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X-T3 for bird photography

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Old Wednesday 12th September 2018, 19:38   #1
Vespobuteo
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X-T3 for bird photography

The new X-T3 is improved (vs X-T2) in several ways that can be interesting for bird photographers.

It now has a 26MP BSI sensor (APS-C). Standard ISO: 160 to 12800. To me it sounds like better performance at high ISO and also better dynamic range.

Improved AF:

"Autofocus speeds 1.5x faster than before, enhanced subject tracking ability, enhanced face/eye detection and sensitivity down to -3EV."

Battery (booster) grip is no longer needed to get maximum fps.

A blackout free "sports finder mode" with a "range finder" like view producing 16.6 MP files:

"The X-T3 can shoot at up to 30fps using its electronic shutter in 1.25x crop mode or 11fps in normal shooting. At the 11fps setting it has an exceptionally good buffer capacity of 145 lossless compressed raw files."

A bit better battery performance, CIPA rated to 390 shots.

Video specs seem to be close to Lumix GH5 and low light performance probably on level with GH5S or even some FF cameras. The X-T3 can capture 4K video at up to 60p saving it internally as 4:2:0 10-bit footage (4:2:2 can be saved externally).

Overall a very interesting package especially if you are interested in video as well.

More specs and comparison with X-T2 here:

https://mirrorlesscomparison.com/pre...ji-xt2-vx-xt3/

Below is some links to a guy using the previous X-T2, the 100-400mm lens and 1.4x TC for bird/wildlife photography with very nice results:

http://www.nandakusumadi.com/blog/20...lm-x-t2-part-1

http://www.nandakusumadi.com/blog/20...lm-x-t2-part-2

Review of XF 100-400mm:

http://www.nandakusumadi.com/blog/20...oto-youll-love

Last edited by Vespobuteo : Wednesday 12th September 2018 at 20:37.
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Old Wednesday 19th September 2018, 16:23   #2
katastrofa
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Studio comparison shots: https://www.dpreview.com/articles/20...ene-comparison

I'm not terribly impressed by the high ISO performance of X-T3. The advantage over X-T2 seems marginal, and only a bit better than marginal over Olympus E-M1 II.
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Old Thursday 20th September 2018, 08:52   #3
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It looks like a really promising update from Fuji. Autofocus and speed have tended to be their main weakness and it seems that the X-T3 really lifts them up in that area.

The upcoming 200mm f/2 looks nice too and is a step in the right direct for building their telephoto options. It's still hard to look beyond Canikon for wildlife just because of the amount of options for lenses. Fuji could do a lot worse than following Nikon and releasing some Fresnel 300mm f/4 and 500mm f/5.6 lenses.
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Old Thursday 20th September 2018, 09:38   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katastrofa View Post
Studio comparison shots: https://www.dpreview.com/articles/20...ene-comparison

I'm not terribly impressed by the high ISO performance of X-T3. The advantage over X-T2 seems marginal, and only a bit better than marginal over Olympus E-M1 II.
To me the difference is very clear in the low light comparison. X-T3 have less noise in RAW and shows a lot more detail in JPG:s at ISO6400 for example.
The Oly image is covered with blue/purple noise:

https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/ima...51014253763443

But if you don't see the difference, I guess it doesn't matter for you.

To me it's clear that the X-T3 even beats the D500 at ISO6400.
Jpg:s look better, with more details and even at higher ISO the X-T3 jpg:s looks as good or better than the D500.

Last edited by Vespobuteo : Thursday 20th September 2018 at 09:46.
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Old Thursday 20th September 2018, 09:56   #5
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I see the difference on a uniform black background. I rarely take photos of those ;-)
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Old Thursday 20th September 2018, 09:57   #6
Vespobuteo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telephoto Paul View Post
It looks like a really promising update from Fuji. Autofocus and speed have tended to be their main weakness and it seems that the X-T3 really lifts them up in that area.

The upcoming 200mm f/2 looks nice too and is a step in the right direct for building their telephoto options. It's still hard to look beyond Canikon for wildlife just because of the amount of options for lenses. Fuji could do a lot worse than following Nikon and releasing some Fresnel 300mm f/4 and 500mm f/5.6 lenses.
The XF 100-400mm is a very nice lens, sharp and nice looking bokeh, but
when I tried it with the X-H1 I didn't find the AF good enough in low light.

If the X-T3 will perform better it will be an interesting alternative considering that you could get a X-T3 + XF 100-400mm for much less money than a single Nikon 500/5.6 PF...

With a better AF in place also in low light, better AF-point coverage, tracking etc., longer lenses will be more relevant in the fuji-system as wildlife as sports photographers will be more interested in the system.

Much better video capabilities than both Nikon Z and Canon R might also make the difference.

The biggest downside is probably battery life.
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Old Thursday 20th September 2018, 10:03   #7
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Originally Posted by katastrofa View Post
I see the difference on a uniform black background. I rarely take photos of those ;-)
I see the difference in the level of details, I often take photos of those.


What it shows is actually the dynamic range, at higher ISO. Pretty damn critical to most that is...
And details are clearly lost in the heavy noise reduction, even in the highlights in the Oly pics.

Here is the Lumix G9 included, At ISO 6400 I would rank them.

1 X-T3
2 D500
3 G9 (A bit noiser in lowlights in RAW than D500, but details in jpg:s still seem to be close in highlights)
4 Oly E-M1 ii

https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/ima...55817275358368

Last edited by Vespobuteo : Thursday 20th September 2018 at 11:57.
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Old Thursday 20th September 2018, 15:41   #8
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just tried g9 and x-h1 and both have gone back . The evf's are just not good enough in darkish conditions for me. It takes too long to acquire the image and focus on small birds so back to black for me .
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Old Thursday 20th September 2018, 16:14   #9
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Originally Posted by capdegat View Post
just tried g9 and x-h1 and both have gone back . The evf's are just not good enough in darkish conditions for me. It takes too long to acquire the image and focus on small birds so back to black for me .
EVF:s are getting better all the time, but you have a point that it might be a weak spot.

The X-T3 is suposed to have a blackout free sports-mode and higher res EVF than previous.
What I don't know is if resolution in the EVF drops during shooting like in the G9.
We'll see how it looks in real life. Not in any stores yet around here.

At least AF should be clearly better than X-H1 in low light.

Last edited by Vespobuteo : Thursday 20th September 2018 at 16:16.
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Old Thursday 20th September 2018, 18:56   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vespobuteo View Post
I see the difference in the level of details, I often take photos of those.


What it shows is actually the dynamic range, at higher ISO. Pretty damn critical to most that is...
And details are clearly lost in the heavy noise reduction, even in the highlights in the Oly pics.
You have a point that X-T3 > Oly (I never said it wasn't), but X-T3 and X-T2 are IMHO approximately the same.
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Old Thursday 20th September 2018, 19:05   #11
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I even made a numerical (though not scientific) test: I took PNG snapshots of the area you selected as photographed by X-T2 and by X-T3. Loaded them into Python and calculated the standard deviations of each channel (R,G,B,alpha):

import imageio
import numpy as np

x_t2 = imageio.imread('x-t2.png')
x_t3 = imageio.imread('x-t3.png')

print('X-T2 noise: %s' % str(np.std(x_t2, axis=(0, 1))))
print('X-T3 noise: %s' % str(np.std(x_t3, axis=(0, 1))))

Result:

X-T2 noise: [ 8.65137779 8.13238693 10.14568645 0. ]
X-T3 noise: [7.92599595 7.53614226 8.89362844 0. ]

(scale 0-255)

So OK, the noise seems to be a bit lower for X-T3.

(Please don't use my methodology for anything serious, it's crap.)

Last edited by katastrofa : Thursday 20th September 2018 at 19:09.
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Old Thursday 20th September 2018, 19:08   #12
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Result for Olympus E-M1 II:

EM1 II noise: [15.81686416 11.71363376 19.2771104 0. ]

Which confirms that my results are not pure nonsense.
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Old Friday 21st September 2018, 11:29   #13
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Another thing to remember is that I use back button focus ( as do lots of others ) and the af on button on x-t2 and 3 are semi recessed. In winter with gloves it is very hard to find ! That's why I tried the x-h1.
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Old Friday 21st September 2018, 16:26   #14
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Another thing to remember is that I use back button focus ( as do lots of others ) and the af on button on x-t2 and 3 are semi recessed. In winter with gloves it is very hard to find ! That's why I tried the x-h1.
"AF-L/AE-L" Buttons on the X-T3 are slightly larger than on the X-T2. Might help a bit with gloves.

https://www.ephotozine.com/article/f...t-s-new--32687

Battery grip is also more protruding on the front so the grip is deeper.
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Old Friday 21st September 2018, 16:37   #15
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Originally Posted by katastrofa View Post
I even made a numerical (though not scientific) test: I took PNG snapshots of the area you selected as photographed by X-T2 and by X-T3. Loaded them into Python and calculated the standard deviations of each channel (R,G,B,alpha):

import imageio
import numpy as np

x_t2 = imageio.imread('x-t2.png')
x_t3 = imageio.imread('x-t3.png')

print('X-T2 noise: %s' % str(np.std(x_t2, axis=(0, 1))))
print('X-T3 noise: %s' % str(np.std(x_t3, axis=(0, 1))))

Result:

X-T2 noise: [ 8.65137779 8.13238693 10.14568645 0. ]
X-T3 noise: [7.92599595 7.53614226 8.89362844 0. ]

(scale 0-255)

So OK, the noise seems to be a bit lower for X-T3.

(Please don't use my methodology for anything serious, it's crap.)
Nice calculations! :-)

The link I provided was to RAW conversions with ACR so not sure how much that affects things.
To me the difference seemed smaller when opening files in RawFileConverter 3.0 EX.
The lighting seems to be different in the photos as well so hard to say what is what.
At least the low ISO X-T3 files looked a bit sharper when open in Fujis RAW converter.
In real life the difference is probably marginal when shooting a telephoto lens that probably is the limiting factor + everything else.

Last edited by Vespobuteo : Friday 21st September 2018 at 16:49.
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Old Friday 21st September 2018, 16:38   #16
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Just a note: For bird photography, straight comparisons of noise between uncropped m4/3 (Oly and Panasonic) photos and APS-C shots (Fuji and many DSLRs) is a bit misleading because you will generally have to crop more with the latter, which will increase the appearance of noise.
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Old Saturday 22nd September 2018, 23:31   #17
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True, but X-T3 compensates for that partially by increasing the pixel count (Oly E-M1 II: 20 MP. X-T3: 26 MP).
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Old Sunday 23rd September 2018, 06:55   #18
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Just a note: For bird photography, straight comparisons of noise between uncropped m4/3 (Oly and Panasonic) photos and APS-C shots (Fuji and many DSLRs) is a bit misleading because you will generally have to crop more with the latter, which will increase the appearance of noise.
It's a bit like saying that the top speed of a Ferrari is misleading because there are speed limits...
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Old Monday 24th September 2018, 06:56   #19
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It depends whether you're comparing IQ / equipment weight, IQ / dollar value or something else.
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Old Sunday 14th October 2018, 10:45   #20
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I have both a D500 and an X-T2. The low light noise is the D500 is often an extra challenge here in the gloomy UK.

The AF of the T3 must be a lot better than the T2 for some to compare to the D500.
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