For those of you that have known me during my photographic journey, and especially my peers in the Fujifilm community, you will know that I have a secret little love affair with one of Fujifilm’s smallest and most underrated cameras of all time. The Fujifilm X70! It was originally announced in January 2016 and launched late February 2016. A compact yet powerful point and shoot style camera with a capacity to produce exceptional image quality. The launch and overall product run were declared a failure perhaps more so by media outlets than Fujifilm itself. It was released and overshadowed at the same time as the Fujifilm X-Pro 2 camera. However, Fujifilm did call for its discontinuation towards the end of 2017 – around the time that they stopped releasing any camera with a 16-megapixel sensor. It was a sad day for me and for many of my street photography buddies who love the X70 and its capabilities.
We held our breath for the announcement of an X70S or an X80. Hoping that the series would take a similar path to the X100 series with a regular release and update schedule. But no. This was not to be the case. At this point in time, there is no news or even hints of an X80 on the horizon. Fear not, the Fujifilm X70 is still a solid and remarkable camera. At the time it was released it was a portable powerhouse with a few standout features that many people missed. It sported a 16 Megapixel X-Trans CMOS II Sensor and EXR Processor II. Now that sounds fancy but keep in mind that this is the same sensor and processor in the highly acclaimed Fujifilm X-T1 camera. Let that ripen a little. The same sensor and processor as the Fujifilm flagship camera! Plus it had a leaf shutter! And a 180-degree horizontal flip AND touchscreen. All in a pocket size camera with a fixed 18mmF2.8 lens complete with both a focus and aperture ring, a flip screen and a range of accessories that when combined, in my opinion, made this a perfect one and done camera set up.
Jump forward to July of 2018 and instead of announcing an X70 successor, Fujifilm globally announced an XF10 and released it in August of that same year. The internet lit up with immediate comparisons to the Fujifilm X70. Many outlets questioning if this was the new X70 successor. Some stating it was! Others making it clear that it was not. And so the debate raged for a brief news cycle before Photokina was on the horizon and the X-T3, GFX 50R and GFX 100S was being discussed. The XF10 was quickly forgotten.
So what do I think about this now that the attention has dropped and I have had the chance to play with a production loan model from Fujifilm Australia? This is NOT the successor to the Fujifilm X70. IT IS NOT. For a large number of reasons. But, its heritage has a lot to thank the Fujifilm X70 for. Let’s look at what has been implemented in the XF10 that the Fujifilm X70 did not have. The sensor is a far greater CMOS 24.2 megapixel, but it is not the latest X-Trans. It is a Bayer standard sensor and combined with a non-descript processor that is also used in the X-T100 and the X-A5. Does it produce greater image quality compared to the X70? Personally, I don’t see it. Yes, it is sharp and renders lovely images. It does that well enough. But it is also important to remember that the fixed 18.5mmF2.8 lens is exactly the same as the one used in the X70. The XF10 has a touch screen and as with the X-T100 and X-A5, you can program various swipes on the screen to activate certain features – such as the new Square Mode (creates a 1:1 frame) and also the new Snap Shot Mode. In this mode, the camera presets the focus and aperture to 2m/F8 or 5m/F5.6. This is a neat feature for street style shooting where you set a kind of focus trap and wait for your subject to fall within the range.
As with the Fufjilm X70, the XF10 is of a very solid build. Although more thought seems to be needed on developing a far better lens cap other than the wafer-thin flimsy one that is supplied with the camera. This camera has very similar dials and buttons laid out like the X70 however instead of the directional pad there is the focus lever. And the functions that the directional pad would be employed for on the X70 are now touchscreen swipes. On the top, you will notice that two of the dials are void of any markings. I kind of like this thinking as they are both completely programmable as a range of settings from Exposure Compensation to Aperture and ISO. The largest dial, previously Shutter Speed on the X70, is now a program dial. Other than that, ergonomically the two cameras are almost identical in size and shape and weight. Battery and SD slot – same place. Input and output compartment – same place. Mini flash location – same place.
From a heritage standpoint, it is like Fujifilm took the internal chassis of the X70 and stripped the X feel! That simple. They then made some simple changes to the external form whilst stripping away the powerhouse internal features of the processor and sensor previously employed. The aperture ring is now gone – a classic feature of X Series cameras and lenses. The Shutter Speed dial has been replaced with a multifunction program dial. The AF-L and AE-L button are gone. The hot shoe which allows a broad range of accessories including the Fujifilm Optical Viewfinder to be attached is gone completely. The touchscreen is great to have however it is fixed on the XF10 – not a flip in sight! This makes the ability to take hip level shots impossible. On the X70, the lens had a screw mount that allowed for a mount adapter, filters, screw on the hood and even a wide teleconverter to be mounted – extending the usability of the camera. That’s gone too. Finally, this camera only has a single attachment for a string style camera strap to be fitted. Where the X70 had two external solid lug mounts for wrist or neck straps.
For me, carrying and using the X70 is just like having a Fujifilm X Series camera in my bag, pocket or hand. I could accessorise it and the freedom and familiarity of Shutter Speed, Exposure, Aperture and even ISO dials gave it a very X Series feel. It was comfortable and performed exceptionally well. Still does! The XF10 is like they took all the feel and capacity of an X Series camera and tore it off the core frame. So it is not a successor to the X70 and those that say otherwise are wrong for the reasons I have listed above. Bold I know. But I know this camera inside and out. I carry it every day. I have used it in every situation and condition. The XF10 is slower on Auto Focus than the X70. It tends to hunt even in ok lighting conditions. And if your subject is moving in dim light, forget AF altogether. It just won’t grab. This was another deal breaker for me.
So who is this camera for. Well, I now know it is not for me. As I mentioned, this does not feel like an X Series camera and it certainly does not cut it as far as an X70 replacement is concerned. Not that I am in a hurry. The X70 is still a brilliant camera that produces excellent images. I will part with it for nothing on this earth. And it is not for most of my peers in the Fujifilm communities. As the marketing and advertising would suggest, this camera is for the young elites who want to be able to take square images that can be easily transferred wirelessly to their smart devices ready for a filter and post to Instagram, or whatever the kids are using these days. It is not an effective street photography camera unless you are taking bland shots at eye level whilst sipping organic non-fat, kale lattes in Byron Bay. It is an odd fit. Especially with its AUD $800 price tag. I would have happily spent AUD $1000 on an X80.
I was really disappointed when Fujifilm announced the XF10 instead of a true successor to the X70. But I am not dying to update the X70. As I said, it is an incredible, capable and powerful little camera. I have cared for mine an kept it in immaculate condition. Whilst this camera will appeal to a select audience in the premium point and shoot crowd, I believe that its overall appeal and success will be far less than that of the X70. Which for me begs the question. “Why Fujifilm, why?” For a couple of hundred dollars more you could have nailed it with a hardcore fan base of street shooters and just X70 lovers in general. I still recommend people to find a copy of the X70 at all cost even as a weekend shooter or every day carry camera. It is just that good! All of the images in this blog have been shot with either the Fujifilm XF10 or the X-T3 for the product shots. I have also linked below a range of articles where I showcase the capabilities of the Fujifilm X70 in various circumstances and settings. You can read past blogs here, here, here and here. Happy shooting.