Fujifilm makes some of the most charming compact mirrorless cameras on the market, and the new Fujifilm X-E4 is another great addition to their vintage series.
Like the Fujifilm X-T30, the design is modern retro without anachronism, while its combination of Fuji sensors and image processing promises some of the prettiest images in its class.
But shopping for a mid-range Fujifilm mirrorless camera just got more complicated with the arrival of the X-E4. A newer and slightly cheaper alternative to the Fujifilm X-T30, both cameras offer a very similar, travel-friendly proposition.
In the last generation, we have always recommended the T series model over the E series. But this time the decision is not so easy.
Fujifilm X-T30 and X-E4 have the same sensor and processor. And while some may prefer the more passionate-style controls of the T-series, the X-E4 has some serious advantages if you're shooting a lot of video or want the most compact camera possible without sacrificing image quality.
Here's how to choose between the two mirrorless cameras suitable for beginners.
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Comparing cameras in the same stadium often comes down to what's inside and whether a company's lens selection is right for your needs and budget. This time around, a quick look outside will teach you a lot of what you need to know.
A compact case is the main draw of the FujiFilm X-E4. It's just 32,7mm thick, compared to the X-T46,8's 30mm depth. Fuji achieves this by using a screen that is flush with the back, reducing the eyepiece of the electronic viewfinder and completely blocking the grip.
Of course, the latter is a sacrifice. But pair the X-E4 with the new 27mm Pancake Kit lens and you've got a dream kit for street lighting photography.
The X-E4 also has fewer controls than the FujiFilm X-T30. It loses a mode dial at the top, plus a control dial at the back.
However, anyone who accuses the X-T4 of being a "baby" camera is wrong. There is still a dial on the front and a shutter speed control on the top. It seems made for the manual "priority" modes that many of us photo enthusiasts use by default. And, of course, for fully "automatic" shooting.
There is only a slight weight disparity here. The X-E4 weighs 364 g with battery and card, the X-T30 383 g. You buy an X-E4 if you want it to fit in a coat pocket, but still have a tough magnesium inner frame.
The FujiFilm X-E4 and X-T30 have the same sensor: it is the fourth generation X-Trans chip, with a resolution of 26,1 MP.
Aside from the possibility of some minor differences in the processing algorithms in their respective firmwares, these cameras should offer the same image quality. And that's certainly not a bad thing.
Its standard ISO range is 160-12800, but it can be extended up to ISO 80 and up to ISO 51200. There is nothing to see here. You can expect more or less the same images from everyone.
Neither camera is stabilized, either, so shop your lenses carefully if you want to take advantage of the benefits of stabilization, like having the flexibility of slower shutter speeds when shooting handheld.
Display and EVF
The FujiFilm X-E4 and X-T30 electronic viewfinders are also very similar. They have a resolution of 2,36 million points, equivalent to 1024 x 768 pixels and a magnification of 0,62x.
However, some will prefer to use the X-T30's electronic viewfinder, as the design gives the eyepiece more room from the back of the camera. The X-E4's viewfinder is positioned in the style of a rangefinder, sitting in the corner so your nose doesn't hit the back of the camera.
The rear screens of both cameras are synchronized with the target audience of those cameras. The FujiFilm X-T30 has the two-way tilt-style screen that Fuji has used on several other models. He leans a lot to shoot under the head, but only slightly backwards.
The FujiFilm X-E4's screen mechanism allows it to be tilted all the way up, above the top of the camera, so you can use it as a vlog monitor. This isn't just for video fans, of course, this setup is perfect for vacation selfies too and is better for this purpose than a fully articulated monitor. Unsurprisingly in 2021, both displays are also touch-sensitive.
AF and burst shooting
Again, there is almost nothing that separates the FujiFilm X-E4 and X-T30 in the autofocus and burst speed performance departments.
Both cameras have 425 phase detection AF points and there is eye and face tracking. It would be strange if their abilities were different. After all, both have the X-Trans 4 sensor and the X-Processor 4 processor.
(Image credit: Fujifilm)
Burst speeds top out at 20fps with the electronic shutter or 30fps if you're using the 1.25x crop mode, which can be useful in some action or nature shots.
There is a slight difference according to FujiFilm. Use mechanical shutter burst mode at 8 frames per second and the buffer will run out after 90 JPEGs on the X-T30 or 105 taken on the X-E4.
This suggests an improvement in the way the buffer is unloaded on the SD card. And it allows the X-E4 to shoot endlessly at 4 fps (JPEG), while the X-T30 renders after 209 frames. It may be due to a difference in hardware, but if not, the X-T30 may get an upgrade to bring it up to X-E4 speed. But this is not entirely certain.
The cameras' respective video modes provide further evidence that the FujiFilm X-E4 is better at handling a large amount of data in a short period of time.
The FujiFilm X-E4 can shoot slow motion from 240p to 1080pie in 8x slow motion. But the old X-T30 can only hit 120 frames per second, even at 1080p.
FujiFilm had previously developed the 240p video mode for the X-S10, which is slightly more expensive than either of those cameras and has in-body image stabilization.
The X-E4 can also shoot much longer than the X-T30. You can capture 4K or 1080p for 30 minutes continuously, compared to just 10 minutes of 4K on the X-T30 or 15 minutes of 1080p. Clearly there's a big change in efficiency here, or at least a different approach to heat dispersion.
The other video modes are basically the same. You can shoot 4K/30p footage with either, but there's no 4K/60p recording here. And color depth is 4:2:0 8-bit in-camera or 4:2:2 10-bit via HDMI. However, it's hard to imagine too many people buying an X-E4 to use with an external recorder.
Both cameras' 4K modes also have a solid 200Mbps bitrate cap.. Note that since neither camera has IBIS, you may need to apply additional software stabilization when editing for best results when shooting handheld.
Connections and battery life
There is another video recording advantage for the Fujifilm X-E4 in its connectivity.. The camera has a 3,5mm jack for an external microphone, and despite its small size, there's always a hot shoe on top for mounting accessories.
Do you want to monitor the audio on the X-E4? No problem. You can use the USB-C port for this, and a USB-to-3.5mm adapter comes in the box.
The X-T30 uses the smaller 2.5mm jack for an external microphone, which probably means you'll need another adapter. And while you can go back to using USB-C for audio control, a USB-C to 3,5mm cable isn't included. Fujifilm seems to have learned from the earlier camera complaints. Both also have a micro HDMI connector.
These cameras use the exact same battery, an NP-W126S. However, while the X-T30 is designed for 380 frames, the X-E4 can capture 460 frames per charge, according to figures from Fujifilm. Once again, there seems to be an improvement in efficiency here.
However, the claims in the video are the same. Fujifilm says you'll get 60 minutes of 4K capture, or 75 minutes of 1080p, without charging with either camera.
The wireless specs haven't changed either: the X-T30 and X-E4 have 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2, but there is no 5 GHz Wi-Fi, unfortunately.
- Fujifilm X-E4 (body only): $850 / €799 / AU$1,399
- Fujifilm X-T30 (body only): $899 / €849 / AU$1,500
Fujifilm has a tough job stratifying the prices of its mid-range cameras. We got the Fujifilm X-E4 for $850 / €799 / AU$1,399, while the X-T30 originally came in for $899 / €849 / AU$1,500 (although you can find it for less now).
It was probably this proximity to the T-series model that caused such problems for the latest X-E3. Fujifilm offers the X-E4 with a 27mm lens this time around, a pancake with a solid F / 2.8 aperture. This highlights the (great) original appeal of the camera.
Last time, our usual advice was to buy the Fujifilm X-T20 instead of the Fujifilm X-E3. But things have changed a bit with the X-E4.
It's a smaller camera with a flip-up screen that supports selfies and vlogging, and several useful features for those who love videos rather than still images. Slow motion skills increased from 120 fps to 240 fps (1080p), while restrictive time limits on 4K and 1080p videos were increased to 30 minutes.
However, there are fewer options between them on the stills front. These cameras will take similar shots, but the X-E4 has slightly better burst performance, with a buffer that never runs out at 4fps or less.
That said, if you don't plan on shooting a lot of video, your choice will likely depend on whether you prefer the X-E4's corner-mounted electronic viewfinder or the X-T30's center viewfinder.