Fuji X30 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.
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.
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.
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.
Fuji X30 Facts
Medium digital camera
|12 Megapixels Fixed Lens||ISO 100-12800|
|4X Mechanically Linked Wide Optical Zoom||Shutter 1/4000-30s|
|Built-in Stabilization||Full manual controls, including Manual Focus|
|0.39" Built-in EVF 2.4 Megapixels (0.65X)||Custom white-balance|
|Automatic Eye-Start sensor||Spot-Metering|
|12 FPS Drive, 18 Images||Hot-Shoe|
|1920x1080 @ 60 FPS Video Recording||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|3" LCD 920K Pixels||Secure Digital Extended Capacity|
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