My life in cameras part 15: Fujifilm X-T3 review

A great camera that saw less and less use despite being a great camera. I already wrote about selling my X70 and X-T3 here and size was the deciding factor. So time for a retrospective on this camera. And maybe you can find this episodes sponsor 😉

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Why I bought the Fujifilm X-T3

I used to shoot with MFT cameras for years but after a while felt just uninspired. I sold all my gear but soon after picked up an X100T and later an X100F. These cameras reignited my passion for photography. I really did like the improved dynamic range, rendering and color output (and Acros of course). The dials and ergonomics would suit me much better than the modern designs from Olympus and Panasonic. Even though the former had retro styled cameras their user interface was decidedly modern, cramped and increasingly unintuitive for my style of photography.

After two years of exclusively using the X100 series I felt that I had reached a certain limit with these cameras and their fixed lens. A 35mm equivalent focal length was often not wide enough for larger cityscapes but also not narrow enough for certain street scenes. I ended up buying the two add-on lenses and I did uses the wide angle converter often enough but the teleconverter was way too large and heavy. The lack of a tilting screen and the poor subject tracking made shooting my then two year old kid increasingly frustrating.

Having reached what I felt was my limit with the X100F I considered my options. Every interchangeable lens camera would be bulkier and heavier no matter what. So I figured I might as well buy a large and ergonomically well designed camera with a nice and large viewfinder. The viewfinder on the X100T/F was a bit cramped especially with glasses. I also wanted to play around with vintage lenses so my choice fell on the X-T3. It seemed like the perfect camera (they never are though).

Photographic life with the X-T3

The X-T3 was a great camera. It was well designed with lots of control dials and buttons. It had a large and comfortable viewfinder that worked really well for me and my growing collection of vintage lenses. Holding this camera was a joy and it allowed for slow and deliberate photography. Subject tracking worked well enough for my toddler but I soon became quite good at snapping her with manual focus. I am not going to talk about image quality. Almost all cameras from the last seven years are probably good enough for most people. Certainly good enough for me.

I also had quite a bit of luck finding this camera. I bought one used from a photo store without really knowing much about its condition. But it came with a one year warranty and a two weeks no questions asked return policy. My copy came with lots of spare batteries and thought that this camera had surely seen a lot of use. But in fact it was in practically new condition. There was zero dust anywhere on the viewfinder, no scuffs or scratches, finger prints or dirt. The shutter count was zero. Someone must have bought the camera as a spare and just kept in a desk drawer somewhere.

I took lots of pictures with it and I experimented with a lot of different focal lengths, vintage and modern manual lenses. I also experimented with a even more jpeg recipes until I felt the sheer choice of them overwhelming and began to develop my own 3 to 5 go-to recipes. Although these change from time to time as still like to experiment. I also took advantage of the large viewfinder to try out old and maybe obscure and cheap lenses leading to my Vintage Lens Jeopardy series. All in all my time with the X-T3 was an experimental time which looking back I very much appreciate. The camera and starting this blog a few months earlier very much helped me in finding a certain purpose in my photography.

Why we had to depart

Pretty soon I realized that my “size does not matter” attitude was flawed. I had many occasions when carrying the X-T3 was simply not possible. I did not have enough space or carrying it all day long over my shoulder would become very uncomfortable. This also coincided with my kid no longer requiring a stroller on which I usually carried my camera gear around. Now I had to carry everything in a backpack or sling and more often than not I had to carry my child as well while the large camera bounced around. So I bought the tiny XQ2 and the slightly larger but still small X70 to “solve” that problem but these cameras were just too limited for what I wanted to shoot.

I also found that I never really used all the dials and buttons. In fact I did use only one dial (plus the aperture ring on the lens) and maybe two or three buttons. I never needed two card slots and I did not handle large telephoto lenses mostly using small primes. The camera was too large and heavy (for me at least) to take one-handed snapshots. It was uncomfortable to shoot via the back display because of its weight and bulk. Something I came to do more often with the XQ2 and X70 because it is less conspicuous and it allows me to stay more aware of my surroundings. In the end I mostly used the X70 and the X-T3 collected dust. So I sold both for an X-E4 hoping to combine portability and flexibility in one camera. Let’s see how long this ones stays with me.

Fujifilm X-T3 sample pictures

I had a bit of trouble finding nice samples. All my “good” photos have already been posted because this blog was started slightly before buying the X-T3. This time I also added the lens used because this really was an experimental phase for me.

X T3 samples
Warning light (2022) / 7Artisan 12mm f2.8
X T3 samples v1
SquareSpace (2021) / Helios 44-M 58mm f2
X T3 samples v2
Into the Light (2021) / Beroflex 35 – 70mm f3.5-f4.8 MC Zoom Macro
X T3 samples v4
Original Taste (2021) / Beroflex 35 – 70mm f3.5-f4.8 MC Zoom Macro
X T3 samples v5
A-Team (2021) / Auto Photavit 35mm f2.8
X T3 samples v6
Rods (2021) / TTArtisan 35mm f1.4
XT3 sample
Health care squares (2021) / Fujinon EBC 55mm f1.8
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