Fujifilm X-Pro 3 Announced

Fujifilm for the first time has included computational photography in the new X-Pro-3, it can merge 3 exposures into an HDR in camera, as well as applying tone curve in camera. I believe this is the first time this technology, which is prevalent in smartphones, has been included in a professional camera.

X-Pro #

The camera like the X-T3 has the 26MP APSC CMOS BSI sensor, with an upgraded processor using the X-Tran filter system. It has a 3.69 million dot OVF as well still being able to switch to an optical viewfinder. It uses a type C USB port, Wifi and Bluetooth for file transfer and communications purposes. So operating the camera and downloading images to your smartphone is a lot smoother.

It has a weather sealed titanium body and comes in three versions black, a Duratect coated black and a Durotect coated Silver model. The two versions with the coating have a strong resistance to scratching. There is also an large optional hand grip for the front of the camera, which does not interfere with accessing the SD card or battery. It also has a unique, mock retro flip down rear screen, which has been somewhat controversial but oddly appealing.

The camera now has a much faster mechanical shutter which has a speed of 11 fps and the electronic shutter has a speed of 20 fps. If you need a faster shutter speed, it can go to 30 frames per second in a cropped mode. When shooting in low light situations the autofocus is designed to work at -6 EVs with an f1.4 lens. There is a focus limiter function on the camera to restrict the focus range, to speed up spontaneous street photography. Once turned on it applies to any lens you put on the camera.

There are also two new film simulation modes and an enhanced monochromatic colour adjustment feature as well as an enhanced grain effect feature. If you frequently focus stack your pictures you just need to select your closest and furthest distance in the camera and the camera will automatically work out how many shots are required. You will still need to combine them using your favourite focus stacking software.

What is Appealing

The camera does have some attractions for me, here is what I am liking about the camera:

  • The film emulations are lovely when you are shooting jpg plus RAW.
  • The sub-monitor showing, when set to the camera settings, allows you to see where you last parked your settings in the off position.
  • The lack of an immediate LCD causes you to look more through the viewfinder.
  • The viewfinder I am told is excellent although perhaps not as refined as the X-T3.
  • The optical viewfinder with lens selection frames is a useful reference.
  • The shutter selection process now has a great description of each method and its operating parameters.
  • The video capacities for a photographer is all you really need.
  • The USB C brings this camera up to the new standard connection devices.
  • The USB charging ability is very useful in the field.
  • The finish and style of the camera is pleasurable.
  • Having a native ISO of 160 is an improvement over 200.
  • The introduction of some processing controls such as clarity, monochrome colour adjustments, grain effects, white balance, in camera HDR, and tone curves is a really important innovation, I hope they expand this sort of thing.
  • Being able focus down to -6/ev is very useful for night shooting.
  • Being able to see behind the Quick Menu, through to what the camera is about to shoot I think adds to this camera’s ease of use.

Potential Drawbacks

No matter how fantastic a camera maybe or not, there are always some drawbacks, like with everything in life there are pros and cons. So what are the possible drawbacks to the camera?

  • The “D pad” has been removed to give a more comfortable spot for the thumb and prevent accidental activation of features by adding its functionality to the focus lever. However this does reduce a lot of programmable buttons for those who find these very useful. I found the loss of the “Dpad” makes it easier to sweep the other controls with your thumb while looking through the viewfinder, but I am not a big function button user.
  • Not being able to fully extend the LCD while it is on a tripod could make for some awkward situations, in addition having it fold down makes it far more vulnerable to damage.
  • DPReview is reporting that the coating to protect the titanium on the two more expensive models seems to attract finger grease giving it a dirty look.
  • The camera, like all Fujifilm cameras except the X-H1, lacks IBIS. As this camera is larger it seems to me it should have been included.
  • The focus switch is still on the front of the camera unlike the new design of the GFX50R, which has it conveniently placed on the back of the camera where it can be reached with a thumb swipe (and visible side by side with all the other dials are that you often check for shooting). Placing the focus switch on the rear of the camera should have found its way to the X-Pro3.
  • The imbedded ISO dial is awkward to adjust, a separate dial or perhaps a shutter dial, like the GFX-50R could have been dedicated to ISO. Mind you I am sure this can be programmed to the front dial very easily.
  • The compensation dial still does not lock, so when you are getting it in and out of your bag it will move, and you will have to constantly be checking it.
  • It still looks like you can not add a custom cup to the EVF. The current one provides no ability to shelter the eye from strong sunlight. This means in strong light you often have to cup your other hand around your eye to enjoy the immersive quality of the new EVF.