Text and photography by Bert Stephani
It was over two years ago, when some people at Fujifilm Japan told me about the idea to make a camera that would essentially be the smaller brother of the X100-series. I must admit that I wasn’t really sold on the idea of such a camera at first. It was only a couple of weeks ago, when I got a little play with a prototype X70 in Japan, that it started to make sense. For the last few days I have been playing with a production version and I will do a complete review after my upcoming trip to Cuba. For now, I just want to give you my first impressions.
The very first thing that came to my mind when I held the X70 in my hand was: “this camera will fit in my jeans pocket” and that’s exactly the reason why I immediately pre-ordered one. Until now the X100T and the X30 were my always-with-me-cameras. The X100T was just a touch too big for the job and the X30 didn’t have the excellent large X-Trans sensor. The X70 is not that much smaller than the X100T but unless you like skinny jeans, it fits in a decent size trousers pocket and it has the big sensor.
The X70 definitely shares its DNA with the X100T. As far as I know it has the same sensor and feature set as it’s big brother but it’s considerably smaller and a lot cheaper. This of course means that some compromises had to be made: the X70 has no viewfinder, the build quality is not as refined as on the premium X100T and the lens is a stop slower at f/2.8 (and a bit wider with it’s 28mm equivalent focal length). To me, none of these are true deal breakers, especially for a compact always-with-me-camera. Just know that it’s not an X100T.
The articulating screen is a great feature of the X70. It’s ideal for shooting inconspicuously from all kinds of creative angles. It’s also the first X-camera with a touch screen. You can focus, shoot or both with a tap on the screen or you can just turn off the touch function altogether. In playback mode you can swipe through images and pinch to zoom. Currently that’s all you can do with the touch screen but I imagine more touch features could be added through firmware updates.
The X70 has all the manual and advanced functions of a real photographer's camera but there’s also an auto-switch on the top-plate that turns the camera into a foolproof snapshot machine. Not a function that serious photographers will use a lot maybe, but now at least you can hand the camera over to non-photographer friends and family members. Now my eight year old daughter can take artsy pictures of earthworms.
So far, I’ve been having a lot of fun with the X70. I’ll be giving it a proper workout in Cuba in a couple of days and I’ll report back after the trip. In the gallery bellow you’ll find some random shots with the X70.