What makes a good camera? Excellent usability, fast performance, fantastic image quality, incredible color science and a good price. Welcome to my review of the Fujifilm X-T3 in 2020!
In November, my Fujifilm X-T3 will be two years old. And so far I haven’t done a review about it? Completely nuts. It’s really time to catch up on that.
So today I want to talk about the first camera of my Fuji-X Lineup I ever bought: The X-T3. And that is shortly before its second birthday because I bought it in November 2018. But that’s not the reason to finally dedicate an article (and an YT-Video) to this device. The firmware update version 4.0 that was released by Fujifilm on October 28th 2020 made me think again about the amazing properties and possibilities regarding this camera.
This article will not be a detailed review, just a loose list of things I want to talk about and I will show you some of my favorite Photos I shot with this camera in a little gallery.
The X-T3 is the camera with which I entered the Fujifilm-X system. Before that I was at home with Sony APS-C cameras and had considered moving towards full format when this APS-C camera was announced in September 2018. This announcement made me aware of the Fuji-X system with its analog approach and the operating concept with real buttons and dials and convinced me very quickly.
Although the X-T3 was praised in the press for its video capabilities, my main concern was taking pictures with it, which is still the case 99% of the time today.
Please keep this in mind when reading this review: I am looking at the X-T3 from the perspective of an amateur photographer – my perspective.
A lot has happened since 2018: Some Fuji X cameras and Fujinon lenses have come to and left my Setup (the X70 , the X-E3, the 18-55, the 18mm f2, etc.), but my X-T3 has remained the constant for me. And I even stood up to the temptation to replace it with an X-T4.
I will of course not provide a detailed list of the X-T3s specifications, there are already enough of them.
But to put it in perspective: In terms of hardware, the X-T3 is actually a slightly smaller X-T4 without the better resolution, fully articulated screen, In Body Image Stabilization – IBIS for short – and the larger battery. Actually, that’s all there is to be said here.
In terms of software, the X-T3 is also missing some features compared to the new top model, although that was seriously reduced with the last firmware update version 4.0. And when I look at the many firmware updates that the X-T3 has received in 2 years, I am hopeful that some features may still come. And that’s one of the reasons why I like Fujifilm as a brand: They keep older hardware up to date even after years and generate a high level of customer satisfaction. So let’s talk about the things that we already have and I personally love about the camera.
There are actually cameras in the Fuji-X system that I like more than the X-T3 in terms of design. This includes above all the rangefinder models like the X-Pro 3 and my beloved X100V, even the X-E3 suits me better than this DSLR-style camera. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the design of the X-T3, I just like the other ones even more.
But in terms of usability, no, really no camera that I have ever held in my hands can compete with the X-T3. The ISO dial, the shutter speed dial, the exposure compensation dial, the photometry switch, the mode switch, the great number of freely assignable buttons and wheels – I can’t think of a camera brand that does this better for my personal needs.
I admit, in the beginning I was a bit overwhelmed by all that and especially people who have never used analog cameras may have a similar experience first. But none of this is rocket science and shouldn’t put anyone off. The dedicated controls quickly turn out to be a huge plus and I just love this concept!
Performance usually means: Internal processing and autofocus. Both were really good before the last firmware update. Never at the top as it is always claimed by Sony, but more than sufficient for me. As for the last firmware update, I can only refer to a short self-test and what I saw here on Youtube.
But the autofocus seems to have now reached the same speed, reliability and low light performance as with the X-T4. In addition, the focus range limiter is a new feature, have a look at my video I about it with my X100V. Other things like Classic Neg and the Clarity Setting are unfortunately still missing but there is still hope for that. With the Classic Neg. As far as Classic Neg is concerned, Capture One is already a very good solution for me, because there you can also use this wonderful film simulation when editing, even if it’s not included in the X-T3. In addition, I would like to have it straight out of cam. We will see.
As for the internal processing, everything works wonderfully, quickly and reliably. The only downer is perhaps the touchscreen, which cannot keep up with the current versions, and the WIFI communication with the remote camera app. This is a little better with newer cameras, but unfortunately not exactly outstanding either.
But basically the Fujifilm X-T3 can still keep up excellently regarding Performance at the end of 2020.
Of course the image quality of the X-T3 is beyond any doubt due to the fact that the processor and sensor are still build into the latest cameras. Personally, I don’t know what more I would want here. Because let’s be honest: I am an amateur and I don’t have to and don’t want to earn my living with photography. Today I’m very happy that I didn’t make the leap to full format in the past, especially since the claim that you would need full format for professional images has really been refuted thousands of times.
Anyone who knows my channel knows how much I love Fujifilms Film simulations and the custom settings. So much so that in many areas I simply use the JPEgs straight out of camera without editing them significantly. This is of course the same with my X-T3. With the exception of portraits: In this case I can seldom prevent retouching and I am also happy to offer a black and white and a color version of each image. Fuji skin tones are considered to be the best on the market, and personally I think they’re the best. And of course that is also the case with the X-T3. In short, you get all of Fuji color science in one beautiful package.
Differences to the X-T4: Screen, Battery, IBIS
Let’s talk briefly about some things that ultimately stopped me from spontaneously upgrading to an X-T4. When the successor to my X-T3 was announced, I was a little jealous of the new full articulating screen. Since I have now been able to test a similar one on the X-T200 – have a look at my review – I consider the tilting screen of the X-T3 to be much more suitable for photography. Really not so good for vlogging and selfies, but that’s not my main focus at all.
I just like to look inconspicuously at the screen from above and I don’t want to have to turn it to the side first, then flip it upwards and then look a bit next to the camera from above. So by now my jealousy is over and I like using the tilting screen of all my Fuji cameras. Without it, however, it won’t work either. I would no longer buy a camera with a permanently installed screen on the back of the camera. (Hello X-E4?) The fact that you can also fold up the tilting screen on the X-T3 in portrait mode on at least one side is also a highly valued feature for me.
Regarding Battery life: As I said at the beginning, I mainly do portraits and street photography. I started both with the X-T3 and I’m still doing it, even if the X100V has now clearly gained the upper hand in the street area. When it comes to street photography, battery life is not critical to me. Most of the time I can get by with one or two at most.
It looks different at a portrait shoot or at events because I don’t even want to think about changing the battery there: Here I always use my favorite accessory, the battery grip. Not only that I am equipped with a total of three batteries, but because tit offers me additional control elements in portrait mode to be able to take photos comfortably.
And that makes another argument in favor of switching to an X-T4 obsolete for me, even if the X-T3 with grip is of course much bulkier and heavier. But you almost have the feeling of working with a GFX camera.
Of course I would prefer a camera with IBIS. But, as is well known, the topic is not that important for photography, for the following reasons: Of course there are always occasions, for example in low-light situations, in which stabilization would be nice to have, but personally I get along very well with my Fujinon 16-80mm f4, which has OIS. I am convinced that IBIS will be standard at Fujifilm in the future, even if it may not be in every camera body, and I am looking forward to it. but I haven’t missed it much in my X-T3.
Everything else with my X-T3 is absolutely perfect for me: 2 card slots, focus points that cover the entire sensor area, weather sealing, a huge selection of great lenses and so on. And now this camera is also available at an outrageously low price, which is justified in any case. You should think carefully about what you really need.
My conclusion on the X-T3: I will probably never give this camera away. Not even for another successor. On the one hand, that’s nonsense from an economic point of view, because the drop in prices is simply unbearable and I will definitely not sell it off. But even if a new processor and sensor comes along, I’m still a long way from exhausting the possibilities of this camera as an amateur. That doesn’t mean, of course, that I won’t look at or buy new cameras. But I will be forever grateful to the X-T3 for having made the switch to the Fujifilm system such a great experience. So it probably will sty with me forever.