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Fujifilm X-T30 II review

The Fujifilm X-T30 II is a pretty minor update, but it’s such a good camera we’re just glad it’s still going

Fujifilm X-T30 II review
(Image: © Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

It’s great to see the Fujifilm X-T30 II continue, even if it is just a tiny refresh. Fujifilm’s pint-sized retro camera doesn’t just look cool but works well too, with old-school shutter speed and aperture dials (many but not all lenses) replacing a regular mode dial. The lack of in-body stabilization is a shame, however, and the positioning of the Q button on the thumb grip is maddening! The images, however, are terrific.

Pros

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    Classic exposure controls

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    Compact size

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    Excellent image quality

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    Value for money

Cons

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    Q button placement

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    No in-body stabilization

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    Best with smaller lenses

The Fujifilm X-T30 II is a modest refresh of the original X-T30 (opens in new tab), launched back in February 2019. It’s a very compact APS-C mirrorless camera, with classic external controls and a distinct retro look. 

Previously, the X-T30 was one of Fujifilm’s mid-high end cameras, but now that the entry level X-A7 (opens in new tab) and X-T200 (opens in new tab) appear to have been dropped, the X-T30, and now the X-T30 II, are Fujifilm’s new entry-level option, along with the rangefinder style Fujifilm X-E4 (opens in new tab) and the more mainstream X-S10 (opens in new tab), which we think is one of the best mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab) around right now.

The X-T30 II has Fujifilm’s latest and best 26.1-megapixel sensor, 4K video and 8fps continuous shooting. Technically, it has a lot in common with the similar priced X-S10, while Fujifilm’s flagship X-T4 (opens in new tab) is a whole step above, with better 4K video, faster burst shooting and in-body stabilization.

Still, despite its small size, the X-T30 II is a powerful mid-range device that would suit any enthusiast looking for a compact and lightweight camera. 

Specifications

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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Sensor: 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4
Image processor: X-Processor 4
AF points: 2.16 million phase AF pixels, 100% coverage
ISO range: 160 to 12,800 (exp. 80-51,200)
Max image size: 6,240 x 4,160
Metering modes: TTL 256-zone metering, Multi / Spot / Average / Center Weighted
Video: 4K DCI/UHD at 30p, 25p, 24p
Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m dots, 100% coverage
Memory cards: SD/SDHC/SDXC, UHS-I
LCD: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1.62m dots
Max burst: 8fps mechanical shutter, up to 30fps with electronic shutter and 1.25x crop
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Size: 118.4 x 82.8 x 46.8mm
Weight: 378g (with card and battery)

Key features

The X-T30 II will be sold body only but also with the XF18-55mm F2.8-4 kit lens (or the cheaper XC15-45mm F3.5-5.6). (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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This is a small but powerful camera. Inside is a 26-megapixel Fujifilm X-Trans sensor that has a small but useful advantage over its 20-24 megapixel rivals – though the Canon EOS M6 II still beats them all with 32.5MP.

There’s no in-body stabilization, which is a shame, given that the Fujifilm X-S10 does have this. Also, the rear screen only has a tilting action, where the X-S10 has a full vari-angle mechanism.

The rear touchscreen is new, with a higher resolution than the original X-T30. It tilts up and down but there's no vari-angle pivot. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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The X-T30 II also boasts a sophisticated phase-detect autofocus system covering the full frame, with the ability specify focus zones and single points. Its continuous shooting speed is good for a camera in this class at 8fps, though if you switch to the electronic shutter, it’s capable of 30fps, though with a slight 1.25x crop.

The X-T30 II can capture uncropped 4K video. The maximum frame rate for 4K is 30p, but if you switch to full HD capture it can shoot at up to 240p for a 6x slow motion effect (if played back at 30fps). It does not offer 10-bit capture, Log modes or all-intra compression, though, and the lack of in-body stabilisation makes hand-held filming a lot less steady. It’s a perfectly good ‘casual’ video or vlogging camera, but you probably wouldn’t use it for serious filmmaking.

Build and handling

The traditional exposure controls are one of the X-T30's key features. There's no mode dial – instead, there's a shutter speed dial on the top of the camera. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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The lens aperture is controlled by a ring on the lens. The 18-55mm kit lens does not have a marked aperture ring, but many Fujinon XF lenses do. (You can also control the aperture from the camera body in the normal way.) (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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The key feature of the X-T30 II, apart from its size, is its exposure controls. On the top of the camera is a shutter speed dial, while around many Fujinon lenses is an aperture ring. Both have ‘A’ settings, so by combining manual adjustments and these ‘A’ settings on either, you get a full set of PASM exposure modes, and the camera doesn’t need a mode dial.

Not all Fujinon lenses, especially the cheaper zooms, have aperture rings. Here, you control the aperture with an unmarked ring on the lens or via the camera controls. It doesn’t quite have the same appeal but it works perfectly well.

The Q button on the rear thumbgrip calls up the Quick setting. screen, but it's way too easy to press accidentally. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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We loved the original Fujifilm X-T30 but commented on its size and, especially, the placement of the Q button on the back of the thumb grip. This proved equally frustrating with the X-T30 II, and the chance to try the camera all over again proved that it wasn’t something we would just get used to. If you like to carry a camera around gripped in your right hand, you’ll be forever calling up the Q menu screen by accident. 

We also disabled the touchscreen. The size of this camera means its quite difficult to handle it without touching the screen, and we got fed up of playing ‘find the focus’ point every time we went to take a shot – or worse, assuming it’s in the center where you left it, whereas it’s actually in the bottom left corner.

You can see how compact the X-T30 II is from this top angle. The 18-55mm F2.8-4 kit lens is itself very compact. The X-T30 II does feel a bit too small if you fit lenses much larger than this. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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Those complaints aside, the X-T30 II feels a very well made camera, and the external exposure controls are refreshing after the dial/button/digital interfaces of most cameras.

The X-T30 II handles best with Fujifilm’s smaller lenses. The XF18-55mm F2.8-4 is a pretty good match, but the XC15-45mm F3.5-5.6 even better. It handles especially well with Fujifilm’s neat little F2 primes.

Performance

The X-T30 II's metering system rarely needs any correction, and its dynamic range is very good – especially if you engage the expanded dynamic range option. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)
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You don't need a full frame sensor to get background blur. You just need fast lens and a short distance to your subject. This was shot with the new Fujinon XF33mm F1.4. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)
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The lack of in-body stabilization is an issue in low light, especially with lenses that don't have their own. Fortunately, the image quality is pretty fair even at ISO 12,800. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)
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Real world tests and our lab results tell the same story. The X-T30 II’s X-Trans sensor is probably the best APS-C sensor on the market right now for its all-round blend of resolution, noise control and dynamic range.

The JPEGs straight from the camera are very good, and the X-T30 II adds a further two Film Simulation modes – Classic Neg and Eternal Bleach Bypass. In fairness, if you shoot RAW and use software like Lightroom or Capture One, you’ll be able to select from an even wider and better range of looks, but Fujifilm’s Film Simulations are great for JPEG fans (and you can auto-bracket them if you want to decide on a look later).

The Velvia Film simulation is perhaps too strong for routine use, but there's also a Color Chrome mode for intensifying strong colors while maintaining their subtle textures. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)
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The ACROS Film Simulation delivers stronger black and white images than the regular Monochrome mode, but like any black and white shot they're likely to need some digital darkroom work to bring them to life. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)
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The ETERNA bleach bypass mode gives a strong, desaturated effect – though raw shooters are likely to find an even wider range of looks among their software's own presets. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)
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The X-T30 II, like other Fujifilm cameras, has an interesting High Dynamic  Range mode which adjusts the exposure and the tone curve to capture a much wider brightness range both in JPEGs and RAW files – and it’s very effective.

The autofocus system is similarly effective, though the touch-focus and touch-shutter options are a blessing and a curse at the same time – they are a quick and effective way to focus and fire for those used to smartphones, but they’re also too easy to activate accidentally while you’re holding and operating the camera.

The continuous AF and AF tracking are capable of keeping up with moving subjects perfectly well, but the size and shape of the X-T30 II mean it’s not really suited to big lenses and sports/wildlife photography.

Lab results

We compared the lab results from the X-T30 II with those of three close rivals: the retro-styled Nikon Z fc, the compact Sony A6400 stills/vlogging camera and the beginner-orientated Canon EOS M50 II.

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Resolution

We test resolution using standardized ISO resolution charts across a range of ISO settings, and quote the results as line widths/picture height, a widely recognised method of measurement that’s independent of sensor size.

Here, the X-T30 II is closely matched by the Sony and the Canon right up to ISO 3200, where it takes a slight lead. All three deliver very good resolution for APS-C cameras. The Nikon Z fc lags a little way behind – it has a lower resolution 20MP sensor.

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Signal to noise ratio

This is tested using DxO Analyzer hardware and software, and measures the ratio of actual image data (the signal) against random background interference (noise). The higher the signal to noise ratio, the better.

The X-T30 II has a narrow advantage at higher ISO settings, but all four cameras are pretty close. The Sony A6400 is the weakest, especially a higher ISOs – the camera is relatively new, but this sensor design has been around for a while now.

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)
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Dynamic range

We test this using DxO Analyzer hardware and analysis software. It measures the maximum brightness range the camera can record, expressed in EV values (stops). The higher the value the better.

The X-T30 II and Nikon Z fc lead the field here, with the Canon and the Sony trailing somewhat. The Canon is better than the Sony at low ISOs, but worse from ISO 3200 and above.

Verdict

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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When the original X-T30 came out in 2019, it was like a ‘baby’ version of Fujifilm’s flagship camera at that time, the X-T3, and they were actually quite close in their capabilities.

Since then, the X-T4 has replaced the X-T3, with better video, in-body stabilization and a vari-angle screen – it’s now a much more powerful camera. The X-S10 has also come along, with IBIS and a vari-angle screen, and while it lacks the X-T30 II’s retro controls, it’s undeniably a better camera. Lastly, the X-E4 has arrived to offer the same retro controls as the X-T30 II but in an even smaller body.

The original X-T30 was a great little camera in its day, but while the X-T30 II has all the same appeal, it’s been left in the shade by newer X-series cameras – and that dratted Q button placement is still SO annoying!

Read more:

Best Fujifilm cameras (opens in new tab)
Best mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab)
Best cameras for enthusiasts (opens in new tab)
Best travel cameras (opens in new tab)
Best retro cameras (opens in new tab)

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Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.