On the way back I usually have a quick look in the window to see if they have anything new and to also have a look at the second hand section. Whilst I was in there I noticed that they had the new Fujifilm X30 in the compact cabinet. It wasn’t long before I had the camera in hand to “play” with.
If you didn’t know the X30 is the 3rd edition of this model in Fujifilm’s line-up and whilst last year’s update was quite minor (X10 to the X20), this year’s model has had quite a bump in features. Just like Canon and Sony this camera has an “X” in the name but at least they have been doing this product when adding an X to the model number was quite a new idea.
Like the Canon Powershot GX7 I had not seen this camera before. My first impressions were very positive; it’s larger than the GX7 and the Sony RX100 models and has a slight handgrip. I have a major problem with anything that is so small it becomes too small. The Canon is too small, the Sony is borderline too small, the Fujifilm is “just right”.
Like the other cameras that are in vogue at the moment this one has a lot of metal and it gives the camera a nice heft and like the size is just the right amount. I wouldn’t like to use the camera for too long without a wrist strap of some kind but that could just me being paranoid about dropping the X30.
The X30 has a mode dial and exposure compensation wheel on the top plate, it has retained the screw-in cable release socket of its forbearers and now has a dedicated microphone/cable-release socket although it is only 2.5mm and not the full 3.5mm socket. Unlike the Sony and the Canon, the power and zoom functions are controlled by the zoom-ring at the front of the camera, you rotate this from the off position to the wide-angle focal length setting to switch the camera on and then rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise to adjust the focal length between 28mm and 112mm, the aperture is unfortunately variable from one end to another but the difference isn’t that great either (f2.0 at 28mm to f2.8 at 112mm).
I’m not sure how, but Fujifilm have managed to cram an integral “pop-up” flash, a full hot-shoe, a mode dial, exposure compensation wheel, shutter release and video record function all on the top-plate whilst also offering an EVF on the rear of the camera. Cram might be too strong a word here as it doesn’t feel cluttered or too close together.
And yes! The X30 now has an EVF instead of the parallax inducing optical viewfinder of the previous X10 and X20 models. This is clearly a superior EVF to the one on the Sony; Fujifilm have managed to fit a large 2360k-dot, 0.39in OLED panel in there whilst the Sony has to make do with a small (too small if you ask me) 1440K dot device..
Where the X30 might lack is in the sensor department; both the Sony and Canon have 20MP 1” sensors whereas the X30 only has a 12MP 2/3” X-Trans CMOS II sensor with no optical low pass filter. In real terms this probably doesn’t make agreat deal of difference but the camera will have less detail in some pictures.
Like the Sony and Canon, the X30 has a tilting 3.0″ LCD screen (920K-dot) and this was nice, clear and lag free. The X30 also has a control ring around the throat of the lens (behind the zoom-ring) and this was just gorgeous, it had click stops but these were artificial and could be switched off if unwanted. This was buttery smooth and is reason enough to choose this over the Canon model – did I say I hated the wheel on the Canon camera? I cannot remember.
The controls on the rear of the camera were logical and if you will feel right at home if you have another Fujifilm camera particularly if it is one of the the X series models. The Q button is one of the best controls as it gives you access to all of the commonly changed controls and it is now customisable too. The final control that was a genius addition is the button on the front of the camera that allows you to quickly adjust the function of the front lens control wheel – it’s not buried in a menu somewhere.
So all in all I really liked this camera and my choice of compact would come down to this model or the Olympus Stylus; I also have a choice of silver or black. I’m afraid that the RX100-mkIII and Canon G7X are simply not on my sort-list. I still need to try out the Panasonic LX100 but this hasn’t shown up yet, my first try of the might be at the LCE Photo and Optics show in 2½ weeks time.
Whilst the Canon G7X tries to compete with the Sony RX100-III and fails, the Fujifilm X30 gives the prospective purchaser/user something slightly different and at a much cheaper price point too.
On the subject of the cost, the Fujifilm X30 is £479, this is in the same range as the Olympus Stylus 1 which costs is between £435 and £450. These prices illustrate that the Sony and to a lesser extent the Canon may be out of touch here. The Canon G7X is £580 whilst the Sony RX100-MkIIl costs £699. The only real advantage that these cameras have is the 20MP 1” sensor; it may be that this is very important requirement in which case you have to pay a bit more otherwise save you money as the real world difference will be negligible in most cases.
Side-note: at the moment the Fujifilm X30 comes with a free leather case from most retailers (i.e. LCE and WEX)
I will leave you with a YouTube video from Digital Rev. Whilst I really like the Fujifilm X30 over the RX100 (and G7X) does Kai agree with me? Watch and find-out: