Fuji X-A1 review

Fuji's entry-level CSC gets more affordable

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At US$599/£499 with the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens the X-A1 represents a significant saving on the X-M1, which retails for around US$799/£679 with the same optic.

With the exception of the sensor design, the X-A1 has exactly the same specification as the X-M1, which means you get quite a bit for your money. The build quality is excellent, start-up and response times are snappy and there's a high- resolution LCD screen that tilts for easier viewing from above or below when shooting landscape images.

Naturally a drop in price means that there is a compromise, and with the X-A1 it's made with detail resolution and raw signal to noise ratio. However, this difference is only really visible in lab conditions when looking at a perfectly illuminated black and white target. This difference exists because the X-A1 has a standard Bayer pattern sensor that requires an anti-aliasing (or low-pass) filter rather than a X-Trans CMOS sensor which doesn't need a filter to avoid moiré patterning.

While the X-M1 can resolve more detail than the X-A1 in laboratory conditions, there's also slightly less noise visible in images when they are viewed at 100%. In reality these differences are unlikely to be noticeable at normal print sizes.

The X-A1 produces superb images that most photographers will be extremely happy with, especially if they shoot raw files.

We liked

Fuji has translated its rugged retro build to a smaller camera aimed at those on a budget or who don't want to carry a bulky camera. Thanks to the provision of a Mode dial the controls are also simpler for less experienced photographers, but the enthusiasts' favourite options of shutter priority, aperture priority and manual are still available quickly.

We disliked

As with the X-M1, the X-A1 has no viewfinder and there's no optional one available so images can only be composed on the screen, which isn't entirely without issue in bright ambient light.
We'd also like to see a rubberized pas on the thumb-rest to give it a little more grip.

Final verdict

Most photographers will tell you that image quality is their biggest consideration when selecting a camera, but the build and functionality of the camera are also key factors along with the price. Many manufacturers reduce the functionality and build quality of their more entry-level cameras in order to keep cost down, but Fuji is in the unusual position of being able to achieve the same thing while keeping these two elements the same.

The X-A1 scores well for build and functionality and price, which makes the slight (and some might say theoretical) dip in image quality in comparison with the Fuji X-M1 much more palatable. It also provides a step into Fuji's X-system, which has a growing collection of lenses (set to reach 11 by the end of the year) and some great step-up cameras if you feel the need.

Fuji is to be congratulated for sticking to its X-series design principles for it's entry-level model. It would've been easy to compromise on build quality, but it hasn't. It has also managed to keep the same traditional look of its other models such as the Fuji X-E1 and Fuji X-Pro1 while making the X-A1 and (X-M1) more accessible to novice photographers.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Wireless LANYes
Effective Camera Resolution16.3 Megapixel
Product FamilyX
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC UHS-I), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC UHS-I)
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom3.1x
Brand NameFujifilm
FeaturesFace Detection, Orientation Sensor, Continuous Shooting Mode
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsH.264, MOV
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)280 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Image Sensor Size23.60 mm x 15.60 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4896 x 3264
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height66 mm
Width116.8 mm
Depth38.1 mm
Product SeriesX
Focal Length16 mm to 50 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
External FlashOptional
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerFuji Photo Film Co. Ltd
Product ModelX-A1
Product NameX-A1 Mirrorless Camera
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority
  • Shutter Priority
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberP10NC11810A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.fujifilm.co.uk
Marketing Information
  • A compact and stylish FUJIFILM X entry-level interchangeable-lens camera.
  • Large 16.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor that captures rich tonal expression, has an increased dynamic range and sensitivity settings up to a maximum ISO of 25600.
  • High definition tiltable 3-inch LCD
  • Compatible with all Fujifilm X mount lenses and particularly suited to the compact and lightweight FUJINON XC lenses
  • Wireless image transfer for instant transfer to a mobile device or computer.
Package Contents
  • X-A1 Mirrorless Camera
  • FUJINON XC16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS Lens
  • Li-ion Battery NP-W126
  • Battery Charger BC-W126
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Body Cap
  • Software CD-ROM
  • Owner's Manual