During September I had the luck to try out the new Fujifilm X70 compact camera. I was very excited when I received it directly from our friends at Fujifilm Hellas. This is the 3rd camera Fujifilm Hellas has sent us for a review. In July they sent us the Fujifilm X-T1 and in August the Fujifilm X-T10. Besides the cameras sent to us by Fuji we have also reviewed the compact wonder of a camera Ricoh GR, the timeless Fujifilm X-Pro1 which is at the time of this writing 4 years old and still kicking serious butt, and the big and powerful Canon EOS 6D.
All cameras we review here on Streethunters.net are reviewed in a particular way and under specific circumstances. They are reviewed while doing what they are meant to be doing, shooting in the streets! We don’t care about pixel peeping, lens distortions, chromatic aberrations or anything like that. What we care about is how well a camera handles in the streets, in other words, how good it is for street photography. So today is time to look into the Fujifilm X70 for Street Photography!
The Fujifilm X70 For Street Photography
Before we start we would like to repeat what we always say, which is that this review is from a completely personal point of view. Neither myself nor any of the Streethunters.net Editors are a camera expert. We are not pro camera gurus or have any affiliation with any particular camera brand. All cameras that we have reviewed we have used extensively in the streets. In this post you will be reading my personal opinion about the Fujifilm X70, so if you are interested read on.
I would like to mention that if you feel that there is something I have missed during this post, something that you would have liked me to include, please feel free to make your suggestions in the comments at the bottom of the page. During this review I will discuss the X70’s size & weight (portability), build quality, handling, performance, features, low light performance, image quality and value.
Size & Weight = Portability
The size of the Fujifilm X70 is 112.5 x 64.4 x 44.4 mm (4.43 x 2.54 x 1.75″.) and its weight is 340 gr. (12 oz.) including the battery and memory card. This is one small camera! When the tilting LCD screen is closed flat, it can easily fit into a jacket pocket. I wouldn’t try putting it in your jeans pocket, unless you wear really baggy ones. So, from a street photographer’s perspective this camera has an ideal size, it is very light and can be carried around all day without being a burden. Compared to the Ricoh GR which we mentioned in the introduction of this post, it is smaller but the Ricoh GR is thinner, making it that much more portable. Still, the X70 is an ultra portable camera that you can take anywhere with you and for that reason I think it deserves the highest possible mark.
The Fujifilm X70 has a full metal build. The top controls are made of aluminium to keep the weight down to a minimum. In the hands if feels sturdy and robust but it fails to convey the same build quality as the other Fujifilm X mount cameras I have handled previously. It doesn’t have a bad build quality, it just doesn’t feel as good as the rest of the Fujifilm cameras I have used. Of course, this is the only silver Fujifilm camera I have ever held so maybe I just didn’t feel inspired by it, or maybe my perception of the build quality was affected by the not so attractive silver parts of the camera body. The top dials didn’t move with the same heavy and decisive feeling that the dials move on the X-Pro1 and the X-T1 and X-T10. They moved in a more snappy way and felt less durable, even though I am sure they will never fall off. The back dials and buttons all work just fine. No spongy feeling like with the Fujifilm X-T1. They felt very responsive and they were quite easy to handle. The LCD screens is a 3.0-inch 1.04M-dot 180 degree tilting touch LCD screen. It tilts to 180 degrees allowing the photographer to get creative shots from different points of view. The touchscreen capabilities of the camera are great! More on this later. One last thing that we have to mention in the build quality is the amazing Fujinon 18.5mm F2.8 lens! The lens is sharp from edge to edge and produces great results. Fuji is famous for the high quality lenses it produces.
If you have used a Fujifilm camera before once you pick up the X70 everything feels natural to you. That is how I felt when I used this wonderful little compact. All dials and controls where were I expected them to be. The Aperture can be changed from the lens aperture ring, the shutter speed from the shutter dial on top and the exposure compensation from the comp dial on top. Of course no camera is perfect and the handling experience wasn’t 100% perfect for me. But this is a personal review of the camera, so you are free to disagree with me if that is how you feel. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons more carefully and see what I liked about the camera’s handling and what I didn’t like.
As I mentioned before, as soon as I picked the Fujifilm X70 up, I knew exactly how to use it. Everything was where I expected it to be on a Fujifilm camera. The dial positions and handling felt natural to me and I felt right at home. In my Fujifilm X-T1 review I talked about this vintage camera handling style again. It is something only a Fujifilm camera user can understand. Combined with the lovely tilting touchscreen LCD screen on the back, the fast AF capabilities that we will talk about later and the responsiveness of the camera, I thought that the experience of shooting with the Fujifilm X70 was a joy nearly most of the time.
One negative thing I found about the camera’s handling was that AUTO button on the top. When the camera arrived I just couldn’t figure out how to use it manually because the AUTO button was switched to on. It was in such an obvious place right there on the top of the camera but I just couldn’t see it. Ok, this could be attributed to me not noticing the obvious but it drove me nuts! I was trapped in automatic mode and I couldn’t change shutter speed, aperture or anything for that matter. When I finally discovered what that button did and I unlocked the full potential of the camera, I felt as if I had discovered cold fusion!
The other thing that annoyed me was the placement of the PREVIEW and DELETE buttons on the LCD screen. When shooting with the LCD screen tilted it was hard for me to preview my photos. I felt as if I was going to break the LCD when pressing it, so I would close it and then look at my photos.
The Aperture ring was a bit annoying to use. Because it is so slim fujifilm has added two finger rests on either side of the lens that you can use to click the aperture ring around. My fingers are not small and those little finger rests felt very small to me. I didn’t feel comfortable changing Aperture settings using that ring.
One last thing that I found was disappointing was that I couldn’t use this compact camera with just one hand when I wanted to change my settings. Even though I could go around pointing and shooting in Manual mode, when I had to change Aperture for example, I had to bring the camera down and change the Aperture with my free hand. On the Ricoh GR you literally don’t need a second hand at any time.
Just like the other Fujifilm cameras we have reviewed here (except the X-Pro1) the Fujifilm X70 packs a large X-Trans II 16MB CMOS sensor. The image quality that comes out of that sensor is awesome but we will talk about that in detail later. In this part of the review we will examine the Camera responsiveness, Battery life, the Autofocus speed and accuracy and the LCD’s performance.
The Fujifilm X70 is a very responsive camera, although it does have a slight shutter lag that can be noticeable only if you have previously shot with a faster camera. So, for example during the day I used the X70 I also used the Ricoh GR and when I had the X70 in my hands I felt that there was a slight lag when I took shots. After a while I got used to it and my brain knew when to press the shutter button in order for me to get the shot at the precise moment I wanted it. I think that if I hadn’t used the Ricoh GR during the same day, I might have not perceived this, but if I did, that means that it is there, so we have to make a note of it.
I was VERY impressed with the battery life! During the test the X70 was being used all day from 11:00 to 18:00 by both myself and fellow Street Hunter Digby Fullam. We only had one battery and the charger Fujifilm had given us wasn’t working, so we only had one charge to get us through the day. We must have shot at least 300 photos and the camera still had plenty of juice. So, the battery life of the camera impressed me a lot. By the way, I fixed the charger later, it turned out there was a lose connection of some sort. It was a really old and beat up charger, it was a wonder it still worked.
The Fujifilm X70 Autofocus speed and accuracy were most impressive! I couldn’t believe a compact sized camera with a APS-C sensor could perform so well! Even in low light, the camera’s AF was great! There all that much to say about this really, other than well done to Fujifilm for delivering such a good AF system in such a small and capable camera.
Using the LCD was a very nice experience. The only times I hated it was when the sun was very bright. When the sun was bright I found it very hard to compose anything. I had to place my second hand over the screen so I could see what was displayed. Other than that the touchscreen functions were great and so was the responsiveness of the display. I felt as if I was looking through a piece of glass, that is how responsive the screen was. Concerning the touchscreen features, you can choose between having a non touchscreen LCD, a touch to focus touchscreen and a touch to focus and shoot touchscreen! Besides using the LCD to shoot, you can use it to navigate the menus and to preview your photos. All in all the LCD is wonderful, I just hope that in future models they address that issue with the poor visibility in bright sunlight.
The compact Fujifilm X70 is packed with loads of features for such a small camera! Believe me when I say that it has as many features as a DSLR and maybe even more. If you are looking for a camera that fits in your pocket and can do plenty of things, look no further, this baby has it all! I was very satisfied with what the camera had to offer. Some cool features worth mentioning are the tilting LCD Touchscreen, the lens ring that can be used for focusing or as a function button for switching between other various settings depending on how you set it up, the upscaling digital teleconverter that can produce 35mm and 50mm equivalent images without sacrificing megapixels, WiFi, Interval Timer Shooting, Focus Peak Highlight, Digital Split Image, Electronic level, Multiple exposure and more. Another feature that I loved about this camera was its completely silent shutter. I would actually walk up to people’s heads and shoot multiple shots in their ears just to see if they heard the shutter but nobody did. When activating the Electronic shutter the camera can reach up to speeds of 1/32000th of a second. That give you the ability to shoot wide open in broad daylight and get some pretty nice results. Just as with any electronic shutter you must be careful not to move to much when shooting so you don’t get a wobbly effect in your photos called rolling shutter effect.
Of course, being a Fujifilm camera, the X70 has all the film presets one would find in the Fujifilm X-T1 and X-T10. The Fujifilm presets are what help produce those popping colours Fujifilm cameras are so famous for. So, by getting the X70 you have access to these amazing film presets that will make your photos look awesome from a colour perspective.
The only downside that I can think of about this camera is that it doesn’t have a viewfinder. Maybe some will not miss it, but as with the Ricoh GR I felt that at times I did need it, especially during the time the sun was so bright I couldn’t see anything on the LCD screen.
Low light performance
Like all Fujifilm cameras the low light performance on this little compact was amazing. The combination of the Fujifilm X-Trans II 16MP CMOS sensor and the Fujinon 18.5mm f2.8 lens allows for easy shooting at 1600 ISO and 3200 ISO. Pushing to 6400 ISO isn’t a risk at all. Results are just great and easily acceptable. This camera doesn’t only produce good images in low light, it actually focuses at a decent speed in low light too. I was very impressed with how it managed to lock on target. It wasn’t the fastest low light AF, but it was workable. Of course the Fujifilm X70 is a compact camera with an APS-C sensor and it can’t be compared to the various full frame beasts that dominate the low light photography landscape, but it is still an excellent choice for someone looking to shoot in low light that doesn’t want to spend a small fortune on a bigger full frame camera.
I will start writing about the image quality by saying three things, Fujifilm X-Trans II 16MP CMOS sensor, no anti aliasing filter and Fujinon high quality glass. That combination is killer and the image results are just fantastic! Crazy colours, fantastic contrast, incredible sharpness & detail and perfect edge to edge image quality. What an amazing little camera. Image quality excellent, enough said.
The Fujifilm X70 can be appraised as an expensive compact camera or as a cheap marvel of a camera! It depends on how you look at it. As far as I am concerned it is priced well. It could have been priced a little cheaper but even so at the price it is available now it isn’t that bad. Of course there are DSLRs and other Mirrorless options for the same price, but the features this little gem packs in combination with its perfect size and weight are well worth it. I will not give it the highest marks as far as value is concerned but I will give it a good mark because it deserves it. At the time of this writing You can purchase it on Amazon.com new for as low as $599 and on Amazon.co.uk new for as low as £499.00. In the rest of Europe it is sold for €659 new. I guess Fuijfilm thinks that we in Europe can afford to pay that much more for the camera. So the cheapest place to buy it now would be the UK.
The Fujifilm X70 is an amazing compact camera for Street Photography!
I highly recommend it to anyone that is starting out with street photography just now, or has been at it for years. This little pocket sized monster is fun to use, produces great results, is light, fast and full of features that can make your experience even more enjoyable. The built in 18.5mm f2.8 lens is ideal for street shooting and helps you get close to your subject so you are right there experiencing the scene while capturing it. It might not have a viewfinder but it has a very capable tilting LCD touchscreen that more than makes up for the loss of the viewfinder most of the times. The only times I missed the viewfinder really was when the bright Greek sun was shining and I couldn’t see what I was framing. As I mentioned before it has a good build quality, performs great in low light conditions, has great autofocus and doesn’t chew through the battery as fast as I thought it would. I think that with two batteries in your arsenal you can go shooting all day with the X70. As a camera it handles nicely and the image quality is off the charts!
If you want to know more about the Fujifilm X70, just ask me in the comments. If you would like me to share with you my personal settings, I will gladly do so. All you have to do is ask and I will deliver.
Stay Sharp & Keep Shooting!