Fujifilm X-T30 review: a little wonder of a camera
For Fujifilm, shrinking the phenomenal X-T3 down into a smaller package was always going to be a winning proposition. For several years running, the company has followed up on its flagship X-series mirrorless camera with a more portable (and more affordable) option that still offers many of the best features and capabilities of the flagship. This step-down series is actually Fujifilm’s most popular camera line; the X-T20, introduced in , became the company’s best-selling camera ever. And now its successor is here.
With the $ X-T30, Fujifilm is trickling down some of the most impressive aspects of the X-T3 into a camera that costs a whopping $ less. And considering that many have hailed the X-T3 as Fujifilm’s best camera ever, that’s a very good starting point. It’s got the same fourth-generation megapixel APS-C sensor, processing power, speedy burst shooting, and Fujifilm’s whole set of film simulations that require little retouching. The X-T30 can record excellent-looking 4K video, and its point phase-detect autofocus system spans the entire frame. In fact, right now the X-T30 actually delivers better autofocus accuracy and face detection than the X-T3 — at least until a firmware update arrives for the latter sometime this month.
You give up some niceties for the lower price, of course: this camera isn’t weather sealed and its electronic viewfinder isn’t quite as immersive or sharp as the X-T3’s. But those trade-offs are fairly standard at this price. Everywhere else, it’s hard to find something that surpasses the X-T30 — especially if you’re drawn to Fujifilm’s many dials and knobs for manual control when the moment calls for it.
This is a far more compact and light camera than the X-T3. The X-T30 is only pounds as opposed to the pound flagship. But size-wise, for me the X-T30 is actually a little too tiny. As with my past Fujifilm cameras, I had to buy the metal hand grip for the X-T3 to keep my pinky from always hanging off the bottom. With the X-T30, my ring finger also has nowhere to go, which makes for an awkward, but still secure, grip. Fujifilm’s heavier telephoto lenses might pose some discomfort. If you already own the add-on grip for the X-T20 or even the older X-T10, it’ll also fit the newer camera. That said, I can also appreciate the argument that the X-T30’s light load and small footprint in a bag are some of its best perks — especially for a camera this powerful. It’s just not a great choice for those of us with giant hands. Sony’s A, perhaps the X-T30’s most direct rival, does a little better at ergonomics despite its similar size.
The X-T30 looks identical to the X-T20 from the front and top. You’ve got the same dials for mode, shutter speed, and exposure compensation. You lose the dedicated ISO dial that’s present on the larger X-T3, but it’s very easy to assign ISO to the front or rear control knob for instant adjustments. There’s also still the tiny, hidden pop-up flash, which isn’t something you’ll get on Fujifilm’s larger cameras. But honestly, I never found much use for it. Same goes for the camera’s Advanced SR (scene recognition) Auto mode, which you can switch to by flipping a lever near the shutter speed dial. You’re not buying a Fujifilm camera to use it in full auto.
Around back are where the X-T30’s changes are most pronounced. The four-direction d-pad is gone completely, replaced by an eight-way autofocus joystick that is also how you’ll navigate the camera’s menus. The Q button (for fast access to your basic settings) has also been repositioned slightly. I’ve seen some complaints that it’s easy to push accidentally, but this was never the case for me. Fujifilm has slimmed down the 3-inch touchscreen display, which still pulls out and articulates vertically, but won’t fully flip to face forward for vlogging. As with the X-T3, I really like using the touchscreen to quickly move my focus point when looking through the viewfinder.
There’s a mm microphone jack among the X-T30’s ports, but if you want to monitor audio when recording video, you’ll either need USB-C headphones or to use a USB-C-tomm adapter. Fujifilm supports USB , allowing full operation of the camera when you plug in an external battery pack (with USB Power Delivery) or charger even when its battery is fully depleted. The single SD card slot is found right next to the battery slot.
The X-T30’s viewfinder is brighter than the X-T20’s, according to Fujifilm, and it’s more responsive with a lag of seconds and a very smooth refresh rate of fps. The latter only applies when you put the camera into boost mode, which eats up the battery quicker. But it’s worth doing if you’re shooting action. Even with those improvements, this is still no match for the X-T3’s EVF. For one, it’s smaller ( versus inches) with a lower magnification (x instead of x), and that difference is noticeable when you peer through both of them back to back. It also can’t match the pricier camera on resolution ( million versus million dots). Lastly, the X-T3 has a larger eyecup that extends outward from the back of the camera more; as someone with glasses, the X-T30 simply wasn’t as nice to shoot with, and my nose constantly pressed up against the rear LCD.
As I said earlier, the X-T30 has even better autofocus abilities than the X-T3 at the moment. Both cameras can detect faces in a frame, but the X-T30 will actually let you pick which face you want as the primary subject. It can also detect and lock onto faces that are smaller (farther away) in a shot. And apparently black hair could throw off Fujifilm’s face detection before, so that’s been resolved, too. Those are the main improvements, and they’ll be coming to the X-T3 in short order. Otherwise, the X-T30 has the same dependable and fast autofocus system of the pricier camera. It can shoot up to 8 fps in continuous mode with the mechanical shutter, a tad slower than the X-T3’s 11 fps. But both cameras can shoot in a lightning-quick 30 fps sports mode that applies a x crop. There’s no blackout in the viewfinder when you do this, and continuous autofocus keeps running the entire time.
Video is where the X-T30 is a rung below the X-T3. It can still shoot beautiful 4K footage (downsampled from 6K), but you’re limited to minute clips. I don’t think it’s some arbitrary restriction, as this small camera would probably start to overheat if you went much over that. And 4K frame rate tops out at 30 fps instead of the X-T3’s buttery-smooth 60 fps. (You can also record at fps in p for slow-motion footage.) Professional videographers will definitely lean toward the X-T3 for its longer shooting times, but the X-T30 is no slouch, able to record 8-bit video direct to the SD card or bit video to an external recorder. That allows for plenty of post-processing flexibility, but if you’re not a pro, Fujifilm’s Eterna color filter makes for natural-looking video that’s easy to quickly tune and adjust.
As always, JPEGs from the X-T30 look downright terrific. All of Fujifilm’s signature film simulations are included, and it’s a lot of fun testing them and seeing what works best for a given shooting scenario, whether you’re looking for more vivid colors, moody black and white shots, or something with softer tones. The company recently launched a redesigned mobile app for iOS (it’ll come to Android this summer), but I’ll just say that there’s still room for improvement in terms of speed and eliminating unnecessary steps. The Wi-Fi connection between phone and camera is stable, and sending photos over to your phone for a quick Instagram post is a great option to have. That’s all I really ever do with the app, but you can also use it as a remote shutter via Bluetooth.
You can buy the X-T30 in several kit configurations; I’d recommend pairing the camera with Fujifilm’s excellent 35mm f/2 prime lens. Just like the body, it’s designed to be lightweight and compact and has the makings of a perfect street setup. The X-T30 is facing some stiff competition in its price class (especially from Sony). But if you’ve already invested in Fujifilm’s lens lineup and have been waiting for an irresistible upgrade, this might just be it — if you’ve got the right hands for it.
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Fujifilm X-T30 review
Fujifilm's X-T30 brings the same 26MP sensor, processor and much of the feature set of the high-end X-T3 at a more reasonable price. If that sounds familiar, it's because the relationship between the X-T20 and X-T2 was the same.
With the X-T30 you get Fujifilm's latest AF system, along with plenty of direct controls and a tilting touchscreen, all in a smaller body. The X-T30 also comes at a significantly lower price than the X-T3, with the body priced at $, versus $ for the X-T3. We'll discuss what features were cut in order to make the X-T30 the less expensive of the two options a bit later in the review.
- MP APS-C X-Trans BSI-CMOS 4 sensor
- X-Processor 4
- Hybrid AF system has phase-detect points spread across the entire frame
- Burst shooting at 30 fps with no blackout (but X) crop using electronic shutter; 20 fps without crop
- M-dot OLED viewfinder w/x equiv. magnification and fps refresh rate in boost mode
- 3" tilting touchscreen display
- Dedicated drive, shutter speed and exposure compensation dials
- Joystick for AF point selection
- Eterna Film Simulation mode
- DCI and UHD 4K/30p capture using full width of sensor
- 8-bit internal recording or bit HDMI output
- USB-C socket with headphone support
- Single SD card slot (UHS-I only)
That's a lot of camera for under $, body-only. If you'd like to add a lens, you can get the camera and the mm F OIS Power Zoom lens for $, or with the excellent F lens for $ The camera is available in silver, black and the graphite silver version shown in this review.
What's new and how it compares
The X-T30 borrows the sensor and processor from the more expensive X-T3, and that's great news.
Body and handling
For a $ camera, the X-T30 is surprisingly well-built. It has a tilting touchscreen LCD, nice EVF and direct controls that make it a pleasure to use (most of the time).
Operation and controls
In addition to four customizable buttons you can also 'swipe' the X-T30's LCD in one of four directions to adjust settings. The camera offers two different customizable menus so you can set it up the way you'd like.
Shooting with the X-T30 is a mixed bag. The results are great, but the ergonomics need work.
The X-T30's 26MP sensor offers great out-of-camera JPEGs and flexible Raw files.
While not class-leading, the X-T30's AF system is speedy and reliable in most (but not all) situations.
Put simply, you won't find a better video camera in this price range than the X-T
Is the Fujifilm X-T30 right for you?
Whether you're a hardcore videographer, landscape photographer or a soccer mom, we've spelled out what the X-T30 is best suited for.
Find out if the X-T30 is the midrange stills/video hybrid to beat.
View real-world photos taken with the Fujifilm X-T
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The Fujifilm X-T30 has been dubbed the “Little Giant” – a small camera with big performance. It’s the successor to the X-T20, and it’s a kind of cut-down version of the company’s flagship X-T3 model which shares a lot of that camera’s technological advances.
The X-T30 is one of the strongest contenders in the APS-C mirrorless camera market. It's not just one of the best Fujifilm cameras you can get right now, but one of the best mirrorless cameras all round. Its biggest rivals are perhaps the Sony A, which lacks the X-T30's handling but does have a front-facing vlogging screen, and definitely the brand new Nikon Z
You’d still pick the X-T3 for speed, handling with bigger lenses and high-end 4K video, but the X-T30 is ideal if you want a sophisticated, high-performance mirrorless camera that’s also small and not too expensive.
This makes the X-T30 a great little all-round camera that’s right at the cutting edge of APS-C mirrorless camera technology, but price reductions mean it's now way under the £1,/$1, price barrier, even with a mm kit lens. For a camera this powerful and this well made, it's a terrific price.
Sensor: MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4, x mm
Image processor: X-Processor Pro 4
AF points: million phase AF pixels, % coverage
ISO range: to 12, (exp. to 51,)
Max image size: 6, x 4,
Metering modes: Multi, spot, average, centre-weighted
Video: 4K DCI/UHD at 30p, 25p, 24p
Viewfinder: EVF, m dots, % coverage
Memory card: SD / SDHC / SDXC
LCD: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, m dots
Max burst: 30fps (electronic shutter, x crop), 8fps
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Size: x x mm (body only)
Weight: g (body only, with battery and card)
The X-T30 comes with Fujifilm’s latest MP X-Trans CMOS 4 APS-C image sensor and an X-Processor Pro 4 image processor said to be three times faster than the previous third-generation version in the X-T This new sensor debuted last autumn in the X-T3, and its back-illuminated design brings improved light-gathering capability and image quality.
Some of the biggest changes, however, are to the autofocus system. The X-T30 now has million phase detection pixels covering % of the image area. The face and eye detection has been improved thanks to smaller and more precise tracking areas, and the low-light sensitivity has been improved too – the X-T30’s AF can now work in light levels as low as -3EV.
The continuous shooting performance has been improved over the previous X-T20 and it’s now possible to capture frames at 30fps with no viewfinder blackout when using the electronic shutter and the camera’s x crop mode. If you use the mechanical shutter, the top speed is 8fps. That's impressive in a camera at this price that's not designed specifically for sports. The Raw buffer capacity at full resolution is pretty modest, though, at around frames.
The X-T30 has some pretty impressive video features too. It can capture 4K UHD video at 30p, using ‘oversampled’ 6K capture downsampled to 4K for maximum image quality, and it also has Fujifilm’s latest ETERNA cinema film simulation mode. The X-T30 can save 8-bit video internally or bit via HDMI. In p it can shoot up to 60fps or fps in High speed rec mode, and it also supports the DCI format.
The technology that’s gone into the X-T30 might not be enough to tempt any owners of the old X-T20 to upgrade, but anyone looking for the best sub-£1,/$1, camera you can buy right now may have just found it.
Build and handling
The X-T30 looks almost identical to the previous X-T20, though the LCD is mm thinner and there’s a revised grip shape for better handling. There are differences on the back, too. The four-way directional buttons on the previous camera are gone, replaced by a new Focus Lever which also handles menu navigation. It makes the back of the camera much less cluttered and you might hardly miss the buttons at all, as most everyday camera settings can be accessed just as quickly via the Q menu anyway.
The interactive Q(uick) display works really well, but the button placement caused us some issues. It’s right on the thumb grip and it’s too easy to press accidentally as you’re taking the camera out of a bag or even raising it to your eye – the Q screen pops up right when you don’t want it and you have to cancel it before you can take a picture. You’ll probably adapt and shift your grip unconsciously to avoid this, but it could be annoying in the short term.
The rear screen has a tilt action but no sideways tilt, so it’s great for low or high angle shots with the camera held horizontally, but not so good for vertical shots, where you have to get yourself at eye level with the screen.
The X-T30 keeps Fujifilm’s characteristic control layout, though, with a shutter speed dial on the top of the camera and lens aperture rings on some (but not all) lenses. Fujifilm’s prime lenses and ‘red badge’ zooms have aperture rings, but the mm f/ kit lens has a switch for auto/manual aperture control and an unmarked aperture ring for the latter.
This means there’s no mode dial, and you achieve the usual program AE, aperture-priority, shutter-priority and manual modes using combinations of manual settings and the ‘A’ settings on the shutter speed and aperture dials. For some, this is going to be a welcome return to how cameras actually used to work! For others raised on mode dials and command dials, it might take a bit of getting used to.
The new and improved face and eye tracking is very effective, though almost too effective at times, as it seems easily distracted by people wandering into the frame when you’re trying to shoot inanimate objects. The downside of all this sophistication is that you will inevitably have to spend more time getting familiar with the AF options and choosing and customising them to suit the way you shoot.
Autofocus performance generally is excellent, though the speed will not depend solely on the camera but on the AF actuators in the lenses themselves. The mm f/ kit lens is fast, smooth and responsive, as are other recent Fujifilm lenses, for example, but the older 27mm f/ pancake prime will still wheeze and whirr during autofocus, but just a shade faster than before!
As ever, Fujifilm includes a wide range of its celebrated Film Simulation modes, including Provia/Standard, Velvia/Vivid, Astia/Soft, Classic Chrome, Pro Neg.Hi, Pro Neg.Std, Black & White, Black & White+Ye Filter, Black & White+R Filter, Black & White+G Filter, Sepia, Acros, Acros+Ye Filter, Acros+R Filter, Acros+G Filter and the new Eterna/Cinema.
These all create in-camera JPEGs with these profiles applied – if you shoot raw files, you’ll need to rely on your raw software to produce the closest simulation, but both Adobe Camera Raw and Capture One Pro do this very effectively. The Velvia mode offers supersaturated colours and high contrast, Astia offers similar colours but with softer contrast and the Provia mode is more neutral.
There is more tonal control available if you need it. The X-T30 offers Fujifilm’s expanded dynamic range modes (% and %) plus highlight and shadow contrast controls. With the Film Simulation modes and these additional tonal adjustments you can create in-camera JPEGs which are very close to an optimum raw file conversion.
We checked the X-T30’s lab results against three similarly-priced, similarly-sized mirrorless cameras – the Canon EOS M5, Olympus PEN-F and Sony A
The Olympus PEN-F turns in a remarkably good resolution result at its lowest ISO setting, but this quickly falls at higher ISOs and it’s the X-T30 and Sony A that lead the pack, running neck and neck until ISO , where the X-T30 edges slightly ahead.
Signal to noise ratio
The X-T30 emerged a clear winner for noise control in our lab tests, though these results were achieved using the Fujifilm-branded SilkyPix raw converter. Others, including Adobe Camera Raw and Capture One, may give different results.
Up to around ISO the X-T30 displays a slight dynamic range advantage over its rivals, but beyond that it’s the Olympus PEN-F that starts to sneak ahead (the Olympus camera’s resolution drops off more quickly at high ISOs, though).
The X-T30 crams a lot of technology and performance into a very small body. Sometimes it seems even too small, as it’s still a little too easy to press buttons by accident, and bigger lenses will inevitably leave it feeling front-heavy.
Its continuous shooting speed and autofocus performance make it great for sports and action subjects, but a bigger camera like the X-T3 would be better still – and the X-T3 has a larger memory buffer. Similarly, the X-T30’s 4K video is very good indeed, but the X-T3’s is better, though neither camera has a front-facing screen for filming yourself while vlogging.
Along with the X-T3, this is currently the highest-resolution APS-C mirrorless camera you can buy. It’s also one of the smallest, most powerful and most versatile. Fujifilm’s closest competition here is the Sony A/, but the Sony does not have the X-T30’s design finesse, traditional photographic controls, EVF and screen quality or even lens range (especially if you like prime lenses).
So while we can criticise aspects of the X-T30’s features and handling here and there, it is really just nitpicking. At this price, there is nothing else to touch it for its all-round blend of performance, features, controls, handling, or even image quality – even if you extend your search to include DSLRs.
The X-T30 is available now in black and silver, but there will be a new Charcoal Silver finish arriving in May You can buy the camera body-only (useful if you already have a Fujifilm system), with the compact Fujinon XC mm power-zoom lens or the very good but more expensive Fujinon XF mm.
We’ve picked three key rivals for the Fujifilm X-T30 both for our lab tests and for this comparison.
Canon EOS M5
It's aimed at the same kind of higher-end enthusiast market, but the EOS M5 is getting quite long in the tooth now and can't match the X-T30's resolution, autofocus or video performance. It has dropped considerably in price, though.
Don't be fooled by the smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor – the PEN-F delivers similar levels of sharpness to its APS-C rivals, has an appealing retro design, fully-articulating rear screen and in-body stabilisation. It costs plenty, though, and doesn't have 4K video.
The A shoots high-quality 4K video and has a degree flip-forward screen which is brilliant for vlogging. It's an old camera design, though, and less appealing for stills photographers than the X-T
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Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.
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