Fujifilm released the third iteration of its popular camera in the form of the X-T30 in February of 2019, two years after the release of its predecessor. Sporting a lot of the internals of the popular Fuji X-T3 mirrorless camera, the X-T30 can be considered its mini version, except in a smaller, lighter and less expensive body. I had a chance to test out this camera earlier this year while traveling in the Middle East, so I have a few images and thoughts to share with our readers.
The Fuji X-T30 features the fourth-generation 26.1 MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor (APS-C BSI CMOS), as well as the fourth-generation quad-core X-Processor 4 image-processing engine, just like what the X-T3 has. This opens up insanely fast processing of images and video, allowing the X-T30 to shoot up to 8 FPS with the mechanical shutter, and up to 30 FPS with the electronic shutter and 1.25x crop mode.
In terms of video, the X-T30 is capable of shooting 4K video (downscaled from 6K) in both UHD and DCI formats (17:9), and it is capable of F-Log shooting and 4:2:2 10-bit output via the HDMI port – features no other camera in the same price range can match. Lastly, the autofocus features of the X-T30 are also very impressive. With a whopping 2.16 million on-sensor phase detection pixels that cover the entire sensor, as well as a super fast and responsive AF system, the X-T30 is also an excellent choice for photographing fast action.
Simply put, the X-T30 is one of the most feature-rich cameras on the market. And at $899 MSRP, it is without a doubt one of the most valuable camera choices out there.
Let’s take a look at this camera in more detail.
Fujifilm X-T30 Specifications
- Sensor: 26.1 MP (1.5x crop factor)
- Sensor Size: 23.5 x 15.6mm
- Resolution: 6240 x 4160
- Native ISO Sensitivity Range: 160-12,800
- Boost ISO Sensitivity: 80, 100, 125, 25600, 51200
- Sensor Cleaning System: Yes
- Lens Mount: FUJIFILM X mount
- Weather Sealing/Protection: No
- Body Build: Magnesium Alloy
- Shutter: 30sec – 1/4000 mechanical shutter, up to 1/32000 electronic shutter
- Storage: 1x SD slot (SD/SDHC/SDXC, UHS-I compatible)
- Viewfinder Type: 2.36m-dot OLED color viewfinder
- Continuous Shooting: 8 FPS, up to 30 FPS with electronic shutter and 1.25x crop
- Exposure Meter: TTL 256-zones metering
- Built-in Flash: Yes
- LCD Screen: 3.0″, 1.04m-dot TFT LCD touchscreen
- Movie Modes: 4K and DCI 4K @ up to 30p
- GPS: No
- Wi-Fi: Yes
- Battery Life: 380 shots
- Weight: 333g (excl battery and memory card)
- Price: $899 MSRP (body only)
A detailed list of camera specifications is available at Fujifilm.com.
Fuji X-T30 vs X-T3
As I have already pointed out, being a mini-version of its big brother, the X-T3, the Fuji X-T30 offers quite a bit value for the money. It has the same sensor and image processor, same autofocus system, and even mostly the same menu features.
Where the two cameras mostly differ are in ergonomics, EVF, storage, FPS and weather sealing features. While the X-T3 is a robust, high-end camera with a larger body and ergonomics designed for professionals in mind, the X-T30 is a much smaller camera that is designed for beginners and enthusiasts. The X-T3 is fully weather-sealed to be able to take pretty much any kind of abuse, while the X-T30 is not sealed against the elements.
The EVF experience in both cameras is also noticeably different. The Fuji X-T3 has a newer 3.69 million dot EVF with 0.75x magnification, while the EVF on the X-T30 has 2.36 million dots and is limited to 0.62x magnification. The eyecup on the X-T30 is also larger and softer, making it more comfortable to use. This makes the X-T3 a more desirable camera for prolonged EVF use, because it is larger, more detailed and more comfortable to use in comparison.
Another difference is in the LCD screen – the X-T30 has a standard tilting screen, while the LCD screen on the X-T30 can tilt up and down, as well as tilt in vertical orientation. This makes the X-T3 a bit more useful when shooting it vertically off a tripod.
The X-T3 has dual UHS-II compatible memory card slots and can shoot up to 11 FPS with the mechanical shutter, while the X-T30 has a single UHS-I memory card slot and has a slower 8 FPS continuous shooting speed with the mechanical shutter.
When it comes to video features, the Fuji X-T3 offers 4K and DCI 4K video shooting up to 60 FPS and 4:2:0 10-bit internal recording, while the X-T30 is limited to 30 FPS 4K / DCI 4K shooting, and offers only external 10-bit recording (via HDMI).
Lastly, the X-T3 has the option to use a battery grip that provides two additional battery slots, and it has more programmable buttons, which can make it easier to switch between different shooting and autofocus modes when operating the camera. There is no battery grip option for the X-T30, and it is designed to be a much simpler camera.
As for pricing, there is a significant $600 price difference between the X-T3 and the X-T30.
Fuji X-T30 vs X-T20
What about its predecessor, the X-T20? Aside from the ergonomic differences pointed out below, most of the changes between the two cameras are in-camera features. The X-T20 has the older third-generation sensor and processor, while the X-T30 has a slightly higher-resolution fourth-generation sensor and image processor. There is a slight difference in base ISO as well, with the X-T30 having a base ISO of 160 vs ISO 200 on the X-T20.
The autofocus system is vastly superior on the X-T30, which offers 150% faster processing speeds when compared to the X-T20. The total number of focus points on the X-T30 is larger at 425 vs 325 on the X-T20, with he former featuring 117 phase-detection points vs 91 on the latter. It is also worth pointing out that while the phase-detection points on the X-T20 mostly cover the center area of the frame, the X-T30 extends that all the way to the borders, covering practically the whole width of the sensor. Face and eye-detection autofocus have been significantly improved, and now the X-T30 is able to continuously track faces and eyes even when shooting videos, something previous-generation Fuji cameras were not able to do. Lastly, the low-light sensitivity range has also been expanded down to -3EV from +0.5EV, making the X-T30 a much more desirable camera to focus with in low-light situations.
When it comes to continuous shooting speed, both X-T30 and X-T20 can shoot up to 8 FPS with the mechanical shutter. However, once you switch to electronic shutter, the X-T30 can push up to 20 FPS and up to 30 FPS in 1.25x crop mode, whereas the X-T20 is limited to 14 FPS. Thanks to a much faster processor, the X-T30 can shoot without any blackouts when using the electronic shutter, something the X-T20 cannot match.
Lastly, being the newest-generation camera, the X-T30 offers more film simulation modes, and it has better video recording capabilities. The Fuji X-T30 has a few extra options that are present on the X-T3, such as the ability to output 4:2:2 10-bit video via HDMI and 4:2:0 8-bit internal recording to a memory card (the X-T20 is limited to 8-bit video only), as well as 6K to 4K downsampling with full pixel readout (the X-T20 does line-skipping). In addition to this, you can now monitor sound by plugging in a headphone to the X-T30 via an adapter – there is no such option on the X-T20. While the X-T20 only offers 4K video shooting up to 30 FPS, the X-T30 also offers DCI format with a 17:9 aspect ratio. For slow-motion video, the X-T30 can shoot up to 120 FPS in Full HD, while the X-T20 is limited to 60 FPS.
There are a few other differences between the two cameras, but they are very minor.
Body Build and Ergonomics
Between the different iterations of the camera, Fuji has kept the overall footprint and the look about the same, with minor changes in between. The front of the camera has remained identical, so no changes there. The top of the camera has only seen very slight cosmetic changes, and with the latest release, it is identical to what we have seen on the X-T20, so no surprises here:
It’s a very polished look, with the most important dials and controls on the top of the camera, as well as the shutter release and the programmable Function button.
However, the same cannot be said about the back of the camera. Out of the three X-Tx0 series cameras Fuji released so far, the X-T30 has seen the most drastic ergonomic changes, and they are all on the back. Take a look at the below comparison between the X-T30 (left) and X-T20 (right):
As you can see, Fuji stripped out the D-Pad (the four-way navigation buttons with the center “OK” button) in favor of the new joystick that we have seen on a number of Fuji cameras so far. Personally, I very much dislike this change for a number of reasons, just like I dislike other similar designs Fuji has been pushing on its X-series and GFX-series cameras.
First of all, Fuji’s joystick is small and flimsy. I honestly do not understand how replacing four useful navigation buttons with a single flimsy joystick results in superior ergonomics. It does not – plain and simple! Previously, if I needed to easily navigate the menu, I did not have to think about pushing something in the wrong direction to end up selecting something I do not want. I also did not have to worry about taking off my gloves. That’s what I now end up doing with the joystick.
Second, the four navigation buttons on the D-Pad were useful to some, because each one of those buttons were programmable. Now with the disappearance of those buttons on the X-T30, the only programmable buttons that are left are Function, AE-L, and AF-L buttons. The rest of the customization is for gestures when using the LCD screen. When I saw that on the menu, I simply moved on and did not touch any of those customization options because there is no way I am going to try to remember what different LCD gestures do.
While on one hand, I welcome Fuji’s desire to keep its cameras minimalistic and simple to use, the introduction of the joystick instead of the D-Pad is a very poor ergonomic decision in my opinion. I am happy to see that Fuji is keeping both the joystick and the D-Pad on its X-T3 and X-T4 cameras – that’s a much better ergonomic approach.
There are a few more changes worth pointing out. Since Fuji extended the thumb grip area on the X-T30, the Q button has been moved there. The MENU / OK button is also now placed directly under the joystick, as shown above.
The X-T30 continuous to follow the same, excellent build quality we have previously seen on its predecessors. Fuji did a wonderful job with the finish of the camera and all the intricate details. Although I have previously used both black and silver versions of the X-T10 and X-T20 models, I wanted to test out the X-T30 in the new charcoal color, so that’s the one I requested for testing. I have to say, the new charcoal color is absolutely gorgeous! I have had a number of photographers and non-photographers comment on the looks of the camera, and they all found it to look stunning. I guess that’s my new favorite Fuji color now…
Fuji went with the same magnesium alloy construction and plastic parts, so the total weight of the camera has not changed – the X-T30 only weighs 333 grams, which is identical to the weight of the X-T20. Compare that to the X-T3 at 489 grams, or the newer X-T4 that is even heavier at 526 grams (mostly due to the added in-body image stabilization system).
Handling-wise, while I personally prefer the larger grip of the X-T3 (or even better, the grip of the excellent Fuji X-H1), given the size of the camera, the grip on the X-T30 is not bad for small hands. For larger hands, it is definitely not comfortable, with fingers slipping beneath the camera. If you have larger hands, or you want a better handling experience, I would recommend buying Fuji’s metal hand grip that extends the grip size and adds a bit more space on the bottom of the camera.
What about the poor tripod mount placement? That’s one of the first things I looked at when unboxing the X-T30. Sadly, it looks like the tripod mount is still in the same exact spot as it has been on both the X-T10 and the X-T20, making it impossible to access the battery/memory card door when using a tripod camera plate.
The built-in flash pops up when you move the flash lever on the left top of the camera. Similar to what we have seen on lower-end X-series cameras, the built-in flash on the X-T30 is pretty weak. I personally never bothered using it, although it could work out for adding a bit of fill-flash to your subjects. Speaking of flash, the flash shoe on the top of the camera is standard, so you can use pretty much any flash or a flash trigger on the X-T30. Keep in mind that the flash sync speed is limited to 1/180th of a second on the X-T30, which is not great.
As before, I recommend replacing the thin strap that comes with the Fuji X-T30 with something better. Fuji straps are very uncomfortable and they irritate my skin quite a bit. Personally, I am a huge fan of neoprene straps from OP/TECH and the classic version seems to be ideal for the X-T30.
Overall, I really like the ergonomics of the Fuji X-T30. It is a very small and lightweight camera, which makes it a breeze to travel and shoot with.
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