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: