If 2018 was a banner year for new mirrorless cameras, 2019 has kept the momentum going with the introduction of a number of new smaller-sized cameras. One of the more notable was a full-featured mirrorless camera with an APS-C-sized image sensor: The Fujifilm X-T30. Here’s our first look at what we thought about the new model:
One of the reasons I was anxious to get my hands on the new X-T30 is that I wanted to see if Fujifilm was still keeping that tried-and-true textured feel of the camera body. Sure enough, the X-T30 has that same wonderful tactile quality, including a nice assortment of tactile buttons, dials, knobs and switches, as well.
We found quite a bit to like about this new Fujifilm model, including its 4th Generation image sensor—a 26.1-megapixel APS-C-sized sensor—and processor. That provides you with lots of room for cropping images, as well as printing very large size photos.
According to the company, the camera’s new X-Processor 4 Quad Core-CPU is three times faster than the previous processor and provides faster autofocus. In my tests, I certainly found it did a great job locking on to my subjects. Overall, I found the camera to be very responsive.
Low-light Performance: A Birthday Cake
One test I generally like to try out with a new camera is to shoot photos and video of a birthday cake. For still photos, what’s challenging about this scenario (low-light without a flash) is that subjects easily blur (due to a slow shutter speed) and will lack sharpness. Plus, it’s difficult to capture accurate colors and keep noise low
For video, many other cameras will often struggle to quickly adjust from low light to normal light. Audio is also a big challenge with most cameras.
However, as you can see in these two sample shots (which were processed using the camera’s RAW file) of my wife’s birthday, the file capture quite a lot of detail, including my son’s smile and the reds of the paper plates. Upon closer examination, you can see that the camera even captured the details of the lettering on the cake as well as the very subtle texture of the napkins next to the cake without introducing too much noise.
Also, I liked convenient features like the ability to set various film-simulation modes for both still photos and video. For example, in using one of the Monochrome filters, I was able to tweak it to be warmer or cooler all in-camera.
In a few instances, some aspects of the camera’s design seemed a tad misplaced. For example, when holding the camera, the middle of my thumb kept bumping the Q button, which is a bit annoying. Still, I found the X-T30 worked quite well in most shooting scenarios.
Price and Configuration
The X-T30 is available in two colors (black and silver—with a third, charcoal gray, available this June) for $899 (body only), $999 (with the XC15-45mm F3.6-5.6 OIS PZ kit lens) and $1,299 (with the XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R kit lens).
The Bottom Line: The Fujifilm X-T30
In my initial look at this camera, here are some of the high and low points:
- In some respects, the X-T30 is a less-expensive system than competitive models, particularly many full-frame.
- It’s also a more lightweight system than full-frame systems.
- Very good quality electronic viewfinder.
- The X-T30 performed really well when paired with the new FUJINON XF16mmF2.8 R WR, which is also a small and lightweight lens that’s great for wide-angle shots.
- Excellent low-light performance (using the XF16mm) for both still photos and video.
- Some controls on the camera body (like the Q button) seemed misplaced.
- Lacks a full-frame sensor.
- Some aspects of the menu system could be redesigned.
Because it’s so compact and lightweight, the X-T30 does come with a few limitations, which includes not coming with a full-frame size image sensor. Yet the price is very attractive, particularly if you already own any Fujifilm lenses.
So, if you’re a photographer that’s not interested in a full-frame sensor, you’ll find a wide array of powerful shooting options and excellent quality on the Fujifilm X-T30 to help you expand your photography, video and multimedia skills.
Note: This First Look camera review first appeared in the May/June 2019 print edition of Digital Photo Pro.