After just one day of using the Fujifilm X-T30 and the XF16mmF2.8 combo I believe that this mid-range camera surpasses expectations.

This is the story of my first 24-hours of using it.

Hello X-T30, Hello Spot

The adoption of our dog Spot coincided with the arrival of Fujifilm’s brand-new X-T30 and XF16mmF2.8.

One of these events would have been enough to get my heart rate up, and both of these happening at the same time was a little overwhelming. As it turned out, however, this was a good thing. More on that later.

Me and Fujifilm, a short back story

I grew up with dogs as part of our family, they were like my siblings. Some of you might relate. But I hadn’t had a dog since moving out of my parental home and so, the arrival of Spot so many years later, was a very big thing.

When I received the X-T30 and XF16mmF2.8, although I wanted to put it rigorously through its paces, I was already more than distracted. I decided that I would rather put it to the test as an everyday lifestyle combo that was easy to use and would not steal attention away from people and life itself. In retrospect, that turned out to be the right choice.

Straight out of the Box

Camera out, lens on, battery and memory card in, and then firing away. It took me all of five minutes and I already had keepers of Spot in the garden.

X-T30 with XF16mmF2.8 at f/2.8, 1/680s, ISO 160, Classic Chrome Film Simulation

And even as I look at these images now, I am reminded as to how good they are out of this camera and lens combo, with little or no customising of settings. Great images straight-out-of-the-box. Keepers for sure.

Ready, Set, Let’s Go!

And then it hit me – camera, park, Spot – the perfect opportunity to use the camera and lens in an everyday, exciting and challenging environment.

Not much later that day, the latest addition to the Fujifilm family was on its way on an outing to capture some real-life moments with our new family member.

With two firsts to deal with, I decided on using my “Peachy Auto” setup as the perfect set-up for this outing (more on that at the end of this article). That way, I could focus my attention on the dog, rather than on my camera settings whilst still being able to create images.

The size and weight of the Fujifilm X-Series camera line-up are a well-known and a major drawcard. On the day that I find myself packing a real doggy-bag, I once again appreciate how easily this camera-and-lens combo fits in with goodies like poop bags and dog treats. Yes, size matters.

Although I expected to get reliable results from the camera with the trusty “Peachy Auto” settings that I use on all my X-Series cameras, it was the first time that I would be shooting with the X-T30 and the XF16mmF2.8 in the field. I was not to be disappointed and the beautiful forest colours made for a good start:

X-T30 with XF16mmF2.8 at f/2.8, 1/1900s, ISO 160, Classic Chrome Film Simulation

Using the built-in film simulations it was easy to create variations of great-looking in-camera jpegs.

In all the excitement and clicking, I all but forgot about time and as the light got softer and softer, the colours began to pop. The result was a great opportunity for the X-T30 to show off its beautiful colour reproduction capabilities.

As for Spot, he was growing more comfortable and curious, even about the camera. Shy of water at first, he soon found himself on top of a big rock, in the middle of the stream with nowhere to go. 

Excited about what could happen next, I raised the camera to my eye and observed the scene through the viewfinder, ready to capture what would unfold in front of me.

Spot didn’t disappoint. After a few futile attempts to get out of his situation bone-dry, he took a leap and jumped off his perch.

And the camera and the lens? They didn’t disappoint either. Not only was I thoroughly entertained, I was also very chuffed that I’d been able to capture this special moment with no effort at all. Bravo X-T30. Bravo.

I followed and focused on Spot (no pun intended, none whatsoever) and also found a few other gems along the way:

We had been having so much fun in the park that we did not realise how much time had passed and that the light was fading. But what do you know, this was neither a problem for us, Spot, nor the X-T30! Even in low light, focus was still snappy, images were still sharp and the colours were to die for.

X-T30 + XF16mmF2.8, 1/160s at f/16, ISO2000

When we finally decided to call it a day and make our way home, our hearts were filled with joy, my memory card was filled with lots of special moments and a very tired and hopefully happy dog (who really knows what goes on in a dog’s brain or heart…) was passed out within moments of getting in the car.

Did I enjoy my first outing with the X-T30 and XF16mmF2.8? Hell yeah, you bet I did. I came away very pleased with the images I bagged on a camera and lens combo that I had never used before, and that I had not spent any time setting up or customising.

Best of all, at no point during the day did the camera overshadow my time with my family. I didn’t need to fuss about technicalities, nor did I miss a shot because the camera wasn’t ready. What more could I want? 

The X-T30 paired with the XF16mmF2.8 is such a cute, yet powerful combo! A firecracker of a camera perfect for anyone for whom size matters!

The Fujifilm X-T30 – Is it for you?

The X-T30 paired with the XF16mmF2.8 is such a cute, yet powerful combo! A firecracker of a camera perfect for anyone for whom size matters!

But what about you, is it for you?

The Hobbyist

If you are new to photography or new to the mirrorless system and want an excellent camera at a competitive price point – a feature-rich camera that is small enough to take anywhere, anytime, then the X-T30 is the perfect camera for you.

The Traveller

If you are always on the move, love travel or documentary photography and require a compact kit that delivers high quality imagery, the X-T30 is your new best friend.

The Professional

If you are a professional photographer who uses a Fujifilm X-T3 and requires a second camera to use or as a back-up body, the X-T30 represents a fantastic and reliable option for this purpose, especially as it shares the same sensor as the X-T3. You will be able to create identical images to your main camera.

What about video?

In this article I have only focussed on the photographic capabilities of the X-T30. The camera is, however, jam-packed with powerful video features that make it a solid contender as the camera of choice for creating personal, lifestyle videos or vlogs. It is also equally capable as the X-T3 at holding its own in professional use too.

The Fujinon XF16mmF2.8 lens

The size and build of the XF16mmF2.8 is its stand-out feature. It is quick, sharp, offers a very close focussing distance and is compact enough to go everywhere! 

As a prime lens at this focal length with an aperture of F2.8 you don’t have to think twice.

The long and short of it all

Using this gear combo sure is a walk in the park!

Stepping past the bevy of built-in features of the camera – many of which are on par and better than those of alternatives, the most significant aspect of the camera is its versatility and ease of use, both of which are guaranteed to bring joy to anyone who uses it.

Would I buy it? Absolutely.

Should you get it? For sure. You can thank me later.


Information about “Peachy Auto”

Keeping it simple for the joy of photography is something I firmly believe in.

I have translated this into a combination of custom settings across my X-Series cameras that I call “Peachy Auto”, a fuss-free setup that uses the powerful Auto settings of the Fujifilm X-Series cameras that delivers well-exposed images without having to give up creative control. This is particularly useful in everyday-life situations and for when catching special moments quickly is of the essence.

No mess, no fuss with “Peachy Auto”

If you wish to set-up your camera into “Peachy Auto”, here is what you need to do:

  • Set the Shutter Speed Dial on “A” and change the ISO settings in the “Shooting Setting” on Auto 1 (Default Sensitivity 200 / Max. Sensitivity 800 / Min. Shutter Speed Auto), Auto 2 (Default Sensitivity 200 / Max. Sensitivity 1600 / Min. Shutter Speed Auto) or Auto 3 (Default Sensitivity 200 / Max. Sensitivity 6400 / Min. Shutter Speed Auto) depending on light conditions. The camera will now give you correctly exposed images within the parameters chosen.
  • Set the Exposure Compensation Dial on “C”. This will enable you to change the Exposure Compensation by turning the Front Command Dial left or right as and when necessary.
  • You keep creative control for depth of field by choosing your preferred Aperture with the Aperture Ring on the lens.

To find out more details about my approach and motivation behind “Peachy Auto” settings, watch the livestream recording of my Tame Your Fujifilm Workshop hosted at Fujifilm South Africa’s Head Office in August 2019.

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