More Revolutionary than Evolutionary: Fujifilm Launches the X-Pro3

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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.

Fujifilm X-Pro3
Fujifilm X-Pro3

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).

Fujifilm X-Pro3

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.

The new Fujifilm X-Pro3 comes in black, DURA black, and DURA silver.

What are your thoughts on this digital rangefinder and the new hidden LCD? Let’s discuss in the Comments section, below.

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It is 12/12 today and many of us held on to our orders with you as this date was maintained as when we’d likely see shipment.

I now see that the status of my Dura Black order has moved to ‘back ordered’ with no other detail or communication.

Many of us planned around this date given holiday travel schedules and the like else would perhaps have sourced the ‘regular black’ from other vendors.  Can you please let us know the status?

Thank you.

We're very sorry to hear of this issue. In this case, it would be best to reach out to our Customer Service Department, being that an order has already been placed. You may reach them for immediate assistance by phone at 1-800-221-5743 or via Live Chat.  As of today, 12/13/19, they will be available until 1PM ET through those contact methods. Otherwise, they can be reached on 12/15/19 at 10 AM ET when they reopen. 

I love everything about the camera and will be getting one. Tom G. said you can't use the flip screen while on a tripod which is incorrect. There are QR plates that fit flush with the X pro 3 that also worked for the X Pro 2. If people are complaining about the rear screen because they like to chimp, just chimp in the viewfinder. You can't please everyone but I am a photographer that appreciates what Fuji has done. I was going to order another Nikon, but this is what I have truly wanted. To me, this is a street photographers dream that doesn't want to spend the money on a Leica.  Can't wait until they are available. :)

While your review lauds the X-Pro3 for its innovative new user interface, such as the hidden, tilt-down screen, rear faux film-box-top screen, indestructible titanium and Dura covered body, it fails to mention how these features will impact shooting with the camera. 

The flip-down screen will be difficult to use on a tripod that has even a slight extension to its top. So forget about using a tripod mount on the bottom of the camera. If the camera is to be used on a gimbal for video the position of the tilt-down screen also becomes completely annoying – and a screen is a very integral component for shooting video with a moving camera.  Yes, we can say that the X-Pro3 is not really intended so much for video use as it is for still photography. But in that case, why incorporate video capabilities in the camera in the first place. If Fuji wants to go this route, then dedicate it as a still-only camera and give us a savings on the price. 

As for the OVF, it is actually a step backwards from the X-Pro2, since its magnification factor has been diminished, although I grant that they did this while substantially improving the viewfinders digital viewfinder. 

The best thing that can be said about this new design is that it incorporates all the best internal processing features of the X-T3 – all of which seems to be lost in reviews that zero in on the ground-breaking features user interface. 

Fuji had a great thing going with the X-Pro series. Too bad they had to go and ruin it with the introduction of impractical and gimmicky faux-film camera characteristics that don’t really serve any advantageous picture-taking purpose. 

The titanium body is a big plus, but the Dura coating is a fingerprint magnet that negates the sleek look it is meant to impart.  Black is the only way to go with this camera, which is good because it is less expensive than the Dura models. 
 

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your insightful comments. I cannot speak to the shooting experience of the camera as we were given a pre-production model to look at and I did not photograph with it. I hope to use the real camera in the very near future!

Thanks for stopping by Explora!

It's a street camera, and it's perfect

I've been using this camera steadily since it came out. It does take sensational pictures and is a very convenient size for carting around. But I do stand by my criticism of the flip-down screen. It is very impractical and annoying and it makes the camera extremely difficult to use on a tripod or gimbal. There is no reason I can think of why anyone would actually want a camera screen to be as limiting as this one is. The cutesy display of film types is silly and only useful as a showing-off point to make it look retro. This is a professional camera with a built-in video, but no IBIS. It should at least be easy to use on a gimbal with a viewing screen. Otherwise, kill the video option and lower the price for those who only want it for street photography use. 

I like just about every aspect about this latest iteration.  I love that they kept the manufacturing in Japan for this model unlike what they did with XT3.  It's a shame that they're using the same sensor & processor as with XT3 which came out a year ago, but I also get that the two models have always shared the same sensor/processor for a given generation.  It just throws you off because they switched the sequence and updated the XT series ahead of the XPRO.  Having been an XT series user, I always wanted an XPRO on the side that typically has one main lens on it (e.g. 18mm f2) that's always just ready to go and be used.  I'm a little disappointed that they did away with two magnification setting on the OVF, and it isn't clear from any of the publication I've seen to date which focal lengths the bright line frames will cover in the OVF.  So definitely a try before purchase type of model for me.

I've lusted after the Xpro2 for a while. I rented one once, but could not rationalize the price. The new iteration has the same basic experience apparently. Down to the same darn combination ISO/shutter dial. Which is the one thing I did not like about the Xpro2!

I am a little interested in the Xpro3. But I will wait until I see whether there are any lens/camera packges. Such as the graphite black Xpro2 package.

You do know you wrote this review starting with a glowing account of the new back/lcd/non-lcd and there isn't a single photo of the back in the review/ad.????

Hi Charles,

This oversight has been remedied. We apologize for our omission.

Wow, Fujifilm is proud of the new#XPro3... And by proud, I mean expensive. I can now see my

photographic future will be shooting used and/or new older models as they go on clearance. So I'll be shooting with my X-T2 for a while.

As the review states the most significant feature change is the screen change on the back of the camera, it would have been nice to get a view of it. Almost every other view perspective was shown...

Hi DAMON,

This oversight has been remedied. We apologize for our omission.

Many Thanks!

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