There isn’t a getting away from it: Fujifilm’s choice to implement a “hidden LCD” on their model new Fujifilm X-Pro3 digital camera was at all times going make this a divisive digital camera. The query is: has Fujifilm created such a distinct segment digital camera as to make it unusable? After utilizing the digital camera extensively for the previous couple of weeks, right here is my purely private tackle this very private digital camera.
The Similar, however Completely different
Because the naming conference would counsel, the X-Pro3 is the third iteration of Fujifilm’s rangefinder type digital camera. It builds not solely on the success of earlier variations of the identical mannequin, but additionally upon different fashions from their X Collection line of cameras.
It makes use of precisely the identical 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans four sensor discovered on the Fujifilm X-T3 and Fujifilm X-T30. A lot has been written about this sensor that there isn’t a must repeat all of it once more right here. Suffice to say, the X-Trans sensor has so matured through the years; you simply know it is going to produce merely fabulous pictures.
The hybrid optical/digital viewfinder discovered within the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Fujifilm X100F is again, this time with a number of incremental enhancements. The X-Pro3 additionally makes use of the identical menu system as the opposite cameras within the X-Collection vary, that means current customers will instantly really feel at dwelling. Even the NP-W126S batteries are precisely the identical as used on the X-T3, X-T30, X100F, and so forth.
Thus far, the identical. The place this digital camera actually begins to get attention-grabbing is the place the X-Pro3 differs from its sibling cameras.
That “Hidden” LCD
So, let’s simply cope with the elephant within the room, the hidden LCD display. As an alternative of the forward-facing, fastened display of earlier variations, the X-Pro3 encompasses a 180-degree, flip-down LCD monitor, which hides away behind the again panel when not in use.
As a replacement, Fujifilm has applied a small, forward-facing, sub monitor harking back to the highest show of the Fujifilm X-H1. By default, the sub monitor shows the present movie simulation, a transparent nod to the outdated observe of slipping a chunk 35mm movie packaging into the again of the digital camera as a reminder of which movie had been loaded. it is a good contact, however personally, I shortly modified this to show frequent digital camera and publicity data, which I discovered extra helpful.
I have to admit, I had some preliminary reservations in regards to the hidden LCD. With this digital camera, Fujifilm clearly wish to take away as many distractions as doable, permitting photographers to essentially have interaction within the second. What number of photographers it will enchantment to stays to be seen, however I’ve to say that after utilizing the digital camera for some time, I’ve actually loved the capturing expertise it brings.
That have hasn’t been with out a few hiccups although. It positively took me some time to get used to having to open up the LCD, particularly when utilizing the menu system. I’m so used to urgent the menu button and searching on the display that I typically did the identical with the X-Pro3, solely to search out myself staring on the little sub monitor as a substitute of a menu system. I did this sufficient that I form of want Fujifilm would simply enable the menu to be displayed on the sub monitor. Perhaps that is one thing for a future firmware replace.
In use, I really desire desire the way in which the display opens on the X-Pro3 in contrast to the X-T3, particularly for capturing down low or from the hip. That is primarily as a result of bodily design of the 2 cameras. The viewfinder of the X-T3 stands out fairly a manner, partially obscuring the LCD, particularly at 90 levels. The viewfinder of the X-Pro3, alternatively, is way more flush to the physique, permitting your entire display to be seen.
The place I discovered the design of the LCD did get in the way in which was when I mounted the digital camera onto a tripod. With the flip down nature of the articulation, the tripod restricted the vary movement of the display was in a position to obtain, limiting it to not way more than 90 levels, which was a bit annoying.
Fact be instructed, although: I didn’t discover the shortage of a forward-facing LCD to be a difficulty, and inside a day or two, I wasn’t lacking the display in any respect.
There isn’t a doubt about it: the X-Pro3 is a stupendous digital camera. Harking back to the rangefinder cameras of outdated, its minimalist design lends itself to the nostalgic expertise of capturing with an X-Collection digital camera.
Within the hand, the X-Pro3 feels very nicely balanced, helped by a barely redesigned grip to enhance the general dealing with. That is very a lot enhanced by the tactile nature of the publicity dials, which I really like, though I acknowledge many different photographers dislike.
Magnificence apart, this can be a actually powerful digital camera. With a physique product of magnesium and prime and backside plates product of titanium, this digital camera will seemingly chortle within the face of any quantity of abuse you care to throw at it. Anybody wanting absolute most safety can go for the non-obligatory Duratect coating, which comes with a slight value bump however makes the X-Pro3 virtually inconceivable to scratch. Add to that the compulsory weather-sealing you’d count on of any 2019 digital camera, and you’ve got a digital camera that no person goes to fret a lot about being thrown out and in of a digital camera bag on a wet day.
The X-Pro3 brings with it fairly a number of adjustments to the button structure of earlier variations. Most noticeably, the D-pad has been eliminated. It is a call which appears to have aggravated fairly a number of customers. Realistically although, that is the path Fujifilm has been transferring in for some time of their pursuit of the cleanest doable design. Given that each button on the digital camera can now be custom-made to swimsuit particular person consumer choice — even the Q menu button is not locked to the Q menu — I did not discover the lack of the D-pad to be a difficulty.
Speaking of the Q menu, this has now been up to date to not solely enable the flexibility to customise what every menu tile does, but additionally what number of tiles to show. I actually like this. I at all times discovered the fastened 12 tile Q menu structure to be somewhat too crowded and often set a lot of the tiles to be empty. Now, I can selected to show as few as 4 and as many as 16 objects on the Q menu. The Q Menu will also be set in opposition to both the usual black background or a brand new clear background, which permits changes to be seen in real-time. In use, I discovered these tweaks to make the menu way more helpful.
Taking pictures Expertise
The X-Pro3 introduces quite a lot of new or improved processing choices. In-camera HDR, the flexibility to tweak readability, and to regulate highlights and shadows utilizing a single tone curve setting are all welcome additions. A brand new “Traditional Neg” shade profile joins the present lineup of movie simulations which are so common with Fujifilm shooters. I’m positive it received’t take lengthy for Traditional Neg to make its approach to different X Collection cameras through a firmware replace, however for now, the X-Pro3 is the one digital camera to function this new simulation.
Autofocusing has at all times been glorious with Fujifilm cameras, and the X-Pro3 is not any completely different. Face and eye detection work nicely, and improved part detection permits focusing in mild situations as little as -6 EV. That is loopy darkish. I wasn’t in a position to absolutely take a look at the veracity of that declare, however actually, I used to be in a position to autofocus in situations that the X-Pro2 could not have dealt with. General although, I discovered autofocus means of X-Pro3 wasn’t fairly as much as that of the X-T3, however in observe, the distinction between the 2 was marginal.
With regards to video, it’s in all probability honest to say that is an space the place the efficiency of the X-Pro3 is lower than stellar. Positive, the X-Pro3 can shoot round 15 minutes value of 4K, 30p, 200 Mbps video, however let’s be sincere, no person goes to wish to shoot something however b-roll with this digital camera, and even thenn solely at a push. No, this can be a stills digital camera by means of and thru, and it’s capturing stills pictures the place this digital camera comes alive.
As cliché because it sounds, some cameras simply make you wish to exit and shoot extra, and the X-Pro3 is precisely a kind of cameras. Whereas I completely love my X-T3, the capturing expertise with the X-Pro3 simply appeared to really feel that rather more linked.
So, the place does that go away us? We all know the X-Pro3 was at all times going to be a superb digital camera. The X-Collection ecosystem has matured a lot through the years, and Fujifilm is aware of the best way to construct a digital camera, so the standard of this digital camera was by no means unsure. The true query is: who it’s being aimed toward?
Fujifilm claims their design intention with the hidden LCD was to encourage a extra conventional type of capturing, permitting photographers to remain within the second fairly than consistently chimping their photos after every shot. Personally, I’m not positive how a lot I purchase that rationalization. Skilled photographers, particularly the road and documentary photographers this digital camera is basically aimed toward, will seemingly not be within the behavior of excessively chimping. And fewer skilled photographers will in all probability not be shopping for this digital camera within the first place. So, it appears to be an answer to an issue that didn’t actually exist.
Relatively, I consider the selection to implement the hidden LCD was made to realize one clear goal: to distinguish the X-Pro3 from all the opposite cameras in the marketplace. It needs to be remembered that when the X-Professional vary first launched again in 2012, the mirrorless market was decidedly sparse. As we speak, that market has turn out to be very crowded certainly, with each producer providing at the least one critical mirrorless system.
With three flagship merchandise inside their very own lineup, to not point out all the opposite cameras on supply from different producers, Fujifilm needed to take some daring steps if they need the X-Professional vary to ascertain (and keep) its personal character. With this replace, they’ve achieved precisely that, squarely positioning this because the digital camera for the pictures purists.
Personally, I really like the design selections Fujifilm has made with this X-Pro3. As a journey and documentary photographer, I fall precisely inside the target market of this digital camera. I nearly by no means use a touchscreen, I not often body my pictures utilizing an LCD, and I a lot desire the discrete feel and appear of this digital camera over among the flashier alternate options. So, for me, the minimalist design and the backward-facing LCD are very engaging options. I completely perceive that many different photographers will completely disagree with me, and that’s okay.
The X-Pro3 isn’t a digital camera for everybody; it is now very a lot a distinct segment digital camera. These it appeals to will completely find it irresistible, and for those that need a completely different expertise, Fujifilm (and all the opposite digital camera producers) has loads of different choices. As photographers, we should always all welcome having a lot alternative.
What I Like:
- Superbly designed, well-constructed physique.
- Hybrid OVF/EVF permitting flexibility of each methods.
- The hidden LCD.
- Excessive stage of button customization.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Restricted articulation of the LCD when used with a tripod.
- Battery life might be improved.
- Lack of menu show on the sub monitor.