When I reviewed the Fujifilm X-H1 earlier this year, I thought it was the best mirrorless camera I encountered to date. So much so that I christened it the “DSLR Killer” and have been effusive in my praise for it.
That changed, however, recently when I got the change to check out the Fujifilm X-T3, which is for all intents and purposes a smaller form factor version of the X-H1. It impressed me so much that I’m inclined to crown the X-T3 as the best mirrorless camera you can buy right now.
The perfect balance
If you’ve read any of our mirrorless camera reviews of late, you’ll know these offerings are really setting the standard as far as the local camera market goes, and very much the area that manufacturers across the industry are focusing their attention.
Previously the mirrorless camera segment has been split between stepping stone cameras designed to tempt compact camera owners to upgrade, or high-end devices made for DSLR fans to switch.
The Fujifilm X-T3 sits somewhere in between in my books.
There’s a certainly familiarity to it that novice mirrorless camera users can enjoy and become accustom to, as well as a wealth of functionality that seasoned photographers and DSLR diehards can get the most out of.
The first thing you notice about the X-T3, as you do with most of the Japanese company’s mirrorless cameras of late is the retro-styled design. It’s one of Fujifilm’s greatest traits at the moment, and something we’ve seen competitors try to replicate.
To pair with that eye-catching retro-styling, the X-T3 is also solidly constructed. It has a good deal of heft at 539g (including battery and SD card), but never becomes unwieldy. These are important considerations should you wish to opt for a lens larger than the XF 18-55mm option our review model was supplied with.
As such the X-T3 feels really well-balanced in-hand, whether you’re using a pancake lens for increased freedom of movement on street photography, or a larger macro lens for specialist shooting.
Getting use to things
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows with the X-T3 though, at first at least. I found the button layout a bit tight and rather intimidating, especially being a regular Canon shooter. It naturally then took a bit of time to get use to things.
Luckily the buttons and dials on offer here have a reassuring mechanical feel to them, keeping in tone with the overall design of this mirrorless camera.
That said, they are quite closer together, and prove finicky at times should you wish to quickly flip through different settings. As such my pudgy fingers did struggle at times whenever speedy adjustments were required.
Thankfully those moments were few and far between, with the Fujifilm X-T3 rarely serving up poor images that required adjustments on the camera settings.
The result is a great point and shoot ability, meaning that you won’t have to look at the 3.0″ touchscreen on the rear all the time worrying whether you’re getting the shots you need.
A perfect all-rounder
Now we get to the important stuff, the pictures. I found the X-T3 well suited in variety of scenarios. Outdoors it copes with natural light well and produces solid representations. Low light photography too was impressive, with the detail you want always being found.
Powering this great all-round performance is a rather impressive range of components. The X-T3 is sporting a 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor, which is paired with the X-Processor 4. This combination delivers a highly comparable setup to that of the more expensive Fujifilm X-H1 (it’s also a bit older than the X-T3), with that camera’s only real advantage being the in-body stabilisation and focus tracking.
As such if you’re a sports or wildlife photographer you’d want to opt for the X-H1, but all other disciplines would not be left wanting by the X-T3.
More and more then the X-T3 is making a case for being most pro photographer’s everyday carry camera.
Depending on the retailer the Fujifilm X-T3 is going to cost you around R29 000 (with the XF 18-55mm lens), and for that kind of money you’re getting not only a mirrorless camera that can do it all right now, but one that will stand you in good stead for a number of years to come. That’s why I’d place it in the investment category and a worthwhile one at that.
If you are indeed in the market for a standout mirrorless camera, the X-T3 is perhaps the best money can buy right now.