In the Field with the Fujifilm X70


I have long had a penchant for small, high-performance cameras; especially small high-performance cameras with wider-angle lenses. I’ve wanted an X70 from the moment I first saw one.

The Fujifilm X70, the company’s smallest and lightest X-series camera to date, features a fixed 28mm equivalent wide-angle lens. It’s a pocket camera in every sense of the word and it’s a good one. Despite its petite profile, the X70 is decidedly not a toy. It has a solid feel, it’s sensibly designed, highly responsive, and features a well-matched lens and imaging sensor.


The resolving power of the X70’s 16.3MP APC-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor isn’t hampered by a low-pass filter and, for the record, at no time did I detect any moiré patterns. No doubt the camera’s EXR Processor II image processor was a contributing factor in this matter, along with high levels of image detail and tonal range.

In addition to robust JPEG and RAW stills, the X70 also captures Full HD 1080p video at 60fps.


The lens and body

Wide open, the X70’s fixed Fujinon Aspherical Super EBC 18.5mm f/2.8 displays a touch of softness toward the edges, with an acceptable hint of vignetting, but close it down a stop or two and you get sharp corner-to-corner image detail. The lens contains seven elements, including a pair of aspherical elements for color aberration and distortion control, in five groups. Minimum focus is a smidge under 4", and the lens protrudes less than half an inch from the camera body, which creates a graceful, narrow profile.


The X70’s black aluminum body has a solid feel, though I wish the rubberized grip was a bit beefier. The camera body measures less than an inch where your fingers wrap around the right side of the camera, and even with average size hands I had to scrunch my fingers pretty tightly to maintain a decent grip. Then again; it is pocket-size, and that’s one of the things I like about the camera.

Milled aluminum analog-style shutter speed and exposure control dials click firmly into place and at no time did I accidentally over- or underexpose my images due to a casual brush of a control dial. I do wish the combination on/off shutter button control wasn’t so tiny and, compared to the other camera controls, “plastic-y.”


Complementing the camera’s standard menu is a Q Button, which gives you direct access to 15 exposure and image-enhancement parameters including ISO, WB, Dynamic Range, Image Size, Highlight & Shadow Detail, Color, Flash Exposure, and other frequently accessed camera settings.

Focusing and composing

The X70’s autofocus system utilizes 49 focus points for photographing static subjects in Single Point mode and 77 points when photographing faster-moving subjects in Wide Tracking mode. The camera’s AF system invariably nailed the focus milliseconds after pressing the shutter button, though I did experience occasions of focus searching when shooting at minimum focusing distances.

According to Fujifilm, the X70 has a half-second start-up time and can focus on your subject as quickly as 0.06-seconds and I’ve little reason to doubt the numbers.


Though the X70 lacks the truly cool hybrid optical/electronic viewfinders found in other X-series cameras, it does have is a bright 3" 1040K touchscreen LCD that, in addition to tilting up to 180°upward or 45°downward, also features touch focusing and touch shutter-release technologies.

Alternatively, you can slip the optional Fujifilm VF-X21 External Optical Viewfinder onto the camera’s hot shoe, which eliminates the downsides of composing pictures at arm’s length on an LCD in bright light. Frame lines for 28mm and 21mm lenses are clearly defined, and the total viewing field includes an easy view of everything going on beyond the frame lines. 


Focal length and field of view

If 28mm isn’t wide enough for your needs, the optional Fujifilm WCL-X70 Wide Conversion Lens can be screwed onto the front on the camera’s fixed lens, expanding the field of view of the lens to the equivalent of a 21mm lens (approx. 90° AoV). The edges of pictures captured using the WCL-X70 are a bit fuzzier compared to the camera’s prime lens, but it’s nice to be able to capture a wider image field when necessary. There’s also noticeable barrel distortion, but nothing that can’t be corrected post-capture. The downsides of the WCL-X70 wide-angle conversion lens are that it weighs almost as much as the camera, and it decimates the camera’s narrow form factor.


Want to shoot tighter? Rotating the knurled lens dial activates the camera’s Integral Digital Tele-Converter, which automatically up-scales the image to approximate 35mm and 50mm fields of view at full resolution. For wide-field shooting, the X70 can also capture 120° and 180° panoramas. For a fixed-lens camera, the X70 offers a high measure of optical flexibility.

Exposure and film simulation

Choosing an exposure mode with the X70 is quite easy. When the aperture ring and shutter speed dial are set to “A,” you’re in Program mode. If you want to shoot in Aperture or Shutter priority, all you have to do is manually set the aperture or shutter speed dial, respectively, to the desired aperture or shutter speed. For shooting in Manual mode, all you have to do is take both the aperture and shutter speed controls off the A position and you’re in total control.


There’s also an Advanced Auto Mode, which bases the exposure on the type of scene being photographed. Advanced Auto Mode can be engaged by flipping a switch alongside the shutter speed dial.

If you have fond memories of analog photography, Fujifilm’s X70 offers the option of choosing film simulation profiles for Fujifilm Provia, Velvia, Astia, Classic Chrome, PRO Neg.Hi, PRO Neg.Std, and Sepia. You also have the option of shooting Monochrome with simulated Red, Yellow, and Green filters.


Shutter, image capture—and there’s Wi-Fi

The X70 contains both mechanical and electronic shutters that enable you to capture images at shutter speeds ranging up to 1/32,000-second, along with a silent shooting mode. There’s also an interval timer for capturing time-lapse sequences in time spans ranging from 1 second to 24 hours for up to 999 frames. In Continuous mode, the X70 can capture up to 10 full-size JPEGs at 8 fps. As for low-light shooting, the ISO sensitivity for the X70 can be goosed up to 51,200. The camera is also Wi-Fi-enabled, so sharing your pictures with others is easy.

Size and weight-wise, Fujifilm’s X70 has its share of competition in its price category, including the Ricoh GR II, which like the X70, features a 28mm equivalent lens and a 16.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor. For the same price, other manufacturers offer equally able compact cameras with comparably fast zoom lenses and, depending on the camera, 1" or MFT imaging sensors.


Is the Fujifilm X70 the best choice for you? If high image quality in a pocket-size package, wide-angle imaging, quick response times, and rangefinder-style shooting are priorities in your book, Fujifilm’s X70 can make for an excellent addition to your camera arsenal.


Does the x70 allow for manual focus, or is it strictly auto?

The Fujifilm X70 does not have built-in GPS, no.  Though,  if you connect the camera to your smart phone using the built-in WiFi, you could use your phone’s GPS data to tag locations to your photos.


Great review! mentioned that you can turn off the LCD when using the accessory ovf. How do you turn it off? 


You got me on this one Eric. I habitually shoot using shoe-mounted optical finders, even when shooting with cameras with EVFs. When shooting on the street or under low-light  optical finders are my finders of choice. Whenever possible I turn off the camera's monitor and EVF simply because I find LCDs blinking on and off annoying.

That said, until Fujifilm includes this sensible option in a firmware update you cannot turn the camera's LCD off when using the VF-X21 optical finder. My apologies for this gaffe, and thanks for taking the time to point it out.



Yes Allen, Fuji needs to include that option in future updates. For now by pressing the Disp button at the back, you can cycle through various screen modes. The one which shows only data and not any image is the closest to getting an off screen for now. I am running version 1.10 firmware..not sure if this option is available on the earlier version 1.0.

The Ricoh GR/GR II allows shutting off the screen when using an optical viewfinder.  Besides, it has the best B&W images any camera can give you.