screen is super nice. It is really sharp and doesn’t have much lag at all.
That screen led me to the next important improvement — autofocus — which I dare say was delightful! It’s fast, quick and has so many points to choose from using the little joystick or even just tapping the back of the screen. It seemed like eye focus was acting a lot better on the X-T3 compared to what I’m used to on the X-T2, and the detection across the whole frame was much better than just the center of the X-T2’s frame.
The low light performance was wonderful too! I shot indoor with natural light and the amount of noise that came out of an ISO 10,000 image was similar to a ISO 3200 image from my X-T2. And an ISO 3200 image was much like the ISO 800 image. This can be seen from these ISO 3200 snapshots from Christmas.
With all this though, I wish that there could be more life from the battery. I am glad that the NP-W126 batteries that are used in the previous models also work with this camera, although there’s a message that pops up letting you know that performance could be affected. I didn’t notice much of a difference though. I still got roughly 350 RAW photos out of a battery — more than I typically need, but I’m lazy and want to be able to forget about a battery that’s left in the camera.
Do I need it?
I really love my X-T2, and for what I like to shoot it still does it well. Since my camera is still in great condition, I plan on keeping it until the camera dies or shows signs of being extremely out of date. The improvements of the X-T3 are quite welcomed and if one happens to end up being available for an affordable price, I’d definitely pick one up. Seeing that firmware updates have slowed down for the X-T2 and have increased for the X-T3, it’d be nice to have something that is still being supported.
If you have a camera that is technologically aging, like the X-T1, I’d recommend getting picking up the X-T3 without hesitation. If you’ve got an X-T2 or similar, pick one up if the price is right. Eventually, this camera will end up in my bag, that’s for sure though.
It’s currently going for $1299, which is the same number that the X-T1 was assigned when it first launched.