Operation and controls

Touchscreen

The X-T3 has gained a touchscreen which, for a start, can be used as an AF touchpad when you're shooting through the viewfinder. There are a series of options for choosing which parts of the screen are active, to prevent accidental 'nose focus,' regardless of which eye you shoot with. In this touchpad mode there's no option to tap directly on the position in the scene you wish to focus on: the AF point is always controlled by swiping, relative to the its current position. This is reminiscent of using a computer mouse on too small a pad, where you keep having to pick up and reposition it to send the curser where you want it to go.

The camera's Q.Menu is touch-sensitive as well as customizable. Tap on an setting and a list of the available options appears.

As with the X-H1 and GFX 50S, the touchscreen is also used in the Q Menu. Tapping any of the icons brings up a horizontal band, listing five of the available settings for that particular parameter. Small arrows appear at the left and right of any parameters with more than five options but we found spinning the dial to scroll between options was more reliable than trying to press them. Tapping anything other than the stripe of options (or pressing the 'Menu/OK' button) dismisses the options.

Movie Silent Control

The Movie Silent Control mode uses this touch-sensitive list to let you set various parameters, including exposure, for movie shooting.

An important feature for video shooters is Movie Silent Control mode, a means of controlling the camera for movie shooting without using any of the control dials that might shake the camera or add noise. The shutter speeds in MSC mode are designed for video shooting, rather than stills (eg. 1/48 sec rather than 1/50 sec). Movie Silent Control 'silos' video exposure settings, so you can switch back and forth to stills mode without having to reconfigure everything.

Sadly, while we like the concept and knock-on effects of Movie Silent Control, we're not big fans of the actual implementation. The onscreen virtual buttons are very small (it's often more precise to navigate using the joystick) and the need to swipe to get to the option you want, tap to access then swipe to change the setting is pretty fiddly.

Beyond this, the touchscreen can be used to set the AF point, set AF and acquire focus or set AF, acquire focus and shoot. Like previous Fujifilm cameras, it's oddly laggy when doing this. In playback mode the screen can be used to zoom in, scroll around and jump between images, which works pretty well in conjunction with the command dials.

Customization options

The X-T3 has nine customizable buttons and up to four functions can be assigned to directional swipes on the touchscreen. The same options can be applied to every control point.

The available control points are: the Fn button on the top plate, the Fn button on the front of the camera, the directional arrows of the four-way controller, the AE-L button, the AF-L button, pressing the rear command dial and the four swipe directions on the touchscreen.

Button/swipe customization options:
  • Image Size
  • Image Quality
  • Raw
  • Film Simulation
  • Grain Effect
  • Color Chrome Effect
  • Dynamic Range
  • D Range Priority
  • White Balance
  • Select Custom Setting
  • Focus Area
  • Focus Check
  • AF Mode
  • AF-C Custom Settings
  • Face/Eye Detection Settings
  • Drive Settings
  • Sports Finder Mode
  • Pre-Shot (Electronic Shutter)
  • Self-Timer
  • Shutter Type
  • Flicker Reduction
  • ISO Auto Setting
  • IS Mode
  • Wireless Communication
  • Flash Function Setting
  • TTL-Lock
  • Modeling Flash
  • Full HD High Speed REC
  • Zebra Setting
  • Int/Ext Mic Level Adjustment
  • Movie Silent Control
  • Preview Depth-of-Field
  • Preview Exp/WB in Manual Mode
  • Natural Live View
  • Histogram
  • Electronic Level
  • Large Indicators Mode
  • AE Lock Only
  • AF Lock Only
  • AE/AF Lock
  • AF-On
  • AWB Lock Only
  • Aperture Setting
  • Performance
  • Auto Image Transfer
  • Select Pairing Destination
  • Bluetooth On/Off
  • Playback

As you can see, essentially every setting on the camera can be assigned to a button.

AF customization

Despite having a new autofocus system, the X-T3's AF-C customization options remain the same as those on its immediate predecessor. To simplify the setup of the camera, there are five preset combinations of these parameters, designed to represent specific use-cases.

Five use-cases are offered to help match the AF behavior to the movement of your subject. If none of these work, then there's also a customizable setting.

If none of these use-cases work, the camera provides an explanation of the three configuration parameters, to help you tailor them to the specific subject you're shooting.

Boost mode

The X-T3's 'Boost' mode is the default setting for the down arrow on the four-way controller. It speeds up the camera's autofocus (which Fujifilm measures as decreasing focus time from 0.08 sec to 0.06 sec), increases the refresh rate of the electronic viewfinder from 60 fps to 100 fps, drops the release time lag by 5ms and the blackout time by 0.1 sec.

Boost mode reduces battery life by about 25%.

Shutter Modes

The X-T3 now offers six different shutter modes: Mechanical Shutter (MS), Electronic Shutter (ES), Electronic First Curtain (EF) and then three combinations of the above:

Mode E-First Curtain Mechanical Electronic
M+E

-

15min* - 1/8000 1/10,000 - 1/32,000
EF + M 15min* - 1/2000 1/2500 - 1/8000

-

EF + M + E 15min* - 1/2000 1/2500 - 1/8000 1/10,000 - 1/32,000

*Minimum shutter speed dependent on exposure mode.

As if that weren't confusing enough, certain features demand that you be in specific shutter modes: Pre-Shot[Cont H] and the 1.25x crop [Cont H] modes work only in ES mode, Sports Finder mode requires you be in any mode where electronic shutter is not used (MS, EF or EF+M).

Somehow, in all these combinations, there's no 'Auto' option that lets you use whichever shutter type is needed for the feature you're trying to use. Instead you have to manually switch to one of the compatible shutter modes before you can get a feature to work. Ironically this can make some of the camera's high speed shooting options too slow to access if you're trying to respond quickly.

Auto ISO

Out of camera JPEG shot using the Provia/Standard profile.
ISO 320 | 1/ 420 sec | F5.6 | Shot using the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR at 24mm
Photo by Dan Bracaglia

The X-T3 offers three Auto ISO settings, each of which allows you to define a minimum and maximum ISO setting, along with a shutter speed threshold at which the camera should increase ISO. There's an Auto option to link this to focal length but no way to bias this faster or slower. For avoiding subject motion blur though, it's perfectly adequate - just set the minimum shutter speed beyond which the camera should opt to increase ISO as opposed to lengthening exposure duration.

Unfortunately, this minimum shutter speed setting cannot be directly accessed via a custom button, meaning it's cumbersome to change on-the-fly to quickly adapt to changing scenarios.

Auto ISO can be used in manual mode for both movies and stills, and can be used in conjunction with exposure compensation, so that you can select your shutter speed, aperture and target brightness, then let the camera maintain them using ISO.