As expected, Fujifilm announced their newest camera early this morning. The new model replaces the X20 and is, unsurprisingly, called the X30. While not a radical departure from the X10 and X20, there are some significant differences. Gone is the optical viewfinder which was, on the X10 anyway, fairly useless. In its place is a newly designed electronic viewfinder. The lack of the optical viewfinder does detract, somewhat, from the charm of the X10 and X20. But, in my experience so far with Fujifilm, an electronic viewfinder can be quite excellent. While the camera retains a 2/3" 12MP X-Trans II sensor and EXR-II processor from the X20, and the same excellent manual zoom lens, there are some other additions/enhancements. Key among these upgrades are a larger tilting LCD screen on the back, a new film simulation mode, and the addition of a control ring around the base of the lens that facilitates manual focusing (or other functions), and full WiFi capabilities, including full remote operation of the camera from a smartphone or tablet.
The video doesn't really show a lot about the camera, but Fujifilm have done their usual outstanding job of showing all the camera features on the web site. Fujirumors have a "first look" report up as well that is fairly detailed. Based on what I've read so far, the only disappointment I can see is that the X30, unlike its predecessors, in made in China, not in Japan.
B&H have listed the camera on their site for pre-order at U$599.00. The price may seem a little on the high side, considering that an X-M1 with the XC16-50mm lens is less than a dollar more, but compared to the cameras the X30 is competing with and considering its capabilities, it's certainly not out of line.
I'm looking forward to seeing the X30 in person when I'm in New York for Photo Plus Expo at the end of October. Based on the specs, I'll probably want one to upgrade my X10.
UPDATE: More complete video introduction to the X30 from the Fuji Guys is up on YouTube:
all photos courtesy Fujifilm
I was poking around on Amazon.com late last night, and discovered a killer price on the Sony SLT-A65V body (only $498!). That's $100 less than I paid for my SLT-A35 a couple years back! Despite the A65 being about three years old now, it's still a really impressive camera. I wish I could have afforded it when I bought the A35. Amazon also has good pricing for the body with either the 18-55mm lens or the 18-135mm lens. The deal is by way of a $200 instant rebate, and I have no idea how long that price will hold. If you're in the market to upgrade your current Sony body, or looking for an excellent mid-level DLSR and don't currently have an investment in any particular system, this is a hard camera to beat. It would also make a great Christmas present...
After all the noise I've made about getting this new camera, I thought you might be interested in my first impressions. I've not taken any pictures with it to speak of -- I've just putzed around with the various settings either in the conference room at the office, or in the kitchen late last night -- so nothing worth posting yet. So these comments will be limited to the "look-and-feel" of the camera and controls. I'll do some subjective imaging impressions very soon.
Right off the bat, the X10 simply oozes quality. It is very reminiscent of classic rangefinders from the likes of Minolta, Konica and Contax. Some other folks have even compared various Fujifilm models to classic Leicas, and based on my first impression here, I can see why. Although a little smaller, the X10 has a feel that is very similar to the rangefinder models that I've used or handled.
The construction is all metal, with real leather applied. This is wholly unlike any of the competition at this price point -- similar models from Canon, for instance, are made of composite plastics. The controls feel solid, with detents that click positively into position. All of the buttons feel solid and are well placed. The only control that concerns me is the sub-command dial that surrounds the 4-way switch. It's made of an engineering plastic that I know is very strong, but the part is fairly thin and feels just slightly flimsy. I don't remember reading any user complaints about, and Fujifilm used the same part on the step-up X20, so I'm confident that it should hold up just fine.
My X10 from Wolfe's came with the original Fujifilm "ever-ready" case thrown in (it regularly sells for about $50!), which, like the rangefinders of the past, must be removed to access the battery or "film" compartment. Fujifilm have redesigned the case since the original model to allow access to the batter and SD card compartment without having to remove the case.
I'm really looking forward to getting out and shooting the X10 this week and weekend.