The small and perfectly formed Fujifilm X-T30 builds on the considerable success of the X-T20 and offers much of the impressive feature set of the pro-spec X-T3, but in a compact form and at a killer price

In the eyes of many, small is beautiful – and for a number of very good reasons. For a start, the more compact a camera is, the more likely you are to carry it around with you. There’s also the advantage that it will take up less space in your luggage if you’re travelling, and it’s going to be lighter carry for long periods. For sure, there might be an assumption that a ‘serious’ camera needs to be a certain size to have credibility, but then again, if you look at the feature set offered by the latest Fujifilm X-T30, then you’ll quickly understand this is not necessarily the case.

The Fujifilm X-T20 has proved itself to be one of the most successful cameras in the company’s history, and the design team has clearly taken note. So it is that the formula hasn’t been messed with and the new X-T30 is remarkably similar in appearance and size, with just a little shaved off thanks to a slimmed-down LCD screen. From the front, it’s virtually identical, while on the back the only really noticeable change is the welcome addition of a focus lever to make negotiation of the menu a little simpler.

Most of the updates have happened internally, and the good  news is the X-T30 comes with around 90% of the feature set of the more expensive, but still highly popular, X-T3, while being more compact and around 65% of the price. It features the same updated 26.1-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor as its big brother, backed up by the latest X-Processor 4 with Quad-Core CPU, which is around three times faster than the previous version. 

The camera weighs in at just 383g (body only) and feels light and well balanced in the hands. For those with sausage fingers, it might almost be a tad too compact since the various buttons are, by necessity, very close together, but I found it easy to find my way around and very similar in operation to the X-T20. For those who know that particular camera, this will be a logical step up, and Fujifilm is building on a proven success that offers just that little bit extra. 

For those who enjoy photographing high action, the camera offers blackout-free 30fps in ES (electronic shutter) with a 1.25x crop, while the AF is formidable on a number of levels. The X-T30 offers real-time face and eye detection thanks to an improved algorithm, which currently betters the features offered by the X-T3 (until the next firmware update kicks in). It also comes with low-light AF that works down to -3.0 EV, 240 simultaneous AF/AE calculations and 300% faster PDAF focusing between near and far subjects. In use, the AF felt very responsive and the X-T30 would make a formidable street camera. 

Also highly impressive were the video specifications – something more and more hybrid operators need to be aware of. The X-T30 comes with advanced 4K 30p video functionality, including eye tracking during video recording. It can also record in 6K to create high-quality 4K footage and the camera supports the DCI format (17:9) to enable a cinematic look. Meanwhile, 4K 30p video can be recorded at 4:2:0 8-bit to an SD card, while F-Log recording and 4:2:2 10-bit via the HDMI port capabilities means the camera can record video suitable for more serious videographers. In short, this camera can do almost anything the X-T3 can on the video front – except from 4K 60p recording. Quite an achievement for a camera at this level and at this price point.

Overall, this appears to be an important addition to the Fujifilm range and one can only imagine it will follow in the footsteps of the X-T20 and become hugely popular.

Specs

Sensor

26.1-megapixel X-Trans CMOS 4

Sensor format

23.5x15.6mm, APS-C

ISO range

200-12,800, expanded ISO 80, 100, 125, 25,600, 51,200

Shutter range 

Mechanical shutter 30secs to 1/4000sec, electronic shutter 30secs to 1/32,000sec, flash sync 1/180sec

Drive modes

Mechanical shutter 8fps top speed, 20fps with electronic shutter, up to 30fps electronic shutter with 1.25x crop

Metering system

256-zone, multi, spot, average, centre-weighted

Exposure modes 

PASM, Advanced SR Auto

Exposure compensation

+/-5EV, autobracketing up to nine frames

Monitor

3in, 1.04 million dot

Viewfinder 

2.36 million dot OLED, 100% view

Focusing

Intelligent hybrid AF, (TTL contrast/TTL phase detect AF)

Focus points 

13x9 or 25x17 zones. Zone AF 3x3, 5x5, 7x7 from 91 areas on 13x9 grid. Wide tracking AF (up to 18 areas). Single and All

Video

4K 4096x2160 29.97p, 25p, 24p, 23.98p, 200Mbps/100Mbps up to
ten mins, Full HD

Connectivity

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, geotagging,  USB 3.1, HDMI micro

Other key features

16 Film Simulation modes, eight advanced filters (toy camera, miniature, soft focus, etc), in-body Raw conversion, ISO, film simulation and focus bracketing (1-999steps)

Storage media 

1 x SD card

Dimensions (wxhxd) 

118.4x82.8x46.8mm

Weight 

383g body with battery 

A pro’s view: Marianne Chua 

Professional photographer Marianne Chua was given an X-T30 to use, and she passed on her comments about the camera at the launch. 

“About 90% of what I cover is weddings,” she says, “and the remainder is corporate and press events. I received an X-T30 in January and, although I didn’t have any weddings taking place then, I had a couple of trips lined up. I took a pre-production camera with me on these, fitted with the XF18-55mm lens. 

“For me the experience was highly enjoyable and I loved the freedom of being about to walk around with a camera that was so compact I hardly felt like I was even carrying anything. I could tuck it under my coat while I was walking around Istanbul, so it was inconspicuous. 

“Though I love taking pictures and really enjoy my professional work, I have to say that, making my living from photography, I’m not so keen on picking up my professional X-T3 camera on my days off. However, working with the X-T30 was different and liberating, and I was more than happy to be walking around taking pictures for my own pleasure. It didn’t feel like work – I was like an enthusiast, looking for pictures and shooting for myself.

“The speed of the autofocus and the eye and face detection was amazing and I did a little whoop of delight when I realised the new camera had a focus lever, which was something I’d fed back to Fujifilm I was looking for. It’s great to think their designers might be taking on board the comments of its users.  

“As a professional, I’ll be sticking with my X-T3 cameras for weddings, but the X-T30 will certainly have a role to play as a back-up body, and it’s also a camera I’ll be using extensively for my personal projects.” 


Andreas Georghiades, marketing manager of electronic imaging, Fujifilm

The X-T20 is our best-selling X Series camera ever and so Fujifilm was never going to move away from a popular formula. Around 90% of the sales for this camera were to non-professionals and, for this audience, it’s not just the performance of the camera that’s important, but also the look of it. It’s a lifestyle product and they want something that’s nice-looking, as well as being easy to carry around.

With that in mind, the X-T30 is very similar in appearance to the X-T20 and it’s similarly compact. Inside, it’s got much of the functionality of the hugely popular X-T3, which picked up a camera of the year award last year, while costing considerably less. Of course, there are a few compromises given how much smaller the camera is, but these are things we feel many people will be happy to live with, particularly if they are looking for a compact model.

So, while video functionality is right up there, there’s no headphone socket included, although one can be used via a 3.5mm adaptor connected to the USB-C port. It also won’t deliver 4K 60p recording, because there isn’t room on board for a large enough heat sink, and the tilting LCD touchscreen is two- rather than three-way. There’s also a single SD card slot rather than the two on the X-T3, but all of these are things we believe many enthusiasts would trade off against a more compact and flexible model.

The camera is a result of Fujifilm reaching out to its customers and responding to their needs. We’re asking things like: what firmware updates do they want to see? What lenses would they like to see introduced next? The ability of modern cameras to be updated throughout their lifetime is also crucial. At the time of its launch, the X-T30 will have the latest firmware algorithms and there will be regular updates available down the line. These days, when people buy a camera, they don’t want to feel it’s out of date a year or so later, and this way we’ll be able to keep it at the cutting edge for much longer.

For more information on the Fujifilm X-T30, please visit the Fujifilm website.

Article as featured in Photography News, issue 64.

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