First Impressions

The Fujifilm X20 was an impressive enthusiast compact, and the X30 continues that tradition. It keeps company with the likes of the Canon PowerShot G16 and Nikon Coolpix P7800 (and perhaps the more compact Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II). Its 12 megapixel, 2/3" X-Trans CMOS II sensor has performed well in the past, and we're looking forward to seeing if the X30 does as well or better.

The not-quite-compact X30 is comfortable to hold and use, with easy one-handed operation. The position of the thumb rest allows quick access to the mode, exposure compensation, and rear control wheel, though the nearby movie button is a bit hard to reach. The addition of the control wheel around the lens is nice for manual focusing, but not so nice for adjusting settings, as it's not 'clicky'. We're still big fans of having a way to switch between smooth and clicky, as found on a few Olympus cameras. Virtually every control and menu on the camera is customizable.

Shooting with the X30 is a pleasure. It starts up quickly, has snappy focus, and brief shot-to-shot delays. Given its Hybrid AF system, I was expecting pretty good subject tracking, and the X30 did very well in that regard. On a more negative note is that the X30 requires holding the shutter release for about a second before it wakes up, which was a problem on the X20 as well.

While the LCD is about average, the XGA electronic viewfinder is one of the best you'll find. By putting the camera into 'silent mode', you can stealthily take photos without anyone noticing (shhh). While Fuji's camera control app isn't yet compatible with the X30, we've been pleased with it in the past.

With an MSRP of $599, the X30 finds itself between cameras like the Canon G16 on one end and the Sony RX100 II and Canon G1 X II on the other. It's a definite step up from the G16 (and Nikon P7800) in terms of sensor size, build quality, battery life, and sheer number of customizable buttons, though it can't keep up with the RX100 II and G1 X II in terms of image quality.

While not a mind-blowing camera, we think the X30 will appeal to those seeking middle ground, and based on initial experiences, we think they'll be quite satisfied with what the camera has to offer.