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Fuji X30 Review

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsElectronic View FinderElectronic View FinderStabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringAccepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed review

Performance - How well does it take pictures?

Ultimately a camera is only as good as the images it produces which is why performance measurements from the basis of digital camera ratings here. The Fuji X30 is a premium compact with a high-end lens and a relatively small sensor, similar to the most fixed-lens models except for the few large-sensor cameras.

Fuji X30

The Fuji X30 produces high-quality images with low noise and nice sharp details until ISO 400. Even at the lowest setting, noise-reduction effectively removes most noise up to ISO 1600 with a slight detriment to fine-details at ISO 800 and a little more at 1600. This reduces possible print sizes somewhat but matches the image-quality of other best-in-class small sensor cameras.

At ISO 3200 results are still acceptable for medium prints, showing relatively low-noise but also soft fine-details at 100% scale. ISO 6400 seems rather blurry yet remains impressively usable for small prints. ISO 12800 is a blurry mess and should be avoided. This is completely normal and expected of even the best 2/3" sensor.

Dynamic-range of the Fuji X30 is very good and only exceeded by Fuji cameras with EXR sensors. This makes it better than most compact cameras for use in broad daylight. Exposure is generally good and very conservative. It rarely over-exposes yet has the tendency to produce rather dark images for low-contrast scenes. Such scenes are rarely under-exposed and can by brightened up in software which unfortunately amplifies image-noise.

Fuji X30

Colors are nicely saturated by default in Provia film simulation mode. For a more realistic rendition, set Color to -2. Keep in mind though that this setting is ignored outside of PASM modes. Velvia is visibly over-the-top while Astia film simulation produces relatively accurate colors with a nice level of saturation. The new Chrome mode offers a slightly more subtle look. Reality falls somewhere in-between with the former being a little too red and the latter a little too yellow.

Automatic White-Balance is visibly improved over previous generations. In broad daylight, it nails the color of most scenes. When light is low though, it is frequently slightly off, leaving a yellow tint or magenta cast, particularly with artificially-lit scenes. Custom white-balance, however, is spot-on.

 

The sharpness of the Fujinon F/2 - F/2.8 lens is superb. Details are consistently sharp from edge-to-edge with no visible corner softness or vignetting. There is a gentle but noticeable amount of barrel distortion near wide-angle but it quickly disappears after zooming in a little. Purple fringing is virtually inexistent.

The X30's 2/3" X-Trans CMOS II sensor features built-in Phase-Detect autofocus. This is something pioneered by Fuji on their SuperCCD EXR which they brought over to CMOS sensors. This provides the X30 with an AF system which is faster than nearly every other fixed-lens camera to date.

The Fuji X30 focuses extremely quickly and manages to stay fast and accurate even in very low light. Autofocus speed hovers around ¼ - ½s, except in very low-light where it can take just over ¾s. In bright to moderate light though, ¼s is almost always enough to lock focus. This is clearly a class-leading performance.

The X30 is generally fast and responsive. Its performance can be characterized by the following measurements:

  • Power On: ¾s. Great.
  • Power Off: ½s. Excellent.
  • Focus: Usually ¼s. Class-leading.
  • Shutter-Lag: Instant. Excellent.
  • Black-Out: ¼s. Amazing for a compact.
  • Shot-To-Shot: 1s. Good for a compact.
  • Playback: About ½s to enter or exit. Average.
  • Video: 2s to start, 1s to stop.
  • Zoom: No speed limit.

Compared to any other fixed-lens camera, this is an excellent performance. Focusing is one of its strongest points and it does so with remarkable consistency. The shot-to-shot speed is great for its class but will be on the slow side for action photography. Battery life, quoted at 470 shots per charge according to the CIPA standard, is above average and immensely improved compared to the X20.

Conclusion

Fuji X30

The Fuji X30 is an excellent premium compact digital camera. It delivers the same great image-quality and speed as its predecessor with refined controls and a very welcome EVF. This viewfinder is absolutely class-leading and gives the X30 a nice boost in usability.

Image quality is excellent and rivals the best premium digital cameras with similarly-sized sensors. Images show very little noise until ISO 1600 and details are remarkably well preserved until ISO 400, just before noise-reduction kicks in. Colors are very nice and adjustable. Metering and white-balance are good yet not perfect but manual-controls easily allow them to be improved when needed.

The Fujinon lens used on the X30 is both a great technological achievement and a pleasure to use thanks to its mechanical zoom which gives perfect framing precision. The bright maximum aperture and built-in stabilization makes the X30 usable in lower light than most cameras in its class. Plus, it remains fast and responsive under most circumstances.

This advanced digital camera is very versatile given a complete set of manual controls, including manual focus, bracketing and a hot-shoe. Dual control-dials and plenty of controls make these features efficient to use.

Given its nice image quality, performance and ergonomics, the Fuji X30 makes an ideal camera for users seeking advanced photographic controls in a compact body. The zoom range offered by its lens makes this camera highly suitable for travel, portraits and social photography.

Excellent
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By on 2014/10/10
3

Fuji X30 Facts

Medium digital camera
12 Megapixels Fixed LensISO 100-12800
4X Mechanically Linked Wide Optical ZoomShutter 1/4000-30s
Built-in StabilizationFull manual controls, including Manual Focus
0.39" Built-in EVF 2.4 Megapixels (0.65X)Custom white-balance
Automatic Eye-Start sensorSpot-Metering
12 FPS Drive, 18 ImagesHot-Shoe
1920x1080 @ 60 FPS Video RecordingLithium-Ion Battery
3" LCD 920K PixelsSecure Digital Extended Capacity
Internal Memory
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