With some extremely strong competition in the premium compact market, how does Fujifilm’s X30 stack up? Michael Topham takes a closer look in our Fujifilm X30 review
Fujifilm X30: Features
Building on the popular Fujifilm X20, the new Fujifilm X30 is the third generation X series camera to be released by the Japanese firm.
A brand new electronic viewfinder – replacing the optical version on its predecessors – delivers a close to real-time view of the frame thanks to its 2.36-million-dot screen, 55 frames-per-second refresh rate and essentially non-existent lag time of 0.005sec.
It’s the largest and fastest electronic viewfinder in its camera class and can be set to a live view mode that reproduces the experience of using an optical viewfinder with the added benefit of displaying shooting information and manual focusing magnification.
Instead of overhauling the core technology in the previous model, Fuji has instead sought to get more out of the same 12-million-pixel 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II sensor and EXR Processor II that were used in the X20. Like the X20, it also omits an optical low-pass filter.
The result is a more efficient camera that also sees the introduction of some features that pay homage to the firm’s heritage, as well as advancing the model’s video recording capabilities.
Battery performance has also been improved with the addition of a larger capacity NP-95 cell, similar to that featured in the X100. The larger battery will also benefit from some power management improvements that sees the X30 deliver up to 450 frames, that’s 1.8 times more shots on a single charge than its predecessor.
One of the most attractive new features that come with this camera is the addition of Classic Chrome film simulation mode, which aims to reproduce warm skin tones, vivid blue skies and rich green trees. It’s a welcome nod to Fujifilm’s 80-year heritage in photographic film and colour reproduction.
Elsewhere on the new camera there’s the much-touted world’s fastest high-speed AF, which uses phase detection to deliver focus acquisition in just 0.06sec. The camera is able to detect subject and scene conditions and switch to contrast AF when appropriate.
Elsewhere, with a startup time of 0.5sec, a shutter time lag of 0.01sec and shooting interval of 0.3sec, speed is very much the name of the game. Top of the list is high-speed continuous shooting of 12fps.
Fujifilm X30: Build and Feel
Side by side the Fujifilm X30 is slightly larger than the previous model, and cuts noticeably chunkier profile. However in the hand it feels sturdy and well made. Available in both black and silver this classically styled camera looks and feels every bit the premium compact that Fuji intended it to be.
This time around Fuji has opted for a tiltable 3-inch 920K-dot premium clear LCD screen that can be positioned for easier shooting at extreme angles.
The camera’s f/2 to f/2.8 fixed lens has a focal range of 28 to 112mm and features an optical 4x manual zoom and a control ring positioned along the same axis, making it easy to make adjustments to aperture settings and shutter speed whilst composing with manual zoom. The button layout on the rear of the camera has been shifted around from the previous model to incorporate the tilting screen, and slightly resembles the configuration of the XE2.
Fujifilm X30: First Impressions
Fuji attracted a lot of attention with the X20 and is looking to bolster its position in the premium compact camera market with the new X30. Some may look at it on paper and say that not much has changed, however the updates set this camera apart from the competition in a number of attractive ways.
It’s the only compact camera with a dedicated mechanical zoom ring, it’s one of very few compacts with a high quality EVF built-in, its broad lens range of 28-112mm reaches further than that of Sony’s RX100 III. And its high-speed auto-focusing is second to none.
Priced competitively at £479, this camera will undoubtedly attract the attention of enthusiast photographers keen to have manual control in a compact body, either as a second body or as a considerable step up from a more basic compact camera.