Fujifilm X-T30 Review

The Fujifilm X-T30 has been dubbed the “Little Giant” – a small camera with big performance. It’s the successor to the X-T20, and it’s a kind of cut-down version of the company’s flagship X-T3 model which shares a lot of that camera’s technological advances.

The X-T30 is one of the strongest contenders in the APS-C mirrorless camera market. It’s not just one of the best Fujifilm cameras you can get right now, but one of the best mirrorless cameras all around. Its biggest rivals are perhaps the Sony A6400, which lacks the X-T30’s handling but does have a front-facing vlogging screen, and definitely the brand new Nikon Z50.

You’d still pick the X-T3 for speed, handling with bigger lenses and high-end 4K video, but the X-T30 is ideal if you want a sophisticated, high-performance mirrorless camera that’s also small and not too expensive.

This makes the X-T30 a great little all-round camera that’s right at the cutting edge of APS-C mirrorless camera technology, but price reductions mean it’s no way under the £1,000/$1,000 price barrier, even with a 15-45mm kit lens. For a camera this powerful and this well made, it’s a terrific price.

Check Fujifilm X-T30 Price 

Specifications

Sensor: 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4, 23.5 x 15.6mm
Image processor: X-Processor Pro 4
AF points: 2.16 million phase AF pixels, 100% coverage
ISO range: 200 to 12,800 (exp. 100 to 51,200)
Max image size: 6,240 x 4,160
Metering modes: Multi, Spot, average, centre-weighted
Video: 4K DCI/UHD at 30p, 25p, 24p
Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m dots, 100% coverage
Memory card: SD / SDHC / SDXC
LCD: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1.04m dots
Max burst: 30fps (electronic shutter, 1.25x crop), 8fps
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Size: 118.4 x 82.8 x 46.8mm (body only)
Weight: 383g (body only, with battery and card)

Key Features

The X-T30 comes with Fujifilm’s latest 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 APS-C image sensor and an X-Processor Pro 4 image processor said to be three times faster than the previous third-generation version in the X-T20. This new sensor debuted last autumn in the X-T3, and its back-illuminated design brings improved light-gathering capability and image quality.

Some of the biggest changes, however, are to the autofocus system. The X-T30 now has 2.16 million phase detection pixels covering 100% of the image area. The face and eye recognition have been enhanced thanks to smaller and more precise tracking areas, and the low-light sensitivity has been improved too – the X-T30’s AF can now work in gentle levels as low as -3EV.

The continuous shooting performance has been improved over the previous X-T20 and it’s now possible to capture frames at 30fps with no viewfinder blackout when using the electronic shutter and the camera’s 1.25x crop mode. If you use the mechanical shutter, the top speed is 8fps. That’s impressive in a camera at this price that’s not designed specifically for sports. The Raw buffer capacity at full resolution is pretty modest, though, at around 17-18 frames.

The X-T30 has some pretty impressive video features too. It can capture 4K UHD video at 30p, using ‘oversampled’ 6K catch downsampled to 4K for maximum picture quality, and it also has Fujifilm’s latest ETERNA cinema film simulation mode. The X-T30 can save 4:2:0 8-bit movie internally or 4:2:2 10-bit via HDMI. In 1080p it can shoot up to 60fps or 120fps in High-speed rec mode, looked after supports the DCI 17:9 format.

The technology that’s gone into the X-T30 might not be enough to tempt any owners of the old X-T20 to upgrade, but anyone looking for the best sub-£1,000/$1,000 cameras you can buy right now may have just found it.

Build and Handling

The X-T30 looks almost identical to the previous X-T20, though the LCD is 1.3mm thinner and there’s a revised grip shape for better handling. There are differences on the back, too. The four-way directional buttons on the prior camera are gone, replaced by a new Focus Lever which also handles menu navigation. It makes the trunk of the camera much less cluttered and you might hardly miss the control keys at all, as most everyday camera settings can be accessed just as quickly via the Q menu anyway.

The interactive Q(quick) display works really well, but the button placement caused us some issues. It’s right on the thumb grip and it’s as well easy to press accidentally as you’re taking the digital camera out of a bag or even raising it to your eye – the Q screen pops upright when you don’t want it and you have to cancel it before you can take a picture. You’ll probably adapt and shift your hold unconsciously to avoid this, but it could be annoying in the short term.

The rear screen has a tilt action but no sideways tilt, so it’s great for low or high angle shots with the camera held horizontally, but not so good for vertical shots, where you have to get yourself at eye level with the screen.

The X-T30 keeps Fujifilm’s characteristic control layout, though, with a shutter speed dial on the top of the camera and lens aperture rings on some (however, not all) lenses. Fujifilm’s prime lenses and ‘red badge’ zooms have aperture rings, however, the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit zoom lens includes a switch for auto/manual aperture control and an unmarked aperture ring for the latter.

This means there’s no mode dial, and you also achieve the usual program AE, aperture-priority, shutter-priority and manual modes using combinations of manual settings and the ‘A’ settings on the shutter speed and aperture dials. For some, this is going to be a welcome return to how cameras actually used to work! For others raised on mode dials and command dials, it might take a bit of getting used to.

Performance

The new and improved face and eye tracking is very effective, though almost too effective at times, as it seems easily distracted by people wandering into the frame when you’re trying to shoot inanimate objects. The downside of all this sophistication is that you will inevitably have to spend more time getting familiar with the AF options and choosing and customising them to suit the way you shoot.

Autofocus performance generally is excellent, though the speed will not depend solely on the camera but about the AF actuators in the lenses themselves. The 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens is fast, smooth and responsive, as are other recent Fujifilm lenses, for example, but the older 27mm f/2.8 pancake prime will still wheeze and whirr during autofocus, but just a shade faster than before!

As ever, Fujifilm includes a wide range of its celebrated Film Simulation modes, including Provia/Standard, Velvia/Vivid, Astia/Soft, Classic Chrome, Pro Neg.Hi, Professional Neg.Std, Black & White, Black & White+Ye Filter, Dark & White+R Filter, Black & White colored+G Filtration system, Sepia, Acros, Acros+Ye Filter, Acros+R Filtration system, Acros+G Filter and the new Eterna/Cinema.

These all create in-camera JPEGs with these profiles applied – if you shoot raw files, you’ll need to rely on your natural software to produce the closest simulation, but both Adobe Camera Raw and Capture One Pro do this very effectively. The Velvia mode offers supersaturated colours and high contrast, Astia offers similar colours but with softer comparison and the Provia, mode is more neutral.

There is more tonal control available if you need it. The X-T30 offers Fujifilm’s expanded dynamic range settings (200% and 400%) plus highlight and shadow contrast controls. With the Movie Simulation modes and these additional tonal adjustments, you can create in-digital camera JPEGs which are very close to optimum raw file conversion.

Check Out: Best Fujifilm X-T30 Lenses

Verdict

The X-T30 has a couple of handling quirks that are practically inevitable in a camera this small, and it has no in-body stabilization, but these are the only faults we can find in a camera with superb external controls, a great 26.1-megapixel sensor, superb autofocus and powerful 4K video recording – and all for the price of regular mid-range camera.

Check Fujifilm X-T30 Price and Bundles 

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