First Look at the X-T3 on the Streets of Penang

by | Sep 6, 2018 | Blog, Feature, Photography, Recent, Reviews, Sponsors, Video

The new Fujifilm X-T3 with the new XF Fujinon 8-16 mm f/2.8 R LM WR

When I switched to the Fujifilm X Series camera from my Canon 5D MK3 it was because the new system gave me a sense of returning to my roots in photography. That sense of roots had everything to do with the analog style dials and switches, and the aperture ring on the metal lens. It also didn’t hurt that it was small in overall size. Over the years I have used most of the models of the X Series cameras produced: The X100, X-PRO1, XE-2, X-PRO2, X-T1, X-T2 and of course the GFX. I still am anchored into the brand because of the functional simplicity of the analog nature of the camera, the ISO dial, the shutter speed dial, the exposure comp dial and of course the aforementioned aperture ring! But, as Fujifilm’s cameras got more and more sophisticated with their technology and their abilities to perform in extreme situations I found I was more and more reliant on that technology. Now the amazing ability to track a subject’s face and eyes and keep them in focus is no longer a novelty it is critical! The ability to focus track a moving subject in a zone or even better as the subject approaches the camera isn’t just a feature, its a requirement! This brings us to the former flagship of Fujifilm’s X Series cameras, the X-T2. This camera really shined with these new technological features.

But today, Fujifilm raised the bar yet again with the release of the X-T3! This upstart younger brother to the X-T2 has a new 26.1 megapixel BSI or Backside Illuminated Sensor. What the heck is a BSI sensor you might ask?  In the simplest of terms, a traditional front-illuminated sensor has three elements similar to a human eye. A lens like structure in the front, “wiring” in the middle and photodetectors in the back. As the traditional sensor collects light, some light still bounces off the first and second layers as the rest of the light makes its way through to the photodetectors. But a BSI sensor has flipped those layers around and puts the photodetectors in the front allowing more light to pass through to the photodetectors. Now, of course, this is a super simplified explanation. But you get the gist of it. Basically, the BSI sensor allows more light through onto the sensor and thus, quicker to expose and focus.

The Mercy Temple in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. Focusing in this early morning light was no issue.

Another example of how the X-T3 shines in low light.

I had the X-T3 for about a week before today’s release. In my style of shooting, I photograph a lot in low light. This can cause issues with focus lock and tracking. The X-T3 seems to have markedly improved the face and eye tracking AF in low light. For me, this feature might be one of the best little upgrades. It really was astounding how accurate it was.

The X-T3’s face and eye tracking was not bothered by the low light in this image.

This man was looking at the egg tarts and did a very quick look up and the camera locked onto his eye and focused, and I took the image all in a split second.

I have only been shooting JPEG as Lightroom can’t read the RAW file yet. But there did seem to be a slightly better dynamic range with the T-X3’s JPEG image files as well. While editing the JPEGs there seems to be more data to play with while recovering the shadows in Lightroom. But we will have to wait and see what the RAW file will give us in Lightroom.

An early morning walk at Straights Quay, Tanjung Tokong, Penang, Malaysia.

Welding , Penang, Malaysia.

Lightning strikes. Tanjung Tokong,  Penang, Malaysia.

A young boy picks butterfly pea blossoms. Gurney Drive, Penang, Malaysia.

Early morning at the Kuan Yin Temple (Goddess of Mercy Temple), in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.

Auto Focus and Tracking

The zone and wide tracking functions seem to be more accurate. I rarely use this feature but I took the camera out on a very dull overcast morning yesterday and made this quick focus track of a school bus. There wasn’t much light and frankly, wide tracking is meant to be used in daylight at a high shutter speed to keep the subject from having motion blur or what’s the point? Here are a series of shots on a dull morning with very little contrast other than a yellow bus. Yet, the camera tracked the bus from one side of the frame to the other. No real focus issues, just some motion blur given the lack of light and slow-ish shutter speed. I think this is pretty impressive.