The Fujifilm X20, introduced in January 2013, was a pretty impressive camera. With a 2/3" X-Trans sensor, relatively fast 28-112mm equivalent F2-2.8 lens, and a design that fitted right in with the company's other X-series models, it was a refreshing alternatives to other premium compacts.

While not a huge leap forward, Fujifilm's X30 has some noticeable changes, including a move from an optical to electronic viewfinder as well as adding an articulated LCD. The X30 also gains a ring around its lens for adjusting settings, as well as a dedicated movie record button. The 'guts' of the X30 remain the same, meaning that it has a 12MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor and EXR Processor II. One of our main complaints about the X20 - battery life - has been dramatically improved on the X30.

Fujifilm X30 key features

  • 12MP 2/3"-type X-Trans CMOS II sensor (8.8 x 6.6mm)
  • EXR Processor II
  • 28-112mm equiv. F2.0-2.8 lens with manual zoom adjustment
  • Hybrid (contrast + phase detection) autofocus system
  • ISO 100-3200, expandable to 12800 (JPEG only)
  • Six customizable buttons plus ring around lens
  • 2.36M dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 0.65x (equiv.) magnification
  • 3.0" 920k dot 3:2 tilting LCD
  • 12 fps continuous shooting
  • Addition of 'Classic Chrome' Film Simulation Mode
  • Built-in Wi-Fi including remote control from a smartphone or tablet
  • Full HD movie recording (1080/60p, 36Mbps bit rate), with built-in stereo microphone and external mic input

That's an impressive list of specs for a camera with an MSRP of $599. We've been using X-Trans sensors for a while now and have been impressed with their quality, though they don't tend to handle green tones terrible well. The EXR Processor II performs well, with snappy focusing and a fast burst mode. The only areas in which the camera feels sluggish are menu navigation and wake-from-sleep (which is slow on most Fujifilm cameras).

While a lot of people love their optical viewfinders, the one on the X20 wasn't terribly good. The X30 has a beautiful XGA OLED viewfinder that's quite large for this class. The rear LCD is also nice, and now has the ability to tilt upward by a little more than 90 degrees and downward by 45.

Fujifilm has expanded its selection of Film Simulation modes with the addition of 'Classic Chrome', which simulates the appearance of Kodachrome (though for licensing reasons, Fujifilm can't say that). The camera lets you bracket for film similation modes (among other things) and you can also change it using the in-camera Raw processor.

One final addition is Wi-Fi, which is nearly standard on enthusiast cameras in 2014. Using the Fujifilm Camera Remote app you can control the camera, download photos, or add location data from your smartphone.

Specs compared

The table below gives you a quick look at the differences between the X20 and X30:

 
Fujifilm X20
Fujifilm X30
Effective resolution
12.0 Megapixel
Processor
EXR Processor II
Lens focal range
28-112mm equiv.
Lens maximum aperture
F2.0-2.8
Control ring around lens
No
Yes
LCD design
Fixed
Tilting (~90 up/45 down)
LCD size (resolution)
2.8" (460k dot)
3.0" (920k dot)
Viewfinder
Optical
Electronic
Viewfinder coverage
85%
100%
Continuous shooting
12 fps
Max video resolution
1080p/60
External mic input
No
Yes
Wired remote input
No
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Yes
Battery life (CIPA)
270 shots
470 shots

We've already covered most of those, but it's worth noting just how much better battery life is on the X30. At the time of publication, the X30 has the best battery life of any enthusiast compact.

Equivalent Aperture

Below is a look at how the X30's 2/3" sensor and fast lens affect depth-of-field and (potentially) image quality:

The above chart shows the changes in 35mm equivalent aperture as the equivalent focal length increases. This chart allows you to see the effect of the different aperture and lens ranges, taking into account the different sensor sizes. The X30 starts out with most of the inexpensive enthusiast compacts and stays neck and neck with the Olympus XZ-2. This is interesting, as it shows how the larger sensor of the X30 and faster lens of the XZ-2 cancel each other out. The more expensive cameras G1 X II and RX100 III have an advantage throughout their focal range, though the RX100 II falls behind the X30 at around 60mm.

So what does this all mean? Simply put, it means that the X30 allows for shallower depth-of-field than the cameras that are 'above it' on the chart and, more appropriately here, vice versa. One could also make the assumption that the X30 will have pretty good low light performance unless compared to a couple of more expensive models.

Pricing and Accessories

The X30 will be available in black and silver

The X30 will be available in black or silver/black at a price of $599.95. Available accessories include a leather case, lens hood and protective filter, various external flashes, and an external mic.

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X, Y, and Z and ideally A, B, and C.

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