They say good things come in small packages, and the Fujifilm X70 certainly packs a heap of enticing features into a stylish and streamlined casing. Fans of the X-Series will already be familiar with Fuji’s retro design and premium build, and this combination of character and quality continues with this release. Previously, those seeking a Fuji compact may have been deterred by the bulkier frame of some models, so will the pocketability of the X70 make it more popular?
Inside the X70 you’ll find an APS-C sized 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor, the same as the one used in the larger X100T. It also shares the same EXR Processor II, and delivers a native ISO range of 200-6400, which can be expanded to 100-51,200 for low light shooting. This pairing means the X70 matches its larger sibling in terms of image quality, but is £250 cheaper than the X100T, which surely makes it the more tempting option for those deciding between the two.
The X70 shares some specs with the X100T, but there are plenty of differences that separate them. The X70 uses a wider 18.5mm f/2.8 lens, which has a full-frame equivalent length of 28mm, making it good for scenics and general snapping. While the focal length is fixed, there’s a Digital Tele-converter offering 35mm and 50mm in auto mode, which works by cropping the sensor, but some may find the lack of a traditional zoom limiting. The lens is constructed from seven elements in five groups, two of which are high-performance aspherical elements, and a specialised coating controls flare and ghosting.
This is also the first camera in the X-Series to feature a touchscreen, and the 3in 1040k-dot LCD will tilt away from the body to help compose from challenging angles, or forward by 180º to shoot a selfie. Touch capability is limited to basic functions like setting the AF point or scrolling through your images. It’s not possible to adjust menu settings, but is still a welcome addition.
The Intelligent Hybrid AF system has 49 points in its single mode for high-speed precision and on-sensor phase detection delivers 0.1sec focusing. There’s also a new wide/tracking mode with a larger 77-point area, which helps you capture moving subjects.
The X70 saves space by ditching the EVF found on other X-Series compacts, but there is a hotshoe so you can add a viewfinder attachment if you prefer one. There’s built-in Wi-Fi to pair the camera with the free smartphone app for remote shooting, and the X70 is also capable of recording Full HD video at 60fps, but there’s no 4K functionality.
Build & handling
The vintage-inspired design of the X70 is paired with a premium build quality, creating a classy-looking compact. It’s light at 340g, slim enough to slip in your pocket, and a rubberised grip ensures it’s comfortable to handle. The top-plate features milled aluminium exposure compensation and shutter speed dials, and the pancake lens includes an aperture ring and control dial. This makes it easy to switch between settings and take tactile manual control. There’s also a full auto mode if you want to let the camera do the work. The addition of a touchscreen makes it easy to quickly set the AF point, and focusing is mostly fast and accurate, but sometimes struggles in scenes lacking contrast.
The 18.5mm lens performed admirably in our tests. Images were sharp throughout, with no detectable edge softness, and no other noticeable optical flaws. ISO also fared well, with our JPEGs free from noise up to ISO 3200 due to in-camera processing. At ISO 6400, images began to take on a more ‘waxy’ look as the noise reduction kicked in. The image quality suffered significantly when the ISO was pushed to the expanded settings.
If you’re after the convenience of a compact camera but prefer the image quality of an APS-C sized sensor, then the X70 is certainly a good option. The manual controls will be sure to entice enthusiasts, and the stylish retro design adds to its appeal. Priced at £549, it offers very good value for money when you consider the X100T – which has the same image quality as the X70 – costs £795.
- Camera: Fujifilm X70
- Price: £499 (as of August 2016)
- Effective resolution: 16.3MP
- Sensor: 23.6×15.6mm (APS-C) X-Trans CMOS II
- Processor: EXR Processor II
- Lens: 18.5mm f/2.8
- LCD: 3in 1040k-dot tilting touchscreen
- Viewfinder: No
- Autofocus: Hybrid (49-point in single AF, 77-point in wide/tracking AF)
- ISO: 200-6400 (expands to 100-51,200)
- Shutter speed: 30sec-1/4000sec
- Shooting speed: 8fps for 10 JPEGs
- Video: Full HD at 60fps
- Built-in flash: Yes
- Other features: Wi-Fi, HDMI & USB 2.0
- Battery life: 330 shots
- Card type: SD, SDHC, SDXC
- Size (WxHxD): 113×64×44mm
- Weight: 340g (with battery)
- Web: www.fujifilm.eu
This review was first published in the May 2016 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.