Fuji X70 & X100F… best vacation cameras?
Back from Walt Disney World and I’m exhausted. Every day we clocked in over 10 miles of walking… no… running from attraction to attraction. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have been visiting Disney since I was three years old and have so many fond memories of my family all together enjoying the parks and hotels. I have returned almost every year with the exception of a few. We loved Disney so much that back in 1995 we invested into a DVC membership and have been using the time share options since then. Back in the early days of my Disney experience I can recall my father with his Canon AE-1 and various gear trekking through the Florida heat snapping photos and changing roll after roll of Kodak film. Back then you could have your film developed right on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom. Along with all the stories we also had film slides to help give a visual representation of our memories when we came back home.
* FULL WARNING* If your not a fan of Disney then I apologize as obviously the images to follow will all be from there. I’m a self confessed Disney Freak.
Fast forward to today at the age of 41 and I still fell like a kid when I enter Disney World. Only it’s better. I get to experience the laughter and joy on my daughter’s face along with my nieces which instantly brings me back to my own childhood. Staying up late and eating ice cream for dinner. Running from ride to ride. What better way to capture these precious family moments then with a camera. What better camera to bring then a Fuji? What’s better then a Fuji Camera?
Two Fuji cameras!!!!!!!!!
One my vacation I brought the Fuji X100F & Fuji X70. I could of brought just one but that wouldn’t of been much fun. I started the first leg of the trip with the small X70. My thinking was to utilize the X70 during the day for a few reasons. First, being a smaller camera it would be easier to pocket or pack especially during the 90deg humid Florida heat. Secondly with the sensor being older I didn’t need to worry about pushing ISO ceiling so much in the daylight where I knew the X100F sensor would exceed the X70’s capabilities. The big con I assumed I would be dealing with would be the flip out screen offering a difficult view in daylight but I must confess that wasn’t a problem for me. In fact I rather enjoyed using the flip out screen to employ the ever so popular “Im looking down at my cell phone and walking stance” everybody is already doing anyway. I found it less distracting and easier to move and shoot then having one eye and half my face obstructed while walking like I would do while using the X100F. If that style is not for you then you could always slip the Fujifilm 21/28 Optical Viewfinder into the hot shoe (Part#VF-X21). This won’t give you any real time info but it will give you old school rangefinder style frames lines. I was not happy to learn that there is no definitive lock on the hot shoe foot and it seems that it could easily be knocked off. That would be an expensive mistake.
A few from the Fujifilm X70 with the 18.5mm f/2.8 Lens. What sharpness in such a compact package.
Shooting the X70 throughout the day I hovered between my three ISO settings. 200-6400 1/60th for indoors. 200-1600 1/250th for out door shooting and 200-6400 and 1/400th for anything with some movement to it. This seemed to work well with my f/8 setting. Obviously I would open the lens up indoors or to get creative but f/8 – f/11 was my starting point. Mostly utilizing the Classic Chrome setting however I was still shooting RAW so my film simulation was a moot point. The 18.5mm (28mm equivalent) was extremely sharp and even offers a nice close focus. What I found extremely helpful was the X70’s quick auto switch function which basically set my camera up as a point and shoot when handing it off to a stranger for a family group shot. I wasn’t too worried about anyone running off with the little X70 as I just purchased some new running shoes prior to the vacation and they really make me go fast. The one caveat to the Auto Function is you only get a JPEG image. This is not too much of an issue as most of us are beyond pleased with fujifilm’s JPEG processing but it still needs to be mentioned. I found the older X-Trans CMOS II 16.3mpix to be excellent all around offer both image quality and color representation.
I had the X70 around a cheap wrist sling which started to fray the first day out so I found myself basically palming the camera throughout the day and to be honest it was hardly a chore. It’s just so damn small. Handing my camera off to one of my family members gave them instant familiarity as it was basically like shooting a cell phone due to the X70’s touch screen feature. One of the best “Fun” features of the X70 is the 180 degree flip screen that allows a selfie mode. One thing to mention is facial recognition is automatically activated during this mode and since your only about an arms length away I would lean towards stoping the lens down if your going to take a photo with more then one person in the frame or you run the risk of one face being out of focus.
So was this the better family vacation camera choice?
Onto the mighty Fujifilm X100F. A powerhouse not to be reckoned with. I’ve talked about this camera so much I’m surprised Fuji hasn’t called me up to offer me a rep job yet… if your reading this Fujifilm give me a call, I’m ready when you are.
I’m totally in love with the Fuji X100F. It just can’t do anything wrong. Are there things I would like to see different… of course. However what it does right it does perfectly.
The Fujifim X100 line is a gorgeous work of art. In fact while on vacation in the hotel lobby I had my silver X100F slung around my side with my trusty Hyperion Camera Strap and out of nowhere a gentleman approaches and says “thats a beautiful camera, Is it a film camera”? I say no it isn’t and show him the rear LCD screen and Fuji Top Plate markings. He was astonished. His wife even chimed in, “I thought that was an old film camera, thats cool”. I quickly do my part and give him a quick look/overview and go on my way. Like a door to door bible salesman, maybe I possibly converted yet another poor DSLR soul. It happened a second time while eating in Epcot in the world showcase in Mexico. I see the waitress glaring at my midsection. I immediately become self conscious as I’m full aware of my food intake on this vacation having abused the Disney Dining Plan. Then as soon as I remember that the X100f is sitting on my lap the remark about how beautiful this camera is made from her standing tableside.
The Fuji X100F is definitely a larger camera compared to the X70 but is still not a very large camera. Adding a lens hood does increase the size but it also offers you an alternative when it comes to lens protection instead of using the metal lens cap the X100F is supplied with. I tend to leave my lens cap off and add the B+W UV Filter along with a lens hood by JJC. I carried the camera in this configuration all week without any issues. The one issue I did have with the X100F was my pinky finger constantly hits the battery door latch when raising it to my eye. The next thing I realize is the battery door is wide open. Please Fujifilm, address this issue. The joystick is a welcomed addition on the X100F and it’s placement is perfect for me. I didn’t mind the lack of a joystick on the X70 due to the fact that the camera employees at touch screen which works just fine. Capturing action shots with the X100F was a breeze due to the fast 8fps and wonderful focusing.
Another useful feature you have with the X100F that you don’t have on the X70 is the 3 Stop internal ND Filter. This is helpful when you want to cut down the light but maintain a shallow DOF. Also this allows you some room with the mechanical shutter before you reach the electronic shutter. For anyone that has tried capturing moving subjects with an electronic shutter… well you know the results. Also when using the ND filter make sure you switch off your Auto ISO and manually adjust your shutter values or you will basically cancel out the benefit because your camera will adjust its values to match the loss of light. When using the ND Filter correctly you can achieve some great effects even in the bright Florida sunshine. Below are two images using the X100F’s three stop ND filter in broad daylight.
Unlike the X70 the Fuji X100F sports a faster lens. We have a 23mm that opens up to f/2 (35mm equivalent due to the crop sensor) and the amazing X-Trans CMOS III 24mpix Sensor. If your new to the X100F I can tell you this is the same sensor found in their flagship XPro2/XT2 bodies. I love the 23mm lens on this camera but you must know how to use it correctly especially at closer distances to get the most out of it. More on that topic can be found on my other blog post all about the Fuji X100F HERE.
You also get the new Acros Black & White Film Simulation which has become even more popular since Fuji has discontinued making the real 35mm film version… For now ( I’ve been hearing rumors ) SHHHH!!!!
If you enjoy the FULL AUTO option on the X70 I wouldn’t worry too much as you can pretty much set the X100F up the same way it just takes a few more steps. Set your Auto ISO limits to your liking and place your lens aperture on A just past f/16. Place your shutter dial on A as well and let your camera do the work.
The X100F delivers images that consistently blow me away with the amount of quality the X-Trans III sensor can render.
Both cameras during the trip were carried in a small Swiss Army pouch I had from years ago. I basically stored extra batteries and a small Manfrotto tripod. The X100F did a lot better with battery life then the X70 thats for sure. I basically would run through one maybe two batteries on the X100f and almost three on the X70. Neither camera is weather resistant and even though that was the case I still was subjected to tropical down pours everyday. I did my best to protect the cameras while the rain was coming down and I can confident report I never had an issue with either camera.
So I know we started this blog post with a question and sadly I’m not sure I can answer that for you. For me however I would be happy to have either one on my next family vacation. To be honest they are both small enough to pack even if one is just a back up shooter.
What I liked about the Fuji X70 was its small pocketable size and flip out screen. I also enjoyed the selfie mode not that I’m a fan of myself in photographs but for family shots its fun. The touch screen was also extremely fast and easy to use.
My favorite aspects of the X100F are the robust gorgeous build and that 23mm f/2 lens. I love the images from the newly improved sensor and at times the viewfinder comes in handy. Even for reviewing images taken earlier in the day.
The X100F definitely has the edge in the High ISO department. Both the images below are at 6400. The Girls were with the X100F and the Castle was taken with the X70. In the end this post was not meant to be a head to head shoot out between these two as I feel they are completely different cameras. It was basically my take on traveling with them during a high paced family vacation and they both passed with flying colors.
Well, time to close out this blog as I’ve gone on long enough. Look for a blog post soon on the Fuji X70 by itself. It really is an amazing little camera that packs a big APSC sensor punch. Who knows when Fujifilm will make a successor.
Also, I plan on following up this article with a video on my youtube page so if you haven’t checked that out please stop by and give it a look. As always be sure to check in regularly and visit my instagram page for daily snaps with all the gear I use and please feel free to comment on this blog. I respond to everyone and let me know what cameras you travel with.
In closing, thank you for reading and I’ll leave you with a few more images taken from my trip with both the Fujifilm X70 & X100F.
“My name is Joe D’Agostino. I’m a father, husband and Photographer. My passion for photography started at a young age while learning from my father which I hope to pass down to my daughter. I believe failure helps you succeed so I take hundreds of bad photographs every day.”