Fujifilm’s X-T series has been refreshed, but does this new arrival hit the sweet spot of what enthusiasts want for under £1,000? Michael Topham finds out
Fujifilm X-T30 Review: Features
The X-T30 benefits from Fujifilm’s 4th generation X-Trans CMOS 4 technology and is equipped with the same 26.1-million-pixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor you get in the X-T3. This chip has a back-illuminated structure, excludes a low-pass filter to maximise detail and partners up with Fujifilm’s X-Processor that’s 3x faster than the one used inside the X-T20. Whereas previously ISO 160 was only available as extended ISO, users will find it part of the native range, which spans from ISO 160-12,800 (expandable to ISO 80-51,200).
The X-T30 shoots at 8fps using its mechanical shutter, which is 3fps slower than the X-T3. Unlike the X-T20 that maxed out at 14fps using its electronic shutter, faster continuous shooting speeds of up to 30fps are possible, but this does enforce a 1.25x crop of the sensor, resulting in 16-million-pixel images being captured. To help with composition, the Sports finder mode that clearly marks the 1.25x cropped area in the viewfinder has been carried across from the X-T3.
The fastest the X-T30 shoots at using its electronic shutter without the 1.25x crop is 20fps. Users can expect to record 32 JPEGs or 17 Raw files continuously at 20fps, or 90 JPEGs or 18 Raw files at 8fps, which doesn’t trump the X-T3’s buffer performance.
Another variation between the X-T30 and X-T3 is that the latter shoots up to 1/8000sec using its mechanical shutter, whereas the maximum shutter speed on the X-T30 is 1/4000sec. When a faster shutter speed is required or silent operation is needed for discreet shooting, the electronic shutter can be used to shoot at up to 1/32,000sec. At the opposite end of the scale, it’s possible to set the shutter speed to as slow as 60mins using bulb mode or 15mins in shutter priority or manual mode.
As has been the case on previous X-series cameras, users will find the extended ISO settings are only available when using the mechanical shutter. Select the electronic shutter and the ISO range is limited to ISO 160-12,800.
One of the key talking points on the X-T30 are the improvements to its autofocus system. It inherits the same sophisticated AF system from the X-T3 with four times as many phase detection pixels on the sensor than you get on the X-T20. The 2.16-million phase detection pixels cover 100% of the frame and the low-light autofocus sensitivity has improved from -1EV to -3EV. Users get a choice of either 117 selectable AF points laid out into a 9×13 grid, or there’s a 425-point layout consisting of a 17×25 grid, plus there are custom AF-C modes to enhance focus tracking when shooting moving subjects.
Much like the X-T3, single and continuous AF modes are selected via a switch at the front of the body and you get five custom AF-C modes to refine focus tracking when shooting moving subjects. The difference between the X-T30 and X-T20 is that you can manually adjust the tracking sensitivity, speed tracking sensitivity or zone area switching to create your own custom AF-C preset.
Following feedback from X-T3 users, the updated autofocus algorithm is intended to rule out the jittery performance that’s associated with Face and Eye tracking, Face Selection and Non-stop Phase Detection AF when focusing from distance. The algorithm has been amended so it can identify smaller faces in the frame as well as provide faster focusing from far to near or near to far when using phase-detection AF in combination with long telephoto lenses. Fujifilm X-T3 users can benefit from these improvements too via version 3.00 firmware.
The X-T30’s centrally positioned EVF is a similar 2.36-million-dot OLED unit as you get on the X-T20. It features a 0.62x magnification, dioptre adjustment, and an eye sensor that permits automatic switching with the rear screen. Up to the eye, it displays extensive exposure information, plus it automatically rotates when you switch from landscape to portrait orientation and vice versa. The display time lag of the EVF is just 0.005sec and it has a refresh rate of 100fps when the camera is set to its high performance boost mode. In normal mode the EVF’s refresh rate is 60fps.
Below the EVF, the X-T30’s 3in, 1.04-million-dot touchscreen is similar to the X-T3’s screen in terms of size and resolution, but offers two-way tilt manoeuvrability as opposed to three-way tilt. The screen is 1.3mm thinner than the X-T20’s and with touch-based control it’s possible to adjust the AF area while looking through the viewfinder, change settings from the quick menu and swipe through or magnify images from a touch of your finger.
Other features that see the X-T30 advance on the X-T20 include its ability to shoot ultra high definition (UHD) 4K/30p video with support for F-Log recording, 4:2:2 10bit output via HDMI and 4:2:0 8bit output in-camera. It also offers 48KHz 24bit stereo sound recording in body and the USB-C interface that’s found at the side for charging the battery on the go doubles up as the X-T30’s headphone plug. Directly above this is a 2.5mm mic/remote input, with a single SD card slot found adjacent to the battery.
All of the above is backed by Fujiflm’s suite of film simulation modes, which includes Eterna that creates subdued colours, smooth halftones and soft shadows. Connectivity wise, the X-T30 can be paired with a smart device via Bluetooth for an always on connection, enabling a fast and automatic transfer of images ready to share. Wi-fi and Bluetooth also permits remote shooting from a smartphone, viewing of pictures taken on your device, and direct printing to an Instax printer.