The X-T2 has been succeeded, but how has Fujifilm gone about making one of its finest cameras in the X-series even better? Michael Topham investigates
Fujifilm X-T3 Review: Features
Rather than employing its 24.3-million-pixel X-Trans CMOS III sensor, Fujifilm has introduced a newly developed 26.1-million-pixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4 chip into the X-T3. This fourth generation sensor has a back-illuminated structure, excludes a low-pass filter to enhance image quality and partners up with Fujifilm’s latest X-Processor to offer more advanced processing capabilities. This pairing has seen the sensitivity range increase, albeit slightly. Previously ISO 160 was only available as extended ISO, but now it’s part of the native range, which spans from ISO 160-12,800 (expandable to ISO 80-51,200).
The X-T2 was a speedy performer, but thanks to its new processor the X-T3 manages to trump what its predecessor was capable of. Compared to the X-T2, which could shoot at up to 8fps using its mechanical shutter and up to 14fps with its electronic shutter and vertical power booster fitted, the X-T3 can now shoot at up to 11fps using its mechanical shutter, or up to 30fps by activating the electronic shutter.
Another benefit the X-T3 has is that it can shoot at high speed without the need of a vertical power booster, allowing it to be fast while remaining small and lightweight. Unlike the X-H1, the X-T3 doesn’t offer a continuous medium (CM) mode on its drive dial, but there is a continuous low mode (CL) that permits a maximum speed of 5.7fps – the same speed the camera is capable of shooting at in Live View and a slight increase on the X-T2’s 5fps.
The start-up time and shutter release lag remain the same as before at 0.3secs and 0.045sec, respectively. Like other X-series models, there’s a mechanical focal plane shutter with a 1/8000sec limit and the option to extend the fastest shutter speed to 1/32,000sec by using the totally silent electronic shutter – a useful feature for times when you’d like to work discreetly. Fujifilm has also been busy improving the rolling shutter phenomenon that’s associated with electronic shutters and claims this issue has been halved compared to the previous generation.
The X-T3’s 3.69-million-dot EVF with 0.75x magnification is the same EVF you’ll find on the X-H1 and is an improvement on the X-T2. It offers a display time lag of just 0.005 seconds and a refresh rate of 100fps when the camera’s power management is set to boost. In normal mode the EVF’s refresh rate is 60fps. Users who like to shoot sports, wildlife and action will welcome the way the X-T3 provides blackout-free high-speed continuous shooting of up to 30fps with AF/AE tracking. To help identify the cropped area when the mechanical shutter is used at 8fps or 11fps, there’s a new sports finder mode that allows you to observe movement of a subject outside of the shooting frame before it enters.
Below the EVF you get a similar 3in, 1.04m-dot three-way tilt screen as the X-T2. The difference here is that it now supports the same level of touchscreen control as the X-H1, allowing you to adjust settings from the quick menu, shift the AF point around the frame and swipe through or magnify images in playback from a touch of your finger. As for manoeuvrability it tilts up and down, plus it can be flipped out by 60 degrees to aid high and low angled shooting when shooting in the portrait format.
Significant changes have been made to the X-T3’s autofocus system too. Whereas the X-T2 and X-H1 had 0.5-million-phase detection pixels on the sensor, the X-T3 now has four times as many, or 2.16-million to be precise. The number of selectable AF points has also increased. There’s a choice of either 117 selectable AF points laid out into a 9×13 grid, or there’s a 425-point layout consisting of a 17×25 grid.
Those who like to be very specific with positioning of the AF point are likely to choose the 425-point layout and there’s the option to choose between a total of six AF target sizes in single point AF mode and three in zone AF mode. Like the X-T2 there is single point, zone and wide/tracking AF modes and five autofocus custom settings with three user-adjustable parameters (tracking sensitivity, speed tracking sensitivity and zone area switching) to refine focusing characteristics in AF-C mode.
If this wasn’t enough, the X-T3’s low-light autofocus sensitivity is extended from -1EV to -3EV and the X-Processor 4’s high processing speed and improved phase detection algorithm allows the camera to refocus and meter approximately 1.5x more frequently than existing X-T models. The good news for those who like to shoot people pictures is that the performance of face and eye detection has also been refined. Eye-detection is available in AF-C mode and you get the option to prioritise which eye you’d like the camera to focus on when shooting people from the front or side.
As well as offering an excellent stills specification, the X-T3 has the most impressive video spec we’ve seen from an X-series camera. It’s Fujifilm’s first model to feature broadcast-quality 4K/60P 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output and 4K/60P 4:2:0 10-bit internal recording to an SD card. Both can be recorded simultaneously, letting videographers capture backup video or conduct 4K/60P internal SD card recording while monitoring 4K/60P footage.
Videographers will also appreciate the 200Mbps bitrate (100Mbps and 50Mbps are available) when shooting 4K/60P 4:2:0 10-bit footage and supported formats include the widely used H.264/MPEG-4 AVC as well as H.265/HEVC for greater data compression. Flat F-log video recording to the card is available in 4K and Full HD video formats for accurate colour grading in post production, plus there is a dedicated video menu where all the video settings are conveniently grouped together. All existing film simulation filters can be used in stills and movie mode and the X-T3 inherits ‘Eterna’ from the X-H1, which mimics the feel of old Fujifilm film stock, producing a look with low contrast and low saturation with soft shadows.