Fujifilm recognizes the fact that not everybody wants a full-blown DSLR. For those who want something above a smartphone, lightweight, cool in appearance, and definitely on-trend, the Fujifilm X-A5 aims to fit this niche. The camera is a mirrorless offering which is beginner-friendly, with just enough specs to produce the image quality needed for the social media generation.
High-end photographer types or those who like tons of features may not be initially impressed with the initial specs list. But, there’s enough in the box to please the generalist shooter. There’s no viewfinder here, it’s all about the touchscreen interface, aiming squarely at those used to touchscreen techniques from a smartphone.
The whole unit is wrapped around a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor. The camera comes with a new 15-45mm power zoom, which in reality works out to be 23-68mm. That’s a reasonably wide focal length, going up to portrait territory.
If that’s not to your liking, then there are other lens options like the XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II telephoto zoom. Both lenses together would make an ideal combination. There’s also a little pop-up flash included, which isn’t the greatest, but at least there’s a hotshoe included.
The complete design of the camera body is very compact, built to be taken anywhere with a very old school feel. The body comes in three different colors which add to the appeal, with just enough dials and buttons to suit the old school vibe.
There is a mode dial for choosing the different shooting modes, an unmarked dial for things like exposure compensation, the shutter release, and power switch. A small button is also included for accessing things like ISO, and quality settings depending on your preferences.
The rear of the camera is a simple set of buttons for quick access to things like the Quick Menu, recording, and other menus. There’s also a little clickable control wheel behind the thumb rest for scrolling through menus.
As there is no viewfinder, the rear screen can tilt 180 degrees and activates a selfie mode, macro mode for as close as 5 cm from a subject. The rear screen is mainly for focusing via tapping on the subject and is definitely big and bright enough for most situations.
For instance, the eye focus feature locks onto a subject’s eye, touch the screen and you’re ready to go. You can then link the camera up to a smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and transfer images to your liking.
As for the video capabilities, it is 4K, but only at 15 FPS, which really negates its usefulness. In other words, to have fun with the video side of things, you’ll have to drop to HD quality.
Before diving into the actual workings, this is a fun little camera, with nice retro looks. Small enough to be taken anywhere and could even be a fashion accessory.
The Fujifilm X-A5 in Use
Although the X-A5 isn’t the fastest focusing mirrorless camera on the market, there are at least plenty of AF modes. Plenty of automatic AF modes are ideal for the beginner who doesn’t want the technicalities of exposure and just wants to shoot.
In this regard, there are modes such as Wide/Tracking mode which lets the camera choose the focus point, Zone AF or Single Point AF. Eye-detection AF mode is great for portrait shots and locks into a subject quite well.
Link in the autofocus with the lens’ built-in image stabilization and there is a high hit rate of decent images. With auto ISO engaged, it’s quite joyful to just snap away and focus entirely on what pops out. This is where the camera stands out.
The Fujifilm X-A5 is very well adept at producing sharp images with a good depth of color. Images are not always hundred percent perfectly exposed, but the intelligent side of things does a good job in the general rendering of subjects. The camera is not the fastest out there to focus and respond, but with a little patience, it can nail respectable images.
As for the built-in filters and film looks, these types of things are best left for postprocessing. A nice idea to add to the feature list, but it’s better to wait to view your images on a large screen before adding any extras.
How Does It Compare?
Fujifilm isn’t the only one with the idea of a small mirrorless camera. Canon has the EOS M100 which is an entry-level mirrorless camera. Like the Fuji, it has minimal external controls but without the same tactile feel. The Canon is a cheaper offering but doesn’t have the same levels of quality as the Fuji.
|Fujifilm X-A5||Canon EOS M100|
|Pixels||24.2MP CMOS sensor||24.2MP CMOS sensor|
|Video||4K 15FPS||HD 60P|
The Fujifilm X-A5 is aimed at the section of the market which wants a step up from a smartphone, but none of the complications of a DSLR, in a compact package. It may not have the greatest specs on the table, but it can produce respectable, sharp images.
For those only used to a smartphone way of shooting, the screen may not be as big, but it opens up the world of changeable lenses and how to control the images you capture in finer detail. There’s obviously no viewfinder and the autofocus isn’t the fastest, but if you consider the price point and the features included, there’s a lot in the box to be a nice little compact, mirrorless camera and an ideal stepping stone to something bigger and fancy in the future.