Everything about the X-A7 has been designed with the smartphone user in mind – from the large rear LCD screen and a relatively user-friendly menu interface. And with topnotch image quality that even the experts will be pleased with, it’s an excellent little snapper. Autofocus performance is impressive for both stills and video, which even some enthusiast-level cameras have trouble with. Even the lack of a viewfinder didn’t both us.
Our only complaints are about the camera’s ergonomics – there’s barely a grip to speak of and the joystick isn’t within easy reach of the thumb. You’ll have to support the weight of the camera by holding the lens every time you need to reach for the joystick. The 16:9 display also takes some getting used to. Choose another aspect ratio and you’re going to be losing real estate on either side of the screen.
The physical complaints aside, it’s very easy for us to recommend this camera, particularly since you can grab a kit for a rather reasonable price of $699 / £699 / AU$999. There are cheaper options on the market, but we’re yet to come across one that matches the autofocus performance, ease of use and the image quality of the X-A7.
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Canon EOS M200
Canon’s latest entry-level APS-C mirrorless camera is cheaper than the X-A7 but isn’t available in all regions. It replaces the EOS M100, offering a 24MP sensor and 4K video recording in a small and compact body that’s been designed to be easy to use. However, the lack of control buttons make it harder to get to some advanced options, although it does offer the best bang for the buck in this class. Although the choice of native lenses for the M series cameras is still very limited.
Panasonic Lumix GX9
It’s not brand new and neither is it entry-level. Instead, the Lumix GX9 is meant to be for enthusiasts looking for a compact package, but the camera gets a mention here because of the similar price tag. It’s a top performer with a 20MP micro four thirds (MFT) sensor, that also offers 4K recording at 30fps. You can even take advantage of a viewfinder, although it is an awkward 16:9 panel, and the in-built image stabilization.
The PEN series of Olympus cameras have a reputation to maintain and the E-PL9 is one of the best. It’s a great entry-level model that captures sharp, well-exposed images using a 16MP MFT sensor. In-body image stabilization is available, as is 4K video recording, although there’s no viewfinder here. And it’s cheaper than the X-A7.
Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.