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Review: Fujifilm X-A1

December 11, 2013 • Reviews, Top Stories

There are many digital cameras on the market, but Fujifilm is hoping to woo new users with its simple and easy-to-use entry-level interchangeable-lens camera. Sporting a 16M large APS-C CMOS sensor and EXR PROCESSOR II for rich tonal expression, all the action happens on the 3.0-inch 920K-dot Tilt LCD screen.

Fujifilm's X-A1 (image: Fujifilm)

Fujifilm’s X-A1 (Image source: Fujifilm)

What we like about it

The included NP-W126 Li-ion battery will make sure that users get at least a couple hundred shots in before it needs to be charged, which is always a good thing. At approx. 330g (including battery and memory card), it is very easy to carry around and slip into a small bag.

In addition to the shutter and the technology inside the unit, getting a good shot can depend on how quickly the camera can be switched on and engaged. Well, if the X-A1’s Quick Start mode is selected, the unit will be ready to shoot in 0.5 seconds, and even without it, it will be ready in just over 1 second.

Speaking of being quick on the draw, ideal for shooting children, pets and other subjects that seem to be constantly on the go, the unit’s built-in function lets users record a burst of up to 30 frames at a speed of 5.6 fps and then select the best shot.

As mentioned, the unit makes use of a 16M large APS-C CMOS sensor, which will provide users with crisp and clear images. The unit also comes with several modes, which will put a bit of an artistic flare on their images if they are not versed in photo editing software.

The 3.0-inch LCD screen is not big enough to see all the operations, but it can also tilt down and at an angle to give users a better view of their subject, and to also provide them with some unique photographic options. While the screen is more than sufficient, it would have been a treat if the unit also featured a View Finder, as some photographers do not enjoy using only the screen to monitor images.

The unit does not feature a hot shoe for an external flash, but it does provide users with an internal alternative. Built into the compact body is a versatile, smart flash to illuminate a variety of scenes with just the right amount of light, but its construction does seem a bit flimsy.

As with most digital cameras these days, the unit is capable of recording 1920 x 1080 30p video, although that will drain the battery rather quick – it can only muster 14 minutes of continuous recording when using a Class 10 or higher memory card.

What we do not like about it

While the functionality was perfect and easy-to-use, the most frustrating thing that we encountered was that the accompanying lens’ zoom was not adequate enough without getting really close to a subject.

While it sufficed for the long shot that did not require any real framing or zooming, taking pictures at medium length means that users will have to move in close to get the best shot. It is not the most ideal situation that photographers want to be in, as some subject are difficult to get to – and if the zoom is not providing the distance, it could ruin an image.

Conclusion

With the zoom being the only major annoyance for the unit, it is good to know that users will be able to change the lens due to the interchangeable-lens technology. While the camera is not at the top of the range in terms of power and megapixels, it is a very decent model for users who want to take great photos with as little fuss as possible. It is a great alternative to a bulky camera when going to a special occasion or for simple holiday snaps.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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