Fujifilm X30 advanced compact gains an EVF, tilting display

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Stephen Shankland/CNET

Fujifilm's X30 incorporates the same sensor, autofocus system and imaging engine as its predecessor, the X20, so don't expect any image quality or performance improvements. But the company has updated the design in some meaningful ways that still offer the promise of a better photography experience. It launches at the same $600 price (£480/AU$829) as initially borne by the X20, and looks like it offers some nice feature additions for the money in the increasingly crowded field of pricier enthusiast compacts.

What's new

  • Electronic viewfinder. Following the lead of the the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III, the X30 replaces the small optical viewfinder of the X20 with an electronic viewfinder (EVF) -- it's the same size as Sony's, but higher resolution.
  • Better LCD. Upping the size to 3 inches (7.5 cm), increasing the resolution, and adding tiltability brings it into parity with the rest of this year's competitors.
  • Two control rings on the lens. The X30 retains the rotate-the-zoom-ring-to-power-on design which I find grows annoying quickly. But it adds a second control ring that, like the Sony and Canon's options, can be programmed for quick access to and adjustment of frequently used settings.
  • Improved battery life. Cameras in this class have notoriously poor battery life. While Fujifilm has likely tweaked some of the power-draw characteristics of the camera, the company really just replaces the old 1,000mAh NP-50 with the 1,800mAh model. It claims 470-shot life, which in theory should be better than the rest of the crew, but it's not clear if that applies to shooting with the EVF on; OLED displays are quite draining.
  • New color preset. Fujifilm adds a Classic Chrome preset to its stable of Fujifilm film-profile emulating settings. ("Chrome" as in color-reversal film, like slides). According to the company, it renders "muted tones and deep color reproduction," whatever that means.

My take

The X30 seems priced right -- more feature-rich than cheaper cameras, but less so than more expensive competitors. However, since it has many of the same basic components of the X20, I don't think it will improve on some of that camera's weaker areas. At the time it came out, the X20 was on the relatively fast end of the competitive spectrum, but now it's middling. And the photo quality has been eclipsed by cameras with larger sensors. Ultimately, I think it will be better than the X20 -- and that's not stating the obvious, since new models aren't always better than the model they replace -- but its competitive edge will rely on the ways the design tweaks change the experience of using it.

Comparative specs

Canon PowerShot G1 X Fujifilm X20 Fujifilm X30 Olympus Stylus 1 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II
Sensor effective resolution 14.3MP HS CMOS 12MP X-Trans CMOS II 12MP X-Trans CMOS II 12MP BSI CMOS 20.2MP Exmor R CMOS
Sensor size 1.5-inch
(18.7 x 14mm)
2/3-inch
(8.8 x 6.6 mm)
2/3-inch
(8.8 x 6.6 mm)
1/1.7-inch
(7.6 x 5.7 mm)
1-inch
(13.2 x 8.8mm)
OLPF Yes No No Yes Yes
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 12800 ISO 100 - ISO 12800 ISO 100 - ISO 12800 ISO 100 - ISO 12800 ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 160 - ISO 12800
Lens
(35mm equivalent)
28 - 112mm
f2.8-5.8
4x
28 - 112mm
f2-2.8
4x
28 - 112mm
f2-2.8
4x
28 - 300mm
f2.8
10.7x
28 - 100mm
f1.8-4.9
3.6x
Closest focus 7.9 in/20 cm 3.9 in/10 cm 3.9 in/10 cm 3.9 in/10cm 1.9 in/5 cm
Burst shooting 4.5fps
6 JPEG
12fps
11 JPEG/n/a raw
12fps
11 JPEG/n/a raw
7fps
70 JPEG/25 raw
2.5fps
(10fps with fixed exposure)
12 JPEG/13 raw
Viewfinder
(mag/ effective mag)
Optical
Reverse Galilean
Optical
Reverse Galilean
OLED EVF
0.4-inch/10.2mm
2.36m dots
100 percent coverage
EVF
n/a
1.44m dots
100% coverage
Optional
OLED EVF
Tilting
0.5-inch/12.7mm
2.36m dots
100 percent coverage
($350/£380/AU$500)
Hot shoe Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Autofocus 9-area
Contrast AF
Hybrid AF Hybrid AF 35-area
Contrast AF
25-area
Contrast AF
AF sensitivity n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Shutter speed 60 - 1/4,000 sec 30 - 1/4000 sec 30 - 1/4000 sec 60 - 1/2000 sec; bulb to 15 minutes 30 - 1/2,000 sec; bulb
Metering n/a 256 zones 256 zones n/a n/a
Metering sensitivity n/a n/a n/a 0 - 20 EV n/a
Best video H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/24p
H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/60p H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/60p H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p AVCHD
1080/60p, 50p, 25p,
24p
Audio Stereo Stereo, mic input Stereo, mic input Stereo Stereo
Manual aperture and shutter in video No No No No Yes
Maximum best-quality recording time n/a n/a n/a 29 minutes 29 minutes
Optical zoom while recording Yes Yes Yes n/a Yes
IS Optical Optical Optical Optical Optical
LCD 3 in/7.5cm
Articulated
922,000 dots
2.8 in/7.1 cm
Fixed
460,000 dots
3 in/7.5cm
Tilting
920,000 dots
3 in/7.5 cm
Tilting touch screen
1.04m dots
3 in/7.5cm
Tilting
921,600 dots
(plus another set of white dots for brightness)
Memory slots 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC
Wireless connection None None None Wi-Fi Wi-Fi, NFC
Flash Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wireless flash No Yes Yes Yes No
Battery life (CIPA rating) 250 shots 270 shots 470 shots 410 shots 350 shots
Size (WHD) 4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6 inches
116.7 x 80.5 x 64.7mm
4.6 x 2.7 x 2.2 in
117.0 x 69.6 x 56.8 mm
4.7 x 2.8 x 2.4 in
118.7 x 71.6 x 60.3 mm
4.5 x 3.4 x 2.2 in
116.2 x 87 x 56.5 mm
4.0 x 2.3 x 1.5 inches
101.6 x 58.1 x 38.3 mm
Body operating weight 18.8 oz
533.0 g
12.8 oz
362.9 g
14.9 oz (est)
423 g (est)
14.2 oz
402.6
9.9 oz
280.7 g
Mfr. price $650
£400
n/a
$500 (est)
£500
AU$750
$600
£480
AU$829
$650
£550
AU$800
$650
£550
AU$900
Release date (US) February 2012 March 2013 September 2014 October 2013 July 2013

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Optical Zoom 4 x
  • Optical Sensor Type X-Trans CMOS II
  • Sensor Resolution 12.0 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical
  • Optical Sensor Size 2/3"