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Fujifilm X-Pro3 Camera Review

Fujifilm X-Pro3 Camera Review
Fujifilm X-Pro3 Camera Review

Advanced Hybrid multi viewfinder: optical Viewfinder (ovf) uses a 0. 5x magnification and parallax-correcting frame lines to provide an uninterrupted and true-to-life view of what’s in front of you. Additionally, the 3. 69M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) offers a fast and high-quality representation of exactly how your image will look.

In Fujifilm X-Pro3, in addition to the traditional retro design, we see a call for classic sight through the viewfinder and an expanded set of film image profiles. It seems that the X-Pro3 was created for those who want to shoot on tape, but do not want to take risks and “bother”. However, this is only a cursory glance. Let’s see how the new device will prove itself in business.

 Key Features

Previously, camera manufacturers tried to surprise everyone with new and new options, but now we sometimes observe the opposite trend: we are surprised at the fact that they are removing something obvious. The first look at the Fujifilm X-Pro3 is puzzling: where is the screen? The situation becomes clear if you get a little inspired by the camera’s philosophy: the manufacturer encourages the photographer to take a traditional view through the viewfinder, which helps “be in the moment”. Moreover, the viewfinder here is not simple (electronic or optical), but a hybrid. There is nothing to surprise those who are familiar with previous models of the X-Pro series or compact cameras of the X100 series, but for the rest I’ll tell you that the Fujifilm X-Pro3 combines an electronic and optical viewfinder.

The latter is executed in the manner of rangefinder cameras – the photographer sees not only the area of ​​the frame, but also what is happening beyond its borders. Directly, the composition should be built using the framing frame, which is superimposed on a translucent screen – the size of the frame depends on the lens that is currently being used. On the back panel there is a compact color screen on electronic ink (E-Ink). On it, by default, the current film simulation mode, ISO and white balance are displayed. However, Fujifilm did not dare to remove the LCD screen at all, so on the X-Pro3 he simply modestly “turned his back” from the user. It seems to be gone, but if you really want to, it’s enough to make one movement with your hand – and voila! It is in front of us, with a whole set of modern options. This is perhaps the main secret of the new camera: I wanted to play the film photographer of the old school – please; tired of playing – exhale and enjoy the benefits of progress.

All of the above are important, but still secondary characteristics. But what about the main ones? What is the X-Pro3 inside? And here, unfortunately, the manufacturer did not want to surprise us with something: in terms of electronic “filling,” the new camera, in fact, duplicates the successful Fujifilm X-T3 model. In particular, it uses the same 26.1-megapixel sensor APS-C format X-Trans CMOS 4 with backlight, a similar image processor X-Processor 4 and a hybrid autofocus system (in contrast and phase detection). The number of focus points is 425. Compared to the previous generation of the series, the progress is significant — both in the number of points (in the X-Pro2 there were 273) and in sensitivity: now autofocus works under -6 EV lighting, that is, in almost total darkness. The ISO range of the Fujifilm X-Pro3 is 160–12800 units (advanced – 80–51200 units). The maximum burst speed is 11 frames per second. The camera is compatible with lenses for the Fujifilm X mount.

Despite the fact that the X-Pro3 is positioned primarily as a camera, video enthusiasts are also not deprived: the device supports shooting 4K video at 30 frames per second (in Full HD, you can shoot at a frequency of 120 frames per second). There is a 2.5 mm microphone port, but there is no headphone port.

The camera includes two SD card slots with UHS-II support and can be connected to external power sources via a USB 3.1 connector (type C).

So, it turns out that in the series we see a number of significant changes, but if we look at the entire Fujifilm family of cameras, the X-Pro3 looks more like a variation on the theme of the already well-known product (X-T3), with which the vast majority of technical characteristics make it similar. In the light of this, its “oddities” become better understood: the manufacturer justifies the appearance of such an apparatus with an enhanced retrofler, trying to play on the emotions of a potential buyer craving film romance.

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Design and ergonomics

The new Fujifilm camera does not look much different from its predecessor X-Pro2: the manufacturing company is loyal to the retro style and analog controls. The main visual difference is, of course, the new principle of the location of the LCD screen, by this moment we will return in more detail a little later. Less noticeable to the eye, but also a very important innovation is the material from which the camera body is made. Fujifilm focuses on the reliability and longevity of the new camera: the chassis is made of magnesium alloy, and the housing is coated with lightweight, durable and corrosion resistant titanium for top protection from weather conditions. This is a really important innovation, since the X-Pro3 is largely designed for street shooters, for whom the ability to take pictures not only in ideal weather conditions is important. I happened to shoot on camera under heavy snow, and I can confirm that it did not cause any problems.

Fujifilm X-Pro3 has three options. The basic version that I was testing is completely black, without special coating. There are also two variations with a special Duratect coating that protects the case from scratches without violating the titanium texture: DR Black and DR Silver (black and silver, respectively). The Duratect-coated version of the camera costs $ 200 more, and I have to admit that this isn’t quite too much: during the test, I found that putting a scratch on the top of the case was easy. The weight of the camera with batteries and a memory card is 497 grams, dimensions – 140.5 × 82.8 × 46.1 mm. This is a weighty and solid looking device, it will not fit in a miniature handbag, but still it will not heavily weigh your luggage when traveling, especially if you use fixed lenses with it – as the manufacturer recommends. I tested the camera with them, namely FUJINON XF 16mm F2.8 R WR, FUJINON XF 35mm F2 R WR and FUJINON XF 56mm F1.2 R.

Design and ergonomics

The camera is comfortable to hold thanks to the anti-slip coating, a grip under the right hand in front and a ledge under the thumb at the back.

Briefly go over how the ergonomics of the camera are organized. On the left edge under the cover there are microphone jacks (2.5 mm – an adapter is supposed to be used) and a USB Type-C port with which you can charge the battery or provide a wired connection between the camera and other devices.

Fujifilm X-Pro3

On the right edge are two compartments for memory cards. The camera supports SD, SDHC and SDXC cards. Speed class – up to UHS-II.

Front to bottom, we see the focus-type shift lever. Above is the lever responsible for changing the type of viewfinder (optical / electronic). It is combined with a customizable control button. A little to the right is one of the control wheels responsible for changing the settings. Above is the AF-assist lamp, in the center is a bayonet mount and a lens release button.

Below is a battery compartment and a tripod socket. They are far enough from each other so that the tripod pad does not interfere with changing the battery when shooting.

From above, from left to right, there are: a hot shoe for connecting an external flash or other device (there is no built-in flash in Fujifilm X-Pro3), a selector dial with which the shutter speed is selected (to change it you need to hold down the lock button in the center – not very convenient, but tolerable) and the value of photosensitivity (it is displayed in a separate small window, and to change it, you must pull up and hold the outer part of the disk during rotation). Such a decision, combining two leading functions on one control body, seems to me very controversial – it is more convenient for me when they are separated in space. In addition, it took me a considerable amount of time to figure out how the ISO value is changing – usually, you do not need to look into the instructions to understand such basic principles of control.

The plus is that accidentally changing this setting is almost impossible. This, alas, cannot be said about the second upper selector, which is responsible for inputting exposure compensation: ergonomically, it continues to protrude for stopping the thumb, and during the shooting I had an unpleasant situation several times when exposure compensation was introduced by accident, and I did not notice . That’s where the lock button would definitely be superfluous! Also on top we see the on-off selector of the camera, combined with the shutter button, and another programmable button.

Fujifilm X-Pro3 view 2

The viewfinder and screens are located behind. In the upper part we see the DRIVE button, which brings up a menu with various types of bracketing, art filters, burst shooting, drive modes and video recording. Nearby is the AE / AF lock button, the second wheel for changing settings is located below, to the right of the screen is the joystick, menu buttons, file browsing and the button for changing the information displayed on the display. To the right of the ledge is a programmable button and a quick menu button.

Fujifilm X-Pro3 rear view

Aperture switching is performed directly on the control ring of the lens – this is a familiar system for Fujifilm users. When using optics without an aperture ring, you can “hang” this function on one of the selector dials.

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Display and viewfinder

In terms of sighting tools, the Fujifilm X-Pro3 is truly original. As I mentioned, the main LCD screen is hidden from the user. It can be tilted, but its position will be unusual – either perpendicular to the camera, or in its plane, but lower. It is assumed that the photographer will work mostly with the viewfinder, and use the screen as an additional tool to view the pictures taken. The screen has a diagonal of 3 inches and a resolution of 1,620,000 pixels – far from the limit, but sufficient. And, by the way, this is higher than that of the same Fujifilm X-T3. It is equipped with a touch surface that allows you to focus / take pictures with a touch, scroll and zoom in on pictures. It is also interesting that you can assign certain functions to certain screen gestures: for example, swipe the screen to the right – call up the white balance setting, swipe left – call up the choice of autofocus zone. In principle, the function is curious, but it’s somewhat strange to see it in such an “analog” camera – the screen is, as planned by the creator, closed during shooting, why are there so many touch control options?

When the main screen is closed, on the rear panel we see an auxiliary color screen with a diagonal of 1.28 inches, protected by tempered glass. By default, it displays the current film simulation mode, white balance and ISO value, but you can switch to the standard parameter display mode and select which ones you want to see (for example, shutter speed). The screen shows the selected parameters not only during shooting, but also when the camera is turned off – energy is not wasted on passively displaying information on the E-Ink display.

The viewfinder, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, is hybrid. Switching between the electronic and optical viewfinder modes is carried out using the lever on the front surface of the camera. In the optical mode, the viewfinder has a fixed magnification of 0.52x – the previous version of the model allowed changing the scaling between 0.36x and 0.60x, which simplified the work with wide-angle lenses and telephoto lenses. Here the viewfinder is simplified. In the optical viewfinder mode, we see a framing frame that corresponds to the current focal length of the lens, as well as an image outside it – on the principle of rangefinder cameras.

For more convenient operation, you can call up an additional electronic screen in the lower left corner of the image in the viewfinder (it is activated by shifting the same lever to the left). There, on a larger scale, the focus area is shown to make it easier for the user to focus. When focusing in manual mode, focus picking is also available (highlighting objects in focus with color) and other auxiliary focusing tools. Thus, although the optical viewfinder refers us to today’s rare rangefinder cameras, the life of a photographer is certainly facilitated by modern technology. In situations where it is inconvenient to use the optical viewfinder (this can be, for example, when working with telephoto lenses, when the crop area is much smaller than the total image area in the viewfinder), you can turn to the more familiar electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 3,690,000 pixels – here you can immediately see the borders of the frame and evaluate the depth of field.

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Interface

The main menu of the camera is called up by the corresponding button on the rear panel of the case. It is organized vertically and contains seven sections (including “My Menu”, where the user can add the options he needs). In each of them – up to four pages with settings. The settings for each option open in a pop-up window on the same screen. The menu is completely Russified, you can navigate through it using the analog controls – touch control, unfortunately, is not available. The menu is rather cumbersome, for its development and quick orientation in it the user will need time.

Of course, the camera also has a quick menu where the user can add the most requested settings for the most convenient access. It is called up on the touch screen and contains by default sixteen points (their number can be reduced), organized in a table.

In general, according to my feelings, the camera control turned out to be very confusing. It is difficult to remember on the go where the necessary option is located: some settings are changed using the menu called by the DRIVE button, some using programmable buttons or disks, some through the quick menu, and some using the touch screen . There is no clear logic in this, it is arbitrary and is understood simply with time. Of course, the camera can be flexibly customized to fit your needs, and this is a plus, but it will take time to feel how it will be more convenient for you personally to handle it. At first, changing the settings was uncomfortable for me, but after a couple of weeks I got used to it. An inexperienced user is most likely confused.

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Wireless connections

Despite all the references to retro photography, Fujifilm X-Pro3, like any modern camera, can connect to a computer or mobile device via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. For work, you will need the free Fujifilm Camera Remote application, with which you can shoot remotely by setting shooting parameters and viewing frames on the smartphone screen, as well as quickly send captured images to the smartphone, including setting up automatic transfer.

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Camera at work

I initially gave myself the option to “play by the rules” and shoot using the viewfinder. At first, of course, with the help of the optical – it is not in vain that he is here. I will honestly voice my subjective impressions – I was uncomfortable. Firstly, you need to constantly monitor the borders of the frame, because they do not coincide with the natural borders of the viewfinder. In the center of the frame, we see the area highlighted by the rectangle, within which, in fact, the frame should be built. Moreover, along the edges of the rectangle – the continuation of the composition, and to force yourself to not notice it is very difficult. You have to literally concentrate with all your might, what a light inspirational shot.

Secondly, there is no familiar preview of the depth of field – we will find out later what the frame will look like in reality. “Enjoy the process, live in the stream, do not get distracted by viewing frames, look after” – the manufacturer convinces us. Indeed, what a pleasant surprise it will be to sit down in the evening after the shooting day and find out that some of the frames failed, because you did not very well choose the aperture value, and some came out blurry due to the fact that the object was moving faster than you thought. At this point, experienced photographers come in with more than 30 years of experience shooting and say: “Because you need to shoot to study, and not wait for the camera to do everything for you! You don’t know anything yourself! ” We will listen to them, recall the work of photographers of the past, which from a technical point of view are far from perfect by modern standards (the focus is not there, then the sharpness is not enough) – there are no questions for them, they squeezed the maximum out of what was available to them. And we will go further on the train of progress. With the electronic viewfinder, of course, things went better, but is it worth it to hide that all the same, now and then I opened the LCD? Well, it’s more convenient to shoot like that – at least kill. And it’s convenient to shoot from low points, and assign the focus point by touching the screen with your finger, and see a large picture instead of a small one. For more than 10 years, I took a picture with a DSLR and sighted when shooting through a viewfinder – and, you know, I don’t miss those times. You can argue about the benefits of different types of sighting endlessly, but the Fujifilm X-Pro3 “trick” didn’t work with me.

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Shooting in JPEG, film simulation modes, special features

Fujifilm X-Pro3 is the rare case when, despite the solid status of the camera, I focused on shooting in JPEG. It’s no secret that usually professional photographers prefer the RAW format, and the more “raw” the raw file is, the better: this makes it possible to get the most out of color, contrast, dynamic range, etc. in post-processing. In the case of X -Pro3, this approach seems somewhat blasphemous, because if you do not use all carefully thought out “chips” when shooting, relying only on post-processing, how can you feel the nature of this camera?

So, we continue to fantasize that we have a real film camera in our hands. And in order to bring imagination closer to reality, the manufacturer provided the X-Pro3 with various film modeling modes. In fact, there is nothing new in this – Fujifilm has been using this technique for a very long time in X-series cameras. But if earlier it was perceived rather as an optional option, then here a special emphasis is placed on it. We see the name of the film profile on the screen on the back of the camera along with the ISO value and white balance, and this is a direct reference to analog shooting. The camera, as it were, constantly reminds us that the film can be “changed” depending on the scene being shot and that this is an important factor for creating the atmosphere of the frame. Changing the film profile, we instantly see how the character of the image changes – it’s more convenient to track it through the camera screen, and not through the viewfinder, since the nuances are sometimes quite delicate, and they can be seen much better on the screen. In total, 11 film modeling modes are presented in the camera, 10 of which we have already seen in other Fujifilm models. But on the last I want to dwell in more detail. This is the new CLASSIC Neg mode. The manufacturer describes it this way: “The new film mode was designed to simulate a color negative film, which was traditionally chosen for snapshots of everyday scenes. Carefully selected brightness colors create rich chromatic contrast, which gives the image volume. The new CLASSIC Neg mode helps relive childhood moments, giving you the pleasure of the shooting process as you remember it. ” And I’ll just say that this is the best color profile I’ve ever seen in a digital camera. No kidding, I sometimes had the willpower to switch to other modes, reminding myself that I was still testing the camera, and not just shooting for my own pleasure, because these colors fascinate me. Of course, this is flavoring. But then Fujifilm just took it and hit the very heart. This profile, by the way, looks great in combination with the effect of film grain. Below I’ll just show some examples for those who want to share.

Fujifilm X-Pro3 Camera Review 1 Fujifilm X-Pro3 Camera Review 2 Fujifilm X-Pro3 Camera Review 3

Also, from the film profiles, I note ACROS – this is a black and white mode with high contrast, to which you can also apply the effect of a yellow, red or green color filter, thereby additionally affecting the image contrast. Black and white film is an unconditional classic, and many scenes, mainly genre scenes or scenes with hard light, look especially expressive in this version.

Again, for the best atmosphere, I recommend experimenting with applying the film grain effect (for ease of access, I brought this option to one of the programmable buttons). You can control the effect of graininess: strong or weak, coarse grain or fine. If you have long looked enviously at conceptual black-and-white art photographs of film masters, this is your chance to touch the beautiful. Surrogate? Yes. Inspires and makes the brain work a little differently? Yes too.

Another way to diversify black and white shots is to add toning. When using the black-and-white film modes, the “Monochrome color” tab is activated in the menu, and, moving the joystick through the color field, the photographer can choose any of dozens of shades that will help emphasize the desired mood in the frame. The option is designed for leisurely shooting and is quite specific, but it’s interesting to “play” with it:

To shoot immediately with the selected film profile or apply it later, when processing RAW, is certainly the choice of each photographer. The second option, perhaps, is simpler and more logical, but for some reason there is a special pleasure in seeing the “same” color already in the process. However, since the manufacturer himself urges us not to be distracted by viewing frames, I do not know how relevant this will be for those who work through the optical viewfinder.

If you want to see a picture as natural as possible, as close to reality as possible – you can not philosophize slyly and shoot Provia (standard) film in the film simulation mode. Automatically sets the white balance Fujifilm X-Pro3 is quite correct.

X-Pro3 is capable of shooting at full resolution at a speed of 11 frames per second when using a mechanical shutter and at a speed of 20 frames per second when using an electronic shutter. It is possible to increase the speed by lowering the resolution: the limit for the camera is 30 frames per second, while the resolution of the images is 16.6 megapixels. At the same time, the sports viewfinder mode is automatically activated.

In burst shooting at 11 frames per second in RAW (uncompressed) + JPEG (maximum quality) mode, I managed to get series of about 35 frames in length. This is an average figure, but the X-Pro3 does not claim to be the laurels of the device for professional photojournalists.

Despite the fact that the X-Pro3 performed very well when shooting complex scenes, sometimes I had unforeseen difficulties when shooting something simple. For example, when I used the touch screen to tell the camera which subject to focus on, she didn’t do it the first time, although she highlighted the subject with a focus frame. I have encountered a similar situation before on Fujifilm cameras, but I can’t identify any patterns. The camera can “dull” with sufficient and uniform lighting and a completely contrasting plot. However, it happens not often. In most cases, autofocus is fast and correct.

A few words about manual focusing – why not feel the life of a film photographer to the end and remember that there was no autofocus before? Fujifilm X-Pro3 offers the user a wide variety of tools that facilitate “accurate targeting”: a proprietary “digital microprism” and digital image splitting (color or monochrome) and focus picking – and the user can choose from 8 options for color illumination of the sharpness zone.

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Work at high ISO

A small lyrical digression: I look at the frames from any camera as an ordinary viewer: not trying to “see under the magnifying glass” their advantages and disadvantages, but just making up a general impression. So, looking through the pictures from Fujifilm X-Pro3, I never “tripped” on the noise that cuts my eyes or the soap killing a picture. All photos in terms of quality looked decent. For me, this is an important indicator. Well, now we can see a few examples so that you can draw your conclusions.

The picture below was taken at ISO 3200. The original RAW is a little more detailed, the built-in noise reduction in JPEG (standard noise reduction was applied in all the pictures) smoothed out small details a little, but not critically. When viewing RAW on a large monitor, the noise is not noticeable, the quality in general can be called very good.

A similar plot shot on ISO 6400 is already certainly noisier, but you can safely print photos in A4 format, not to mention publishing on social networks. Shumodav also smoothed the texture even more, but this did not turn the picture into a “soap”. Add contour sharpness a bit in the editor – and it will look great.

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Shooting in RAW, dynamic range

Fujifilm X-Pro3 – a camera of a fairly serious level, so it is unlikely that its potential buyers plan to limit themselves only to shooting in JPEG. In critical situations or in complex lighting RAW format is indispensable. To assess the dynamic range of the camera and the ability to edit RAW files, I chose several contrasting plots. If you look at the in-camera JPEGs of these images, we will notice excessively deep shadows and / or cross-sections. Our task is to restore them so that in the bright and dark areas of the frame to see a maximum of detail. Processing was carried out in the Adobe Camera RAW converter. Let’s see some examples. On the left are in-camera JPEGs, on the right are RAW, converted at the discretion of the author.

Shooting in RAW

In general, the results are not bad. With strong lightening of the shadows, a noticeable noise appears, but this is expected. The stock of information in the worlds is decent, but, of course, it is better not to allow too strong overexposures when shooting.

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Video recording

Despite the fact that the X-Pro3 is clearly “sharpened” for taking pictures, the manufacturer did not make the possibility of shooting video a pure formality, although it greatly reduced the possibilities compared to the X-T3: 4K at 30 frames per second, rather than 60, 8- bit color, not 10-bit, lack of a full-size microphone jack and any headphone jack. Nevertheless, you can still write video on the X-Pro3 in 4K resolution, moreover, with an effective autofocus system and a set of interesting color modes. There is also support for the focus peaking system for manual focusing, a special Eterna film profile for extended dynamic range, and even shooting in F-Log format, albeit with 8-bit color.

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Autonomy

The camera uses a lithium-ion battery NP-W126S. CIPA standard battery life is 370 or 440 frames, depending on the use of an electronic or optical viewfinder. Yes, the X-Pro3 still has at least one really functional and not a “creative” advantage – the ability to extend battery life without using a display or electronic viewfinder.

In practice, I could not conduct a full-fledged shooting on a single battery charge without using an LCD screen. Most of the time, I still sighted the frames with his help, and, I must say, the battery was discharged very quickly in this case. The charge was barely enough for one not the longest walk with the camera. So if you also do not plan to limit your eyesight only through the viewfinder, it is better to have a spare battery.

Fortunately, charging via USB is available, which makes it possible to recharge the camera in between shots using an external drive.

 

 

8.5 Total Score
Fujifilm X-Pro3

Conclusion I already said something similar in previous reviews of Fujifilm cameras, but I repeat - they are much more about love than about common sense. Beautiful design and no less beautiful marketing moves from the doorway sink into the heart. With this camera I want to create - with maximum dedication and sincerely. This is the case when the tool guides the author. It somehow doesn’t rise to shoot something deeply technical and pragmatic, it’s like writing modern government paper on old paper with a pen. If you are not a romantic, you are unlikely to appreciate the X-Pro3. It seems to me that this camera is not for the Russian mentality at all. We are still too serious and pragmatic. Objectively speaking, X-Pro3 is the same X-T3, only with a different sauce and with different accents. Having removed everything external, we will get a device that is very similar in characteristics: if you are considering buying a Fujifilm camera and you are just interested in the functionality and quality of images, the purchase of the X-T3 seems to me a more reasonable move, especially since it even costs less and is more ergonomically clear to the average user. If you are irresistibly “drawn to the roots”, originality is your middle name, and a few additional tens of thousands of rubles do not seem to be a problem - X-Pro3 can become your friend and ally. You can really get a good result with this camera. A modern autofocus system, decent shooting capabilities at high ISOs, a generally high-quality and nice-looking picture - all this will be. Separately, I note the reliability of the case and the ability to shoot in difficult weather conditions. X-Pro3 is a specific product, and it is unlikely that the manufacturer expected to attract “harsh” pros, rather free artists.

PROS
  • reliable case, the presence of weather protection;
  • 2 slots for memory cards;
  • unusual hybrid viewfinder, which fans of rangefinder cameras will appreciate;
  • the new CLASSIC Neg film modeling mode, which provides beautiful toning of images;
  • decent work at high ISO;
  • wide creative opportunities;
  • good quality pictures in JPEG;
  • USB charging.
CONS
  • specific, not fully thought out ergonomics, intricate control;
  • very controversial decision with a "hidden" display;
  • scratches easily appear on the base case model;
  • fast battery discharge when using the LCD;
  • lack of fundamental internal differences from the Fujifilm X-T3;
  • high price.
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