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It’s been just over 1 year since the Fujifilm X-T3 debuted. This popular APS-C mirrorless camera replaced the beloved X-T2, but it also added lots of video features, leading many to declare the X-T3 the best hybrid mirrorless cameras of 2019. After shooting for 1 year with the Fujifilm X-T3, I’ll share my thoughts on the camera in this article.
When it came time to go mirrorless, I went with the Sony a7R III. As a concert and event photographer, I am often prohibited from using flash and always need the option to shoot at high ISOs. I also value quick, accurate autofocus. In both of those regards, the Sony a7 series made the most sense when I went mirrorless in 2018.
So how did Fujifilm get into the picture? My husband and I jumped into videography together at around the same time. He was attracted to Fujifilm for its film simulations and ergonomics that are similar to film cameras.
When the Fujifilm X-H1 came out, he jumped on it because of its superior video features, including IBIS (in-body stabilization).
As we started shooting videos together, we found it difficult to quickly and accurately match the colors of his Fujifilm to my Sony camera. Since he already had a large Fujifilm lens collection, it made sense for me to simply pick up a camera body so that we could share lenses. So the X-T3 ended up in my hands primarily as a video camera.
If you have never shot with a film camera or Fujifilm camera before, they can take some getting used to. Prior to the X-T3, I had never shot with a camera that wasn’t a full-frame DSLR. It took me a couple of weeks to get used to using the top dials to set my shutter speed and ISO. It took even longer to get accustomed to the aperture ring on the lens.
After a year with the X-T3, I am much more comfortable with its dials and settings, but I dislike the fact that I need two hands to shoot with this camera. On virtually any other DSLR or mirrorless camera, you can adjust all settings using just one hand, making it faster to shoot on the fly.
I intended to use the Fujifilm X-T3 primarily as a video camera. Fortunately, those features worked out perfectly, and one year later, the X-T3 is still my favorite for shooting videos.
This camera can shoot 4K video at up to 60 fps in 10-bit 4:2:0 color, and you can select a bitrate of up to 400Mbps for frame rates of 30p and below. That’s a lot of jargon, but it essentially means that the X-T3 is capable of outputting high-quality video footage.
In my experience, the video is razor-sharp, and thanks to Fujifilm film simulations, the colors look stunning straight out of the camera.
The X-T3 offers F-log recording to produce a flat video that can be color graded in post-production. However, film simulations are so good that you don’t need to color grade these videos. Saving time in editing was the main reason that drew me to Fujifilm, and I’m happy to say that it did not disappoint.
Previous Fujifilm cameras omitted essential videography features such as a headphone jack of monitoring audio. Not so with the X-T3. This camera has both a mic jack and headphone jack built into the camera, allowing you to capture high-quality audio. The only thing that this camera is sorely missing is IBIS or in-body image stabilization for capturing steady video. Thankfully, image stabilization is present in many Fujifilm X lenses, but you still need to pop the X-T3 on a gimbal to get ultra-smooth footage.
Even though I intended to use the X-T3 for video, I inevitably used it for photography. Thanks to the relatively compact size of the camera, and the accompanying Fujifilm X-Series lenses, the Fuji X-T3 is a solid travel camera.
Also, similar to videos, photo colors look stunning straight-out-of-camera when using film simulations, and you arguably needn’t shoot in RAW to save room on your memory cards.
Autofocus (AF) is vastly improved on the X-T3. The camera offers phase-detect AF with 425 selectable AF points spanning over the entire frame. Continuous autofocus does a great job of locking onto and tracking subjects, and there is also face and eye autofocus that works well.
In continuous shooting mode, the X-T3 can shoot at up to 11 frames per second (fps) using the mechanical shutter, or 30 fps with the electronic shutter. This is a crazy fast speed that rivals top sports photography cameras.
I base most of my wish list features on my experiences shooting with full-frame cameras, such as the Sony a7r III, which I think pulls off these features better.
First, is autofocus.
Even though the X-T3 has much-improved autofocus, it isn’t as fast and accurate as Sony’s. Eye autofocus, in particular, is much more effective on Sony.
Second is low light performance.
On my Sony, I’m comfortable shooting at ISO 6400-8000, whereas I won’t push the X-T3 past ISO 4000. To a degree, this isn’t a fair comparison. Full-frame cameras will always shoot a cleaner image at higher ISOs, but there’s always room for improvement.
Finally, the battery life on the Fujifilm X-T3 quite frankly sucks.
I generally need 3 batteries for a full day of shooting on the X-T3, whereas a single battery will get me through 1+ days of shooting with the Sony a7r III.
I understand that increased battery life often results in a larger battery and, therefore, a larger camera, but it would still be a welcome addition. In the meantime, you can increase the battery life by using the Fujifilm battery grip, or you can charge the camera via its included USB-C port.
All-in-all, you can’t go wrong with the Fujifilm X-T3. It produces incredibly sharp photos and videos with incredible colors straight out of the camera.
The camera and its accompanying lenses are compact and quite durable, especially when considering their price points, which are relatively lower when compared to other camera brands.
There are cameras out there that have better features such as autofocus, but the Fujifilm X-T3 will suit the needs of most photographers out there.
Have you used the Fujifilm X-T3? Have you spent more than 1 year with the Fujifilm X-T3? What are your thoughts? Please share them with us in the comments.