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Real-World Review of the Pocketable Fujifilm x70

Fujifilm announced the x70 back in January, 2016 as their latest pro compact camera in the X-Series lineup. It is mainly geared towards serious enthusiasts and street photographers who travel a lot and want a powerful camera in the smallest package possible.

Due to its retro-styled physical dials and the powerful APS-C sensor, it’s a dream come true for photographers who want great quality images from a carry-all-day camera.

What Makes A Camera Suitable For Travel And Street Photography?

Before declaring that the x70 is a great camera for travel and street photography, we need to establish what makes a camera suitable for that genre? A camera should be small enough and inconspicuous in order for you to travel without putting strain on your neck or arm and merge seamlessly with the crowd and not attract attention.

After the size, the image quality, ergonomics, and focus accuracy come into the picture. The Fujifilm x70 shines pretty much in all these areas with a few exceptions. It’s a camera that you will love to take with you on vacation without the worry to carry an excessive amount of gear to get quality images.

In this article I will not be diving into the specs of the x70 as it’s already available on the web. I’ll rather focus more on my experience. You can see detailed specs here.

8 Features That Make This Camera The Ultimate Travel & Street Photography Tool

1. Easy to Carry

Fujifilm’s x100T is one of the most successful models in the X-Series lineup and its specs are quite similar to the x70. A lot of people are confused as to why Fujifilm launched this camera when they already have a very successful model with similar specs. The answer to this is, x100T is still not exactly pocketable. You can easily carry x70 in your jeans pocket and can travel without carrying any bag.

2. Size – Good Things Come In Small Packages

The X70 is a lot less intimidating than other bulkier cameras, and from its look, it’s much like a pretty hipster-looking point and shoot camera. It gives you a touristy look and certainly helps in getting candid street shots without confronting people. A bigger body and a longer lens project you as the creepy photographer – and you obviously don’t want that.

3. Fast Aperture

It comes with a moderately fast aperture of f/2.8, which helps with the background blur and makes your subject pop since a lot of time you don’t have control on your background. Also, while travelling, you’ll visit places with various lighting conditions so this fast aperture prevents you from bumping your ISO too much.

4. A Good Usable Focal Length For General Photography Needs

This camera comes with an 18.5mm prime lens (28mm in full-frame equivalent) which might be a bit wide for some people, but generally a very good general purpose focal length for landscape, street and environmental portraits. For vacation, it lets you cover all types of photos (except telephoto) with just one focal length.

5. A Heavy Duty APS-C Sensor

Only a few truly pocketable cameras come with APS-C sized sensors and the Fujifilm x70 is one of them. The Ricoh GR and Nikon CoolPix A are some of the other models out there. Most cameras in this category come with a micro 4/3rd sensor or even smaller. Its 16MP resolution and APS-C sensor are good enough to produce professional quality images. This is a camera designed to produce professional quality photos.

6. Physical Design And Handling

Fujifilm really designed this camera intelligently by placing all the controls on one side to make it usable with just one hand. You can quickly take it out of your pocket and grab a shot single handedly. The dials are very tactile and it’s easy and logical to put the camera into aperture or shutter priority using these dials.

7. RAW Support

It supports RAW files which contain a lot of information and give you enough room for post-processing and cropping later on. Supporting RAW definitely puts this camera in the pro league. The RAW files are very clear and noiseless up to 400 ISO, and quite acceptable at 800 and 1600. You could surely do professional work with this little camera.

8. Tilt-able screen with touch functionality

It’s the first camera in the Fujifilm X-Series line-up that supports touch functionality. You can’t select menus using the touch screen, but you can change focus points which I found to be really intuitive. You can even focus and shoot in a single touch gesture which comes in handy when you are trying to snap a candid shot as people think that you are just fiddling with options while in reality you are firing the shutter. The tilt-able screen lets you go for low angles comfortably which are really difficult with fixed screens.

Features Targeted Towards Beginners & Enthusiasts

This camera is not only targeted towards pro street and travel photographers. There are a bunch of handy features that particularly attracts enthusiast and novices too.

1. Film simulation

Film simulation comes in handy for those who prefer the instant gratification of sharing photos right away. Even pros don’t always process casual images. You can even shoot in RAW and make an in-camera JPGs with these simulations right away. The simulations are good and produce more than decent results. It’s a fun and quick way to shoot and share photos with friends.

2. Wifi Support

Fujifilm developed decent android and iOS applications that can be used to take pictures remotely over wi-fi as well as to transfer images quickly to a mobile phone. The wi-fi performance is decent and very usable for transferring images. It eats up the battery (as expected), but it’s fun to have this feature on your camera.

3. Digital Tele-convertor

If 28mm is a bit wide for you, then you can change the field of view to 35mm or 50mm. Sounds great, right? But, it does it digitally, which means cropping. You will not get a 35mm or 50mm characteristics like bokeh and compression. I am not a fan of digital zooms and people who are doing serious work may not find particular use for this. But, again for casual photography, it’s still handy.

Bummers

Apart from being an awesome camera, it has some shortcomings too.

1. No Optical or Electronic Viewfinder

Small size comes at a cost. And the cost here is the viewfinder. Introducing a viewfinder in this camera would not have made it pocketable. So, although I missed it, carrying that camera in my pocket is far more important for me than having a viewfinder.

2. Video

Although this camera has video features like 1080p with 60 fps recording, they feel like feature fillers and the cameras certainly wasn’t designed for serious video recording. If you are a video buff, there are much better and cheaper alternatives on the market.

Direct competitors

There are many competitors out there, but none of them is as pocketable as the x70 in my opinion. The Fujifilm X100T, Ricoh GR II, Nikon CoolPix A, Leica X-E (Typ 102), Sigma DP1 Merrill and Sony RX1r2 are great contenders though.

My Verdict

As they say ‘great things come in small packages’, and the Fujifilm x70 is a perfect example of that. The quality of photographs you can get from such a compact camera is just amazing. Its retro physical style not only makes it ergonomically better, but makes it appealing to a lot of photographers who worked with film cameras earlier in their careers.

This camera might not be for everyone because of its fixed focal length but it certainly created a hardcore fan base among street photographers – similar to the Ricoh GR and Nikon CoolPix A.

It’s a clear winner in street photography and can be used effectively by people who do a lot of travelling because of its small size. And it has the ability to produce professional quality images, with all the trendy retro looks of film cameras with physical dials and rings. This camera will be difficult to ignore if you have the slightest inclination towards street photography.

Sample Images

These images are slightly post-processed but mostly shot at ISO 400 and all the way up-to ISO 3200 to really test the camera’s sensor and ISO performance.

The Fujifilm x70 is available in both silver and black. You can purchase either via Amazon and B&H Photo for around $699 USD at the time of writing.