Fujifilm has announced the X30, a premium compact camera that follows in the line of the X20 and X10 before it. The X30 features the same 12-megapixel 2/3-inch sensor and 28-112mm-equivalent f/2.0-f/2.8 lens as its predecessor, but much else has changed.
The magnesium alloy body has been given a sleek redesign with a refashioned grip and control ring around the lens; the optical viewfinder has been replaced with an OLED electronic panel that Fujifilm says offers a bigger view than an entry-level DSLR's; and the bigger, sharper 3-inch 920,000-dot screen now tilts. The X30 also features improved battery performance, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a new "Classic Chrome" film simulation mode with "muted tones and deep color reproduction." Classic Chrome will come to other Fujifilm cameras as well.
Camera makers have been focusing on premium compact models more and more in recent years as the overall point-and-shoot segment declines. Sony's RX100 line gets the most attention in this space, with its large 1-inch sensor producing great results from a tiny body. Although the X30's 2/3-inch sensor is bigger than most compacts', the RX100's is significantly larger and higher in resolution. Fujifilm probably won't be able to match Sony in terms of pure image quality here.
Instead, Fujifilm is prioritizing the overall shooting experience by including a comfortable viewfinder and lots of physical controls as part of an attractive design. Could it be worth sacrificing sensor size for a camera that's more fun to use? It'll be up to you to decide what's more important when the X30 goes on sale toward the end of next month for $599.95.