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Fuji X70 Review

Fuji X70 Review

A Fuji pocket camera with an APS-C sensor? Sign me up!

In the past, I've briefly owned the X20 and X30 which are similar in size, but with a smaller sensor. You can see my reviews over on Medium here and here. The great thing about those two cameras is that they are very responsive, have a great zoom range, and they are excellent for closeups. The problem is that they have a smaller sensor, and thus the images really fall apart at high ISOs.

I've been spoiled recently by the Fuji X-Pro2, but I still like the appeal of having a smaller camera, especially with the new 28mm equivalent focal length that the X70 offers. The price has been a bit off-putting though. What changed? I found one used on B&H that was pretty much brand new, and I had some reward certificates from there that brought the price down to about $500. That was the sweet spot for me. I also bought a used battery from B&H as well. Both of these were like new, and I would definitely buy used from them again.

One thing that annoys me about the camera is that it doesn't include a charger. You have to use the USB port to charge it. That's fine, but what if you have two batteries. You can't charge one and use the camera. The solution? I purchased an after market charger for $15 on Amazon.

For such a tiny and pocketable camera, Fuji should have included a wrist strap. Did they? Nope. Instead, they included a typical Fuji neck strap. I thought about going around without any sort of strap, but with my butterfingers, I have no doubt, I would drop the thing. So, I decided to look for an aftermarket wrist strap. After looking online at countless and quite frankly overpriced wrist straps, I had an epiphany. I used a wrist strap from our Nintendo Wii. It works like a charm! The best part? They cost $2.99 and are available via Amazon Prime!

Now let's talk about the pros and cons of the camera.1 First lets talk about the...

Cons:

  1. Sluggish performance - it's really not the fastest Fuji ever. That's particularly true in single point mode. In wide area autofocus, it's quite a bit better. Thus, I ended up using wide area focus with face detection quite often.
  2. Not the best in low light due to f/2.8. I would have preferred a faster aperture.
  3. JPEGs get a little crunchy when edited.
  4. Touch screen works, but isn't very useful. I found that unlike my micro 4/3 cameras cameras, where I use the touch screen all the time, the touch screen on the X70 feels half baked. The touch to focus isn't as responsive as an Olympus or Panasonic cameras. Also, compared to a modern smartphone, the touch functionality of the X70 is just not in the same league.
  5. Video mode, it's just not good. The autofocus hunts in and out and is quite distracting. If I were to use video, it would have to be manual focus only. Quite honestly, I would rather use my iPhone.
  6. If you are shooting RAW files, and then switch the settings to use one of the art filters, and then switch back to regular film presets, then the camera switches to JPEG only. I did this by accident and then all I was left to work with was JPEG files.
  7. No weather sealing. I had to keep the camera in my pocket for quite a few shots because it was raining.
  8. Sensor is now rivaled by the 20 megapixel micro 4/3 sensors which focus much faster. Apples and oranges, but I see this camera competing with micro 4/3 cameras.
  9. Not very many focus points in comparison to other cameras like the GX8 or Fuji X-Pro2. I realize it's not a fair comparison, but since those are the other cameras I use, it's relevant to me.
  10. No EVF, but not a deal breaker for me at this price point and size.

Pros:

  1. Tiny - I carried this around in my light rain jacket all weekend. Also, it's inconspicuous. When we went through a couple of stores in Chinatown, I was able to take casual snapshots. Something that would have looked very weird had I brought out my Canon DSLR.
  2. 28mm is becoming an "in" focal length (Leica Q, Ricoh GR, Panasonic/Leica 15mm - I know it's not exactly the same, but close). It's also quite sharp and while it's not the fastest f-stop in the world, it's also not the slowest. It's a bit weird for portraits, but just get close, exagerate the head, and shoot. Fortunately, the lens does let you get nice and close - I just wish you could get even closer.
  3. Fuji colors! This is the reason to own this camera. Otherwise, you might be able to get similar optical and noise performance, size, and faster focusing out of A Sony RX100 Mark (insert the newest number here).
  4. Tilting screen! I love tilting screens. I don't know why all cameras don't have one. The newest fad seems to be the flipping out screens which I can't stand, but the X70 has a tilting screen. Awesome! You can also use the tilting screen for selfies.
  5. Customizable buttons. I changed it to match the controls I use on my X-Pro2.

I realize my cons list is larger than the pros list. However, the reality is, that this is a fun little camera. That being said, you do need to make some concessions for the small camera size with a larger sensor. It is what it is.

Now, onto some photos! All of these were processed from the out of camera JPEGs. I ran them through Athentech's Perfectly Clear, and that's it. Later on, I'll mess with the RAW files, but with Fuji, you just don't need to.

Wonder Woman at the Puyallup Farmer's Market. I used wide area autofocus and face detect for this shot.

I would have liked to get closer, but the camera doesn't have a macro mode like the X20 and X30.

This was shot using the selfie mode. My daughter was sitting right next to me, but I wanted the shot from the other side. Rather than going around the table, I just flipped the screen.

It's a camera you can hand off to someone else and still get a great shot.

Yes, I like to take pictures of food - especially ramen - don't judge me.

Even though it doesn't have the fabled "Acros" mode of the X-Pro2, it handles B&W quite nicely.

It seems as though this camera is made to shoot in B&W. I'll definitely need to use that more often.

For a wide angle, crop sensor, f/2.8 lens, the bokeh is quite nice.

Wide angle selfie. It distorts in the corners, but wide enough to get us all in there.

Daiso in Seattle by Uwajimaya. It was fun taking photos in the store. I used the fill flash here and velvia mode.

Velvia, close up, flash. The closer you are to your subject with a wide angle lens, the better.

The tilting screen really came in handy for this shot. Also, the diminutive size of the camera has it's advantages. I was carrying it through a seafood section of a grocery store taking photos. Pretty weird, but at least it wasn't calling attention to itself.

Conclusion

If you're looking for Fuji colors and want something familiar to your other Fuji cameras, with a fixed 28mm focal length, are willing to sacrifice performance for image quality, and can get the camera on sale or used for $500 or less, then it's a good compliment to your other gear. If this is to be your one and only camera, I would get something else instead. For me, it'll be used when we go out on quick family outings when a larger camera would be inconvenient. I'll use it when we go bike riding, out for a bite to eat, and very casual shooting when getting the shot and ultimate image quality aren't of the utmost importance.

  1. The camera was set to high performance mode prior to any testing.


Noah Bershatsky

Noah Bershatsky

I was a nerd before hipsters were cool.

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