REVIEW: Fujifilm X-T30 92/100

By Daniel Lezano. Posted

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The X-Series from Fujifilm has grown and diversified over recent years into one of the most popular mirrorless camera systems. From the X-Pro 2 and X-T3/X-H1 flagships through to the budget X-T100, the range offers a strong choice to all level of photographers. The X-T20, which this latest mid-range model replaces, proved to be one of our favourites, receiving a Best Buy and overall score of 94% in our May 2017 issue. The Fujifilm X-T30 (£749 body only or £799 with XC 15-45mm) features a similar style and range of features to the X-T20, but more importantly, several of its key features, in particular the AF system, sensor and imaging processor, are based on those used in the flagship X-T3, launched last year, meaning you gain the latest technology at a cut price.

Handling

The styling of the X-T30 is much like the X-T20 and X-T3, with a tough, small body sporting classic retro looks. You can have it in black or silver now, or can wait for a charcoal silver finish to arrive in May 2019. While it lacks the weatherproofing of the X-T3, it nonetheless feels very solid and robust. The handgrip on the front is slightly larger than on its predecessor and, along with the nicely curved thumb grip on the rear, allows for a very stable hold. The top-plate sports a dial on the left side for selecting single or continuous frame rates, bracketing, movie mode, panoramas or multiple exposures. A lever at its base pops up the integral flash, which springs up at a somewhat alarming speed! On the right of the hotshoe is the shutter speed dial, along with an exposure compensation dial, function button and shutter release.

The 3in LCD monitor is very good, with a bright and sharp screen and a clean, easy to navigate menu system. It sits on a platform that tilts up or down but not sideways and also boasts a useful touchscreen facility. Also worthy of praise is the electronic finder, which sports a 2.36-million dot OLED screen that gives a very bright and clear image, along with plenty of exposure information.

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Ease of use

The Fujifilm X-T30 sports a very appealing retro design. It also uses a classic control set-up to select exposure modes. There is no exposure mode dial as such, as choosing between program, aperture- and shutter-priority or manual is based on the position of the A setting on the shutter speed dial and the aperture ring. Set the lens ring and shutter speed dial to A for program mode. Take the lens off A for aperture-priority or move the shutter speed dial off A for shutter-priority. Take both off A for manual mode. The rear looks much like other X-series models, with a neat arrangement of buttons above and to the right of the LCD monitor. One big change is the addition of a focus lever in place of the four-way control – I wasn't sure this was a good idea when I first heard of the change but having used the camera, it's not a problem at all. One thing I'm not particularly keen on is the placing of the Q button on this thumb grip, as while easy to access it does cause more instances of it being pressed accidentally. It can be deactivated should you wish via the menu.

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Features

At the heart of the X-T30 is the same back-illuminated 26.1-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4 imaging engine found in the X-T3. Therefore, you can be assured that the quality of images and video will be on a par with more expensive models. Along with quality, the benefit the powerful processor is speed, with a continuous burst rate of eight frames-per-second that can be increased to 30fps when using the electronic shutter. It also allows for the base sensitivity range of ISO 200-25600 to be extended to a low of ISO 80 and high of ISO 51200, if required. Another benefit is its video capabilities, with 4K UHD footage at 30p based on ‘oversampled’ 6K capture downsampled to 4K for maximum quality. However, one change is the lack of a metering mode button, meaning you'll need to access the menu system to change it. There is no dedicated ISO button either, but ISO ratings can be accessed quickly via the Q button. Fujifilm's ever-popular Film Simulation modes are present on the X-T30, including ETERNA cinema film simulation mode for video offering great colours and gradations. As well as Wi-Fi, the Fujifilm can be paired via Bluetooth with a smart device for 'always on' connection, allowing the automatic transfer of images to share quickly on social media, as well as other functions such as remote shooting from a smartphone via the free Fujifilm Camera Remote app.

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Performance

Performance from the X-T30 is strong across all areas, with the excellent AF and high resolution sensor providing very sharp images packed with detail. Noise is very well controlled and images shot as high as ISO 3200 are more than usable. Contrast and colour rendition is excellent, as is the dynamic range. For the money, it's hard to beat. The hybrid autofocus system is based on the X-T3's, and is actually slightly better at present, until the X-T3 receives an upgrade later this year. It uses 425 phase-detection points covering the majority of the frame area and boasts better low-light sensitivity (as low as -3.0EV), better face- and eye-detection performance, improved tracking and extensive customisation.

The metering system is the same as that on the X-T3, which is no bad thing at all as it's extremely reliable and consistent.

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Value

Fujifilm has released another winner with the X-T30. Its compact, robust and light and bar the odd niggle, is a joy to use. Beginners will find it easy to use, while experienced users will appreciate the range of features on offer. Best of all, it boasts a superb sensor and processor that delivers brilliant images and video. The versatile AF system is excellent too. In terms of value for money, the Fujifilm X-T30 is fantastic.

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Specifications

Guide Price: £749 (body only) / £799 (XC 15-45mm)
Image sensor: X-Trans CMOS 4 (23.5x15.6mm)
Image processor: X-Processor 4
Resolution: 26.1-megapixels
Maximum image resolution: 6240x4160 pixels
AF system: Intelligent Hybrid AF (TTL contrast AF/TTL
phase detection AF). 2.16 million phase detection pixels
Metering patterns: Multi -zone (256-zone), spot ,
average and centre-weighted
ISO range: ISO 200-25600 (expandable to
ISO 80-51200) plus Auto
Shutter speeds: 1/4000sec-30 seconds & Bulb
LCD: 3in 1,040,000-dot tiltable touchscreen
Frame rate: Eight frames-per-second
Storage: SD (SDHC/SDXC)
Size (WHD): 121.5x83.6x49.5mm
Weight: 383g including battery & card
Website: www.fujifilm.co.uk

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