A great camera for beginners
Fujifilm X-A5 detailed review
Fujifilm, a powerful player in the mirrorless camera game for some time, has been sticking to their guns with the APS-C sensor format. While the company’s X-Pro2 and X-T2 are designed for more professional photographers, the company is bringing some features that set its mirrorless cameras apart from the more budget-friendly X-A5. The camera with a kit lens costs less than Rs 50,000, but does it deliver the kind of performance you would expect from a Fuji mirrorless one? We’ll find out.
Construction and design
Fujifilm sent out a pink X-A5 for review and it was an instant hit with the Digits team here. For one thing, the cameras usually tend to play with the usual black or silver colors, and it’s nice to see Fuji add some color to the mix. The pink cladding feels beautiful to the touch while the silver base of the camera has a light textured finish. The buttons are made of plastic and there is no pretense about it At the top is the general exposure compensation dial, which we have seen other manufacturers reproduce on their cameras as well. However, most of the controls are on the back of the camera, where you have a total of 9 buttons neatly arranged in a small area. Additionally, there is a vertical dial embedded in the thumb-rest to change the aperture or shutter speed value.
The Fujifilm X-A5 has two very interesting aspects. The first is a 3-inch touch-sensitive display. You can flip the screen 180-degrees upwards, it can sit on top of the camera. This makes it very easy to take selfies and even shoot videos when needed. However, if you have an external microphone mounted on your hot-sleep, it may communicate with the display. Another interesting aspect of the X-A5’s design is the pop-up flash. The flash uses a dual hinge design, which allows the actual flash tube to point upwards for scattered light if needed. Flash can be set by pressing a button on the left side of the camera.
The build quality of the Fujifilm X-A5 is quite tough for a camera that is not in the premium segment.
The Fujifilm X-A5 has a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, but it is not a company-signed X-Trans sensor. The sensor has a sufficiently fast readout speed that allows up to 6 frames per second in blast mode. The camera has an ISO range of ISO200-12800 with a boosted range of ISO100-51200. This is a fairly ideal feature set for a mirrorless camera within this price range. Our review unit is paired with Fuji’s XC15-45mm f / 3.5-5.6 OIS PZ, which is the weakest point in this whole scenario. I will get that in a short time.
Camera testing begins with taking a photo of a standard test scene that provides clear images up to ISO 3200. RAW files begin to show some light and chroma noise at ISO6400, which is still a decent performance from the camera with a crop sensor. . The maximum ISO (native) you can push is ISO 12,800, at this point, the term is definitely noticeable. You can see all full-resolution ISO samples in our Flickr gallery
Although the test samples showed promise, we can know about the real capabilities of the camera until it is used in everyday situations. What is clear from the bat is that although the Fujifilm X-A5 does not have an X-Trans sensor, you get the great colors known for their sensors. You will get all the film-simulation filters like Astia, Provia, Pro Neg etc, so you can choose the look for each of your pictures. The colors on the outside of the camera are actually very pleasing, but what really sets it apart is the great dynamic range that the camera displays. You may not think that the dynamic range is not so great, but if you shoot in RAW, you can easily find 4 stop details either way (2 stop highlights and 2 stop shadows). The detail of the images coming directly from the sensor is also quite impressive.
Picture intentionally underexposed by 2 stops
The photo above has been boosted and edited by 2 stops
The weak point of the camera’s performance is the kit lens, which has a focal length of 18-55mm (equivalent to 35mm) with a variable aperture of f / 3.5-5.6. The variable aperture acts as a severely limiting factor when shooting in low light, especially if you extend the lens to the edge of the telephoto. When the lens is at its smallest aperture, it severely restricts the flow of light. This will force you to increase the ISO. I ended up making ISO as high as ISO3200 and it didn’t make much of a difference in image quality. Yes, it guarantees a much slower shutter speed, which makes the whole situation much less ideal for portraying or shooting moving objects. However, what you will not be disappointed with is the autofocus that works fairly reliably in almost all situations. The only problem is that the kit lens that comes with the X-A5 is a very slow and noisy lens for focusing, so trying to shoot fast moving objects is out of the question. But what the lens-camera combo can do is focus accurately on things that aren’t yet moving fast and erratically (like my Hyper Labrador).
When it comes to image quality, the X-A5 certainly delivers on all accounts, but the kit lens will frustrate you on the way to miss shots due to the slow focus.
More full resolution images in our Flickr gallery
The last row
Overall, the Fujifilm X-A5 impressed me quite a bit. It takes great photos and autofocus works reliably and the touchscreen is also fairly easy to use. I wouldn’t recommend going above ISO 3200 for photos, and even when shooting at that high ISO, exposing the right side would be crucial. In addition, it is advisable to buy a prime lens to go with this camera as the kit lens will definitely limit you when shooting in low light.