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-T3 Review: Build & Handling
Fujifilm had good foundations on which to build the X-T30. Though it differs from the X-T10 and X-T20 in areas of its control layout and thumb rest, the general size and shape of the body hasn’t changed. The body is constructed to a high standard. It has more of a robust feel than the X-T100, but isn’t as hardy as the X-T3.
The top and base plates are made of lightweight magnesium alloy, which contribute to a solid feel. It isn’t weather sealed and doesn’t provide the same level of robustness or durability as the X-T3, but should last a long time in the hands of those who care for it. If you like to venture off limits and want reassurance that your camera is up to the task of shooting in seriously challenging environments, the X-T3 with its seals against moisture is probably the better option for you.
Compared to the X-T3 the X-T30 is rather dinky, but the handgrip, prominent thumb rest and grippy rubberized coating make for a satisfying feel in the hand for such a small camera. If you have large hands or feel the handling would benefit from a little extra depth to the body, such as when it’s used with heavier lenses, the metal grip Fujifilm makes for the X-T10 and X-T20 also fits the X-T30. This accessory will set you back an extra £99, but it’s better than some cheap third-party alternatives and has a cut out to allow batteries and memory cards to be swapped over quickly and easily.
The X-T30 shares a likeness to the X-T3’s top plate, but doesn’t have an ISO dial. Instead, a drive mode dial occupies the real estate on the top plate to the left of the viewfinder, with the two dials on the opposite side controlling shutter speed and exposure compensation. Those who want fast access to ISO can reposition it in the quick menu, or better still, assign it to a function button or the front or rear dial.
The on/off switch that surrounds the shutter button is threaded to accept screw-in style cable releases and there’s a small function button just to the right of it. This is set to turn high performance boost mode on or off as default and there were a few instances when I found myself hitting it unintentionally. To avoid accidental presses this button would benefit from being held for a second before its assigned function becomes active.
So what about the new changes? In the same way the four-way directional buttons were stripped from the X-E3, Fujifilm has taken a similar approach at the rear of the X-T30. It’s the first double-digit X-T camera to feature a joystick. In the past this has been a feature you’d have to pay a premium for on Fujifilm’s more advanced models if you wanted it.
With the joystick falling nicely beneath your thumb, shifting the AF point becomes faster and more intuitive. Depress the joystick and you’re able to quickly refine the size of the AF point with the rear dial too. It also presents an excellent way of navigating the menu and finding the settings you want quickly with minimal thumb movement. This is important because like all other X-series cameras, the touchscreen can’t be used to navigate the menu.
The Disp/Back button remains in much the same place and the Menu/OK button is located directly above it. The introduction of the joystick where the quick menu button used to be has required the latter to be relocated. The quick menu button has been added to the thumb rest, which has a more prominent profile than the X-T10 and X-T20. Like the Fn1 button, I found it easy to brush against it when shooting single handed. Loading the quick menu accidentally became frustrating after a while, but thankfully Fujifilm has since announced a firmware update (Ver.1.01) for the X-T30 to address this issue. With the firmware installed, it requires a definitive press to load the quick menu.
Like the X-T20, the Auto mode selection lever is in easy reach of the thumb – ideal for less-experienced users who’d like the camera to choose the optimum settings for a given scene. To enter Program mode you’re required to set both the aperture on the lens and shutter speed to its ‘A’ setting. With the shutter speed set to ‘A’ mode and the aperture set via the aperture ring, the camera will actively perform in aperture priority mode; whereas with the aperture set to ‘A’ on the lens and the shutter speed set via the dial, the X-T30 performs in shutter priority mode. This is the same arrangement as the X-T3, but is a slightly different way of working to the PASM shooting modes you’ll find on the entry-level X-T100.