Fujifilm X30 Hands-On Field Test

  By Jordan Drake


One frequent complaint we see on our YouTube channel is that our grey, snowy Canadian weather is often “sterile”, “barren” and “depressing”. We try to keep our locations diverse and interesting, but sometimes Canadian weather wins, and Chris and I suffer. This shoot happened to be scheduled for the first day of snow this summer. That’s a weird sentence.

With a huge pile of new camera announcements coming at Photokina, we wanted to get on the cameras announced early, the first being the Fujifilm X30. Chris was a big fan of the X20 and we like what Fuji has been doing recently, so we made this our first video after our summer break.

I was excited for this shoot as it would be the first time I could use the amazing new DJI Ronin gimbal. I usually avoid shooting walk-and-talk sequences since I don’t usually have the time to balance a steadicam and I hate the bouncy look of hand held footage during long takes. The Ronin takes next to no time to balance and the footage is wonderfully smooth. I’m still working on finding the settings and techniques that produce the best results, so you can expect to see a lot of smooth tracking video in our future episodes.

To accommodate using the Ronin I scaled back my kit to just a Sony A7S, and a Canon 24-70 F4 IS on a Metabones adaptor. Audio was recorded on the good ol’ Sony UWP-130 wireless system encased a Rode Invisilav. For the more static shots I supported the camera on a Manfrotto MVM500 Video Monopod. Music was provided by the talented artists at BeatSuite.com.

I was a big fan of the Fuxi X10 and X20 cameras. They were compact, yet had a substantial feel that felt great in my big hands. I especially love using a manual zoom on a compact camera. However, in the years since the X10 was announced, the landscape has changed considerably. Sony’s RX100 series has surpassed everyone’s expectations for the kind of image quality a compact camera can produce, and mirrorless cameras are steadily dropping in price. What sets the X30 apart is the exceptional EVF (even though I do wish it had higher magnification) and the brilliant JPEG processing. If you want a camera that shoots great images you can easily share without spending a bunch of time in post-processing software, the X30 is a great choice. Sure the Sony A6000 with a kit lens is only a bit more expensive, but the Fuji lens is sharper, the EVF is more detailed, and the X30 has a manual zoom. That makes a pretty compelling argument.

One other thing I want to comment is Fuji commitment to its existing users. With the X30 being the first Fuji camera with (admittedly clunky) manual exposure control for video, we were hoping the feature would find its way into other cameras. While I was editing this episode, Fuji announced that the X-T1 would receive a firmware upgrade granting it the same capabilities. Hopefully manual controls will find their way onto other Fuji X cameras in the near future. It’s this kind of support that makes me really respect Fuji as a brand.

Photokina is next week and we’re already seeing exciting cameras being announced, including a few more from Fuji. Stay tuned for a deluge of sweet TCSTV action!

Music Provided by BeatSuite.com

Shot and Cut by Jordan Drake
Filmed on the Sony A7S