Here are some further impressions of the X70 since my review on March 23rd: ( http://www.zenfolio.com/spode/e/pages/blog.aspx#515599834 ). Overall impressions remain favourable and this has been helped in no small part by the fact that I am learning to deal with the X-Trans files in LR. I specifically wanted to see how the camera performed in low light and I got a chance to test the X70 in a small foodcourt in Singapore with flickering neon lights and moving bodies.
Given the ambient light and the lack of IS, I was forced to shoot this wide open at ISO 200 while resting the body on a table. In this regard the articulating screen acted as a support and the camera performed admirably. Focus was locked almost immediately (years ago I took a similar shot in the Spice Market in Istanbul, but it did take a little longer to focus) and the image was captured at 1/90 sec.
I was also hell bent on shooting foliage to see if the watercolor effect was really as painterly as some have described. I am happy to report that as long as the foliage is (literally) front or middling, this is not really a problem. Foliage in the background is still a big issue. I will try shooting foliage again in the distance next week to see how this impacts the final image.
In the harsh, flat light of a Singapore morning I did miss a viewfinder. At first I used my trusty GV-1 (Ricoh) viewfinder to frame shots when the screen was unusable, but then i learnt through trial and error how to use angle the articulating touchscreen to ensure that I could compose my images with ease. I think the trick is to not only compose by angling the screen but to turn on the touch interface and focus and shoot with it at times. Crazy as this sounds, I think I get the best out of the camera when I use it like a smartphone. Which begs the question: Why all the vintage dials and rings? Frankly, I think to keep true to Fujifilm's design principles and ethos. One who wishes to rely on these may never really come to terms with the ultimate flexibility of the camera. At the expense os sounding like a stuck record, if Fujifilm were to include the ability to separate focus point from exposure point via the touchscreen, many street shooters who currently use smartphones may turn to this as the "big daddy" camera.
On Saturday, April 2nd, Fujifilm organized a photo walk in Singapore. Having learnt of it on Friday night I made my way over on Saturday morning hoping to be included on the grounds that I was visiting. While it was wonderful to experience the warmth with which I was received and quickly registered with one of the groups (I was given a red wrist band, was provided a Fujifilm wrist strap and given a bottle of water), it was equally gratifying to see the number of participants who had gathered early on what was already a steaming hot day. There were about 80 participants of all sexes and ages and every time of camera was present. The Fuji X-Pro 2 already had a strong following and the XT-1 and XT-10 were the most ubiquitous. I am happy to report that there were at least 4 of us who were sporting the X-70 (in addition to two of the X-photographers there). What is equally interesting to note is that 2 of the 4 were Ricoh GR previously - this was their first Fuji - and one was an ardent iPhone photographer!
Starting at the base of the Helix Bridge we made our way towards Gardens by the Bay and here some of us (who fortunately had purchased tickets earlier) entered the two main greenhouses. Some, like me, decided to stroll outdoors and take in the riverfront. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom here and I hope to visit this coming weekend. i will give me a chance to test out the macro capabilities of the X70. The walk provided many opportunities to capture Singapore's more celebrated structures.
I was also able to make some friends - like John, featured below. An ardent photographer, he owns the classic X100T and is currently shooting with a Nikon FM2, making notes about exposure details after every shot. He hopes to master film photography in the not too distant future. We spent mor ethan an hour chatting about photography, styles, equipment, etc.
While I still think that the Ricoh GR is a little sharper across the frame, the X70 delivers colours that pop, dynamic range and speed to make up for it. When using it for landscape there is very little distortion and the ability to compose at virtually any angle and in any light (thanks to the articulating screen) and to shoot with the flow of your finger (on account of the touchscreen) makes this a pretty handy tool in the field.
Of course, the ability to compose from the waist and snap without feeling for the shutter is a real blessing. This shot was taken between the bars of a bicycle. The avid texter-subject had just turned my way and thought nothing of my shenanigans. In fact, he probably thought I was texting too!
In the coming week I want to test two things. First the macro capabilities of the lens, with and without a tripod. Secondly, with the aid of the the 21mm Ricoh GW-3 converter (which fits perfectly, incidentally) shoot wide and see if the Ricoh lens renders crisp images sans distortion/ vignetting. If it does (and on the Ricoh GR it was a mighty fine piece of glass), owners of the Ricoh conversion lens may never need to buy the WCL-70.
Till next week ...