Yesterday I got to get my hands on the new Fuji X-T3 and all I can say is wow! Last year I looked hard at Fuji yet I still stayed in the Nikon camp by getting the D500 for my APS-C needs. After using the X-T3 I think Fuji may have knocked it out of the park and stomped the competition. Buyers remorse? Just a little, I now have no problem rocking a Fuji other than the investment into a new ecosystem.
What I Liked?
Well, just about everything. I went into the mindset of the comparison of how this stacked up against the D500 with a 70-200mm f/2.8.
- High ISO performance.
- The AF is just amazing.
- Menus are logical and easy to navigate.
- Ergonomics felt natural.
- It just looks sexy
Tisk Tisk Nikon
A couple of the sad things about Nikon I see their downfall are lenses and firmware. Nikon has seriously neglected their DX lenses yet they produce Pro level APS-C cameras such as the D300 and D500. Their DX glass is always aimed the consumer market with their cheap feeling, Chinese made AFS G and AFP lenses. Not something you want to pair up with a D500. If you want to use fast glass designed you are left with two options. Use FX glass or third party APS-C lenses?
If you already use Nikon full frame aka FX lenses using them on a APS-C works and works well for the exception of size and weight. You must also take into account the 1.5x crop factor. So my Tamron 70-200mm G2 on the D500 turns into a 105-300mm. You have to take this into account when shooting. Why Nikon never made any pro level DX glass will forever elude me.
Moving onto Nikon’s firmware, well it isn’t very good. They have kept the menus pretty much the same over the years but they just haven’t innovated much. They keep adding on top of old code which just needs a revamp. In short, Nikon is a horrible software company which I will elaborate more on.
Hardware vs Software Defined
In the not so distant past all electronics were hardware defined. Most of the quality was defined by the quality of the components used and circuitry design. Nikon is still on that hardware divined mentality and castrating their hardware by bad software/firmware. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Nikon but times are changing. Nikon just isn’t changing and/or fast enough.
Fuji on the other hand is throwing a ton of effort into their firmware development. Consistently refining, fixing, optimizing and adding new features. They also have to happen to push out updates more frequently. A great analogy of this would be that Nikon seems to be running Windows 95 on a 8 core PC processor. While Fuji keeps pushing the envelope of hardware and software trying to find that happy balance of performance and functionality.
I’ll say this about Fujinon lenses. They feel and look amazing! Like old Nikon AI-S glass, slightly better than newer Canon too. I got to play with the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 LM OIS. Nice kit lens, much better than Nikon’s 18-55mm DX lens that is f/3.5-5.65G. Next up I paired the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 and this is where I really fell in love. Hands down if I was going out to shoot a low light event I would opt for this Fuji combo over the D500. The fact the size, weight, and a proper focal length in conjunction with the high ISO and FPS performance make it a no-brainer.
I also got to play with the new XF 200m f/2. Holy crap!! Nice lens and is equivalent to 305mm. Comes with a 1.4X TC which bumps it up to 427mm f/2.8 equivalent. Huge lens comes in a short distance of 8″.
The X-T3 checks a bunch of boxes for me. Size and weight in comparison to the D500. More functionality than my J5 or D5500. Not really worried about IBIS as I’ve done a pretty good job with out it over the years. I’m pretty sure it could replace all three, J5, D5500 and D500 into a single camera plus more. I’ve kept these for various reasons but mainly for weight, size and portability vs my big body camera as the D500, D810 and now D850.
If I wasn’t so invested into Nikon. If I hadn’t just bought a D850. If I just needed a damn good camera at this price point. This is would what I buy right now on the market…. without question. As it stands I think Fuji has produced the best camera of the year. There is still a few more surprises to be had as Photokina comes about but I doubt much would sway this opinion. Best camera of 2018 (for me), quite possible?