Mirrorless cameras occupy a niche somewhere in between compact cameras and DSLRs, that is to say small cameras that have decent-sized sensors and interchangable lenses. In this article we’ll review the newest member of the Fujifilm X series of mirrorless cameras, the Fujifilm X-A3.
Introducing the Fujifilm X-A3
The Fujifilm X-A3 is a versatile little everyday camera, with a good quality lens and a large 24-megapixel sensor. It is easy to use right out of the box, but it has hidden depths and has cool, retro styling and a smooth aluminium body and lens with either black, brown or pink leatherette.
If you’re used to handling DSLRs, it feels quite small in the hands. It never feels tiny, though, because of the very well-placed grips on the body that fit the fingers and thumb of your right hand. The controls are perfectly placed and fall right under your fingers even when you aren’t looking at the camera, and it doesn’t take long before you can find them without looking.
Using these controls you can adjust the exposure a little under or over using the big silver wheel on the top of the camera, allowing you to select a few stops either way when you are shooting into or away from the light. This means you can fine tune every shot on the fly to really bring out the lighting of the scene that you see with the naked eye.
The kit lens provided with the camera is an X-mount 16-50mm lens in a retro smooth silky silver finish. It’s a good all-around lens and copes well with landscapes and portraits. It also has a very nice macro focus as close as 7cm in wide angle mode, which makes for some very up-close and personal shots.
If you need to get closer or wider, you might need additional lenses, but for most all-round photography, the kit lens is perfectly fine for most of your needs. It’s a lovely sharp little lens, and the autofocus works really nice and fast.
The X-mount range of lenses are beautiful (of course), but as a pro-tip, if you want to cost effectively expand the lenses you use, you can buy X-mount adaptors on eBay which enable you to fit lenses from other makers (even classic vintage lenses) onto the camera.
One of the best features of the camera is the built-in interval timer. What this means is that you can set up the camera on a tripod and tell it to take a photo, such as every 4 seconds for a total of 250 frames.
Combine those frames into a video at 25 frames per second. and you’ll have 10 seconds of gorgeous 24-megapixel timelapse video.
The LCD tilts both up and down for easy viewing at odd angles. In fact, it can even flip up 180 degrees to face forwards so you can take selfies while checking the viewfinder. The camera also has a modern face and eye-tracking technology to keep your face in focus as you film.
Another thoroughly modern feature is that the LCD is in fact also a touch screen, meaning you can touch for focus and even touch to take the picture, like you would on your phone. WiFi comes built in so you can send pictures to your phone or tablet wirelessly, and you can also print pictures wirelessly to the Fujifilm Instax printer.
In film simulation mode you have some gorgeous Fujifilm looks which mimic actual film. You can get classic film looks, like print film, reversal film and monochrome, but also monochrome with coloured filters (a classic real film technique for adjusting contrast). All the above looks happen in real time on screen, so as you shoot you’ll see it right there in the viewfinder.
There are also some really great special effect filters, for toy camera, miniature, dynamic tones and a simulated fish-eye lens effect (which is just a distortion filter, but fun anyway). There is also a soft focus filter and a simulated starburst filter. Our favourites were the partial colour filters which pick a single colour leaving the rest of the picture as monochrome.
Compact, versatile 24MP camera with great removable lenses. Built-in time lapse, special effects, film simulation, 180-degree viewfinder for still and video selfies, and face/eye tracking. Hot shoe for external flash and well-placed controls for exposure, good grips on body.
Small niggling problems, really. Movie mode kicks in instantly from still and starts recording, changing the aspect ratio of the frame without any pause for reframing. (Possible to fix this by setting aspect ratio for stills to 16:9, but it’s annoying.) No external mic port. Struts supporting pop-up flash are quite thin.
The Fujifilm X-A3 is a fabulous addition to the X-series, a gorgeously retro-looking camera but with smart, 21st-century features. The colour rendition is lovely, and there are lots of options for you to adjust the image quailty and colour to your liking.
Besides, this is not meant to be a pro movie camera or a pro stills camera. It’s a really great general use camera with a lot of modern features. The still photos are big, sparkling and detailed, the videos steady and sharp.
And let’s face it, it’s a really pretty camera. It’s a stylish addition to your camera bag, and if you’re a photographer, this would be the one you’d take on holiday with you when all the more heavy duty camera gear gets left at home.
If you have any questions or thoughts about the camera, please leave them in the comments below.