Reviews |Fujifilm X-T30 II

Fujifilm X-T30 II Review

Fujifilm X-T30 II review
Review

Price when reviewed

£770

$899
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Our Verdict

It may not make much of an upgrade on the X-T30 but the Fujifilm X-T30 II is still a cracking little camera that’s capable of producing very attractive results. It has a lovely combination of traditional exposure controls, snappy autofocusing and touch control on a reassuringly solid-feeling body. As with the X-T30 the main niggle is the location of the Q button which is too easily pressed accidentally.

For

  • Excellent sensor
  • Robust construction
  • Traditional controls

Against

  • Minor upgrade on the X-T30
  • Easy to press the Q button accidentally
  • No in-body stabilisation

What is the Fujifilm X-T30 II?

Fujifilm X-T30 II is an APS-C format mirrorless camera that sits in the middle Fujifilm’s X-series range.

Like the X-T30 that it replaces, the Fujifilm X-T30 II resembles a mini Fujifilm X-T4 or X-T3 as it has the same 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4 along with similar styling and traditional exposure controls.  However, it has a smaller, lighter body that makes it ideally-suited to travel photography.

Specification

  • Camera type: APS-C format mirrorless
  • Sensor: 26.1Mp APS-C (23.5mm×15.6mm) X-Trans CMOS 4
  • Processor: X Processor 4
  • Lens mount: Fujifilm X
  • Sensitivity: Stills: ISO 160- 12800 expandable to ISO 80-51,200, Video: ISO 160- 12800 expandable to ISO 80-25,600
  • Autofocus system: Intelligent Hybrid AF (TTL contrast AF / TTL phase detection AF) with up to 425 points in a 25×17 grid
  • Viewfinder: Electronic 0.39 inch approx. 2.36 million dots OLED Colour
  • Screen: 3.0-inch 1.62 million dots touchscreen with 100% coverage
  • Key video specifications: DCI 4K (17:9) (4096 x 2160) at 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 200Mbps/100Mbps up to approx. 30min, 4K(16:9) (3840 x 2160) at 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 200Mbps/100Mbps up to approx. 30min, Full HD(17:9) (2048 x 1080) at 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 200Mbps/100Mbps up to approx. 30min.
  • Maximum continuous shooting: Electronic shutter: 20fps for JPEG: 79 frames, Compressed RAW: 20 frames, Lossless compression RAW: 17 frames, Uncompressed RAW: 17 frames, Mechanical shutter: 8fps for JPEG: 105 frames, Compressed RAW: 23 frames, Lossless compression RAW: 18 frames, Uncompressed RAW: 18 frames
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 118.4 x 82.8 x 46.8mm / 4.66 x 3.26 x 1.84-inch
  • Weight: 382g including battery and memory card, 329g body only
Fujifilm X-T30 II review

Features

The Fujifilm X-T30 II only makes one physical upgrade on the X-T30, that’s a switch from a 1.04-million-dot screen on its back to a 1.62-million dot screen.

However, there’s a host of firmware and algorithm improvements that make the newer camera better than the original. The enhanced autofocus algorithms seen on the X-T4, for example, have been rolled out to the X-T30 II to make its intelligent hybrid autofocus system faster and more sensitive in low light. As such, when the Fujifilm XF50mm f1.0 R WR lens mounted, the X-T30 II’s AF system is sensitive down to -7.0EV rather than -3EV with the X-T30. In addition, the Face/Eye detection is said to be more reliable, but it’s still only capable of detecting human faces and eyes.

The X-T30 II also gains the relatively recently introduced Classic Neg and Eterna Bleach Bypass Film Simulation modes, taking its total count to 18. It also has controls to adjust the Clarity, Tone Curve and Monochromatic Color while the Auto White Balance can be set to White Priority and Ambience Priority, and there’s the Color Chrome FX Blue option to enhance blue subjects.

Continuous shooting rate

Like the X-T30, the X-T30 II has a maximum continuous shooting rate of 30fps (frames per second). Achieving this rate requires the electronic shutter to be activated via the menu and there’s a 1.25x crop applied to the image. This means that the image resolution drops to 16Mp.

Alternatively, the X-T30 II can shoot full-resolution images at 20fps for up to 53 Jpegs or 17 raw files when the electronic shutter is in action. Switching to the mechanical shutter gives a maximum shooting rate of 8fps for up to 90 Jpegs or 18 raw files.

Video

When set to record 4K video in either 17:9 or 16:9 aspect ratio, the X-T30 II captures at 6K and then downsamples to 4K (4096 x 2160 or 3840 x 2160 respectively). At this resolution the maximum frame rate is 30p, but dropping to Full-HD resolution enables footage to be recorded at up to 120fps.

When an external recorder is connected to the X-T30 II’s HDMI port, video can be recorded with 4:2:2 10-bit colour, however, when it’s recorded internally to an SD card, the output drops to 4:2:0 8-bit.

There’s also F-Log recording, and the flat Eterna Film Simulation for capturing video that’s suited to grading.

Aside for the additional two Film Simulation modes, the only difference between the X-T30 II and the X-T30 with regard to video is that the newer camera can record 4K video for up to 30minutes at a time whereas the  X-T30 is limited to 20 minutes.

Unlike the X-T4 above it in Fuji’s line-up, but like the X-T3, the X-T30 II doesn’t have image stabilisation built in.

Fujifilm X-T30 II review

Build and handling

Externally, the Fujifilm X-T30 II is identical to the X-T30. Even its name badge is the same and the only way to tell them apart from the outside is to check the model name on the sticker on the battery compartment cover.

This means that the X-T30 II has same mini-DSLR styling and solid feel as the camera it replaces. Also, although it’s not weather-sealed, its top and bottom plates are made from magnesium alloy and the dials are aluminium alloy.

Also, while it’s a small camera, the X-T30 II’s grip is well-shaped so that it feels okay with larger lenses like the Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR. Nevertheless, it feels best when paired with a small zoom or prime lens.

Fujifilm X-T30 II review

Control layout

On the left side of the X-T30 II’s top-plate there’s a dial for setting the drive or shooting mode while on the right there are dials for setting the shutter speed and exposure compensation. There’s also a switch that can come in handy for novice photographers as when it’s set to ‘Auto’ it puts the camera in control of everything.

There are front and rear control dials to speed making setting adjustments, and the camera is compatible with Fujifilm lenses with or without an aperture ring.

When the shutter speed dial and aperture ring are both set to A, the X-T30 II sets the exposure itself and is in Program mode. However, if you set the lens aperture ring to a specific value and leave the shutter speed dial on A, the camera is in aperture priority mode. Conversely, when the aperture ring is on A and a shutter speed value is set via the dial, the X-T30 is in shutter priority mode.

You can also shoot in manual exposure mode by setting specific values on both the shutter speed dial and the aperture ring.

If you need to adjust the exposure compensation in program, aperture priority or shutter priority mode, there’s the dedicated dial at the right end of the top-plate. This has settings running from -3 to +3EV in 1/3EV steps.  However, there’s also a ‘C’ setting that allows the range to reach -5 to +5EV.  When C is selected, the exposure compensation is adjusted using the X-T30 II’s front control dial. This dial also adjusts the aperture value when the lens doesn’t have an aperture ring, but you can switch between adjusting the aperture and the exposure compensation by pressing the dial to toggle between the two parameters.

If you compare the Fujifilm X-T30 II  with the X-T20, you’ll notice that the control arrangement on their backs is quite different. Instead of the navigation pad that’s seen on the X-T20, the X-T30 and X-T30 II have a small joystick that can be used for making menu setting selections and setting the AF point. It’s faster and easier to use than a navigation pad but it means that the shortcuts available via each key are also gone. However, the X-T30 II’s allows gesture control to give quick access to some key features. This take a little getting used to at first, but it works well.

Generally, the X-T30 II’s control arrangement is very good, but as with the X-T30, the Q button, which is used to access the Quick Menu is badly positioned on the top of the thumb rest. Unfortunately, this is prone to being pressed accidentally and the only solution is to use the customisation options to set another button to access the Quick menu.

Fujifilm X-T30 II review

Viewfinder and screen

Like the X-T30, the Fujifilm X-T30 II has a 0.39-inch type OLED viewfinder with 2.36-million dots.

As I mentioned earlier, X-T30 II’s screen is a 1.62-million dot unit, up from 1.04-million-dots on the X-T30. As on its predecessor,  the screen is mounted on a tilting bracket to make it easier to use when the camera is in landscape orientation above or below head-height. It doesn’t help with portrait-orientation shooting though.

Both the screen and the viewfinder show a good level of detail and accurately preview the colour and exposure of the image.

The screen is very responsive to touch but it’s not possible to make main menu setting selections with a tap, that’s limited to the Quick menu.

Fujifilm X-T30 II review

Performance

One of the key improvements that the Fujifilm X-T30 II makes over the X-T30 is that it has a faster, more sensitive autofocus system. This was immediately apparent when I was shooting in a woodland towards the end of an overcast November day in the UK. Despite the low light and contrast, the X-T30 II got my subject in focus quickly and without any fuss.

The X-T30 II’s AF system is also capable of keeping up with fast-moving subjects but it’s best to set an appropriately sized AF area and keep that over the subject rather than use the Tracking feature. Nevertheless, the Tracking AF can come in handy with slower subjects or when you want to move the camera around to shoot different compositions

Fujifilm X-T30 II image quality

Fujifilm has given the X-T30 II a native sensitivity range of ISO 160-12,800 and I’d happily use the entire range if the conditions call for it.

The results at ISO 1600 and below are particularly good with plenty of detail being visible. Stepping up to ISO 3,200 sees some noise become visible in raw files when they’re viewed at 100% on a computer screen and there’s some loss of detail in the simultaneously captured Jpegs. As you’d expect, this becomes more apparent at ISO 3,200 and then again at ISO 6,400 and ISO 12,800, but not to the point that I wouldn’t use those settings. I would, however, shoot raw files and process them to get the extra detail that’s missing from the Jpegs.

Exposure and colour

Unsurprisingly, given its similarity with the X-T30, in its default Multi setting, the Fujifilm X-T30 II’s 256-zone metering system does a good job in a wide range of situations. It doesn’t mean that you never need to use the exposure compensation, but there are very few occasions when you need to use another metering method.  Of course, this also because the viewfinder and screen give an accurate preview of the image, so provided the preview looks as you want, you’re good to go.

The Auto White balance options are also good but in cold, gloomy conditions, I find it better to switch to the Shade setting to give a more attractive result in-camera.

As I mentioned earlier, there are 18 Film Simulation modes to chose from and although the Provia/Standard setting is a good default, there’s always something to suit the scene or your mood.

Dynamic Range

The raw files captured at low ISO settings on the X-T30 II have a good range of tones, but if you decide to underexposure to capture even more highlight detail, you’ll find that the shadows can withstand a significant amount of brightening. In some cases, you can even push the exposure by as much as 5EV in Adobe Camera Raw, but 4EV is probably a safer margin. You’re likely to see an increase in the amount of luminance noise in the brightened areas, but it’s not usually problematic.

Video performance

The Fujifilm X-T30 II is capable of producing very attractive, high-quality video but in the absence of a stabilisation system, you need to take care with how the camera is supported. Ideally, you need a tripod or a gimbal to deliver shake-free results.

Naturally, the improvements made to the focusing system also benefit the video results as the focusing is more assured. There’s also control over the AF speed to you can make transitions quicker or slower as required.

Fujifilm X-T30 II sample images

Follow the link to browse and download full-resolution images from the Fujifilm X-T30 II. Please respect our copyright.

Fujifilm X-T30 II image gallery

Verdict

The Fujifilm X-T30 is a great little camera but the X-T30 II is even better. While the change to the screen is nice, it’s the changes to the autofocus system that I noticed the most and I can’t help wondering why Fujifilm hasn’t rolled them out to the X-T30 with a firmware upgrade.

While the X-T30 II may not offer enough of a step-up from the X-T30 to make it worthwhile upgrading, it’s still an excellent camera and a significant improvement upon on the X-T20.

There’s plenty to like about the X-T30 II. It has a snappy AF system and it produces fabulous images, but the location of the Q button is annoying. Fortunately, it’s something you can get used to and it’s easy to move onto the view that you want if you press it accidentally, but there’s also the option to deactivate the button and give its role to another control.

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