Fujifilm X70 Review – Part 2 – In the streets of Amsterdam

Its time to conclude my review of the Fujifilm X70. Its not a perfect camera. But boy is it a good one.

As always you can support this page by using one of my links when shopping at B&H.
Fuji X70 Silver
Fuji X70 Black
BLC-X70 Case

 

If you missed part one and/or don’t want to read anything, here are 5 Reasons why I like the camera.

 

And a summary with 5 things I learned from using the X70 as a travelers camera.

The videos was recorded with, BMPCC Canon 30mm f2.0 Speedbooster

A trip

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Downtown Amsterdam

So Im back after a week in Amsterdam with nothing but the Fuji X70 as my camera.
Thats right, I left my Leica M6, Sony rx100iv and Canon Eos-3 at home.
And I haven’t yet had time to buy an extra battery, one would have to do.
I charged it every night and used it for 2-4 hours per day of intensive shooting.
In other word, I never ran out. My guess around 5 hours is max.

I will get a spare battery in the future and suggest you do the same.

Always with me

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Nice and compact even with the case.

The compact size of the X70 makes it pocketable.
No, it won’t go into my jeans accept for when Im in the bathroom or some other place where I need both my hands for a quick while.
But I live in Sweden, which means that I wear a jacket at least 8 out of 12 months.
Im also reaching the age where a sports jacket or blazer is needed for most dinners and social events I attend.

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Already at the Airport I started shooting while I waited.

During the trip in a very rainy Amsterdam I had my thin summer jacket with me and the camera didn’t leave my side for one single second all week.
Which is basically true for the entire time I have had the camera.

In the dark

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I never went over ISO3200, confident that I can push it in post if needed.

It was a heavy overcast and rain almost the entire time I was there. And since I was there on a business trip I didn’t catch much daylight.
Which gave me a reason to thoroughly try the lowlight capabilities.
And I must say that Im impressed.

A caviate is that Im very tolerable against noise. If you follow me you know I shoot a lot of film and Im one of those who degrade my digital images with artificial grain.
Thats just how I roll.
Therefor the noise in my pushed ISO3200 images are just right.

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A trick when you are really stretching it is to go black & white.

An extra stop than the maximum of f2.8 on the aperture would of course be welcomed, but undoubtably compromise the size of the camera which would defeat its entire purpose.

Lets Focus

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Being dynamic is the key.

When I read what others think of the camera there often is an issue with the focus.
Some say the Continuous Auto Focus is to slow.
Others that the manual is bad.
Some don’t like the touch to focus and shoot function.

What I feel they have missed is that its dynamic. You are supposed to use all of them.
Not just try your favorite focus mode and then say the focus is good for this, bad for that.
What the camera does is invite you to get involved. Be dynamic and flexible.

I might be walking along, spot a person.
Flip out the screen, move in close, point it away from the subject that thinks Im just fiddling with menus and CLICK!

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With kids its best not to be obvious. Or ask :)

Wait thats not right. I mean ”click”. The leafshrutter is very stealthy :)

So I move along and end up in a more crowded and fast moving area.
No problem.
Switch to Manual Focus. F5.6 and 1/500 to freeze motion since both me and the subject is moving. Set the focus to 2-3m and go hunting.

The camera returns to this zone if you turn it off and on again, Big Plus!
The stealth in combination with the wide angle lets me hold it inconspicuously at my waist or at my side.
When they enter your zone, ”click”.

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In the zone.

Right after you see the next target. But its out of your reach…
No worries, the back button is now serving as a quick focus, ”click”

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Back Button Focus

After the crowded street you need a break by the canals.
You see a bird. Walk up to it.
Single Auto Focus.
Lock exposure with the back button.
Lock focus with the trigger, recompose and ”click”.

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Lock and recompose.

Sometimes its also good to simple trust the single focus. Not press half way and wait for a green light.
Just click it.

It will still do the hunt and focus for you. Since you can touch the screen to choose focus points it can be very quick.
This shot was taken that way and the camera had no problems locking on Gunpowder coming at me in full speed.

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The focus isn’t totally lost in speed.

The Angle of View

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A 35mm is nice. But the 28mm (eq) gives you the last bit you need.

The 18mm f2.8 lens is very nice indeed. Its great for street and mid range but can also capture wide scenes and Architecture.

Another fun way of shooting is from the hip using a close zone and manual exposure.
It was during the time I took these hip shots that I realized what a nice tonality the camera gives you with some under exposure.

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I really really like how they turned out.

In all honesty, I do love viewfinders and miss it some times.
But the screen in combination with the 18mm lens really make me miss it less and less.

The light

Regarding exposure I have quickly found my style.
For street in crowded spots I do as I explained above. f5.6 to get a nice 2-3m zone. And 1/500 for freezing motion.
I let the ISO ride in auto between 200 and 3200.

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Fujifilm’s tonality is gorgeous in my opinion.

Now this was in somewhat dim light. Had it been super bright I would of course ramp the shutter speed.
And if darker I would firstly go lower on the shutter speed and adjust my own speed accordingly or stand still.
At some point I will start opening the aperture and therefor I might switch to S-AF.

When shooting a bit more stationary subjects and things at a distance I usually use aperture priority and S-AF.
I find the lens very pleasing at f4-5.6. I of course use f2.8 for shallow depth of field or dimmer light.
The ISO is left as before.
And I use the back button to lock exposure. Personally I like protecting highlights such as the sky and then push shadows in post.

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Red is the new orange.

Member Flash? Yeah I member!

One thing I need to start remembering is that I have built in flash.
Ive shot many pictures during the week where a flash would have been interesting, even though it handles total darkness.
But for some reason I forget that its there.
And its a shame when Fujis have such a high synk speed.

This picture was taken years ago with my first Fuji, the X20.
A couple of cheap flashes and you can go open aperture even in daylight due to the high speed.

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Fuji X20, High sync speed experiment.

But I have played with the flash in Bulb Mode.
Here we see gunpowder running about 50m during a 10 second exposure.
It started with a flash illuminating her. Then we ran as fast as we could in the dark.
Me constantly pointing the camera towards her green light on the collar.

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Good times.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

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Lets start with the Bad

• The switch between focus modes shouldn’t be there. Its to hard to use and I haven’t yet gotten used to it. I switch focus modes as often as aperture and it should have a better dedicated switch. Preferably top deck where all the other settings are done.
• I havent wrapped my head around the custom ISOs completely. I sometimes catch it using a lower speed than I have allowed. Also I can’t name them.
• The front plate is plastic, so is the battery door. The case fixes this but I also wanted a beefier grip. Some might not like that.
• The On/Off switch is to easy to flick.
• The video record button is to tough to hit.
• An ND would have been nice.

The Ugly (other cameras)
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Obvious contender.

• Its impossible to talk premium compact cameras and not compare to the even smaller RX100 series. It has lots of quirks. The zoom is painfully slow. But the AF is snappy, great video, slowmo, log, etc.
• The X70 is a stills camera. The video is usable for simple things, good enough not to end up on the bad list. But if you have any sort of ambition towards video and stills is less than lets say 30% of your usage. Then a Sony x100 or Panasonic LX100 is probably worth looking at.
• A used Fuji x100t costs about the same. I wanted to be able to use the screen as a waist level viewfinder, the wider angle and I wanted a smaller camera. Otherwise the bigger sister might be a better choice.
• A used X-Pro1 + Lens is also the same price or even cheaper.
• The Ricoh GR is even more ”retro” and a very similar camera. Its been out for a while so finding a used one is easier.
• Some cameras are much cheaper.

The Good

• The Screen is magnificent. I love touching it, tilting it and viewing it.
• The size is perfect for me.
• The external controls is the key to a fun and dynamic day of shooting.
• The colors which runs circles around the Sony (bigger sensor as well) in combination with the very usable film simulations.
• The dynamic range is of the charts.
• The lowlight is excellent.
• The wifi in combination with the raw converter is great.
• The massive number of customizable buttons makes it frustrating that the camera is so straight forward that no fiddling with them is needed.
• The images I get makes me happy and I enjoy using it as well as the post process experience.
• Its an awesome camera.

Summary:

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I can easily recommend this camera.

This camera is a little powerhouse and a great friend. You can bring it along every where and use it for many photo scenarios with some compromise.
I would say fast action sport is probably the only segment where it would be really frustration.
I can definitely recommend this camera as a travels camera, B-Cam or as the first ”real” camera for someone stepping up from a smartphone.

Its a nice choice for bloggers and Instagramers as well.

Is it perfect? No

Is any camera? No

Is is 100% usable and fun? Yes

But don’t get it if you don’t want to work your camera. Be active, use the different modes and features and you will have a good time.

Thats all for this still oriented review, I might update with a look at video in the future.
For even more sample pictures follow me on Instagram.

/M

  • Rick T.

    Thank you for the insightful review on the X70. I’ve always liked the Fujifilm X-series cameras. Been shooting w/my trusty Nikon 3200 w/35mm f1.8 lens for a long while now & haven’t had a compelling reason to switch my formula… until now. For my travels, especially on my motorcycle, the X70 would be perfect. I really enjoy your IG page & now this website. Your images appeal to me very deeply. Thanks again & all the best, Mattias.

    • Mattias.B

      Cool, very glad you enjoy my images.
      The X70 or X100/s/t/f would both be very suitable, the X70 obviously has the edge size wise.
      I posting a little video about the X100t tonight but if I had to choose between that and the X70 the little one would probably win.
      Im planning a comparing review.
      /M