Tech review: Fujifilm X-T30 an excellent and affordable mirrorless camera

The Fujifilm X-T30 is the mid-range model of Fujifilm's acclaimed X-T series, and is essentially a smaller version of the X-T3, the series' flagship model.
The Fujifilm X-T30 is the mid-range model of Fujifilm's acclaimed X-T series, and is essentially a smaller version of the X-T3, the series' flagship model.PHOTO: FUJIFILM

The X-T30 is the mid-range model of Fujifilm's acclaimed X-T series, famed for its excellent image quality and retro DSLR-style design with classic-looking control dials.

This camera is essentially a smaller version of the X-T3 (159g lighter and 37 per cent smaller in volume), the series' flagship model. Both models have the same 26.1-megapixel X-Trans CMOS 4 APS-C image sensor and X-Processor 4 image processor.

However, the X-T30, which costs $900 less than the X-T3, lacks the dual SD card memory slots and the weather-proofing of the latter. It also does not feel as sturdy and as rugged.

I also find the X-T30's small grip to be a bit of an issue. It does not have enough space for my pinky finger despite being more contoured and comfortable than the grip of the X-T30's predecessor, the X-T20. But the X-T30's larger rear thumb rest does help anchor my thumb nicely for a good grip of the camera.

The layout of the camera controls is well thought out. There are dedicated shutter speed and exposure compensation dials at the top right of the camera, while a mode selector dial is sited on the top left.

There are front and rear command dials for the quick changing of settings. While the camera does not have the rear directional pad of the X-T20, the replacement - a mini-joystick - is just as handy. It can be used to navigate through the menu interface as well as to quickly move the autofocusing (AF) point.

You can also tap and drag the AF point using the 3-inch touchscreen display while relying on the electronic viewfinder (EVF) to compose your photos.

  • FOR

    - Excellent image quality

    - Compact and lightweight

    - Great handling

    - More affordable than the X-T3

    AGAINST

    - Awkward positioning of the Quick button

    - Average battery life

However, the touchscreen display can be tilted up by only 90 degrees and down by 45 degrees - certainly, the camera is not made for selfie lovers.

Overall, the camera handles superbly. The only downside is the awkward position of the Quick button - which allows access to commonly used settings like ISO and image quality - on the thumb rest. I have to contort my thumb to reach it.

The X-T30 is quite a swift camera - starting it up and shutting it down each takes 0.9 seconds. This is faster than most mirrorless cameras' power-up and shut-down timings of two seconds each.

With an SD card that has a write speed rated at 90MB a second, the X-T30 is able to capture 19 RAW images in 2.4 seconds before the buffer ran out, which is about the same as the advertised speed.

The AF is blazing fast. This is not a surprise, given the camera has the same phase-detection AF system as the X-T3. In other words, it can use up to 425 AF points and the phase-detection pixels cover 99 per cent of the sensor area.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $1,399 (body only)

    IMAGE SENSOR: 26.1-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4

    DISPLAY: 3-inch tiltable touchscreen LCD with 1,040,000 dots; electronic viewfinder with 2,360,000 dots

    SENSITIVITY: ISO 100 to 51,200

    SHOOTING SPEED: Up to 8 frames per second

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

    WEIGHT: 383g (body with battery and memory card)

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

With the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens, getting a focus in bright sunlight is almost instantaneous. In dim lighting conditions, it takes one second at most to secure a focus with the aid of the AF assist light.

Both the still image and video quality are excellent, with accurate and vivid colours. Details are sharp, with great dynamic range.

The still image ISO performance is stellar too. There is no image noise at ISO 1,600 with noise artefacts starting to appear only at ISO 3,200. Even images shot at ISO 6,400 show little detail loss. But anything at ISO 12,800 and above is not recommended, as there is too much chromatic noise and detail loss.

I love the X-T30's black-and-white film simulation mode. It produces pleasing monochrome effects that reminds me of the good old days of film photography when I first got serious about photography.

Battery life is rated at 380 still images on a full charge. I get around 390 frames - average at best for its genre.

Apart from some slight quirks, the Fujifilm X-T30 is an excellent mirrorless camera in a small package and at an affordable price.