Fujifilm X-A5 Review
|Full model name:||Fujifilm X-A5|
(23.5mm x 15.7mm)
|Viewfinder:||No / LCD|
|Native ISO:||200 - 12,800|
|Extended ISO:||100 - 51,200|
|Shutter:||1/32000 - 30 sec|
|Max Aperture:||3.5 (kit lens)|
4.6 x 2.7 x 1.6 in.
(117 x 68 x 40 mm)
includes batteries, kit lens
|Full specs:||Fujifilm X-A5 specifications|
For those who want in on Fuji's X Series system without a big financial investment, the updated Fuji X-A5 makes a good entry point, especially if your priority is image quality. Offering a similar, but updated, 24MP Bayer-filtered APS-C sensor, the X-A5 provides some of the best image quality performance, at both low and high ISOs, we've seen from an entry-level camera around the $600 price point. Despite a new hybrid AF system and image processor, its performance, however, isn't overly impressive, with slower-than-average AF speed, sluggish shot-to-shot times and a shallow RAW buffer. Still, the Fuji X-A5 makes for a great entry-level camera and is a solid bargain when it comes to image quality.Pros
Impressive overall image quality; Excellent high ISO performance; Very good dynamic range from RAW files; Full HD video at 60 fps; Good battery life.Cons
Slower-than-average AF speed; 4K video capped at 15fps; Very slow startup to first shot time with new power-zoom kit lens; Sluggish single-shot cycle times.Price and availability
The Fujifilm X-A5 kit with 15-45mm lens began shipping in February 2018 with a retail price of US$600 (CA$750). The camera is available in three colors in the US market, all of them silver bodied, and varying only in the color of their black, brown or pink faux-leather trim.Imaging Resource rating
4.0 out of 5.0
Fuji X-A5 Review
• • •
Fuji X-A5 Conclusion
A good entry-level camera with impressive image quality performance
As we've seen from previous X-A models, the image quality performance from this entry-level camera is certainly impressive for this class of camera. For $600, this 24MP APS-C camera is one of the best ones out there now in terms of image quality performance, even at higher ISOs.
• • •
Following in the footsteps of the affordable X-A3, the Fuji X-A5 is aimed at entry-level photographers wanting a reasonably capable camera on a tight budget. It might look a whole lot like its predecessor externally, but a major update awaits on the inside, as we'll soon find out!
A very familiar body with a couple of changes
The only externally-obvious changes from the earlier camera are a new cover on the left side of the X-A5's plastic body -- behind which you'll find a new 2.5mm mic / remote jack -- and the lack of a focus mode switch on the front deck. (If you look more closely, you'll also spot a new Motion Panorama position on the mode dial, replacing the earlier camera's Custom position.)
A brand-new power zoom kit lens shoots wider and closer
On the front deck of the 24.2-megapixel Fuji X-A5, you'll find a Fuji X-mount on which to attach the bundled Fujinon XC15-45mm F3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens, an optic which replaces the earlier 16-50mm OIS II kit lens that shipped with the X-A3. This new lens has the same maximum aperture as did its predecessor across the range, but its focal length ranges a little wider. Shooting with the new lens on the X-A5 yields an effective focal range of about 23-68mm, as compared to the 24-77mm-equivalent range of its predecessor.
More importantly, though, it now features not just optical image stabilization, but also a power zoom function, a first for a Fuji X-mount lens. And it boasts a minimum working distance of just two inches, with a slightly improved 0.24x maximum reproduction ratio compared to 0.2x for the 16-50 II for closer macros. It is sold separately as well, priced at US$300 / CA$380.
It's still selfie-friendly, but with a new touch-screen GUI
And while its body looks much the same as before, the X-A5 offers a better shooting experience courtesy of a new and improved graphical user interface on the 3.0-inch touch-screen LCD. The screen itself can still fold upwards some 180 degrees to allow for selfie shooting, a feat many more expensive cameras can't manage.
Here, too, ease of use was clearly key. Simply folding the screen upwards puts the camera in selfie mode automatically, with the rear command dial controlling zoom and shutter release functions, and with eye autofocus enabled for you. And if you're concerned about your selfie appeal matching up to the X-A5's image quality, you'll be happy to hear that you can add a three-step portrait enhancer effect for more attractive results.
A brand-new image sensor and faster processor allow hybrid autofocus
But it's on the inside where the most important changes can be found. We already alluded to the Fuji X-A5's 24.2-megapixel resolution, which is unchanged from that of the X-A3. However, the APS-C-sized, Bayer-filtered CMOS image sensor is actually a new design featuring on-chip phase-detection autofocus pixels. That allows the addition of a hybrid autofocus mode, a first for an X-A-series camera and a noticeable step forwards from the earlier contrast-detection system.
And results from the new sensor are handled by a brand-new image processor said to have about 1.5x the performance of that in the X-A3. According to Fuji, this new processor coupled with the hybrid AF system has allowed autofocusing times to be slashed in half, however in our lab tests, the X-A5's AF speed was only slightly improved over the X-A3's. Burst capture rates are unchanged, at a moderately swift 6.0 fps max. to manufacturer ratings. JPEG buffer depth has improved, however raw file buffer is still only six frames.
Another stop of sensitivity for the low-light lovers
Image quality, too, is said to have been improved, especially in terms of skin tone reproduction and a more accurate scene recognition system can now better take advantage of that greater image quality. Where the X-A3 offered a sensitivity range of ISO 200-6400, expandable to encompass ISO 100-25,600, the upper end of that range has been expanded by one stop. (That'll take you up to ISO 12,800 by default, or ISO 51,200 with expansion enabled.)
As you'd expect of a Fujifilm camera, the X-A5 includes a generous selection of 11 film simulation modes that replicate the look of classic Fuji emulsions. And there are also 17 Advanced Filter functions, including two new additions: Fog Remove and HDR Art. You can now adjust exposure compensation across a wider +/-5 stop range. And if you like to shoot raw but want an occasional JPEG after the fact, you'll be happy to hear that you can still process raw files in-camera, a feature added in the X-A3.
4K video capture, but with a major catch
Admittedly, with a clip length of just five minutes and a capture rate of just 15 frames per second for ultra high-def capture, you're not going to want to use it as a video mode unless you're a fan of slideshows or quick-motion video.
Its real utility is actually for stills, not video: It could still prove very useful to still shooters thanks to what Fuji is terming the Burst Function, an analog of Panasonic's 4K Photo mode. What this does it to record 15 fps 4K video -- hopefully, with a shutter speed suitable for still capture -- and then allow you to simply extract high-res 8.3-megapixel still frames. You can also stack 4K images with variant focusing distances in multi-focus mode, again for an 8.3-megapixel final result.
And while 4K video is a decided disappointment for video shooters, in other respects the Fuji X-A5 does have some improvements. There's a new mic jack as mentioned previously, and touch autofocus based on a hybrid system is also available. Both Full HD and HD video offer frame rates of 23.98, 24, 50 or 59.94 fps. There's also a high-speed video mode which captures HD footage at 100 fps that plays back at 25 (1/4x), 29.97 (1/3.3x), 50 (1/2x) or 59.94 (1/1.6x) fps.
Better battery life and easier wireless sharing
The Fuji X-A5 still draws power from an NP-W126S battery pack, but battery life has been improved by around 10% to some 450 frames. Like its predecessor, the Fuji A5 includes a Wi-Fi radio for wireless image transfer, but this is now supplemented with a Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy radio for quick-and-easy pairing as needed. Once the Bluetooth radio is used to establish a Wi-Fi connection, you can use the Android or iOS-compatible Fujifilm Camera Remote app to transfer images and control the camera remotely.
Fuji X-A5 price and availability
The Fujifilm X-A5 kit with 15-45mm OIS PZ lens began shipping in February 2018 with a retail price of US$600 (CA$750). The camera is available in three colors in the US market, all of them silver bodied, and varying only in the color of their black, brown or pink faux-leather trim.
Fuji X-A5 Field Test
A solid starter camera with impressive image quality
Camera body and design
The Fujifilm X-A5 looks nearly identical to the X-A3. Why remake a good design, right? The X-A5 is a stylish camera with a nice faux-leather cover on the grip areas. It's reasonably compact and lightweight. Although it's a nice-looking camera, I found a few downsides to its design. The ergonomics are good and the camera is comfortable to hold, but some of the controls do not feel solidly-built. The shutter release, for example, wobbles a bit and can feel a little off for lack of a better term. The buttons on the camera are also loud when pressed.
Fuji X-A5 Image Quality Comparison
See how the X-A5's IQ stacks up against its competitors
NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page...
Fuji X-A5 Print Quality
How does image quality look in the real world?
Well, despite its entry-level positioning and price point, the non-X-Tran-based Fujifilm X-A5 does an excellent job overall in the print quality department. At lower ISOs, you're pretty much limited to the sensor's resolving power; the X-A5 tops our max print size of 30 x 40 inches up to ISO 400. At ISO 800, you can still get a very nice 24 x 36-inch print, which is still impressively large. As ISO sensitivity rises, we see only sublet increases in noise and drops in detail. The camera still manages a large 16 x 20 inch print at ISO 3200, and you can print an 8 x 10 at ISO 12,800 -- not many entry-level APS-C cameras can do that! Even the highest ISOs manage to just squeeze past the "good" mark, with the expanded max ISO of 51,200 offering a usable 4 x 6-inch print.
In the Box
The Fuji X-A5 with 15-45mm lens retail kit as tested contains the following items:
- Fujfilm X-A5 Camera Body
- Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ Lens
- NP-W126S Battery Pack
- AC-5VF AC Adapter
- USB Cable
- Shoulder Strap
- Body Cap
- Lens Caps
- Lens Hood
- Owner's Manual
- Fujifilm 1 Year Limited Warranty
Buy the Fujifilm X-A5
$849.33 (44% more)
32.5 MP (26% more)
Also lacks viewfinder