FUJIFILM X-T3: The Next Step Forward
Today (6th September 2018) Fujifilm have unveiled their latest flagship X Series camera, the X-T3, the successor to the X-T2. The T3 comes with a new 26.1MP X-Trans sensor and new processor, the X-Trans CMOS 4 and X Processor 4, which takes the AF and Video performances of the camera to the next level.
I had the opportunity to test a pre production version of the X-T3 alongside my X-T2 and X-H1 at Silverstone for two days last month and while I didn’t get the opportunity to fully test all of the new functions on the new camera, it certainly delivers in the areas that I need for my work as a sports photographer.
The AF was certainly quick and accurate when shooting trackside at Silverstone, especially with the new XF200mm f2 prime lens. The X-T2 and X-H1’s AF is already excellent, so the X-T3s increase in speed will probably not be noticed by the average X series user but the X-T3 was certainly quicker to lock on and track a car moving at speed.
The 26mp sensor is an increase on the existing 24mp X-Trans III sensors used in the current line up of X Series cameras. The 6240 x 4160 pixel image size produced by the 4th generation sensor compares nicely to the 6000 x 4000 of the 24mp sensor. That might not sound like a lot but if you are printing large images or if you need to be able to crop your images, like I do on a regular basis, any extra ‘wiggle room’ is certainly appreciated.
The layout of the camera is almost identical to the X-T2, with small changes made to the diopter control, where you pull it out and turn it to stop the control being knocked accidentally, and to the exposure compensation dial , which has been moved inboard on the top plate to also stop it being knocked accidentally. Both these are welcome by yours truly, because these two items get knocked all of the time on my pair of X-T2s.
I quickly tested the new EVF ‘Sports Viewfinder mode’ and did find this function useful in certain situations. I would like to give this new mode a very more in-depth try out but initial impressions are good. The EVF itself is excellent and, for me, is the heart of the X-Series. I ‘see’ the image before I press the shutter release, which is a huge advantage when you are working quickly in a fast moving sport environment.
I use video a lot for my work and the improved video functionality of the new camera is very welcome. The 60fps for shooting 4K - excellent, and the addition of Eterna to the film simulation modes is also a welcome addition. Some may lament the fact that the X-H1’s excellent IBIS wasn’t included on the X-T3, which extremely useful for handheld video work. However I have just invested in a DJI Ronin S gimbal for my X-T2, so this will work very nicely with the X-T3, so personally I am not bothered by the lack of IBIS on the T3.
One thing that has been improved with the X-T3 is the fact the camera doesn’t shut down when one battery runs out in the battery grip. When shooting long video clips, for example at a post race press conference, with an X-H1 or X-T2, if one of the batteries is exhausted during filming, the camera would stop recording. In the X-T3 the second battery takes over seamlessly. Big thumbs up from me Fujifilm!
Another nice addition is the fact that the native ISO has been reduced from 200 to 160 and the lowest setting on the extended range is now 80 instead of 100. A small, but very welcome, change, especially when using fast aperture lenses and for those long exposure landscape shots I love taking up near my home in Scotland.
I can’t do a full review of the X-T3 as I didn’t really have long enough with the camera at an event that I was working flat out delivering for my clients. I am am sure there are other key items that I haven't mentioned, but the items that I found useful for my work have been highlighted in this short article.
However my first impressions are the X-T3 is this is the best X-Series yet and I look forward to this camera ending up in my camera bag in the very near future.
CLICK HERE for the press release and specs on the new Fujifilm X-T3
Here are some sample images that I shot on race day at the 6 Hours of Silverstone, round 3 of the FIA World Endurance Championship.