Both Sony and Fujifilm have recently released hotly-anticipated updates to a couple of their most popular cameras; the extremely long-lived Sony a6000 was revamped into the a6400 and the relatively newer Fujifilm X-T20 is being replaced by the X-T30. Both cameras are available in a similar kit at the same price point, so which is the better option?
Fujifilm has always embraced a retro/film camera inspired aesthetic with their mirrorless products, and the X-T30 carries on that tradition. The design is largely unchanged from the X-T20, with only some minor differences in the rear control area. They moved the “Q” button location (which was too easily pressed accidentally) and added the superior AF point selection joystick from the X-T3.
What has also been improved from the previous model are the low-light/high ISO performance and the autofocus speed – The X-T30 gains the new X-Trans IV 26.1 MP sensor and the hybrid autofocus system that is shared by the X-T3. Video shooters will also appreciate its newfound abilities to shoot in Fuji’s F-log output, as well as the Eterna film simulation setting which many videographers enjoy.
At first glance, the Sony a6400 appears largely unchanged from its precursor the a6000. The screen is identical in size, but adds a new 180-tilt capability and touch screen. The body itself is also slightly different, with a deeper grip, reinforced lens mount, and added weather sealing.
Sony’s top plate is much sleeker, flatter, and less cluttered than the Fuji. While it’s nice to have quick access to things like shutter speed it’s largely an aesthetic choice for Fuji (the dedicated exposure compensation dial is a nice feature, however). The a6400 also gains the newest iteration of Sony’s BIONZ X processor which allows for a native ISO range up to 32,000 (and can be extended up to 102,400).
For whatever reason, Fujifilm chose not to include the excellent tilt and side-articulating screen from their lower-end X-T100 camera, in favor of a tilt only design. Sony obviously had vloggers in mind with their improved tilt design that allows the screen to flip 180-degrees to face the subject. Both are touch-enabled. Right-eye shooters will appreciate Sony’s viewfinder placement all the way to the lefthand side, while Fuji placed the viewfinder directly in the center of the camera.
Ergonomically, the Sony has a much deeper grip and a more comfortable location for the shutter release. The Sony is also the more compact option overall, including the lens itself. Surprisingly, they are almost the exact same weight, within about a gram of each other including the lens and battery.
It may seem as if the Sony is the clear winner here, and it probably is, at least on paper; however, the Fujifilm X-T30 has many selling points of its own. For one, it’s available at a slightly higher price point with a vastly superior kit lens, the 18-55mm f2.8-4. For the purposes of this writeup the 15-45mm lens was used as it is a more direct comparison in terms of size and price, but for anyone looking to purchase an X-T30 the 18-55mm would be a highly recommended alternative.
Fujifilm also offers their excellent film simulation modes, which we find to have a better straight-out-of-camera look to them than Sony’s “Creative Style” or “Picture Effect” settings. The other major selling point for those considering the Fujifilm system is their wider selection of relatively inexpensive lenses, especially primes. In addition, at the time of this writing Fujifilm is offering an extremely aggressive instant rebate of $300 off their 23mm f2, 35mm f2, and 50mm f2 when purchased with an X-T30.
Ultimately, the best way to decide between these two cameras is to get them both in your hands! Because the feature sets are so similar, for many people the choice will probably come down to ergonomics which can be different for everyone. Several of our staffers actually shoot both systems simultaneously for different purposes, so if you’re looking to step into a midrange mirrorless camera stop by and we’d be happy to walk you through the differences in person!