My journey with the Fujifilm X Series camera began with the X10. It was so much fun to hike and bike with that little camera; I felt so liberated and I loved the color and look of the images it produced.
Of course, the X10, and the subsequent X20 and X30 had pretty small 2/3″ sensors, so even though I sold a few large reproduction photos to clients I shot with that camera, on the overall scale, it couldn’t really compete on a pro level with the higher end models.
Problem solved. This year, Fujifilm revamped the line and introduced the X70, which brought full X Series image quality and performance into a pocket sized camera. With the 16MP X-Trans sensor, the X70 is essentially an entry level version of the X100, and even though it has a slightly wider lens, it still has the same classic design and produces the same image quality as the X100 and almost every other model in the line.
Being such a huge fan of the X10, of course, I had to get one of these. And guess what? I suddenly felt that same sense of liberation that I felt with the X10, only I didn’t have to sacrifice image quality.
This is huge. As much as I love the compact nature of my X-T1 and X-T10, there are some times when I simply don’t want to lug around an interchangeable camera. It’s super easy to carry the little Fujifilm X70 in my pocket, which means for minimal effort, I can still shoot full quality photos if I find myself in front of great subject matter or great light.
Right when I got the X70, I took it out on a glacier hike in stormy weather. I had my X-T1 in my backpack, but it was just so much easier to whip out the pocket camera when I felt like shooting. I got some photos I really like that day, and I didn’t use the “big camera at all.”
In late March, I took a week long trail running vacation in Oregon. We just drove the rental car around and when we came across a good trailhead, we got out and took off running or hiking for a few hours.
For most of these runs, some of which were close to 10 miles, just carried the X70 in my hand. It fits perfectly in my palm, and it’s always at the ready.
I like to joke that my new favorite camera bag with the Fuji X Series cameras is the strap, even though it’s not really a joke. Well, with the X70, my new favorite camera bag it’s my hand.
I’m a huge proponent that accessibility is the number one thing that will help you get great images- if can get your camera into your hand within seconds, you’ll be able to grab those lighting quick moments that occur. If your camera is already in your hand, well then you’re already halfway there.
My friend Josh teases me when I refer to it as “The Little X70” in my Facebook posts and stuff. He says that takes away from how powerful it really is.
I totally get what he means, but to be fair, the X70 is indeed little. It’s pretty tiny, and that’s a big part of its appeal. Like I pointed out, it’s an X-Trans sensor camera that fits in your pocket. Or your handlebar bag, or your Revelate Designs Gas Tank. Or your whatever. You get the idea.
At roughly 4.5″ x 2.5″ and only 340g (12oz), it’s the most portable full quality camera you can buy. To compare, the Sony RX100 is a hair smaller, but it only has a 1″ sensor. That’s quite a bit smaller than APS-C. (This comparison image from Cameradecision.com shows you the size difference)
Most other point and shoots and very compact mirrorless cameras use at least M4/3 and smaller, so ounce for ounce the X70 gives you the biggest sensor for how small the camera is.
The Fujifilm X70 is indeed a very powerful camera despite its rather diminutive size. It has the same firmware as the X-T1, X100T, X-T10 etc…, so in terms of performance, you get all the same goodies- the film simulations, exposure modes, advanced filters, ISO performance, menu options, wireless transfer/control, 8 fps CH shooting rate, and so forth.
You also get a Q menu and 8 assignable Fn buttons, which adds to the highly customizable nature of the camera.
In addition, the X70 has a traditional aperture ring as well as a “Control Ring,” which you can set to control any one of the following parameters: ISO, White Balance, Film Simulation or Digital Tele-Converter.
The Digital Tele-Converter is a new feature and it’s pretty cool. Essentially, it functions like a digital zoom and allows you to shoot at either the native 28mm view, 35mm or 50mm. However, there’s some pixel wrangling computations going on under the hood, and the quality is actually quite good.
Sure, if you’re pixel peeping, you notice that you’ll lose a little bit of sharpness when you zoom in, but the loss of quality is pretty minimal and it’s certainly good enough for any kind of web or smaller print use. There are times when this feature will come in handy.
The X70 has the same hybrid single/zone/tracking focusing system, as all the other cameras in the line and functionally, it operates the same as the higher end cameras. It doesn’t perform quite as well as the focus on the X-T1, and X-T10; it definitely hunts when you’re using the contrast detect AF points; less so when using the phase detect AF points near the middle, but you’d expect some sacrifices from any camera that comes in at this price point.
That said, the AF system is still very good on the X70 and for most things you’ll find it to be surprisingly adequate, if not right on. It will indeed track moving subjects at 8 fps in CH and AF-C mode, but with really fast, or erratic subjects, it won’t perform with the same accuracy as the higher end models.
Once you get a feel for how to use the AF system, though, you’ll get pretty good at working with its minor limitations. Just keep firing away and you’ll get what you’re going for.
The X70 shares the traditional style layout that have made the X Series cameras so popular. Not only do they have that classic, retro look, they’re very easy to control. With shutter speed, aperture and EV+/- right at your fingertips, you can make quick exposure changes with minimal effort.
All four exposure modes are available (P, S, A, M), and you have an Auto switch that puts the camera into Full Auto mode, which gives you Wide/Tracking AF and Scene Recognition exposure mode.
The easily accessible Drive button lets you select your single or continuous low and high shooting mode, exposure, ISO and Film Sim bracketing, panorama and the Advanced Filter modes.
The Fujifilm X70 doesn’t have an optical or electronic viewfinder, it only has the LCD screen. However, it’s the first X Series camera to feature a touch-screen LCD, which lets you focus, shoot and browse pictures with touch gestures. In addition to the normal tilt positions, the vari-angle screen also flips all the way up into “selfie mode.” Or you could call it “shoot behind you mode.”
The X70 has a fast fixed FUJINON 18.5mm f/2.8 lens, which gives you the classic 28mm angle of view- just a little bit wider than what you get on the X100. It’s great for just about any kind of subject matter, and like all the other Fuji primes, it’s very sharp.
No, it’s not a zoom lens, and that might deter some people. I’m a sucker for fast primes, so I really like the fixed lens aspect of this camera. It adds to the simplicity of having a pocket-sized camera- you with it out, frame your subject, grab the shot and you’re done. There’s no time spent trying to figure out what zoom setting you’re going to use, you just point and um… shoot.
It’s kind of a sweet spot focal length that works for landscapes, portraits, travel, even wide angle action. It’s not a macro lens, but it does focus pretty close too, so it’s decent for shooting details. And, as I pointed out, it has all of the Fuji film simulations and Advanced filters, so even with the single focal length, you have a wide variety of creative options with this little…, I mean “Powerful” camera.
Pros: The Fujifilm X70 is a really fun camera; it’s light, small, and very capable. Image quality is excellent, and it does extremely well with high ISO when shooting in Low light.
The pronounced thumb grip makes it very easy to handle, and ergonomically, it’s quite easy to shoot with one hand. You’ll probably want to use two hands if you need to change any settings, though. And it also charges via USB. Big plus.
Considering that it has the same size sensor and nearly all of the features of the more expensive X Series cameras, the X70 is a pretty good value.
Cons: The extremely small size might be challenging for big photographers with big hands. Also, if there’s one slight design hiccup, it’s that the left Fn is a little too close to the edge of the flip screen. It’s a little hard to press sometimes, especially with bigger fingers.
Also, the rear command dial is not really a dial, it’s more of a switch. I works like a dial, but it has a lightly different feel than what you might be used to. Neither of these things are deal breakers, though. I just see them as two small ticks against total perfection. On the other hand, with a camera this small, it’s amazing they found enough room for all of the controls. That took some pretty careful design.
I think the X70 an ideal choice for anyone, (not just existing Fujifilm camera owners) who wants a compact camera. I performs well enough to be your primary camera for lightweight travel or inconspicuous shooting situations, and it makes an excellent second camera or backup for a bigger camera like the X-T1.
if you’re already an X Series shooter, you’ll feel right at home with this thing. If not, it’s pretty easy to figure out. I’ve had a lot of fun with mine, and I think you would too.
Bought the X70 last week as I needed an APS-C sensor P&S camera as a backup to my X-T1 and X-E1. Took a chance with the X70 and was blown away with the jpeg image quality and I never ever ever shoot jpeg until now!! Would highly recommend.
You keep saying little, tiny and itty bitty, and it sounds demeaning... why not powerhouse, unprecedented, or revolutionary?! This camera stands next to, not under, the X-T1 & X-T10. Just a thought from an observer and X70 user 🙂
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