Fujifilm X30 Review

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X30 SUMMARY

Remaining largely the same under-the-hood compared to its X20 predecessor, the Fujifilm X30 brings most of its improvements to the exterior: an EVF over the flawed optical viewfinder, a larger, higher-res tilting LCD screen, updated styling and controls, and Wi-Fi. All combined, the X30 is a more capable, easier to use camera. Maintaining its impressive image quality chops and performance capabilities, the X30 brings welcomed improvements to Fuji’s unique X-Trans premium compact camera.

PROS

Excellent image quality for its class; Very good optical performance from the bright f/2-2.8 4x lens; Quick autofocus, even in very low light; Fast burst modes; EVF fixes the flaws of optical viewfinder in X20; Tilting high-res LCD screen; Excellent feel in the hands; Very good battery life.

CONS

Top shutter speed is only 1/1000s when lens is wide open; No built-in ND filter; 28mm eq. may not be wide enough for some; Shallow buffer depths; Default NR processing a bit heavy-handed.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

The Fuji X30 began shipping in late September 2014, priced at US$600, the exact same price at which both earlier models first listed. Two color variants are offered: either black or silver.

IMAGING RESOURCE RATING

4.0 out of 5.0

The Fujifilm X30 follows in the footsteps of 2012’s Fuji X10 and 2013’s X20. While they had their quirks, both were well-received and quite popular with photographers who wanted a relatively compact, unassuming camera with a quality, fixed zoom lens, rather than the hassle of an interchangeable-lens kit. These earlier models also found fans among those who missed compacts of days gone by, thanks to classic styling, a fairly generous selection of physical controls, and —*gasp* — an optical viewfinder, something that features on very few compact cameras these days.

Fuji X30 review -- three quarter from left view

Like those cameras, the 12-megapixel Fuji X30 pairs its sensor with a 4x optical zoom, 28 to 112mm-equivalent lens that sports an f/2.0-2.8 maximum aperture across the zoom range. And like the X20 in particular, the sensor uses Fujifilm’s proprietary X-Trans CMOS II design, with a color filter array that’s intended to reduce the prevalence of moiré, allowing the design to skip a resolution-robbing optical low-pass filter. Output from the sensor is also handled by an EXR Processor II chip, just as in the X20.

So what differs from the earlier models, if we’re using the same lens, sensor and processor triplet as in the Fuji X20? The key changes revolve around the camera’s interface, with new controls, viewfinder and LCD monitor. There’s also newly-added Wi-Fi wireless networking connectivity, making the X30 social networking-friendly.

Fuji X30 review -- front view

Battery life is also said to have been increased significantly thanks to a new battery pack, the earlier models’ external battery charger replaced by in-camera charging, and a new film simulation mode added. Not surprisingly, there’s a slight tradeoff, though — this new model is also 2.2 ounces (62g) heavier, and a scant tenth of an inch (2-3mm) larger in all dimensions.

The viewfinder, for our money, is probably the most interesting change. Gone is the somewhat flawed Advanced Optical Viewfinder of the Fuji X20, replaced with a more traditional electronic viewfinder. The X20’s OVF was large and bright, but suffered from parallax with nearby objects since it didn’t provide a thru-the-lens view, and was obscured by the camera’s own lens at wide-angle, but the Fuji X30’s Organic LED-based EVF has no such issues. Fujifim said it’s “the largest, brightest, fastest and highest resolving viewfinder in its class” when it was released.

Fuji X30 review -- top view

Also very interesting is the addition of a second control ring around the lens barrel, supplementing the existing manual zoom ring. This, coupled with the rear-panel control dial, makes the Fuji X30 a twin-dial camera that is more intuitive to use when shooting manually, allowing one control to handle shutter speed and the other the lens aperture. You can also assign other functions including ISO sensitivity, film simulation, white balance and drive mode to this dial, should you choose.

Fuji X30 review -- rear view

On the rear of the Fuji X30 is a tilting, 3.0-inch LCD display with 920k-dot resolution. That’s both larger and higher-resolution than the 2.8-inch, 460k-dot LCD of the earlier cameras, and the possibility of tilting the screen is also new. Selfie fans need not apply, though — this mechanism will be great for shooting over your head, from the waist, or low to the ground, but it doesn’t flip all the way up and so can’t be seen from in front of the camera. Still, it’s a very worthwhile upgrade, and one that makes this a much more versatile shooter.

Fuji X30 review -- tilting LCD

The increase in battery life is impressive, and we’re guessing almost entirely down to the selection of a new, higher-capacity battery pack, given that the imaging pipeline is much the same as in the X20, and the LCD larger. Fuji rates the X30 as good for 470 shots on a charge when using the LCD monitor, up from 270 shots with the X20 or X10, an improvement of about 75%. The new battery pack is an 1,800mAh type NP95, in place of the earlier 1,000mAh NP50 pack.

Fuji X30 review -- battery and card compartment

The switch to a new battery is also accompanied by a change from an external battery charger to a USB charger that recharges the pack in-camera. That’s good news if you want to travel light and won’t be shooting extensively, but if you want to recharge a pack while using the camera with a second one, you’ll now need to buy an external charger.

Fuji X30 review -- ports

The Fuji X30 now also gets a 2.5mm jack that serves double duty as an external stereo microphone input and a wired shutter release input. (The X20 also supported an external mic, but it needed to connect to the USB multi port via a proprietary adapter.) And unlike the X20, the Fuji X30’s USB port now supports Fuji’s RR-90 remote cable release, in addition to data transfer and charging duties. To make room for the extra jack, the X20’s Type-C mini HDMI connector has been replaced with a smaller Type-D micro HDMI connector.

And as we mentioned, there’s also in-camera Wi-Fi wireless networking connectivity, which means that for the first time, the X30 works in concert with your smartphone or connected tablet to help you share your photos online. Even better, you’re also able to shoot remotely, print wirelessly to compatible Instax photo printers, or have images automatically saved to your PC when within range of your network. Geotagging is also possible, but this is by piggybacking off your smart device’s geolocation functionality, and so will likely reduce its battery life.

One last change of note is the new Classic Chrome film simulation mode, said to offer “muted tones and deep color reproduction”.

Basic Specifications
Full model name: Fujifilm X30
Resolution: 12.00 Megapixels
Sensor size: 2/3 inch
(8.8mm x 6.6mm)
Kit Lens: 4.00x zoom
(28-112mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 100 – 12,800
Extended ISO: 100 – 12,800
Shutter: 30 – 1/4000
Max Aperture: 2.0
Dimensions: 4.7 x 2.8 x 2.4 in.
(119 x 72 x 60 mm)
Weight: 14.9 oz (423 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $600
Availability: 09/2014
Manufacturer: Fujifilm
Full specs: Fujifilm X30 specifications

Fuji X30 review -- body colors

The Fuji X30 began shipping in late September 2014, priced at US$600, the exact same price at which both earlier models first listed. Two color variants are offered: either black or silver.

 

(imaging-resource.com)

 

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