Fujifilm sent me an X-Pro3 to try for a few weeks. I put it through its paces as best as I could in that short time, and wanted to publish a review; however, what fresh insight can I give that hasn’t already been said over and over? Instead of rehashing all the technical data you probably already have known for awhile, I thought I’d simply answer this question: Is the Fujifilm X-Pro3 still a camera worth buying in 2022? And, is this a camera that you should consider?
The X-Pro3 was originally released in November of 2019, which was more than two years ago. In the digital era, a lot of people “upgrade” their gear every two-ish years, so does that mean the X-Pro3 is beginning to feel dated? Will it seem old even though you bought it brand-new? Will the X-Pro4 be announced the day after your X-Pro3 arrives in the mail?
Fujifilm sent me a well-used X-Pro3, but it was still in great shape. The majority of the reviews you find on the internet were probably from this exact same body. I won’t say that I got it last, but more-or-less that’s true.
It’s still a very similar size, weight, shape, and design as the original X-Pro1—Fujifilm didn’t change much externally over the last decade, but what they did change has certainly caused a lot of controversy. The headline change, of course, is the backwards-mounted rear screen, which forces you to use the hybrid-viewfinder for most of your photography, and only use the rear LCD when you absolutely have to. While I thought I’d love this, I think the execution was lacking, and I found it frustrating at times. Instead of folding down, I think flipping out to the side, and then twisting up or down, would have made a lot more sense. I think removing the D-Pad was a bit of a mistake, too.
Image quality on the X-Pro3 is fantastic—exactly the same as the X100V, X-T4, and the other X-Trans IV cameras. Unfortunately, and despite this being a “premium” model, Fujifilm hasn’t given this camera the Kaizen love that it deserves, and you won’t find Eterna Bleach Bypass, half-step Highlight and Shadow adjustments, or the two new Auto White Balance options. This is a real shame, because otherwise it would feel just as up-to-date as the latest models, but instead it has a sense of being slightly dated. The X-E4, the current entry-level model, has more JPEG options than the X-Pro3, and that just doesn’t seem right to me.
Enough of the negativity, though, because the X-Pro3 is an awesome camera! I thoroughly enjoyed using it. It is such a beautiful model, and is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. I can’t imagine anyone hating it. Yeah, it has a couple disappointing design choices, but if you are aware of those things going into the purchase, you won’t be disappointed. Best-looking body combined with Fujifilm’s fantastic film simulations is a winner in my books!
Here’s something that maybe hasn’t been talked about much: the ability to save TIFFs. Most Fujifilm models can either do RAW or JPEG (or RAW+JPEG), but you have an additional option of TIFF on the X-Pro3. I didn’t notice any image quality difference between TIFF and JPEG, but the TIFF should allow you more room for editing before the files start to degrade. There’s also the potential that the TIFFs, having more bits, do actually deliver an improved image quality, but if so it is really subtle and I couldn’t tell.
The X-Pro3, though, isn’t a practical purchase—it’s emotional. The rational side of your brain will tell you that the X-T4 is slightly better and slightly cheaper. The rational side of your brain will tell you that the X-E4 is much cheaper, smaller, and lighter, yet basically the same thing, and since you rarely shoot in the rain you don’t really need weather-sealing anyway. But the emotional side tells you that those cameras aren’t as timeless as the X-Pro line. The X-Pro3 is a beast that you’ll keep and use and love for ages. It’s your Leica, except that it’s Fujifilm.
On a more serious note, though, the X-Pro3 is a solid body that balances well with larger lenses. Sometimes, on my smaller cameras, my bigger and heavier lenses are a bit awkward to use, but not on the X-Pro3. If you often use these larger and heavier lenses, you might appreciate the larger, sturdier body of the X-Pro3.
While X-Trans V is just around the corner, I don’t believe that the X-Pro4 is going to be announced anytime soon—I think maybe in 2023, but I’d be pretty shocked if Fujifilm replaced the X-Pro3 anytime this year. I’ve certainly been wrong before, but I haven’t heard anything about an upcoming X-Pro4 on the horizon.
I think by-and-large those who would love the X-Pro3 know who they are already. If you are uncertain, that’s a pretty good indication that this camera isn’t for you. That’s not to say you’d dislike it, but you should strongly consider a different model instead. For those who are pretty confident that the X-Pro3 is the camera for them, you can know that you are probably right, and you’re going to love it. So, my conclusion is that the X-Pro3 isn’t perfect and it isn’t for everyone, but for some it will be a much appreciated, much loved, and much used camera for years to come.
I was sad to send Fujifilm their X-Pro3 back, and I’ll certainly miss it.
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Example photographs, captured with a Fujifilm X-Pro3:
This is a timely post for me – I get my new X-Pro3 in Dura Black in the mail tomorrow! I totally agree about it being an emotional purchase in many ways – I strongly considered an X-E4, but in the end I felt like it was worth splurging on something that felt a little more special, even if it was functionally very similar. I’m not too worried about an imminent replacement, either. It doesn’t sound like anything new is on the horizon, and even if there were, it would be impossible to get your hands on one because it seems like everything on the planet is on back-order. I picked my X-Pro3 gray market because I couldn’t find it at any of the big camera stores – saved me a few hundred bucks, which also softens the blow of buying an “older” camera, lol. But to be honest, i think we’re finally at a point where digital cameras have gotten SO good that they might start to have slightly longer lifespans.
You won’t regret it I bought mine from a friend for $1000.00 along with the 27mm|2.8. It only had 800 shutter clicks as he only bought it while on vacation because he dropped his Leica and it was sent in for repair…thus once his Leica returned the Xpro3 sat on the shelf. I told him I love the Xpro3. SOLD! Since which I’ve bought a few accessories, straps, buttons, hotshoe thumb thingy…square hood for the 27mm. Oh yeah I almost forgot….the FujifilmXF 18mm | 1.4 LM WR and the LH-XF18 Lens Hood!😍
Wow, you really got an incredible deal! Amazing. Thanks for sharing!
My feeling is that the X-Pro3 is a camera you’ll still own and use 10 years from now, but the X-E4 will probably be owned by someone else, if not a few someone elses, 10 years from now. I say that while owning an X-E4…. Thank you for the comment!
No manual? I wonder why Fuji decided NOT to include a manual with the X-Pro 3. I know you can download a copy from Fuji’s web site and store it on my laptop, which I have done, but Do I now carry my laptop with me? At the same time as purchasing my X-Pro 3, I also purchased an X-E4 and that came with a manual so why doesn’t the X-Pro3?
The X-Pro3 Fuji sent me to use didn’t even have a box, let alone a manual. I didn’t know that it doesn’t typically come with one. I personally prefer the online manual, but I understand the preference of a physically copy.
A point not covered in the article is the optical view finder (OVF).
If we can discuss endlessly about the rear screen which according to some is a huge advantage and others a handicap, there is a point where the X-Pro3 is undoubtedly inferior to the X-Pro2 and X-Pro1.
The OVF point is not minor, because what differentiates the X-Pro series from the others, apart from the X100, but we will come back to this, is this OVF.
On the X-Pro3, the OVF has only one level of magnification unlike the two previous models which had two levels. In fact the OVF of the X-Pro3 is more or less the same as the X100.
Now, if having only one level of magnification on an X100 with a fixed lens is finally quite logical, this is in my opinion an aberration for an interchangeable lens camera.
The OVF of the X-Pro1, and the one of the X-Pro2 which is identical from this point of view, covered with its two levels of magnification the first range of 18mm 35mm 60mm lenses, or even the 18-55mm zoom.
The main problem is on the side of the wide angle lenses : the OVF of the X-Pro3 does not cover the field as soon as the focal length is lower than 23mm
For medium long focal lengths, because realistically an OVF is not adapted to long focal lengths, the OVF of the X-Pro3 becomes less comfortable as soon as the focal length exceeds 35mm.
That’s a good point. I didn’t mention it because I didn’t have any issues with it during my few weeks with the camera, but if I used it longer perhaps it would come up. Definitely something to be considered. Obviously the EVF works on all lenses, but the OVF is only practically within a certain window, and it’s more limited on the X-Pro3 than previous models. Thank you for the comment!
That’s precisely why I have kept my X-Pro2; the superior OVF and the D-pad. I feel that with the X-Pro3 they chose form over function.
Hopefully they “fix” it in the coming model. Unfortunately, tech companies, including camera makers, often take something away, only to give it back later as an “upgrade”… just look at the X-T5!
It’s really an oversimplification to claim that either X-Pro OVF is better than the other. While the X-Pro3 does lose some utility at the wide and long end (no framelines at 18mm, smaller box at 56) it’s significantly improved in other ways, being bigger, brighter and optically clearer. If you typically shoot primes between 23 and 35mm or thereabouts, it’s undoubtedly a better OVF experience overall than the X-Pro2. The X-Pro2 *only* wins out if you want to use it with wider or significantly longer lenses, and even then the OVF has never been an ideal choice for those focal lengths.
This is a good point. Which is “better” is subjective, and depends on how you’ll use the camera. I used the 33mm lens primarily when I shot the X-Pro3, which worked well with it. Someone else might use the camera much differently, with different focal lengths. Thanks for the input!
Good point. I just got an X-Pro3 and it’s OVF is significantly better for both 23mm, 35mm. There’s some claim that 50mm doesn’t work well on it, but for me it did. I don’t have the 18mm to test, but I’ve read about some who think it works reasonably well on the 3 as well.
I strongly suggest anyone hesitant about her OVF or the 3 actually test it themselves with relevant lenses.
Thanks for the input!
Heck yes!!! Even though I own the XT2, XH1, 50R and 100S I still daily carry my simple XT1 with the pancake 27mm!
That’s a wonderful collection of cameras! The 27mm pancake is phenomenal.
I’ll say if I hadn’t bought he 50R, I would have gone for the XPro3. That is an amazing camera with a gorgeous rear display.
The lack of the dual magnification OVF, and the lack of the (customizable) D-Pad are two reasons why I still didn’t “upgrade” my X-Pro2 to an X-Pro3. I would be fine with the hidden LCD screen; my X-Pro2 case has a leather LCD cover as well.
But where the X-Pro2 OVF works with the XF 16/2.8, the “3” doesn’t even cover the 18mm.
I hope the X-Pro4 will at least reintroduce the wide angle OVF!
I think sometimes camera companies will give you two things and take one away, and then give back that one thing later as an “upgrade”. Kind of silly (to put it nicely). I think we’re still a little ways out from the X-Pro4 (my guess is next year), but hopefully it will have everything that you want it to.