Fuji X70: Beyond the Specs

You can find reviews of the Fuji X70 all over the place, mostly talking about it's user-friendliness and incredible image quality in such a small, pocketable size. With over a month almost exclusively shooting the X70 for my Project 365, I'd like to touch on some of the more experienced based things I've learned about this camera that make me love it so much. And, a couple things I wish were more like the X-T1 & X-E2 I also shoot with.

 Fuji X Photographer  Dan Bailey  shooting the X70 in a brutal Oregon coast rain storm

Fuji X Photographer Dan Bailey shooting the X70 in a brutal Oregon coast rain storm

1. It's not WR, but it's TINY

This means I can put it in any pocket or space to protect it from weather or damage. For the beach storm above, I had it in my rain jacket's chest pocket, which is really small. When biking, I put it in a Revelate Designs Feedbag with a cuben fiber stuff sack for when it's raining. The X70 is so small, I actually am concerned it might bounce out of the Feedbag, which fits bike water bottles. In all actuality, I'm still trying to figure out how to best carry this little tank. It's too heavy for a shirt or pants cargo pocket and a little too big for a front pants pocket...


2. The tilting LCD acts as a 'tripod'

The shot of my bike and I above was taken with the camera sitting on the ground, angled up. Pull out the multi-angle tilting LCD screen and it is strong and stiff enough to act as its own tripod, of sorts. Pretty sweet feature. Probably not the only camera that can do this, but the X70 certainly does it really well.


3. USB charging

In the car or from a USB battery pack, solar panel, or even the wall plug-in, power can go straight into the camera with no battery adapter or charger needed. Uses micro-USB, same as my Samsung phone, for convenience of only needing one charging cord for both devices.


4. Fast AF

Standing only 18 inches away from the rufous hummingbirds, the X70 had no problem zone focusing on the quick-moving birds, seemingly despite their best efforts to move as much as possible. I've found the X70 only hunts if the scene is quite dark and low contrast. Auto-macro mode isn't as 'auto' as I'd like to experience, so for stationary close ups like flowers, I usually switch to manual focus, set it to it's minimum focusing distance, and move the camera accordingly. It tends to want to focus farther away than it is able to. 'Tis but a minor complaint.


5. It's Discrete

I got the X70 in black, as I didn't want it to be a flashy device. It's small enough that people either don't notice it when you're shooting or they pass it off as nothing to get flustered about, unlike a bigger camera & lens. Multiple times, I've been bold in public with it and no one notices or cares. I don't like upsetting people with taking a photo, so I like that. I still ask for photos, but not as much as when I carry my X-T1 & X-E2.


2016-03-03 07.09.36 1.jpg

6. I have to mention its sharpness

Dare I say it out-resolves the X-T1 & X-E2? I'm no pixel-peeper, but all I'm saying is there are no worries about image quality with the X70. No need to say any more.


 I shot this photo upside down and then flipped it in editing.

I shot this photo upside down and then flipped it in editing.

7. The grip

For such a small camera, it sure has a really confident grip to it. The thumb knob is perfect size, without hardly sticking out from the body, and the front piece is shaped and textured perfectly. I have a wrist strap on mine, but have no worries about quickly grabbing the camera and doing a no-look shot behind me while riding. Nice job, Fuji!


8. The Left Side Button that's not

On the left side of the body, from the photographer's perspective, there is a rubber, flush with the body surface button that takes (easy) intention to depress. I have it set as the self-timer, which seems perfect to me. What a great idea, Fuji. Kudos.

My personal button layout is as follows:
Movie: Focus Mode
Delete: ISO select
D-Pad: L/R/U/D Focus point
Fn: Wifi (might change, as I do wifi in image playback almost 100% of time)
Left side button: Self-timer


9. Digital Teleconverter

Like having three cameras in one (kind of), the built-in digital teleconverter is pretty darn good. It's more than just digital zoom, as some extra processing happens to the 35/50mm images, but quality is still high. I don't really use it, but the thing I like most about it is that when I do, the camera resets to 28mm on shutdown/startup. No need to worry about accidentally bumping the easy to move lens ring and taking a bunch of photos in digital teleconverter mode before realizing it. Another great idea, Fuji.


 Do you see the Devil?

Do you see the Devil?

The things I don't like so much

1. Always +1/3

It seems like no matter what the scene & lighting, the X70 likes to expose 'properly' at +1/3 exposure compensation. I've shot in RAW & JPEG and it doesn't seem to matter... hmm.


2. Left D-Pad Button

The left button on the up/down/left/right pad around the Menu/OK button is hard to press, as it's so close to the LCD. Now, in all honesty, it's proximity to the LCD is actually not the problem, but the fact that the LCD sticks outward from the body just a little bit, creating a tight 'corner' to get your finger into in order to press the left button. I actually wish Fuji made the X70 just a tad thicker so the tilting LCD would sit IN the body, not just barely stick out from it. Minor gripe.


3. Movie Button

The movie button is in a good spot, just in front of the exposure compensation dial, but because it is squeezed into that tiny space on the top plate and it does not stick up from the top plate (ie, flush with surface), it is incredibly hard to press the button. This is a situation where it IS too close to a 'corner' and hard to press because of it... or the button needs to stick up like the buttons on the back of the camera do. Also a minor gripe... just frustrating when you try to use that movie button assigned to a different shooting function, like focus mode. It's in a perfectly fine spot if it just was a bigger button.


Final word

Before I got the X70, I was using the X-M1 with the 18mm f/2 & 27mm f/2.8. I had come from SLRs and the X-T1 & X-E2 and was worried about losing the creative vision I feel I have looking through a viewfinder. After about two weeks using the X70, I forgot about this completely and I think I'm doing just fine without one. I still love using a VF when I have one, but with the X70, I'm more compelled to move the camera to where it needs to be to get an engaging shot. It's not as good as or worse than having a VF, just different. Go take photos and let the camera become an extension of your hand, which I feel the X70 has already. It helps, I'm sure, that I had previously felt this way about my 18mm f/2 lens.

With only three minor (very picky) complaints, I'd say the X70 is my most favorite camera I've ever used (and it's not even an interchangeable lens body!). Home run, Fuji. I can't recommend this camera enough. I just really wish Fuji made an 85mm focal length version! THAT would be the ultimate adventure camera kit.

Thanks for reading!
Stay sane. Sleep Outside... with a camera!

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