11th October 2018
By the time I hurriedly reached the venue Courtyard by Marriott, after dodging the infamously infuriating, sluggish-paced 7pm Mumbai traffic for an hour and a half on my bike, the Fujifilm launch event had already started without its Guest of Honor. Late as usual.
I was cordially invited to this event by Mr. Sourabh Joshi, Fujifilm Product Evangelist (West), on behest of Mr. Jimmy at Fotocenter, whom I got introduced at the shop in Fort, South Mumbai, when I visited them for getting a hands-on experience with the X-H1.
Big thanks to Jimmy, Sourabh and his team for this one.
On my way in to the event, Sourabh conveyed to me that I didn’t miss much of the seminar - I wasn’t too late after all. But again, no matter how good the rest of the movie is - if you miss the beginning - you inexorably feel you missed the essence even if its not necessarily so. Anyhow. I march in; actually went crouching inside hall where it was almost pitch dark with minus 20 degree climate controlled centralized AC. I found a seat, then shifted to the opposite row for no specific reason and then settled in quickly by turning the phone on silent, pulling out the RX-100 from my jeans pocket and focusing intently on the on-going seminar which was supposed to be about one of the most important Mirrorless camera Fujifilm had managed to conjure in the face of ever-evolving competitive arena of the Mirrorless cameras.
2018 marks an important year for the Mirrorless cameras but I believe - to the average consumer - the hushed, almost subdued development of the “Mirrorless camera” technologies and the sheer magnitude of the importance of this technology in the photography world - is still relatively unfamiliar (I will try and cover more on this subject in a separate blog post soon). I believe, and call for, the consumer-friendly brand such as Fujifilm to, step-up their game in terms of raising its brand and products awareness by periodically showcasing its marvelous technological accomplishments to the masses by having more people participate in interactive hands-on-experience sessions with their products. Organizing product-training camps, opening exclusive brand stores, so that more people are brought to realization of how truly wonderful and important camera such as the X-T3 really is.
Let me share and recount with you some of the important details from this launch event, hopefully with which we will be able to dig deeper into some insights of Fujifilm’s ideology behind developing such cameras and why the new X-T3 is a generation defining Mirrorless camera in all aspects.
Evolution to Revolution - this was the central theme of the launch event. Fujifilm officials and corporate heads from both Japan and India were promoting two important cameras and and a meaningful new addition to the already comprehensive lens line up. On the camera side of things, the highlight and the star of the show was the brand new X-T3 and the other equally impressive camera was the 50 megapixel-Medium format brute, the GFX-50R, a portable option to the anatomically similar GFX-50S. This camera will have a separate launch event before the end of 2018 as declared by Fujifilm officials. On the lens side of things the highlight was the new 200mm F2 prime which was announced back in July this year. I didn’t play much with either the GFX-50R nor the 200mm F2 lens as my focus was the X-T3. Firstly the 50R was not available for any testing - you could hold the camera body in your hands and get a feel of things, and first quick impression while holding the 50R was that it felt like a bigger, more robust X-Pro 2, which in itself speaks volumes about the complex engineering assignment that Fujifilm had undertaken to cram that big medium format sensor in such a portable form factor - hopefully I would get to analyze the 50R more acutely during its launch event. Secondly, with regards to the 200mm F2, I saw it up close and in action in the hands of other photographers. I didn’t put too much of my attention in this offering at this moment in time because for me this focal length and the entailing size of the lens is no where close to what I need for style of photography, which is primarily Street photography. It was good to catch people’s live feedback while they were shooting with this lens - their body language illustrated that they were enjoying shooting with the lens - especially since I believe it was paired with the X-T3. A fast prime paired with a camera that is more than capable in bringing out the best result the lens can produce and more - who wouldn’t be happy? This would be a match made in heaven for sports and nature photographers.
Even though I happened to missed out on the opening minutes of the event, the condensed presentation was well thought out and executed. The event was kicked off by Fujifilm Japan Corporate heads alongside Mr. Ashwini Joshi, Product Marketing head for Electronic Imaging division giving an overview of why we were all invited to the event. During his time on stage, Ashwini delivered a sarcastic directive by emphasizing the fact that the X-T3 has two card slots! Surprisingly not many got the joke or to which company was this sarcasm intended towards - but after a few seconds of ticklish delay - heard some laughter cracking up from the back of the hall. Ashwini went on to share highlighting features of the X-T3 - headlining it all with the fact that the XT-3 is the World’s First APSC camera to shoot 10-Bit 4.2.2 video. He didn’t continue with the technical jargon for too long. We then arrive at the part of the event which for me formed the best bits of the entire seminar/presentation. Two Indian photographers - who were individually called upon the stage to share the experiences they had while photographing with the X-T3. One of them was Mr. Centhil Mohan - Wedding and Documentary photographer based out of Bangalore and the other Mr. Arjun Kartha, Wedding photographer and founder of Twogether studio - which is considered to be one of the best in the World for candid wedding photography. This part of the seminar was what I actually brought back home with me - the photographers talking about the experiences they had in the real world scenarios all the while showcasing these experiences on the big screen with their photographs and videos. You can find the video showcased in the event by Mr. Kartha here, which was recently posted on YouTube. It was the simple prose they used to establish the communication with other like-minded soul in the hall, to simply share what they honestly felt about the camera, and they expect from Fujifilm as a company in the fast approaching future. Soon after the seminar got over with one of Fujifilm India’s corporate head announcing the X-T3 pricing - Rs. 1.5Lakhs with the kit - 18-55mm lens and Rs. 1.1Lakh for camera body only. The guys over at Fotocenter are already providing the cheapest pricing for the X-T3 which I can find online. The presentation part of the seminar thus came to an end. The thank yous were conveyed by the entire Fujifilm team. But for most, this is where the real treat begins. The attendees did not waste any time to try and mob the guest photographers, Centhil and Arjun - a volley of questions and suggestions were being thrown at them. Both Centhil and Arjun were seen enthusiastically answering and sharing tips and tricks of the trade in the best possible way they could have I believe and simultaneously, the rest people in the hall already started eyeing and queuing to get a hands-on experience with the X-T3.
Three camera testing booths were set up and around ten to twelve X-T3’s were made available for testing purposes. I got hold of a camera rather quickly. Yes, the X-T3 was with me - briefly but adequately so. The first thing which I felt after laying my eyes on the camera in person, up close, is, its a small camera - almost like X-Pro 2 - little thicker from all sides. I always envisaged the camera to be big - as in, just a little smaller than a X-H1 - which I had a good hands on experience as I describe it in the trailing paragraphs of my last blog post. Check it out here. I let all the details visually slide in for processing by noticing how the camera looks in the hands of different people with varied hand shapes and sizes and then I nudged myself a bit further towards the camera rack where it was safely garrisoned onto anti-theft pods.
The first feeling after holding the camera in my hands was - it felt good in the hand. Snugly fitting, the weight distribution perfect, the dials and buttons with a much better feedback than that of the X-H1, the shutter was smooth, but not X-H1 smooth, the grip contoured just enough to let the my three, almost 4 fingers rest on it comfortably. I have bigger hands, so yes my pinking was halfway mid-air but the aesthetics of the camera is such that it in no ways gave a feeling that the camera needs extra effort to hold it steadily in my hands. The whole feeling of holding this camera was - simply satisfactory. Briefly checked the Electronic View finder, then ran through the menus, not that I wanted to see the what all is in there, but using the menu and quickly shuffling through the menu options gave a realistic picture of how the central menu dials responded to the quick button presses and release. It was solid. I already went through the X-T3’s menu options on YouTube which was showcased in-depth by a famous and one of my favorite Fuji-X photographers, Kevin Mullins. You can see this video here. It was about time for me to station the camera back in its slot and let others who were breathlessly hovering around my back, waiting for their turn to get a hands-on with the X-T3. I checked all there was to the camera - how it feels, how it responds, how it makes it so easy for you to make photographs the way you want it to. My conclusion about the X-T3 based on the brief hands on - the X-T3 is the best camera I ever held in my hands, aesthetically, functionality wise. Confidence inspiring, light-weight, gorgeous looking, supremely well-built and last but not the least, budget friendly for what it is giving back to you in the way it does. Nothing comes close to this.
After a while of gathering my thoughts and observing the camera a bit more, it was time for me to leave. I searched for Jimmy, conveyed my heart-felt thanks to him for inviting me to this event in the first place and having such a fruitful time by getting to know one of the best people in business. I believe I was the first one to leave from the event - probably the most satisfied of them all - as I got to know what it feels like to actually hold a camera that is defining the future of the Mirrorless camera segment. I am in love with the X-T3.
This concludes my attempt to cover the XT-3 launch event in Mumbai - here’s hoping you had a good time reading it. Any feedback, positive, negative, anything at all, do share it with me and I will take a sincere note of your thoughts. Thank you.
Make sure you contact Jimmy or anyone at Fotocenter India by calling them on +91 22 22700909, +91 22 22701010 for finding the cheapest deals on Fujifilm products or any other camera company products. You can also chat with their representative via WhatsApp on +91-8451811717. If you happen to live in Mumbai - visit their shop and I am sure your photography needs will be well attended to. These guys will not just sell you stuff, but make sure that your product-servicing needs are catered too.
I also would like to once again thank Sourabh Johi and this team for inviting me to the event and kudos to the whole team for managing the whole event so professionally. A very well organized, well structured event where everyone got ample amount of time with the X-T3 camera and thus making the event a big success for Fujifilm.
Thank you. Stay Healthy.