This is a very niche post. For those of you with no interest in cameras or photography, delete now.
For anyone still left, this is an appraisal of the new camera that I bought recently, after some time of using it. As you know, I decided on the Fuji X30. This was partly driven by price, but also because I was somewhat familiar with the Fuji system, having owned one of their SLR cameras for a few years. I like their colour rendition, the way they set up the HDR, and the option of their unique ‘film simulation’ modes.
Although not my first choice, the little Fuji has proved to be surprisingly good, especially considering the price of £284 that I paid for it. I was worried about the small processor as it is only a somewhat dated 2/3, but I needn’t have concerned myself. Fuji manage to cram a great deal into a small package, and the resulting fine jpegs have been exceptional. Detail is retained, even up to 800 ISO, and they are also easy to manipulate on post-capture software, if that is something that appeals to you. The EVF is simply a wonder to behold. So bright, with 100% coverage, and no lens intrusion, it also provides all the necessary information, without affecting composition. In fact, I have not even used the tilting rear screen, although that is also crystal clear. I have added a nine-box grid, and an electronic spirit level from the menu, both of which have aided composition, and good horizons.
Despite not having to use the flash, I have every confidence that it will work well, when needed. The electronic lens stabilisation, combined with high auto ISO values by default, has meant that using flash has not been necessary at all, at least on outdoor shots. The zoom range of (equivalent) 28-112 mm has been more than adequate for everyday use, and combined with minimal lens extension, and a manual zoom ring, it has been a joy to use. The solid dials for selecting exposure compensation and choice of shooting mode, have proved their worth, and the manual aperture ring was exactly what I required in a camera too. Everything feels solid, but that is not reflected in the light weight, that makes the camera portable in any and all conditions. Battery life has been very good too, and has not let me down at all, on an average shooting day.
The menu system is easily picked up, and all of the main functions are rapidly and easily accessible. The various options include different aspect ratios, film simulations, electronic filters, and special effect filters too. Manual shooting is available, and spot and centre-weighted metering are provided, alongside the very effective multi-zone evaluative system. Focusing areas are selectable if desired, and the options for focusing are easy to get to, via a switch at the front of the camera. This camera adds most modern options that we have come to expect too. Panorama function, face recognition, highlight adjustments, fully automatic programmed operation, and many more. The special effects filters include B+W filters for Red, Green, and Yellow, as well as Sepia, and selective colour. Multiple exposures and burst-shooting are also possible, and the only limitation is the size of the memory card.
So, is it faultless? Well no, but what is? The downsides include to some extent, the light weight, that can make it tricky to hold. I am getting a case to help this, and would recommend that others do. The much lauded largest aperture of f2.8 is only available at the 28 mm zoom setting, not through the full zoom range. For those of us that like to see a lot of depth of field, minimum aperture is only f11, not f16, or f22, both of which would be preferable. However, in such a compact package, compromises are inevitable. The metal lens cap cannot be secured to the body, so must be accommodated in a pocket or bag. The battery must be charged through the camera, unless you purchase an after-market charger. Despite the all-metal construction, that is both pleasing to the eye, and to the hand, the battery door is made from cheap plastic for some reason, and does not feel as if it will endure the life of the camera. I opted for the silver and black version, but find that the base plate is easily scratched, even after such a short time of ownership.
But these niggles are not really reflected in the user experience. Manual zoom control, manual aperture ring and compensation dial, all help to make using this camera a joy. Add to that the brilliant EVF, easy menu system, and portability, and you have a camera that you want to carry around, and use all the time. That alone makes it worth the money.