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So – What About My New Fuji X-T3

Nov 5, 2018

FUJI X-T3 REVIEW NOTES – I add my 37 cents worth to a pretty thorough on-line review: I was recently sent a link to a thorough test and review of the new Fuji X-T3 – a camera I have been using for a little less than a month now. They gave it a gold star and rated it as one of the best cameras on the market today, succeeding in giving a pretty thorough review. One should, read the whole thing – it's actually a lot more thorough than any review I would be able to do. Please read the entire review – much better than any of the video reviews I've seen.


BUT, the problem is, and it is a big one, that the very short list of pros and cons that constitutes the Conclusion, is grossly incomplete, misleading,  just plain wrong and inexplicable. I won't even give their list of likes, it oddly says little that's useful considering all the praise in the review itself. Don't they realize how few people will actually read the entire review, opting instead to be lazy and scan the conclusions? So straight to their concluding Don't Likes. – which are very odd, to say the least.

Their Conclusion "Don't Likes"

    • Slightly higher noise levels at very high ISOs than its predecessor

           This one is just interesting in its simplification. I've done extensive tests. First, I find LESS noise at ISO 6400 than in the X-T2. Granted, a tiny bit more at ISO 12800 BUT accompanied by better detail and separation in the mid-tones, possibly a trade-off? Then there's the fact that this is pretty much a firmware issue and can be addressed (if it even should be). Looking at my comparison shots, I overall prefer the low-light exposures from the X-T3. Of course, all their tests were color and mine B&W. Not sure if that means anything.

"60p and 50p video taken from slightly cropped region of sensor"

           Kind of pickyune in that this is less of a crop than in almost all other cameras, most do much more cropping here.

"Some lenses can't take full advantage of X-T3's AF speeds"

          Humorous in being a flat statement with no reason for it and no explanation. ALL camera lens systems have lens models designed with older, slower auto focus mechanisms. Duh. NO new camera, no matter what brand and how fast, can make those lenses focus any faster than the mechanism allows. Give me a break. Why make this complaint specific to any one camera – better yet, why bother bringing it up.

"Very quick to drop to a slower, darker preview mode (presumably to save battery) in default mode"

           Misleading if still "true".  Here I possibly fault Fuji's terminology. They term their modes as Energy Saving and Boost – leaving Energy Saver as default (evidently a big mistake with these guys). So just throw the damn switch and keep it thrown – rocket science. Nothing here to not like, it's a great OPTION, so it's a plus (except for the slightly odd terminology).

"A tripod or gimbal is needed to get the best of the camera's video"

           This one is just stupid. Of course a camera body w/o IBS should use a tripod when shooting video UNLESS using a lens with its own stabilization – which I do. I do not like IBS (In Body Stabilization) for a lot of reasons, so I get the lenses that have it. Their conclusion here seems to demand IBS without mentioning it and the numerous negatives that come with it – including crappy ergonomics due to the extra body thickness and a still "floating" sensor when not using the IBIS. You want the Fuji to have IBIS? Get the X-H1.

"No way to quickly toggle Face Detection"

           "No way"???? How about simply freaking selecting one of the 8 programmable buttons and two wheels to give split-second access. I use the button on the right front of the body for this. That option is clearly listed in the body of their own review. Quickly and instantly toggle yourself silly.

"No non-face subject tracking in video"

           This statement confused me because I hadn't seen this issue at all. So I looked it up in the manual. Page 150 covers "Face/Eye Detection Setting" for video – a very nice new touch over the X-T2. The previous couple of pages cover video "Tracking Sensitivity" settings (the menu in the camera is pretty cool). The menus show a clear option – the same option as in stills – to select " Face Off/Eye Off" – regardless of your "non-face" tracking settings, which remain on when face-detection is turned off. Then I went on lline and found examples of subject tracking in video – without faces. So, yeah, I'm still confused – it certainly doesnt stay on for me. Interestingly in the comments readers were discussing the X-T3s video tracking as if this statement had never been made. It's off by default.

An inexplicable set of Dont Likes, especially considering the almost-comprehensive and very positive review. If someone were to read only this section, they would see a complete misrepresentation of what is inside. Assuming that most readers would read the whole review is delusional. I would really like to know the rationale behind this list. Lesson: read and watch ALL camera reviews with a bag of salt strapped to your derriere.

Not-So-Obvious PLUSSES  my favorites, there are many, many others (check out the link above)

a) The battery grip comes with a long AC connector that doubles as a battery charger and AC power grabber when the camera is turned on while plugged in. This can be a wow of a handy thing to have – think tripod 4K videos using the remote app in your iPhone without worrying about batteries. And when using the battery grip normally, those batteries get used up first, leaving the battery in the camera for last.

b) The diopter correction on the X-T3 extends the range from the X-T2. I wear reading glasses and the X-T2 only got me 95% to perfect, the X-T3 goes beyond my needs. Definitely a plus.

c) Almost ALL old film camera lenses, with the help of a cheap $20 adapter, will work flawlessly on these Fuji's – that means almost all features. Aperture settings will be manual (that's my way of working anyway) and of course auto-focus is out, but between focus peaking and push-wheel focus assist, this is super easy and fast. Check eBay, suddenly lenses that were worth twenty bucks a few years ago are worth hundreds. You CAN get an adapter for those modern DSLR lenses, keeping autofocus, etc., but it costs over $300 – not too bad an idea if you have a lot of newer Nikon or Canon lenses.

d) Settig the shutter speed on the top dial is complimented by the front wheel that will let you fine tune that by the speeds between the set speed and the next setting up and down. Very sweet fine tuner for us Aperture Preferred people.

e) Built like a hockey-puck and designed with enough external controls to rarely have to go into the menus. When I want I can use it exactly like my old film Canon F-1, or I can go all modern techy. Calll it retro if you will, this is a return to the fun of shooting.

f) I almost forgot – a lot of camera manufacturers put out instruction manuals that are essentually useless gibberish, hence all those very helpful videos on YouTube. Canon and Panasonic are two fine upstanding examples of this school of confusion. Fuji manuals are clear and understandable. Also, far different than say Sony for in-camera menus, Fuji's are logically arranged. A couple of big comforts.

FRUSTRATIONS – I do like to whine, and everyone wants an expensive camera designed specially and specifically for him or her, dont they?

1- Don't think for a minute that you're going to be able to use those old third party battery replacements like in all previous Fuji cameras. It simply tells you to get those darn things out of there – even the battery grip, $$$. Not really a negative, just a frustration.

2 - Sure, you can use older 95mbs SD cards, but don't count on pushing the camera to its new limits. It's simply too fast – 11 frames a second will back up on writing to cards. Two of the new 64mb 300mbs ultra cards cost me $235. Wow. Not a negative, just a forced move into the future.

3 - It now has touch screen, yucky yuck. And even though you can (and this is  not mentioned in the review) turn it off on parts of the screen so your nose doesn't effect anything while looking through the viewfinder, I simply turn it off completely.

4 - Fuji does regular firmware updates, adding capabilities – a good thing. My X-T2 has had four major ones – adding a total of 20-30 new tricks to the system. Cool. BUT – each time they only give you a Manual supplement. So - on my iPad mini I have FIVE X-T2 pdf manual files I have to keep track of. A bit frustrating.

5 - Fuji RAW is a breed apart from all other RAW formats (from a totally different designed sensor). And Adobe does a SUCKY job at conversion – losing critical sharpness and increasing noise. I use Iridient X-Transformer to convert Fuji RAW to Adobe RAW. Better, but it's only an extra step because Adobe can't get their crap together. 

UPDATE: Capture One, who does an exponentially superior job of converting Fuji RAW has just made their new Capture One Fujifilm Express app. FREE. Me thinks about possibly changing my pre-Photoshop work flow a little. Luminar also does a great job.

UPDATE-2: Adobe RAW converter just updated to include new camera models – including the X-T3. I noticed some considerable redesign of the app – easy to spot with Adobe because whenever they make major changes they wind up moving commands one has gotten used to the placement of. So I decided to run some tests between my Fuji RAW files converted to Adobe RAW using my X-Transformer and simply dropping them in Photoshop. Suddenly, instead of the Transformed images being the better, files skipping that extra step edged them out (a considerable improvement from the old Adobe RAW converter). I may still play around with Capture One, out of curiosity, but it's no longer a major frustration.

Finally Fuji RAW shooters are free of a major frustration…

6 - See that tiny little booger sized screw-in button on the left-front of the camera on the Conclusion page of the review? That tiny piece of plastic covers the flash-sync plug. Where does one put that damn thing when it's out? I have lint bigger than that in my pockets. And try putting it back in with cold fingers, not going to happen. What I do is hold it on the tip of a finger, tilt the camera, press it in place and turn the camera to get it started. For the uncoordinated – get someone else to do it. Lots of people on line looking for replacements. I'm waiting for a six-pack. Without it, there goes the highly touted water sealing.

7- Here's one: for some reason Fuji does not like the word "video" when referring to, um, video. Search for anything to do with video in the manual and see nothing useful whatsoever come up, then use the word "movie" –  thar she blows! Took me a while to figure this one out (they don't like the word "Fuji" either – insisting that it's "Fujifilm". But nobody listens).

8- Lets not forget placing the lens release over on the right side – makes it much more awkward to change lenses while the camera is hanging at your side. You have to pick it up and turn it towards you to get it off comfortably, then let it hang back at your side to put the new lens on – you know, so you can see to align the red dot.

9- Anyone with a hand very slightly smaller than mine, or larger, would not have one frustration I experience with the vertical shutter release on the battery grip. If I suddenly switch to horizontal shooting without turning the vertical grip off, the bottom of my palm can press the shutter on the grip half way, interfering with my shooting horizontal. I simply have to learn to heft more with my left hand under the lens – automatic with my go-to 55-200 but not so automatic with a shorter lenses, in my case anyway.

• ME:  This is the best damn camera, is almost every way, that I have ever owned. I love using it. There are enough people out there saying this right now that I don't have to go there as far as the standard plusses. So I'll simply add a couple that I can't find mentioned anywhere and then my few frustrations – that's where all the fun is anyway: