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Greetings everybody, you’re listening to the Liam Photography Podcast, I’m your host Liam Douglas and this is Episode 332. In today’s episode, I take a look at the Fujifilm X-Pro3 and answer the question, “Is this a digital film camera?
So the Fujifilm X-Pro3 is the third edition in the flagship X-Pro line and as of this episode has not been replaced by even an development announcement on an X-Pro4. This camera was announced on October 23, 2019 and released on November 28th, 2019. The X-Pro3 is designed to be a mirrorless rangefinder camera but it is of course not a TRUE rangefinder, however, like the previous models it does sport a dual OVF/EVF system for it’s viewfinder in a nod to the film days. The camera sports a lever on the front of the body that allows switching between the OVF and EVF and once you get used to using the OVF, much like on the x100v, it can be a LOT of fun to shoot with.
Fujifilm built this camera with the Street/Travel Photographer in mind, which is one of the things I love the most about this camera. They purposely hid the rear LCD screen as they want a photographer to “stay in the moment” rather than constantly chimp the back of their camera. The 3” rear LCD is there and you can fold it down to use it for low shooting or shooting Street from the hip to be more discrete, but when flipped up it is totally hidden and instead the camera offers a smaller, e-ink style display that is on all the time.
The smaller display can be used to display different settings, but by default it shows a graphical version of the film simulation you are actively using making it look as though you have the rear window on an analog camera, which shows your current roll of film. A lot of people have complained that it is too gimmicky and a waste of parts on the camera, but I disagree as someone who shot film for many years I like the look and feel of the rear display window. I also think many people spend too much time complaining about stupid stuff when they should just concentrate on their photography and enjoy the experience!
The design of the X-Pro3 is all about the experience and less about the tech, don’t get me wrong, this camera sports the same sensor and processor as the X-T4 flagship body as well as the x100v and X-E4. But, the X-Pro3 has a lot of dials and buttons to make it feel more like a film experience, which is what I truly love about this and most of Fujifilm’s cameras. You have the top dials for Shutter Speed and ISO as a single, multi-function dial, just raise to change ISO and press the center button as you turn to change the Shutter Speed.
The camera also sports the Shutter button on top of course as well as a programmable button near the right front top side that I use to switch between the three different auto-ISO modes on the unit I am using for my review for my Youtube channel. The Exposure Compensation dial is also sitting right behind the shutter button. In the center of the top plate it also has the hotshoe of course and the name on the top left hand side. Unlike the X-T4, which has the EVF in the center of the body, the X-Pro3 like an analog film rangefinder has the EVF on the left hand side of the rear of the camera body. On the lower front left side of the body it has the AF selector switch which allows you to quickly switch between Manual Focus, Single Shot AF and Continuous AF for shooting fast action like sports and wildlife.
On the rear of the body it has the combination Delete and Drive button right behind the hotshoe and just to the right of that is the AE-L/AF-L button, which I re-programmed for Back Button Focus to make things easier for myself. To the right of that button is the rear command dial and then going down, the small joystick, the Menu/OK button, Play button and Disp/Back button. Below the Exposure Compensation dial on the back is another programmable Function button and then the Q Menu button.
The X-Pro3, like the X-T4 has dual card slots which use UHS-II memory cards, so you can use redundant recording options such as writing JPGs to Card 1 and RAW files to Card 2. As far as durability goes, the camera has a Magnesium frame like the X-T4, but it sports Titanium plates for the outer shell, making it even more durable and the camera comes in 3 color options, Regular Black, Dura Black and Dura Silver. The two Dura models have a special coating to help prevent scratching the Titanium plates. Another nice bonus on the X-Pro3 is it has slightly better weather sealing than the X-T4 so you have some additional peace of mind when shooting in rain, snow or dusty conditions.
This camera feels really good in the hands to carry around all day when shooting Travel or Street Photography, although I had to get a handgrip plate due to the fact that I have extremely large hands. The grip plate makes it easier to hold the camera securely and even more comfortable for large handed people like myself.
When paired with the XF23mm F/2 lens, this camera gives you the exact same set up as the x100v, but with the added bonus of being an Interchangeable Lens Camera, so you have more flexibility than with the x100v, but it does not have the built in ND filter nor the x100v’s fantastic leaf shutter system. You can of course go with the Fujifilm or Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 as well, but I opted for the F/2 lens as when shooting Street I rarely need F/1.4 and both Fujifilm lenses have weather sealing, although the F/1.4 model is twice the money.
The 23mm lens gives you the same field of view as 35mm on a full frame camera, which as you know from listening to this show is in my opinion, the perfect focal length for Street Photography. I do have the 27mm F/2.8 pancake lens from Fujifilm as well, for the times when I wanted to be super discrete, I pair that lens with my X-E4 and I have 40mm in full frame, which is also good for Street, but of course not as wide. Many people will tell you that you cannot do portraits with such a wide lens, but of course they are wrong. I have shot plenty of Street Portraits with a 35mm field of view, you just have to remember to stand between 6-10 feet away from the person so the wide lens doesn’t distort their facial features and then crop into a tighter shot when post processing at home later. I am including some sample images in today’s show notes that you can check out for yourself.
When out shooting with the X-Pro3, I tend to think more like I am shooting film, because of the retro look of the camera and the rear display that shows what looks like a film roll on the back. The whole thing is all in my head of course, but it still makes me slow down even more and shoot more carefully as if I am using film again without the hassle of having to actually develop the film later on. I also tend to shoot in the Classic Chrome film simulation as I have mentioned before as I LOVE that particular look to my final images.
With all the little things that Fujifilm does to their cameras to pay homage to the film days, it is the reason why I personally feel that Fujifilm makes the BEST cameras of any of the manufacturers on the market today. Don’t get me wrong, Canon, Nikon, Sony and yes even Pentax as well the others make great cameras, but with all of them the cameras are just a tool, a means to makes images, where with Fujifilm, the entire process of making images is more of an experience!
To me personally, Fujifilm has done the most out of all the camera companies to make photography a joy to do. Even when shooting for clients, I am able to truly enjoy the image making experience thanks to all the little things that Fujifilm does to make it a true pleasure every time I pick up one of my camera bodies and of course if you enjoy the experience that much, than you will find yourself grabbing your camera every time you go out, whether it’s to purposely shoot Street or when just going to the store to pick up groceries. I personally tend to ALWAYS carry one of my Fujifilm bodies with me everywhere I go!
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