Fuji Xpro 3 ~ Ten Month Report

I purchased my Dura Silver Xpro3 on Jan 1st 2020. It's now October of 2020, and it's a different world since back in January. 10 months on I thought I would take a moment or two and see where the Xpro3 has taken me over the past 10 months...

First off, I always bring my Xpro3 and primes kit with me on my photo adventures. Although large and medium format film photography is now my focus, the Xpro3 is along to document the trip from a tourist/traveler point of view. It's the camera I walk around with while doing “travel” things, not “photo” things. I also bring my Xpro3 and primes pretty much everywhere I go, everyday, my daily carry if you will. I carry it all in a black Domke 803 bag, which I love. In it I have the Fuji-chrons 16/23/35/50 Samyang fisheye.

Notice I have a Billingham Sp-40 shoulder pad on the strap of my Domke 803, works great!

Also, my 16mm and 50mm are joined at the lenscap with a custom two lens holder I built using JVC lenscaps and epoxy. Works great as well!!

It's still a quite controversial camera: The hidden screen probably has hindered sales. And although I enjoy the retro-esque of it, in practice, when the pressure is on to get the shot, it is kind of a crudge. I doubt we will see the Xpro4 with the same screen arrangement. Having said that, the Xpro3 is my favorite Xpro camera so far, and that's saying something, because the Xpro1 was one of my favorite cameras of all time! The hidden screen is actually a pleasure --- until it's not. If your shooting for your own pleasure and have the time and luxury to enjoy life and kick back and channel your inner Cartier-Bresson, lovely. If you say, gosh I have a modern digital rangefinder hybrid camera, I'm going to use it for commercial work, then maybe you might miss having a screen readily available to look at.

For the most part the camera is transparent. In other words, it just does what you want it to do and nothing gets in your way or slows you down. The ISO dial is worth mentioning as a potential problem area. It is more form over function for sure. The lift and turn dance can be tiresome in specific situations, but in general it's a non issue. This has been resolved with the X100V dial which can be lifted into position and then turned at will, a much slicker design which incorporates the best of the old while improving functionality- NICE! I expect to see that implemented on the Xpro4 for sure.Other than the hidden screen, everything else is as you would expect a retro-modern rangefinder to be: awesome.

The X-Pro3's AF system is pretty much the same as on other contemporary Fuji models, namely the XT3. You get a choice of single point, zone or wide AF modes, or “All,” which enables all three at once and lets you choose what you want from all three modes as you change your AF point size. It's actually quite good in practice, and adds to the transparent user experience of the body. I have had no complaints for stills photography, though for video the AF is really a non-starter. I shoot my video on manual AF. They say the Sony's are better, and it's a shame because the Fuji's are so close: I'd say about 90% for video. It would only take about 5% more to make me comfortable using it for video. (I'm mostly talking about the XT3 here, but the I have used the Xpro3 for 4K 30fps video as well and will so in the future, so it applies.) Face/Eye detection works for stills, but for video, again, the AF is not reliable enough. And this applies to face/eye detection as well. At least that's my experience.AF tracking works, and works better than this kind of camera has right to, but the hidden screen will hamper your Super bowl coverage a lot more than the almost cutting edge AF tracking...

Fuji doesn't skimp on their processors, unlike some manufacturers. (OK, so maybe Pentax isn't skimping, maybe they just haven't released a new camera since 2016, though the K1 Mark II does seem very slow by 2020 standards and maybe even slow by 2016 standards, just sayin') The Fuji processor in the Xpro3 is quick. Very quick. Transparently quick. Except when you turn on the "clarity" setting which must use more processor power than a Call of Duty Tournament because things get noticeably bogged down, but just make sure that setting is off and you're good to go. The fast processor allows for dual UHSII card slots – NICE! Though taken for granted somewhat, it would raise a few eyebrows if they were not there. (I'm looking at you Olympus OMD EM1 Mark III, though your company died, so who cares?)

Also taken for granted is that the Xpro3 is weather sealed just like the Xpro2 – Excellent!

The Titanium is reassuring, and this is definitely a luxury product. Luxurious but unassuming, sophisticated but unobtrusive, modern yet traditional. I find that even the Dura Silver version is discreet and mostly goes unnoticed, maybe even more so than it's darker siblings: In people's minds, the shape and the color translate into “snapshot camera from days of yore, ignore.” And one more thing about the Dura Silver, it's the hardest finish of the bunch, even harder than the Dura Black, so it's arguably the “Ultimate” version of the Xpro3. (Meaningless in reality, makes me feel good though.)

And I have to mention the optical viewfinder. There have been a few changes in the X-Pro3 viewfinder however that has ticked a few people off. Fuji decided to use a single magnification viewfinder now instead of the dual magnification finders on the Xpro1 and Xpro2, which means lenses wider than 23mm now exceed the optical viewfinders field of view. Now if this was not a “hybrid” viewfinder, and didn't also incorporate a 100% electronic viewfinder readily and instantaneously available at the flick of a switch, I might have an issue with this decision. In practice, I just mount my 16mm (or 8mm fisheye) to the camera, flick the switch to bring up the 100% EVF and drive on. No big deal. I really like the Xpro3 optical viewfinder and use it often.

I think the greatest attribute of the Xpro3 is that it slays the “black blob camera blues” monster in a decisive and succinct way. What's the black camera blob blues you ask? Have you picked up any Canon camera in the past 25 years? Don't get me wrong, Canon makes great cameras capable of great images, but they are also black plastic blobs which don't exactly inspire. At least they don't inspire me. Not in the same way a Leica M6 or Zone VI wooden field camera does...

If you can accept the screen for what it is and work with it and not fight against it, the camera is a pleasure to own and use. At least that's where I'm at 10 months into what seems likely to be a very long relationship.

My accompanying Youtube video to this blog is here:

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