Hey, digital rangefinder fans, the Fujifilm X-Pro3 is here! With a half-life a fraction of the film cameras of yesteryear, digital cameras are constantly being upgraded and, it seems that before the paint even dries on your new camera, there is a new version on the shelves. With these new versions, you usually see the same, or a very similar camera on the outside with new stuff packed into the inside. Well, forget that formula for a few minutes and embrace the new Fujifilm X-Pro3 interchangeable-lens digital rangefinder camera, which is much more revolutionary than evolutionary when compared to its X-Pro predecessors.
This is a new camera—not just an upgraded/updated X-Pro2.
Usually, I start with the specs, because we know the sensor and processing engines are faster, stronger, better, but the most important things to mention about this camera are what is new on the outside and the parts you look at and through.
First of all, and the most obvious, is the rear LCD or lack thereof. Or, wait. No, there is a screen, and it is tiny. Isn’t the trend for larger and larger screens? What is that tiny LCD window that shows shooting data (similar to many camera top displays) and… what is it doing now? It suddenly looks like the square end-flap of a cardboard box of film that I slid into the metal holder on the film door (if you didn’t shoot film in or before the 1980s, or live in film-centric Brooklyn, you might not know what I am talking about).
But where is the darned LCD? Did they “pull a Leica” and, with one fell swoop, remove the single largest advantage of digital photography—the ability to see the photo right after you took it? No, Fujifilm fans, they did not. The high-resolution touchscreen LCD is there; it is just hidden. When you need it, you can flip it down and do whatever LCD things you need to do. If you are a photographer who spends more time chimping than shooting, this is not the camera for you. If you shoot more than you chimp, you will love the small info screen on the back and the fact that there is no glowing-in-your-face LCD screen lighting up your world as you are shooting. My first impression of this innovation was skepticism but, now that I think about it more, I think this is the way all digital cameras should be!
Camera manufacturers give lip service to “the shooting experience,” but not all follow through with bold innovations like a hidden LCD and the modern, digital film-simulation version of something as nostalgic as putting the film box square into the rear holder on the camera. As a Fujifilm X shooter, I rarely use the awesome film simulations, but this (gimmicky?) touch makes me want to walk away from this computer and go shoot a roll of digital PROVIA right now.
The X-Pro3 has a titanium body—moving away from the magnesium-alloy, aluminum, or plastic trend of many manufacturers. Some film cameras were famously made of titanium, but that material has largely vanished from the photo world until now. Titanium is more difficult to work with, but passes along a fairly substantial weight savings, and the X-Pro3 feels like the X-Pro went on a diet. Let’s hope this trend continues to the X-T4!
Fujifilm has also redesigned and improved the camera’s hybrid viewfinder. The most magical part of the X-Pro line has been the fact that rangefinder-loving photographers can have the magical off-axis optical viewfinder/frame lines experience and, with the flick of a switch on the front of the camera, switch over to a full-digital electronic viewfinder experience. This way of seeing is not for everyone, but those who enjoy it know who they are. The hybrid viewfinder (HVF) combines the 0.5x OVF and a 3.69M-dot OLED. According to Fujifilm, the OVF is clearer, has less distortion, and a larger angle of view while the EVF has a higher resolution, greater contrast, wider color space, improved brightness, and a higher frame rate—all improvements you would expect from a new camera.
I can’t be certain, but the grip feels more substantial than that of the X-Pro2, but maybe my hands have shrunk since I reviewed its predecessor.
Inside, for the boring part, the X-Pro3 has a 26MP X-Trans sensor powered by the X-Processor Pro 4 that includes a new film simulation mode—Classic Negative—which is rumored to be similar to Fujicolor Superia. Also, for those who need it, the X-Pro3 will record DCI and UHD 4K recording at up to 30 fps at 200 Mb/s, though the experience of this camera is tailored more for photographers than filmmakers.
What are your thoughts on this digital rangefinder and the new hidden LCD? Let’s discuss in the Comments section, below.