Fujifilm X-T30 review in progress
Body and handling
Despite its low price, the X-T30 is a very well-built camera, and its numerous direct controls make it a pleasure to use.
- For its price, the X-T30 is surprising well constructed, although it's not weather-sealed
- The X-T30 has traded the four-way controller from the X-T20 for a small, somewhat fiddly 8-way joystick and swipe motions on the LCD
- Dials for shutter speed and exposure compensation connect you with the camera and make it easy to adjust these settings
While other sub-$1000 tend to feel a bit cheap and plasticky, the X-T30 feels like a more expensive camera. The chassis is almost entirely metal and so are the three dials on the top plate. Those dials have just the right amount of resistance, which prevents them from turning too easily. On the other hand, the front and back control dials are plasticky and easy to accidentally rotate.
The X-T30 fits well in the hand, and the fact that it's not a 'tall' camera allows your fingers to support it from underneath the grip. The grip itself isn't large, but it does the job. In most respects, controls are well laid-out, though some people may find the joystick (new to the X-T30) is too small and placed too low on the back of the camera.
One of the things that makes the X-T30 a pleasure to shoot with are the dials on its top plate, which makes you feel more connected to the camera than having to use menus. The X-T30 has a mode dial (of sorts) that lets you quickly access continuous shooting, bracketing and movie modes (and more). The switch under that dial raises the built-in flash, which has a working range of roughly 6m/20ft at ISO 160. The flash can't be tilted back for bouncing.
On the other side of the hot shoe are dials for shutter speed and exposure compensation. While the shutter speed dial does what you'd expect, there's a neat trick it can do in the dedicated movie mode. If set the dial to, say, 1/60 sec, you can then use the rear dial to choose from video-friendly shutter speeds, like 1/48 sec. While the exposure comp dial stops at ±3, by setting it to the 'C' position you can access the entire ±5 range.
The adjacent Fn button is small and hard to reach, and is one of four physical buttons that you can assign functions to (the forth button being the rear dial, which can be pressed). One of the nice things about Fujifilm cameras is that you can change what function is assigned to a button by holding it down for a few seconds.
Fujifilm removed the four-way controller from the X-T30 and replaced it with directional swipes of the touchscreen. However, you also gain the joystick mentioned above. It's an eight-way 'stick, which makes navigating through all those AF points a bit easier.
The EVF on the X-T30 is an OLED panel with 2.36 million dots: pretty standard these days. By default, the refresh rate of the EVF is 60 fps, but by switching on 'boost mode' it rises to 100 fps. Fujifilm claims that's the EVF is 'blackout-free' when shooting high-speed bursts, and we'll aim to validate that in our review.
The 'Sports Finder' mode from the X-T3 is here, as well. This mode applies a 1.25X crop (lowering the resolution to around 16MP) and puts a frame around the area that will be captured. This feature helps you see when a subject is approaching or leaving the shooting area. Sports finder can only be used with the mechanical shutter.
As one would expect, there's an eye sensor attached to the EVF. Something from the X-T3 that didn't make it to the X-T30 is how the eye sensor is disabled when the LCD is tilted. This prevents the sensor from being triggered when you're shooting at the hip.
The X-T30 has a trio of ports under a door on its left side. They include a 2.5mm mic input along with USB-C and micro-HDMI sockets. In addition to charging and transferring images, you can also connect headphones to the USB-C port.
Battery and memory card
The X-T30 uses the venerable NP-W126S lithium-ion battery, which stores 8.7Wh worth of energy. That translates into 380 shots per charge using the LCD (per CIPA testing), which is respectable (and you'll likely get many more, depending on your shooting style). Battery life numbers using the EVF weren't provided by Fujifilm.
A rating in the range of 300-400 shots should let you shoot an event, or last for the duration of a fairly photography-focused weekend. As you'd expect, your experience will vary depending on your use of burst mode, Wi-Fi and video, and how much time you spend reviewing the images.
Next door to the battery is the camera's SD memory card slot, which supports UHS-I media.
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