Recently, I was able to find a black Fujifilm X30 at my local camera store- Ace Photo. I have shot with it some and want to give my first impression of my new X30.
As I unboxed it my immediate impression was one of quality. This camera looks and feels well-built. The dials and buttons have great feel to them. Fuji got these just right. They are not too loose and not too tight. The two rings around the lens, one to adjust zoom and the other set by default to adjust aperture, feel perfect. They are smooth but not loose. This camera is well thought out and put together. Great quality throughout.
This new X30 has a some upgrades from the previous generation X10 and X20. Some of those upgrades are as follows:
1. Focus peeking
2. Tiltable screen
3. Wi-fi and usability of the remote app
4. Much longer battery life
5. On-sensor phase detect
6. External mic jack
7. Much higher resolution screen (922k vs 460k)
8. 24p and slow motion videos
9. Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) vs the old optical viewfinder
Oh, and the MSRP price is the same- $599!
When I initially read about the improvements I was most excited about the EVF. I have owned an X10 and thought the camera was good but I really didn’t like the optical viewfinder. The new EVF in the X30 is from the X-E2. I owned two X-E2’s so I knew exactly was I was going to get when buying this camera, EVF wise. When I took it out this afternoon and looked through the EVF for the first time I literally said out loud, “Wow.” It is that good! This is a huge improvement and for me the most important one. On top of that the diopter is really easy to adjust which makes setting up the EVF a breeze.
I also like the tiltable screen and that the X30 uses the same battery that is found in the X100 series. It will give longer battery life. The LCD has better resolution. This camera is an upgrade for sure.
Of course the elephant in the room is the sensor which is still a 2/3 sensor. Time will tell if that is an issue but I know with the X10 I was able to produce great files. I tried to shoot RAW with the X30, but the latest edition of Lightroom is not able to open them yet. Come on Adobe, let’s upgrade to LR 5.7 soon!
Here are a couple quick impressions other than the build rocks. The camera is close in size to the X100s. Dimensions and weight are nearly identical but not quite. The camera is small but I would not call it pocketable. It might fit in a jacket pocket but not pants, at least not mine. This is not an issue for me as I never carry a camera in a pocket. I want it out and on, ready for action. The zoom for the lens is smooth. The new dial on the front is set as a default to adjust the aperture. It is smooth also but it does not have a click to it. I did end up changing my aperture unintentionally a couple of times. I think indents would help but honestly I have bumped the aperture on my other lenses a couple of times too even with indents. I like being able to change the aperture with a ring on the lens, instead of a dial on top of the camera, but the downside is it can be accidentally bumped. All the more reason to pay attention to your EVF to make sure the settings are what they should be.
I am not a big fan of having the on/off switch built into the zoom lens. I am sure the camera would have to be bigger to have a traditional switch around the shutter button so I can live with it.
There are a few function buttons which make this camera very versatile. The Q menu is awesome and I like having the drive button on the back too. All in all a great job by Fujifilm again.
Enough talk for now. Here are a few pics. These are straight out of camera (SOOC) JPEG’s. I have not done any processing in LR. The camera was set-up as follows:
Meter on “multi”
Large Fine JPEG
Classic Chrome film simulation
The first two pics are at ISO 400.
The next two are at ISO 200.
I was able to spend my second day out with my new Fujifilm X30 at a local wild life sanctuary. The weather was perfect and I had an opportunity to shoot in open sun and the forest. My goal was to test the auto focus as well as multiple frames per second, higher ISO and the super high macro mode.
Let’s talk about the auto focus. I have to say it is great. Very fast and accurate. I shoot with the auto focus box, most of the time, in the middle setting which is two clicks larger than the smallest box or two clicks smaller than the largest box. This setting incorporates all nine focus points which gives me optimal performance. I was very pleased with it and had no problems finding focus while I was shooting.
I decided to try the continuous shooting using the “high” setting. This gives about 9 frames per second. When pressing the shutter button, as I do for single frame shooting, I usually average 3 frames when I use this setting. I get the same results when shooting my X-T1 on continuous high. I like to use this setting when I am shooting nature, as I never know what will happen when wildlife is around. If I choose to, I can hold the shutter down for as long as I want depending on what is happening. I like the flexibility of continuous high which exceeded my expectations. There is also a “super high” setting that yields 12 frames per second.
My first time out with the X30, I had a difficult time with the macro mode. Come to find out, it can only be used with the lens at the wide-angle. I did some comparisons between shooting the same subject with the telephoto and the wide-angle using the super macro mode. The results are interesting but I will say you have to get very close to your subject with this camera. Not ideal but the pics are good. Personally, I hope that Fuji will come out with a macro lens that is at least 90mm but preferably 105mm for my X-T1. I love that focal length for macro pics.
The following shots, like the previous ones, are all straight out of camera (SOOC), large, fine, JPEGS. No processing in LR 5.6.
The camera was set-up as follows:
Meter on “multi” or “average”
Large Fine JPEG
Velvia (Vivid) film simulation
Telephoto- 112mm (35mm format)
I was taking pics in the forest of a deer so I had to bump the ISO to 1250. I like the results but I don’t think I would go higher than ISO 1600. My main camera is the X-T1 that I routinely shoot at ISO 6400 with great results. This sensor is not nearly as big in the X30 so it will be difficult to shoot at higher ISO’s without some grain. If you are shooting in B&W it would probably look good as personally I like some grain in my B&W photos at times.
I really like the DOF that the camera gives at 112mm.
Telephoto at 112mm.
Super high macro at 28mm
I was taking pics in the forest of a deer so I had to bump the ISO to 1250. I like the results but I don’t think I would go higher than ISO 1600. My main camera is the X-T1 that I routinely shoot at ISO 6400 with great results. This sensor is not nearly as big in the X30 so it will be difficult to shoot at higher ISO’s without some grain. If you are shooting in B&W it would probably look good as personally, I like some grain in my B&W photos at times.
I decided to crop the pic of the deer and to process it in LR 5.6. I am really surprised at how good this came out. This was at f/2.8 and 1/420 sec. No noise reduction.
Here is another shot from the meadow. It was taken at ISO 200 at 112mm.
As a side note, when I took the first set of pictures, I was using a wrist strap with the X30 and it didn’t work out very well. My hand got tired of holding the body. This time out I used a neck strap and that is the way to go. I will definitely use that set-up from now on especially when shooting street which I hope to do soon. I want to walk around downtown Leesburg to see how the X30 will do there.
Up to this point, I have to say the Fujifilm X30 has exceeded my expectations. I never owned the X20 but I can tell you it is a huge improvement over the X10 I use to own.
I have been waiting for the new version of Lightroom to come out so I can begin shooting my Fujifilm X30 in RAW. Unfortunately, it is not out yet. I am not sure what the hold-up is as the new Camera Raw came out over a week ago.
I got some requests for some JPEG’s shot at higher ISO’s so I thought last night’s band practice would be the perfect opportunity to give this a try. After some experimentation here is what I had the camera set at:
Large, Fine JPEG
Classic Chrome Film Simulation
These pics are SOOC, except for the last two, and I have not done any noise reduction in Lightroom. Frankly, I am pleasantly surprised with how the Classic Chrome reproduced the lights on the stage. It is very accurate. I can’t wait to get Classic Chrome for my X-T1’s!
There you have it. The X30 did better than I thought it would at ISO 2500. I haven’t spent a lot of time playing with these files so I am happy with the way they came out. I hope to do a shoot in RAW if the new LR ever comes out.