Fujifilm X-T30 II review: Minor upgrade, still a mighty camera

Fujifilm X-T30 II review: Minor upgrade, still a mighty camera

(Pocket-lint) – The second-generation Fujifilm X-T30 isn’t an upgrade camera. Indeed, its differences compared to the original are so minor that you’d struggle to notice.

But that’s kind of besides the point: the X-T30 II is here for new buyers and, given its sensible price point, although its a minor move forward for the series, it’s still a mighty camera.

Our quick take

Some people will see the X-T30 II as a head-scratcher of a release from Fujifilm, for the simple fact it’s almost identical to its predecessor. While that’s true, this isn’t a camera for upgraders, it’s for new buyers.

On that basis the X-T30 II will appeal as it manages to arrive at a lower asking price than the original model, despite its screen improvement, which makes it a mighty mid-level interchangeable camera offering.

Sure, there’s plenty of competition in the market now, but few can deliver this kind of styling and successfully integrated control. It might be a minor update, but the Fujifilm X-T30 II still shows its worth.

Fujifilm X-T30 II review: Minor upgrade, still a mighty camera

Fujifilm X-T30 II

For

  • Great styling and controls
  • Adept image sensor
  • Sensible price point
  • Capable autofocus
Against

  • Barely different to original model
  • Q button poorly placed
  • Not weather-sealed

What’s new for Mark II?

  • Higher-resolution LCD screen
  • Improved low-light autofocus (to -7EV)

Like we said: you’ll barely spot the differences. Even the logos are one and the same – the “II” part only appears on the base of the camera, on its battery and card door. It’s as if it’s a secret.

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Fujifilm X-T30 II review photo 4

The key change is the X-T30 II’s rear LCD panel is a higher resolution (1.62 million dots, up from 1.02 million). There have also been autofocus tweaks, but as the overarching system is identical in both cameras – i.e. same number of focus points – you’ll struggle to spot that. Really, this could have been achieved by firmware rather than being a sell of the new model.

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Autofocus is more responsive in low-light, but Fuji is being a bit cheeky here – as the -7EV is quoted with the 50mm f/1.0 lens (which is about double the price of the camera body).

X-T30 II: Screen and viewfinder

  • Built-in 0.39in, 0.62x mag, 2.36m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, 100fps refresh
  • 3-inch dual-axis tiltable LCD screen, 1.62m-dot resolution

That new screen is well-appointed, with its dual-axis bracket being handy, although we’d much prefer a proper side-bracketed vari-angle design for greater versatility – especially as you could then stow it face inward to avoid any accidental damage.

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Fujifilm X-T30 II review photo 9

The viewfinder, meanwhile, is the same 2.36m-dot one as before, offering decent quality thanks to its 100fps refresh rate and 800nits brightness. The numbers aren’t what’s really important here though: it’s how it acts when against your eye in delivering sharp, clean and smooth images. There are physically bigger finders out there, but for this price point this is still a great solution.

How does the X-T30 II perform?

  • Up to 425 point autofocus system (117 points also selectable)
  • 2.16m on-sensor phase-detection autofocus pixels
  • 8fps burst shooting (30fps with electronic shutter)
  • Autofocus to -7EV low-light conditions – but only with f/1.0 lens

We reviewed the camera with a 16-55mm f/2.8 lens, which is a great chunk of glass, but it’s actually a little too large for this particular camera body. We often found the balance to feel off as a result, and would often tap the angle-positioned ‘Q’ button and raise the menu overlay by accident. Not that this stops you from shooting, it’s just not a well-positioned button is all.

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Fujifilm X-T30 II review photo 7

Otherwise the design makes for a decent experience, thanks to that rear joystick controller, which makes light work of autofocus adjustment. That said, it can be a little fiddly at times, because it acts as a depressible button, sometimes pressing it down will result in some unwanted AF point movement. Not that you have to use the joystick for autofocus adjustment, as the X-T30 II’s screen offers touch control too.

One of the X-T30 II’s biggest selling points is that it acts much like Fujifilm’s pricier cameras. That means millions of on-sensor phase-detection pixels used for autofocus, covering the sensor from edge to edge, giving great autofocus right across the full range.

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Fujifilm X-T30 II review photo 3

As we said of the earlier X-T3, however, it’s not foolproof. When shooting in dimmer conditions rying getting a lock onto a subject can cause some focus hunting… perhaps we should’ve nabbed a 50mm f/1.0 lens instead, eh?

The autofocus system also includes eye-detection and tracking, which is very useful when shooting people. However, switch this off if you’re not interested, otherwise the camera will prioritise faces within scenes – something we found to our detriment when shooting at Mobile World Congress 2022, where the camera was our daily workhorse for that show.

A variety of scenario-based autofocus options exist within the settings so you can let the camera know the subject’s behaviour. That might be a subject running towards camera, one suddenly appearing in the frame, one with erratic motion, or other custom option. It works really well.

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Fujifilm X-T30 II review photo 12

The X-T30 is capable of 30fps shooting with the electronic shutter and up to 8fps with its mechanical shutter, which is pretty good going, but the buffer capacity is around half that of the higher-spec X-T3 so you won’t be able to whirr off quite as many shots in one. The Mark II model didn’t improve upon this either.

What’s the X-T30 II’s image quality like?

  • 26.1-megapixel X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor with X-Processor 4
  • ISO 160 to 12,800 (80 to 51,200 extended)
  • 4K 30fps video capture

In terms of image quality, you’ve probably already guessed it: the X-T30 II is identical to the X-T30. Which is to say it’s largely successful, just make sure you’ve got the right lenses in your arsenal to achieve what you want.

It’s in good lighting conditions where results really shine. The ISO 160 baseline sensitivity still isn’t as low as we’d like, but there’s an extended ISO 80 option to help keep that aperture wide open as needed when the sun is out.

Dimmer conditions are well handled too, thanks to the X-Trans CMOS sensor’s construction, with four-figure ISO sensitivities delivering plenty of detail. Just don’t overdo it: there’s an extended ISO 51,200 option that’s not especially useful as you’ll get lots of image noise.

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Fujifilm X-T30 II review sample images photo 2

We’ve often praised Fujifilm for its image quality prowess, and while the X-T30 II doesn’t amp things up beyond the company’s already well-established roots, it’s certainly on point. Pop the right wide-aperture lens on the front and you won’t mind one jot. Especially from something so small, light, well designed and great-looking as this.

To recap

Some people will see this Mark II as a head-scratcher release from Fujifilm, for the simple fact it’s almost identical to its predecessor. While that’s true, this isn’t a camera for upgraders, it’s for new buyers – and in that regard its lower price point will only further appeal.

Writing by Mike Lowe.