The Fujifilm X30 is the successor to the much-loved X20 prosumer compact camera. While the X30 retains the retro rangefinder-like design, it has several upgrades.
The optical viewfinder found in the X20 has been replaced with an electronic viewfinder (EVF), which Fujifilm claims is the largest and fastest in its class.
Instead of the X20's fixed display, the X30's can be tilted down by 45 degrees and up by 90 degrees.
The X30 has a control ring around its lens to so it is easy to change settings. In Manual mode, you can, for example, use it to change the aperture while using the rear dial to change the shutter speed. The ring can also be used to focus manually.
Like the X20, the X30, with its magnesium alloy chassis, is rock solid. But, for a more secure hold, it has a more pronounced grip with a substantial rear thumb rest.
A dedicated video-recording button is sited near the shutter release button, close to the Mode dial. Overall, handling for this camera is great.
But if this is the first time you are handling a Fujifilm X-series compact camera, you need to remember that turning the zoom ring to the 28mm marking powers up the camera.
To shut it down, turn the zoom ring the other way. This mechanical zoom lets you turn the lens just like a DSLR lens.
The X30 is very fast. It powers up in 0.9sec and shuts down in 1.1sec. Autofocusing (AF) is responsive as well. It locks on to a focus immediately in bright sunlight. But in dim lighting conditions, it may sometimes fail to register a focus. Yet, at times, it can focus on an object in under 2sec.
Using an SD card with a writing speed rated at 25MB per second, the X30 could capture eight RAW images in 0.8sec before the buffer ran out.
To me, the X30's only downer is its 2/3-inch image sensor, which is smaller than those found in its direct competitors.
Sony's RX100 series, for instance, uses a 1-inch image sensor while the Panasonic LX100 uses an even bigger Micro Four Thirds sensor.
But in image quality terms, the X30 fares quite well with masterful control of colours and pixel rendition.
Images are sharp at lower sensitivity settings of ISO 200 and 400. At ISO 800, however, pictures are not as crisp even though the detail-level still holds.
I would not recommend using ISO 3,200 or above, as there will be clear noise artefacts and detail loss. A bigger image sensor might have prevented this from happening.
The full high-definition videos shot are crisp, but they tend to have too much ambient audio, especially the zooming sound of the lens.
On the bright side, it is able to lock on to a focus when you pan to a new scene. That is, provided you turn on continuous AF.
Battery life is vastly improved. While X20 could muster only around 270 still images, the X30 can shoot up to 470 stills on a full charge.
With its good looks, solid build and great handling, the Fujifilm X30 remains a great value-for-money prosumer compact camera. But in terms of image quality, it lags behind some of its competitors.
Image sensor: 12-megapixel 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II
Display: Tiltable 3-inch LCD with 920,000 dots; electronic viewfinder with 2,360,000 dots
Lens: 28-112mm f/2.0-f/2.8
Weight: 423g (with battery and memory card)
Value for money: 4/5
Battery life: 4/5
This article was first published on Dec 31, 2014. Get a copy of Digital Life, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.