Digital Camera - 12 Megapixel Megapizel - 3 in inch Screen
1 reviews from the community
Review of "Fujifilm X30"
So long and thanks for all the fish.
It’s unusual to be writing about something that, technically speaking, is obsolete or at least has ceased production. It’s also nice to be writing about something that is actually in Ciao’s portfolio, and even better, hasn’t yet been written about! I was beginning to wonder if they were blocking all my product suggestions.At the time of writing, the Fujifilm X30 had only just been declared an ‘old model’, and in fact there were many retailers still trying to shift the X30 at an outrageous £575 which if I recall correctly is more than the launch price!
Not wishing to be totally taken for a ride, I opted for a one-year-old one from an e-bay private seller for a much more palatable £275.WHY BOTHER AT ALL IF IT’S OBSOLETE?
Well, for one thing, there does not appear to be a Fujifilm X40 anywhere on the horizon, so, if like me, you absolutely love the retro-look, feel and performance of Fuji’s offerings, (and you’ve just about had your money’s-worth from the original X10), the X30 seems a logical and worthwhile ‘upgrade’.Yes, there was an X20 in the interim years, but apart from what purported to be an ‘improved sensor’ compared to the X10, plus an electronic information overlay in the optical viewfinder, there seemed little to tempt an X10 owner away, and to be honest, if I’d started out with an X20, I wouldn’t now be buying and writing about an X30 as none of the upgrades between sequential models have been complete sea-changes.
However, four years down the line from the X10, the X30 does nothing to tarnish Fuji’s reputation for old-fashioned build-quality whilst committing more whole-heartedly to an all-electronic approach.OUT
…….goes the X10/X20 optical viewfinder, which whilst battery-saving, had its limitations.Just as before with 35 mm pocket cameras, the unacceptable face of ‘parallax error’ reared its ugly head. Caused by the fact that the optical viewfinder is slightly to the left and slightly above the actual lens, nearer objects don’t quite appear to be in the same place as they would eventually be in the taken picture. (Close one eye and then the other alternately, and notice how nearby objects move from side to side).
Likewise, at its wide-angle setting, you could actually SEE part of the lens barrel in the bottom right of the view, although of course, this didn’t affect the photos. This was made even worse if you attached a lens hood, leaving you guessing what was in the bottom right of the photo-to-be.
IN……comes a combination of the ubiquitous rear screen to be found on 100% of digital cameras, only this time twinned with an eye-level electronic viewfinder (EVF).
Why bother with the latter?
Well, consider how many times you’ve probably squinted with the sun streaming across your screen, wishing you could shield it. The EVF, which incidental is a beauty, leaving you wondering if it isn’t ‘real life’ instead, gives you exactly the same view and with the same information overlays as the rear screen only you can still see it perfectly even with the sun right over your shoulder. It’s got dioptre adjustment and a rubber frame to suit glasses wearers.
UP PERISCOPE!Another feature new to the X30 is the ability to tilt the 3-inch rear screen both up or down, giving you the opportunity to lift the camera high and still see what you’re aiming at over a crowd, or conversely to get a low level shot without getting your knees muddy! Unfortunately, this only applies to ‘landscape’ shots, there being no mechanism for tilting it sideways.
ENGINEERED OUTOne thing I’ve learned from owning a stream of small pocket digital cameras, Canon “Ixus” et al, is that the tiny motor that extends and retracts the lens on boot-up/switch-off is usually the first thing to fail, leaving you with an uneconomic repair (or ‘junk’ to give it its proper name).
The Fuji X30 isn’t switched on like that. You twist the lens outwards into its working state, and further twist it to its desired zoom position, the latter being not just battery-saving but agreeably fast and unlike the zooms fitted to most small cameras which use a motor controlled by a rocker switch, it is silent when shooting movie.ENGINEERED IN
“Why can’t a camera be charged like a mobile phone?” I’ve often asked apparently when no-one was listening.Now I have my prayers answered. The X30 comes with what appears to be more of a USB phone charger with no provision for charging the battery out of the camera. Indeed, any USB source with a micro-USB plug on the other end is fair game when it comes to charging this camera. In the car, from your PC, it’s all the same to the X30 – only the time taken to achieve full charge varies. This also means that if you like protecting your camera in an ‘every ready case’ (aka ‘forever in the way’), you don’t have to continually remove it to get at the battery.
You CAN get an after-market charger for the Fuji NP-95 1700mAh Lithium-Ion battery, which is good to know if you also like to have a spare battery in the hole. I can’t quantify it, but this battery feels like it would last a whole week on holiday.(UPDATE: It does if my recent holiday in Moscow and St Petersburg is anything to go by)
Since I bought the older X10, the X range has “gone wi-fi”. You can now transfer your latest pictures to your PC for back-up and further alteration, to your phone/tablet for rapid transfer to social media.You can also control your X30 from the phone app, here being used as a remote viewfinder, complete with shutter release. There’s also a USB connection via the charging socket.
If you’re feeling really nerdy, you can set up the link to your smart-phone’s GPS function to give ‘geotagging’ information to your pictures as a reminder of where the hell you were last week!BEAUTY ONLY SKIN-DEEP?
True the camera is entirely dependent on electronics, just like almost anything else these days, but the overall feel with its real magnesium alloy bodywork and solid dials harks back to a day when things weren’t so disposable. The very presence of dials does in fact mean that there’s less trudging through sub-menu after sub-menu to find the feature you want and it’s a good way of combining old-fashioned looks with the shed load of features you come to expect from 500-quid’s-worth of camera. A good example of this in practice is that you can switch the master dial straight to its ‘panorama’ click-stop and ‘pan’ away!Luckily you can also set the “SR+” option, a sort of “auto on steroids” to get a camera that will spot faces, and make all kinds of decisions for you whilst you get the hang of it.
There are also settings for “shutter-priority” - you set the speed, the camera manipulates the aperture, “aperture priority” where the reverse is true, “fully manual” where you’re on your own, two “custom modes”, the default settings of which are suited to landscapes and portraits (but you’re free to change them) and “filter”- shooting red buses in a black and white photo, or using deliberately garish colours for a poster effect - that kind of thing.The other top-plate dial is one that allows for exposure compensation, ranging from three ‘stops’ under to three over the normal exposure – good if your attempts to capture a particular light effect just don’t seem to work on ‘auto’ – sunsets, The Aurora Borealis, that kind of thing. This is the kind of experimentation that would have cost you a fortune in film days.
Another good way of giving yourself an insurance policy is to use one of the three ‘bracketing modes’, my favoured one being ‘ISO bracketing’ as this only takes one shot, and then emulates under and over exposure by raising and lowering the ISO rating as an extra pair of ‘what ifs’, creating three jpegs as it goes. The camera can also shoot a ‘RAW’ mode which is rare at this size, allowing it to utilise its full uncompressed 12 mbyte picture quality – expect bigger files, and expect only Photoshop to know what to do with them!Speaking of film, and since Fuji are effectively the ‘last man standing’ when it comes to 35mm colour film, the camera can be set to emulate several Fuji film types, ‘Velvia’ being my favourite for its rich colour rendition.
The metal construction gives the camera a respectable heft which bodes well for holding it steady.Being slightly larger than the X10 takes this further out of the “pocket” league unless it’s a “poacher’s pocket” in your Barbour! That’s not to say it’s large – compared to the average DSLR, it’s tiny but forget about putting it in a breast pocket, that’s all I’m saying.
If I were to try to buttonhole it, I’d say it was a “travel camera” for the more serious photographer whoa) can afford a second camera,
b) hates to carry a full DSLR kit onto a plane and
c) gets neck-ache easily!
Alternatively, it could be just the thing for someone who’s discovered that their phone pictures aren’t half bad and want to delve into this ‘photography lark’ a bit deeper without fully committing to a gadget bag and a raft of lenses.SHAKING A STICK AT ITS FEATURES
I never did fully understand that phrase. To be honest, it’s got as many features as my Nikon DSLR kit in a much smaller package. The downside is that it ‘only’ has a 12 mega-pixel sensor, which of itself is not a limiting factor, but its 2/3rds inch size could be*.To put this in perspective, this is one quarter the size of a ‘full-frame’ sensor i.e. one with the same size as an old 35 mm negative, but a huge leg up from the size used in a slim smart phone - and you know how good their pictures can be these days.
(*Fuji do something clever involving not needing an ‘anti-aliasing’ filter to damp down moiré patterns on their sensor, so with an extra sheet of glass dispensed with expect results that punch above their weight on a like-for-like basis).In real life this manifests itself as brilliant daylight prints up to A4 size, which is where most people’s home printing “maxes-out” anyway. I also view them on a 55” UHD TV and they’re none too shabby there either!
Low light shots are slightly less impressive and it’s at this point that you realise that the pixels aren’t as big or as sensitive as those on some of the newer or larger opposition.Fuji innovate yet again by allowing several shots in rapid succession to be made, and to have one composite shot saved from the best exposed and the sharpest.
Don’t expect the tiny pop-up flash to light a concert hall. This does not pop-up of its own accord unlike some cameras but I prefer it that way – if I think a shot is going to need a long shutter speed, I find somewhere to rest my elbows instead!There’s also a full-sized ‘hot shoe’ for one of Fuji’s more serious lighting options but don’t expect that to be a cheap option!
LIFE THRU’ A LENSThe actual optics are excellent. Fuji haven’t gone out of their way to outdo any pocket cameras with their “30x zooms”.
For one thing, these are frequently and at least partially artificial “electronic zooms” (like in a smart phone) once pushed beyond the realistic limits of what can be expected from the actual glass lens.No, this camera carries a more modest 7.1mm to 28.4mm (4x) zoom. In 35mm equivalent parlance, that’s about the same as a typical “short zoom” of 28mm to 112mm, i.e. it’s most useful for getting your shot framed as you want it but don’t expect the telephoto end to look very foreshortened.
You can opt for “intelligent zoom” which will double this electronically, but this is really only a “blow up” of the middle of the frame with some very slight degradation of picture quality and nothing you couldn’t do once the files are safely loaded over to your PC. Personally, it’s not a feature I ever found time for on the older X10 either.If I want to go to an air show and get pictures of distant objects looping the loop, I’ll use a different camera (and lens!)
The icing on the cake of this little cracker of a lens is its maximum aperture of a fairly generous f2.0 - rare in a zoom and probably the largest aperture zoom I’ve owned.
CONCLUSIONIt’s a little beast of a camera with features that belie its size. I could easily see how it could be your main or possibly only camera. I’ll be honest, I’ve got two others on the ‘horses for courses’ basis.
It’s my ‘go to’ camera if I should suddenly get a photo opportunity if only for the simple reason that it’ll probably still have plenty of charge in the battery and anyway, I can always top it up in the car on the way to wherever. I’d also favour it, as I did with my X10 when touring China last year, living out of a suitcase for three weeks.Yes, my Fuji X-E2 and Nikon D7000 both have a more versatile set of lenses but ‘set’ is the operative word, i.e. bulk.
Size-wise, it’s about the same proportions as a 35mm compact of yore (Olympus Trip 35, Canon Canonet etc), and I suspect that the similarity is deliberate.I’ve even had people ask me whether it was wise to buy a film camera this late in the day. They seem quite surprised to see the screen on the back!
Product Information : Fujifilm X30
Manufacturer's product descriptionDigital Camera - 12 Megapixel Megapizel - 3 in inch Screen
Optical Sensor / Sensor Resolution: 12 Megapixel
Lens System / Optical Zoom: 4x
Video Input / Digital Video Format: AVI
Long Name: X30
Product type: Digital Camera
LCD Display Size: 3 in
Listed on Ciao since: 07/11/2014