Fujifilm X-T3 First Impressions w/ Various Lenses

I’ve had the Fujifilm X-T3 (Amazon) in my hands for long enough to have some first impressions. To be honest, I was left with a bit of a bittersweet feeling when Fujifilm first announced it. I was looking forward to the X-T3 to replace my X-E3 (Amazon) – since the X100F fits perfectly as a travel camera and the X-E3 lacks capabilities for serious photo work – and while the specs are impressive; faster fps, blazing AF and amazing 4K footage weren’t at the top of my wish list. However, the X-T3 is the first pro-level Fujifilm camera I’ve owned and it doesn’t disappoint. Though I didn’t have the chance to test its ruggedness yet, I’ve use it both in the streets and in the studio.

Fujifilm X-T3 first impressions with the Mitakon 35mm f/0.95 (Amazon)

Update: read my comparison between the Fuji 35mm f/2.0 WR and the Mitakon 35mm f/0.95

A couple friends were visiting from Germany so we had them try their very first peanut butter covered elephant ear. Here are a few shots using the awesome Mitakon 35mm f/0.95. Those are straight out of the camera, no adjustments whatsoever except cropping.

The camera was a pleasure to use with the Mitakon lens. The viewfinder is clear, bright and makes manual focus with focus peaking a piece of cake. Or in this case, a piece of elephant ear! Even with the Mitakon’s razor-thin depth of field, focusing was much easier than on the X-E3. Skin tones straight out of the camera are great (even with my improper exposure), as always with Fuji. And the combo resolves plenty of detail when you hit the focus just right.

Fujifilm X-T3 First Impressions
Fujifilm X-T3 & Mitakon 35mm f/0.95 details

Fujifilm X-T3 first impressions with the Meike 85mm f/2.8 (Amazon)

The camera was delivered on the same day that I was working on shoot for a local distillery. Trail Distilling sent me a few bottles of their new liquors to take photos for their catalog. Using the X-T3 in this setting was a breeze for several reasons: I had shot on a friend’s X-T1 in a studio before (layout is exactly the same) and I am now able to tether the camera to Lightroom.

Again, it was a joy to use the camera in this studio-like setting. Communication with the laptop was quick and the camera was extremely responsive. It’s pro-level features make it especially suited for work with studio lighting. The only drawback was that I didn’t have an L-plate for it yet to make portrait shooting easier.

Fujifilm X-T3 first impressions with the Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8-4 (Amazon)

The first two lenses I used were manual third-party lenses that don’t communicate with the camera. I’ve been using such lenses ever since I tried to minimize the size of my rig when traveling to Thailand. One advantage that the X-T3 has over the Sony A7 system is that it’s an APS-C sensor system which allows for smaller lenses, which means that I’ll probably get a few of their weather resistant f/2.0 (Amazon) for the X-T3. Right now though, all I have is the 18-55m f/2.8-4 lens, which is actually quite good! To justify all this new gear, I have to sell some of my existing equipment (contact me if you’re interested). Instead of the Meike 85mm, I used the kit lens, a lightbox, a remote flash and no tripod, relying instead on the convenience of autofocus (these are just for Craigslist after all, except the Mitakon!).

Taking these quick photos left the same impressions as with the macro lens. The advantage of the Fujinon though is the added convenience of fast and precise autofocus while shooting handheld.

Bonus photo: Fujifilm X-T3 first impressions with the Meike 85mm f/2.8 and macro extension rings (Amazon: 11mm and 16mm)

While I had the Meike on the camera, I figured I’d try some macro focus stacking for the first time. My girlfriend had found this dead tiny green sweat bee and after watching a couple tutorials online, I figured I’d try my luck.

I stacked about 20 images at f/11 for this shot

It’s no National Geographic shot yet, but for a first quick try, I’m pretty happy. Using the X-T3 with the Meike and extension tubes tethered to my laptop made this entire process pretty easy. Though Adobe still needs to update their tethering software to allow live preview, reviewing the images instantly in Lightroom was extremely convenient. I could make sure the shots were well lit and in focus as I was taking them. This can be a challenge when taking a few dozen shots in rapid succession while making micro focus movements with the camera.

For size reference by the way, here is the bee on my keyboard (see what I did there?). I’m afraid that its head disconnected during the creation of this punny image…

Final thoughts… for now

So far, the little time I’ve had with the X-T3 makes me very excited about what can be created with it. I don’t think it’ll replace the X100F as best travel camera since it is still significantly larger and heavier once you add a lens and a flash (no high speed sync either). However it does have the ruggedness I need for more demanding shots and adventures and is better suited for commissioned and studio work. I look forward to getting to know it more!

Fujifilm X-T3 First Impressions

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