Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
Randy Benter
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to bimbert84, 9 months ago

bimbert84 wrote:

Hi cheddargav,

I'm definitely not disputing the advice -- quite the opposite actually. I'm trying to figure out if I'm about to make a mistake I can't really afford to make. If the larger sensor won't really help without a faster lens, I'd rather know that now.

If I understand what I've read, a f/1.8 at ISO 1600 should give me about the same amount of light as the X-A1's f/3.5 kit lens at ISO 6400. If that's true, I'll probably be better off buying a less-expensive compact with a smaller sensor and fast lens.

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Rob

The X-A1 with the kit lens will definitely give you less noise and shallower DoF than a small sensor compact. There have been a couple of replies here indicating you can get better low light performance and shallower DoF with a fast prime, but that does not fit your budget so it is not really relevant or helpful. None of those people have named a camera that can provide less noise and shallower DoF for $500. I highly recommend the X-A1 in this price range. It produces MUCH better images than the Oly XZ-2.

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bimbert84
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to Randy Benter, 9 months ago

bimbert84 wrote:

Hi cheddargav,

I'm definitely not disputing the advice -- quite the opposite actually. I'm trying to figure out if I'm about to make a mistake I can't really afford to make. If the larger sensor won't really help without a faster lens, I'd rather know that now.

If I understand what I've read, a f/1.8 at ISO 1600 should give me about the same amount of light as the X-A1's f/3.5 kit lens at ISO 6400. If that's true, I'll probably be better off buying a less-expensive compact with a smaller sensor and fast lens.

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Rob

The X-A1 with the kit lens will definitely give you less noise and shallower DoF than a small sensor compact. There have been a couple of replies here indicating you can get better low light performance and shallower DoF with a fast prime, but that does not fit your budget so it is not really relevant or helpful. None of those people have named a camera that can provide less noise and shallower DoF for $500. I highly recommend the X-A1 in this price range. It produces MUCH better images than the Oly XZ-2.

Hi Randy,

More food for thought. That particular comparison is probably the most relevant one to me right now: X-A1 w/kit lens vs. Olympus XZ-2.

For the sake of argument, let's say these two will produce similar IQ. In that case, the XZ-2 has the size advantage, whereas the X-A1 has the potential to become better via another lens. What I don't want to do is get into a situation where I'm pretty much gonna have to add that other lens.

But I wonder if those two cameras would have the same IQ. I realize that's subjective, and all I have to go by are the sample images I linked earlier in this thread. I believe those are all taken with the kit lens, are they not? Or are they taken with a better lens?

Can I expect similar results? If so, I'll be very happy indeed because to my eye, those images are stunning, both in terms of low noise and shallow DOF. And to me they look way better than anything I've seen near this price range.

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Rob

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to bimbert84, 9 months ago

bimbert84 wrote:

Hi Randy,

More food for thought. That particular comparison is probably the most relevant one to me right now: X-A1 w/kit lens vs. Olympus XZ-2.

For the sake of argument, let's say these two will produce similar IQ.

Not even close.  You are comparing a 1/1.7" sensor to a APSC sized sensor.  I have the LX7 which has the same sensor as the XZ-2.  The X-A1 destroys it in pretty much every aspect, better color, less noise, better high ISO, better detail...and so on.

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bimbert84
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to Daniel Lauring, 9 months ago

bimbert84 wrote:

Hi Randy,

More food for thought. That particular comparison is probably the most relevant one to me right now: X-A1 w/kit lens vs. Olympus XZ-2.

For the sake of argument, let's say these two will produce similar IQ.

Not even close.  You are comparing a 1/1.7" sensor to a APSC sized sensor.  I have the LX7 which has the same sensor as the XZ-2.  The X-A1 destroys it in pretty much every aspect, better color, less noise, better high ISO, better detail...and so on.

Do you mean the X-A1 *with the kit kens*?

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to bimbert84, 9 months ago

bimbert84 wrote:

Do you mean the X-A1 *with the kit kens*?

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Rob

Yes.  The X-A1 is a tremendous bargain right now.  Maybe the best bargain in an ILMC....certainly an APSC sized one.

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Stephen787
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to bimbert84, 9 months ago

maybe x-e2 is best for you. the focusing system is not fast not accurate, unless you are willing to use manual. it will be a pain to use. this is true from A1 to pro 1.

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telefunk
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to bimbert84, 9 months ago

In my 40 year experience, a small sensor with an excellent lens (Pani LX5, Oly XZ2, Sony RX100II...) will produce sharper pictures than an APS-C camera (Nex 3, or 7) with an average kit lens. These compact cameras work pretty well up to 800 iso, and never need to go higher because of their very bright lens. So that is what I would recommend.

As for the Fuji XA1, everything I have seen from this camera up to now looks truly excellent. Moreover, Fuji lenses are very good, even the kit zooms. So it would be a good choice, but a bit of an overkill if you never plan to print large formats.

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to telefunk, 9 months ago

telefunk wrote:

In my 40 year experience, a small sensor with an excellent lens (Pani LX5, Oly XZ2, Sony RX100II...) will produce sharper pictures than an APS-C camera (Nex 3, or 7) with an average kit lens.

I agree that the little 1.7 sensored cameras coupled with a fast lens were an improvement over the standard P&S's but they definitely lose something compared to even cheap APSC's with kit lenses (which aren't as bad as most people seem to claim.)  The RX100 has a larger 1" sensor and does much better, but it is also more expensive than the X-A1.  The X-A1's kit lens is pretty sharp.  It would be nice if it was a little faster.

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viking79
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to bimbert84, 9 months ago

bimbert84 wrote:

That makes sense. But how do you determine the crop factor? (I think) I know APS-C is 1.5 and MFT is 2, but what is it for 1/1.7? Given your example, I could discern it's 6.3 / 1.4 = 4.5, but how did your arrive at that?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_sensor_format#Table_of_sensor_formats_and_sizes

The crop factor is listed on the far right of the table.  Otherwise can calculate based on sensor size.

My primary compact consideration is the Olympus XZ-2, which is f/1.8 - f/2.5, almost exactly in line with your example.

If you never plan to change lenses a camera like that might be a better deal.  The larger sensor camera would still have the advantage overall, but with all the discounts available on compacts it would really be tempting to get a camera like the XZ-2.

I also like the Fuji X20 that I have.  Better build quality than the X-A1, and pretty decent image quality for a point and shoot.  It doesn't have a tilt screen though.

Eric

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dual12
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to bimbert84, 9 months ago

Hi,

The best advice I can give you is to buy the X-A1 for $499 at wolfes, then spend your time learning the camera and making photographs.  Ignore anyone trying to get you to spend more than you want to.

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virgil1612
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to bimbert84, 9 months ago

bimbert84 wrote:

After weeks of research I think I've finally narrowed my choices to the Fujifilm X-A1. I'd like to know whether or not you think I've made the right decision.

I'm not a photographer, rather I want to take pictures for the sake of preserving memories, so it'll be mostly (grown-up) family members, the lazy cat, vacations, and the occasional nature walk. But I want them to look good, and in particular, I want them to look good when they're taken inside the house. I'd like to learn more about photography as I go, but no doubt this camera will see its share of full auto use, and I'd prefer something that produces good jpegs straight OOC.

My priorities, in order, are:

1) Non-DSLR.

2) Good low-light performance, meaning low-noise indoor stills without a flash. I hate noise. I hear people talking about smudging and loss-of-detail when it comes to NR, but to be honest, I can't see that. All I see is the noise.

3) Ability to produce shallow DOF.

4) Tilting or articulating screen.

5) $500-600 range.

Originally I was looking at high-end compacts, but quickly realized that #2, #3, and #4 exist together only at extremely high prices. So I started looking at bigger sensors in CSCs, but the ones in my price range seem seem to suffer on #2. My favorite amongst the m43s is the Panny G6, but most of the sample pics I've seen were taken outdoors, and those that weren't are quite noisy. This tells me a fast lens would be needed as well (or would it?), catapulting the price into the $1000 range.

So I started looking at even bigger sensors. A couple days ago I found the X-A1, which to me looks like I might've struck gold. All the sample pics I've seen are clean up through ISO 12800, which means that even with the kit lens, it'll meet my needs. My only concerns are reports of "slow" autofocus. I'm wondering if somebody can put "slow" into context for me. Does the X-A1 fail to focus, or does it just take a while? How long is a while? 5 seconds? 2 seconds? 1/2 second? I'm coming from a Panny TZ3, which is a 2007 vintage small-sensor point-and-shoot that was quite snappy for its time. How does "slow" on the X-A1 compare to something like that?

There's also the problem of Fuji's too strong noise reduction. There is a thread dedicated to X-A2 (but with examples of X-A1). At high-ISO skin becomes waxy . I don't intend to reopen the discussion here but the OP should be aware of the issue. There is a group of people that find this acceptable even desirable. There is another group of people finding this unacceptable. You should decide for yourself where you stand.

With the 35mm f/1.4 you shouldn't get into those high ISOs and your jpeg people photos should be good.

If you're willing to shoot RAW your people photos should be excellent at any ISO.

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viking79
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to bimbert84, 9 months ago

bimbert84 wrote:

Hi Randy,

More food for thought. That particular comparison is probably the most relevant one to me right now: X-A1 w/kit lens vs. Olympus XZ-2.

For the sake of argument, let's say these two will produce similar IQ. In that case, the XZ-2 has the size advantage, whereas the X-A1 has the potential to become better via another lens. What I don't want to do is get into a situation where I'm pretty much gonna have to add that other lens.

But I wonder if those two cameras would have the same IQ. I realize that's subjective, and all I have to go by are the sample images I linked earlier in this thread. I believe those are all taken with the kit lens, are they not? Or are they taken with a better lens?

Can I expect similar results? If so, I'll be very happy indeed because to my eye, those images are stunning, both in terms of low noise and shallow DOF. And to me they look way better than anything I've seen near this price range.

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Rob

Larger sensors aren't unequivocally better as some might indicate, they are more flexible in terms of use (you can shoot at higher ISO).

Here is an example from the Studio comparison tool. The XZ-2 has a 2 stop larger aperture at the long end of the range. This means that if the Sony F3 (similar sensor to A1) can shoot at f/5.6 and 3200, the XZ-2 could be at f/2.8 and ISO 800.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/studio-compare?utm_campaign=internal-link&utm_source=mainmenu&utm_medium=text&ref=mainmenu#baseDir=%2Freviews_data&cameraDataSubdir=boxshot&indexFileName=boxshotindex.xml&presetsFileName=boxshotpresets.xml&showDescriptions=false&headerTitle=Studio%20scene&headerSubTitle=Standard%20studio%20scene%20comparison&masterCamera=sony_nexf3&masterSample=dsc00756&slotsCount=4&slot0Camera=sony_nexf3&slot0Sample=dsc00756&slot0DisableCameraSelection=true&slot0DisableSampleSelection=true&slot0LinkWithMaster=true&slot1Camera=oly_xz2&slot1Sample=pb190012&x=0.9160823567126756&y=-1.1298492372504771

Notice, at these settings the XZ-2 actually looks better.

With kit lenses, where the X-A1 is going to give you the largest advantage to the Olympus XZ-2 is actually at base ISO, like outside for a landscape shot, where both cameras are at ISO 200, the larger sensor will really show off.

The difference at high ISO is less (only in the case where you use kit lens on X-A1) since you usually hand hold high ISO shots and since the XZ-2 has more than 2 stop larger f/stop so you shoot at 2 stops lower ISO.  If you set both cameras to ISO 6400 the X-A1 will clearly win, but you wouldn't realistically do this in this case.  The only way to really take advantage of the higher ISO on the X-A1 is get a larger aperture lens.

Eric

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pcb_dpr
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to bimbert84, 9 months ago

I'd say if you're willing to make the compromise of using flash or turning up the light when indoors, there's no reason (except for budget) to back down to a compact camera. No small-sensor p&s will match the XA1 IQ, lowlight high-ISO performance, or shallow dof capabilities. The only ones that come close are larger-sensor compacts, which can cost as much as, or more, than the XA1.

bimbert84 wrote:

If not, and you're not willing to make any compromises on your listed needs, buying nothing at all might be your only option. Getting a fast lens with a mirrorless camera with an articulated screen and great high ISO performance at $500-$600 is a tall order.

bimbert84 wrote:

...it’s doubtful any of these pictures would ever be printed above 8x10, and even that would be extremely rare. 4x6 or 5x7 or computer viewing would be the norm.

For those who have suggested additional lenses, I guess I should've been more clear: I just don't have the funds to spend $1000 or more on camera equipment. If the kit lens won't do what I want, I'll have to go another route entirely (and if it turns out I'm asking too much of my budget, that may mean buying nothing at all).

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Rob

Hi pcb_dcr,

Thanks for the response. Yes, the dilemma lies in the subjectivity, which is why I'm deferring to the experience of those of you who know better.

I want to avoid getting myself strapped into a large cash outlay. At this point I'm leaning toward backing down to a compact with a fast lens, and if my low-light is too low for that, I'll use a flash or turn up the lights. I don't consider that ideal, but it may be something I have to live with.

Thanks for the advice.

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Rob

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to Randy Benter, 9 months ago

Randy Benter wrote:

I highly recommend the X-A1 in this price range. It produces MUCH better images than the Oly XZ-2.

What he said and what I said +1 million.  X-A1 is the best value out there right now.

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virgil1612
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to Daniel Lauring, 9 months ago

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Randy Benter wrote:

I highly recommend the X-A1 in this price range. It produces MUCH better images than the Oly XZ-2.

What he said and what I said +1 million. X-A1 is the best value out there right now.

About the nice lens rebates Fuji is doing from time to time... Do you think those rebates will someday be available with the purchase of an X-A1?

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Caerolle
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to virgil1612, 9 months ago

virgil1612 wrote:

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Randy Benter wrote:

I highly recommend the X-A1 in this price range. It produces MUCH better images than the Oly XZ-2.

What he said and what I said +1 million. X-A1 is the best value out there right now.

About the nice lens rebates Fuji is doing from time to time... Do you think those rebates will someday be available with the purchase of an X-A1?

Maybe the other way 'round: buy a nice lens, and they will give you the A1 half off.  

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AlbertInFrance
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to Caerolle, 9 months ago

Dunno about the rest of the world, but here in France the introductory offer is for the X-A1 with the kit lens at 579€ ($783) or with the 50-230mm lens as welll for 779€  ($1053). As the list for the long zoom is 399€ you are effectively getting it at half price (Saving 200$ or $270.

Even sillier, the list price of the kit lens is 400€ ($540) so effectively the body is selling for 179€ ($243).

By the way, those Euro prices include 20% sales tax.

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Albert
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Most people are more interested in the picture than the image.

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Caerolle
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to AlbertInFrance, 9 months ago

Funny! I was just joking, but sounds like it is already true, lol.

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marike6
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to bimbert84, 9 months ago

bimbert84 wrote:

bimbert84 wrote:

Hi Randy,

More food for thought. That particular comparison is probably the most relevant one to me right now: X-A1 w/kit lens vs. Olympus XZ-2.

For the sake of argument, let's say these two will produce similar IQ.

Not even close. You are comparing a 1/1.7" sensor to a APSC sized sensor. I have the LX7 which has the same sensor as the XZ-2. The X-A1 destroys it in pretty much every aspect, better color, less noise, better high ISO, better detail...and so on.

Do you mean the X-A1 *with the kit kens*?

The X-A1 with any lens destroy the XZ-2 for IQ.  I think you are referencing the f/1.8 lens on the X-Z2, but don't get hung up on all the DOF calculations and comparisons of small sensor compacts with large aperture lenses with large sensor cameras with slower kit lenses.  The XC 16-50 3.5-5.6 OIS is a good performer, sharp with good color/contrast and it offers reasonably effective Image Stabilization.  It will be extremely useful for general photography.  And unlike the XZ-2, if you ever decide you need wider FOV, a telephoto, or a large aperture lens like the 35 f/1.4, you have all these lenses available to you in X-mount.

If you don't want a DSLR, I would absolutely recommend the X-A1.  I have an X-E1 that I love, but I was down at B&H last week and I had a play with the X-A1 and X-M1.  Both are fantastic.  Small, well made and not too expensive.

Best of luck, Markus

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marike6
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Re: Is the X-A1 the right camera for me?
In reply to virgil1612, 9 months ago

virgil1612 wrote:

bimbert84 wrote:

After weeks of research I think I've finally narrowed my choices to the Fujifilm X-A1. I'd like to know whether or not you think I've made the right decision.

I'm not a photographer, rather I want to take pictures for the sake of preserving memories, so it'll be mostly (grown-up) family members, the lazy cat, vacations, and the occasional nature walk. But I want them to look good, and in particular, I want them to look good when they're taken inside the house. I'd like to learn more about photography as I go, but no doubt this camera will see its share of full auto use, and I'd prefer something that produces good jpegs straight OOC.

My priorities, in order, are:

1) Non-DSLR.

2) Good low-light performance, meaning low-noise indoor stills without a flash. I hate noise. I hear people talking about smudging and loss-of-detail when it comes to NR, but to be honest, I can't see that. All I see is the noise.

3) Ability to produce shallow DOF.

4) Tilting or articulating screen.

5) $500-600 range.

Originally I was looking at high-end compacts, but quickly realized that #2, #3, and #4 exist together only at extremely high prices. So I started looking at bigger sensors in CSCs, but the ones in my price range seem seem to suffer on #2. My favorite amongst the m43s is the Panny G6, but most of the sample pics I've seen were taken outdoors, and those that weren't are quite noisy. This tells me a fast lens would be needed as well (or would it?), catapulting the price into the $1000 range.

So I started looking at even bigger sensors. A couple days ago I found the X-A1, which to me looks like I might've struck gold. All the sample pics I've seen are clean up through ISO 12800, which means that even with the kit lens, it'll meet my needs. My only concerns are reports of "slow" autofocus. I'm wondering if somebody can put "slow" into context for me. Does the X-A1 fail to focus, or does it just take a while? How long is a while? 5 seconds? 2 seconds? 1/2 second? I'm coming from a Panny TZ3, which is a 2007 vintage small-sensor point-and-shoot that was quite snappy for its time. How does "slow" on the X-A1 compare to something like that?

There's also the problem of Fuji's too strong noise reduction. There is a thread dedicated to X-A2 (but with examples of X-A1). At high-ISO skin becomes waxy . I don't intend to reopen the discussion here but the OP should be aware of the issue. There is a group of people that find this acceptable even desirable. There is another group of people finding this unacceptable. You should decide for yourself where you stand.

With the 35mm f/1.4 you shouldn't get into those high ISOs and your jpeg people photos should be good.

If you're willing to shoot RAW your people photos should be excellent at any ISO.

AFAIK, all Fujifilm X cameras including the X10, X20, XQ1 and all the APS-C cameras: X-A1, X-M1, X-E1, X-E2 and X-Pro1 allow the user to adjust Noise Reduction to taste. Your post is creating an issue out of a non-issue.  All IQ parameters including NR can be adjusted.

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