Now owning both cameras, I cant make up my mind which to keep.
On a bit of a whim I bought a Fujfilm X70 last week which now sits alongside my Fujfilm X100T that I’ve proudly owned for just over a year.
Being truthful the purchase wasn’t exactly a whim, I had been considering something just a little bit smaller and more discreet but that also had the same tactile top plate dials and in built film simulations that I love about my X100T. I had considered the Ricoh series that are spoken about so highly by some well known Street Photographers but I’m pretty much sold on Fuji’s X series so the X70 seemed the perfect choice.
Once in my hand I took the X70 for a long weekend ‘test drive’ in London and I have to say that now I’m split down the middle as to which of these two beautiful camera’s to keep.
This isn’t a product review, just my own thoughts now that I’ve used both of these cameras and I thought it best to describe what I see as being the main reasons I’m so split between the X70 and the X100T.
The temperature in London hit upwards of 25c while I was there and I planned on sightseeing in between taking street shots, so I needed my hands free often (or at least one free to carry a bottle of water), I also wanted to avoid carrying a shoulder bag for the long walks in the heat and the X70 didn’t disappoint in this area. Wearing just a t-shirt and (fairly) skinny jeans I was able to fit it in my pocket when necessary with relative ease, in this respect it beats the X100T hands down for a small, portable yet powerful street camera.
It also looks like a straight point and shoot camera, it’s unassuming (particularly the black version that I own), it’s unobstrusive and subjects don’t seem to notice or even care about it. It’s the ultimate in stealth and I found I was able to snap in zone focus mode with hardly anyone noticing I had it with me. On the other hand I always feel the X100T is just a little too obvious, because of its striking good looks (more on that later) and bigger size, it tends to stand out too much for my liking. I’ve noticed subjects stare at it, even when I’ve tried to be covert and get a natural, ‘from the hip’ pose. Another plus for the X70.
I find I don’t love the 28mm focal length. It took me a a couple of days to get used to it on the X70 and learning to get closer to the subject was challenging, I’m much more comfortable with the 35mm focal length of the X100T. I don’t know it it’s just that I’m used to shooting at 35mm but it’s certainly a more acceptable distance between me and a subject, however the 28mm does allow me to take shots like the one below and it does have a handy 35mm/50mm crop conversion if I really want to avoid 28mm, to my mind the focal length on the X70 is perfect for landscape and architectural shots rather than street. One to the X100T this in this area.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the X100T wins this particular battle. I’ve been complimented by strangers on its looks and I personally find it to be the most beautiful of camera designs and a joy to hold, carry and own. The X70 on the other hand left me a little underwhelmed when I first unboxed it. It could be the fact I chose the black version but it does look like a standard point and shoot camera, it’s not going to win admirers in the street but actually that’s probably what I’m trying to achieve.
The tilt screen on the X70 is a nice feature, it allows you to try out new angles and composition which I think I’ll enjoy. The next iteration of the X100T could certainly benefit from this. I didn’t use it often but when I did, such as for the staircase shot, it was hugely beneficial to help you compose a little easier.
I have got to admit that I really did miss a viewfinder on the X70. To me there’s something that connects you more to a camera when you’re looking through it’s eye piece. I’d have preferred one on the X70 although on balance I’m happy to trade it for it’s compact size.
Although not an essential I have found the in built ND filter of the X100T useful when trying to capture movement on the streets in daylight. Even at f/16 a shutter speed of around 1/8th of a second is too much unless I enable the ND filter. More of a ‘nice to have’ on the X70 I feel.
I’m blown away by the X70’s battery life. Where my X100T would have gone flat with a 3–4 hours of shooting, I was able to use the X70 for 2 days solid without a charge and I could potentially have gotten a full 3 days from it. It’s likely down to the fact it doesn’t have a hybrid viewfinder but I’m confident I could walk the streets without the need to carry any spare batteries with the X70 for an entire day and take around 300 shots.
I could quite happily own both of these cameras. I love the size of the X70 and being able to slide it in to my jeans pocket was liberating on a busy weekend trip, yet I don’t ‘love’ it the way I do the X100T. The latter is simply stunning to look at, beautiful in the hand and the viewfinder makes me feel at one with it, however the portability of the X70 is killer.
I’m still in two minds, both are terrific street cameras but I only need one. I’m a firm believer that gear shouldn’t get in the way of taking photos. I have no need for two camera’s, I just want one that I can enjoy using and which free’s my mind from distraction.
So, after all this … I still can’t decide.