Anthony's Official

Fujifilm X70 Review

Posted: 5/21/2016

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE FUJIFILM X70

In this modern world of high-resolution smartphone cameras, one would not be wrong to wonder how much of a place there is left in the world for compact point-n-shoot cameras.

Camera companies are trying to combat this line of thought by launching newer high-end point-n-shoot models that push the boundaries of what we thought was possible from that level of camera. The Fujifilm X70 is one of these high-end point-n-shoots that aims to offer the convenience of a small form factor with image quality that rivals its interchangeable lens cousins. Let’s find out if it meets those lofty goals.

X70 SPECS & DESIGN TOUR

Fujifilm X70 Review by Anthony Thurston
16.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS II Sensor
3.0″ Tilting Touchscreen LCD
Built-In Wi-Fi
Fujinon 18.5mm f/2.8 Lens (28mm Equiv.)
Full HD 1080p Video @ 60 fps
Max ISO 51200 
77-Point AF System
Interval Recording
8 fps Burst Shooting
Fuji X70 Review

The Top

Despite its obvious vintage design style, the X70 takes on a rather standard layout on the top. Here you will find an exposure compensation dial, Shutter Speed dial, Drive Mode button, and Video record button – all fairly standard features on interchangeable lens cameras, but a little more rare in the compact digital realm. Of course, you also have an on/off toggle & shutter release as well as a hotshoe for a Speedlight.

The Left Side

The left side of the X70 is about as bare as I have ever seen on a modern digital camera. Besides a collection of visible screws and a mounting point for your camera strap, there is just a single button on the left side of the camera.
This button is a custom button that is by default set to allows you quick access to your control ring options, but you can set the button to do whatever you want it to do (from the available options in the custom functions menu).
Anthony Thurston Fuji X70 Review
Anthony's X70 Review

The Front

Similarly to the left of the camera, the front of the X70 is very simple. You have the lens, a Fujinon 18.5mm F/2.8 (28mm FF equivalent), an AF assist light, the aperture & control rings, as well as the focus mode selector.
The aperture and control rings are built into the lens, so really the front of the camera looks like the lens, AF assist light, and focus mode selector.

The Right Side

Unlike its larger interchangeable lens cousins, the X70 does not feature and SD card slot on its right side. Instead, this is where you find the camera’s three connection ports. A mic jack to connect an external microphone, a micro USB port, and micro HDMI port.
You can use the micro USB port to charge the battery, or you can use it to transfer files to your computer.

The Back

The back of the Fujifilm X70 features no EVF, instead, you get a 1.04m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD. This LCD can flip up over the top of the camera to make taking selfies easy. A notable thing about this touch screen is that they also included the trash and play buttons above the screen.

You also have a control wheel on the top right corner, and below that the primary buttons on the X70.

The Bottom

The bottom of the X70 is standard. You have your 1/4 20 thread to make mounting to tripods or other accessories easy, and you also have your battery door/compartment. The battery compartment is also where you will find your SD memory card slot.

I am not a huge fan of dual purpose memory/battery compartments but on a camera this size that is just something you have to deal with.
Fujifilm X70 Bottom

The Good
(Pros)

Pros - Fujifilm X70
- Easy to carry compact size
- Full APS-C Sensor, Not 1″ like some competitors
- The Same sensor found in Fuji’s popular X-Series cameras
- Excellent ISO Performance and Dynamic Range
- Fuji’s legendary Jpeg’s and Colors

The X70 is a bit of an anomaly in the high-end compact camera market while popular models from Sony and Canon offer smaller 1″ sensors, Fuji opted to utilize the same sensor that made their X-Series cameras so popular. It’s a bold choice that sets the X70 apart and gives X-Series fans a compact camera to consider.

The sensor isn’t the whole story, though, as Fujifilm really managed to cram a ton of functionality and capability into such a small frame. Not to be forgotten 18.5mm lens, offering roughly a 28mm full-frame field of view, offers great image quality, even wide open at F/2.8.

The Bad
(Cons)

Grip will be too small for anyone with large hands -
Most of the buttons are tiny, almost too tiny -
Small, but not quite pocketable for most people -
No EVF -

The Fujifilm X70 is a great camera, but there are a few cons that really leave you scratching your head. First and foremost is the lack of an EVF. As nice as the rear LCD touchscreen is, in bright sunlight it can be difficult to see, making it difficult to confirm framing and focus.

Additionally, the choice to go with a fixed 18.5mm lens is a bit of a double-edged sword. While the quality is great, it is rather limiting compared to what the Sony and Canon offerings in this range provide. For this sort of camera, I feel like a power zoom with a decent 24-70 (full frame equivalent field of view) focal range would have been a better choice. Though that likely would have increased the size quite a bit, since this camera’s main competitors use 1″ sensors their lenses can be more compact, yet cover a wider range. Maybe this is just a negative side effect of choosing to go with the APS-C sensor.
Fuji X70 Cons

Sample Images

I took the X70 out with me on several day trips, first to Smith Rock State Park, and then along the Historic Columbia River Highway. I tried to use the camera in situations where someone would actually bring a camera like this.

ISO Samples

I didn’t want to spend too much time on ISO tests with this camera, mainly because it’s very similar to virtually every other Fujifilm camera that uses this 16MP X-Trans sensor.
But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t show any, so here are a few ISO samples for you to sink your teeth into. You can download the full res files in a zip folder here for those of you who want to pixel peep a bit.

Dynamic Range (Before/After)

This shot are a good example of the processing latitude that these X70 Raw files have. The before is, as you can plainly see, very underexposed. This was on purpose with this test in mind. The afters, while a little overdone, were processed this way to highlight how far they can be pushed.


Full Res RAW Sample

Image is for personal evaluative purposes only. Not to be copied, shared, or used for any other purpose without my consent.

Download this Full Res RAW File

Final Thoughts on the Fujifilm X70

I was really not sure of what to expect from the X70 going into this review. I had used the Sony RX100 series cameras before, as well as Canon’s G7x and generally liked the outstanding image quality I was able to get out of these small and compact bodies. The biggest concerns I had going into the review was whether or not the 18.5mm lens would be too limiting and if the lack of an EVF would make the camera a pain to use in the direct sun.

I received answers to both of those concerns. In regards to the 18.5mm lens, yes, it is limiting, but in the same way, that any prime lens is limiting, it is also incredibly inspiring. It forces you to get creative with your framing and composition, move your feet and look for better shots. So while I did miss the ‘super-zoom’ lenses on its Sony and Canon competitors, I came to be rather fond of the 18.5mm lens, because of its limitations, not in spite of it.

On the EVF front, well… it wasn’t as bad using this in bright sun like I thought it would be. It certainly wasn’t ideal, but it was not the end of the world. In fact, it was easier than trying to see my phone screen in direct sun, so that is a win for the X70 (I suppose).

If you are a photographer the X70 isn’t going to replace your primary camera, but then I really hope you weren’t really expecting it to. That aside, the X70 is an excellent trip or family camera for when you don’t want to lug around the big camera. The image quality is fantastic, bot the RAW and Jpegs are incredible, and it’s really easy to use. So long as you can live with the limitation of the 18.5mm lens, this is a camera you should definitely consider.

Overall, I ended up being really pleased with the X70 during my brief time with it. I found that it was intuitive and easy to get the hang of. Once I had done that, using this camera while out and about was a breeze and the images speak for themselves. If you are a fan of Fujifilm, or even if you aren’t, this is a high-end compact that should be near the top of your list.

Buy The Fujifilm X70

Thoughts? Comments? Critique? - Join The X70 Discussion Below!