Is the Fujifilm X-T3 the Powerhouse Flagship APS-C/Super 35 DSLR-Style Mirrorless Hybrid Video and Stills Non-IBIS Camera We Have Been Waiting For?

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Fujifilm has announced that it will launch the Fujifilm X-T3 “as the latest model in the X Series known for superior image quality with proprietary color reproduction technology. The camera will be launched on September 20, 2018” five days before photokina 2018 commences in Köln on September 25.  

The X-T3 has delivered more sophisticated new features and improvements than I expected when the camera was first rumoured and I am studying its specifications list, hands-on articles and videos with a great deal of interest right now. 

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens.

Commentary

The Fujifilm X-T3 is the first Fujifilm DSLR-style camera I would consider using in serious video production given its top notch video features and now that it has exposure zebras! Exposure zebras… YAY!!!

For me, Fujifilm’s most archetypal professional flagship cameras remain the X-Pro digital rangefinders given their evolution of the groundbreaking fixed lens X100 into interchangeable lens territory, and my APS-C format work in photography will centre on X-Pro cameras so long as Fujifilm continues to make them.

I would hate to see Fujifilm follow Panasonic’s recent decision to de-professionalize its Lumix GX rangefinder-style camera range into enthusiast-level gear intended for street photographers as the latter has done with the disappointing Lumix DC-GX9.

Rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras in all sensor formats are the perfect fit for my way of seeing and photographing, both having evolved through many years of relying on rangefinder-equipped analog film cameras in all formats from 35mm roll film through to 4″x5″ sheet film.

SLR and DSLR cameras have always been secondary camera types for me, involving a very different way of seeing and photographing, one more akin to staring at a mirror into near-flat space rather then peering through a window at objects arrayed left to right, near to far and top to bottom of frame in deep space.

Fujifilm’s X-Pro line, most recently represented by the X-Pro2, is essentially three cameras in one – an optical viewfinder camera, an electronic viewfinder camera and a small view camera via its LCD monitor – and remain the most versatile and personally satisfying solution for documentary photography with focal lengths from 18mm through to 56mm.

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Contax S2 35mm single lens reflex camera which was fully mechanical, manually focused, manually-operated, had a spotmeter and used the Contax/Yashica bayonet mount in order to accept Carl Zeiss T* lenses. It was made by Kyocera, was introduced in 1992 and discontinued in 2000. I am always reminded of Contax SLRs when looking at Fujifilm’s X-T cameras. Image courtesy of Japan Camera Hunter.

DSLR-style cameras, on the other hand, are the electronic viewfinder-equipped descendants of optical viewfinder-equipped SLR cameras – two cameras in one through the benefit of their view camera-like LCD monitors.

DSLR-style cameras support my reliance on rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras through being better suited to wider focal lengths than 18mm and longer lengths than 56mm.

They are also excellent cameras for more technical work such as architectural photography and product photography.

And now, with Fujifilm’s announcement of the X-T3, professional video production too.

Fujifilm began slowly but surely working on improving its cameras’ video functionality since customer requests to do so started flowing in to the company since the release of the X100.

As a documentary storyteller, I must always be equipped to best handle whatever situation I may find myself in, whether it demands photographs or video footage.

As a shoulder bag or backpack equipped solo operator, I can only carry so much gear and carrying two different cameras systems, one best for video and one best for stills, can be a bridge too far.

One camera system that can do both well enough is the key and, sadly, despite a number of Fujifilm kaizen firmware updates for the X-Pro2, its support for video remains problematic due to its lack of the ability to allow customized video settings such as noise reduction, highlight tone, shadow tone, color and sharpness.

The X-Pro2’s electronic viewfinder is also something of a disappointment when compared to those in the X-T1, X-T2 and the two Panasonic M43 cameras I have for documentary video production.

I need a second Fujifilm camera for my customary two-camera, two-lens documentary photography methodology, and at least one of those must produce good quality video.

With no rumors about the X-Pro3 still, I hope that we are not to assume the worst about the continuation of the X-Pro flagship line.

I have been hoping that the X-Pro3 will correct what is lacking in the otherwise excellent X-Pro2, namely its video functionality and most especially its EVF, so have been wondering if I should pay attention to the larger X-H flagship range or the smaller, sexier X-T range instead.

First glance at the X-T3’s specifications makes me think that it may prove a good solution should I be unable to wait for the X-Pro3’s arrival or if I must eventually cope with a possible tragic demise of the X-Pro range some day.

DSLR-style cameras can never replace rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras due to their very different natures, but they can be excellent complements to each other.

Fujifilm X-T3 camera body, kit lens and vertical battery grip

Some accessories for the Fujifilm X-T3

Photographs of other Fujifilm and third party accessories for the X-T3 are currently unavailable, but we will place them here when they appear.

It appears that X-T3 review loaners may begin to make their appearance in Australia in October or November of this year.

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Fujifilm Wide Eyecup EC-XH W, a great choice when shooting video with the Fujifilm X-T3, especially when used in conjunction with a synthetic chamois eye cushion by Bluestar.

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