Fujifilm X30 Image Quality
Fujifilm X30 Print Quality
High-quality prints up to 16 x 20 inches at ISO 100-200; Good 11 x 14 inch prints at ISO 800; and acceptable 4 x 6 inch prints are possible up to ISO 3200/6400.
ISO 200 images are also quite nice up to 16 x 20 inches. Upon close inspection, there is a slight drop in very fine detail, but not by nearly a significant enough amount to drop the maximum print size.
ISO 400 prints again show a progressive, minor drop in fine detail, but noise is still not an issue at this ISO, and as such prints as large as 13 x 19 inches are perfectly usable. Overall detail is great and colors are pleasing.
ISO 800 images display noticeable softening at sizes larger than 11 x 14 inches. At this size, and better yet, at 8 x 10 inches, details are still sharp. Colors overall, also, are still nice and vibrant.
ISO 1600 prints begin to display a more noticeable drop in resolution and detail due to noise and noise reduction, and anything larger than 5 x 7 inches is difficult to consider acceptable. An 8 x 10 inch print would be usable, however, for less critical applications.
ISO 3200 images really top-out at 4 x 6 inches. Noise is definitely making the images soft and lack detail, and colors at this point are beginning to look drab and less vibrant. As before, a print size larger -- 5 x 7 inches in this case -- would be doable for less critical purposes, however.
ISO 6400 prints just squeak by with an acceptable 4 x 6 inch print, though it's really on the cusp of being too soft and lacking in detail. We'd recommend, if possible, using a lower ISO for printing.
ISO 12,800 images are very noisy, soft and have very drab, dingy colors. This ISO level, on a sensor of this size, is really best avoided for printmaking.
The updated Fujifilm X30 packs an updated exterior design, but maintains the same imaging pipeline and lens as its predecessor, the X20. As such, the relatively large 12MP 2/3-inch-type sensor does quite well in print department at lower ISOs. At base ISO and up to ISO 200, the X30 manages great 16 x 20 inch prints, but you can really push the sensor at base ISO for a 20 x 30 wall display print. At ISO 800, detail has dropped a bit, but noise is nevertheless under control, which allows for nice 11 x 14 inch prints. At high ISOs, however, the X30 begins to struggle, with ISO 3200 really being the maximum sensitivity we're comfortable with in terms of printing, though an ISO 6400 image can just manage a decent 4 x 6 inch print as well. Any larger print sizes at this point or a higher ISO level should really be avoided for prints.
About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"
The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.
See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.
*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)
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