Fuji’s “Pro” line of X-series cameras always stood out in its own way. It is the only rangefinder style Fuji camera with a very retro look and a hybrid viewfinder. Fuji stuck with this concept from the very beginning, making the X-Pro quite different when compared to other X-series cameras like the X-Pro3 and the X-H1. Today, the company officially announced the latest iteration of the camera in the form of the Fuji X-Pro3, an $1,800 retro-style camera with interesting ergonomics.
This time, we are dealing with a rather bold move that replaces the now traditional LCD screen on the back of the camera with a dual screen, which by default, will make it impossible for photographers to chimp while shooting. That’s right, in its normal shooting mode, the X-Pro3 will have a tiny LCD screen that will not display the output from the image sensor. Instead, it will display chosen film simulation (designed to look like the packaging of Fujifilm’s classic film), as well as white balance and ISO settings. That’s really it.
If film is not your thing and you want to see more useful information, you can customize the information displayed on the screen very similarly to how you can do it on the top LCD of cameras like the X-H1 and GFX-50S. But the tiny, low-resolution LCD screen (which isn’t even backlit) will never duplicate the image sensor, and that’s the way Fuji wants the camera to behave.
The opposite side of the rear display looks like a typical LCD screen that we normally see on all other cameras. The only thing is, you have to flip it to a reasonable angle (it tilts all the way down to 180 degrees) in order to actually use it. Once tilted down, the LCD screen works just like it is supposed to, mirroring sensor output and providing other useful information.
Now, you might be wondering “Why?”. Why did Fuji decide to implement such quirky ergonomics? In essence, Fuji wants to inspire photographers to only focus on photography by using the OVF / EVF hybrid viewfinder and use the rear LCD screen as a last resort. No more chimping…
This pushes the X-Pro3 into a very specific niche – street photography. For those who only want to keep focused on their subject, the X-Pro3 sounds quite intriguing. However, forget about using this camera on a tripod – the LCD screen would simply get in the way. Landscape, architecture and macro photographers, will probably hate this camera. The same goes for videographers.
Now here is the million dollar question – is the Fuji X-Pro3 really needed in the declining camera market today? Keep in mind, the X-Pro series cameras have never been mass market products – that’s what the X-H1 and the X-T3 are for. With the X-Pro3, Fuji is trying to do something completely different. It is not a camera for beginners. It is a camera for advanced photographers who want to bring back some film nostalgia. It is a camera that is designed to make photographers slow down, focus on their subject and composition, rather than offer all the latest bells and whistles that we are used to seeing on modern mirrorless cameras today. In short, it is not a “run-and-gun” type of a camera.
Personally, I welcome the addition of the X-Pro3 into the Fuji X family and I think it is a really cool, albeit gimmicky concept. I find the X-Pro3 to be a gorgeous camera, something Fuji fans probably appreciate. It is not a camera for me, since I shoot a lot of landscapes and the LCD screen would be more of a nuisance in the field, but if I did a lot of street and travel photography, the X-Pro3 would potentially be cool toy to enjoy photography with. Fuji has done a remarkable job with its lens line-up, so the X-Pro3 paired with a small prime like the 23mm f/2 or the 35mm f/2 would be a killer combo.
However, if we truly look at the usefulness of this camera, it is not something that offers good value. At $1800 for a basic model and $200 more for hardened finish, it is a lot of money thrown at a camera that has no IBIS, questionable LCD ergonomics and the same guts as the X-T3. There is very little innovation, if any, with the X-Pro3…
Official Press Release
Here is the official press release from Fuji:
FUJIFILM INTRODUCES THE X-PRO3 – A RETURN TO THE CRAFT AND HEART OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Valhalla, New York, October 23, 2019 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation is pleased to announce the launch of the FUJIFILM X-Pro3, the latest rangefinder from the X Series range of mirrorless digital cameras, and perfect for photographers on the move who want top-level features, a low profile, and reliable durability.
Created with street photographers and photojournalists in mind, the features of the X- Pro3 are designed to keep the photographer focused on the subject. Its revolutionary hybrid OVF/EVF and hidden LCD touchscreen keeps the photographer in the moment, while its state-of-the-art imaging sensor and high-quality 4k video ensure spectacular results. X-Pro3 is a true photographer’s tool that combines all the feeling of film with all the ease and quality of digital.
The X-Pro3 is one of the most durable camera bodies in FUJIFILM camera history, thanks to the exterior use of titanium, known for its outstanding strength-to-weight ratio. Two color variations will be available with additional DuratectTM (DR) surface- hardening technology for extra toughness and premium finish. The X-Pro3 uses the back illuminated 26.1MP X-TRANS CMOS 4 sensor and the X-Processor 4 image processing engine, first seen in the FUJIFILM X-T3 and then the FUJIFILM X-T30. Using this combination and new firmware, the phase-detection AF now works down to a luminance of -6EV; close to absolute darkness. Also new is CLASSIC Neg. Film Simulation mode, which is designed to simulate color negative film that was normally used for everyday snapshots.
New OVF/EVF Combination
Great photography is all about freezing natural moments in time and X-Pro3’s impressive hybrid viewfinder ensures you are always fully immersed in that moment, without influencing it. The 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. It also allows you to see outside the frame so that you are always ready to catch the approaching action. Additionally, the 3.69M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) offers a fast and high-quality representation of exactly how your image will look, with a 1:5000 contrast ratio for excellent clarity. When combined, this industry-leading technology provides an outstanding picture, helping to capture the world exactly as it is being seen.
Hidden 180-Degree Tilt and Touchscreen
Every aspect of X-Pro3 has been designed for photographers who like to live in the moment, but none more so than its hidden 1.62M-dot, tilting LCD touchscreen. When the LCD is closed, all that can be viewed is a mini-display showing essential settings, removing the distraction of a full screen while shooting. With your mind and your eye always on the scene in front of you rather than the scene you’ve just shot, you can find a connection not just with your subject, but also with your art. If seeking the perfect moment is instinctive to you, then look no further than X-Pro3 as your tool.
Incredible Sensor, Processor, and AF Performance
Lying at the heart of X-Pro3 is its state-of-the-art X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4 combination. This exceptional 26.1MP sensor uses a back-illuminated design to maximize quality and dynamic range, while its unique color filter array controls moiré and false color without the need for an optical, low-pass filter. Such outstanding imaging capability is complemented by the quad-core X-Processor 4. This powerful CPU not only ensures images are quickly and smoothly processed, but thanks to Fujifilm’s new algorithm, boosts AF performance with precision face and eye detection right down to -6EV.
Enhanced Body Design
X-Pro3’s timeless body design features a top and base plate constructed from titanium, which, despite being little more than half the density of stainless steel, is seven times more durable. In addition to classic black, the weather- sealed X-Pro3 is also available in DR Silver and DR Black, which utilize cold plasma technology for a scratch-resistant finish. This outstanding durability combines with a newly developed shutter release unit that ensures dependable precision and smoother, more responsive functionality to create a camera that can be relied upon to perform in nearly any situation.
Unparalleled Color Reproduction and Film Simulation Modes
Fujifilm’s legacy in color science has given it legendary status among image-makers across the world. During its 85 years in the industry, Fujifilm has been responsible for some of the most iconic photographic films in history. The exceptional knowledge gained has been poured into Fujifilm’s collection of 16 digital Film Simulation modes. This cutting-edge technology allows photographers to achieve stunning results straight out of camera and X-Pro3 introduces two exciting new additions to the Film Simulation mode collection: CLASSIC Neg. and MONOCHROMATIC Color.
The X Series’ first interchangeable lens camera, FUJIFILM X-Pro1, was released in February 2012, and its successor, FUJIFILM X-Pro2, debuted in March 2016 with vastly improved image quality and performance. The X-Pro Series has been embraced by many professional and enthusiast photographers who enjoy the classic rangefinder style, portability, and dials that enable intuitive operation. The X-Pro3 builds on the series’ legacy as the ultimate solution for photographers on the move who know the value of being in the moment.
The X-Pro3 camera will be offered with manufacturer’s suggested retail prices as follows:
$1,799.95 USD Black
$1,999.95 USD DR Black or DR Silver
$2,399.99 CAD Black
$2,699.99 CAD DR Black or DR Silver.
X-Pro3 is expected to go on sale in late Fall 2019. For more information, please visit https://fujifilm-x.com/en-us/x-pro3
Without a doubt, the X-Pro3 is a bold move by Fuji. It is an extremely niche product and not something many photographers will pursue. And that’s perfectly fine, because it is not supposed to appeal to the masses in the first place…
What do you think about this announcement? Does the Fuji X-Pro3 sound appealing to you? Please let me know in the comments section below!
I almost never use the rear screen on any of my cameras so I can quite see the logic here. It certainly appeals to me but frankly is just too expensive. I have an X-Pro 2 and will wait to see waht it comes down to in the second hand market.
I own and shoot with X-Pro2 and I am very happy with that camera. I shoot mostly RAW and perform conversions to JPG in Capture 1. What I like about X-Pro2 the most is the placement of the viewfinder which works for me very well as I am right eye dominant. What I miss on X-Pro2 is a tillable screen but I got used to not having it.
With that background, recently I had a chance to handle a pre-production version of X-Pro3. I have also read the specs on the new X-Pro. I walked away struggling with the value for money question just like you, Nasim.
I would like to make the following personal observation:
Fuji engineered limitations into the design of their LCD in the name “Photographic Purity”, as they state. And by that, I assume they meant photographic creativity. I disagree with the notion that engineering limitations into a design promotes creativity. In fact, the opposite is true. To give photographers choices is to promote creativity as no two photographers are the same. Fuji’s design is certainly unique and will appeal to some but it will do nothing to promote creativity. It is difficult to understand how having the same kind of screen as on X-T3 would limit creativity, and in that sense be in the way X-Pro3’s quest for “Photographic Purity”.
At the end of the day, X-Pro3 seems to be a wonderful rangefinder style camera. No doubt, there will be those who will buy it and be very happy with it. I asked myself if I would feel the same if I did not own X-Pro2 and the answer is probably yes. For those that enjoy rangefinder style shooting X-Pro2 offers a much better value for the money, in my opinion.
Well, you don’t have to worry about seeing the screen in bright light, Or any light for that matter.
But I digress, I do like to review, verify, assure myself I got the picture I wanted, or at least, that the one I was attempting to get, with film simulation modes or not, I do not care to be reminded what simulation mode I was using. Somebody already said it, too much of a gimmick.
The concept of a rangefinder size, digital, looks, etc, nice idea and concept, not crazy about the final implementation.
Nasim, I agree with your comments. My first DSLR was a Fuji Finepix Pro S2 that took Nikon glass. Ironically as a start into mirrorless I bought a Fuji X100F 7 months ago and carry it everywhere. I bought the X100F so I would not feel compelled to purchase new lenses and also to take advantage of the leaf shutter. The entire Fuji line is very portable. I love the retro look of Fuji stuff. For street and candid portrait photography my Fuji is a treat and allows me opportunities that I did not usually take with my Nikon gear. I have an entire line of Nikon and Nikon compatible gear from 600 to 15mm in FX with current bodies but I am becoming more careful to not force fit my Fuji into a Nikon role. As well the Fuji controls are more sensitive and consolidated onto a smaller body and I find myself inadvertently changing them when not paying attention. The current Fuji line will never compete functionally with Nikon for land scape and wildlife photography and I think that Fuji was smart that way. I will be staying with Nikon and eventually purchase a 2nd or third gen Nikon mirrorless body/system but the Fuji camera I own is a nice first start in mirrorless. If I were a dedicated street photographer I would start with Fuji. The X-Pro 3 would be a logical purchase. As well I love Fuji colors and think that the Fuji sensors are as good if not better than the top Nikon DX.
Nasim, you referred to this as a niche’ product. I’ll go a step further. The entire camera division of Fujifilm is a niche’ company. I dealt with their medical imaging reps in my previous life as an anesthesiologist and one of them didn’t know that their company made photography equipment.
If it had a normal LCD I’d be all over it but for weddings I need to change settings quick and without a rear facing LCD it would take to long. I guess I could look through the EVF to change my settings but Its just not something I want to do all the time. Plus I hate to be that guy looking through the EVF at the floor and having everyone wonder what I’m taking a photo of… hahaha
Why would you choose such a camera for wedding photography to begin with?
There are so many options on the market which are better suited for that task.
The X-Pro I’ve been waiting for! The only time I use a flippy screen is for low and ground level compositions and this is perfect. I have used all iterations of Fuji XT and X-E cameras and have a slew of Fuji’s fine glass after years of shooting Nikon’s (also fine). I was expecting to see a likewise comment of the low angle shooting advantage. And seeing photographers chimping every shot does annoy me, hahaha, I’m old…
I absolutely don’t understand why some people dismiss “chimping”.
When I shoot a photo which in my opinion has the potential of being something special, perhaps “portfolio material”, then, especially if I’m working hand-held, I absolutely want to control if the photo is a) really sharp and b) the framing is right (things which are missing or cut off can’t be added in post).
True, this wasn’t possible in film days, but that’s no argument. It’s simply one of the inconveniences of the early technology named “film photography” which luckily have been overcome.
Nasim Thank You for another excellent informative article, certainly, this camera is one for a niche market personally I will pass on this new Fuji camera as I much prefer my excellent all-rounder XT-3.
One new feature which piqued my interest is improved AF I really hope Fuji passes on this to us with 26 MP XTrans sensors in the form of a firmware update improving my XT-3’s bird in-flight performance.
I read “Pure photography” on their announcement, reminds me Nikon DF comercial and I love my Nikon DF.
Nikon should have released an update to the Df! So many people would buy that.
I loved my Df too. A mirror-less version would be amazing. I shot Nikon for over 15 years. I recently bought a Fuji GFX50r and XT3 and sold all my Nikon stuff. I’ve very happy with my decision. I trust the jpg files so much out of Fuji that I rarely look at the screen.
I had and XPro1 and loved it but hated the battery life. But they have improved so much. I can see myself getting a Xpro3 but I love all the negative comments its getting. Hopefully fuji hears them and drops the price shortly. So keep them coming. Haha!
One last thing. I love the form factor of the GFX50r and Xpros series because your nose does not rub on the screen, wait what screen! LOL!