The KING of APS-C Cameras? Move over Sony, meet the Fuji X-T3

The KING of APS-C Cameras? Move over Sony, meet the Fuji X-T3

By Steve Huff

The Fuji X-T3 arrived today and when I first took it out of the box, inserted the battery and looked through the EVF I thought “Nice camera”. I snapped a shot or two to hear the shutter, and then set it down.

It was later on that I started to really dig in. I charged the battery, dug into the menus, admired the 18-55 Kit Zoom that is of astounding build quality. I started feeling the buttons, admiring the build and look of the silver body.

WOW, this is not the Fuji of even 3 years ago. THIS Fuji is GORGEOUS in almost every way. The Design is stunning, the controls are perfect for the photographer, the feel is SOLID unlike older bodies from Fuji that had a more hollow feel to them. THIS body feels INSPIRING.

I have never EVER hated Fuji but have criticize them through the hollow years, slow and sloppy AF years, and problems with files when using Adobe years. As I should have. That criticism meant losing my loaner rights from Fuji, who once upon a time sent me review cameras. When I started to criticize things that should have been they must not have liked that as guess what? NO more review loaners.

Well, I am happy to say that this X-T3 just as the XH1 before it is in another league from those old Fuji bodies I used to criticize. In all areas. The Auto Focus is what shocked me, as this one seems quicker than even the XH1 which is larger, heavier and more expensive. The specs on this guy is what really had me perk up and take notice, then hearing the raves from some of my friends in this review business meant I had to try one.

So B&H photo sent me one to try out, and I am glad they did as it’s only been one day with it and I already LOVE this camera. I will have a full review in about 2 weeks but I am sure I will sing the praises as many others are and have, unless I find an issue of course. Below is a quick video I made just now USING the X-T3 itself ; ) More soon!

You can check out the X-T3 at B&H Photo HERE if you so desire. 

Video below! 

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50 Comments

  1. Steve,
    We are all very much looking forward to your review. I am attempting to make a “2nd camera to the SL with an APS-C sized sensor” decision by comparing the X-T3 to the CL to the X100F. The SL would be for my use only because of the manual focus M lenses. The 2nd camera would be one I would be happy with (like the SL) but also one in which I could hand to someone else and then they could actually take a picture (something most could not do with the SL / M lens combo). Your thoughts?

    • Hmm. Well I own and love the SL, and I also enjoyed the CL when I reviewed it but felt it was a tad too pricey for what it was. The Fuji X-T3 is IMO a better camera than the CL but the CL may have crisper image quality. The X-T3 is fast, has a great EVF, superb video capabilities and offers nice IQ with the various color modes. Battery life is not the best, which that along with no in body IS are the weak points. I am really thinking of buying this Fuji as I enjoy it more than shooting the Sony bodies but I already own too many cameras. I may though and my day to day would be the SL and then the Fuji, same as what you are thinking. I also toyed with the idea of the silver CL though, just to have a mini Leica with the SL. The Fuji is nicer for video, body size feels nicer in hand and manual controls are wonderful to use. The CL is small, and no grip to it but takes lovely photos. Tough one but depends on what you want. The CL or Fuji would work for you. I’d skip the X100 as nice as it is, the lens is soft when shot wide open and it’s not in the same league as the CL or the X-T3.

      • Excellent viewpoint!! Yes, the CL is a little pricey. For the CL and a lens, the price is in the same range as the Leica Q, or one can get the X-T3 with kit lens and a couple of fast (f/1.4) primes. I have to remind myself the APS-C camera is NOT my primary camera. Thanks again!!

  2. Steve – you know I really admire all the work and evolution of your website, but the whole “I don’t get why people think I hate Fuji” is not completely, but a bit disingenuous no? 🙂

    Back then you picked on a few things that Fuji clearly had no trouble with. Dynamic range, color, resolution. I understand AF in their first generation but not the other things. And build quality even for the lenses.

    Case in point- in this very video you praise the 18-55 kit lens. And yes, it is a great kit lens. But how long has this lens been out? Since the X-Pro 1 times… yet back then, the lens builds were supposedly not so good.

    It’s the same lens! 😉

    Anyhow, glad you like the X-T3. I think it’s pretty amazing. Disclosure: I am shooting m43rds GX9, and decided to go m43rds even with the fantastic X-E3 because of the size of telephoto lenses. I will never forgive Panasonic for not doing a “GM9” unfortunately… I like small cameras for my street work.

    • Whatever I said in the past about Fuji I stand by 100% as I was bering 100% honest at the time. I do not do the whole “Fanboy” thing nor am I dedicated to any one brand. never ever have been. I shoot what works for me, and what I enjoy. Early Fuji models to me felt cheap (some of them), lenses made all kinds of noise (earlier ones, when I was criticizing them), focus was all over the place, low light was not good at all, video was a no go, they had issues when using Adobe products to process files, cameras had a tendency to overexpose, and more. THat’s all true though hardcore Fuji fans will never admit it as Fuji is sort of cult like for some, not for me. I will give credit where it is due though. The X-T3 is wonderful. A couple of minor issues but nothing that would be a dealbreaker. They have come a long long long way since the start and that is a good thing. The lens I had issues with in the past was the 35 1.4. Great IQ but awful AF, and noisy as can be as well as feeling cheap when compared to others. I never spoke of the 18-55 in the past but can say the 18-55 I have here with this camera doesn’t feel like ANY kit lens I have tested in the past from Fuji, weather it was the same lens or not. Either way, it is the whole package I look at and not just IQ, not just build, not just DR, etc. The X-T3 is great but still doesn’t beat other cameras I enjoy (which are fun frame) in lower light. But it’s a great camera and Fuji has really made one to be proud of here. Design, speed, feel, control, video, and all of the color features, many which did not used to exist in the earlier models. Also, keep in mind I praised the X100 to no end when it came out as for what it was, at that time, was phenomenal.

  3. Unfortunately the X-trans sensor is still a headache with most(all?) post production software.
    X-trans= deal breaker. If Fuji makes a camera of this caliber with a Bayer sensor, I think they truly will take over the APS-C market. I think it’s the main ‘catch’ that’s holding many people back(myself included).

  4. What about the Leica 50mm summilux 1.4 with adaptor. I was on a Leica website and they paired that with a xt-1 and they were impressed. Would like to see it on a xt-3.

  5. The 16mm f/1.4 and 90mm f/2 are incredible in their render. So is the 23mm f/1.4. The 56mm f/1.2 is my go to for portraits but can be a bit too ‘clinical’ (too sharp, too clean)
    But the one piece of glass I cannot get off my Fuji (X-Pro2) is one of the oldest and allegedly, slowest. The 35mm f/1.4 has this character and render about it that I could not replicate with the ‘fujicron’ version or any other lx lens for that matter. The only one that comes close to that ‘organic look’ is perhaps the 90mm.

  6. One more Question. Can you use the Original RAW Studio Converter Software from Fuji? It is the only RAW Converter that doesn‘t need to guess the Color of the Film Simulation modes and the Standard colors. Its a big difference to any other Software on the Market. You just need to connect the Camera to the Computer. You will note the difference immediatly in the green areas of a picture like the leafs of a Wood in the Background. Adobe can just not deliver the same Quality with Lightroom. You will do more justice to the files. Greetings, Ingo.

    • Yes. I used Fuji X Raw Studio today on Raws from the XT3 with excellent results. Fast and basic raw to jpeg conversion done via the camera itself. I finish processing with Apple Preview and addons via Apple Photos.

  7. I have no APS-C cameras…never had.
    Fuji APS-C indeed may be King for today but…
    Sony’s announcement of 12 E-Mount lens to be released…I can only assume that the a6500’s (or an even higher class/Pro model APS-C) replacement will released soon and will be very very special.

  8. Actually you can plug anything to Fuji X cameras, and that’s another pro. M lenses for instance work fine and there are adapters from about 30$

    • True BUT you do lose the full character of the lenses due to the APS-C sensor. A 50 Lux on a Fuji will render differently than on a Leica SL or M, along with the crop factor. But even so, pretty cool that these cameras are so versatile (mirrorless in general).

  9. 16mm f1.4 is one of Fuji’s best lens but a lot of their lenses are great. I love the underrated and cheap 55 to 200 build like a tank and versatile .

  10. Looks like Fuji finally managed to create a masterpiece. Too bad the Battery life isn’t on par with the a7III, but then it beats that of the a6500.

  11. Steve, it will be greatly appreciated if you can test the camera with following lenses.
    1) 18-55 “kit” lens for general purpose, which does not require shallow depth of field, such as landscape, cityscape, and street.
    2) Complementing 1, 23 f1.4 wide open for environment portraits, and 56 f1.2 @ f1.2 to f2.0 for portraits.
    3) Or 35 f1.4 as alternative to 2.

  12. I will be interested to see your full review. I have been putting off getting a new camera, but it looks like Sony and Fuji have both improved their eye-AF since the last generation.

    How long is a “generation” in camera-years anyway?

  13. Just got my XT 3 and I am impressed, even though I own and use an XT2 and an X Pro2. For travel or street the F2.0 series are fantastic. Small weather proof and very Leica in feel and size. Also quiet and fast focus. For real character the 35mm F1.4 and 56mm F 1.2 have a wonderful quality, which is difficult to define but its there. For Zooms the wide angle 12-24mm, 18-55mm and the 55-200mm are super quality and not too heavy or large. I just bought the 80mm macro lens and that is also superb. Guess you cannot go wrong with any Fuji lenses. Like your enthusiasm and look forward to your further reviews. P.S. I have full frame Nikons and prefer Fuji for the haptics and picture quality.

  14. Hi Steve, I would love to see how the Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f/3.5 performs with the X-T3’s new sensor. Also your general thoughts on how old legacy lenses perform compared to other cameras you’ve used.

    • I can do that as well. The only thing is these lenses will change some, due to the crop but am interested in seeing hw they do. Adapter arrives tomorrow, and I will shoot all weekend. Thank You.

      • Hi Steve. The Fujis are just not made for Adapters. I have just no Lens with Adapter that Looks better than the 2.0/90. Or the 1.4/16. Fuji has really nice lenses with lots of Charakter and Pop. Even the 2.0 Series are Great Lenses. I also like the 16-55 especially at 55mm.
        I think FF cameras are really made for working with Adapted Lenses. For one the angle of view doesn‘t change and what is more an APS-C Sensor is usually more demanding than a FF Sensor. In my opinion a Sona A7 does fit better to Lenses with an Adaptor.

  15. If you use the 56 1.2, or any of the “legacy” lenses (23 1.4, 32 1.4) you ought to also try them on an X-T2. I own the X-T2 and just recieved my X-T3…the older lenses are like new lenses with the improved focus capabilities of the X-T3. The 56 1.2 is just insane on the X-T3!

  16. Yah, this XT3 is the bomb. Just received mine and tested it today with the 55-200mm lens. Outstanding! HUGE improvement over my Fuji XE3 for BIF. OMG, I am finally getting sharp, detailed photos of fast moving birds. This camera is fast, fast, fast! Paired with the new Fuji GFX 50R one can now have the perfect combination for landscape and wildlife photography. Ordered that one this morning. Fuji, I LOVE YA!

  17. My favorite lenses I own are the 23mm f1.4, 60mm f2.4 and the 18-55 f2.8-4. However, the autofocus speed of the first 2 lens is not as good as more recent lenses, like the Fujicrons and the 90mm and 80mm macro lenses.

    Frankly, all of the Fuji XF lenses are great in their own way… except for the 2 pancake lenses that are merely ok. It all depends on what you want to shoot:

    – Street: Go with the Fujicrons (23mm, 35mm and 50mm f2), they have the fastest autofocus speed and are inconspicuous.
    – Wide angle: the 16mm f1.4 and the UWA zoom are apparently quite good.
    – Portrait: Either the 56mm f1.2 for interior, or the very sharp 90mm f2 for exterior.
    – Marco: I have read fantastic reviews on the 80mm macro, but I can’t afford it, so I’m keeping my lovely, small 60mm macro.

  18. Definitely the 50-140 to test AF with sports action or birds.
    The 56 f/1.2 for portraits
    And the 16 f/1.4 for wide angle
    Maybe add the 16-55 to compare against FF 24-70s

  19. Wow very handsome camera indeed, much more curb appeal than the a6500 IMO … looks very solid if not tank like. And who doesn’t love those Fuji colors … cant wait for the review but this one is definitely on my radar. Steve, maybe you could see your way clear to throwing us some test pics as you shoot with it?

  20. Love to see the longer 400mm zoom tested with some close-up high-speed sports action. On X-T2 I get very low percentage of useful shots, mainly focus issues.

  21. The 16mmf1.4, because you’re using the Canon / Sony 24mmf1.4 lately.

    The 56mmf1.2 for portrait.

    Nice video. I like your way of thinking, always interesting.

    And nice Video AF 😉

    • I was going to recommend the same lenses, but he ^^ beat me to it. Saving up for the 16mm right now as it is a pretty incredible lens.

      If you try a third, maybe one of the f2 ‘FujiCrons’ (35mm f2 or 23mm f2) since they tend to have the fastest AF, tightest build, and most compact package.

  22. 56 1.2
    16-55 2.8

    This or the Sony a7lll?!?!?! Often see ads for paid gigs “must have full frame”
    Otherwise would go for Fuji. Have the Xt1. Love it!!!

    • I haven’t use this enough yet to say what I would prefer. Give me a week or two. I will say this: The XT3 feels better in my hand, I love the external controls, everything feels solid and the AF is fast. I will be testing this in good light and bad, and will even shoot the Voigtlander 50 1.2 on it this weekend. It’s a beautiful camera.

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