Recently I was holidaying around the South Island of New Zealand with the X-T3 from Fujifilm. It was great having it with me and seeing what I could do with it.
Holidaying with the Fujifilm X-T3
I approached Fujifilm Australia when I knew that I was going to New Zealand to see if they would loan me the X-T3 camera and some lenses. The main reason behind the loan was to see what I thought of the mirrorless system, especially if I left my Nikon gear at home.
Some of the pluses for me
- Weigh less
- Smaller size
- Easier to carry around all day
Travelling with photography gear
Anyone who has travelled knows that your gear can create a lot of problems. It isn’t like going away with your car and you can take as much as you like. You need to consider how much weight you are taking. Part of the reason for wanting the Fujifilm camera and lenses was for this. It would weigh a lot less than my Nikon gear.
The size of it was also important. It meant I would be able to fit more into my camera bag. In the end I took two Fujifilm bodies and 5 lenses. If I were using the Nikon gear, I would not have been able to take that much with me.
The other thing that was important was the ability to carry it around my neck all day. You need to be able to do it comfortably without having to worry about killing your neck and back.
The Fujifilm Camera and Lenses fit all three of these and when I was approved the loan, I knew it would make my trip that much better.
Problems with the camera
When you buy cameras, or any gear you buy it with the knowledge that you are starting from scratch. You set it up the way you want and to your needs. Unfortunately, when you borrow gear you have no idea what the set up will be.
Back Button Focusing and shooting in RAW
When I first got the X-T3 I realised fairly quickly that I couldn’t focus on anything the way that I am used to. Someone who had borrowed it in the past had set it up for back button focusing. Now I know a lot of people love that, but I’m not one of them.
When I’m taking photos, I nearly always use spot focusing and being able to move the spot around is very important. So instead of using my thumb to focus, I use it to move the spot. If I have to focus and move the spot at the same time would make it harder for me.
How to turn off this feature turned out to be harder than you would think. I Googled and Googled. Lots and lots of information on how to set it up, but not to reverse it.
The other problem I discovered was that I couldn’t seem to find where to set it so that I could take photos in RAW. I could see all the choices for JPEG, but not the other.
After spending a lot of time online and in the Fuji X Aus Facebook Group it seemed the only way to sort out the problem was to do a complete factory reset.
I could also choose RAW for my image quality. Brilliant.
Using two memory cards
It was really important that I be able to use two memory cards while I was travelling. It doesn’t happen often, but memory cards have been known to fail. The X-T3 takes two SD cards and I wanted to set one up as a backup.
I had to try a few times to do this and in the end the problem was not with the camera, but with me. After a while I realised I had set it up right, but it didn’t work the same as it does on my usual camera.
After a few days I realised that my images were being cropped. When I looked in the viewfinder, I could see a rectangle in it.
I knew it was cropping the photos and I had to compose my images within it, but no idea what it was. My Nikon full frame does a similar thing, but it didn’t seem to be the same thing.
Again, Google was very helpful, along with the manual for the X-T3. It took a while, but it turned out the camera had been switched to Sports Mode. No idea how it happened. It was, however, easy to fix once I knew what the problem was.
There were a few things I had to fix, but the main thing was that I was able to get everything the way I wanted. None of the problems were that serious.
If in doubt and when I couldn’t work out what the problem was, I knew I could go to the group. The Facebook group is full of people who use Fujifilm cameras. There is a wealth of knowledge there.
Someone told me before I used a Fujifilm camera that the menu system was difficult to work out.
In some ways it is true, but I find the Canon menu system hard as well. It really comes down to what you are used to. The more I’ve used Fujifilm cameras the easier I am finding them. I’m starting to understand the terminology that is used. Sometimes I need to go to the manual, but overall it has become better for me.
I’ve used Nikon cameras for over 20 years, so I understand them. I know how to find what I need. There is no doubt that eventually I would find the Fujifilm the same.
Using the X-T3
The retro look of the camera makes this a fairly easy camera to use. Once you get past the quirks of it. It took me a while to work out how to put it on Aperture Priority. It was easy in the end, but it doesn’t have the button changes like many other cameras.
Manual mode was a little harder, and I forgot that to change the aperture I needed to use the aperture ring on the lens.
Once all the was sorted I had no problems.
Taking long exposures
Anyone who follows me knows how much I love doing long exposures. One of the important things you need to do it is a remote shutter release, or a camera that has capabilities to let you. Shooting long exposures means using the bulb setting and opening the shutter for long periods.
I was so happy to see that there is a “T” on the Shutter Speed dial and you can set it to how long you want. You do seem to have to do it in increments of one minute, but that is okay. It does a count down when it is taking the photo so if you want to do something else you can stop it.
Many cameras have something similar, meaning it will keep the shutter open for as long as you want, but you have to time it, and then remember to stop it. It was fantastic how you didn’t have to do that with the X-T3.
It is always nice when you don’t have to take as much gear with you. I have a remote shutter that will work for that camera, but I really hate it. It doesn’t work the way I want. So, once I realised that I could use the “T” setting, I never looked back.
Converting to Fujifilm
One of the tests for me while away was would I miss my usual DSLR? Would I want to convert to a mirrorless system?
In the end I didn’t miss my DSLR. The X-T3 did everything I wanted it too. I didn’t need to worry that I would want to do something and not be able to.
It would be great to be able to convert, but the only way I can do it is if I sell my Nikon gear. That isn’t as easy as it seems. I never have a lot of luck selling anything. So, I might have to consider saving up.
I have a loan of a friends X-T20 and her lenses, so I might have to continue using that for a while. That might be a good option while I continue working out what I want to do. Money is always a problem for me. My husband is great, but he refuses to pay for any gear. So might have to rethink everything.
There is no doubt that the Fujifilm X-T3 camera is fantastic. Once you know what you are doing it is easy to use and really good to carry around. You can do everything you want with it that you can do with a DSLR.
Mirrorless cameras are fantastic. They do what you want and the reasons for hanging onto a DSLR are getting weaker. It’s getting so much harder to say that I need a professional DSLR when I get just as good images from the X-T3.
The main argument I hear is the size possibilities of printing. The reality for me is that I don’t print much, and if I need something really large there is software out there that can help with that. It isn’t a good reason anymore.
More thought is needed from me about this. Time will tell.
I borrowed three lenses from Fujifilm Australia and I will do a future post on them and what I thought.
If you would like more information on the Specifications of the camera click here.
For now I would like to thank Fujifilm Australia so much for loaning me the X-T3 and the lenses for my trip. I really enjoyed using them and love a lot of the photos I got.