On August 25, 2016, Fujifilm has announced the X-A3, an entry-level mirrorless camera and the successor to the popular X-A2 camera. In this article I will compare the new X-A3 and see how it stands against both the X-A1 and X-A2.
I was shooting a long time now with the X-A1 and I love the camera mainly for its amazingly clean high ISO images. I can trust this camera to do the work in almost any lighting conditions. The new X-A3 is another great camera in the X-series. The X-A3 features a new 24MP Bayer sensor (not X-Trans) but a new sensor with higher resolution compared to the X-A1 and X-A2. The new sensor was designed to give more accurate skin tones, which according to Fuji, around 40% of the photos people are capturing are of people, so they put an emphasize to make skin tones look as natural as possible.
The camera has an improved same 49-AF points sensor. It has the same 49-AF points as the other cameras, but this new AF system can expand to 77 points in the wide-tracking modes. There is not on-sensor phase-detection though, so the camera utilizes contrast-detect AF for both stills and videos. Don’t forget that this is a mirrorless camera, not a DSLR. Although contrast-detection AF performance have been contentiously improved in recent years, it still has its limitations when shooting in low-light and when capturing photos of fast moving subjects.
The X-A3 comes with a 3-inch touchscreen that can be tilted upward by 180 degrees, which is useful when taking selfies and flexible to ease composition, especially consider ing the fact that the camera lacks a built-in viewfinder. The X-A3 comes with a new retro design style that Fuji hopes it will appeal better for the younger generation. The camera’s top and front plates, as well as the dials are made of aluminium, giving the camera a fashionable look and professional touch to it. The front is covered with faux leather and gives photographer a good grip when holding the camera.
The X-A3 comes with a built-in Wi-Fi for easy image sharing, transferring and remote-shooting. Other features include new “PRO Neg Hi” and “PRO NEG. Std.” film simulation modes, a built-in Super Intelligent Flash, versatile shooting modes, including a Portrait Enhancer mode that makes the skin look brighter and smoother. There is the eye-detection AF, Motion Panorama 360°, Full HD video recording, enhanced grip at the back, Auto macro mode and a lot of versatile artistic filters to play around.
The new Fujifilm X-A3 is a modern mirrorless camera that was designed to appeal for those who search for an affordable mirrorless camera as their main camera, and don’t want to compromise on image quality, features and performance. The X-A3 lacks 4K video recording, a built-in viewfinder and phase-detection AF, which some photographer will definitely find useful. But back then when I bought my X-A1, I wouldn’t mind giving up some of the features taht I could get with more expensive models, but at the end of the day, I can still enjoy shooting with a great camera that can deliver great photos.
On of the main caveat that the entry-level cameras pose is that although the price of the camera is relatively low, the Fujifilm XF lens prices aren’t. It’s not like Canon or Nikon cameras where you can buy cheap lenses. Fujifilm lenses are of very high quality, and even the cheapest one is not going to come out cheap. Many of my friends that have decided to buy the X-A2 for example, didn’t even bother with a second lens and just enjoy using the built-in 16-50mm lens, which is an amazing lens and also quite versatile. So for general photography, you can find the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II lens to be adequate for most of your needs. This is the price that you pay to enjoy a camera that can take very high-quality photos, especially when shooting in low-light conditions. If you don’t care about those extra features that you can find on some of the more expensive models, the X-A3, X-A2 and X-A1 are amazing cameras and you should definitely consider buying one of these gems.
X-A3 vs X-A2 vs X-A1
Let’s take a look and see how the Fujifilm X-A3 compared to the X-A2 and the X-A1.
|Announced||August 25, 2016||January 15, 2015||September 17, 2013|
ISO 100 - 25600
ISO 100 - 25600
ISO 100 - 25600
|Design||The X-A3 has a different retro-style design. It's a matter of personal taste, but I really like the new design. It has a higher front-top aluminium plate, the faux leather texture is more subtle, the grip at the back has been improved with more thumb support. There is also the override manual focus switch at the front, which is a nice added feature and the rectangle compartment fo the AF assist lamp look really nice and compliment the overall design of the camera. Other than that, there aren't any significant changes and the overall design of the camera is about the same as its predecessors.|
|AF System||49 AF points (7x7)|
77 points in wide/tracking modes.
|49 AF points (7x7)|
|49 AF points (7x7)
|The new X-A3 has a more advanced AF system, that now supports up to 77 AF points when shooting wide/tracking modes. This helps to improve subject tracking performance in this mode. I don't expect a huge difference, but for some shots it can really help. It would have been nice to see phase-detection AF, but it's an entry-level camera after all, and Fujifilm had to take a few things out to make it affordable, the phase-detection AF is one of the features that Fujifilm had decided to keep out from its entry-level models.|
Enhanced Touch screen (“Touch AF,” “Touch Shoot” and “Touch Zoom”)
high 85° angle to a low 90° angle
|The X-A3 has the most flexible tilting mechanism, much improved compared to the X-A1, which can tilting up and down, but doesn't face the photographer for easy selfies like the X-A2 and X-A3. It's more useful for taking high and low angle shots, but if you want full rotation so the screen faces the front of the camera, you need to go with either the X-A2 or the X-A3.
The x-A3 also has a slightly higher resolution display and is the only one that also comes with a touch-sensitive display.
|Built-in Flash||Yes (7m)|
|AE Bracketing||±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)||±1 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)||±1 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)|
|Video Recording||1920 x 1080 (60p, 50p, 30p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p, 24p)|
|1920 x 1080 (30p), 1280 x 720 (30p)|
|1920 x 1080 (30p), 1280 x 720 (30p)
|The X-A3 now features Full HD recording at double the frame rate at 60fps for smoother and more lifelike results.|
|Wireless||Built-in Wi-Fi||Built-in Wi-Fi||Built-in Wi-Fi|
|Dimensions||117 x 67 x 40 mm (4.61 x 2.64 x 1.57″)||117 x 67 x 40 mm (4.61 x 2.64 x 1.57″)||117 x 67 x 39 mm (4.6 x 2.62 x 1.54″)|
|Weiight||339 g (0.75 lb / 11.96 oz)||350 g (0.77 lb / 12.35 oz)||330 g (0.73 lb / 11.64 oz)|
|Film simulation Modes||11 type (PROVIA/STANDARD, Velvia/VIVID, ASTIA/SOFT, CLASSIC CHROME, PRO Neg Hi, PRO Neg. Std, MONOCHROME, MONOCHROME+Ye FILTER, MONOCHROME+R FILTER, MONOCHROME+G FILTER, SEPIA)||PROVIA (STANDARD) / Velvia (VIVID) / ASTIA (SOFT) / CLASSIC CHROME / MONOCHROME / SEPIA||PROVIA (STANDARD) / Velvia (VIVID) / ASTIA (SOFT) / MONOCHROME / SEPIA|
|The X-A3 features more simulation modes, some of them were only previously available on more advanced cameras in the X-series.|
|Continuous Shooting||6 fps||5.6 fps||5.6 fps|
|The X-A3 can shoot at slightly faster frames in burst mode.|
|Shutter Speed||1/4000 sec|
Electronic shutter: up to 1/32000 sec
|1/4000 sec||1/4000 sec|
Other improvements also include Interlocking of Metering and AF areas and support for the Adobe RGB , The X-A3 isn’t a huge upgrade over the X-A2. I think that Fujifilm should have added phase-detection on this new model, to make this camera compete well with the a6000 that does have PDAF, which greatly improves the AF performance when shooting fast-moving subjects and it also has a built-in AF. For around $100 more (a6000 + 16-50mm), you can buy the Sony a6000 and enjoy both a built-in viewfinder and phase-detection AF, which both are features that many enthusiasts are looking for when buying a new camera.
It’s a nice upgrade from the previous X-A2 but if you look at the competition, an EVF was probably a good feature to add, even at a slightly higher cost, if possible. Some people might have wanted to see an X-Trans sensor, but trust me, the photos coming out of the X-A2 (which I currently use), are really impressive. The bundled 16-50mm lens is really an outstanding lens, much better than the Sony 16-50 that comes with the a6000.
As of the time of writing, the X-A3 is being sold on amazon for $599.95 with the 16-50mm Kit lens. The X-A2 is sold for around $50 less, the X-A1 is discontinued, just so you know. I think that the price is just right, and I personally would buy the new X-A3 instead of the X-A2, it’s not a huge different in price and it certainly worth it.
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