Fujifilm X-T3 vs Fujifilm X-T30: Which camera should you buy?

The Fujifilm X-T3 and the X-T30

The Fujifilm XT30 is a little beast and can be considered as the X-T3’s little brother. Anyone who is familiar with the relationship between the XT2 and the XT20 will realize that Fuji’s philosophy is to always come up with a flagship model and offer a less filled package with a smaller form factor and feature set (What I like to call the “0” line). The XT2 had the XT20 as its little brother. Now the XT3 has the XT30 as its little brother. Fuji is generous in the sense that they offer all the same tech innards on both cameras. For this reason one might become hard pressed as to which camera to chose. The question arises: If these two cameras are extremely similar, do I need to spend the extra money for the more elaborate feature set or will my workflow not need those additional features? Can I save a bit of cash and not miss what the flagship model has to offer? This article is my attempt to help you. I think what is most telling is in the list of what is in common with both the X-T3 and the X-T30. Most lies in the functioning innards. Here is the list:

List taken from mirrorlesscomparison.com

  1. 26.1MP X-Trans IV APS-C sized sensor with back-illuminated structure
  2. Quad Core X Processor 4
  3. ISO 160 to 12800 native range with extended values down to 80 / up to 51200
  4. phase detection AF with 99% sensor area coverage
  5. burst shooting with zero blackouts up to 20fps, or 30fps in 1.25x crop mode (electronic shutter)
  6. Sports Finder and Pre-Shot modes
  7. Monochrome Adjustment and Colour Chrome Effect
  8. ETERNA film simulation mode for video
  9. Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity

Know that no matter which camera you get these features will be indeed checked and by going down to the XT30, you will not be losing any of the features above. Now let us look at the differences between the two.

Ergonomics

The most obvious difference is that the X-T30 is great deal smaller than the X-T3. On the X-T30 gone are many of the “analogue” controls that have characterized all that is the Fuji brand. Much of this is done to cater to the more point and shoot oriented market of the X-T30. There is no ISO dial on the X-T30 but there are quicker controls for the set and forget shooter.  Make no mistake though. All the functionality of the X-T3 is still under the hood. The X-T30’s form factor simply makes the functions a bit less physically accessible.

This being said. The new X-T30’s joystick implementation simply borders genius. The X-T30’s joystick not only allows you to chose focus points but also allows an amazing way to navigate menu and function options while using the camera. You will not miss the four point touch pad in any way shape or form. In fact I would even say that, if you decide to use the X-T30 as a B cam, you will have less of an adjustment to make between switching from the X-T3 to the X-T30.

On the zero series cameras of Fuji the Q (quick button) becomes a great deal more important. Fuji has placed that button on the top of the place where you lean your thumb. Some people might not like that but I personally thought it was a great place to put it.

 

 

All those super sensitive to having the memory card where the battery is (like the XT20 had) should also eliminate the X-T30 as an option as this “disadvantage” has been carried down to the X-T30

The X-T3 is a more “professional” camera. Yes and no

The X-T3 has all the typical add-ons that a more “professional” camera would have. Larger size means better grip. It is dust, moisture, and freeze proof whereas the X-T30 is not. But remember that the X-T30 has more walkaround friendly features that the X-T3 does not have. These include an almost pocketable size, pop up flash, the one click AUTO switch* brought over from the X-T20 and more dial oriented setting controls one would need for quick set and forget shooting.

Fujifilm camera touchscreen is not my cup of tea

Although both cameras sport a touchscreen. The implementation on the X-T30 is far more responsive and intuitive. On both cameras I find the touch screen implementation is not great. Fuji really needs to work on this as it is never inviting to use Fuji touchscreen functionality. It is up to you to discuss whether this is because of such a great intuitive button configuration or because the touch screen implementation is not great.

In general, the X-T30 fits well in the hand despite its smaller size. I think that it would be foolish to think that you will lose any sort of maneuverability or comfort by buying the X-T30. All differences in feel and size are things that one can get used to.

The viewfinder on the X-T3 is quite larger than that of the X-T30. Although coverage, refresh rate and image quality are similar the fact that the XT3’s viewfinder is larger does account for a more comfortable and pleasant experience.

A couple of other points to take into account is that the weight on the X-T30 is substantially lower.

Tilt screen vs flip screen

The tilt screen on the X-T30, like the XT20 vs the XT2, only gives one axis of pivot and not two like the flagship camera. I do not know why that this is not brought down to the XT30. It would have made sense to me. Seems like it is done to keep some sort of justification of buying the higher priced bigger brother model of camera. Anyone used to an XT2 will not see any difference. All those who do stills photography will not see anything lacking. I just wish Fuji would have brought the selfie tilt from the X-T100 to the X-T30. Flip screens just make more sense to me.

Function

It might be interesting to list all the significant differences with the functionality of the two cameras. Significant, of course, relative to my reality. If you feel that there are other differences I did not mention, please feel free to mention them below in the comment section.

Now although photographically, these cameras are not the same, I feel that you really see the difference more in video. It can be argued that photographically, you do not lose that much by having the XT30 as opposed to the XT3. This all kind of changes when you look at some of the video features

Autofocus heaven on both X-T3 and X-T20

Both cameras are equipped with crazy phase detection autofocus points covering almost the entirety of the field of view, face and eye detection, customizable continous auto-focus settings, and hyper fast reaction times on all these features.

Burst rates

Both cameras offer great Electronic shutter burst rates and, once you accept to use the electronic shutter and a small 1.25 crop you can get crazy blackout free burst rates of 20 and 30 frames per second. While in mechanical shutter. The X-T3 offers a slight advantage of 11 frames per second as opposed to 8 frames per second.

Video differences

Both these cameras are video beasts. All those people wondering about moving to the 3 family doing video should not even wonder and just sell their XT2. Both the X-T30 and X-T3 cameras offer cinema quality video capabilities. But the XT3 takes everything a step further.

Before we get into some of the video differences I wanted to talk about the amazing similarities:

XT3 and XT30 F-Log (Fujifilm’s log profile), ETERNA film simulation, and Zebra settings. I find that these points are nothing short of stellar. To offer these types of features at this price range is simply unheard of by all other manufacturers barring even Sony.

So here are the video recording formats the XT3 offer:

  • 4K at 60fps internally
  • Also offering 4:2:0 10-bit colour depth.
  • Long-GOP (IPB),and the amazing All-Intra compression is also offered upto  400Mbps (30fps) or 200Mbps (60fps).
  • H.264 and the completely hard to edit h.265

Here is what the XT30 offers

  • 4K but only at 30fps internally
  • Bit rate maxes out at 200mbps
  • Time limits are also imposed

*Now the XT30 will be a downgrade in terms of 4k footage either with external or internal recording but you will be hard pressed to see the difference between the two cameras for video when you are looking at 1080p footage. To this day, in May 2019, I still find myself debating the utility of 4K footage in general. Therefore, to me, the HD quality and implementation, where the punch of the camera counts, the differences are very slim. But here are some of the differences nonetheless

  • Recording caps are applied:  X-T30 capped at 10 minutes in 4K and 15 minutes in Full HD whereas the XT3 goes to the usual 30 minutes for both 4K and HD (One day the European 30 minute tax will leave and we will all have unlimited recording)
  • XT3 and XT30 both output 4K to the HDMI port in 4:2:2 10-bit XT3 does it at 60p and the XT30 maxes at 30P
  • Both give you 200mpbs in 120 slowmo (albeit with a 1.29 crop). An amazing thing for the XT3 in its price range and spectacular at the price range of the XT30
  • The X-T3 can record for 20 minutes in 4K/60fps, 30 minutes in 4K/30fps or 30 minutes in Full HD.

 

 

 

Conclusion (What should you buy. The XT3 or the XT30?)

So what should you buy? Here is the question that aches in everyone’s mind. At the release date of this article the X-T3 costs 1499$ (For the feature set this is nothing short of a steal) and the X-T30 is at the measly price of 899$ (again another steal). To me, my experience with the XT3 for many of my professional gigs has been great. With amazing image quality and a relatively crash proof camera has proven to be just great. My video contract experience with this camera has been amazing as well. This camera coupled with some of the stellar Fuji glass within the Fuji landscape has been nothing but impressive. But for three reasons, of which I did not mention one, I will stick to my X-T3. Dual card slot, ergonomics and availability of a battery grip. Many of the small features that make the X-T3 the X-T3 keep me from saving that extra cash. Which brings me to the decision making.

The X-T30 is full of “wow”

I could not help while navigating through the X-T30 menu to keep on saying wow, wow wow the whole time. It is the little brother of the X-T3 in that image quality and features are extremely similar. But because of size, and a couple of professional reasons, I believe that the X-T3 is best for me. But for many the decision is not that easy. All is dependent on your workflow. Many times the X-T30 will be advantageous because it is small, because it has one touch auto, because it has a built in flash. Here are situations where I believe the X-T30 becomes invaluable:

 

  • Street photography: The XT30 is made to pull out, set and forget, and shoot quickly. It is indeed compact and I would even go so far as to say that it would be foolish to get the X-T3 if you do street.
  • Walkaround and tourism photography: Size matters when you move around. The bigger the camera is the more annoying it will be to travel with. The XT30 with the 27mm f2.8 can go a long way. You will need for nothing.
  • B Camera to the XT3: This camera could easily be a second camera for either a photo or a video workflow. Just by the mere fact that it has so much of the functionality of the XT3 at a lower price. It can always be there when you are in a bind.

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