Fujifilm X-Pro3 Review – A Film Photographer’s Perspective

As someone who shoots a lot of film for my personal work the FujiFilm x pro 3 is a digital camera that I’ve been interested in trying ever since its release welcome back to pushing film my name is Hashem and Fujifilm Australia was nice enough to recently let me borrow a Fujifilm x-pro 3 body with a couple of lenses and a Leica m-mount adapter and of course one of the most unique things about the x-pro 3 is that its conventional LCD screen is hidden by default and instead in the normal position all you see is a small information screen.

but what I’ve always admired about Fujifilm x cameras is the ergonomics and layout of the manual dials which bring it closer to the film cameras of decades ago when it comes to controlling and usage and this combination of design elements as well as Fujifilm’s renowned in-camera control over the output including some rather popular film simulations are what initially piqued my interest in using the x-pro 3 in much of the same way I would a 35 mil film camera being just as light and compact as many 35 mil systems was a big plus meaning I was much more inclined to just pick it up and take along compared to something like my canon 5d while still offering comparable image quality if not better despite the smaller aps-c sensor with all these factors combined the x-pro 3 can be pretty much as direct and pleasurable to use as most film cameras except perhaps comparing it to an actual range finder system something I’ll talk more about later in the video.

so the idea with that screen that’s hidden by default is that it keeps you more at the moment as you would when shooting film now this is something that’s obviously completely up to you even if you had a digital camera where the screen was showing you could just hide it or tape it up or even with some cameras that have the ability to just flip the screen and hide it away you can, of course, do that and it’s just a matter of having that personal willpower or control but what the x-pro 3 tries to do is shift that default way of usage and somewhat force you into using the camera in a way that you perhaps would with a film camera generally speaking through my usage it was a camera that was great to just pick up and use to document everyday moments or to pick up and take along as a daily carry and as polarizing as the hidden screen is for some.

I personally find it great for my style of documentary photography where I try and remain in the moment and less in the camera’s menu or playback screen the small sub monitor defaulted to showing the current film simulation icon or logo but I changed it to show the essential and useful camera settings and information the construction and ergonomics of the camera felt great with the bonus of being weatherproof I took the camera and shot it side by side with my Leica ma at a rally over in Perth during the rain and it felt quick and practical especially when using the autofocus [Music] system so looking through these shots will give you an idea of the output all being straight out of camera jpegs shot with the prone high simulation I was still experimenting with different simulations at this point discovering some of their strengths and weaknesses so this brings me to what I’m sure many of you are curious about with the x-pro 3 is how the output compared to the actual film.

so at the rally, I shot a few different actual film stocks so the comparisons aren’t as direct but it gives you some idea of the somewhat distinct difference when it comes to comparing film scans with just about any digital camera’s normal output and of course the film shooting experience next to digital is going to be distinctly different each offering their own pros and cons but we’re going to focus more about how that experience can come closer including how the output can perhaps bring you a little bit closer to what you might expect from shooting film so the pro neg simulation gives a pretty tame and flat look.

so films like superior tri-x and portray that I shot at the rally all showed a lot more character in comparison to more contrast and saturation and of course the green and generally speaking you have to keep in mind there’s a lot of variables when it comes to the film scans including the machine that was scanned on for all the color film scans I’m showing you in this video that was done on a Fujifilm frontier by halide supply here in Melbourne lab scanners like the frontier tend to bake in a unique look onto those film scans so what about comparing film simulations in a more side-by-side sense with some closely equivalent film stocks the first one I was curious about was the newest classic neg sim which is supposed to simulate fuji superior 400.

in my findings, this was the most film-like simulation out of all of them but also the least predictable I found it look great with some straight out of camera jpegs like these but not as suitable to some other scenes where it produced sometimes a washed-out look or added a little bit too much of an odd color cast so in that sense, it was great in bright and contrasty scenes and while it desaturated a lot of the colors and added luminance it didn’t tend to desaturate reds as much and gave them an interesting distinct look as you might expect from actual fuji superior 400. it had some noticeable blue shifts to the shadows and the greens.

so it was the most interesting and daring simulation out of the bunch with the heavy shifts to hue saturation and luminance and even to the tone curves prong is another film simulation that I was keen to try because it emulates one of my favorite film stocks which is fuji pro 400h it’s a more lifelike simulation compared to something like classic neg but I found the default version to be a little bit too flat so I tended to prefer the prong high version as you might see in some of these scans the film had a much brighter look because with the digital shots especially when it came to shooting jpegs I had to expose to protect the highlights something that you don’t need to really worry about as much with film where you can expose for the shadows and get that brighter look you can of course to overexpose the digital shot which I tried in a sample like this shot here.

and it will actually create some distinct color shifts to the actual digital shot but either way the prone egg high gave a good starting point with some similarity to the colors of fuji pro 400h and especially if you shoot it raw and apply the simulation in post in something like lightroom it creates a good foundation for matching two films like 400h or even portra the next simulation i want to talk about is fuji across which i found to be excellent match to the actual film overall and the rep from fujifilm was actually nice enough to send me a few rolls of the new fuji across 2 which was perfect because i’d run out of any original across stock that i had in 35 mil so i used a roll of across 2 side by side with the x pro 3 to create some comparisons like these and i can see why some people really love the across simulation on fuji cameras it comes really close to the actual film especially when combined with some of the in-camera settings that you can enable in the fujifilm x pro 3 such as adding green.

which in this sample here I added the weak and large grain combination which brought it pretty close to the actual across film scan and looking at them when they’re zoomed out you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference I’ll probably go more in-depth into the across comparisons and even some of the other simulations in some future videos and live streams so make sure you stay tuned on the channel if you want to see more direct comparisons and going a little bit deeper into how those simulations compare but moving on my favorite all-rounder simulation was Astia followed by Provia [Music] classic chrome was also great and I can see why there’s a lot of fans of that I used it for some night shots of a musician.

which I was doing portraits of on fuji superior 800. so shooting it side by side with that film and then applying the classic chrome simulation to the raw file in lightroom it gave the best foundation for matching to the fuji superior 800 shots [Music] so this brings me to night and low light photography which for me was one of the biggest strengths of using the Fujifilm x-pro 3 when shooting alongside film with the ability to push the iso higher than i would ever normally go on film and easily compose using the electronic viewfinder and rely on the great autofocus system digital had a clear advantage in this department even when using adapted manual focus Leica lenses on the x pro 3 there was another clear advantage there because with manual focus you can enable the great focus peaking and other focus assist options which made shooting night scenes like these a lot easier this is one of those situations where that hybrid optical viewfinder was a really nice feature allowing you to use the optical system when you feel like it in the electronic viewfinder in situations like night in low light.

where it is a lot more suitable the output was naturally different but night and low light photography was a breeze overall and the images looked great with low noise even at high isos and when you combine that with the ability to use some of those great film simulations like classic neg and bake in some of the grains and shoot straight out of camera jpegs like these even though it looked different from the actual film scan it was a great result overall without the need for any editing with all these straight out of camera jpegs that I’m showing you here so one of the biggest drawcards of the FujiFilm x pro series, in general, is that hybrid optical viewfinder which lets you switch from an electronic viewfinder to an optical view of the world in front of you with some additional information overlaid on the bottom including some useful focus assist features.

this can be great with certain lenses and focal lengths where you might have frame lines that allow you a little bit of extra peripheral view on the sides which lets you anticipate subjects coming into the scene as you would with a traditional rangefinder system such as the Leica so with no lag or simulation of the depth of field or things like exposure in the viewfinder this can be great if you’d like a more direct view when shooting in quick situations like on the streets alright so one of the things i really wanted to test out was the shooting experience of the x-pro 3 compared to my Leica or similar rangefinders meaning using manual focus adapted lenses from the Leica and the optical viewfinder on the x-pro which is one of the the great features about it and so far I’ve found that experience pretty enjoyable one thing however you have to keep in mind is that there’s going to of course be a crop factor with the lenses so the lens I’m using at the moment is the Voigtlander Ultron 28mm and that becomes something like a 40mm.

so that’s still a pretty workable focal length on the street I don’t mind it too much but it is getting a little bit tight so keeping that in mind as well as the fact that where your zones normally are on the lens might differ and because it’s an adapted lens where for example I’d have my finger in the middle for that 1.2 meters focal length let’s say is a little bit different on the x-pro so where I normally have my finger for that becomes some more like 1.5 or 2 meters so I have to adjust and re-learn those finger positions so that is another thing to keep in mind if you are going to use adapted lenses [Music] so what I might even do here is take a shot on the Leica which is loaded with fuji pro 400h just for a little bit of comparison I’ll probably just shoot at a 30th of a second at 2.8 because this is limited to the iso 400.

so that should be about right [Music] shooting street was easily my favorite thing to do with the x pro 3 and although at least for me it didn’t quite match the experience of using an actual rangefinder that wasn’t what I set out hoping for it to do and the x pro 3 definitely offered its own unique shooting experience and I think street and documentary photography are probably this camera’s strongest selling points compared to any other digital camera I’ve used the x pro 3 offered the closest thing to the film shooting experience and it may not be for everyone but I can see how this camera would suit a lot of people’s shooting style really thankful to Neil from Fujifilm Australia for organizing the loan of this camera letting me try it use it and talk about it without any restrictions or expectations on the video in the few weeks that I got to use it it was a pleasure to use.

so of course the only way to get the full film shooting experience is to actually just go ahead and shoot film but if you’re happy just to get some of that experience or you want a camera to complement your film camera I think the x-pro 3 makes a great option there’s a lot of advantages that digital provides that film obviously can’t provide and the other way around so I think the x-pro 3 makes a great companion to a film camera that you shoot regularly or if you’re someone who just can’t afford film or justify the costs but you want some of that experience this can make a great option benefiting from things like those great straight out of camera jpegs heaps of in-camera settings to tweak and fine-tune the output to your liking minimize time looking at screens with those direct controls and dials and that nice little sub monitor feature on the back of the camera.

this is a camera that I definitely enjoyed using and would recommend to you if some of those features sound good to you too I’d like to make a special thanks for halide supply here in melbourne for providing all the color film scans that you saw in this video the role of across was home processed and digitized by myself on the canon 5d mark iv feel free to join the pushing film discord server that I have linked in the description of this video to become part of the community and join future discussions thanks for watching this pushing film video and I’ll see you in the next one