Fujifilm X70 review – my settings
What I am about to say is solely my opinion and represents my user experience with my Fuji X cameras and in particular my Fujifilm X70 settings. I am about to divulge the best secret that never was. I am also probably going to tease and lure you a little and then if you are still reading go in to a few Fujifilm X70 settings and techniques I use for my street photography. There’s no doubt that anyone who has read my posts before will know about my little love affair going on with Fuji X cameras. Well this post is going to expose Fuji’s little gem that is actually a much bigger camera in disguise: the Fujifilm X70 compact camera.
Good things come in little packages!
The Fuji X70 is branded as a compact camera (and rightly so) on the basis that it doesn’t have an electronic viewfinder (EVF); neither does it have an optical viewfinder. (It does have a big electronic 3″ display screen on the back of the camera though.) She (the X70) is very small and fits into your hand and pocket nicely. There is a slight difference though as the lens is fixed with an odd focal length of 18.5mm (full frame equivalent approx 28mm) which is generally the widest focal length for most modern day compact cameras. Now, the Fuji X70 actually has a big disadvantage which I believe is its achilles heel: the label of ‘compact camera’. It seriously downs this little camera obscura. In truth it is more than a compact camera, but don’t let anyone hear me say that. Let me explain…
Fujifilm X Timeline
You have to look at the overall timeline and range of Fuji X cameras to see that they are generally compact systems cameras (CSCs) with the X trans sensors fitted, either the 16MP X Trans CMOS 11 or the 24MP X Trans CMOS 111. The current flagship models are the X-Pro2 and the X-T2, both having the latest 24MP sensor. The earlier cameras like the X-T1, X-Pro 1, X100 range (up to the X100T) had the earlier 16MP sensor fitted. As a custodian of both I can vouch for the fabulous quality both sensors deliver! The X70 compact was introduced at a time when the earlier sensor was in production on the Fuji compact system cameras and surprisingly it came with that current 16MP sensor, even though it is branded as a compact. In fact if you are a techie junkie please don’t email with all the different combinations of X series cameras that were fitted with said sensor…there were a good number. But the X70 is a compact, right? Here lies the dilemna and most probably the underlining reason I left it to the end of its production period to get one.
I decided to purchase the X70 compact camera following a street photography shoot in Salisbury with my mate and co-photographic conspirator, Cliff; he has been mentioned before in my posts and often gets the blame when I spend money on kit that my better half thinks I don’t need. (Of course this is fair enough and he rightly deserves the blame). He’d owned one for a while and was always shouting its praises, especially for street and travel photography. At this time there were, and still are, strong rumours it won’t be replaced. Not because it isn’t good, but mainly due to (if you believe the rumours) the physical size of the running gear of the newer X series CSCs which allegedly will not fit in its (compact) body shell…hmm, believe what you will. I also realised if I was to own one I probably wouldn’t get one cheaper than I would right then. Already owning a number of Fuji X cameras made the decision to buy even harder; after all, how many cameras can you use at once? (My wife’s words not mine, but of course a sentiment I found very hard to disagree with…yeah…I’ll move on.) I eventually succumbed and splashed the cash. I was right about the price: they had been retailing at over £550+, so the end of line sale price of £349.00 seemed an absolute snip.
The X70’s big aspirations and multitasking is no problem
The reason I hinted earlier that the X70 is a ‘she’ is because of her ability to multitask. The camera has multipurpose usage: it is equally as comfortable for family snaps, portraits and holidays as it is for documentary and street photography. Screw an adaptor ring (49mm) for a LEE Seven5 filter holder and it will perform like any DSLR for filtered landscapes too. It will produce fine quality images, with IMHO better than many current high profile DSLRs. Add the very cost effective (sub £150…I got mine for £60) quality Fujinon WCL-X70 wide angle converter lens and you have the equivalent focal length of a full frame DSLR fitted with a 21mm Zeiss lens. See, it really is a landscape camera too.
Fuji X70, 18.5mm (28mm full frame equivalent) No filters
Now here is an interesting little fact: when the flagship Fuji X-T1 (CSC) was introduced, it had the same running gear as this little X70, minus a few bits and menu features, but predominately they are very close siblings. The main thing is the X70 has all the bits you would want to take from the X-T1 (and X-pro1, X100 range) but with all the bonuses of a compact sized camera, a wide (f/2.8) aperture on a fixed lens and the invaluable 180 degree rotating tilting rear screen. It looks good too, and is discreet enough not to draw attention to yourself when in a street or travel photography situation.
So why is it so good for street and documentary photography?
Fujifilm X70 settings
One of features that set the Fuji cameras apart from their counterparts is the ability to use preset film simulations. Now if you are not familiar with these, in a nutshell, they are settings to the jpeg images produced in camera. They do not affect the RAW images. Each film simulation replicates the look of a film from the old days, like Classic Chrome, Velvia, Pro Negative Standard, Sepia, Monochrome and so on – in total the X70 has 11 film simulations. They come into their own when you don’t want to post process your images and want to use jpegs straight from the camera. In fact it is often hard to beat the jpeg images produced via the in camera simulation. Alternatively, it is possible to choose your preferred RAW image and adjust and edit the photo ‘in camera’ assigning any one of the film simulations available.
Another useful menu tool is the ability to set custom settings with different camera settings for different photography requirements. In total the X70 has 7 seven separate custom settings available to the photographer. This is handy as you can set a different simulation and easily flick between them by the touch of a button. It also means that you can set different settings and parameters for sharpening, highlight tones, shadow tones, colour saturation, dynamic range, noise reduction, white balance and so on.
Fujifilm X70 settings
My preferred film simulation custom settings
Custom Film Sim DR Sharp S Tone H Tone Colour NR WB ISO
Base & C1 Pro Neg Std 100% 0 -2 -2 0 -2 auto 200
C2 Classic Chrome 100% +1 +1 +1 +1 -2 auto auto
C3 Black & White (R) 100% -1 +2 +2 0 -2 auto auto
C4 Soft Astia 100% +1 -2 -2 0 -2 auto 200
C5 Provia Std 100% 0 -2 -2 0 -2 auto 200
C6 Velvia 100% 0 -2 -2 -1 -2 auto 200
C7 Not used
Street & documentary photography
These settings are based on the way I work generally for street photography. I often use the black & white (C3) setting so that I can visualise how the edited (RAW) black & white image will look afterwards. Likewise, I like to preset the camera to (C2) for the punchy classic chrome film simulation – this too gives me a preview of the final edited (RAW) image. The bonus of all the film simulation settings is the ability to immediately see a playback of the final image.
My workflow with the mighty Fuji X70
As a longstanding landscape shooter I generally always shoot with the camera set to RAW & jpeg and then process my images using Adobe’s Creative Cloud in Lightroom. This is also the workflow method I use for my street photography. This is just a personal choice and I know many photographers will happily operate with jpegs straight out of camera (SOOC), relying solely on the superb in-camera film simulations the Fuji X cameras deliver. I do have camera jpeg film simulations set at the time of shooting, so that I know how they will look afterwards.
Just a note for RAW shooters
In the develop mode of Lightroom, under the camera calibration, the Fuji simulation colour files are also available to process using the RAW images. This means the film simulations like Classic Chrome or Velvia can be assigned to the final edited image.
Other Fujifilm X70 settings
Fujifilm X70 settings
Back button focusing
I set the switch (M/C/S) on the front of the camera to M (manual) and configure (in menu) the AF/L & AE/L button on the rear of the camera to be the auto focus button. This is ideal as it means you focus and recompose your image without losing the focus point during the recomposing. It also means you can use the in camera focus peaking and manual focus method to fine tune your focus. Rear button auto focus is a feature many DSLR users employ – in particular portrait and wedding photographers. In my days with the Canons this was a regular setting I utilised as it meant being able to focus, recompose, and then press the shutter button without the camera hunting for focus again. It’s also useful in street and documentary photography, offering you total control over selected focus. The Fuji’s back button focusing works admirably.
Fujifilm X70 settings
Zonal focusing is to manually focus to a set (hyperfocal) distance and then in combination with the chosen (narrow) aperture, it will provide good depth of field (DOF). It will produce a higher hit rate of images that are sharp and in focus; as long as the aperture is narrow enough. This is especially useful with the X70 as it has no optical or electronic viewfinder. Street photography needs a discreet approach, often shooting from the hip. Zonal focusing, once mastered, is a an effective and popular choice for Fuji X street photography. In some ways the method is not too dissimilar to landscape photography techniques when creating strong depth of field to an image using the hyperlocal distance method.
Summing up – Fujifilm X70 settings If you are keen to use a camera with versatility, compactness and quality, the X70 is a great all rounder. I love it and find it an excellent camera to use in particular for candid portraits, street and documentary photography and have even used it for landscape shoots. I am looking forward to taking it to the mountains in Switzerland soon for further landscape and documentary trials. Like all cameras it has its good, very good and just a few ‘livable-with’ not-so-good bits.
Here is a little summary of what I think about the overall experience of using the Fuji X70 so far
- It looks good, a bit retro. As with all Fuji X cameras the build quality is excellent.
- Lightweight, compact and discreet when called upon.
- Battery life better than expected compared to the bigger X cameras.
- The aperture ring on the front. It has two levers to locate it.
- The 180 degree tilt screen is useful, especially for street photography (and selfies if you like them).
- Rear button focus.
- Face detection.
- Focus peaking.
- The Fujinon WCL-X70 wide angle converter lens attachment offers a useful option to shoot at 14mm (21mm full frame equivalent).
- Auto focus a little slow.
- Auto focus tends to back focus slightly.
- Sharpness drops off a little to edges of the frame – but if aperture is stopped down to f/5.6- f/8 all is well.
The extras – (as fitted to all my X series cameras)
- Lamor glass screen protector (no good if you use touch screen).
- Paracord quick release wrist strap.
- Half leather case for body protection.
The Fuji X70 is so compact it slots into your kit bag without even being noticed
The X70 slots into your pocket for those opportune moments too!
Fuji X70, 18.5mm f/4, 1/200s, ISO 200
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