When Fujifilm revealed its X-T30 mirrorless camera earlier this year, the Japanese company dubbed it the “little giant“, with this fourth generation in the series featuring a smaller and lighter than its predecessors while still sporting improving capabilities.
Having run the gamut on most of the camera makers X-branded mirrorless offerings, we were intrigued to give the Fujifilm X-T30 a try to see how this offering fits in with the rest of the range.
This especially as the X-T100 and X-T3 have impressed us for different reasons. Sitting in between those two cameras, does the X-T30 sit in the middle of the pack or offer the best of both?
A real looker
As with the rest of the X series cameras, and Fujifilm’s offerings in general, the retro-inspired stylings of the X-T30 are a real draw and help to differentiate it from the plethora of other mirrorless cameras out there.
There is a rugged robustness to it, while still retaining some refinement.
Added to this is the aforementioned nip and tick that Fujifilm performed for this fourth generation of camera, resulting in a body that weighs 383g. Compared to most cameras with similar specifications, the X-T30 is on the light side, which can become a problem depending on the size of lens you opt for.
On our review model, a 16-50mm lens was attached and the body proved more than capable of handling the weight. That said it’s a relatively small lens, and things may get a tad unwieldy should a larger lens get added to the equation.
Should you be looking to pick up this camera as part of a lens kit, you’ll likely be given something like an 18-55mm, which again seems to point to the fact that Fujifilm is billing this offering as more of a jack of all trades that can do a little bit of everything well.
Shifting to the control layout, which is closer to the setup on that of the X-T3, although far less intimidating to get accustom to. There are three large dials, with shooting modes on the left, and ISO and control composition on the right.
In our time shooting with the X-T30, we found that some refinement was needing depending on the lighting conditions.
Simply sticking to the automatic mode was not doing the trick, especially in low-light, with images not looking as nuanced as we were hoping. Added to this was a spotty performance from the autofocus, with struggled particularly when objects were close up.
This mixed performance means you’ll want to turn the majority of photography aids off, and begin taking more control while shooting. For less seasoned photographers it means a fair bit of trial and error, but the pay off is worth it, as this is when the X-T30 begins to show its worth as a mirrorless camera that can have a variety of scenarios thrown at it.
One last thing to mention on the controls is the directional button on the back of the camera, shown below placed just above the Menu/OK button. While shooting and looking into the viewfinder most notably, we accidentally touched the button on a number of occasions, but then again that could simply because of our pork sausage fingers.
Now for the image quality, which should be solid no matter what you’re doing once you’ve managed to get the manual controls down pat.
Onboard the X-T30 is a APS-C CMOS 4 sensor that serves up 26.1 megapixels, which Fujifilm has paired with a X-Processor 4. On the sensitivity side of things, this camera can handle up to 51 200 ISO, but it feels like the low light performance is lacking a little, as alluded to earlier.
On other aspects the X-T30 is well-balanced. The autofocus is quick and precise, provided objects are not too close, and there is enough detail in images to allow for post-editing when needed.
The other element of the X-T30 that really shines is its video recording. It’s not necessarily the type of camera that a vlogger will gravitate towards, mainly as the 3″ LCD screen can only tilting up and down, but videographers will certainly get a lot of value out of it.
It’s capable of recording video at up to 6K (6240×3510), but most of the time you’re going to opt for Full HD or 4K. The latter is the standout format, but the battery life on offer from the X-T30 can only manage up to 10 minutes.
Full HD isn’t that much better at a maximum of 15 minutes, so you’ll need to invest in some additional equipment should you be looking at this camera for its video capabilities.
The body of the Fujifilm X-T30 will cost you R13 999 depending on which retailer you head to, with the lens kit option going for around R18 499. For that price you’re getting a pretty solid piece of hardware, but does not give off the vibe that it’s a premium shooter.
Instead it’s more of an every day carry camera that photographers will call upon when their high-end mirrorless option like the X-H1 isn’t on-hand, or their DSLR is otherwise unnecessary.
For more causal shooters it’s also a great option to hone your skills before tempting something a bit more high-end, and even if you do upgrade to something more powerful, will still come in handy.
It’s size and weight too, make it a superb option if street photography is your thing, with the Fujifilm X-T30 coming highly recommended.