Fujifilm X-A7 Review
|Full model name:||Fujifilm X-A7|
(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)|
4.7 x 2.7 x 1.6 in.
(119 x 68 x 41 mm)
includes batteries, kit lens
|Full specs:||Fujifilm X-A7 specifications|
Fuji X-A7 Review -- Now Shooting!
by Mike Tomkins
Preview posted 09/12/2019
09/12/2019: Pre-production First Shots added
Every 18 months or so since late 2013, Fujifilm has launched a new model in its entry-level X-A mirrorless camera series. It's been about 19 months since the debut of the X-A5, and so the time was ripe for the brand-new Fujifilm X-A7. The hallmark of the X-A series is affordability first and foremost, with models in the series providing low pricetags and yet still reasonably generous feature-sets.
It looks familiar from the front, but the X-A7 has been totally redesigned
Take a quick glance at the front of the Fuji X-A7, and whilst it's clearly been restyled some, it still looks very much like the X-A5 which preceded it. Move to the top deck and it still looks pretty familiar, although several significant changes have snuck in. But flip around to the back of the camera, and it's clear that this is a totally new design, with major changes both to the articulated display and rear control layout.
Overall, the new body is about 1.4 ounces (41g) lighter than that of its predecessor. The spec sheet will also tell you it's 0.7mm deeper, but in the real world you're not going to be able to see that difference. On the top deck, the power switch that encircled the shutter button has been replaced instead by a power button. This, in turn, allows a new control dial to be placed around the shutter button, within easy reach of your index finger. The fiddly rear-deck sub-command dial of the X-A5 has then taken up what was previously the main command dial, making it much easier to reach and turn than before.
A new vari-angle, wide-aspect touchscreen
The rear of the Fuji A7 is basically unrecognizable when compared to the X-A5. There's a new, significantly larger 3.5-inch LCD monitor with a wider 16:9 aspect ratio, instead of the 3.0-inch, 3:2-aspect display of the X-A5. It's the same height as the earlier camera's screen, but about 0.6 inches wider than before. The total dot count has simultaneously soared from 1,040k dots in the A5 to 2,760k dots in the X-A7.
As before, the screen is covered by a capacitive, touch-sensitive overlay which allows it to serve double-duty as an input device. Where previously there were nine rear-deck buttons on the X-A5, the much wider-screen has left less space for physical controls on the rear of the new body, and so there are now only four buttons plus a new joystick control. And there's also a new side-mounted, tilt/swivel articulation mechanism which still allows for framing of selfies from in front of the lens, but will also let you shoot from a wide range of other angles, even for shots with portrait orientation.
A friendlier user interface with largely the same still imaging feature-set as before
Fujifilm has added a newly-designed Smart Menu to the X-A5, aimed at making it easier for beginners to quickly get the shots they're after. Among other options, it provides access to aperture and brightness adjustments, as well as more artistic options like film simulations and skin softening.
But beyond the reworked controls and redesigned body / display, the X-A7 is a whole lot like the X-A5 in terms of what it has to offer. Up front is still a Fuji X-mount on which you can attach either the bundled Fujinon XC15-45mm F3.5-5.6 OIS PZ kit lens -- the same model shipped with the A5 -- or your choice of other X-mount optics. There's still both a pop-up flash and a hot shoe on the top deck for external strobes, but no electronic viewfinder either built in, or available as an accessory.
A brand-new sensor brings improved autofocus, noise and readout speed
The Fuji X-A7 sports a brand-new imaging pipeline that, unusually, defaults to 16:9 aspect ratio for stills, perhaps because of the 16:9-aspect LCD along with a greater emphasis on video capabilities. Of course, the native 3:2 aspect ratio is still available, as is 1:1 and a new 4:3 option.
The new Bayer-filtered sensor is said to have copper wiring for reduced noise levels, and to offer faster readout too. It also includes 8.5 times as many phase-detection autofocus pixels as before, although we don't yet have details for the number of addressable AF points. (We do know that both face and eye-detection are included though, and that algorithms for autofocus in general and for face-detection in particular have been improved.)
Despite the lower noise levels and higher performance with an unchanged 24-megapixel resolution, the standard sensitivity range of ISO 200 to 12,800 equivalents, expanded range of ISO 100 to 51,200, and burst capture speed of up to six frames per second are all the same as in the previous model. No word yet on buffer depths, though.
4K movies replace 4K slideshows, and Full HD is more capable, too
The X-A5 technically supported ultra high-definition video capture, but with a slideshow-esque frame rate of just 15 fps -- far too slow to adequately convey smooth motion -- this was clearly provided more to beef up the spec sheet than to be used by customers. With more performance on offer, the X-A7 instead can record meaningful 4K UHD video at 23.98, 24, 25 or 29.97 frames per second with no crop, for up to 15 minutes per clip. The same resolution options are available for Full HD or HD video, as well as 50 and 59.94 fps rates, with a maximum clip duration of 30 minutes.
Further new features include square-cropped 1:1 aspect video capture for both Full HD and HD frame heights, plus a new Countdown Video mode which records clips with pre-selected 15, 30 or 60-second duration suitable for social media sharing. Movies are still H.264-compressed with linear PCM stereo audio, but now use an MPEG-4 container instead of a MOV one. Oh, and 1.6x, 2x, 3.3x or 4x slow-motion effects are still available when recording at HD resolution.
Note that the Fujifilm X-A7 in mint green will ship with a silver kit lens in most markets.
Auto HDR and light-trail scene modes are added
Most creative options are unchanged since the X-A5, but the Fujifilm X-A7 does boast a new light trail scene mode suitable for capturing star trails, fireworks, etc., complete with a real-time review of the image capture on the LCD monitor. (Early spec sheets suggest this mode may have replaced the night tripod scene mode, which we've not yet confirmed ourselves.) The Advanced Scene Recognition Auto function has also been updated with a new Bright Mode feature allowing it to capture HDR imagery with a single press of the shutter button.
Updated Bluetooth and USB connectivity, but a major drop in CIPA battery life
As before, the Fuji X-A7 still sports both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios, plus both USB 2.0 High Speed data and Micro (Type-D) HDMI high-definition video outputs. The Bluetooth radio has taken a step from version 4.1 to 4.2 of the standard, though, while the USB port now uses a reversible USB-C connector.
Like its predecessor, a 2.5mm external microphone/remote release jack is also provided and a 3.5mm microphone adapter is included.
Unfortunately, there's been a big reduction in battery life. Where the X-A5 was CIPA-rated for 450 shots on a charge, the Fuji X-A7 will capture just 270 frames under CIPA conditions. If you enable the optional economy mode, you can boost this to 440 frames, close enough to the X-A5 figure that we initially wondered if it simply defaulted to economy mode. In-camera charging via USB is supported.
Video capture times have also fallen significantly, though, and not just for the new, higher-frame rate 4K capture. Shooting in 4K will see just 55 minutes on a charge, down from 90 minutes in the previous model. But even when shooting at Full HD resolution, Fuji predicts 70 minutes on a charge, down from 100 minutes in the previous model. You'll want to budget for a couple of spare batteries alongside your X-A7 purchase!
Fuji X-A7 price and availability
The Fujifilm X-A7 goes on sale in the US market from October 24, 2019, and will come bundled with a Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens in a choice of camel, dark silver, mint green and silver handgrip colors. List pricing is set at around US$700 / CA$900.
Buy the Fujifilm X-A7
$849.00 (41% more)
32.5 MP (26% more)
Also lacks viewfinder