X-A1, superb entry level with output of much more expensive camera

Started Oct 4, 2013 | User reviews thread
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LaFonte Senior Member • Posts: 2,790
X-A1, superb entry level with output of much more expensive camera

I just got this one and it is a great deal for the money, the kit lens 16-50 is actually pretty solid lens (optically) and has OIS. I also have the X-pro1 and the images are indistinguishable between those two.

It is pretty much in the price range of the basic NEX or better M43 cameras, but in my opinion produces premium images (same as xpro1) and it gives you much better kit lens. However the slower auto-focus is the ongoing Fuji issue - it is slower than all the modern sony or panasonic/olympus - which may limit its usage for fast action. I personally got used to it since the very first x100, but you may have occasional AF error or focus hunting which has been almost eliminated in the current competitors.

However the image output from x-a1 is top notch, absolutely an expensive DSLR quality even in low light. There is hardly anything bad you can say about the image.

The camera offers a lot of tweaking including low and high curves or color shift in the PASM modes and less customization in the two automatic modes with the s+ mode being the least customizable. There are also plenty of the filters and effect like toy lens common in this type of camera plus "scenes" like fireworks etc.. also common elsewhere. I personally don't care about the scenes or filters, but they are there.

It keeps the Astia/Velvia/Provia film simulations from all other X models and they are available in all settings except s+ which is a great news.

Auto iso has the low and high margins and minimal shutter speed settings from its more expensive siblings.

The X-A1 is really an excellent performer in low light even in ISO 3200 which I set as the high limit in auto iso.

It is missing the shutter speed dial of the more expensive fuji models (it has PSAM dial instead) and the 16-50mm lens has no aperture ring for quick manual aperture settings.

It still has the EV dial on the top (but unmarked unlike xpro1 as it works only in PSAM modes and doesn't change value in auto modes) that doubles as frame advance in preview and it has additional setting thumb-click wheel on the back for changing values in SAM modes and zoom in preview. (however its clicking function is large unexploited in shooting modes).

The pop-up flash is a great addition as it greatly simplifies the flash tasks - you can set in menu "forced flash" which means it will always fire flash when the flash is mechanically popped up and never fire flash if the flash is closed. I pretty much prefer this hands-on approach than the approach in say x100 where you have to press arrow button to cycle through flash settings indicated on the display which makes it much less obvious.

Hot shoe is there, as the customizable Fn button. The Fn button has also wi-fi functionality in preview mode where it can send images to the fuji app on smartphone and has PC auto save function - I had not yet tried those things.

Fuji improves firmware quite frequently and I already dealt with fuji repair service (x100s) and it was top notch.

I had used many cameras and for the money the x-a1 is an excellent entry level APSC camera with results of much more expensive siblings.

Unless the super fast focus is your top priority I would absolutely recommend this little marvel with output of much more expensive gear.

 LaFonte's gear list:LaFonte's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Panasonic FZ1000 Fujifilm X-Pro1 +2 more
Fujifilm X-A1
16 megapixels • 3 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Sep 17, 2013
LaFonte's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
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