It’s a busy time in the camera industry, just weeks before Photokina 2018. We’ve seen the premiere of full-frame mirrorless options by heavyweights Nikon and Canon, joining old-timer Sony in this market segment. Fujifilm, the long-time mirrorless powerhouse of the APS-C world, has just released the follow-up to its flagship device: the X-T3.
Like its previous iterations, the X-T3 is similar in its form factor and button layout. But that’s where the similarities stop: with a new sensor and processor, the X-T3 represents an upgrade in almost all other regards. The new X-T3 boasts 4K recording at 60fps, and the best autofocus and tracking system the company has come up with to date – all at a grand price of USD 1,500 when it launches on September 20. That’s actually around a hundred cheaper than its predecessor – most likely a result of shifting production abroad to China from Japan.
With a 26.1-megapixel X-Trans sensor, the X-T3 sports a new minimum ISO of 160, down from the 200 of the previous generation of sensors. This also allows for full coverage of the sensor with its 425 autofocus points. For comparison, the X-T2 had only 325 in AF-S, 91 in AF-C.
With 4K at 60fps, along with 3.5mm headphone outputs and microphone inputs, the X-T3 has some formidable video capabilities. Of course, we can’t have it all, especially not at $1,500. In body image stabilisation (IBIS), expected by some to make a debut in the X-T series, seems to be confined to Fujifilm’s more expensive X-H1 presently. Stabilisation is still provided optically on compatible lenses, but this presents a limitation for budding filmmakers.
I/O on the X-T3 has also received a significant update. The camera now can be tethered over USB-C 3.1 for the fastest possible performance, which also allows users to charge their cameras on the fly. Having a built in mic input and headphone output also allows users to get full functionality over their camera without having to purchase an additional grip. Dials on the top plate have gotten slightly larger, and the diopter now locks.
The EVF has received a resolution bump, although the LCD is largely the same and does not flip around for vlogging applications.
The backside-illuminated (BSI) X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and the X-Processor 4 make a debut on the X-T3. The quad-core processor boasts a three-times performance boost, which allows the X-T3 to refocus and meter 1.5x more frequently than the X-T2. Improved efficiency also means the CIPA battery life rating has been increased from 340 to 390 from the X-T2, despite using the same battery as the older model.
In addition to the 425 single-point autofocus points, the X-T3 boasts 2.16 million phase detection pixels spread over the entirety of the sensor surface. This improved autofocus system is able to work down to -3EV, a significant upgrade from the -1EV of the X-T2. Eye detection is also now available in continuous autofocus, which works for moving subjects users might find in sports, wildlife or even video applications.
The X-T3 is able to support continuous shooting to up to 11fps with mechanical shutter, without the vertical grip required by the X-T2. A new ‘Sports Finder’ mode allows for 30fps of blackout-free shooting like that seen on the venerable Sony A9. Activated, a 16.6-megapixel (1.25x) crop appears in the viewfinder, allowing users to spot subjects running into frame to better anticipate the decisive moments.
Fujifilm also shows no intention to depart from its proprietary and unique X-Trans sensor technology. With its latest version, all of its crowd favourite film simulations ported over, along with one of the best straight-out-of-camera JPEG renditions, including Eterna found on the X-H1 for video and stills. The Fujifilm X-T3 tacks on additional colour science found on its medium format professional GFX 50S camera, which uses a ‘colour chrome effect’ to enhance saturation and shadow detail. Additionally, Fujifilm’s phenomenal monochrome film simulations have the added ability to be adjusted in terms of colour temperature.
Video is where the Fujifilm X-T3 shines. Despite the stark lack of IBIS, it is the first mirrorless camera to allow internal SD 4K recording at 60fps, 4:2:0 10 bit recording. Via HDMI, it is able to up that to a 4:2:2 10 bit output. It also supports the H.264 and H.265 HEVC codecs for efficient compression, which allows for high-quality 400Mbps output for 4K at 24 and 30fps.
The Fujifilm X-T3 has emerged largely unscathed from the critical scrutiny that had surrounded the launch of the Nikon Z-series and Canon EOS R series just days ago. Building on the legacy of the X-T2 and the X-H1, the X-T3 has managed to convincingly deliver features and performance to meet user needs and desires. Everything from the small to the monumental: from dual SD card slots, audio in/out ports, 4K at 60fps, the camera does it all, and more. There’s still a notable lack of IBIS, and the camera is now made in China, but there’s always the X-H2, and Fujifilm’s lenses have been outsourced for a long time coming, anyway.
The X-T3 is slated to retail from 20 September 2018 at USD 1,500 (SGD 2,062), and in a kit with the 18-55mm f2.8-4 kit lens at USD 1,899.99 (SGD 2,612).
Local pricing and availability in Singapore has yet to be announced. All prices in SGD are provided with exchange rates at the time of publishing.