Staying true to the pattern it has established over the last few years, Fujifilm is following up on its release of the X-T3 with a smaller, lighter, and more affordable camera that retains a lot of the best aspects of the flagship. According to the company, the X-T20 is its best-selling X-series camera, so producing a worthy follow-up is important. The new X-T30 is shipping next month for $899 (body only) or $1,299 in a kit with the company’s 18-55mm lens. (A 15-45mm kit will also be available for $999.) Black and silver color options will be available at launch, with a new gunmetal “charcoal silver” following in June.
From the front, the X-T30 looks quite similar to the X-T20, but Fujifilm has done some tinkering with the rear design. The company has added a focus joystick and removed the d-pad, figuring that the various dials, focus lever, touchscreen, and Q button — now in a more convenient spot for thumb access — are adequate for controlling the camera. That rear LCD is 10 percent thinner than the X-T20’s. The whole package is a good deal tinier than the X-T3. I think it’s a little too small to be my everyday
With the X-T30’s reduced size, you lose out on the locking ISO and shutter speed dials that the X-T3 has (plus the lockable diopter) and have to live with only one SD slot, but on the whole Fujifilm has done a good job preserving the manual controls of its larger cameras, and plenty of the buttons can be customized to your desired function. The tiny built-in flash is also still here.
Inside, there’s a lot that’s similar to the X-T3. The X-T30 has the same 26.1-megapixel X-Trans CMOS 4 backside-illuminated sensor and X-Processor 4 quad-core CPU as the X-T3, offering all the performance advancements in autofocus speed and accuracy that Fujifilm has made with its fourth-generation system. Phase-detect autofocus points are spread across the entire frame. Continuous shooting runs up to 30fps with the electronic shutter (and a 1.25x crop). It can focus down to -3.0EV and can process functions 150 percent faster than the X-T20.
And get this: the X-T30 will actually ship with better autofocus capabilities than the X-T3. It’s got improved face and eye tracking — you can choose the face you want to prioritize if there are several people in a shot — and maintains a more stable exposure when focusing on someone with black hair. It can also detect faces that take up as little as 7 percent of the frame. (The X-T3 will receive all of these enhancements and more via a firmware update in April.) In terms of stills, the X-T30 matches the X-T3 at what’s most important. The main difference is that the buffer runs out a bit faster during burst shooting.
Video is where the X-T30 is a slight step down from the T3. First, 4K recording is limited to 30p, whereas the pricier camera can hit 60p. Second, in-camera video is limited to 8-bit 4:2:0 footage. (The X-T3 can record 4K/60p in 10-bit 4:2:0 internally to an SD card or 4:2:2 externally over HDMI.) Third, the X-T30 maxes out at a bitrate of 200Mbps versus 400Mbps on the X-T3. And last, there’s no traditional headphone jack on this camera for audio monitoring, but Fujifilm has a solution: USB-C. Yes, dongle life has come to the camera world; if you plug in a USB-C headphone adapter, you can use the port for audio instead of charging. And it works! It’s easy to mock a dongle hanging out of a camera, but I think it’s a clever solution for limited port space.
Alongside the X-T30, Fujifilm is launch a new 16mm f/2.8 lens that it’s positioning in the same family as the 23mm, 35mm, and 50mm f/2 water-resistant primes. It has the same, clicky, very satisfying aperture ring and a compact design like the others, so I think the connection makes sense — even if it’s not quite as fast. The focusing system “is driven by a stepping motor, which drives the lens’ focusing elements into place through precise electrical pulses for extremely fast and auto-focusing capabilities,” says Fujifilm. And you can feel this lens focus as you turn the focus ring. I like it, but I could see how others might now. The 16mm f/2.8 costs $399.95 and will be available in March (black) or May (silver).