Third time’s a charm, right? Not that the X-T10 and X-T20 weren’t little charmers in their own right, but if the recent success and reviewer praises of the XT3 are anything to come by, then the third iteration of the X-TX0 is indeed bound to be the charm. And indeed it is!
The X-TX0 series have always been about offering the same SLR styled shooting experience as the top of the line X-T series, but with a little less functionality under the hood. They have lacked in weather resistance, but have been slimmed down in size to be an even more portable experience than the X-T series.
With the introduction of the X-T30 none of the above has changed. Actually looking at the exterior of the camera, nothing much has changed at all. The tricks of this pony are on the inside.
But let me dive into the ups and downs of this little camera as I have experienced it over the last couple of months. I have shot it in the danish snowy wintertime, shot it chasing my kids, shot it on the streets, shot it for landscapes, and I’m at the time of writing shooting with it on my vacation in Florida and the Caribbean. This little camera is very fine allrounder.
Now before I continue I need to post the usual disclaimers, just to keep the worst of all the internet-keyboard-warriors at arms length.
Disclaimer 1: I’m an X-photographer. That’s spelled brand ambassador for Fujifilm. I don’t get paid for doing these write ups (and I have been doing them even before getting involved with Fujifilm). I get sent the gear when I do the editorial packshots for Fujifilm Japan (and for this I get paid, just as I should be!) – So I get to play around with the gear a little bit when they’re around the house. This means that I’m just about as biased as I can get, and whether you choose to believe my views or not is entirely up to you. I expect you to be adults, capable of forming your own opinions based on presented information.
Disclaimer 2: All the images in this article has been shot using a prototype X-T30 camera. Image quality might therefore not be final.
Disclaimer 3: All shots with- and of the product has been shot by me.
Now – Let’s continue, shall we?
Build and feel
Well, this is always the section I start with when doing my reviews, and this write up is no different. But there really isn’t that much to say in this department.
In my 2015 write up of the X-T10 I wrote this:
“The body is made from a magnesium alloy, and comes in either a silver or black painted version. The silver isn’t the Graphite Silver of the X-T1, but more akin the X-E1/X-E2 or X100 series. The design clearly takes cues from the old 70’s/80’s SLR cameras from Pentax, Praktika, and of course Fujica. With the X-T10 I really find a stark resemblance to the Fujica ST801. But the overall design is actually a mix of several of these old design icons.”
The above is completely unchanged through the X-T10, X-T20, and now the X-T30. Fujifilm have changed one important thing on the outside of the camera. They added the very useful joystick knob, and took away the 4-way-directional pad. They kept the touchscreen in place and in turn making the whole layout and user experience very akin its brickshaped “rangefinderesque” sibling the X-E3.
Fujifilm decided to move the Q button out onto the small thumb rest. This wasn’t the smartest move if you ask me. I simply keep pressing the damn thing by mistake sometimes.
The X-T30 still comes in the silver and black color variety, but this time around Fujifilm spiced up the linage and added in the very gorgeous Graphite coating. It looks absolutely stellar just like the X-Pro2 Graphite and X-T100 graphite before it. A very cool addition to the lineup indeed!
You still have the built in flash in place in the faux-mirrorbox, you still have one front and one rear command dial, and you still find the familiar top plate layout with selector dial to the left, shutter speed and exposure comp dials to the right as well as the infamous “panic switch” that sets the camera into full-auto mode for when you’re feeling a little tourist’y.
Fujifilm has started adding USB-C connections across the range of their cameras with the GFX50R and X-T3 starting off the party. I like that they’re switching to this interface. It’s the future.
The X-T30 can be charged using the USB-C cable, so if you have a power bank with you on the go, you can indeed charge the battery inside your X-T30.
The EVF is the same one as used in the X-T20 with a 0.62x magnification, and the 3” touch screen LCD on the back is also the same as on the X-T20, so not many changes there.
Technology and functions
The sensor in the X-T30 is the same X-Trans4 26.1 megapixel backside illuminated sensor as the one found in the XT3. The processor inside is also the same as the one in the X-T3 – that is, the X-Processor 4.
A lot of talk always revolves around the sensor qualities itself, while a lot of people tend to forget about the processor. This is a paradox since the sensor is basically a lightsensitive plate, while the processor is actually what interprets, analyses and renders the final image that you see in your output. So if you like Fujifilm colours and IQ, that isn’t the sensor talking. Thats the processor.
Just like in the X-T3, what this new sensor/processor combo will do in day to day shooting is offer a little bit more light gathering ability, and hence a little more dynamics. We should see less noise at higher ISO since digital amplification of signal can be reduced, as well as a little bit of a dynamics increase.
The most notable result of this is that the base ISO on the X-T30 is now ISO160 as opposed to the ISO200 on the X-Trans 3 sensor of the X-T20. Extended ISO goes down to ISO80 and up to ISO51200
The other new thing on this sensor is that it now has a 100% phase detection autofocus coverage. That means that edge to edge, you will be able to use the far superior PDAF instead of being limited to CDAF in the outer portions of the frame.
The low light limit of PDAF has also been lowered from -1EV in the older generation to an impressive -3EV. In real life, trust me, this works just as well as it does on the X-T3.
The overall speed of the X-T30 is also upgraded to match the X-T3 in every way, which means that the X-T30 now handles fps bursts of up to 30 fps in a new 1.25x sports-crop-mode. This mode results in 16.6MP images, and when combined with the electronic shutter (ES) you get completely EVF blackout free 30fps shooting. When shooting RAW + jpeg in this mode the buffer will fill after 33 shots, but when shooting jpeg only it will handle 60 frames in the buffer. Without the sportscrop mode, the X-T3 will do 20fps with ES and 11fps using mechanical shutter. The buffer in these modes will hold 36 shots of RAW+jpeg and between 80 and 145 shots in jpeg only mode.
It comes with the same eye-detection algorithm, the same black and white jpeg toning abilities and the same speed improvements across the board as seen in the X-T3 – In fact if you want to read more about the technology, just go to my X-T3 review HERE
Fujifilm also added bluetooth capabilities, so you can now pair it to your smartphone and transfer images in the same manner as on e.g the X-T3, X-E3 and GFX 50R.
I’m still not a video guy, and never will be. So this section will be very short! – I do video on my iPhone, and those are strictly small clips of my kids, and random everyday things. So I seriously do not need any video functions in my still cameras. But for a lot of you, video matters – so I’m just going to mention what specs have seen some changed in this department.
The specs of the video is actually the only thing functionality wise that has been crippled a little bit in comparison with the X-T3. I think it’s mainly a heating issue, but what do I know, I’m not a Fujifilm engineer.
The X-T30 is able to do 4K 30p, and not 60p as the X-T3. The maximum bitrate is also lowered to a 200mps instead of a maximum 400mps in the X-T3. But thats about it. In regards to video helping aids, the X-T30 gives you exactly the same options as with the X-T3. And to quote Forrest Gump – “That’s all I have to say about that!”
Image Quality and Usage
Obviously the new sensor/processor combination will bring all the enhancements into the image quality department as we saw last year with the introduction of the X-T3. The images are very detailed and rich. Fujifilm has superior color technology, and it also shines through in the X-T30.
There really isn’t much I can say that I haven’t said already. Image Quality is gorgeous.
But what about using the camera?
As I wrote in the beginning I have shot the X-T30 in the danish snowy wintertime, shot it chasing my kids, shot it on the streets, shot it for landscapes, and shot it while travelling.
For streetphotography the camera is great because the very fast autofocus and operations as well as the very compact size. The same thing goes without saying when using it for travel. I have been shooting it with the XF16mm f/2.8, XF23mm f/2, XF35mm f/1.4, Mitakon 35mm f/0.95, XF50mm f/2 – All of this is able to fit snuggly into an ONA Bowery bag. Really really compact, and really really powerful.
When using the X-TX0 series of cameras, I often find myself missing a dedicated ISO dial, but over the last year I’ve started using the front command dial on select models such as my X100F to quickly change ISO when doing fast paced shooting. This is just the same as I’m doing now with the X-T30, and it works so well. I just can’t understand why Fujifilm won’t cook it into a new X-Pro2 firmware update. I really want this function on that camera!
One of the things I actually enjoy is using the “panic switch” just before handing it over to members of the family that aren’t photography-savvy. The camera adjusts everything just like any modern point and shoot camera. It’s a very cool function that I always end up using way more than I would have thought, because of the above.
The new added speed functions makes it very easy to use this camera for tracking kids, pets, and even doing sports. As I’ve probably made clear by now, the X-T30 is basically a slightly crippled (mostly in the video department, and the lack of weather sealing) version of the X-T3. This also means that all the stuff you can do with the X-T3, you can do with the X-T30! Considering it’s much lower entry price, this camera is going to be a real bargain for any enthusiast or advanced level amateur photographer. Heck, even the novices can start out using this camera, and while advancing in skill never having to worry about their camera not being able to keep up. That is just amazing if you ask me!
The X-TX0 line is a very well thought out concept that has seen minimal design changes since the X-T10 conception. Today with the X-T30 that doesn’t change. Fujifilm added some very requested features such as the joystick knob, and did a massive upgrade to the interior of the camera. This thing is basically an almost full fledged X-T3 in a smaller, cheaper package. What’s not to like about that? – This camera is the perfect camera for a novice wanting to learn the trade of photography, for the advanced enthusiast, or even as a carry around for the seasoned professional. Fujifilm has something great going with the XT30, and other than that misplacement of the Q button, I cannot find a single thing about this camera that I dislike.
I don’t shoot brickwalls. I’m not a reviewer, I’m a photographer. Thats why I don’t do SOOC comparisons etc. You can probably find those elsewhere.
Samples have been processed in either Lightroom CC or Capture One 12. All where shot on the prototype XT30. This is how I chose to use the camera, and it might differ somewhat from what you plan on using it for. I tried to test it in various settings, really pushing its capabilities.