The Fujifilm X-T3 uses a new 'X-Trans CMOS 4' sensor and 'X Processor 4' combination. It's a 26.1MP BSI CMOS sensor: only the second time we've seen that technology in this chip size (the other example being the Samsung NX1).

The company says the sensor can be read-out 1.5x faster than the one in the X-T2, which makes it 10x faster than the one in the original X-Pro1. The processor is quicker too, with four cores enabling it to run around 3x faster than the X-T2's (that's 20x quicker than the X-Pro1's). Improved processor efficiency helps improve battery life, too.

The new camera's base ISO is now reported as 160, which in turn means that DR200 mode becomes available at ISO 320 and both DR400 and F-Log modes can go as low as ISO 640.

Key takeaways:

  • Hugely improved autofocus performance, especially in Face/Eye Detection mode.
  • 10-bit 4K video at up to 60p (DCI or UHD) with autofocus.
  • Full-width, oversampled video at up to 30p
  • Zebra warnings and magnification during video capture (in addition to focus peaking and linear focus response).
  • Updated user interface including Digital Microprism MF assist mode, large indicator display and 'Dark Ambient Lighting' display for protecting dark-adapted vision when night shooting.

Autofocus

The X-T3's fourth-generation CMOS sensor has phase detection pixels spread across its entire area, meaning Tracking AF extends across 91% of the sensor's width and 94.5% of its height. Other AF modes have 99% coverage in both dimensions.

The additional coverage is aided by the camera's greater processing power and we've been hugely impressed with the performance we've seen so far. As always, some lens designs can't focus fast enough to get the full benefit, but with faster-focusing X-mount lenses the X-T3 appears to do very well both at following a subject around the scene and keeping it in focus.

In addition to improved tracking, Fujifilm has completely reworked its Face and Eye Detection AF modes. These now seem much more reliant on phase detection information and have been reworked to better recognize faces that aren't directly facing the camera. Our initial impressions are that they're faster and more tenacious.

Color Chrome Effect (which slows down the medium-format GFX 50S if you engage it) is now applied fast enough that it can be used in burst shooting.

Face and Eye Detect AF modes have been reworked on this camera.
Out of camera JPEG shot using the Provia/Standard profile.
ISO 160 | 1/ 240 sec | F2 | Shot using the Fujifilm XF 90mm F2 R LM WR
Photo by Wenmei Hill

High speed modes / Sports Finder mode

The extra read-out speed and processing power of the X-T3 allow it to shoot at up to 20 frames per second using its electronic shutter or 11 fps with the mechanical curtains. In addition there are 10, 20 and 30 fps modes that use a 1.25x crop, if you set the camera to Electronic Shutter.

In addition, there's a 'Sports Finder' mode that can be used with the mechanical shutter. Again this applies a 1.25x crop to shoot 16MP images at up to 11fps.

Sports Finder mode doesn't simply shoot a crop though: it also shows a full image preview in the viewfinder, with the cropped region indicated on the screen. This allows you to see when your subject is about to enter the frame. Combined with a 90ms blackout time, this should give you time to anticipate the action.

Digital Microprism

The 'Digital Microprism' mode looks like an old SLR focusing screen. We didn't find it very effective, but it's certainly pretty.

The X-T3 gains a new manual focus aid: 'Digital Microprism.' This extends from the 'Digital Split Prism' concept featured on previous Fujifilm cameras, where the left- and right-looking information from the phase-detection pixels is presented separately: essentially letting you see the phase difference that the camera would usually use for focusing.

Rather than showing these phase differences as horizontal stripes, as happens in Digital Split Prism mode, the new 'Digital Microprism' shows it as an interleaved grid pattern, similar to the fresnel that classic manual focus SLR users will be familiar with.

Large Indicators mode

The 'Large Indicators' mode can be applied to the EVF, the LCD or both and can be customized to only include the information you want, such as this minimalist EVF display.

The X-T3 gains new EVF and LCD 'Large Indicators' display modes (which can be engaged independently). This replaces the standard displays with versions featuring larger numbers and icons. These displays can be customized to only show the information you want. This way, for instance you could just have shutter speed, ISO setting and aperture value displayed prominently in the viewfinder, but still have all the usual information displayed on the rear LCD.

Night vision mode

Another new feature of the X-T3 is the ability to change the contrast level of the on-screen interface. 'Information Contrast Adj.' is the last option in the Screen Settings menu and lets you decide how bright the lettering and background are, relative to one another.

One of the 'Information Contrast Adjust' settings is a 'Dark Ambient Lighting' mode to avoid ruining any 'night vision' you have built-up when night shooting.

As well as three contrast settings, a fourth option: 'Dark Ambient Lighting' changes the camera's UI to a red text on grey background mode, so that viewing the camera's menu doesn't interrupt your dark-adapted vision when shooting in low light.

Video

Video is where the X-T3 sees the biggest improvements though, relative to its predecessor. The X-T2 was a big step forward for Fujifilm's video but this is arguably as large a leap forward again.

The X-T3 can shoot UHD or DCI 4K video from a 1.18x crop region of its sensor (essentially the same crop as the X-T2 and X-H1 use for their 4K mode). However, it's not just the frame rate that pushes the X-T3 into Panasonic GH territory. This 60p footage can be captured as 10-bit 4:2:0 data using the High Efficiency Video Codec (h.265) compression system at 200 Mbps.

The X-T3 can shoot oversampled video using the full width of the sensor

If you're content to shoot at 30p or below, it gets even better: the X-T3 can shoot oversampled video using the full width of the sensor. Here you have the choice of All-I (data is retained about every frame) or Long GOP (full data is retained about key frames but only differences are retained for the frames in between) compression at up to 400 Mbps. 400 Mbps average bit rate means around 50MB/s of data, so requires at least a V60 SD card, irrespective of the write speed stated on your existing cards.

But, while the camera's video AF has been much improved, the only thing it can track are faces, so you'll have to make sure you have your focus point over a non-face subject.

Capture resolution and record times for 4K modes

UHD (3840 x 2160) DCI (4096 x 2160) Rec Time
59.94 / 50p 5266 x 2962 5266 x 2787 20 min
29.97 / 25 / 24 / 23.96 6240 x 3510 6240 x 3304 29.59 min

Best of all, the company says the rolling shutter in both full width and cropped mode is just 16ms. That's well into Panasonic GH5 and Sony FS7 territory, and around half the amount seen on the likes of the Sony a6300. The camera can also output 10-bit 4:2:2 over HDMI. F-Log can be used with all these options and a ready-to-use Hybrid Log Gamma mode for direct use on HDR TVs will be added in firmware before the end of the year.

Optional inter-frame noise reduction can be used in all settings up to 4K/30p, averaging the noise between frames, to reduce temporal noise.

How it compares

Such are the improvements made by Fujifilm with the X-T3 that we're going to compare it both to its immediate stills-shooting peers and also with its video rivals.

Fujifilm X-T3 Fujifilm X-H1 Nikon D500 Sony a6500 Fujifilm X-T2
Launch MSRP $1500 $1900 $2000 $1400 $1600
Resolution 26MP 24MP 20MP 24MP 24MP
Base ISO 160 200 100 100 200
Sensor type BSI CMOS FSI CMOS FSI CMOS FSI CMOS FSI CMOS
AF method On-sensor PDAF (98%) On-sensor PDAF (37%) Secondary sensor PDAF On-sensor PDAF (75%) On-sensor PDAF (37%)
Stabilization Lens only In-body Lens only In-body Lens Only
Maximum frame rate 20 fps (e-shutter) 14 fps (e-shutter) 10 fps 11 fps 14 fps (e-shutter)
Card slots 2 x UHS II 2 x UHS II 1 x XQD
1 x UHS II
1 x UHS I 2 x UHS II
Touchscreen Yes Yes Yes Yes No
AF joystick Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Max video res 4K/60p (UHD/DCI) 4K/30p
(UHD/DCI)
4K/30p
(UHD)
4K/30p
(UHD)
4K/30p
(UHD)
Viewfinder resolution 3.69M dots 3.69M dots N/A 2.36M dots 2.36M dots
Viewfinder magnification 0.75x equiv. 0.75x equiv. 0.67x equiv. 0.71x equiv. 0.77x equiv.
Built-in flash? No No No Yes No
Wireless connectivity Wi-Fi with BT Wi-Fi with BT Proprietary Wi-Fi Wi-Fi with NFC Wi-Fi
Battery life (CIPA) 390 shots 310 shots 1240 shots 350 shots 340 shots
Weight (w/ card and battery) 539g 673g 860g 453g 507g
Dimensions 133 x 93 x 59mm 140 x 97 x 86mm 147 x 115 x 81mm 120 x 67 x 53mm 133 x 92 x 49mm

Its price tag puts the X-T3 into competition with the best APS-C cameras on the market but, as you can see, the specs hold up well against the competition. The increase in PDAF area and the use of a high-res viewfinder panel all help justify its inclusion against this competition. Its battery life, while not up to DSLR standards, is pretty solid compared with its immediate peers.

Video specs compared

The X-T3's video specs put it up with the very best we've seen so far, so we're going to separately look at those. We've chosen the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 as the only other camera in this territory to capture 10-bit footage internally. We've opted for a Sony a7 series camera as the a6500's rolling shutter is too extreme for some video applications. The a7 III's oversampled video and usable video AF give it the edge over the older a7S II, and its video features are similar enough to make it a more meaningful comparison.

Fujifilm X-T3 Panasonic GH5 Sony a7 III Nikon Z6
Launch MSRP $1500 $2000 $2000 $2000
Sensor size APS-C/Super 35 Four Thirds Full Frame Full Frame
Stabilization Lens only 5-axis internal 5-axis internal 5-axis internal
AF technology PDAF DFD PDAF PDAF
Aspect ratios DCI / UHD DCI / UHD UHD UHD
Max 4K frame rate 60p 60p 30p 30p
Codec H.265 / H.264 H.264 H.264 H.264
Bit depth/ chroma (internal) 10 bit 4:2:0 10 bit 4:2:2 8-bit 4:2:0 8-bit 4:2:0
Bit depth/ chroma (internal) 10 bit 4:2:2 10 bit 4:2:2 8-bit 4:2:2 10-bit 4:2:2
Log gamma Yes Yes Yes HDMI only
Zebras Yes Yes Yes Yes
Focus Peaking Threshold Threshold Range or Threshold Threshold
Magnified view during rec? Yes No Yes No
Dual card slots? Yes Yes Yes No
Separate video custom settings? No No Custom buttons Custom buttons and i menu
Separate video processing settings? Yes Yes No Yes
Separate video exposure Yes* No No** Yes
Mic / 'phones sockets? Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
XLR input? No Optional adaptor Optional adaptor No
Corrected view in Log? Sort of** Yes (custom LUTS) Yes Yes
Waveforms / 'scopes No Yes No No
Anamorphic support No Yes No No
Timecode Yes Yes (with sync) Yes Yes

* The X-T3 uses a discrete set of exposure parameters if 'Silent Movie Shooting' mode is engaged.
** The GH5 will retain a separate value for 'Gain' if exposure time / brightness is set to Sec/Gain or a separate value for Shutter Angle if set to 'Angle/ISO' but all photography parameters are copied over.
***The X-T3's 'Natural Liveview' mode over-rides Log display but offers a low-contrast image, rather than a faux graded-to-REC709 view.

The GH5 still rules the roost when it comes to video features but the X-T3 runs it pretty close. More significantly, the X-T3's 'movie silent shooting' mode makes it the best camera of the four for jumping between stills and video. Although the interface itself isn't especially good, it means the camera ends up retaining a separate set of exposure parameters for stills and video shooting, so that you can quickly swap back and forth without having to change white balance, shutter speed and ISO every single time.

It's become increasingly common for cameras to offer separate sets of processing parameters (color mode, sharpening, etc) between video and stills modes, but very few maintain separate exposure settings for the two disciplines.