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Fujifilm X-T3 promises epic action autofocus and more for the money

Fujifilm packs the X-T2's successor with a ton of new capabilities for the money. The X-T3 boasts a new 26-megapixel backside-illuminated (BSI) version of the company's CMOS X-Trans 4 sensor, with millions of phase-detection autofocus points that cover the entire frame; the ability to record 10-bit Cinema 4K/30p video to SD card (albeit in 4:2:0 H.265); a bump from a dual-core X-Processor image-processing engine to quad core for improved performance for operations like continuous shooting and applying its film simulations; and more. 

The body costs $1,500 and a kit with the XF18-55mm lens runs $1,900. We don't have pricing or availability for other regions yet, but those prices directly convert to £1,160 and AU$2,080 for the body and £1,470 and  AU$2,640 for the kit. The X-T3 will ship by the end of this month in the US. 

I'll have a chance to use the X-T3 on launch day and will report back subsequently with hands-on analysis. 

Off the top of my head, though, there's one major disappointment: the X-T3 didn't incorporate the sensor-shift image stabilization that we celebrated when Fujifilm launched the X-H1. And the grip is still on the shallow side; it really peeves me when there are optional accessories to remedy design drawbacks. In this case, the MHG-XT3 Metal Hand Grip.

But most of the news is good. Here are the highlights:

New sensor and autofocus system: Fujifilm's X-Trans sensors are differentiated by their green-intensive color filter array and were some of the first to drop the blurring antialiasing filter in favor of sharpness. (Early on the technology got a bad rap, which is, for the most part, undeserved.) The X-Trans 4 moves to BSI technology from standard CMOS, which among other things confers speed benefits essential for 4K video, fast continuous shooting and more. 

The X-Trans sensors, like Canon's Dual-Pixel CMOS, have the phase-detection focus sensors on the image sensor. Fujifilm spreads the PD sensors across the entire chip, which allows it to cover 100 percent of the scene; most cameras cover at best about 85-90 percent of the center. Focus areas at the edges of the frame can be critical for shooting fast action, because it allows you to get more interesting shots of the subject entering and leaving the frame that can otherwise be difficult. The new AF system probably partly accounts for the claimed improvements in Eye Detection AF -- now it works in continuous-AF mode -- and support for face and eye detection AF in video. 

The trade-off for on-chip focus is that you lose space for the photodiodes, the light-capturing wells of the imaging part of the sensor, which frequently decreases the dynamic range. Fujifilm says it has mitigated that problem, and certainly some of the best sensors today, like that in the Sony A7R III ($2,998 at Amazon), have on-chip phase-detection circuits.

Upgraded video: Like its recent video-focused X-H1, the X-T3 now supports DCI 4K (4,096x2,160) along with 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) video. But the X-T3 can capture it at 60p thanks to the faster readout speed of the sensor. Fujifilm also says that the readout speed helps eliminate rolling shutter as well. In addition, the camera can capture 10-bit 4:2:0 DCI 4K video internally simultaneously with recording 4:2:2 to an external drive. It requires the fastest class of SD cards, but that's okay. There are several caveats, such as having to use the higher-compression H.265 HEVC codec to cram it into 200 megabits per second, which we haven't seen much of in midrange cameras since Samsung exited the camera business taking the NX1 with it. 

New viewfinder: One frequent problem with continuous shooting via an electronic viewfinder is that like any display, it's limited by how many frames per second it can show; fast action happens in the interval between frames. Fujifilm says the X-T3's viewfinder refreshes at up to 100fps. While that's still not as fast as optical, it's pretty fast. There's also a new "sports finder" mode, but it's not clear what that means yet. 

Faster continuous shooting: Now it hits 11fps, which required the battery grip in the X-T2, for a reasonable number of shots. It also can capture at up to 20fps with electronic shutter. Fujifilm has also adopted a pre-shoot feature, which starts capturing when you prefocus and continues after you've released the shutter, for 40 shots on either end, but that's in a 1.25x (20MP) crop mode. 

Body design: While Fujifilm didn't change a lot here, they did streamline the experience, with the ability to lock the EVF diopter, a better touchscreen, bigger dials, larger buttons and better feedback on the jog dials (like the X-H1).
source : cnet.com
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