With its long history in
cinematography – making both film (which is how the company started) and lenses, it’s a bit of a surprise that Fujifilm has taken a while to get into gear with video in its X mount mirrorless cameras. But it really steps up to the plate with the X-T3 which is easily as accomplished a ‘hybrid’ video/ still camera as the best from Panasonic or Sony.
It looks a bit like Fujifilm went through the specs of the Lumix GH5 and decided to give the X-T3 the full works too. Soooo… the X-T3 shoots 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160 pixels) or Cinema 4K (4096x2160 pixels) at 60, 50, 30, 25 or 24 fps, using a 1.18x crop on the ‘APS-C’ sensor. Significantly, at 60 or 50 fps, there’s the option of capturing 10-bit 4:2:0 colour internally or 10-bit 4:2:2 colour externally via the HDMI output using the higher compression efficiency HEVC H.265 codec with a bit rate of up to 200 Mbps. The AVC H.264 compression codec is available with UHD/60p, but internal recording is at 8-bit 4:2:0 colour. Usefully, 4K/60p at 10-bit 4:2:2 colour to the HDMI output can be recorded simultaneously with 40/60p 10-bit 4:2:0 colour to the memory card, giving a more practical back-up solution than if the latter is restricted to 2K with 8-bit colour. Incidentally, the X-T3 is the first ‘APS-C’ format mirrorless camera able to record 10-bit video internally.
At the 30 and 25 fps frame rates, the full width of the sensor is employed (so there’s no focal length magnification factor) with oversampling. Here’s there’s the choice of ALL-I All-Intra intra-frame or Long GOP inter-frame compression with a bit rate of up to 400 Mbps. Long GOP is short for Long Group Of Pictures and is a version of IPB inter-frame coding which only manages the changes between key frames. Furthermore, there’s a flatter F-Log gamma profile for an extended dynamic range and easier colour grading in postproduction, plus the Eterna ‘Film Simulation’ profile which replicates the look of Fujifilm’s colour negative movie stock, giving a more muted look via lower contrast and lower saturation. A firmware upgrade will add the Hybrid Gamma Log (HGL) profile that’s based on the BT.2100 colour space for 4K HDR displays. The maximum clip duration for 4K/50-60p is 20 minutes, but extends to the full 29 minutes and 59 seconds at the slower frame rates.
Full HD footage can be recorded at all the standard speeds, plus 120 or 100 fps for slow-motion effects of up to 5.0x at 24 fps with a 200 Mbps bit rate, but the clip length is limited to six minutes. When shooting video, the highlight warning is replaced by zebra patterns with an adjustable brightness threshold and, of course, there’s the focus peaking display to assist with manual focusing. Time-coding is available with a drop frame option.
On the audio side, the GH5 has built-in stereo microphones with auto/manual level control, a wind-cut filter, a low-cut filter and an attenuator. Both a stereo audio input and output are now on-camera and are the standard 3.5 mm minijack connections. While most serious video shooters are going to use an external mic, the sound quality delivered by the camera’s mics was very impressive indeed, in terms of both the dynamic range and the definition (yep, both are audio terms as well as visual).
The upgraded autofocusing system really comes into its own with video, particularly the faster and more reliable subject tracking with its near-full-frame coverage. Plus there’s the convenience of the touch controls for quickly establishing focus or moving the focusing points or zones. Also available for video shooting are the rest of the ‘Film Simulation’ profiles, the adjustable picture parameters (including the new warm-to-cool B&W Adjustment), noise reduction, dynamic range expansion and correction for lens vignetting.
The X-T3 is undoubtedly the best thing Fujifilm has yet done with a mirrorless camera for videography and it’s easily up there with the best in this class. The image quality is exceptional, especially if you’re using footage straight out of the camera without very much post-camera tweaking. In particular, the new sensor and processor are designed to minimise any rolling shutter distortion… and it looks to be pretty effective here.
A neat touch is that the cover for the camera’s connection bay can be completely removed which makes life a lot easier when the X-T3 is in a rig and hooked up to devices such as an external recorder and headphones for monitoring audio. With this camera Fujifilm has covered both the big picture and the little details.