Conclusion

Pros Cons
  • Excellent detail capture and dynamic range in Raw images
  • Pleasing JPEG colors
  • Excellent battery life (for a mirrorless camera)
  • Twin control dials
  • 180° tilting touchscreen LCD
  • Useful Film Simulation modes
  • USB charging
  • Overall sluggish operation
  • Slow, unreliable AF system, with poor subject tracking and face detection
  • Frequent AF 'hunting' when recording video
  • Burst rate of 1 fps when tracking subjects
  • Buffer fills quickly when shooting Raw
  • LCD difficult to see in bright light
  • Limited video capture tools
  • Cannot adjust exposure comp. in manual mode w/Auto ISO
  • No external battery charger included

Overall Conclusion

The Fujifilm X-A3 is one of those cameras that sounds so promising from a feature and spec perspective that ultimately disappoints when you take it out in the real world. It does many things well, but its poor AF system and overall sluggish operation are a let down. With its roughly $600 price tag, it has some tough competitors, both mirrorless and DSLR, many of which are simply better cameras.

ISO 200 | 1/400 sec | F9 | Converted from Raw | Fujifilm XC 16-50mm lens @ 30mm
Photo by Carey Rose

Body and Handling

The X-A3 has a pleasant rangefinder-style design and build quality that is competitive with the other cameras in its class. While the grip is comfortable, the faux leather material used is quite slippery, so using a neck- or wrist-strap is a good idea. Being an inexpensive mirrorless camera, it shouldn't be a huge surprise that the X-A3 has a selfie-friendly flip-up LCD. The display is touch-enabled, though it's only used for tap-to-focus/shoot and image playback, and not menu navigation.

ISO 200 | 1/300 sec | F5.6 | Fujifilm XC 16-50mm lens @ 16mm. Photo by Jeff Keller

One pleasant surprise is that the X-A3 has twin dials for controlling exposure, which is something you just don't find on cameras in this class. While that's a feature normally found on more expensive cameras, the X-A3's customizability is limited. And, while you can use Auto ISO in manual exposure mode, you won't be able to adjust exposure compensation, though this isn't likely to be a requirement for an entry-level camera buyer.

Sharing photos or remotely controlling the camera is a cinch thanks to reliable and easy-to-use apps.

Autofocus and Performance

One of the biggest letdowns on the X-A3 is its autofocus system. With up to 77 selectable points and a wide/tracking mode, it sounds promising, but we found it to be slow and unreliable in both good and low light, and unable to track a moving subject. Its face detection system is rudimentary and tends to miss if the subject isn't looking straight-on or is wearing glasses.

This photo about sums up the X-A3's autofocus system in a nutshell: the camera has chosen to focus on the grass rather than the subject in the foreground.
ISO 200 | 1/400 sec | F6.4 | XC 16-50mm lens @ 50mm. Photo by Jeff Keller

Camera performance on the whole feels slow, especially when you're using the menus. If you've ever used a higher-end Fujifilm then you'll notice immediately. The X-A3 can shoot bursts at up to 6 fps and can go for quite a while if you're using JPEGs, but Raw bursts end quickly and lock up the camera for several seconds. If you are attempting to track a subject in C-AF mode, the frame rate drops to around 1 fps. Battery life, on the other hand, is fantastic. It can't compete with a DSLR using its optical viewfinder, but for a mirrorless the X-A3 can keep shooting for a very long time.

Image and Video Quality

The X-A3 produces images with the pleasing color that Fujifilm cameras have become known for. While not best-in-class, the X-A3 captures plenty of detail in its JPEGs (with the latest firmware). Throwing the camera into Raw mode shows that the X-A3 can keep up with its peers, as its sensor has relatively low noise levels and wide dynamic range.

ISO 200 | 1.5 sec | F5.6 | Converted from Raw | Fuji XC 16-50mm lens @ 48mm
Photo by Jeff Keller

The X-A3's video capabilities are also a mixed bag. While it can record decent quality Full HD clips at 60p, 30p or 24p, the autofocus system will frequently 'hunt,' which doesn't make for the most compelling footage. If you're looking for more advanced features such as focus peaking or a mic input, you won't find them on the X-A3. The Panasonic GX850 is definitely a better choice for video in this price category.

The Final Word

We had high hopes for the Fujifilm X-A3 when it was announced. After all, it has a nice sensor, pleasant design, broad feature set and excellent battery life. Unfortunately, the camera is laggy, the AF system very underwhelming and the LCD can be difficult to see outdoors (with no EVF available). When placed up against cameras like the Nikon D3400, Olympus E-PL8, Panasonic GX850 and the aging Sony a6000, the X-A3 just can't keep up.


Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.

Fujifilm X-A3
Category: Entry Level Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
PoorExcellent
Conclusion
Despite its impressive spec sheet, battery life and pleasant JPEG colors, the X-A3's sub-par AF system and overall sluggishness. For social shooters it's okay, but the bottom line is that better cameras in this price range exist.
Good for
Static subjects in good light, going out all day with one battery,
Not so good for
Shooting anything moving and video capture (both due to AF system).
74%
Overall score