The Wisdom: Fuji X-T3 review

October 3, 2020 • Reviews

Reading time: start with a bottle of wine, have another one ready. You never know.

INDEX

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

This review will be divided in the following sections, feel free to skip although I don’t suggest doing so since I tend to ramble a lot and connecting dots might prove more difficult if you start from the end.

WELCOME

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Why not? While I was busy having a normal life, working a full time job, taking a shitload of pictures, learning how to razor sharpen my knives, and of course writing little by little this X-T3 review, believing I had loads of time before the new release, Fuji gets into full-Sony mode and announces the X-T4.

Hell, why shouldn’t they?
The party is over. It was too goo to be true. Cripple your firmware updates, segment your camera bodies, and get in a new-camera-releases frenzy. Do it now.
Welcome to the Camera Business, baby. The Old Customer has already paid, and we already collected his bill: it’s time to find some new cows to milk.

Smart people understand that there is no such thing as paranoia. It is just another mask for ignorance.
Hunter S. Thomspon

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”

Still, the X-T3 remains the amazing camera it was at launch, and it’s more than enough for 98% of people (and most of the remaining 2% should get a grip on their photographic priorities anyway so they almost don’t count).
Moreover, the X-T3 is a better camera for photography than the X-T4. So we have a coin, and the bad side said Fuji has officially crowned the X-T series as the official YouTubers camera in their lineup.

Fujifilm and X-T3 users looking to upgrade (Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s)

If you’re a photographer still marveling at how logical and clean and functional the 3-way tilt screen of your X-T3 is…
Well, Fuji has just screwed you with the X-T4 and will probably do it again (market leader is Canon, from a Purely Business point of view it makes perfectly sense to copy their practice).

The good side of the coin is that most of the camera released in the last few years are more than enough to make anybody happy and not be a limit to his “creative vision”.
Indeed, I’ll state here that this is a grand time to be a Photographer who doesn’t give a shit about video. Too bad you can’t get out and take pictures, but that’s another story for another time.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

If it weren’t for GAS and constant exposition to gear info, you would still be salivating over that sexy X-Pro1 (don’t lie, we both know it’s true).
It’s amusing that in this age where cameras are generally so good you can pick one randomly and it will get the job done for the foreseeable future, companies try more and more to convince people they need newer and better camera, pimping “new” bodies every year, barely discernible from the old ones.
A new camera every year has one major effect: killing resale value of older cameras. All you need to know starts and end here.
So brace yourself: Fuji still makes great cameras and lenses, but Kaizen is hiding somewhere maybe afraid of Covid-19, and War on Prices is on, along with an hardcore Squeeze The Client ethos.
Some might even like it. You bet.

Fujifilm’s approach to new firmware updates applied to bicycles (Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4)

My way of joking is to tell the truth. That’s the funniest joke in the world.
Muhammad Ali

Alert n. 1: please close this page at once if you’re not equipped with an healthy dose of sense of humor and/or you’re an X-Photographer (if you don’t know who they are, sorry, it’s not something related to porn).
Also, close this page if you’re a video-maker or a hybrid shooter… This review is not for you.
I can’t wait to roll my eyes at a comment saying how great the flippy screen is… beat it.

Fuji X-T3 + Meike 28mm f/2.8

Also opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.
This happens to be my website, so I won’t be shy in presenting plenty of my opinions. Comments are open for yours.

of course, there’s no accounting for taste, or lack of it. one man’s pussy is another man’s handjob.
Charles Bukowski

Alert n. 2: This review is gonna be long: I know the internet and smartphones and social medias made most of us addicted to easy to digest content made of brief texts with clicks, likes, links, bullet points, stupid quotes and images…
Unfortunately they’re mostly meaningless.
So I’ll go the opposite way and write a long, detailed, comprehensive (according to the way I use the camera) review.
I’ll insert as many images as I can, but it’ll be long.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Moreover, not having affiliate links and not being a click-addict I’m out of the game many reviewers play (first write a “first look”, then a “real world review”, then write an “update review”…): I’ll just write this biblical review, and add new updates when I’ll have something new to say. That’s it.
It requires more effort on your part (and mine as well), but I hope you’ll derive more enjoyment and useful notions as well.
After 10 minutes of reading super short reviews I always feel emptier than before: I hope this review will make you feel the opposite.

Content is King (Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4)

And if you don’t like it, my website supports the amazing keyboard shortcut “ctrl + w”.
TV first, and the web as it is nowadays then even more, got us used to easy peasy narratives whose only purpose is to not even entertain us, but just engage us. Fill some void, occupy a few minutes of our life giving us nothing disguised as something in exchange of… nothing at all. Receive without giving. It’s fun, it’s easy. And it’s a waste of time.
It’s the 2020 homo sapiens sapiens. Click, like, share. Oh oh.

2020

INTRO

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Welcome to my review of this, at the time of writing, Already Very Old camera.
Announced in September 2018, it became obsolete in February 2020.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

A bit of time-line for you historians out there:

  • 2012: Fuji lets out their Flagship Camera (from now on FC) the mighty X-pro1
  • Summer 2014: Fuji announces the new FC, the X-T1 (while X-Pro1 owners whine about the lack of X-Pro2)
  • January 2016: Fuji announces the new FC, the X-Pro2 (with new sensor and bells)
  • July 2016: Fuji announces the new FC, the X-T2
  • February 2018: Fuji announces the new FC (”highest performance camera in the X Series”), named X-H1, basically an X-T2 with different ergonomics and IBIS. Looks like we have a new line to finally rule the X-Pro/X-T dualism! But…
  • September 2018: Fuji announces the fantastic X-T3: made in China, ok, but it sports a new sensor and processor which make the 6 months old FC X-H1 look like a scam towards customers (couldn’t Fujifilm really have waited six months and build it with the X-T3 processor and electronics?). Officially, the X-H1 remains the FC, but it sure as all isn’t anymore the ”highest performance camera in the X Series” that it was a whopping 6 months earlier
  • 2019: Since the X-T3 landed, nobody buys the X-H1, that’s why Fuji decides to insist on making fun of the early X-H1 buyers by discounting it to a ridiculous 999€
  • October 2019: Fujifilm announces what maybe is the new FC (but who knows at this point, right?), the highly-discussed X-Pro3 (talk about it later). The X-Pro3 is basically an X-T3 with different ergonomics, a weird (let’s leave it at that) lcd, and an hybrid viewfinder. Inside, it’s an X-T3. So we have the X-T3 and X-Pro3 with the same sensor and electronics, and the FC X-H1 with old stuff inside. Logic would say to update the latter, but…
  • February 2020: Fujifilm announces the X-T4, which adds IBIS and takes away the fantastic 3-way tilt lcd screen of the X-T3 in favor of a crappy flippy screen.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

And this is the time-line of my camera/lenses history, as I feel it’s important to understand my views and taste (feel free to skip it) (I’m sure many of you hopeless GAS addicts will feel some empathy here… welcome to the group therapy part of this review):

  • June 2010: my 1st reflex, the mighty Canon 450 w/ 18-55 and 75-300 kit lenses
  • September 2010: Canon 50mm f/1.8
  • June 2011: adapter for an old Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 Praktica mount
  • September 2011: Canon 28mm f/2.8 (old version, not the IS one)
  • May 2012: Canon 85 f/1.8
  • October 2012: Canon 5d mk II
  • December 2012: Zuiko 135mm f/2.8
  • May 2013: sold the 75-300, bought a Yashica 80-200 f/4
  • February 2014: bought Zuiko 55mm f/1.2
  • March 2014: bought Canon 6D
  • April 2014: sold Canon 85mm f/1.8, bought Samyang 85mm f/1.4
  • May 2014: sold Yashica 80-200
  • August 2014: sold Canon 28mm & 50mm, bought Sigma 24-105 art (I wanted to buy a Samyang 35mm f/1.4, but after the 3d defective lens in one week I gave it up)
  • November 2014: sold the Samyang 85mm, bought Canon 85mm f/1.2 and Canon 200mm f/2.8
  • December 2014: sold Canon 5d mk ii, bought Fuji X100T (review in Italian here)
  • March 2015: sold Zuiko 55mm f/1.2
  • June 2015: sold Fuji X100T, bought used Leica M9 + used old Summicron 35 (which was defective, and sold at a loss to fund the jewel that is the Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2)
  • September 2015: after a brief and frustrating experience (more here), sold the M9 and bought another Fuji X100T
  • November 2015: sold the Voigtlander 35 1.2
  • March 2016: bought the Fuji WCL for the X100 series
  • July 2017: bought another Canon 6d
  • August 2017: bought a Fuji X100F after my X100T was heavily “injured” by a wedding guest, sold the Fuji WCL
  • January 2019: bought a Nikon 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s
  • January 2019: bought a Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 M42 for next to nothing on Ebay
  • March 2019: bought a 18€ Industar 50mm f/3.5
  • November 2019: bought a Voigtlander 50mm f/1.8 Rollei QBM mount to use on…
  • December 2019: bought a Fuji X-T3 with Fuji 23mm f/1.4 + adapter for Nikon and Rollei QBM lenses
  • January 2020: bought a Canon LTM 50mm f/1.4 + adapter (and it’s sexy as fuck on the X-T3). Sold it a few months later as I…
  • April 2020: bought an SMC Super Takumar 200mm f/4 M42, a Super Takumar 135mm f/3.5 and a Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element
  • June 2020: sold the Pentacon 135mm and the Takumar 135mm
  • August 2020: bought a Meike 28mm f/2.8

Phew. I wish I could say “The end”, but I don’t wanna cheat myself and I know it’s a “to be continued” story.

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”

Along this journey, I tried countless other cameras and lenses, more or less extensively.

This camera, for my kind of use/photography, is the one that comes closer to the definition of ideal.
Talking about the way I shoot, in the last couple of years I’ve been sliding more and more out of the ruthless and cruel Professional Photographic World and work now as an IT technician in a bank (don’t ask me), plus I’m studying for a degree on the side (same).
As a result, my photography has been much more Joyful and anxiety-free, kind of when I had just moved to Paris and I was working at McDonald’s (good old times), not caring about clients and just shooting whatever I wanted whenever I wanted/could.
Now it’s back to that marvelous feeling again, a part that I became Filthy Rich and have a cat purring for me whenever I come home…

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

But where were we?

Just ponder for a moment about the fact that photography is one of the few arts/crafts where people are expected to make money and to feel like failures if they don’t: it’s a trap to make you feel bad or guilty, and a reasoning according to which you shouldn’t buy a good camera/lens unless you’re the new Platon.
My take is: keep in mind that you don’t need fancy gear to take great shots, but if you like it and can afford it, buy it.
You only live once, and people who tell you not to most likely waste much more money in stuff that is even more trivial than camera gear.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Anyway, what I wanted to say between my hopeless digressions is that since I have the luxury of saying No to gigs I don’t like, I feel more and more out of tune with today’s Imperative Requests the likes of: animal eye af (maybe just because my cat is lazy), IBIS (reminds me of a terrorist association, sorry but can’t help it), continuous autofocus from birth of a child to death of an old man, video in 4k to watch on barely full hd devices on YouTube, and stuff like that…

All I need is good ergonomics, a chip with nice colors (image quality is plenty enough in every camera anyway for me nowadays), fast lenses with a nice manual focus ring, a nice viewfinder, a 3-way tilt lcd is much appreciated, no ibis, a minimum of responsiveness, and possibly not a bank-breaker price-tag.
Appreciated bonus: even better if it’s good looking and weights less than a brick.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Given this list, you can understand why the Fuji X-T3 is indeed probably The camera for me at the moment. For a while probably, given that the X-T4 has ibis and a goddamn flippy screen.
But I’ll save my rants about the X-T4 in a specific part of the review.
Still here? Good.
The Fuji X-T3 is fantastic. As with most Fuji cameras, once you’ve seen it and tried it, you wanna just get out and shoot.

Don’t shoot

I had been wanting to buy it at least since it came out, and last December I went for it, along with a 23mm f/1,4 and a couple of adapters.
You can read about me lusting for it in my extremely long X100F review (Shitty Little Camera), although I changed my wish-list lens selection a bit.
I bought it black because I prefer the color, and because settings are much easier to read this way.
Practical info: the firmware of my X-T3, at the time of publishing, is 3.20 But some parts of the review have been written with previous firmware. For the kind of use I make of the camera no firmware update made any difference anyway.

RANTS

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ABOUT MARKETING
Anything one needs to market heavily is necessarily either an inferior product or an evil one.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

I generally love what Fujifilm is doing and how it created its place in the hi-end cameras market without copying anybody else, with bold moves and innovative products (plus sleek design, firmware love (back in the days, unfortunately), nice handling, real dials, retro galore…).
A few things I don’t like though.

Thinking hard about things that piss me off (Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4 / no flippy screen)

First, the marketing bullshit, which sometimes rivals and surpasses Leica’s.
They created a new photographers breed, the “X-photographers”.
According to my mood, they remind me either of some kind of super-heroes either of some b-rate porn actors fondling a camera.
From what I understood, every country has its own rules, but what most of them have in common is: every time a new product comes out, they write early reviews since they either were beta testers, either had early access to beta products.
This torrent of so-called “reviews” (ah-ehm) comes out right on the day of the official product presentation, but they all cry: “Fujifilm didn’t ask me to write any of this, they just gave me the product and I spontaneously decided to write about it…”, “I am an X-photographer but this in no way influences my judgment of the product…”, “Fujifilm graciously sent us a pre-production [insert new product name] to test before the announcement…” (follows an extra positive review with no mention of any downsides whatsoever), and so on.
Or, they write: “This is not gonna be a real review, just my experience with the lens”, and other crap.
These are all (badly)masked ads, and they just look ridiculous.

X-men doing their thing

It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth— this indifference to how things really are—that I regard as of the essence of bullshit.
Harry Frankfurt

Advertising is bullshit, by 2020 we should all know that, but the tricky part of the internet is that there are many more ways to do it more or less subtly… and I want you to be Aware of this. Be aware, and beware.

Pure Independent Free reviews websites are possible only in two cases:fa

  • Subscriptions model where readers pay (ex. the excellent Reid reviews site; to which I suggest everyone to subscribe)
  • Websites run only by one person who does it only to satisfy his ego (like this website if you will: yes, hosting this website isn’t free, but I maintain it just for my own ego, and your reading pleasure), who don’t do it as their main activity, don’t have affiliate links, don’t publish copy-and-paste press releases, don’t go to manufacturer-paid Hawaii holidays launch event, pay for the stuff they review (and, incredible as it may sounds, use it as well).

The rest, a few exceptions aside, is fluff. A lot of smoke, not much fire.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

I’ll do coming out here and say that one partial exception is Ken Rockwell, if you know how to read him (= ignore 98,3% of what he writes pastes): he’s the only “famous” reviewer who, for example, explains why manual focusing with a fast lens on most Canon DSLR is impossible.
He also has the best article on how to buy/sell on eBay.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

I’m not gonna put links in here because I want to avoid sues, but you have a look around on the web and tell me what you see.
Read everything if you want but… Follow these golden rules:

  • When you see someone who has affiliate links for every single products he talks about, even the one he supposedly doesn’t like, start wondering (there are a lot of reasons not to use Amazon link, but we’ll skip them right now as everyone is entitled to keep on making Jeff Bezos the most powerful man on planet Earth do whatever he wants to with his hard-earned money)
  • When you see someone who reviews every single piece of gear as soon as it comes out, who’s always excited OMG about every camera/lens/flash buy it NOW… start wondering
  • When you see a review where it’s obvious from the pictures that the person used the camera only in one occasion… start wondering

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

YouTube, for the camera world, is the new cancer (yep, I’ve said that): most YouTubers don’t buy (let alone use) the gear they talk crap about review, and what they do is create a snippet preview of their dumb face with a shocked expression and some flashy color near the product in question, do a video where they repeat the press release of the lens, and at the end (often even before) casually drop a “btw you can check the price of the lens from the links in the description”, when what they really wanna say is “I beg you please BUY this damn thing from my links so I can earn some of your money and show the result to mother Fuji/Canon/Nikon/whatever and remain in their list of influencers who get their new releases before the announcement day, so I can can play the same scam over and over”.
I swear you could watch literally hours of these videos and not learn a single thing, it’s amazing.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

The best part is, these videos are hardcore commercials, but if you don’t use an adblock you get to watch the YouTube commercial before (and maybe during as well) the main commercial.
Is this a great world or what?

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Never take advice from a salesman, or any advice that benefits the advice giver.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Have you ever read the book Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb? If no, go grab it. Skin in the Game is a concept that applied to camera reviews translates to: put your money where your mouth is. Or: if you’re not getting that camera for yourself with your own money, it’s very likely you’re a fraud.
Why most people don’t see this? What would you think if some of your friends would go to extreme length for you to buy something saying it’s the best thing the world has seen since the first beer was brewed, and then you discover that A) he doesn’t own the damn thing and B) he makes a commission if YOU buy it.
How would YOU coreact?
Exactly.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

If you didn’t get the vibe of what the tone of this review will be, I’ll allow myself to paste here a few comments on my X100F review:

Really enjoyed your review. Great style of writing, very blunt and funny.
Martin K

Wow what a review. This is the best X100F review I’ve read, it’s funny, it’s relevant, it’s relatable. It’s your review that finally tipped me over the edge and means I’ll be selling my Fuji X-E2 with 35mm f1.4 for the simplicity and single vision of the X100F!
Adam

One of the best articles I have read online, I really enjoyed the style, the thoughts, the words, the photos.
Happy I found another blog to follow. 🙂
Leonidas

There must be a psychological term for folks who stay up past their bedtime, obsessively reading camera reviews, following feckless days spent taking photos with gradually improving results but also gradually rising standards. Lugging a big Canon did not equate to better photos, so I purchased an x100 when they first came on the market, and spent a few desperate weeks trying to decipher the system. The experience proved, and cemented, my amateur status and dented my pride as well. Soon, mercifully, it fatally broke within warranty so I could return it without remorse; and I got every penny back. Your delightful, informative, and often hilarious review has convinced me to take those bucks and use them on the F. Now I can aspire to interesting and demanding subjects beyond grandchildren and roses, of which one cannot amass enough images.
Nothing personal or analytical here, but if you are a native Italian living in Paris, and writing with such an inventive and informative style in idiomatic English, you may deserve a degree in linguistics as well as photography/art. I even learned to correct my misremembered Tortilla Flats to the singular.
Photographs speak a universal language, and yours are certainly fluent. Studying your composition is a lesson in itself. I had never even heard the term of street photography until I blundered into Vivian Maier’s work several years ago. Now I seem to have made another fortunate blunder.
Thanks
Sidney Stapleton

You make me desire the F model and like I said, one day. Your review was filled with great shots, great humor (rare for a really good photographer who posts shots on the internet) and I enjoyed it all. Thanks.
Mike Seither

thanks MATTEO PEZZI as you shocked and shaked me for good reasons with this truthful review.
keep shooting in nostalgia – blessings from Lahore -pakistan
anis paul

I`m a little late to the party, but wow, this was a fun read
Egil

A great, honest review, loved reading it! You get to read very few reviews these days that are straight from the heart.
Vikas

Amen. One of the most beautiful and informative posts I’ve read in a long time. Even for people who are not into photography, it’s just so nicely written, that you are absorbed into reading it. Thank you.
Camelia

Cheers Matteo,
Your title of the review was very “demanding” and I couldn’t but help open and read on. I think that remaining independent, being able to say what you think, being able to be “politically incorrect” as required, being credible and independent are all so important and great for your own on-line branding and image. So keep on with it. And it is do much more an a great statement for Fuj as with the creative ways you have demonstrated the camera. People out there want the real thing and in the internet, its harder to know if something is the real deal or just more viral plageurism ! Your review, its a bit like networking. It does take time, effort and a little cost, but the returns come later, we just cant always correlate them directly. All the best with the shift, I’ll let you know how the X100F goes. cheers,
Matt

Here in New Zealand (and from time time, in other sundry corners of the world), and beginning with a pre-war Agfa Prontor II (folding bellows and all) I’ve been seriously around photography for the past 60 years. My wife will tell you that if it wasn’t for my twitchy shutter finger, today we’d be millionaires rather than poverty ridden pensioners.
For many of the later years it was a Leica kit (IIIc, M3, MP, and M9P) with all manner and kind of expensive Leica glass.
But come retirement, all of that is one hell of an unhealthy investment. So in fear and trembling I cashed up and I dared to purchase the original X100 when it was first released. Despite all its foibles (you’ve got to admit, the X100 was a bit of a donkey), I fell in love with that camera. And I’ve been a passionate Fuji evangelist ever since.
That led on to an X-Pro1 and more latterly an X-Pro2. But once again, acquiring a truck load of glass.
More recently, I began to hanker after a less cluttered, simple life. It’s then I stumbled upon your X100F review (or maybe I should say “romance”). Damn. Damn. Damn. What a great read!
So it’s all gone (the X-Pro2 and glass, I mean). In its place, here on the table, alongside the Pinot and Port Salut is a new, singing and pole dancing X100F (“Yes dear, no dear, please put the knife down, this will be my last camera purchase. I swear to God.“).
Full circle you might say. But I’m looking forward to this new ménage à trois. Now where are my pills?
Michael Greer

Happy New Year!
It’s my second time I’ve ready your ‘shitty’ review. And enjoyed it just as much as the first time.
Jay

Matteo hi…! First thing I did coming across your shitty review was… to read your damn comments underneath your pictures…! I must tell you… I did enjoy them a lot…!!! I didn’t bother with your actual shitty review… which I read it anyway a couple of days later only because I was curious to see how authentic and honest you might be in this shitty world we all live in…!!! You see I am an old fashioned pro trying hard to make a living still shooting film from 35 all the way up to 4×5 and even larger using nikons leicas hasselblads sinars linhoffs and the rest… having witnessed right from the start the digital evolution… and having got really sick of it…!!! and please don’t get me wrong either…! I know how the bloody system works…!!! It’s not really about what we need to make our lives better… It’s only about how we can make someone very rich…! and do that very fast…!!! Anyway… I wrote too much…! and now it’s getting late and I am about to listen to some piano trios by Mozart before I go to bed…! But… I would really like to have a beer with you someday…!
Spiros Delivorrias

What a funny article – it had me smiling and laughing through out ( including some of the commentary )
Michael

Legendary article Matteo! Really enjoyed your photos and your quirky commentary.
Josh

Thank you, Matteo, for your generous review and inspiring eagerness.
I’m not surewhether the internet was built for this kind of extreme sense of sharing, but I am sure indeed that it makes it worthwhile.
My X100f just arrived, thanks to you so to speak.
Regards
Rudy, Antwerpen

You make me smile while reading your work. For that, thank you. If you don’t mind a couple of questions…
James Evans

Great review, love your tone and humour. It’s also a very honest and detailed review and clearly not the usual sponsored crap, which are clearly paid reviews.
Steve H

This has to be one of the best reviews in the history of reviews – of anything! Bravo, molto bene!
Jack Karakelian

And so on, you get the vibe. Needless to say, in this review you won’t find affiliate links, and I have no relationship with Fujifilm whatsoever.
How weird, I know.
To get the feeling of how ridiculous the Fujifilm marketing is, have a look at their YouTube channel.
The pinnacle is this spot “documentary”.
Or their blog, this article for example. Pure magic.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

To get even a deeper understanding, do a web search of “tatsuo suzuki fuji x100v”. If you don’t know that story, well, you’re in for one of the most embarrassing fuck-ups of modern marketing bullshit you’ve ever heard of, probably eclipsed only by the Canon R5 epic saga.
Tatsuo (whom I do not know personally) has been an X photographer for how long I can remember: he has a very aggressive shooting style, which I understand can be a bit offensive to some people, but it was well known and not hidden to anyone, surely not to Fujifilm who used it extensively for their marketing purposes in the past.
When Fuji launched the X-Pro3, they put out a series of videos with some of their ambassadors, including Tatsuo. He was shooting half of Tokyo population straight in the face, weird walk and all, and it caused some scandal and outrage in the comments.
Fujifilm, without any official statements of sort, removed the video and Tatsuo disappeared from the X-men X-photographers page. Puff, gone.
I’m not arguing about him deserving to be there or not (personally I’d be honored to be out if I were him), but that was some really shameful behavior.
From Fujifilm of course.

Fuji and Tatsuo Suzuki (Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4)

I’m sure they must have seen at least a couple of his pictures before making him an ambassador, they at least watched the video before uploading it to their official channel, so they were ok with his style… But then, they dropped him like this.
I wish they listened to the public this much in matters of firmware update.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Another offending behavior that is now classic Fuji is their history of claiming bullshit and then retreating (the most blatant example being when they said the ibis was impossible).
Sometimes saying nothing is much better than talking just for the sake of it.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

My feeling about Fujifilm is like seeing your favorite underground artist becoming mainstream: you know something will get lost on the way, there’s no denying that.
Until a couple of years ago, Fuji was the beautiful underdog of the camera world: now they’re Established and you know some of that sparkle is missing. More and more.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Not having any inside source, and frankly not wanting to waste too much time investigating something I have zero influence on, I read at least “Innovating Out of Crisis: How Fujifilm Survived (and Thrived) As Its Core Business Was Vanishing” a 2015 vanity non-fiction book by Shigetaka Komori, Chairman/CEO at Fujifilm Holdings Corp. The Boss, if you want.

In this book he descends upon us his wisdom on how he navigated Fujifilm from the stormy waters of the fall of the film age towards a shiny future of dumping ambassadors “attempting to go beyond its established business of imaging and information and transform itself into a company that can make a wider contribution to science, culture, healthcare, and the preservation of the environment.”

In fairness there are some nice words about the photographic culture inside Fujifilm, but it doesn’t take even reading between the lines skills to understand that the main focus is NOT cameras: he tells you himself.
Just for laughs: in the whole book the “X-Series” magic word is present just once, while “X100”, which most people translate to Fujifilm rebirth from its ashes, is present a whopping… 0 times. Z-E-R-O.
Ops. Turns out the camera we all love so much it’s just not that important for Fujifim, compared to other more profitable businesses.
Without even getting to the other big money worlds like medical supplies, Fujifilm’s most profitable thing in cameras terms is the Instax family, which literally prints banknotes.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

ABOUT THE CONSTANT PROMOTIONS GOING ON

This part is in no way unique to Fujifilm, but lately I find their behavior particularly offensive.
I’m gonna state upfront that I took (temporary)advantage of their promotions by buying my X-T3 with a 200€ cash-back and my 23mm with a 100€ cash-back.
I say temporary, though, because in the long run this way of running business is not good at all for us clients.

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

XT-4 RANT

This has been already discussed in the beginning of the article, but the X-T4 really disappointed me. Both in timing and features.
They basically made the X-T series much more similar to the X-H1, which given that there will be an X-H2 it’s annoying.
I am fully aware of the advantages of scale economy, and that’s why I warmly welcome every extra feature which doesn’t interfere with the existing ones and could bring in more users (read, YouTubers) thus lowering the price.
For example, I’m all for adding video features to my photo camera… but I don’t like when they fuck up its main destination of use (photography) .
If you YouTubers want a flippy screen, stop crying and buy a camcorder (which probably works better for video anyway).

Perfect focus at f/1.4, manual focusing without a flippy screen: totally doable. At the 5th try. (Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element)

And please stop crying “I WANT BOKEH IN MY VLOGS!1!!”.
I get it, you wanna blur your background because you’re recording in mom’s living room, but don’t worry, we all know it anyway.
Get a smartphone, it’s the way to go for you.
Most good to great movies are shot with very limited and selected use of shallow depth of field, probably because unlike you they actually have something to say (only the crap you binge-watch on Netflix is usually shot in a range between f/0.95 and f/1.2, and there’s a reason for that).
You’re not Luca Bigazzi (Sorrentino’s DOP), so leave us alone.
If you are a Creative Acclaimed Directors Needing Cinematic Image Quality, you should be able to afford a proper cine camera thanks to the Earnings Assured By Your Incommensurable Art.
If you can’t, you might wanna change job or do whatever you like as long as you DON’T TOUCH MY 3 WAY TILT X-T3 LCD.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

The flippy screen thing drives me crazy, so there’s gonna be more to come in this review, don’t worry.
The X-T4 has a new battery, ok, but it doesn’t even come with a battery charger (and you know how Fuji tries to rip customers off with its accessories’ prices).
Another thing it gets rid of is the small (but useful) EF-X8 flash that’s included in the X-T3 box.
All considered, if you want to have the same kit you had with an X-T3 you have to add at least 110€ more to the price.
Worst part, they completely ruined the perfect X-T3 size by making it bigger: if you want bigger there’s the X-H line. I really don’t get this.

ROSSANA PICTURES (BACK TO A GOOD MOOD IF YOU WILL)

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And now, to restore a better mood, here for you some Rossana pictures since there are only two kind of men in the world: those who love cats, and those who never had one (I was one of them, now I’m on the good side of the world)

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-T3 + Meike 28mm f/2.8

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW IN ORDER TO ENJOY THIS CAMERA

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We all have the right to cherry-pick the advice given us in order to do exactly what we wanted to do in the first place.
Marc Maron

BUY A SOFT SHUTTER RELEASE

This is imperative: the shutter button feels 200% times better with one.
Somehow I managed to not lose one yet (knock knock), but I lost at least 3 of them on my X100F. They’re cheap, buy a dozen, put an extra one in your wallet, and forget about it.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

USING MANUAL LENSES

One of the main reasons I bought the X-T3 is to adapt vintage lenses (or use new manual focus ones). In my first years of photography I did most of my work with old glass, because hi-quality old stuff was cheaper than good new one.
It was more a constriction than a choice, but I’m glad I did it because that’s how I learned to love and master manual focus, and to appreciate the art of old mechanical glass&metal lenses.

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

For the three years I lived in Paris, I shot 99,7% of my pictures with my Fuji X100(T first, F second) because I felt it was the right thing to do, and I had sold all my old lenses (ah, regrets!).
But not always we get to have a choice, so that’s how it is.
Until last year I had other financial priorities (among which a not negligible one was surviving) so I hadn’t bought any lenses, but as soon as I could I bought the Nikon 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s. And then it all went downhill…

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”

Anyway, manual focusing on the X-T3 is a pleasure.
The big and clear evf makes focusing a pleasure, easier even then on my Canon 6D + Eg-S focusing screen.

Manual focus is a breeze (Fuji X-T3 + Voigtlander 50mm f/1.8 QBM mount “Rollei Planar”)

The rear lcd has much lower resolution (1.04mp vs 3.69) and focusing precisely, especially stopping down a bit, is much more approximate, but feasible most of the times.

Fuji X-T3 + Voigtlander 50mm f/1.8 QBM mount (“Rollei Planar”)

There are digital aids to manual focus, but I don’t use any of them: most people praise focus peaking, I find it to be extremely distracting and imprecise, which kinds of defeats the point if you ask me.
When you focus at large apertures (say, f/1.8) the “focus picked” depth of field is always larger then it really is, and if you stop down to f/5.6 you’ll see everything in focus all the time.
Having some trembling colored high-lining makes composing, for me, much more confusing. But many use it happily, so to each is own.

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

I doubt there’s anyone using the fake prism/rangefinder aids, though.
The most useful aid, but is useful only in veeeeery slow photography, is the image magnifying. I assigned it to the rear dial, and when I need it is handy.
Second most useful aid for me is the option to split the evf (or lcd) in two windows where the smallest is a 100% enlargement of the focus point. Very practical, although I use it only in difficult light and calm situations, as composing is not very intuitive in this setup.

You have to activate it with the DISP/BACK button, the caveat is that it works only in M focus mode.
I often forget the focus mode in S as with manual lenses the lens won’t autofocus anyway, and with the push/pull focus mechanism of the 23mm (as of this writing my only af lens) you can manual focus in S mode.
Similar behavior for the zoom-in function: when the focus switch is set to S, you won’t be able to quickly go back to normal magnification by half-pressing the shutter button, which you will be able to do if the focus switch is in M position.

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”

You can also set up up to six focal lengths to record in the exif with manual lenses, but you have to remember to change the setting every time you swap lens.
I forget half of the times: no big deal, only thing affected is the exif data.

You can adapt pretty much every lens out there if you find the correct adapter. Seeing the world through an evf/lcd (= through the sensor) has a big advantage: you don’t have to worry about front/back focusing, focus shift (as long as you focus stopping down, which some people hate — I personally find it more practical), lens adjustment, camera body calibration…
When you shoot at wide apertures, it takes away a big source of anxiety.
If you see it in focus, you can be reasonably sure it is. With a reflex, it should be… But only if the lens doesn’t front/back focus, if the camera is calibrated, the lens is perfectly aligned… With a rangefinder camera, let’s not even talk about it.

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”

Old lenses have hugely different ways of drawing the world, as opposed to modern lenses which tend to look mostly the same: high contrast, high sharpness, clinical look, flat bokeh, digital correction of most aberrations, more often than not poor tonal rendition.

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”, straight out of camera

If that’s what you’re after for your picture making you’re in luck, because that’s pretty much 99% of what’s sold today, a few exceptions standing apart (notably many manual lenses from Leica, Voigtlander and Zeiss; few autofocus unicorns from other manufacturer, and the sleeve of Chinese cheap lenses flooding the market in the last few years).
The main alternative, though, is the magic world of vintage lenses.
If you’re new to it, welcome. You’re in for a ride.

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

The good news is that the internet has pretty much all the knowledge you’re looking for, if you know how to find it.
The bad news is that the era of buying gems for cheap (dirty cheap) is gone, that train has left the station a few years ago and it’s not coming back. Sorry, you won’t buy that Leica old lens for 15$, now that every sensible person knows how to search, buy, and sell stuff on eBay.

Still, most good and excellent old lenses go for much less than their corresponding modern offerings, and they’ll outlast you and your sons if you treat them well. Good luck with any lens that features electronic components involved.

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”

Among all the various aspects that make old lenses so appealing to me, is that most of them have lower contrast than the modern ones.
If on film that might have seen like a shortcoming, I personally find that low contrast lenses really shine on digital sensors, as low contrast means more details retained in the shadow (detail that in a high contrast lens is not recorded to begin with), and if you feel like it you can always boost contrast later without damaging anything.

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

In terms of best looking lens mounts, ltm/M39 and Leica M takes the cake for the ones I own or have seen in real life.

All dslr mounts, due to the differences in flange distances, need big adapters and become awkward to see.
Small lenses become suddenly not so small anymore, and bigger but sexy lenses become grotesque.
Take a look at my Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s. A beautiful lens in itself, but on the X-T3 it’s quite awful.

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

Or the 18€ Industar 50mm f/3.5, a super-tiny lens that becomes a little Frankestein as soon as you put an adapter on it.

Industar 50mm f/3.5 aka micro-penis

The Canon LTM 50mm f/1.4, though, is a sexy little motherfucker. Look at this.


Compare it to an slr lens with the same parameters, the mythical Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element.

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

I prefer the Takumar in rendering and use, but there’s no doubt about which one is the best looking one.
Rangefinder lenses, as good as they often are, have one major downside: the minimum focus distance is in the best case 0,5m, more often 0,7m or 1m. This is sort of ok with longish lenses, but a 28mm with a mfd of 70cm… It suddenly becomes much less attractive, doesn’t it.
Even considering the crop factor, it’s still a lot.
The Canon LTM 50 has a mfd of 1m, even considering the focal length equal to 75mm on full frame that’s still a lot more that I would like. I consider the 0,95m of the Canon 85mm 1.2 L (my all-time favorite lens) already too much. So, remove 10mm from the focal length, add 5cm to the mfd… Enough said.

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”

Rangefinder lenses, especially small lenses from 35mm and below, don’t perform as well on non-Leica cameras, due to the angle of light hitting the sensor. This translates often in weird color casting and loss of resolution.
It’s a shame because Leica cameras are out of reach for most people price-wise, and not practical for a lot of destination of use anyway.
So seeing all these jewels of lenses and not being able to enjoy them properly is frustrating.

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

My dream is Voigtlander starting to produce X-mount lenses, like they do for Sony E-mount cameras.
Just take the M-mount designs, retouch them a bit to adapt them to the different sensors, and reduce the mfd. One can dream, right?
If they do it for the awful Sony cameras, they can do it for Fuji.
Welcome to Matteo’s wet dreams world.
A world where manufacturers care for us, the manual focus crowd, and aims to produce lenses with less chaff (read: electronic shit that might go haywire) and more wheat (read: manual lenses with proper build quality build to last a lifetime and with sweet tonal transitions).
A world where Fujifilm (yes) understands that all the people who adapt vintage/other manufacturers’ lenses on their camera bodies (and believe me, we are plenty) would gladly buy Fujifilm made manual lenses and GIVE THEM MONEY for the privilege of owning, say, a smaller and physical-focus-ring equipped version of the 23mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, and so on.
You don’t need to be a genius at marketing to understand that the reason people buy thousands of old lenses or new Chinese ones is only one: THEY DON’T HAVE ANY ALTERNATIVES. They don’t.
So? So give them some.
We want real full manual lenses, that’s how we roll.

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

Another bonus: with a full manual no-electronic-contact lens you’re 100% sure there won’t be any weird shit happening software-wise with automatic corrections and so on.
Yes, because while we’re at it I have a list of Fuji lenses that people consider great/very good but are heavily corrected for distortion: 16mm f/2.8, 18mm f/2, 27mm f/2.8, 35mm f/2, 60mm f/2.4, to list a few and let’s not even talk about zooms.
Most people think that if a lens has the “Fujinon” name written on it it automatically becomes amazing. Well, it’s not the case.
And speaking about Chinese lenses: there are a lot available now, many are the same lens re-branded twenty times, many of them are Pure Crap, but some are really good, or simply good enough for the price.
I personally tried the Kamlan 28mm f/1.4 (I love 28mm on aps-c by the way, makes me jump back in the time when I was Young and walking to classes in Bologna with my old Canon 450d + Canon 28mm f/2.8… ah, memories, memories) and I dare you to find a better deal than that.

Fuji X-T3 + Kamlan 28mm f/1.4 (his happy owner is shown here trying out my Nikon 105mm on his X-T3)

I recently bought the pancake Meike 28mm f/2.8 and, I have to say, for 58€ I’m smitten. It has a few quirks: distorsion, click-less aperture ring too easy to turn, flare resistance is not great (but I don’t personally care that much). At the same time it’s sharp straight from f/2.8, b&w rendering is amazing, focus ring for manual focus is better than anything from Fuji (not much of a task honestly), it’s quite easy to spot focus even working with narrow apertures (for reasons unbeknownst to me, some lenses of similar or even equal focal lengths are way easier to focus stopped down then other), and in general it’s great fun to use and I believe a better lens than the ~400€ Fuji 27mm f/2.8.

Fuji X-T3 + Meike 28mm f/2.8

I have only one issue with Chinese lenses, and I won’t spoiler it here because it involves the X-T3 as well and you’ll read about it later in the VARIOUS THINGS I WANTED TO SAY BUT DIDN’T KNOW IN WHAT CHAPTER TO PUT SO HERE THEY ARE section.
And now, back to the topic which, if you understandably forgot about, was using manual lenses to the X-T3.

Fuji X-T3 + Voigtlander 50mm f/1.8 QBM mount “Rollei Planar”

There are two other things to consider here is: first,  the X-T3 sports an aps-c sensor which ok, won’t allow you to fully explore the shallowest dof available with your lens of choice, but on the other end will literally cut the corners, that are often awful in vintage lenses, especially wide angle ones.

Second, the adapter issue.
Which one should you buy? There are dirty cheap no-name adapters on eBay for close to nothing, medium-priced ones from established brands, hi-end ones from top brands (say, Novoflex).
I use K&F adapters, buying directly from their websites: they’re in the low-medium price range, but I’ve never had any problems with them.
I own:

  • 1 M39 > Fuji X- mount ad.
  • 1 Rollei QBM > Fuji X- mount ad.
  • 1 Nikon > Canon EF ad.
  • 1 M42 > Canon EF ad.
  • 1 M42 > Fuji X- mount ad.
  • 1 M42 > Fuji X- mount ad. “pro” ad.

All of them have perfect-tight fit on both lens & camera side, and from my test are well-centered (I have never noticed anything in actual images, but I ran some tests for peace of mind purposes).

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

The last one deserves a mention: it’s ugly (see picture with Takumar 50mm a few lines above), but I bought it anyway on sale for something less than 30€: it’s supposed to have a better build (not that I had anything to complain about the standard one) and have better internal coatings.
I thought it was just marketing bullshit but bought it anyway, I have a couple of M42 lenses so why not: I was actually surprised to see noticeable increase in contrast and perceived sharpness wide open and at ~f/2 with my Takumar. So for the price, I’d say go for it. Last time I checked, it was only available for M42 lenses, maybe they’ll do more in the future.

PS: probably the most important bit of information here, make sure to turn on the “Shoot without lens” option buried in the “Set Up > Button/Dial Setting” menu, if not the camera won’t fire at all

I hope you can manual focus your life until you find Joy & Happiness.

SHARPENING ISSUES – DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND USE CAPTURE ONE FOR RAW EDITING

Just do yourself a favor and use C1. Fuji raw files don’t get along too well with Adobe products. I was the first to state that Lightroom was “plenty good enough” (did so in my X100F review), but I suddenly changed my mind once I tried Capture One (read about it here).

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

SET IT

This camera is a multi-faced one: according to the way you set it, its behavior will be diametrically different. It’s very versatile, but can be annoying for people averse to the dismissed art of reading instructions manuals, and sure enough it’s not a pickup-and-go one.
Well, it sort of is, but you’ll only use it at like 30% of its potential.
I’m kind of nerdy so I like to explore menus, settings, and stuff like that, but Fuji cameras are not intuitive to set-up.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Luckily, once you’ve done your initial set-up you’ll seldom need to go to the menu again (I say luckily because the menu is a horror show).
At the end of the review there’s a chapter with a few of my settings, but first there are other things I wanna talk about. Bear with me.

MY FAV THINGS – IN QUITE RANDOM ORDER

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EVF

The viewfinder is one of the main reasons I bought this little machine.
It’s huge, clear, fluid, and makes framing and focusing a breeze.
It’s around 3,7mp, with 0,75x magnification: I am not sure but I think that all the evfs are basically made by the same company.
It should be the same one we find in the Eos R, in the new Nikon Z cameras, in the GFX 50…
It’s bettered by the ones in the Leica SL, Canon R5, Panasonic S1 and even more Sony A7 III, but it’s definitely Good Enough.

Fuji X-T3 + Kamlan 28mm f/1.4

When I now pick up my shitty X100F, it’s always a bit of a shock. The two finders are not even in the same league… Really, it’s a big point of differentiation.
I love manual focusing and this makes it a lot easier.
The advantages of the hybrid finders in the X100/X-Pro line are that you have the option to use less battery, have zero shutter blackout, see outside the frame (which is very approximate, although not as much as a rangefinder Leica one), and see infinite dof as you do with your naked eye.
With an optical viewfinder you also get to see the same dynamic range your eyes can see, and to some that is an advantage: it depends (my opinion).

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

With my DSLR cameras I often composed scenes based on the dynamic range I see in the finder, only to discover in front of my pc that, too bad, the camera didn’t follow my eye and clipped highlights and/or shadows. Yes, the more you use the camera and play with the files the less you’ll make this mistake as you’ll know where the line is, but I think all finders are double-edge swords. It depends on what you like/need.
For the “more dynamic range” side of the camp, the X-T3 offers a practical setting called “Natural live view”, which lowers contrast in the evf (and lcd) and pulls the shadows. Coupled with the Eterna film simulation you really have a different view.
On paper I like it, real world not so much. I just don’t like shooting with it, but I have the feeling is one of those things that might change after some time.
Good to have the option in any case.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

3 WAY TILT LCD

One of the other main reasons I like the X-T3 is the 3 way tilt lcd. Yes, purist will say that the Only Way to do Real Photography is to use the viewfinder (even one of my all-times favorites, Garry Winogrand, says that)… So be it, I do Fake and Inferior Photography.
But fuck it, I enjoy it. A lot.
Framing at weird angles without looking like an idiot or breaking your back to me is a plus, but to each his own….

The 3-way tilt lcd in portrait position, it’s simply the best option out there.
I think I talked enough about the flippy screen to breathe a bit here, so I’ll criticize the X-Pro3 screen now.
From above your head and in portrait orientation it simply doesn’t work, and even in landscape mode it’s just not that practical.
On a tripod as well it’s a pain in the ass.
Or if you put the camera on a flat surface.
Basically, the only advantage it has is that it simplify the “viewmode” (read later) function, but that’s it.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Rejoice with me and let’s write down some of the infinite reasons why the 3-way tilt is The Best form factor lcd for a photographers’ camera:

  • it allows fast framing in all angles you will ever need without spending an hour to open it
  • The silhouette doesn’t protrude outside of the camera, making it less obvious and less prone to breaking
  • It doesn’t get in the way of the strap, which I know video people or many You-Tube “Photographers” don’t use, but 99% do
  • It’s much more comfortable (and stable) to hand-hold: where are you supposed to put your left hand exactly with your screen flipped on the side? Maybe that’s why ibis is Necessary, to compensate for an inferior design which guarantees a shitty hold of the camera

I know, the eyepiece is dirty

By putting the flippy screen on the X-T4 Fuji made clear that this camera is a cheap job & they chose to completely ignore photographers.
I say this not only because I’m pissed off, but also because they had in house a solution which, why not being ideal, could have limited the damages: the X-T100 screen. Do a web search, and check it for yourself: basically it allows for tilt in landscape orientation, and for flippety flip to make video addict shut up.

For photographers it’s still inferior to the 3 way X-T3 screen (you can’t use it in portrait orientation), but less annoying.
But dear photographers, according to Fuji , thou shalt use the X-Pro3 if you want to do Pure Photography.

SHUTTER SOUND

The shutter sound is very muted and Leica-style. On the street or in public places with a minimum of background noise it‘s absolutely inaudible.
The sound is very low-pitched, so it blends very well with human voices and even in a room with three or four persons chatting you’ll be noticed more because you have a camera in hand than because of the shutter sound.
Here’s a video of the X-T3 firing at various shutter speeds.
If it’s still too noisy for you, you can set it to electronic shutter
After years spent with the X100T first and X100F then (which are dead silent) getting back to sound was a bit weird, but in the end I don’t mind the sonic and even tactile (read: vibration) feedback when you shoot, and now it takes some time to get used again to silent cameras when I use the X100..

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

TOUCH SHOOT

A function I wasn’t looking forward to but I immediately took a liking to is the “touch to shoot” trick.
I love it. I know it’s not as tactile as a shutter button, but sometimes, especially when shooting framing with the lcd, is practical and more stable.
A classic case of innovation that works.
See? I’m not a Luddite.

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

FEEL IN HAND

If you’ve already handled another Fuji camera, you already know this.
They just make you wanna get the fuck out of your house and shoot it.
Can’t put a finger on it, but definitely can feel it. 99% of the people who used one agree.

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

Build quality feels about on par with my X100F: the main difference for those who actually shoot instead of fondling it is the shutter speed dial, way easier to move (but it has a lock).
The joystick on the contrary is firmer is and much more difficult to accidentally move with the camera hanging by the neck on the strap, something that always happened with the X100F.
With a long press you can still lock it in one position or selecting the “push to unlock” mode.
Measured (from me) weight is 583 grams with: 2 cards in, battery, sensor cap, strap, soft shutter release.

GRIP

Some people feel a BIGGER camera is automatically more professional. Not me.
I like the X-T3 fine, and if you find the grip too shallow, you can always buy an X-H1 or add a beefier one if you need to.
And I read everywhere complaints like “I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO PUT MY PINKY!!1!!1!”.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

My advice: learn to hold the camera with the damn pinky under the camera.
You’ll discover that it’s more comfortable, the grip is firmer, and, unless manufacturers have midgets as their core target, that’s the way most cameras are designed to be held.

ISO DIAL

Thanks god. Is it that difficult?
This should be on every camera from every manufacturer.
A real iso dial, with a lock button, and the possibility to set it to A and use one of the rotating marked command dials if you feel that way. It’s immediate, easy, and Logical.

As close to perfect as they come

The main advantage of this set-up is that you can work by feel changing your setting while your camera is turned off, and pick the camera up at any moment knowing at glance how it’s set up.
This is one of the main advantages of the X-T3 over the X-T30, but more on that later.

If you find yourself in a situation where it’s cumbersome to use the dial — let’s say it’s raining and you’re holding the camera with the right hand and an umbrella with the left hand — just turn the camera to “A”, and with the front command dial you can browse through the iso settings, the three auto iso included.
An iso dial with an A mode is the perfect solution, and makes perfect sense and great use of the top plate real estate.

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

There is a lock button: the dial having the correct resistance, I seldom use it, but I can see folks using it. Plus, it’s there and it costs nothing to ignore it.
Where there should be a lock button is on the EV compensation dial (whose resistance is way worse, and whose position is more prone to accidental knocking) but guess what, of course there isn’t.

I wish my Fuji X100F (and T) had a real iso dial instead of the exposure compensation dial, which I would assign to the front command dial.

In terms of camera ergonomics, there’s literally no need to reinvent the wheel.
Rotating dials work better than anything that came out later, and the way Fuji set them up it’s genius.
It might use a few minor retouches here and there (for exemple, some prefer full stops, others 1/3, others 1/2…) but I’ll underline again that to me it’s miles ahead anything offered by the competition.

MY KIT

I tried “a couple” of lenses before settling up (for now) on a kit I’m happy about.
A couple of things you need to know.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

I don’t need a zoom lens because I never use them for personal photography, and when I do for boring stuff (like product pics for eBay) I just use the Sigma 24-105 on my 6D.
So no zoom.
If I needed one for casual use, I’d just buy the 18-55 kit lens.
I don’t particularly care for ultra-wide focal lengths as I don’t like them and don’t know how to use them.
I don’t particularly care about super teles neither because I don’t use them.
I prefer manual focus to autofocus.

So, given these premises, my main kit is the following:

  • Fuji 23mm f/1.4
  • Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element
  • Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

What’s good about it?
First of all it’s all excellent glass.
Second, it’s fairly compact.
Third, the three lenses all excel at black and white photography.
Fourth, they all have the same focusing ring direction (Nikon style). It might seems stupid, but it saves you a lot of headaches.
It took a while to get used to it coming from Canon, but now I’m good with that and I don’t think about it. I just know that when I use Fuji it’s one way, Canon the other.

None of my lenses is officially weather sealed, but I managed to live through it and I guess I will in the future.
Here a few pictures with the three lenses.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

The most recent addiction is the Meike 28mm f/2.8, about which I talked about earlier. This is my “fun” lens, and it might become my most used one for the next months. We’ll see: it fits quite well in my kit, except for the focusing ring direction. Well, for 58€ you can’t ask too much I guess.

Fuji X-T3 + Meike 28mm f/2.8

FUJI COLORS

You can fiddle and get the colors you like with raw files from any camera, but it’s just easier if you start with a good base.
You don’t mess with Fuji colors, unless you like over-saturated weird stuff in your pictures (which you can still get with Fuji, but it’ll take some work).
Nobody at this point in time can touch Fuji in this department, and I can’t really see a different rendition between the three different generations of X-Trans sensors I own (X100T, X100F, X-T3).

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

FLASH

The X-T3 doesn’t have a built-in flash, but it comes with an external flash (named EF-X8) which is small enough to always be in your bag, and uses the camera battery so you don’t have to hassle with other batteries and stuff.
It works perfectly for it’s purpose: if you want bigger, need TTL, and need to use off-camera flash, go Godox.
When I want/need to use external flashes I use my Canon ones with Youngnuo triggers in manual mode, as I already have them from my Canon-only days: I’d buy Godox flashes if I were starting from scratch with a Fuji and if I needed TTL. Just don’t forget to set the exp/wb exposure preview to “off” if you care to see something in the viewfinder.
Flash sync speed is 1/250, not incredible like the ones you can get with the X100 and its leaf shutter, but not bad neither.

The little flash is particularly useful when you hand the camera to someone who has a life and doesn’t actually need to be a camera nerd in order to enjoy it, take for example my girlfriend: in this shot where she portrayed me enjoying some fried chicken and beer on the couch, she just took the camera, flipped open the flash, and fired. She had no clue of where settings on it (nor did I for the matter, as I was drunk).


Pulitzer not in sight here, ok, mainly due to the model I guess, but without flash this shot wouldn’t even have existed, and human progress would have greatly suffered from the lack of it.
What you say? Could have done the same with a smartphone? Sorry can’t hear you. Next.

PAPER MANUAL

I’m an old fart about this: I like when camera companies (or any company for that matter) include with their product an old fashioned real instruction manual, made of paper.

Me reading the manual (Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4)

Even if firmware updates will make some things obsolete, the core stuff will be there, and it can be easier to read.
I’m the kind of old-fashioned guy who still like to read those documents and having them at disposal when needed, your mileage may vary.

WEATHER SEALED

The Fuji X-T3 is weather resistant (if coupled with a WR lens).
That’s great to know, too bad I don’t own any of those lenses.
The only Fujifilm lens I own (and given the current lineup, the only one I care to own) is unfortunately not sealed, so I guess I’m gonna keep using my umbrella, or my heavily battered Fuji X100T (you can read its story in my Fuji X100F review), which has become my camera of choice for bad situations where I wouldn’t be comfortable using a “good” camera (e.g. the beach).

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

As you can see from the following posts from a couple of trips with the X100T only, the old camera still holds its own no problem:

THINGS THIS CAMERA STILL GETS WRONG (BUT CAN BE FIXED VIA FIRMWARE)

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PETITION (MORE ASPECT RATIOS)

Fuji, give us 4:3, 5:4, and 6:7 aspect ratios on X-series cameras

It’s one major complaint I have about Fujifilm and it’s really pissing me off, to the point that I wrote a change.org petition that I invite you to sign and share.
Copy and paste of the text below:

Dear Fujifilm,

I’m asking you something that should be very easy for you, on behalf of many fellow photographers (we’ll see how many will sign this), which are also known as Your Paying Customers.

Could you please add three aspect ratios to the already possible ones in the X-Series cameras?

At the moment we have the standard 2:3, the very nice 1:1, and the very filmic 16:9.
How about adding a couple of new ones?

Specifically the ones typical of medium format:

  • 4:3
  • 5:4
  • 6×7

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

The main advantage of mirrorless cameras is the electronic viewfinder.
I shoot raw, so whichever in-camera crop I choose the whole frame is recorded, but the possibility of framing directly in square mode is infinitely better and more precise compared to cropping later, if I know I’m gonna crop it anyway.
Let’s boost this feature some more.

The 3:2 aspect ratio is a weird invention by Oskar Barnack: it should have been forgotten for good with the first digital bodies, but unfortunately camera companies insisted on it as the de facto standard for the industry.
But we’re digressing I guess, so let’s get back to the point.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

There’s two categories of photographers:

those who prefer the larger and more elegant aspect ratios
those who never tried them

Being able to frame in those formats would be splendid, dear Fujifilm.

Why not add this feature in a future firmware update? Indeed, why not? It would cost next to nothing and make many people happy.

I suggest to include this feature in every single X-Series camera and to update their firmware accordingly.

If that turns out to be much work, well, I understand.
In that case, just do it for the bodies I personally own: X-T3, X100T, X100F.
That’ll be all. Thanks in advance.

PS: just in the days I was putting the finishing touches to this reviews, I discovered this thread on dpreview.
Somebody a few months ago kindly reposted my petition and an interesting discussion followed. By “interesting discussion followed” I mean “a lot of folks who didn’t understand at all what I was writing felt the uncontainable urge to comment anyway”, with the results you can imagine. I felt obliged to reply to some of them.
It’s a typical exemple of how the web sometimes brings out the very best of people, I was impressed.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

FUJI SHOULD HAVE AN AUTO DOF BUTTON

As I said above, when I adapt manual lenses I work in stop-down mode. I don’t usually have the time to fiddle with the aperture (wide open-focus-don’t move- close the aperture- don’t move- ah shit I fucked it up again!… I have a life) so that’s just the way I operate.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

And there are certain advantages to it. It made me think I would like to have the possibility of doing it even with my original Fuji 23mm 1.4.
I’d like to be able to assign a “stop-down” function to a fn button, where when it’s on the lens stays constantly at that aperture, so when you put your eye to the viewfinder you see the real dof.
This is just me dreaming, I know they won’t do it.
In the meantime, one workaround is to shoot with the shutter button always half-pressed.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

VIEW MODES SWITCHING

Still Not Fast Enough.
Still too many options (EYE SENSOR, EVF ONLY, LCD ONLY, EVF ONLY + EYE SENSOR, EYE SENSOR + LCD IMAGE DISP.) and lacking the ability to remove some of them via menu if you want to quickly skip change without doing the whole tour, since between each change there’s a small lag which becomes only more frustrating because if you don’t know the order by heart you can’t exactly know where you’re at: e.g., you’re in EVF ONLY and click the view mode button with your eye glued to the finder as you do when it’s the only way to know what’s happening, but by the time you see the finder darken and remove your eye the indication on the screen that tells you “LCD ONLY” has disappeared… which mode are you in then?

See the brief video before; until 0:06 the only speed at which you’re allowed to (slowly) switch through view modes; after, what happens when you try to change FAST: the camera just can’t cope, and it’s very frustrating.

You may as well be in EYE SENSOR or EYE SENSOR + LCD DISP., go figure and good luck in understanding FAST, which is what you need to now on the field.
That’s why my camera is in EYE SENSOR mode all the time, and to hell with battery saving as there’s always either the lcd either the evf on.
If I know I won’t shoot for a while I’ll turn the camera off, but I don’ often do it as I hate when I see something only to find the camera off when I lift it to my eye.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

The good news is that while on the X100F I found the EYE SENSOR mode unusable as it was too slow in switching between the lcd and the evf, on the X-T3 is ok.
Another major fuck-up concerning view modes is this: you cannot see the menu on the screen when you’re shooting in evf only mode. This should definitely be added via firmware, but it won’t.
Imagine you’re shooting and you suddenly realize you have to change something in the menu: the logical thing is to navigate the menu from the screen with the camera in your hand, but no, you have to keep it peeled to your face and watch the menu through the evf, unless you wanna go through the whole view modes agony once more. Bonus point if you do it in a public place, because you’ll look like a real idiot: every time I do it in the tram all the passengers will look at the dumb photographer fiddling with the camera pushing the button near his nose, not realizing is actually fighting against Fuji firmware and not shooting.
Ok.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

There’s all kind of customization going on in this camera, this should be trivial to add via firmware.
I doubt it’ll be done though, I’ve complained about it in my (read by many, so surely somebody from Fuji got a glimpse of it) X100F review, but it doesn’t seem to be a priority.
We’ll make do, I guess.
Although my polemic side makes me wonder: if they can try to cure covid-19, they might as well try to solve the view mode issue on their damn cameras.

CAN’T SEE HOW MANY PICTURES YOU’VE SHOT

This was a problem with the X100F, it’s still a problem with the X-T3.
Not sure if I’m too stupid to find this setting, but I couldn’t in the X100T/F neither. While in playback mode, I can’t manage to have the number of picture I’ve taken (e.g. 1/73). Woud be practical.

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”

LACK OF AN INTERNAL SHUTTER COUNT (THE X100 SERIES HAS IT!)

My X100F and T have an internal shutter count. It’s not hyper precise, but it gives a fair idea of the mileage you put on the camera.
This is part of my delusional list of things I hope Fuji will someday add via firmware, since they obviously have the tech to do it.

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

THINGS THIS CAMERA STILL GETS WRONG, AND WRONG THEY WILL STAY

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SOME DIALS

The worst and most annoying parts of the Fuji X-T3 are the drive and photometry selectors: my oh my, every time you take the camera out of the bag at least one of the two is misplaced.
Well, maybe not every time, but at least one out of two.
I’ll admit that my bag is fairly stuffed every time I walk out the door so the camera fits quite tightly, but this happens more with the X-T3 than with the X100T/F (in fairness, it has more dials as well).

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

And the problem is that in the drive selector they put a few things which (especially on a pro-grade camera) should not even exist as a function, not to mention so easily accessible: the panorama shot and the toy(=crap) camera option. These two options will set automatically the camera to jpeg only…
I understand many people want jpeg… I just don’t happen to think that worsened jpegs deserve such precious and easily accessible top plate real estate. There’s a lock on the shutter speed and iso dials, I think it should have been (don’t know how) on the drive and photometry selectors.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

PLAYBACK BUTTON

Playback button should be swapped with disp/back button, which you’re much more likely to use with the camera in both hands while looking at the lcd. Playback button on the contrary is very useful while shooting one-handed and looking in the evf as well.
When I use the X100F everything is right-hand and go: you can keep an umbrella or whatever you want in the left hand and know you can use the camera at its full potential, unfortunately can’t say the same thing for the X-T3.
Delete button should just be deleted. You shouldn’t be deleting pictures in camera anyway: so long.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

MENU GETTING WORSE AND NOT BETTER

I don’t understand how a company which get so much right in terms of user experience cannot come out with an half-decent menu system.
I’ll repeat what I already stated in my X100F review: “I can’t understand why they don’t copy the Canon ones, the Fuji menus are still all but perfect (everybody hates multiple sub-menus, and this camera is full of them).”
This remains true, just 10x worse, since the camera has 10x more stuff available (if you can find it).

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Good job this camera has function buttons, a Q menu, a “my menu”, and great physical dials, because if it were for the main menu it would be completely unusable (and I’m being gentle).
Some major points:
– custom settings in the “Image Quality Settings” submenu
– in the “AF/MF Setting” submenu, the order of items is completely random, and spread on 3 pages: good look in finding what you look for if you’re trying to use some kind of logic, because there is none
– the “Set Up” submenu is where magic really happens: it has so many ulterior submenus that is not even funny making fun of it… The “button/dial setting” sub-submenu is the hardcore masterpiece.

X-T3 ENGRAVING

I don’t like having the brand name and model name engraved on the front of my camera.
I put black tape on them not because I feel I’ll be more discreet this way, but mainly for an aesthetic reason.

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

I get brand do this because it’s free advertising, but it feels cheap.
Moreover, the font they chose for the “X” in X-T3 is awful.
With the X100 and X-Pro series they’re doing the right thing, keeping the front bare and uncluttered. I wish my X-T3 were the same.

THE STRAP

The X-T3 comes with a nice strap, larger and much more comfortable than the one bundled with the X100F.
In terms of material though, I’m afraid it’s still the same old shitty fake leather that after some time and some sweat starts leaving nice black sticky residues on your neck.

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”

INTERNAL CLOCK

Well I doubt this can be corrected via firmware, but the X-T3 internal clock is all over the place, as it was the one in the X100F.
After a few weeks it will be already off by minutes.
I refuse to believe this cannot be corrected: if my 2012 Canon 6D can keep time properly, I don’t see why Fuji should be “special”.

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”

THINGS I COULDN’T CARE LESS ABOUT BUT THEY’RE THERE

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VIDEO

I know the X-T3, especially at the time it came out, excited probably more videographers than photographers. I know — I just don’t care.
Maybe one day I will, and it’s nice to know that this baby can handle it… But up to now, I just did shot a few short clips of my cat doing random things, in super slow which looks quite cool, I’ll admit that.

CONTINUOUS AUTOFOCUS

The face detection in continuous af mode at f/1.4 in decent light (iso 400) doesn’t really work with the default continuous setting.
Maybe it would with the 23 f/2 or some faster focusing lens, but with my gear I’d rather focus manually, which is what I have to do will all my lenses but one anyway.
Not that I care about it.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

FOCUS PEAKING

Focus peaking is supposedly the dream for manual focus.
I don’t agree, see above in the manual “adapting lenses” section.

JPEG

Many are the mysteries in life, but one of the most intriguing to me is the litany of “Fuji jpegs are beautiful perfect you don’t need to shoot raw nono”.
I’ll put it plainly for you: no matter which generation of X-Trans sensor you look at, Fuji jpegs at anything above iso 1200 outright suck.
First of all, you can’t completely remove noise reduction.
Second, even you’re 98 years old grandfather will become Benjamin Button with a 6 years old Barbie skin.
There is simply no detail left at high(ish) iso with Fuji jpegs, while raw files have a beautiful grain which translates even better on print.
See for example the crop from a picture shot at iso 12800: raw (untouched) vs jpeg fine with noise reduction at -4 (minimum possible). 

And this is a very forgiving example: with human skin the effect is much worse, as it is with out of focus areas.

Fuji marketing department and their X-Men have been pushing this bullshit since day one, and you’ll read/watch most of reviewers underline this to death every time they can.
Don’t believe me, download some of these miraculous jpegs somewhere on-line and judge by yourself.

Fuji X-T3 + Voigtlander 50mm f/1.8 QBM Mount “Rollei Planar”

The only use I’ve found for jpegs is as an archive of messed-up pictures.
If you’re a virgo like me you’ll understand… I cannot stand to completely delete a picture I’ve taken. Even if I’ll never see it again, it hurts me.
That’s why I I shoot raw+jpeg (normal): I develop the raws of the pics I like, and delete the ones of the pictures I don’t like at all or are mis-focused, and so on. I’ll keep the jpegs just as an archive, but don’t wanna fill my hard drives with shit raws I’ll never use.
Another advantage of shooting raw+jpeg is that if you like to shoot square format, you can see the square image in the EVF (or screen), while the full frame raw file will be recorded, should you change your mind. Composing is much easier.
Or, same principle, if you already know you’ll convert the raw to black&white you can set a bw film simulation and visualize the scene in front of you already in monochrome. Manual focusing gets easier as well.

UBER HI ISO

The X-T3 is no match for a Sony A7s (you pick the version, it doesn’t matter).

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

My personal not-sure-I’ll-use-it limit is 25600 iso.
12800 is very grainy, with details and colors starting to degrade noticeably: in black and white, though, it looks quite cool.
It’s not a big deal for me, as I like my fast lenses and I don’t usually shoot in caves, but you should know it.
I have to add a little note: compared to my 6D, I prefer the 6400 iso output of the X-T3 all day long.
Maybe there’s a little more grain, but it looks way more pleasing to me.
Here’s a little example: same picture, full frame first and 100% crop second, shot at iso 12800, f/2.8, 1/60 after a considerable amount of wine and with the 58€ Meike 28mm.


Picture is straight out of camera, with noise reduction and sharpening both at 0, in an actually dimly lit ambient (btw, most reviewers test iso in a well-lit area, an iso-100 area just to make myself understood: any camera will look much better at iso 25600, f/8 and 1/500 of a second compared to say, something like iso 12800, 1/50, f/2.8, test for yourself).

FACE EYE DETECTION

It’s there: with the 23mm f/1.4 works ok, but I’d rather trust my manual focus ability.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

User error in full swing here: I should trust the camera, but I don’t. I’d rather be in control and mess up that give up control and let the camera do what it does.

WI-FI

Be my guest if your priority in a camera is being able to transfer pictures for editing on your tablet/smartphone screen, which I imagine you have calibrated, have you? Hey, have you?
Kidding.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Do as you wish.
I am the kind of guy who doesn’t feel comfortable in updating the camera firmware via wi-fi, afraid the connection might drop, so you can imagine the amount of fucks I give about wi-fi.

 

THINGS I DON’T KNOW WHETHER THEY’RE GOOD OR BAD

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BATTERY

What’s still not that good is the battery. It’s the same good old battery from the X-Pro2, X-T2, X100F… it’s nice to have a battery in common with older bodies, but I’d rather have a more powerful one altogether.
The X-T3 battery is the same present in the X100F/V, X-Pro2/3, X-T2, X-H1…
Compared to the X100F I can squeeze out more shots from one of them, often one battery is enough for the day.
Official CIPA rating is 390: I always get more than that, but nowhere near 1000 shots.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Still, saying the X-T3 battery life is good in absolute terms would be a lie.
The main advantage in keeping this battery is that if you have other Fuji bodies, you can share batteries and charger, and won’t need to use new ones. But I agree that one day or another Fuji should have had to switch to a bigger battery, and they did it with the X-T4 (but not with the X100V or X-Pro3… which came out in around the same time window, go figure).
The X-T3 charger I got (bought the camera in France) is of the “plug to the wall” kind: I prefer the one with the cable, but it’s just a matter of tastes.
There is still the same problem that was present with the X100F charger, so I’ll copy and paste from the X100F review:

When it’s charging the light is green (doesn’t make sense to me), when the battery is full, the led turns off.
Why can’t they make them like Canon, with red blinking light while charging (1 blink = 1/4 battery charged, and so on), and green fixed led when charged? Beats me. Fix this please. It is an issue.

Although in a way that specific problem has been easily ignored solved, since Fujifilm stopped shipping a charger with their last flagship(?) camera, the X-T4.

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

On the X-T3 there is a boost mode, and you don’t need to have the battery grip in order to use it as you did with the X-T2.
Boost mode is always on on my camera… no time to waste in waiting for a camera crippled by myself on purpose, baby.
I always carry spare batteries on me. Talking about spares…
Original Fuji batteries are outrageously expensive (and for no reason at all).
With the X100F I had 4 spare Patona batteries: they work on the X-T3 as well, but a friend of mine who stopped photographing and doesn’t use its X-T1 anymore presented me with four original Fuji NP-W126 batteries. They’re not the newer NP-W126S so you’ll get a brief warning message when you turn on the camera, and the battery icon is yellow.
No problem anyway, and no actual difference in shooting (if you want to go deeper on batteries, read the superb article by Dom Varney “Powering the X-T3″ and “The Great Battery Brawl“).

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Something minor but again, why not?
The only indications you get in normal shooting mode of how much juice you’ve left is a 5 segments rectangle, and when you get to the last three precision leaves a lot to be desired.
If you want to get a percentage, which should be the standard indicator, you have to press “DISP/BACK” a few times, and you can only see it in the screen with the small picture and various other items.
What’s the problem here? Why can’t we have it in standard mode?
I’m too naive to ask for a firmware update, so I won’t bother.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

MADE IN CHINA

The X-T3 is made in China.
I put this section in the “good or bad I don’t know” part because I’m not expert enough in politics and economics to put in the “bad” part, but we can still draw some conclusions.
The X-T2 was made in Japan, and Fuji boldly engraved it on the back of the camera.
In the Chinese X-T3 the made in China is hidden behind the lcd… Not very classy I find. They’re ashamed of it, and if they are they probably have good reasons to be so.


This is not to bash China: it’s true we all know that you can basically pay slave-like salaries over there, but the so-called civilized western world just showed in the recent Covid-19 outbreak that we are as ready as the Chinese to give up even the most basic personal freedoms if ordered so, without questioning anything.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

In all honesty the whole “Made in China” issue bothers me and I seriously considered not buying the camera.
In true western fashion I managed to sacrifice my ethical beliefs just enough to make me comfortable in purchasing the camera, although I still think about the issue.
I have the same doubts concerning lenses: Chinese manufacturers are improving super rapidly, and making exactly the kind of lenses I like.
Fuji has made in China lenses as well, e.g. the 27mm f/2.8 (which I understand is manufactured in the Philippines as well), and isn’t ashamed to sell it for a whopping 399€ (current price here in France)… The Meike 28mm f/2.8 costs 330€ less and it’s comparable in every way you look at them, except that one has autofocus and a crappy focus ring and the other has no autofocus but provides a proper focus ring.

Fuji X-T3 + Meike 28mm f/2.8

Chinese keep the price tag very low, but what about the ethical tag? Is it too high?
I don’t have the data to prove this, although I suspect the answer to be a sound Yes.
At the same time, 99% of the things we use daily is made in China anyway, including the pc I’m writing this review on (along with the monitor, the mouse, and the keyboard), for example…
If you know more, or have some links/articles to suggest, please do so in the comments or at info@matteopezzi.com

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

VARIOUS THINGS I WANTED TO SAY BUT DIDN’T KNOW IN WHAT CHAPTER TO PUT SO HERE THEY ARE

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APS-C

Nine out of ten the aps-c dof is more practical for available light photographers: compared to a full-frame camera, it allows you to open the aperture one stop and thus lower your iso accordingly while keeping the same dof.
Of course, if you’re a bokeh slut this doesn’t apply to you (I am no stranger to it, it’s one of my finest vices in the right days, especially when I open my cabinet and see His Majesty the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM II).
But I’m mostly past that.
I remember well how much I lusted after the 5d mk ii back in the days, and how much it improve my photography when I did get it (it didn’t).

Canon 6D + Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 II vs Fuji X-T3 + Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element: not a completely fair comparison, but two similar focal lengths and f/stop

For an aps-c chip, dynamic range is great and I much prefer it to that of my 6D (I know I know, not the best camera in that department nor the newest one, but still).
It’s not Sony A7S III level, but it’s plenty good enough.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Resolution, 26mp, is on the limit for my personal tastes. 24mp hits the sweet spot in my book, but not much of a difference anyway.
BTW, X-Trans sensor don’t have low-pass filters on them, as other cameras nowadays do, and this generally speaking and with a similar/equal lens makes them sharper compared to traditional low-pass filter equipped sensors.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

And remember this, folks— I am a Hillbilly, and I don’t always Bet the same way I talk. Good advice is one thing, but smart gambling is quite another.
Hunter S. Thompson

Anyway, for what it’s worth, I wanna state that even if I think that the Canon eos R is a joke from Canon, in case it comes down in price I’ll probably buy it: sorry, but I need a body with an evf for the 85mm and my 200mm f/2.8.
The EF 85mm f/1.2 is a blessing and a curse: a blessing because I have a yet to try a lens I like more than that, a curse because it keeps me somehow tied to Canon until somebody comes out with something comparable (I doubt it’ll happen). I could adapt the 85mm on the GFX 50R and even use it on medium format, but at this point of my life I don’t wanna drop 3k+€ on a body when I could make do with something more than 1k, even if I despise Canon a lot.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

BAGS

I’ll repeat what I wrote in my X100F review: there are only two kinds of people, those who like Billingham bags and those who never tried them.
I have three of their bags: the fStop f2.8, the Hadley (old version, not the Hadley Pro), the Hadley Digital.
My everyday carry is the Hadley as I can fit all the normal items I need day by day (one camera with max one extra lens, wallet, keys, e-reader, phone, notebook, pen, pocket knife, extra batteries, earphones, handkerchief, work badge, random stuff, and, as of 2020, face diaper mask).

With the Billingham fStop f2.8 (Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4)

When I need a bit more room, e.g. on holiday, it will be the fStop f2.8, and when I need just one camera, keys and wallet, it’s Hadley Digital time.
I understand they can look unelegant to some to say the least (hey, after all Billingham started as a fishing bag company), but they’re all about functionality, and that’s where they excel. I personally find they have their own style as well, but here we enter the sacred realm of Personal Taste.

NEW CAMERAS DON’T MAKE BETTER PICTURES

New cameras don’t make better pictures, we’re not talking about photography here, many photographers love gear, good ones as well , so who’s gonna tell them not to masturbate on new gear constantly? Not me.
Just don’t buy this camera expecting your pictures to get to the next level. They won’t.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

The Big 4 Coal Company had, he knew, refused his father any more credit. He filled the buckets and marveled at his father’s ingenuity at getting things without money. No wonder his father got drunk. He would get drunk too if he had to keep buying things without money.
John Fante

I don’t wanna guilt you into not buying a new camera, I just want you to ponder about it before pulling the trigger.
Especially if you’re on a tight budget: the X-T3, nor any other camera for the matter, won’t change your life for the better if in order to take it you have to increase your $$ worries (been there, done that).

AUTO MODE

If you set the camera in a sort of auto mode (iso in A, aperture in A, shutter speed in A, autofocus with automatic selection of the focusing area through the whole frame), good luck.

Simply, it’s not the way to use this camera. I tried a few times, but it focuses on random objects, never choosing the same in the same frame with nothing moving if you shoot two pictures in a row, with weird aperture/iso/shutter speed combinations.

HOW I SET IT

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As I was writing a few thousands words ago, you won’t get the maximum out of the X-T3 if you don’t invest some time in reading the manual and trying out different settings.
I understand if you cringe at the thought of it, because Fuji ain’t gonna make it easy for you, no sir.
You would imagine you could assign whichever function you like to the customizable button, right?
Wrong.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Currently *some* functions can be assigned to the Q menu. *Some* can be assigned to function buttons. *Some* are accessible through the main/my custom menu, and some only through the function buttons.
Then the same function appear differently on screen depending on how you access them.
WTF.
We’re getting dangerously close to Sony’s land, where a photographer needs to be a computer technician in order to take a couple of pictures.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

STUPID CAMERA MODE

I know there is a toy camera mode, but that should be got ridden of.
What I’m about to talk about is a totally different beast.
My favorite X-T3 set-up is the STUPID CAMERA MODE (SCM from now on).

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

The X-T and X-H series (along with the GFX50S and the Nikon DF, if you can find one) are the only cameras sold right now that allow the full implementation of the SCM.
Other cameras that come close but not quite there are the X-Pro2/3, the Leica M10 series, and further still the X100F/V.
But before we delve into that, what exactly is the SCM, you might ask?
The SCM is a way of using the camera FAST and at glance, giving you the possibility of:
A) Knowing immediately where you’re at in terms of the most important settings;
B) Changing those settings even when the camera is turned off.
And that’s it, that’s all, but given the current state of the camera industry in 2020 believe me, it’s a lot.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

The settings you should be able to change (FAST and with the camera OFF) are:

  1. aperture
  2. shutter speed
  3. iso
  4. focus distance

The X-T3, coupled with a lens with focus distance markings, can do that, as well as the X-H1 and GFX50S.
The X-Pro2/3 has the weird iso dial merged with the shutter speed one. It’s better that not having one, but it’s way less practical, to use and to see/check.
It’s the same as my X100F, and it would be much better if the exposure compensation dial would be switched with the iso dial.
I’m ashamed to say this, after all the good things I wrote about the X100F, but the SCM is the main reason the X100F has been gathering some dust since I have the X-T3, along with the way better evf and the 3-way tilt lcd screen.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

NO BEEP OR AUTOPLAY FOR ME, THANKS

No beep or auto-play for me.
When I shoot, I shoot. If I wanna preview a picture, I’ll press the “playback” button.
The way I shoot, I don’t need a BEEP everytime I press the shutter. It can be useful in a studio situation though.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

FILM SIMULATION

I use film simulations not for jpegs but to get a rough idea of where I’ll start my editing from.

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

With the X100F Classic Chrome was my starting point 99% of the times, with the X-T3, mainly for personal tastes, I start with the Standard (Provia) profile, and then do whatever I feel like in Capture One.
I seldom set it in bw preview unless I’m extremely sure I’ll be editing pictures only in bw. Since more often than not I go out without knowing what I’ll come home with, I feel more comfortable starting with a provia preview and that’s all.
Fuji has recently introduced a new film simulation called Classic Neg: it’s not available in camera on the X-T3 (product segmentation, blink blink), but you can apply it in Capture One and I swear to god it’s awful.
Of course, no need to underline that the X-Men are all wet about it and pimping it like there’s no tomorrow.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

MEMORY CARD

I’d lie if I said I always shoot with two memory cards.
Actually, most of the times I don’t, but don’t tell anyone.

Fuji X-T3 + Meike 28mm f/2.8

The don’ts in terms of memory card are always the same:

  • using cheap off-brand cards on a 1400€ camera
  • formatting the card from your computer and not from the camera
  • using a card formatted on another camera
  • using a card on different cameras withouth formatting it
  • erasing pictures in camera
  • and so on.

If you don’t believe me, trust at least Lexar former marketing director Jeff Cable.

On the left my main memory card. Maybe for videos it’s not fast enough, but for still photographers who don’t need super fast bursts it’s plenty alright.

dav

BUTTONS

Here’s a picture of my fn buttons settings. This is personal, so of course what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you.

QUICK MENU

I actually keep the Q menu half-empty, as I don’t need as many items and thus I’m faster to browse among the ones I use. Here’s my settings.

MY MENU

Same concept goes for the MY MENU menu page. Here it is.

VS: COMPARED TO

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I’ve already talked about the X-T4, let’s see a couple of other alternatives.

vs X100F/V

They are very different cameras, but since image output is almost identical it all comes to ergonomics and different ways to do the same thing.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4 and Fuji X100F (with its built-in 23mm f/2)

Do you need the smallest camera possible?
Do you need a leaf shutter to handle fast shutter speed flash sync?
Do you need an optical viewfinder and don’t care about being able to swap lenses?
Are you ok with a so-so evf (better on the X100V though)?
Are you ok with a 23mm f/2 (or 18mm, or 35mm if you use the add-on conversion lenses?
Are you ok with not having a proper iso dial?
If the answer to all these questions is “Yes”, then get the hell out of here and treat yourself to an X100F, or V if you want the latest and greatest with a tilt lcd.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

If not, the X-T3 adds a few things which will make your camera life a bit better: iso dial, 3 way tilt lcd, glorious evf, sd port on the side (stupid I know, but so practical compared to the having to turn the camera upside-down to pull of the card), double sd slot, faster view mode managing, plus the obvious fact of the interchangeable lens mount, which is a double-edge sword and we won’t get into that quicksand pit.
So, as always, choice equals compromise. Pick wisely. Or pick both.

VS X-T2

If you don’t mind video, the slightly lesser resolution of the evf, the slightly inferior autofocus, but you value the fact the X-T2 is made in Japan, this is the camera for you.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

In fact, writing this lines I think I might have saved myself at least 400€, but you and I both know I wanted that X-T3 evf.
I’m sure if you look for it you can still find new X-T2 somewhere for a song, or used ones in mint condition for even less.
It was a great camera when it came out, it sure didn’t get worse with time.
Compared to the X-T3 it has slightly slower autofocus (especially in the periphery of the frame), a slower processor in general, but for photo use it’s still an amazing camera.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

VS X-H1

Made in Japan, beefier, cheaper, slightly inferior autofocus, video oriented, ibis-equipped, same evf, older sensor and processor.
This is the X-H1 in a nutshell, and since when I bought the X-T3 you could have one brand new with grip and one extra battery for around 1000€, I seriously pondered what the hell I was doing going with the X-T3.
But I put logic aside and swiped my Mastercard on the New Camera, and didn’t regret it.

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

IBIS is something I’m not fond of, although with a gun at my head I’ll admit it might be useful at times.
What really put me off was the size.
The X-T3 is just about perfect in that department and fits my bag perfectly (read: tightly), so I figured why go bigger?
Indeed, why?
I couldn’t come up with a Logic answer, and thus let it go.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Fuji tried hard to give them away for 1000€ (last year’s flagship is today’s Deal, as people who paid 1700€ for it just a few months before learned the hard way) and I suppose there’s not many available anymore.
If you find one, it’s still a good deal.
According to rumors, the X-H2 is due sometimes in 2021, but you can’t shoot today with a camera coming out next year, and that’s where my wisdom ends.

VS X-T30

The XT-30 looks like an amazing camera if you’re on a budget, but frankly I would just save a little more and buy the real thing, or an used real thing.
The bigger viewfinder alone makes it worthwhile, and the iso dial and better ergonomics add to that.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Sizewise, the X-T3 is still very small, and with a lens the XT-30 isn’t pocketable anyway, so I don’t see the point of it unless you’re on a tight budget (if I were, I’d rather go for an X-T2 or used X-T3) or you are an occasional shooter that doesn’t care too much about the ergonomics improvements that are so important for us daily shooter.
But I guess if you’re still reading you aren’t a casual shooter, so just forget the X-T30.

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

I’ll make my point here that, unlike the beginning of the digital era, now walking with a camera in public space has become something unusual.
Once upon a time everybody walked around with a small point-and-shoot camera, now there are only smartphones, and even a small camera will make you obvious (unless you’re in a very touristic spot).
So the “advantage” of a small camera in terms of “I’ll go unnoticed” is close to none, nowadays.
If you want a small camera, buy an X-100something. So I spoke.
Ah, one more point: the X-T30 is not weatherproof.

VS X-PRO2/3

The X-Pro series is your only option if you want a Fuji sensor, an interchangeable lens mount, and an optical viewfinder all in the same camera.
Don’t like it? Out of luck.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

I personally wouldn’t buy the X-Pro2 unless you’re an ovf freak because its evf is way inferior to the X-T3 and X-Pro3 ones.
Moreover… the magnification of the Pro2 ovf is not fixed and allows you to use a 18mm comfortably, while the Pro3 one is fixed and won’t go under 23mm.
So a bit of give and take here, too much taking and not enough giving if you ask me, especially at that price point.

The X-Pro3 lcd made a lot of headlines when it came out, understandably so. It’s quick to flip open, ok, but you can’t use a tripod with it, it won’t allows vertical shooting, and in general it’s less practical: one thing going for it is that it saves you all the headaches that go with the view mode button (which the X-Pro3 doesn’t need and doesn’t have), although if Fuji made its homework with a proper firmware this problem wouldn’t exist on the rest of their camera neither.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

When all is said and done, though, the X-Pro3 is one hell of a sexy camera and I wouldn’t mind a bit having one.

VS SONY

I’ve already expressed my feelings for Sony cameras in the X100F review and they haven’t changed, so go read them if you’re interested and come back here.
There’s one thing, to this day, I envy to Sony: the A7S III evf. That’s all.

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

VS LEICA

In my X100F review I was pretty harsh talking about Leica, and I still stand behind 100% of what I wrote.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Their main business is selling expensive cameras to collectors and rich old people who won’t use them (pretty neat as a business plan, I’ll admit).
The only Leica that really attracts me nowadays is the M10 Monochrom, but I can’t justify its cost and I don’t want a rangefinder camera, too many compromises and issues.

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

The natural competitor of the X-T3 should be the Leica CL, but it’s an inferior camera sold at a whopping 1000€ more.
There are, though, some things I appreciate in Leica cameras: most of their lenses, and the fact that they’re made in Germany in hospitals by people who are probably paid correct wages (which as we discussed above is probably not the case in China), so kudos to that.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

With Fuji and all their know-how in lens-making it’s not a question of “can they?”, it’s more a question of “why they fuck they don’t”.
Picture this: a 23mm f/1.4 with a smooth, proper focusing ring, no clutch, a real well-distanced depth of field scale, and all the size decrease due to the lack of an autofocus motor. Throw in weather resistance, why not?
If the af version is sold at 800€, I’m 100% convinced they could sell a whole lot of manual focus ones for ~600/700€. Hell, I’d buy it for 900, but that’s maybe just me.
Now add to the 23mm f/1.4 a 35mm f/1.2, a 58mm f/1.2, a 90mm f/1.4, and a 135mm f/1.8.
No autofocus bullshit, no electronics, no in-camera correction… just pure glass and metal.
The only problem of such a kit would be that many people would realize how much camera companies, Fuji included, are selling inferior products for premium prices.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

THE END

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THE END (MAYBE!)

All considered, this is a camera that in a normal world should stay relevant for a long time.
Unfortunately, this is no longer a normal world so the X-T3 has had a life cycle of only one year and a half: making it worse, after three iterations which clearly shared the same DNA, the X-T4 is a complete revolution, for the worse if you ask me.
The X-T4 should have been an X-H2, and the X-T4 should have been an X-T3 with the improvements I suggested above: this, in my ideal world of course.
What a shame, being bullied in this flippy world we live in.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

If I only had one tooth, I think I would brush it a real long time.
George Carlin

In a way knowing that it’s the last of its breed makes me appreciate the X-T3 even more, but it seems that everytime a camera is close to perfect for me, the brand fucks it up (already happened with the Canon 6D back in 2017, after 3 years waiting for its embarrassing successor).

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

What most reviewers fail to tell you is that in 2020 all cameras on the market are excellent image-making tools able to make all the images you need (unless you’re in very limited and small niches like hardcore sport/wildlife photography, and even then keep in mind that back in the days these genres where practiced with manual focus and no burst).
The main factors in choosing a camera should be its interface/ergonomics/user experience (call it as you wish), plus its ecosystem.
I am prone to ranting and complaining by nature, but the X-T3 is one hell of a camera.

Fuji X-T3 + Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 Ai-s

Marketing bullshit and advertising work: they’ve always been based on two keywords: New & Free (or if you can’t provide one of the those, Sex & Cash are a safe alternative).
In today’s world, New translates to new cameras that are for all purpose almost identical to the old ones, and Free in constant promotions that give the idea that you’re paying less.
These are car salesmen tricks but hey, they work.

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”

We should all try to stop using the any-benefit approach when buying new products, and start thinking more about our real needs (not too much though, if not we all are gonna buy just an X100).
The any-benefit approach is the one most people, for example, use when they subscribe to Facebook: “It’s very useful and of course I need it, so I’ll know what my kindergarten friend that I haven’t seen nor called in 35 years is doing in Greenland”.
Yes, and at the same time it sucks up humongous amounts of time filling your life with a sleeve of very bad side-effects, but hey, you can share some angry post by your favorite politician who’ll convince only who’s already convinced. The New Democracy.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

So yeah, the any-benefit approach in the context of this review and not in the context on why you should say fuck you to Mark Zuckerberg is that camera makers are very effective at convincing you that you (might, shall) need every little useless new bullshit feature they come out with, which if you sit down, grab a beer, and think about it, well, you don’t.

Fuji X-T3 + Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 8 element

(THE WISDOM) WHY DO YOU TAKE PICTURES? WHY DO I TAKE PICTURES?

Is it to get that one more like on Instagram?
Is it to show to your “friends” online?
Is it to get that dopamine boost you feel when you click on the “share” button?
Or maybe is to get that couple hundred bucks (that you’ll see maybe in 6 months) rotten gig for an impossible client?
There must be more to Photography than this.

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”

I know what I’m talking about me, believe me. I talk from experience.
When I went out shooting, for example, there was always an annoying voice telling me over my shoulder: “Psst, hey, this is it, this picture is so-so at best but you’ll get more likes”, and I couldn’t wait to get home, edit the picture, and make the World a Better Place by showing it to my loyal followers.
But I’m out of that game now.
I’ve opted out more than one year ago and, mark my words, I ain’t going back in.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

The fact of the matter is that Nordstrom wasn’t a very good dancer but when you’re dancing alone, who cares?
Jim Harrison

There are a few downsides coming along with this choice: one of them is that my “public life”, this website aside, is close to zero, and in today’s weird world this is strange and sometimes unaccepted.
On the other side, though, being out of these dynamics makes you:

  • overall healthier, increasing your ability to concentrate and relax your brain at will;
  • more interesting, if you want. In a world where everybody’s in, you’re an outlier. The law of scarcity is called a Law because, well, it’s true;
  • more selfish, in a good way: your learn to value your time and (limited) friendships more;
  • more connected to what you feel and want and need, which I found out seldom coincides with other people’s preferences, and that’s alright, that’s exactly how it should be. We are all different, with different stories, experiences, moments, dramas, etcetera. Who we are should drive the way we express, and the only way we can do it is by being able to listen deeply to ourselves and not have our mind and eyes always polluted by somebody else’s stuff. Humans, when given the opportunity, tend to uniform, and that gets boring real quick;
  • capable of properly sharpen your knives.

For example, yours truly is pictured here having a minor personal drama realizing that the branch is not strong as it seemed before jumping for it (Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4)

So yeah, why do you take pictures?
Do you have something to say?
Are you trying it to do it your own way?
Only you know the answer.
In all creative realms there’s a common and inevitable path.
You start for fun, then, admit it or not, you begin doing it for others, and if you’re Lucky you get back to doing it for fun.

I guess if I run along this path far enough I’ll go sell my X-T3 so yeah, everybody is allowed some latitude here.

Fuji X-T3 + Canon 50mm f/1.4 LTM “Japanese Summilux”

A friend of mine asked me recently: “Matteo, why do you take pictures?”
Good question, but can’t we really talk about MotoGP results instead?
Then I realized that Valentino Rossi had just crashed in the last race, so I quickly got back to the original question.
A good questions indeed, and at his insistence I gave it some thought.
I came up with around 99 different reasons, but the real ones could be summed to this:

  • Photography is the ability to create Nostalgia, dare I say in the most powerful way of all;
  • Photography has the irresistible allure of being an art form that forces you to play with reality, and sometimes transcend it;
  • Ego: when you take pictures, you automatically become a “Time-Custodian”, and often you become the most important person in the room, at least in the long term;
  • Making photos is a social passepartout, and an excellent way of fighting shyness (I can clearly divide my life in two periods: before and after my interest in Photography);
  • Taking good pictures, especially of people, is one of the few way of being good/excellent at something that doesn’t automatically put down or make jealous other people (moreover, even if they’re jealous they can always think “I could do the same if only I had that expensive camera/lens!”), and, on the contrary, can make them feel better;
  • Camera and lenses are Sexy.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

Of course in this review you haven’t found my most personal photos, so you have to take my word for it when I say that the X-T3 is a wonderful instrument for the noble art of personal photography .
It’s small enough to be brought anywhere if you’re motivated enough, the aps-c sensor is arguably a better choice for everyday life (more depth of field, smaller lenses), the camera is beautiful to see and to use and to touch.
So?
Time to buy an X100.
Your move, buster.

Fuji X-T3 + Fuji 23mm f/1.4

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8 commenti a “The Wisdom: Fuji X-T3 review”

  1. Paul from the dull channel October 4, 2020

    Phew…I made it. Just wanted some cat pictures. Nah..I knew you from the X100F review…still bought one though. Maybe I am wrong, please tell if so, but I feel like maybe we have a similar view on technology. On the one hand it is great what one can do with it, the possibilities…but modern technology especially with the all the automated and “AI” stuff can be incredibly infuriating when one just wants to use a tool to do some task like taking a picture. I still fondly remember by Canon 20D…the thing was so easy to use alas a bit on the large side.

    I see the hardware side of cameras has pretty plateaued and now they put in new software tricks to rationalize bringing out yet another body to sell instead of updating older products. Ah well…as long as people part with their money.

    Signed your petition (a while back)..I would get so much use out of it.

    1. Matteo Pezzi October 5, 2020

      Ahah!
      Thanks Paul. I think so yes. I would trash immediately all the ai stuff, and I agree that the hardware side in the last few years is not moving much, the X-T3 and X-T4 are almost identical to the X-T2, and most cameras nowadays are so good that it doesn’t really change that much.
      To me 99% of the new functions introduced in cameras recently are there just to attract the video and smartphone crowd, for photographers there’s not much.
      Thanks for taking the time to read the review and for signing the petition!
      -Matteo

  2. Alexander Kaldor October 5, 2020

    Hi Matteo, another nice review, I liked the many great pictures you used to illustrate your comments. You mentioned the slave wages paid to the Chinese workers. In US the minimum hourly wage in many major cities on the East and West Coasts is $15. Due to high rents, taxes, health care, transportation and education costs, a person working full times at these minimum wage in a major city can not afford a place to live and is practically homeless. It is possible that in a different economic system like China if the government provides many of the above listed expenses free of charge or subsidized that a person earning what to us Westerners seem as slave wages may actually be a living wage. And the $15 hourly wage even though high in many location is not a living wage.

    1. Matteo Pezzi October 5, 2020

      Hi Alexander, I see your point and tried it myself, when I was working at McDonald’s in Paris for less than 9€/hour believe me it was not easy, even keeping my expenses at the very bare minimum and living in an 11 squares meters “flat” the end of the month was always a struggle. But now that it’s over I see it as a very formative experience, although I couldn’t have lasted much more than I did.
      There is more than that though, I think, but I’m definitely not an authority on the topic. Just doing a quick google search you can find a sleeve of articles like for example this one: https://www.forbes.com/sites/siminamistreanu/2020/03/02/study-links-nike-adidas-and-apple-to-forced-uighur-labor/
      I don’t really know honestly.
      Thanks for taking the time to read the review!
      -Matteo

  3. Noam Amir October 11, 2020

    Yo Matteo!
    You already know I like long rambling reviews, I enjoyed the previous one on the X100F too. I have to say that these days I’m becoming less enamored with the particularities of our digital wonders. Cameras are getting so jam-packed with menus and features that photography is falling by the wayside. I see so many photographers on the forums arguing about all these miniscule details and I can’t keep wondering if the differences show up in their photos. I bet you can guess where this is leading… yes, I’ve started going retro, experimenting with film.

    Don’t get me wrong, digital has helped me improve very much, and I’m far from throwing away all my fine digital equipment. But I feel no inclination at all to shell out many hundreds or thousands of $$ on newer versions of anything. I got me several film cameras for much much less. First, they’re so absolutely cool!! All metal wonders that click and whir, for real – not out of a loudspeaker. With tiny, light, high quality lenses and manual focus that’s actually a pleasure to use, not an afterthought. Using manual lenses on your Fuji, you actually know this already…

    The coolest part is the sensor. Or lack thereof. There are so many arguments about the relative pros and cons of digital sensors, but if you buy a specific camera you’re stuck with that sensor. With film, you get to change your sensor every 36 pictures! Whoopee!

    Go on doing what you do 🙂

    Noam.

    1. Matteo Pezzi October 12, 2020

      Hi Noam, thank you for your nice words
      I’m with you about the lenses, a completely different (better) feel with manual stuff!
      Film is cool but if I did shoot it I’d like to develop it myself (do you?) and I don’t have enough free time (nor the room) to do it, so I’ll stay with digital bodies. I’ve done a vacation in 2015 where I only brough an old Fujica without a meter and with a 28mm and a dozen rolls of film: it was very nice and I was happy with the pictures, but the lab ruined (scratched) some negatives and I hated the process of scanning and editing the pictures (a friend of mine lent me a good film scanner).
      So never say never, but for the time being it’s digital only for me I’d like a large format camera for some portrait stuff though!
      cheers and thanks again for the comment
      -Matteo

  4. Hank Rota October 19, 2020

    Hi Matteo:

    A very candid, excellent review that was written with great humor and satire. I thank you for your efforts and you’ve help me make up my mind: it’s the X-T3 for me!

    I also wanted to pass on to you a You Tube reviewer who you did not mention in your article but who’s independent, has no affiliate links, buys and uses his equipment, loves Fuji (and Nikon) products and is just as entertaining as you are. Hi name is Ken Wheeler and he’s known on You Tube as the “Angry Photographer.” If you haven’t already, check out some of his videos; he’s big on legacy lenses too.

    All the Best,

    Hank

    1. Matteo Pezzi October 19, 2020

      Hi Hank, thank you 🙂
      They’ll probably make the usual cashback in december, so if you’re not in a hurry you might wanna wait a few weeks, as I’ve talked about in the review 🙂
      Yes I know Ken!
      thanks for the comment and have a good day
      -Matteo

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