Fujifilm X-Pro3 vs X-T3: a look at the differences (and what they mean)
At a fundamental level, the Fujifilm X-T3 and X-Pro3 have a lot of hardware in common but, unlike their predecessors, they’re radically different cameras to use. We’re going to have a look at the differences and what it means when you’re out taking photos with them.
At heart, both are 26MP X-Trans cameras that can shoot at up to 11fps with their mechanical shutters and 30fps in a cropped e-shutter mode. But the hardware differences between the models quickly add up to mean that they’d appeal to very different people and very different styles of shooting. Which one are you?
The most obvious distinction between the two models is their viewfinders. Both have 3.69M dot OLED viewfinder panels, with the X-T3 able to offer a higher, 0.75x magnification (vs 0.66x on the Pro3).
But the X-Pro series’ defining feature is its hybrid viewfinder, that can be used as a fully electronic finder or an optical finder with an electronic display of shooting parameters and frame guides projected into it.
Some people find that optical finders let you feel a more immediate connection to the scene you’re shooting, and the electronic mode means it can also operate essentially like an X-T3 (albeit with lower magnification, presumably as a result of the more complex optics).
For those users who do want the optical viewfinder, it’s worth noting that it’s not as flexible as the one in the previous X-Pro models. Those included a magnifying lens that slid into place when you mounts a longer lens, meaning it could accommodate both wide and moderately long lenses, whereas the Pro3 optical finder can’t show framing guides any wider than 35mm equiv, and ends up using a very small area of the finder with lenses beyond 75mm equiv.
Having said that the hybrid viewfinder was one of the defining features of the X-Pro series, the rear screen arrangement has become a similarly distinctive feature for the X-Pro3.
Its main rear screen tilts up so that it faces in towards the camera. This means it can’t be used for composing photos with the camera held out in front of you, forcing you to either use the viewfinder or to fold it out to shoot from waist level (something you couldn’t do with the older X-Pros). This very much encourages you to shoot one way or the other, strong arming you into using the features that make the camera different to its peers.
The X-T3 plays with a straight bat: it has a rear LCD that tilts up for waist-level shooting, down for overhead shooting and has a second hinge that lets you shoot portrait orientation images at low angles, too. The viewfinder eyecup obscures the tilted-up screen a little more than occurs on the X-Pro3 but overall, the X-T3 approach is certainly the more practical. But then, practicality (and whether ‘practical’ is always the paramount consideration) is the underlying story of the relationship between these two cameras.
While we’re on the subject of rear screens, we’re also going to look at one of the things you’re likely to have noticed first: the X-Pro 3’s rear ‘sub-monitor’ display. We put it last partly because it arguably adds the least functional benefit to the X-Pro3, but it’s also perhaps emblematic of the camera’s entire philosophy and potential appeal.
Yes, it can be used to display the camera’s current shooting settings but, unless you’ve pushed all the dial functions from their dedicated controls to the fiddly command dials, you can see most settings just by glancing at the dial positions. Equally, how often do you scrutinize a small panel on the back of a camera you’re mainly shooting through the viewfinder of?
That film-carton display is kinda cool, isn’t it? Your response to that question probably answers whether the X-Pro3 is right for you
Instead, the rear panel’s primary role is to show which film simulation you’re using, in the style of the flap of a film carton, slotted onto the back of a film camera. From a functional point of view it’s almost entirely pointless. But if you aren’t Mr Spock, you’ll recognize that dispassionate analysis is meaningless when it comes to human reactions.
A camera is a creative tool and, as a result, is an emotional purchase as much as a rational one. Sure, that film-carton display doesn’t really do much, but it’s kinda cool, isn’t it? Your response to that question is probably the answer to whether the X-Pro3 is right for you.
All the latest processing
The X-Pro3 has a series of image processing options that aren’t available on the X-T3. The Classic Neg Film Simulation mode, variable grain size and Color Chrome Effect Blue are all currently exclusive to the X-Pro3 and are not listed in the announcements of forthcoming X-T3 updates. It’s the same story with the X-Pro3’s multi-shot HDR mode.
The latest Autofocus
With the recent release of Firmware V2.30 for the X-T3, it gains the latest Face/Eye performance and user interface implementation we first saw on the X-Pro3.
Now, when Face Detection find a face in your scene, you can push the joystick in to over-ride it and toggles between face detection and your previously chosen AF point. If you set a button to engage Face Selection mode, you can use the joystick choose which face to focus on (or press to toggle to your previously chosen point). We’re not sure why ‘Face Selection’ isn’t the standard behavior, but this newer approach is a huge improvement because you can leave face detection turned on, with an easy way to opt-out, when you want.
This implementation still isn’t quite as slick as it could be (we can’t see a reason why the ‘Face Selection’ mode isn’t the full-time behavior of the camera’s Face/Eye AF system, but it’s a big step forward compared to the way the X-T3 previously functioned.
For the most part there’s little to choose between the X-T3 and X-Pro3 in terms of autofocus: they have similar underlying hardware and the X-T3 is supposed to be getting an update to the latest AF behavior in a firmware update.
The difference when you use the cameras is simply a knock-on effect of how the screens and viewfinders work. As mentioned on the previous slide, the both cameras now have better integration of their Eye-AF features, but the X-Pro3 can only use Face and Eye detection in EVF mode or when you’ve got the rear screen folded out: it’s not available through the optical finder.
The optical finder can also make it a little difficult to know where the camera is going to focus. Parallax error between the viewfinder and lens positions mean you sometimes have to estimate where your chosen AF point is, relative to the thing you can see through the optical finder. The tools provided to help you with this estimation are arguably a little less helpful than on previous X-Pro models. But this ambiguity and need to estimate are may, to some people, be part of the appeal of the X-Pro3 experience.
The X-T3 is by far the better video camera of the pair. But that’s not much of a surprise, since it’s one of the best-specced stills/video cameras on the market at present and probably the best for the money.
Both cameras will happily shoot both DCI and UHD 4K video at up to 30p, but the X-T3 goes way beyond this. It can shoot 4K/60p footage at up to 400Mbps for up to 20 minutes, and its 30p capture will typically record for 30 minutes (as compared to around 15 on the Pro3).
The X-T3 also has 10-bit internal capture, meaning that its F-Log footage is much more malleable than the 8-bit capture of the X-Pro3. And, if you don’t want to have to process F-Log footage – something that’s not a particular chore, given Fujifilm’s provision of a series of LUTs to convert the footage to something more finished – the X-T3 can shoot Hybrid Log Gamma, the industry-standard ready-to-view HDR format.
Fujifilm has also said developed a USB control protocol for the X-T3, specifically so that the camera can be operated from the controls on popular brands of gimbals.
The X-Pro3 is a remarkable competent video camera but most of its appeal is likely to be to stills photographers. If you’ve any real interest in video, the X-T3 is the clear choice.
Build and appearance
Both cameras are well built, with weather-sealed, primarily metal construction. The dials on both cameras aren’t perhaps as solid-feeling as their body construction, but they both end up feeling like premium products.
They’re both good-looking cameras, too. Some people will, no doubt, see the dedicated shutter speed and ISO dials as a throwback design aesthetic gone too far (and there are time using the combined shutter/ISO dial on the X-Pro3 that we feel that ourselves), but a lot of people will see them as classically stylish and functional.
A sense of style
Of course the X-Pro3 works a little harder on both aspects of its classic chic looks. Its design is unmistakably rangefinder-esque and, particularly in its ‘Dura’ coated finishes, its titanium construction is pretty swish.
And, just like film carton display, there are some people who will find an emotional resonance in seeing the words ‘Made in Japan’ on the base of the camera. The X-T3 doesn’t make the same claim, but it seems every bit as well built as the Japan-made X-T2. So again, it’s perhaps more of an emotional pull than an objective benefit.
Does the X-Pro3 speak to you? The answer to that question is probably more valuable than any analysis we can offer.
We nearly wrote a use-case based assessment but concluded the X-T3 is more practical in just about every respect, for most kinds of photography. But that’s probably just an indication that you’re using the wrong analytical tool. Sure, the X-T3 is objectively better suited to most types of photography than the X-Pro3 (with the possible exception of street shooting), but that’s not the point.
This is a head versus heart decision, and the heart wants what the heart wants
If the X-Pro3 feels distinctive, individual or special to you, then it’ll end up meaning more to you, and may prompt you to go out shooting with it more often. Ultimately, this is a head versus heart decision, and the heart wants what the heart wants.
Author: Go to Source