First impressions

By Jeff Keller

The first thing that came to mind when I heard than a X-T30 was coming was "please don't be another X-T100." The X-T100 was a camera which sounded very promising that ended up being a big disappointment, due to its slow processor, lousy AF system and 4K/15p video capture.

Thankfully, the X-T30 is no X-T100. In fact, the X-T30 truly is a 'baby X-T3' and, unless you're a serious videographer or need a more rugged body, you could probably get away using the much less expensive X-T30 and spend the $600 savings on a lens.

Converted from Raw using ACR 11.2 with Standard/Provia mode.
ISO 160 | 1/110 sec | F3.6 | Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R lens

Photo by Jeff Keller

Something I've always liked about Fujifilm's X-series cameras is the way in which the controls really connect you with the camera. While it doesn't have the ISO dial of the X-T3, the X-T30 has exposure compensation and shutter speed, and many X-mount lenses have aperture rings, as well. I've held many a sub-$1000 camera and was happy to see that Fujifilm didn't cheap out on the build quality here: the X-T30 has a really solid feel.

Out-of-camera JPEG with the Provia film simulation.
ISO 160 | 1/400 sec | F5.6 | Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R @ 28mm equiv.

Photo by Jeff Keller

A few things about the design that I don't like are the joystick (too small, needs to be higher up), the overly sensitive eye sensor (note to Fujifilm: disable it when you have the LCD tilted), and especially the placement of the Q.Menu button. The button sits right on the thumb grip and I don't know how many times I found myself in the Q.Menu when I wanted to be taking photos. If I could disable it and assign the menu to the Fn button, I would have.

With that out of the way, I was really impressed with the responsiveness of the X-T30 (in terms of operation and autofocus) and the results I got after spending a few weeks with the camera. The camera reliably nailed focus, though I was mainly shooting static subjects and cats (the only available subject while snowed-in during our unprecedented winter storm).

Converted from Raw using ACR 11.2 with Acros profile.
ISO 160 | 1/140 sec | F4 | Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R @ 31mm equiv.

Photo by Jeff Keller

Once some of the snow had cleared and I was able to get out and about, I was able to take in the always pleasing Fujifilm colors, and it's nice to have the Acros Film Simulation mode on a less-expensive camera. The sensor's dynamic range impressed me when I was able to greatly brighten a photo of a woodpecker in a heavily backlit tree without a huge noise penalty. Even after accidentally setting the ISO to 51,200, I still ended up with a photo good enough for social media.

Converted from Raw using ACR 11.2 with Provia profile.
ISO 160 | 1/120 sec | F4 | Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R lens @ 45mm equiv.

Photo by Jeff Keller

While I'm not thrilled with some aspects of handling on the X-T30, taken as a whole, it's a remarkable product for the price. You pick up the image quality, AF system and most of the performance of the X-T3, and get features like 10-bit 4:2:2 video output that you just won't find on other cameras in this price range. Would I like to have the larger EVF and more rugged body of the X-T3? Sure, but I'd prefer putting the $600 savings toward one of Fujifilm's excellent lenses. And did I mention that it looks really slick in charcoal silver?