Home Camera Review: Fujifilm X-T3

Review: Fujifilm X-T3


Fujifilm hasn’t recently updated its best enthusiast camera: Fujifilm X-T3. It’s practically reinvented it.

Fujifilm announced the X-T3 appearances can be deceptive: the exterior might be quite similar, but inside the X-T3 has had a pretty massive overhaul. There’s its new 26.1 megapixel sensor, for a start. This is barely two megapixels more than the previous X-T2, but the extra resolution isn’t the point.

This is Fujifilm’s first back-illuminated X-Trans sensor, which means the electronic wiring is at the back of the sensor, not obscuring the photodiodes at the front. This means better light-gathering power and better overall image quality.

More importantly, the new sensor has 2.16 million phase-detection sensors spread across the full image area. That’s a big step up from the X-T2. The autofocus performance is boosted still further by the inclusion of a new X-Processor 4 image processor that’s three times faster than the one before. This means faster focusing, improved subject tracking and increased autofocus sensitivity, down to -3EV.

The enhanced autofocus performance goes together with upgraded continuous shooting speeds. The X-T3 can now shoot at 11fps with its mechanical shutter (the old X-T2 needed an external booster grip to achieve this speed), and an excellent 30fps in electronic shutter mode with the camera’s new 1.25x cropped Sports Finder mode.

Even more impressive than all of this – for videographers at least – is the X-T3’s ability to capture 10-bit 4K video at up to 60p with 4:2:0 colour sampling. This is a pretty exceptional video specification for a stills/video crossover camera and marks a big step forward for Fujifilm’s video ambitions. From being a relative newcomer a short time ago, it now offers in the X-T3 the most advanced video specifications of any APS-C format camera. 

Build and handling

The X-T3 is a mid-sized mirrorless camera big enough for a good range of external controls. There’s no mode dial on the X-T3: it uses an external shutter speed dial and a lens aperture ring instead. Even the ISO is set on an external dial. The advantage of this setup is that you can see the camera settings without even switching it on.

Annoyingly, though, not all Fujifilm lenses have an aperture ring. Fujfilm’s premium lenses do, but the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 has an auto-manual switch instead. Here, you adjust the aperture by turning a ring on the lens, and the value is shown on the camera display, not on the ring itself.

The XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS feels a perfect fit as a kit lens, and the 16-55mm f/2.8 and 50-140mm zoom doesn’t make it feel quite as front-heavy as you might expect. You can get a VPB-XH1 battery grip, which will both extend the battery life and improve the handling with long lenses.

The X-T3’s electronic viewfinder is excellent. It has a resolution of 3.69 million dots, and its 100fps refresh rate and 0.005 second lag time mean smoother movement when you pan with fast-moving subjects like cars.

The rear screen is sharp and clear. It’s not fully articulating, but it does have a sideways hinge, which allows it to flip both up and down and to the right. It’s a smaller range of movements than a fully articulating screen, but it does stay more or less on the camera’s optical axis for a more natural way of shooting.

The back of the camera also has a small focus lever for moving the focus point around the frame. Alternatively, you can move the focus point using the touchscreen display, which can also be used in touch-shutter mode and for changing camera settings. It’s pretty sensitive, though, and it’s very easy to end up in the 1.25x Sports Finder mode by accidentally swiping the display as you handle the camera. 

The X-T3’s new autofocus system feels very fast and responsive, though AF performance also depends on the speed and efficiency of each lens’s AF actuators. Some older Fujifilm lenses, like the 27mm f/2.8 ‘pancake’ prime and the 56mm f/1.2 APD, have slower, noisier actuators that can make the X-T3’s autofocus seem less efficient than it actually is. 

Photo by Minoru Kobayashi. The X-T3’s electronic viewfinder kept up well with fast and panning movements.

With Fujifilm’s latest lenses, though, the X-T3 handles fast-moving subjects very well, even when they’re moving towards the camera. The trick to getting the best results is to select the correct focus mode – using a focus ‘zone’ with a cluster of AF points is easier than trying to keep a single AF point over a moving subject.

The image quality is especially impressive. In our lab tests, the X-T3 26.1-megapixel sensor delivers just about the highest resolution we would expect to see from an APS-C sensor, and with very good noise and dynamic  range performance too.

In fact, the level of detail captured in some of these shots is very impressive indeed. Yes, the X-T3 uses an APS-C sensor rather than a full-frame one, but the combination of its low-pass filter-free sensor design and Fujifilm’s top-quality X-mount lenses can produces outstanding results.

Its JPEGs are especially good, with great edge definition, textural detail and noise control. We examined the raw files using Capture One Express Fujifilm, now offered for free by Phase One as a far superior alternative to the bundled Silkypix-based Fujifilm software. We found that even with Phase One’s excellent processing engine, it was hard to improve on the rendition of the camera’s JPEGs.

Photo by Tristan Shu. The X-T3’s new sensor brings a modest resolution boost up to 26 megapixels, and far wider AF coverage

On the other hand, editing the X-T3’s raw files in Capture One also revealed the extended highlight and shadow detail that can be recovered from the X-T3’s raw files that you won’t get from its JPEGs.

The X-T3’s Film Simulation modes offer rich, dense, natural-looking colours for JPEG shooters, and the expanded dynamic range option really does help prevent bright highlights burning out. The X-T3 adds a new  Colour Chrome effect to improve the appearance of highly saturated colours, and a Warm Black/Cool Black adjustment to add depth to monochrome images.

Photo by Saraya Cortaville. Fujifilm’s Film Simulation mode captured colour and monochrome.

Unlike the pro-orientated X-H1, the X-T3 does not have in-body image stabilisation, but many Fujifilm lenses have optical image stabilisation built in, so this may not prove an issue.

(read also the X-T30 launched recently)


  • Sensor: 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4, 23.5 x 15.6mm
  • Image processor: X-Processor 4
  • AF points: 91-point phase AF across entire image area
  • ISO range: 160 to 12,800 (exp. 80-51,200)
  • Max image size: 6,240 x 4,160px
  • Metering zones: 256
  • Video: C4K or 4K UHD at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p
  • Viewfinder:  EVF, 3,690k dots, 100% coverage
  • Memory card: 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • LCD: 3.0-inch two-axis tilting touchscreen, 1,040k dots
  • Max burst: 11fps (mechanical shutter), 20fps (electronic shutter), 30fps (electronic shutter, 1.25x crop mode)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Size:  133 x 93 x 59mm (body only)
  • Weight: 539g (body only, with battery and memory card)

Retail at RM6,588. www.fujifilm.com.my

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Editor, Photographer, Video Director & Producer and avid Traveller. The media industry has been my playground for a long time and is getting more exciting by the days.
review-fujifilm-x-t3-its-practically-reinventedThe X-T3 is so good in so many areas that it’s hard to find anything negative to say about it at all. Right now the X-T3 is in a class of its own.