Fuji X-T3 Review: Is It Worth the Upgrade?

My Official Fuji X-T3 Review

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Fuji X-T3 Review Header Chelsey Bishoff.jpg

Two years ago I switched from Canon to Fuji and haven’t looked back. Even after a brief fling with the Sony a7RIII when it came out last year, I discovered I still preferred shooting with Fuji.  So when the Fuji X-T3 was announced earlier this year, I knew I had to get it.

Now that I’ve had the chance to shoot both stills and videos with the Fuji X-T3, I feel like I can give it a proper review.

This review will be a little different than other ones out there. Rather than a nerdy, super deep-dive into the technical specifications of the camera, instead I’m going to seek to answer one question -- a question I’ve gotten DMed quite a lot on Instagram:

Is the X-T3 worth the upgrade?

Hopefully this review helps you with your decision.

Improvements over the Fuji X-T2

I was perfectly happy with my Fuji X-T2, but of course my friend Wayne had to ruin my contentment by reminding me that the grass is greener on the other side.

He messaged me on Facebook one day and seduced me with words like “back-illuminated X-Trans CMOS IV sensor” and “quad-core X Processor 4.”

I didn’t even know what the hell those things meant, but I knew I had to have them.

As it turns out, the new sensor and processor are responsible for most of the camera’s improvements. Here are some of the key features that convinced me to upgrade to the X-T3:

  • More megapixels

  • Better low-light performance

  • Faster autofocus

  • Drastically improved eye-autofocus

  • Smarter battery grip function

  • Fantastic video quality

Let’s dig into these improvements and how they’ve impacted my real-world shooting.

More Megapixels

The Fuji X-T3 offers 26 megapixels compared to the X-T2’s 24. For me, it’s practically impossible to tell the difference at a normal crop, but those extra megapixels come in handy if you ever need to heavily crop in post.

Both of the following shots were taken with the 23mm. I was standing pretty far back from the couple in both shots but cropped in post.

 23mm, f/2.8, 1/2500s, ISO 160.

23mm, f/2.8, 1/2500s, ISO 160.

 23mm, f/4.0, 1/850s, ISO 160.

23mm, f/4.0, 1/850s, ISO 160.

Better Low-light Performance

So what exactly does a back-illuminated sensor mean for your pictures?

Simply put, it lets the camera gather more light which improves noise performance. While the Fuji X-T2 had a base ISO of 200, the Fuji X-T3’s base ISO is 160. Not a drastic change, but an improvement nonetheless.

The following photo was taken in low-light, shot at an ISO of 1250. The noise level is minimal, and for me even adds to the shot.

 A portrait of my amazing artist friend Heather. Settings: 23mm, f/5.0, 1/125s, ISO 1250.

A portrait of my amazing artist friend Heather. Settings: 23mm, f/5.0, 1/125s, ISO 1250.

The dynamic range on the Fuji X-T3 is just as good as on the X-T2. The image below was shot underexposed, but I was able to pull out all the details I wanted without losing any quality.

Faster Autofocus

Some of the lenses that Fuji makes aren’t the snappiest with autofocus. (I’m looking at you, 56mm and 23mm f/1.4!)

But put those lenses on the X-T3 and the difference is quite noticeable. Overall, I’ve noticed less hunting and sluggishness when shooting with those lenses, especially wide open.

Even better, focus accuracy has improved even when my subject is backlit -- a hugely welcome improvement.

 56mm, f/2.8, 1100s, ISO 160.

56mm, f/2.8, 1100s, ISO 160.

Drastically Improved Eye-AF

Perhaps one of the most impressive improvements of the Fuji X-T3 is the eye-autofocus.

Admittedly, this very feature is why I flirted with the Sony a7RIII last year. While the Fuji X-T2 had almost everything I wanted, its eye-AF wasn’t impressive at all. Sony was the first to offer fast and accurate eye-autofocus.

You might be wondering: What’s so special about eye-autofocus?

This feature comes especially in handy when shooting moving subjects. As a portrait and fashion photographer, I’m always asking my subjects to go through a range of motions while I attempt to capture the perfect frame.

 56mm, f/2.8, 1/240s, ISO 160. Shot with eye-AF mode turned on.

56mm, f/2.8, 1/240s, ISO 160. Shot with eye-AF mode turned on.

Before the X-T3, attempting to keep your subject’s eyes in focus as they move can be difficult. In single-shot mode (AF-S), you have to constantly move the joystick to place the focus point where you want it. In continuous mode (AF-C), sometimes the subject’s eyes wouldn’t be tack sharp.

But the Fuji X-T3’s eye-AF is game-changing. My keeper rate when shooting in this mode is significantly higher. In my opinion, the Fuji X-T3’s eye AF is every bit as good as the Sony a7RIII’s.

Smarter Battery Grip Function

I have very little qualms about the Fuji X-T2, but the battery grip for it was a major point of frustration.

When using the battery grip, there were countless times that the camera would shut off when recording videos.

I discovered this is because the battery grip doesn’t automatically “hot swap” batteries when shooting video. So if one of the batteries in the grip dies halfway through a video, that’s the end of your video. This limitation makes the X-T2’s grip completely useless for video purposes.

The Fuji X-T3 grip resolves this issue by automatically switching to the fresh battery, preventing any abrupt cutoffs.

Note: The X-T3 does not require the grip to take advantage of faster shooting speeds like the X-T2 did. The grip only serves to give you more shooting time.

Fantastic Video Quality

As if the X-T3 wasn’t already impressive enough, Fuji decided to make it a competitive video camera as well.

Before you scoff and say to yourself, “This section doesn’t apply to me, I’m not a videographer,” hear me out.

Video content is more important than ever. Social media platforms are prioritizing video content over stills and text. I’ve even noticed that more of my client inquiries lately have asked about video. So even if you haven’t incorporated video into your work, it’s something well worth considering.

Along with the ability to shoot 120fps slow-mo at 1080p and 60fps at 4k, the X-T3 also offers the ability to shoot F-log internally, meaning you’re no longer required to connect your camera to an external recorder if you want to shoot flat footage to color grade later.

Check out the video below for a sample of 120fps footage shot at a data rate of 100mbps.

Of course, if you don’t want to bother with color grading, you can instead choose to any of the built-in film simulations to your videos, including the new Eterna profile which offers beautiful cinematic tones.

So is the X-T3 worth the upgrade?

Absolutely yes.

If you’re coming from the Fuji X-T2, you’ll notice a difference in both performance and quality.

If you’re coming from any X-series camera before the X-T2, you’ll notice a HUGE difference in performance and quality.

Perhaps the better question to ask is “Who might NOT want to upgrade to the X-T3?”

If you shoot still subjects and are not at all interested in video, you probably won’t benefit much from upgrading to the Fuji X-T3.

But even then, at a price point of $1,499 (which is $100 lower than the Fuji X-T2 when it was first released), the X-T3 is an outstanding value no matter what you shoot.

My Amazon affiliate link

How I got the Fuji X-T3 for 30% off

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Check out a few more sample images below.

Fuji X-T3 Charlie Ball White Barn Workshop Woodworking.jpg
Fuji X-T3 Sarah Bellavia Downtown Wilmington Portrait.jpg
 Straight out of camera JPEG using the Astia/Soft film simulation.

Straight out of camera JPEG using the Astia/Soft film simulation.