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Fujifilm X-T3 review

Fujifilm’s new high-end mirrorless camera gets turbocharged

5 Star Rating

The X-T3 is a mid-sized mirrorless camera that’s a good deal smaller than an enthusiast DSLR but still big enough for a good range of external controls.

These have become a Fujifilm speciality, as it recreates the controls of pre-digital analog film cameras. There’s no mode dial on the X-T3 as it uses an external shutter speed dial and lens aperture ring instead. Even the ISO is set on an external dial.

The advantage of this setup is that you can see the camera settings without even switching it on, and it’s much easier to make manual adjustments with dedicated physical dials than it is to press buttons, turn dials and peer and screens.

One of the X-T3's key strengths is its external exposure controls for shutter speed, ISO, EV compensation and lens aperture (not all lenses).

One of the X-T3's key strengths is its external exposure controls for shutter speed, ISO, EV compensation and lens aperture (not all lenses).

We tested the X-T3 with Fujifilm’s 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens most likely to be bought with the X-T3 and the 16-55mm f/2.8 standard zoom, but we also tried out the company’s ‘red badge’ XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR lenses.

Annoyingly, not all Fujifilm lenses have an aperture ring. Fujfilm’s premium lenses do, but the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 has an auto-manual switch instead. Here, you adjust the aperture by turning a ring on the lens, and the value is shown on the camera display, not on the ring itself.

The XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS feels a perfect fit as a kit lens, and the 16-55mm f/2.8 and 50-140mm zoom doesn’t make it feel quite as front-heavy as you might expect. You will be able to get a VPB-XH1 battery grip which will both extend the battery life and improve the handling with long lenses.

Not all of the changes are huge. The (excellent) optical viewfinder now has a locking diopter adjustment which won't get knocked accidentally out of adjustment.

Not all of the changes are huge. The (excellent) optical viewfinder now has a locking diopter adjustment which won't get knocked accidentally out of adjustment.

The electronic viewfinder is excellent. It has a resolution of 3.69 millions dots and Fujifilm claims its 100fps refresh rate gives it a lag time of just 0.005 seconds. That means smoother movement when panning with fast-moving subjects like sports cars, for example, which makes it a lot easier to keep them centred in the frame.

There’s a lot of debate about whether mirrorless AF systems can match the best DSLR phase detection autofocus for sports photography, but it’s actually more of a viewfinder issue. EVFs are only now reaching the relatively lag-free performance needed to follow fast-moving subjects.

The rear screen is sharp and clear too, and we’d expect nothing less from a modern digital display. It’s not fully articulating, but it does have a sideways hinge which allows it to flip both up and down and to the right. It’s a smaller range of movements than a fully articulating screen, but it doesn’t fold out to the side and does stay more or less on the camera’s optical axis, which does feel like a more natural way of shooting.

The rear screen has an unusual 'sideways' tilt as a well as a vertical tilt. This makes it possible to compose low angle shots with the camera held vertically.

The rear screen has an unusual 'sideways' tilt as a well as a vertical tilt. This makes it possible to compose low angle shots with the camera held vertically.

There is a drive mode dial stacked under the ISO dial on the far left of the top plate and a metering mode dial under the shutter speed dial on the right. There are two inset control dials, one on the front and one on the back, and these have a ‘click’ action. In playback mode, for example, you can click on the rear dial to zoom in to a magnified image to inspect it for sharpness.

The back of the camera also has a small ‘thumbstick’ (focus lever) for moving the focus point around the frame.

Alternatively, you can move the focus point using the touchscreen display, which can also be used in touch-shutter mode and for changing camera settings. It’s pretty sensitive, though, and it’s very easy to end up in the 1.25x Sports Finder mode through accidentally swiping the display as you handle the camera.

The X-T3 does have extensive customisation options, so customising its touch-screen responses (or even disabling touch-sensitivity altogether) is probably one of the first things new users should look at.