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The Fujifilm X-Pro 3: Marvellous or Mistake?

Image: A marvelous innovation or a stupid mistake? Whatever your opinion, the new Fuji X-Pro 3 defin...

A marvelous innovation or a stupid mistake? Whatever your opinion, the new Fuji X-Pro 3 definitely has people talking.

Cameras are pretty similar these days. We all want the same things. Better dynamic range, better high ISO performance, and better autofocus. 

Really, if you look at the majority of cameras out there at the moment, there are few things that set them apart. That was until Fuji dropped the X-Pro 3. 

They did what with the screen?

In an incredibly bold move (or stupid, depending on which blogs you read), Fuji has done away with the standard rear LCD screen of the camera. They’ve replaced it with a much smaller screen.

It simply displays the key exposure information, or in a nod to the film cameras of days gone by, an image of the film simulation you are using.

The rear screen is not entirely gone though (although they apparently considered it). Instead, it is hidden from view and accessed via flipping it down from the rear of the camera.

Fuji claim this is to stop photographers spending time “chimping” and spending more time with the viewfinder to their eye instead, concentrating on making images.

Pure photography

Fuji launched the camera at the recent Fuji Summit where the Fujifilm X-Pro 3 was announced with a theory of Pure Photography.

The 3 elements of pure photography are:

Carry and access

You need to carry the camera and access the subject. This stated the camera has to be small, light and discreet. They state the camera should be an extension of your eye. This is then followed by talking about the durability of cameras.

Find and frame

You need to find the subject and frame it to get the best composition. Fuji stated that the viewfinder is the most important part of finding your composition.

Shoot to express

This is simply pressing the shutter and capturing the photograph. You don’t need to check a rear screen or distract yourself, you simply need to press the shutter. 

This concept is definitely summed up in the Fujifilm X-Pro 3. Personally, the idea of removing distraction is appealing, and I’m sure I’m not alone. However, whether this camera has mass-market appeal remains to be seen. Fuji’s X-Pro line (including the x-Pro 1 and X-Pro 2) has always been a favorite of street photographers, and this is how Fujifilm are marketing the camera and the pure photography concept. They are marketing to those who want discretion and to focus purely on making the image.

I can imagine many wedding photographers loving this camera too. Not only for the discretion it offers when shooting, but for the fact that you will be thankful for the lack of a screen every time a tipsy relative asks, “give us a look.” It may even suit travel photographers.

OK, they killed the screen, but what else?

The Fujifilm X-Pro 3 had a couple of other things that are worth mentioning – starting with the choice of materials.

The use of titanium is something that Fuji has surprised many with. Titanium is more durable and lighter than the alloys seen in most modern cameras. Titanium is also notoriously hard material to work with, so we should applaud Fuji by the use of this in the X-Pro 3.

This means that the XPro 3 should stand up to the beating a working professional will give it.

Not only is it made of titanium, but it gives you three color options. You can get the X-Pro 3 in black, DURA black and DURA silver. DURA is a special type of coating that is ten times stronger than stainless steel in terms of scratch resistance.

It feels like Fuji built this camera for war zones.

Image: Available in 3 different finishes, two of which are designed to make the titanium body even m...

Available in 3 different finishes, two of which are designed to make the titanium body even more resistant to wear and tear.

The X-Pro 3 has Fuji’s hybrid viewfinder system. Fuji has upgraded this for the new model. It is set to be clearer, with a wider field of view and less distortion than previous models. The electronic viewfinder is also upgraded (as you would expect) to offer a higher frame rate, higher contrast, and a wider color space – finally, a set of specs that fit into the traditional camera upgrade.

The lack of a screen is something that differentiates the X-Pro 3 in Fuji’s camera lineup. In fact, this differentiates them from the camera market as a whole right now. Fuji has aimed this camera at a specific type of photographer. It remains to be seen whether there are enough of their market to allow this camera success.

If you want to watch the whole of the XSummit announcement, you can view it below. If you’re just interested in the X-Pro 3, skip to about 1:10 or so.

What are your thoughts on the Fujifilm X-Pro 3? Is it something that you are intrigued by? Or, did Fuji just make one hell of a mistake? Let me know in the comments below.


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Carl Spring
Carl Spring

Carl is a Lincolnshire living, skateboard-riding, Rock N’ Roll listening, pet-loving, trainer-addicted photographer.
Along with his wife Lisa, they photograph weddings and portraits under the name 166 Photography
Carl has also spent many years photographing musicians and extreme sports. You can see more of this work on his website

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