In the first installment of my review entitled Fujifilm X30–The best one yet! (Part I), I discussed how much I enjoyed the opportunity to test the new x30. I was a HUGE fan of the x10 and declared it my point and shoot of the year. The x20 was faster, but was actually a little disappointing since it lost the magical EXR mode (and its functionality – the DR Auto & SR+ just aren’t the same). However, I purchased both of these cameras and still own them both to this day. The question now becomes, will I replace my x20 (and potentially my x10 as well) with the new x30? Read on to find out.
The following shots are done on a tripod with all camera default settings except I also enable RAW.
My bookshelf tests are sample shots that must be clicked and viewed at 100% for accurate analysis that compare relative performance at different ISO and apertures The full set of bookshelf shots are at http://photos.ronmartblog.com/fujifilm/x30.
What I see when looking at all of the bookshelf shots is that the 7.1mm focal length completely wide open gives the best results. When compared to my f/4 image I think the the f/2 is the sharper image.
At 3200 the noise level is pretty disappointing, but I still find that the NR –2 setting here preserves more detail than the standard NR 0 setting. As a result you could get less noise using the default noise setting but it will smear the details of the image much more. Personally I prefer to do it this way then use Noiseware to clean it up myself while preserving the maximum details.
Sadly by today’s standards I’m disappointed with the ISO 3200 performance when pixel peeping (but it does pretty good in the real world). Realistically this is a camera where I’m going to try to stay under ISO 800 whenever possible and I’d treat 1600 & 3200 as ISO’s of last resort.
Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) & Control Ring
I can’t emphasize enough how much these two features have made me enjoy the new X30. While I’m not a big EVF fan, it does come in terribly handy to view the LCD when you are out in the bright sun (vs using a Hoodman Loupe). The EVF is done very well on this model so that helps even more.
The control ring with an easy access button to reprogram its function has been a godsend because it allows me to get easily change between the things that I care most about at a given moment (most often film simulation modes, ISO or White Balance).
If you love the x10 or x20 then this camera will delight you and these features alone make it worth the upgrade.
MUCH better than the x20 – it’s definitely a lot smoother and the auto focus works the best I’ve seen out of this series. This is not to say that it won’t go out of focus from time to time, but it’s no worse than a high end cell phone which is a huge leap from where it came from.
In my extended testing in Asia (here), I captured video from a bullet train moving at least 300 kmh and the AF system performed very well.
How does the X30 stack up against the competition?
With great cameras out there like the RX100 III, the Canon G7 X, and Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX100 the question becomes which one is really the best? The reality is that they are all good so I don’t think anyone is going to be super depressed with any of these, but the RX100 III is definitely the form factor and image quality champion in my opinion (see my RX100 III review). Despite some of its limitations compared to the Sony, the x30 is still a very fun camera to use with much easier access to its features (especially with the new control ring).
Yes, the x30 is heavier and bulkier than I’d like. Yes the twist to start and detachable caps is annoying. However, like most Fujifilm cameras this thing is just so fun when I get it in my hands. It makes me remember why I love photography so much and it empowers me to get results that make me happy with its wealth of all-important PHYSICAL button controls!!! This means I’m not fighting menus and touch screens when I use this camera and its focus system, film simulation modes and quick mode make it a joy to use.
Yes, cell phones are getting very good these days but there’s still something magical about holding something that feels like a camera dialing in your settings (or not using auto modes) and getting an image that is often high on the wow factor compared to DSLR’s.
Overall I still love this camera and it’s improved features, solid build quality, great new EVF, wonderful control ring and usable video all make this x10 & x20 owner think its time to upgrade. I was very happy with this camera and plan to take it to Asia for some more exhaustive real-world testing. With that said, I wish the high ISO performance was better and the real world testing in Asia reminded me that this camera is much better at getting keeper than the superior image quality RX100 III did during my trip with it down South.
I still recommend the x30 and feel pretty confident that most people really enjoy it to even if you are a beginner all the way up to a high end pro wanting very good results from a pocket camera. If you don’t mind fighting menus and prefer manual mode over aperture priority, then I have to say that the RX100 III is the way to go based on image quality and compact size. The RX100 III is quite a bit more expensive though, so it’s tough to beat its bang for the buck.
For more photos see my On Vacation with the Fujifilm X30 (Includes a Mom’s 2 Cents) article and visit http://photos.ronmartblog.com/fujifilm/x30.
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If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these:
- Fujifilm X30–The best one yet! (Part I)
- On Vacation with the Fujifilm X30 (Includes a Mom’s 2 Cents)
- Canon 70D (Part II)
- Canon Rebel T5i/700D
- Canon EOS M
- Fujifilm X20 (My personal P&S camera)
- Fujifilm X100s
- Fujifilm X-E2
- Fujifilm XPro-1
- Fujifilm XQ1 (vs X20 & Canon s110)
- Fujifilm X-S1
- Fujifilm X-T1 (includes 18-55mm & 23mm lens reviews)
- Fujifilm X-E1, X100s, X20 & X10 Compared
- Fujifilm XF 56mm & XF 10-24mm Lens Review
- Sony a3000
- Sony a7 (includes Samyang lens)
- Sony a7R
- Sony DSC-RX1 (Full Frame Compact Camera)
- Sony DSC-RX10
- Sony RX100 III (Sony DSC-RX100 II vs RX100 I)
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- Panasonic GF6 & LX1
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