The X-T3 is now Fujifilm’s most advanced APS-C camera. It features the best technology that the company has to offer in this space and contains a host of new firmware-based features to take advantage of the new hardware. Let’s take a look at some of those features here.
Last week, we took an overall look at the Fujifilm X-T3 and how it compares to the X-T2. So, if you’re unfamiliar with the camera or the big changes Fujifilm has made, head over and read that before continuing here.
Shutter and Stills Related
With the X-T2 and X-H1, we saw the introduction of focus bracketing for those who like to focus stack and a flicker reduction mode for working under certain lighting conditions. This time around, Fujifilm has given us a few more features that will benefit certain photographers in certain situations.
In a rather interesting move, Fujifilm has included a “Sports Finder” mode in the X-T3. Consider looking through a rangefinder camera at framing guidelines and you have the idea of what this is. The X-T3 will capture around a 16MP frame from the middle of your viewfinder (viewable in a white box), but you can see outside the captured area to easily view what’s coming into your frame. I can see this being a benefit for sports photographers or street photographers in the same way that a rangefinder could be.
30 FPS Burst Mode
In breaking news, Fujifilm allows video to be captured as stills! At least for the first second. Jokes aside, the X-T3 now allows the capture of 30 frames per second (1.25x crop, blackout free) and 20 frames per second (full sensor) when using the electronic shutter. When I first read this spec, I dismissed it as marketing hype. However, I decided to give it a try nonetheless. To my surprise, it tracked Korean delivery riders (the fastest known visible object on earth) with a hit rate of 24, 25, and 27 frames out of 33 (the buffer fills at this point) frames. I was using the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8, which is one of the fastest focusing lenses on the system.
I can truly see this being useful to sports and wildlife photographers, as the shooting is blackout free, allowing you to track your subjects with ease. With future cameras, I can only see buffers getting bigger and making this more and more useful. Also, when making 30 frames every second, you will fill the 33-frame buffer very quickly, so it's best used for hedging your bets when you know the moment is coming.
Another feature that works in a very similar way is the “pre-capture” mode. This has the camera constantly capturing images when you half-press the shutter and saving whatever is in the buffer when you fully press the shutter. This works at your current CH setting, and could certainly be useful to wildlife or sports photographers. However, because you’re basically filling the buffer with images each time you half press the shutter, flushing it can take some time, slowing down your shooting. As long as you’re aware of this, it shouldn’t become an issue.
Fujifilm have always been proponents of the quality that JPEG files can offer and the features of their cameras have always reflected that. I’m still not quite sure why their flagship model still has a dedicated “Advanced Filter” setting on the mode dial, but there are some great new JPEG-elated features for those of you who prefer to spend less time in post-production. It is important to note that none of these features affect your raw files.
The X-T3 gets the ETERNA film simulation for both video and stills. Its subdued colours and detail-rich shadows are fantastic for those who don’t love grading video and also make a great base for classic-looking photos as well. I’ve really enjoyed adding a little extra contrast to its base settings and using it as my film simulation of choice while working with the X-T3.
Color Chrome Mode
Another interesting JPEG enhancement that has made its way down from the GFX 50S is the Color Chrome mode. This basically brings a richness to highly saturated subjects. Below, you can see the result of this with late afternoon sun on autumn leaves.
Cool and Warm Black and White
With the black and white film simulations in the X-T3, we are now able to add a cool or warm tint to the resulting image. Much like a subdued sepia or cyanotype of days gone by, a tinge can be added that gives your monotone images a different feeling. This can be adjusted nine steps in either way, and you can see the results of that below.
As has become par for the course with Fujifilm cameras, there have been a host of small operability upgrades to the X-T3. Some of these are hardware-based and some software, but all provide small tweaks that will benefit certain users.
Along with no longer requiring the battery grip for longer record times in video, we no longer require it for audio monitoring either. This is a great change for someone like me, whose primary business is not in video and thus only occasionally needs to check audio levels. Rather than spend $400 on a glorified headphone jack or MacGuyvering audio monitoring using the HDMI output, I can now plug my headphones directly into the body.
For those who don’t appreciate using selector pads or the joystick to move focus points or work with the quick menu, you can now do that with the touchscreen. You also inherit the same “silent mode” for video that the X-H1 added. Also available are focus and shoot modes so that you can dictate what function is activated by tapping the screen.
Dark Ambient Lighting
For those who use a high brightness setting for their rear screen, you’ll know that in the dark, this can be quite a shock at times. Especially, perhaps, for wedding and event photographers, that blinding light when you try to switch something in the menu could result in a few moments of disorientation. Fujifilm’s new “Dark Ambient Lighting” setting sends the camera's menus into a high visibility red mode that is less taxing on the eyes in dark situations.
Digital Microprism Focus Assist
Like many SLRs passed, the X-T3 now allows you focus using a digital recreation of the microprism focusing system. Much like having a large circle of split prisms in the center of your frame, it allows for precise manual focusing. Personally, I found it extremely disorienting when I tried to use it.
Bluetooth connectivity has now come to the X-T lineup. It works quite well for getting the camera to connect much more quickly for Wi-Fi control and image transfer. However, the automatic image transfer is still lacking in my opinion. I feel like having multiple options for how and when we transfer those images could be beneficial. Right now, the camera transfers everything each time you turn it off, which renders the camera useless until that operation is complete. Having the option to transfer on command that would connect the Wi-Fi and send everything that has not yet been transferred would also be useful (rather than one-by-one through the app) and also perhaps a constant background transfer over Bluetooth (although this may use too much power and potentially be very slow).
Recent Fujifilm cameras have aimed squarely at the "Fujifilm can't do video" complaints and turned them on their head. Below, you'll find a few new video features listed. However, possibly the biggest change in the usefulness of the X-T3 as a hybrid video and stills camera is that just like the X-H1, all image quality settings for video are now separate from their still photography counterparts.
Video users now have up to 60p recording at 4K in 16:9 or 17:9. This does, however, come with a 1.18x crop that will change your framing slightly. This is something to be aware of if you intend to use multiple frame rates on a single production.
Slow Motion Recording
Although 120 fps slow motion recording has been in the X-H1 and X-T2 for some time now, in order to improve the quality of it, Fujifilm now crops the frame to 1.29x. Again, we’re all about quality here, but it is something to be aware of if you plan to mix slow-motion footage with regular footage.
The new processor gives you the power to work with the more efficient H.265 codec, which opens up 400 MB/s encoding with a choice between All Intra or Long GOP encoding for your workflow. It’s clear that Fujifilm is intending to become a serious contender in the video market as well.
Rejoice, you can now see stripes across your video! In all seriousness, this is something that many people rely on when working with video, and Fujifilm’s inclusion of it is just another sign that we’re seeing a shift in their focus towards improving not only stills but video as well.
Although it's impossible to cover every small change in a relatively short article like this one, these are the major changes for the Fujifilm X-T3. Let me know if there are any other features you'd like covered in the comments.