The smaller sibling to the well-received X100T, the X70 fits an APS-C-sized sensor in a pocket-friendly (and stylish) camera that has all the manual control and raw format shooting you’ve come to expect from Fuji’s X series.
It’s great for those who don’t have the budget for the X100T, but of course it comes with some trade-offs for the cheaper price and smaller body. There’s no viewfinder, and the 28mm wide-angle lens won’t be to everyone’s taste.
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Fuji has made a name for itself with its X series cameras, bringing the firm out of the doldrums of mediocre compact camera production to make it one of the most desired camera brands of the moment.
The X70 takes the design of the X100T and shrinks and tweaks it to make it more pocketable. As a result, it doesn’t quite have the same level of retro appeal as the larger camera, but it remains a sleek device – one that, crucially, is more likely to fit in your pocket.
The camera sports a relatively simple design, but it provides quick access to most of the settings you’re likely to want to use with any frequency. Around the camera’s lens is a dial for changing aperture – something traditionalist photographers will love. However, what they won’t love so much is that, since the lens is fairly flat in order to keep the size compact, it can be quite difficult to get a decent grip on the aperture ring – and harder still to grip the manual focus ring. With practice, you’ll at least become used to its positioning.
Although the X70 is arguably aimed primarily towards enthusiast and more advanced photographers, it still includes an automatic mode that’s activated via a switch on the top of the camera. With this mode, you can let the camera do everything for you and concentrate on composition. To help here, you can switch on the digital horizon level in the main menu to ensure your shots are straight, which is handy.
In order to set the autofocus point, you can use the touch-sensitive screen – a first for an X series compact. Simply tap the area to select the point as necessary. You can also set the camera to take the shot with a press of the screen, or even switch the touch sensitivity off altogether. If you choose to do the latter, you can set the AF point by first pressing the down directional key, and then using the other directional keys to move to the point you want to use.
By pressing a button marked “Q” you’ll be able to access a group of settings without having to go into the main menu. Here you’ll discover settings such as ISO, white balance, film simulation, aspect ratio and more. It’s a shame that you can’t navigate through this menu using the touchscreen; instead you need to use the physical keys, which although simple can take some time.
On the top of the camera sit a couple of dials that enthusiasts will appreciate, along with the aperture dial around the lens. There’s a shutter speed dial, which reaches shutter speeds of 1/4000. You can also set the dial to automatic. If you do this, but alter the aperture, you’re shooting in aperture priority. Alternatively, you can set the aperture dial to automatic, but set the shutter speed and you’ll be shooting in shutter priority.
If you want to use the electronic shutter for even faster shutter speeds than is represented on the dial, then you can use a small switch found on the back of the camera to move past the 1/4000 speed. It’s useful to use very fast speeds when shooting wide apertures in bright light to avoid overexposure. Fast shutter speeds are also good for freezing fast-moving action, such as sports, but this camera isn’t really designed for such tasks.
There are a couple of other notable buttons on the X70. There’s a function button marked Fn, which can be customised to a particular setting of your choosing; by default it provides access to the X70’s Wi-Fi connectivity. Several other buttons on the X70 are also customisable to different functions, which is great news for those who like to work in a particular way.
Since this camera lacks a viewfinder (electronic or otherwise), you’ll find yourself relying on the screen entirely to compose your images. Alternatively, you could purchase an optical viewfinder at additional expense to slot into the hotshoe.
The good news is that the screen is pretty decent, resisting reflections well and showing a detailed display of images in playback and the view in front of you. Although a fully articulating screen would have been more useful for portrait images, the fact that this screen tilts to face forward or downward helps to move it out of the way of very bright sunlight – and of course facilitates group shots and selfies.
The inclusion of touch-sensitivity speeds up setting the autofocus point, and it’s also useful for swiping through images in playback. The icing on the cake would have been the ability to use the touchscreen to move through menus – but there’s no such provision on the X70.
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The fixed-length lens will put off some folk. However, when you consider that mobile phones don’t have zoom lenses, and they’re obviously very popular, it becomes less of an issue.
The X100T has a 35mm equivalent lens, while the X70’s is 28mm. That makes it a little more usable for landscape-style shots, as you can get more of the scene in frame. Some people will argue that 28mm isn’t good for portraits, but it is possible to achieve decent “environmental”-style portraits with the camera, being careful not to get too close to the subject so as to create a distorted effect.
Having a fixed-length lens is a trade off for the large sensor; remember that the sensor inside this tiny camera is identical to those you’ll find in much larger models – including DSLRs. As such, the 28mm lens here is a good performer, with no visible distortion in the corners of image. As previously mentioned, some people will prefer the slightly longer 35mm length of the X100T, but 28mm is satisfactory for landscapes and still usable as a walk-around length.