Image Quality

Our latest test scene is designed to simulate both daylight and low-light shooting. Pressing the 'lighting' buttons at the top of the widget allows you to switch between the two. The daylight scene is shot with manually set white balance aimed at achieving neutral grays, but the camera is left in its Auto setting for the low-light tests (except Raw, which is manually corrected during conversion). We also offer three different viewing sizes: 'Full', 'Comp', and 'Print', with the latter two offering 'normalized' comparisons to more fairly compare cameras of differing resolutions by ensuring equivalent viewing sizes.

Note: for the majority of our analysis here, we compared the X70 to its nearest competitor, the Ricoh GR II.

JPEG Quality

Let's start by taking a look at how the X70 performs in JPEG mode. The Fujifilm captures a fair amount of detail at base ISO, with sharpening not being very aggressive, unlike the visible sharpening halos showing up on the GR II. The lens is the limiting factor here, rendering much of our scene soft. The GR's traditional Bayer sensor and JPEG engine also let much more color moiré through, as can be seen in the black text, and in the color moiré targets. To be fair, though, that's also probably in large part due to the sharper lens. Fujifilm boasts that their X-trans array is less prone to moiré, and our scene shows that, indeed, the X70 doesn't let much, if any, through in its images.

Default color from both is accurate and pleasing, although the Fujifilm seems to want to brighten up reds, with it coming up lighter and less saturated than the GR. In the real world, this means deep red subjects will require a bit of negative exposure compensation to get the reds a bit darker and more saturated. Looking at the yellow/green area of the color wheels, we can see that the Fujfilm also has slightly warmer greens than the GR, which might align with more landscape photographer's tastes. Both cameras offer a variety of different color options in JPEG mode, so if the default doesn't align with ones' taste, there are options available for customization.

Skintones on the X70 are a bit warmer than the GR, but overall lack contrast, especially when compared with our benchmark skintone camera, the 5D Mark III. The 16.3MP X-trans sensor has been discounted for producing "waxy" skintones in other cameras, and the X70 suffers from the same issue. 

At high ISO the Fujifilm's JPEG performance starts to pull ahead of the GR II. Much more detail is retained by the noise reduction algorithm, and it also does a better job removing noise as well, without the odd artifacts the GR II displays. The gap narrows at maximum ISO where neither camera is doing particularly well, but the advantage still goes to the X70. That said, the X70 has a ways to go when compared to the current high ISO detail retention benchmark, the Sony a6300.

Raw Quality

While the X70 produces comparable JPEGs to the GR at base ISO, and cleaner JPEGs at high ISO, it begins to struggle when switched to Raw. We immediately see that the GR's JPEG engine removed or blurred a lot of fine detail that was caught in its much sharper RAW files. We also see how much aliasing the GR has to handle thanks to its incredibly sharp lens. For those shooting scenes with fine patterned detail, moire with the GR might be a serious issue. For Raw shooters that want maximum detail, the GR seems to be the best choice, as the smudgy X-trans rendering* simply can't keep up.

X-trans does however produce less chroma noise than the GR II's typical Bayer array, giving the X70 a low light edge over the GR II, which most likely contributes to its better JPEG performance in low light as well. That said, the older 16MP sensor means the X70 doesn't perform as well as Fuji's own X-Pro2 in low light, and appears to have more luminance noise, albeit again less chroma noise, than APS-C Bayer leaders like the Sony a6300.

In conclusion, the GR II's JPEG engine does it no favors, as it is much sharper than the X70 in Raw mode. However, in JPEG and low light shooting, the X70 gives the GR II stiff competition, with a clear advantage as light drops.

*This isn't necessarily the fault of X-trans, but of the Raw converter. We have seen Adobe's ACR conversions for X-trans improve greatly over the years, but the best results for X-trans Raw conversions are possibly done with a different converter than ACR, which is the standard for our studio scene.