Fujifilm X-A2 Conclusion

XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II: 32.5mm, f/5.6, 1/60s, ISO 800

The Fujifilm X-series is known for its classically inspired cameras, and this updated entry-level offering is no different. Offered in an array of color combos (three to be exact in the US market), the X-A2 sports a compact, rangefinder-esque shape -- though, sadly, sans viewfinder -- with a decent amount of external controls.

Despite non-X-Trans sensor, X-A2 captures high quality images

Unlike most of the X-series cameras, however, this entry-level model utilizes a traditional RGBG Bayer-filtered sensor instead of their unique X-Trans sensor. The 16.3-megapixel APS-C sensor, nevertheless, produces very good images with lots of fine detail, pleasing colors and impressive high ISO image quality for a camera of this class. Compared to an X-Trans-equipped camera, like the X-M1, the X-Trans does capture slightly more detailed images, at both low and higher ISOs, however, the overall differences are not drastic.

Classic styling with an entry-level price point

Despite its entry-level spot in Fuji's lineup, the X-A2 feels a bit above the bar compared to other entry-level cameras. The camera is solidly built, though its mostly plastic construction is not up the standards of higher-end Fuji cameras like the X-T10 or X-E2. Furthermore, the dual control dial design offers experienced photographers a more advanced user experience. However, the top-facing rear dial feels a bit of an odd design choice in our opinion and makes the dial awkward to use.

Lack of an EVF option is a disappointment for advanced users

Though photographers accustomed to point-and-shoot cameras or smartphones might not fret over it, the lack of an electronic viewfinder built into the camera, or even an add-on accessory, is a big downside that many experienced photographers will take issue with. But if you're used to a top-down, waist-level shooting style, you'll be right at home with the X-A2's highly tiltable LCD screen. (Is this why the rear control dial faces upwards?)

Bracketing of RAW+JPEG shots worked fine for this new vs. old architectural shot, but tripped me up on some moving subjects.
16-50mm f/3.5-5.6: 16.7mm, f/8, 1/480s, ISO 400, -0.7EV

Don't expect blazing performance from this entry-level camera

Performance from the X-A2 is rather mixed. Autofocus performance, based on our lab tests was less than stellar, with full AF shutter lag clocking in at lower than average speeds, for instance. Our Field Test reviewer Eamon Hickey experienced slightly more positive results with single-shot AF, but found continuous AF on moving subjects disappointing. Similarly, our lab testing showed rather sluggish low-light AF performance, though our Field Tester did not experience any significant issues, so your mileage may vary depending on subject matter and light level.

By today's standards the X-A2's 5.6fps claimed burst rate is a bit on the slow side, though not all that unexpected for an entry-level camera. In our testing, we got around 5.5fps, so the camera lives up to its stated spec in this regard. Buffer depths, similarly, were fair for a consumer-level camera at around 16 JPEG shots, though it does dip to 11-12 for RAW or RAW+JPEG, respectively. The buffer clearing times range from 6-8 seconds depending on image quality settings, which is fine for stationary subjects, but can lead to missed shots for anything fast-paced, as our reviewer experienced.

10-24mm f/4: 24mm, f/8, 1/105s, ISO 800, -0.7EV

Fuji falters again with video quality

Video recording hasn't been one of Fuji's strong suits with their X-series cameras, especially from those with X-Trans sensors. We've typically seen lots of moiré and aliasing artifacts in videos captured with these cameras, but the X-A2 uses a traditional Bayer-filter sensor, so this should be different, right? Well, sadly, no. Video quality from the X-A2 is rather disappointing with rather strong moiré and aliasing, despite the traditional sensor.

Furthermore, while manual focusing during video is decent enough, continuous AF felt on the slow side and the camera doesn't display any focus point in C-AF mode. Additionally, in single-shot AF for video, you can only autofocus prior to recording -- and like C-AF, a focus point is not displayed during capture. Lastly, the X-A2 lacks the growingly popular 1080/60p frame rate option, though as an entry-level model, it's not all that surprising.

Simplified Wi-Fi features leave us frustrated

The Fuji X-A2 also includes built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, like the predecessor model, but is a rather disappointing experience. Unlike Fuji's more advanced cameras with their equally more advanced Wi-Fi companion app, the Fuji X-A2 is not compatible with this more fully-featured app, and instead uses a simplified, less capable app. The X-A2 app, the "Fujifilm Camera Application," offers just photo transfer and GPS capacities, but no remote control operation whatsoever.

The XF10-24mm shows its wide field-of-view in Pelham Bay Park.
10-24mm f/4: 10mm, f/5.6, 1/60s, ISO 800, -0.7EV

Despite drawbacks, Fuji X-A2 hits a sweet spot for quality & value

Despite some noticeable drawbacks with performance, lackluster video quality and the absence of an EVF, the Fujifilm X-A2 is a solid entry-level interchangeable lens camera. The X-A2 feels designed for both new, step-up photographers as well as more experienced ones who expect additional physical controls. And though it lacks the fancy X-Trans sensor of higher-end Fuji cameras, the image quality is rather impressive at both low and higher ISOs, both on-screen and in prints. All in all, the Fujifilm X-A2 balances very good still image quality and decent performance with a great price point, which when all is said and done, makes it a great entry into the Fuji X-system and their excellent family of lenses.

All told, the Fujifilm X-A2 gets the nod as a Dave's Pick in our book.

 

Pros & Cons

  • Very good image quality overall
  • Good hue accuracy
  • Great high ISO performance for its class
  • Very good optical performance from the kit lens, though macro performance could be better
  • Separate highlight and shadow tone controls
  • D-Range feature works well
  • Very low manual focus and prefocused shutter lag
  • Decent battery life for a mirrorless camera
  • Good value for the money
  • Build quality is nice for an entry-level camera
  • Slim, easy to hold "rangefinder-style" shape
  • Excellent line-up of X-mount lenses
  • Limited dynamic range in JPEGs can lead to easily clipped highlights and plugged shadows (much better DR in RAW files)
  • Multi-segment metering tends to overexpose
  • Slower than average full autofocus shutter lag in testing
  • Autofocus struggles in low light without AF assist beam
  • Mediocre burst speeds (though not unusual for entry-level model)
  • Auto and incandescent white balance don't perform well indoors in tungsten lighting
  • Weak built-in flash
  • No built-in EVF (and no option to add external one)
  • Fans of larger grips might be disappointed in slim profile
  • No Wi-Fi remote control capabilities


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