Fuji X-A2 Image Quality


Color

Saturation & Hue Accuracy
Typical saturations levels with good hue accuracy.

ISO Sensitivity
100
200
400
800
1600 3200
In the diagram above, the squares show the original color, and the circles show the color that the camera captured. More saturated colors are located toward the periphery of the graph. Hue changes as you travel around the center. Thus, hue-accurate, highly saturated colors appear as lines radiating from the center. Mouse over the links to see results across the ISO range, and click on the links for larger images.

Saturation. The Fuji X-A2 produces images with typical saturation levels using the standard film simulation (Provia) at default settings. The camera pushes most colors by a small amount, dark red and dark green by a moderate amount, but undersaturates yellow and aqua by just a bit. Default mean saturation at the base ISO of 200 was 110.3% (10.3% oversaturated), which is about average these days. You can of course tweak saturation and/or select a different film simulation mode. Mean saturation varied only slightly as ISO increased, with the range varying from a minimum of 108.2% at ISO 25,600 to a maximum of 111.4% at ISO 1600. Most consumer digital cameras produce color that's more highly saturated (more intense) than found in the original subjects. This is simply because most people like their color a bit brighter than life.

Skin tones. The Fuji X-A2 rendered pleasant Caucasian skin tones that were just a touch on the warm side when white balance was adjusted to match the light source at base ISO. Results were more pleasing with Auto white balance, producing a healthy, slightly more pinkish look. (Here, too, the X-A2's saturation and/or film mode adjustments may come into play for some users, letting them tweak the color on skin tones, if they find the default rendering a bit too saturated for their personal tastes. Note that Fujifilm claims their Astia film simulation produces "true-to-life" skin tones.) Where oversaturation is most problematic is on Caucasian skin tones, as it's very easy for these "memory colors" to be seen as too bright, too pink, too yellow, etc.

Hue. The Fuji X-A2 produced only a few color shifts relative to the mathematically precise translation of colors in its subjects, and has very good hue accuracy overall. The most noticeable shift is in cyan toward blue, with more minor shifts in some other colors such as aqua, orange, yellow and blue. (The cyan to blue shift is very common among the digital cameras we test; we think it's a deliberate choice by camera engineers to produce better-looking sky colors.) Average "delta-C" color error after correction for saturation at base ISO was only 4.07, which is very good, and hue accuracy remained better than average across the ISO range. Hue is "what color" the color is.

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Sensor

Exposure and White Balance

Indoors, incandescent lighting
Auto and Incandescent white balance struggled, but very good results with the Manual setting. Negative exposure compensation required.

Auto White Balance
-0.3 EV
Incandescent White Balance
-0.3 EV
Manual White Balance
-0.3 EV

Indoors, under typical incandescent lighting, color balance was too reddish using the Auto setting, and the Incandescent white balance setting produced a yellow/orange cast. The Manual white balance setting was quite accurate, though, just slightly cool. The Fuji X-A2 required -0.3 EV exposure compensation here, while most cameras need about +0.3 EV for this scene. Our test lighting for this shot is a mixture of 60 and 100 watt household incandescent bulbs, a pretty yellow light source, but a very common one in typical home settings here in the U.S.

Outdoors, daylight
Very good color though slightly cool outdoors. Tended to overexpose in our AE tests.

Auto White Balance,
-0.3 EV
Auto White Balance,
0 EV

Outdoors, the Fuji X-A2 produced good color at default settings, just slightly on the cool side. The Fuji X-A2's default exposure was too bright in our "Sunlit" Portrait shot, requiring -0.3 EV exposure compensation. This is better than average, though, as most cameras need +0.7 EV for this shot, but it did lead to a lot of blown highlights. Skin tones were pleasing, with a healthy-looking pinkish cast that's not too overdone with Auto white balance. The Fuji X-A2 also overexposed our Far-field shot, producing quite few clipped highlights at default exposure, while some shadows remained quite deep. Very deep shadows were quite clean, but sometimes had odd artifacts in the form of bright or dark pixels around high-contrast edges, as well as some strong posterization and discoloration, and they tended to abruptly clip to black. Again, color was just a touch cool with the Auto white balance setting. See the Extremes: Sunlit section below to see how the X-A2's Highlight/Shadow Tone and D-Range settings deal with harsh lighting like this.

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Resolution
~2,300 lines of strong detail from JPEGs, about the same from ACR converted RAW.

Strong detail to
~2,300 lines horizontal
Camera JPEG
Strong detail to
~2,300 lines vertical
Camera JPEG
Strong detail to
~2,300 lines horizontal
ACR converted RAW
Strong detail to
~2,300 lines vertical
ACR converted RAW

Our laboratory resolution chart revealed sharp, distinct line patterns down to about 2,300 lines per picture height in the horizontal direction, and to about 2,300 lines per picture height in the vertical direction as well. Complete extinction of the pattern occurred between 2,600 and 2,800 lines. Adobe Camera Raw wasn't able to extract any additional resolution, however it did extend complete extinction of the pattern somewhat while producing much higher amounts of color moiré. Use these numbers to compare with other cameras of similar resolution, or use them to see just what higher resolution can mean in terms of potential detail.

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Sharpness & Detail
Slightly soft images, but with visible edge-enhancement artifacts around some high-contrast subjects. Mild noise suppression is visible in the shadows at base ISO.

Decent definition of
high-contrast elements,
with minor evidence of
edge enhancement.
Subtle detail: Hair
Noise suppression tends to blur
detail in areas of subtle contrast,
though detail remains strong in
the darker parts of the model's hair here.

Sharpness. The Fuji X-A2 captures very smooth, slightly soft images, yet default sharpening leaves visible edge enhancement artifacts on high-contrast subjects such as obvious sharpening "halos" around the lines and letters of the bottle label above left. Edge enhancement creates the illusion of sharpness by enhancing colors and tones right at the edge of a rapid transition in color or tone.

Detail. The crop above right shows relatively low levels of luminance noise suppression, as the darker areas of the model's hair still show a pretty good amount of detail. Some individual strands do merge together when local contrast is low and as shadows deepen, but performance here is very good. The Fuji X-A2 does a great job at keeping chrominance noise low as well, better than most Bayer-filtered cameras. Noise-suppression systems in digital cameras tend to flatten-out detail in areas of subtle contrast. The effects can often be seen in shots of human hair, where the individual strands are lost and an almost "watercolor" look appears.

RAW vs In-Camera JPEGs
The Fuji X-A2 produces very clean JPEG images that have very good detail but are slightly soft at default settings. Let's see if we can extract better detail from RAW files with Adobe Camera Raw.

Base ISO (200)
Camera JPEG, defaults
RAW via Adobe Camera Raw

In the table above, we compare an in-camera JPEG taken at base ISO using default noise reduction and sharpening (on the left) to the matching RAW file converted with Adobe Camera Raw 9.1 using default noise reduction with some strong but tight unsharp masking applied in Photoshop (250%, radius of 0.3 pixels, and a threshold of 0).

Adobe Camera Raw does a very good job here and is able to extract more detail than the camera does with fewer sharpening artifacts, especially in our red-leaf fabric. The converted image is a little sharper and there is a touch more detail in the mosaic crop as well, but noise is also more evident in the bottle crop. Bottom line: The X-A2 produces cleaner looking images with a little more pop, at least when comparing default settings at base ISO, but as is usually the case, you can extract additional detail and produce fewer sharpening artifacts by shooting in RAW mode and using a good converter.

ISO & Noise Performance
Excellent high ISO performance for an APS-C sensor.

Default High ISO Noise Reduction
ISO 100 ISO 200 ISO 400
ISO 800 ISO 1600 ISO 3200
ISO 6400 ISO 12,800 ISO 25,600

The Fuji X-A2's images are very clean and detailed up to and including ISO 800. Luminance noise "grain" is quite fine and tight, and chrominance noise is remarkably low. At ISO 1600, noise reduction efforts are little stronger as you'd expect, but fine detail is still very good. ISO 3200 shows another increase in noise and blurring, but fine detail is still pretty good. Image quality at ISO 6400 takes a larger hit with much stronger blurring and more noticeable noise reduction artifacts, though overall detail is still fair. Image quality drops off more rapidly at ISO 12,800, with more visible grain, blurring, noise reduction artifacts, and blotchy chroma noise in the shadows. Fine detail at ISO 25,600 is quite soft with heavy luminance noise accentuated by sharpening artifacts, and chrominance noise in the form of large yellow and purple blotches becomes problematic.

Still, noise performance in high ISO JPEGs is very good to excellent for its class, among the best we've seen from a 16-megapixel APS-C Bayer-filtered sensor. Note that ISOs 100, 12,800 and 25,600 are extended sensitivities with no RAW support.

We're pixel-peeping to the extreme here though, which isn't always representative of what you see in prints. As always, see the Print Quality section below for maximum recommended print sizes at each ISO.

Extremes: Sunlit, dynamic range and low light tests
Poor dynamic range in JPEGs. Good low-light performance, but autofocus struggles in dim light.

-0.3 EV 0 EV +0.3 EV

Sunlight. The Fuji X-A2 struggled with the harsh lighting of this test at default settings at the base ISO of 200 (which should be best case). We preferred the -0.3 EV exposure overall, because exposures at default and +0.3 EV exposure compensation were too bright with too many clipped highlights. Even at -0.3 EV, quite a few highlights are blown in the mannequin's shirt and flowers. There are quite a few dark shadows as well and although shadows are quite clean, fine detail suffers from strong noise reduction, and they clip to black rather abruptly. Overall, the Fuji X-A2's JPEGs performed below average here in this difficult lighting without any highlight and shadow adjustments, or any dynamic range enhancement (see below).

Because digital cameras are more like slide film than negative film (in that they tend to have a more limited tonal range), we test them in the harshest situations to see how they handle scenes with bright highlights and dark shadows, as well as what kind of sensitivity they have in low light. The shot above is designed to mimic the very harsh, contrasty effect of direct noonday sunlight, a very tough challenge for most digital cameras. (You can read details of this test here.)

Contrast Adjustment
The Fuji X-A2 does not offer a traditional contrast adjustment. Instead, it offers Shadow and Highlight Tone settings, which let you adjust contrast in highlights and shadows independently. There are five settings each: "Soft", "Medium Soft", "Standard" (default), "Medium Hard", and "Hard."

"Sunlit" Portrait Highlight and Shadow Tone Comparison
Highlight
and
Shadow
Tone
Settings:



Highlight: Soft

Highlight: Standard

Highlight: Hard


Shadow: Soft

Shadow: Standard

Shadow: Hard

Shadow and Highlight Tone. Above you can see the effects of three of the five settings for Highlight and Shadow Tone control on our high contrast "Sunlit" Portrait shot. Mouse over the links to load the associated thumbnail and histogram, and click on the links to visit the full resolution image.

Note how the Highlight settings mainly affect the brighter portions of the image, while the Shadow settings impact the darker areas. Both settings can be used simultaneously, giving more flexibility to adjust the tone curve at both ends compared to a single contrast setting, though we wish the range of adjustment toward lower contrast was greater as highlights and particularly shadows are still clipped with the "softest" settings.

Above, you can see the effect of the same Highlight and Shadow Tone settings on our Far-field shot.


"Sunlit" Portrait D-Range Comparison
D-Range
Settings:



100%
(default)



200%


400%


Auto

D-Range is Fuji's name for their dynamic range enhancement technology. D-Range designed to preserve hot highlights, by exposing for highlights and then boosting mid-tones and shadows. There are three levels: DR100 100% (default), DR200 200%, DR400 400%, as well as an Auto mode which can select DR100 or DR200. DR200 is available at ISO 400 and above, while DR400 is available at ISO 800 and above, so all four examples above were taken at ISO 800. Mouse over the links above to load the corresponding thumbnail image and histogram. Click on the links to get to the full resolution images.

As you can see the images above, the Fuji X-A2's manual D-Range settings were very effective at retaining clipped highlights in our "Sunlit" Portrait shot. As they say, though, there's no free lunch: If you look closely at the full resolution images, you'll see that improved highlight retention comes at a cost of increased noise. This is because the camera's sensitivity needs to be raised to take advantage of the D-Range feature, though that's not much of penalty because the X-A2's high ISO performance is so good. (Note that the Fuji X-A2 does not offer a multi-shot in-camera HDR mode.)

Far-field D-Range Comparison

Above, you can see how the various D-Range strengths affect our Far-field shot.  Here, 100% is at ISO 200, 200% is ISO 400 and 400% is ISO 800.

Off On

Face Detection. The Fuji X-A2 offers face detection which optimizes both focus and exposure for faces. As you can see, it produced a better exposed image than the default exposure (left), which is overexposed. It did so by increasing shutter speed slightly from 1/34 to 1/45 second.


  1 fc
11 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
1/16fc
No NR
ISO
200

1s, f2.8

15s, f2.8

15s, f2.8
ISO
3200

1/15s, f2.8

1s, f2.8

1s, f2.8
ISO
25600

1/125s, f2.8

1/8s, 1 f2.8

1/8s, f2.8

Low Light. The X-A2 performed well in our low light tests, able to capture bright images down to the lowest light level we test at. The darkest level equates to about 1/16 the brightness of average city street lighting at night, so the Fuji X-A2 should be able to take well-exposed photos in almost any environment in which you can see well enough to walk around in.

Using default noise reduction setting, noise is low at ISO 200 and surprisingly well-controlled at ISO 3200, though as you'd expect, noise is quite high at the maximum ISO of 25,600. We didn't notice any significant issues with hot pixels, heat blooming or pattern noise.

Automatic color balance is just a touch cool particularly at lower light levels, but pretty neutral.

The camera's autofocus system was only able to focus on our subject down to about the 1/4 foot-candle light level unassisted with an f/2.8 lens, which is fair for an APS-C-sensored mirrorless camera. However the Fuji X-A2 was able to autofocus in total darkness with the help of its AF assist lamp, as long as the subject is within range and has sufficient contrast.

Keep in mind that the longer shutter speeds here demand the use of a tripod to prevent any blurring from camera movement. (A useful trick is to just prop the camera on a convenient surface, and use its self-timer to release the shutter. This avoids any jiggling from your finger pressing the shutter button, and can work quite well when you don't have a tripod handy.)

How bright is this? The one foot-candle light level that this test begins at roughly corresponds to the brightness of typical city street-lighting at night. Cameras performing well at that level should be able to snap good-looking photos of street-lit scenes.

NOTE: This low light test is conducted with a stationary subject, and the camera mounted on a sturdy tripod. Most digital cameras will fail miserably when faced with a moving subject in dim lighting. (For example, a child's ballet recital or a holiday pageant in a gymnasium.) Thanks to its larger sensor compact system cameras like the Fuji X-A2 tend to do better than point & shoots, but you still shouldn't expect a quick autofocus lock with moving subjects.

Output Quality

Print Quality
Nice, large 24 x 36 prints at ISO 100-400, impressive 16 x 20 at ISO 3200, and a usable 5 x 7 at ISO 25,600.

ISO 100/200 prints look great up to 24 x 36 inches. At this size, you're pushing the resolution limit of the 16MP APS-C sensor, but nevertheless at normal viewing distances prints look great with lots of detail and vibrant colors.

ISO 400 images look very similar to the previous ISOs, but with just an extremely subtle drop in very fine detail if you look closely. That being said, we're calling 24 x 36 inches here as well for the maximum print size. For even crisper images, 16 x 20 inch prints look excellent.

ISO 800 prints display little to no noise, even at this mid-range ISO level. Prints look very good up to 20 x 30 inches.

ISO 1600 images still manage impressive prints up to 16 x 20 inches. Prints are surprisingly light on noise, even in shadow areas. Some subjects like the tricky red-leaf fabric in our Still Life target show a drop in detail, however, elsewhere in the print detail and colors are great.

ISO 3200 prints top out at 16 x 20 inches as well. The Fuji X-A2 continues to impress with very good high ISO noise control, and colors remain bright and pleasing.

ISO 6400 images show a bit more softening, due to in-camera noise reduction, but otherwise look fantastic up to 11 x 14 inches. We're kind of on the fence here, but a 13 x 19 inch print could be usable for less critical applications.

ISO 12,800 prints look good up to 8 x 10 inches; a rather impressive feat for an entry-level camera. Detail is certainly a bit soft in some areas, but noise and grain is very well controlled despite the high sensitivity.

ISO 25,600 images manage to squeak out a usable 5 x 7 inch print. Any larger and the lack of detail becomes quite apparent. That being said, the detail and the vibrant, accurate colors are impressive for this ISO sensitivity.

Despite the entry-level price point and traditional Bayer-filtered 16MP APS-C sensor, the Fuji X-A2 manages very impressive results in the print department. While not the highest resolution sensor, prints at extended low ISO 100 up to ISO 400 all look great up to 24 x 36 inches. There's some slight pixelation visible upon close inspection at this print size, but at the normal viewing distance for such large prints, detail is excellent. Mid-range ISO images all manage very well at controlling noise and allow for very good print sizes, such as a 16 x 20 inch print at ISO 1600. Reaching the maximum ISO levels, including the two expanded high ISOs, the X-A2 still manages to control noise well enough to produce usable prints up to 8 x 10 inches at ISO 12,800 and 5 x 7 inches at ISO 25,600.

Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell just so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we now routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon Pro9000 Mark II studio printer, and the Canon Pixma MP610 here in the office. (See the Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II review for details on that model.)

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Fujifilm X-A2 Photo Gallery .

Not sure which camera to buy? Let your eyes be the ultimate judge! Visit our Comparometer(tm) to compare images from the Fujifilm X-A2 with those from other cameras you may be considering. The proof is in the pictures, so let your own eyes decide which you like best!



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