FUJIFILM X70 review: A camera with the X factor?
Introduction, Design and Handling
Smaller and slimmer than the X100S and the X100T, the discrete X70 gets the same X-Trans II CMOS sensor and EXR Processor II from the X-T1 and X-T10, and like these two cameras, the X70 offers an electrical shutter that goes up to 1/32,000s, allowing for a wide array of shooting possibilities.
The X70 comes with a new 18.5mm wide angle lens (28mm in 35mm equivalent) that has been developed specifically for the camera. It's a bright f/2.8 lens that has a minimum focusing distance of just 10cm; the shortest minimum focusing distance of any lens in FUJIFILM's X-series lens lineup, which means you can get closer for those macro shots than ever before.
The X70 is also the first X-series camera to be able to charge via USB, and the first to get a tilting rear LCD with touch; something we personally think has been a long time coming. So you could say the X70 represents the best of FUJIFLM's X-Trans II technologies, with some added extras.
Design and handling
In terms of looks, the X70 certainly won’t surprise any FUJI-X fans. It follows the tried and tested rangefinder design but does so in a slimmer, slightly smaller body. At just 11.25 x 6.44 x 4.44 cm, it’s certainly just about small enough to fit into your pocket, though it’ll probably be more comfortable in a jacket pocket.
Where it differs from the other X100 series cameras is that you get a nice handgrip up front and a bit of a thumb-grip behind too. These make it easy to handle the camera with just one hand while you adjust the two rings around the lens. The aperture ring retains the same design as the X100T, with two “wings” you can grip more easily to turn the ring, and the ring itself is clicked so you have a better feel for aperture adjustment even without looking at the ring.
The second control ring around the lens is more typical, with tiny ridges for better feel. You can assign custom functions to this, but we like the default setting where it activates the teleconverter function, allowing you to switch between 28mm, 35mm, and 50mm focal lengths (35mm format equivalents). FUJIFILM says that the quality drops slightly with the digital teleconverter function active (as it is really an in-camera crop), but our observations thus far are that the quality still remains good enough to print.
If you have the camera in manual focus, then this ring will act like your typical focus ring on interchangeable lenses. This is where you again get to choose between FUJIFILM's various focus assist methods like digital split image or red/white/blue focus peaking. You also get the option to zoom in on the Focus Point by pressing in on the center of the command control to display a 100% view, allowing you to confirm what exactly is in focus in real-time.
Everything else is essentially a shrunk down version of what you find on the X-T10, even up to the switch to put the camera in Advanced Auto mode. However, we found that the internal buffer in the X70 seems to be much larger than that on the X-T10. That was one of the few sticking points we had with the X-T10, and it seems to be solved with this camera. The X70 did a full 8 frames per second for about three seconds before slowing down to six frames per second for another four seconds. That’s definitely a better duration for capturing action with, and makes a more meaningful application for the high burst rate.
What could have been better though, is the movie recording button. As much as we appreciate that small body, it also means there really isn’t much space for a larger video button. It’s so small and so flush with the top of the body that it’s rather difficult to activate if you don’t have nails. A raised button would have been more functional.
And then there’s the rear LCD. This has the same specifications as the one you find on the X-T1, and FUJIFILM has managed to find a way to fit both the delete button and the playback button on the thin sliver of plastic available at the top. It may seem a little forced at first, but actually works well as the buttons are raised enough to be easily activated. This arrangement really maximizes the screen area, which is important as you don’t get a viewfinder with the X70.
The rear LCD does both tilt and touch, a first for an X-series camera, and that’s certainly a welcome sight. However, the touch functions can be improved. At the moment, you can either set the focus area or release the shutter in capture mode with touch, or do things like pinch zoom or swipe navigation in playback mode, which is extremely helpful. Unfortunately, you can’t navigate through the menus like you would a smartphone, nor can you use touch with the excellent quick menu like you can on the Samsung NX1, so we wonder why they didn’t just go the full works. Especially when the quick menu is laid out so simply it’s just begging to be a touch interface.