Amy Davies is a journalist and photographer. As well as being a Features Editor for Amateur Photographer magazine, she also writes about cameras and associated technology for a range of publications and websites, including T3, Photography Blog, Stuff, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar, Camera Jabber, ePhotozine, Expert Reviews and our own Fujiholics.

The X-T30’s smaller size and weight than cameras like the X-T3 make it the ideal travel companion.

 

Although pitched as a “mid-range” camera, the specifications of the X-T30 are actually pretty impressive – in fact, it would be fair to describe it as a “miniature X-T3”. That, in theory at least, makes it great for a number of reasons – it’s available at a cheaper price than the X-T3, could make a great back-up to your main camera, and is worth thinking about as an upgrade from older models like the X-T20.

In terms of image quality and what goes on underneath the hood of the X-T30, it’s remarkably similar to the X-T3.

Both have the same 26.1 megapixel X-Trans IV CMOS sensor with a back-illuminated construction, a Quad Core X Processor 4, the same phase detection autofocusing system with 99% sensor area coverage and burst shooting of up to 20fps with zero blackout.

Spot the Difference

So where do the differences lie then? The X-T3 features a larger and more comfortable grip, it is weather-sealed and has dual card slots. It’s also possible to buy a battery grip for the X-T3 to boost power performance and gain an extra set of controls for portrait-format shooting. The X-T30’s screen tilts up and down, while the X-T3 also has the sideways tilting mechanism which is more useful for portrait-format images.

Sharing the same sensor and processor combination as the X-T3 means image quality is the same

 

While the autofocusing system is the same between the two cameras, the X-T3 boasts up to 11fps with the mechanical shutter, compared to 8fps with the X-T30. Both can reach speeds of 20fps when shooting with the electronic shutter. The X-T30 has a much smaller buffer (you’ll get 49 raw / 200 JPGs before the X-T3 needs to take a pause, compared with a much more modest 18 raw / 90 JPGs with the X-T30), so if you’re somebody who photograph a lot of sports and action, and likes to shoot extensive bursts, it’s something to think about.

There are also some slight differences with the button and dial layout. For example, there’s no dedicated ISO dial on the X-T30. If you’re thinking of picking up an X-T30 to be a second-camera for your X-T3, it’s something that might concern you as you switch between the two cameras, but if you’re using the X-T30 on its own, it’s likely to be less of an issue to think about. Being a little bit smaller (and lighter) makes the X-T30 something you might want to consider as a more appropriate travel or trip camera than the larger and bulkier X-T3.

The X-T3’s viewfinder is bigger and has a higher resolution – use the X-T30 in isolation and you may not realise what you’re missing out on, but working side-by-side with the X-T3 you might notice the difference. Either way, the X-T30’s viewfinder gives you a good view of the scene, and is great for those who prefer to compose in a traditional manner, rather than via the screen.

All of the images here are JPEG shots straight out of the camera – but the raw files are extremely malleable to get even more from that fantastic X-Trans sensor.

Stick or Twist

If you already have an X-T20 and are thinking of upgrading or replacing your camera with the newer model – there’s still a lot to like.

Much like the X-T30 uses the same sensor as the X-T3, the X-T20 features the same sensor as the X-T2. It’s got a slightly lower resolution, and doesn’t feature the same back-illumination construction than the X-T3/X-T30 sensor, but, you’ll be hard pushed to spot a huge difference when looking at images from the two cameras side by side unless you really pixel peep to the extreme.

The X-T30 has the same advanced autofocusing system as the X-T3, making it fairly easy to get shots of moving subjects. The buffer is more limited though, which is something to consider if you like to shoot long bursts.

 

However, there are some improvements which make actually getting your image a little easier than before – largely depending on the kind of photography you like to shoot. The biggest advance comes to autofocusing, with the X-T30 being speedier and more accurate – useful if you’re somebody shooting fast-moving subjects on a regular basis. You can also shoot at a faster frame rate with the X-T30 which offers 20fps with the electronic shutter (the X-T20 offers a still very usable 14fps). Additionally, the X-T30 has improved face and eye-detection, which is great for portrait, wedding, documentary, street and family photographers. If you’re somebody who is mainly concerned with static subjects, such as landscapes, you may not feel the upgrade is necessary.

Should you Buy?

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to shoot with all of Fujifilm’s X-series compact system cameras and I’ve always had a bit of a soft-spot for this series (X-T10, X-T20 and now X-T30). To me, they represent some of the best of Fujifilm’s technologies in a more affordable, smaller and more streamlined body. A couple of years ago, the X-T20 would have been the camera I’d recommend to anybody looking for something which puts in a fantastic all-round performance, especially for those that don’t crave some of those extras like the dual-card slots and weather-proofing.

Pairing the X-T30 with the fantastic 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 lens makes for an ideal travel camera.

I’d recommend it to anyone who wants something small and light.

The same can now be said for the X-T30 – I’d recommend it to anyone who wants something small and light, but if you’re already shooting with an X-T20 I’d probably only suggest an upgrade if you’re keen to work with that upgraded autofocusing system. Indeed, now that the X-T30 is available, the X-T20 represents even better value for money than before. The X-T30 is also perfect as a back-up or second camera for those working with an X-T3 or even an X-T2.

Are you tempted?

Just like other X-Series cameras, the X-T30 benefits from a range of different Film Simulation modes – this is “Acros”.

Sample images taken with the Fujifilm X-T30