When the Fujifilm X-A5 was announced, I was beyond excited.
You see, I own and shoot with a pink X-A3 for my stuff outside of work and my personal vlogging.
And sure, the fact that it was a pretty bright pink was part of what convinced me to get the X-A3, but it’s not just the color that drew me to this shooter. I wanted a small camera that I could bring on trips without being too bulky, something my frail arms could actually hold up for times I do decide to vlog. My non-negotiable was that “flippity screen” (yes, folks, I made that term up), the camera screen that flips upwards so you can see yourself as you shoot or record.
So, when the XA-5 came out, I was curious to see what improvements this new mirrorless camera had.
If you’ve already noticed by now, this will not be your typical camera review. For the benefit of those looking for camera specs, I’ll list them here, but know that this would probably be the last I mention them in this whole piece. This review will revolve around my experience with the X-A5 in the context of my needs when it comes to cameras.
The Fujifilm X-A5 is a mirrorless camera — this means it’s lighter and more compact than DSLRs. It’s equipped with a 24.2-megapixel APS-C image sensor and is capable of reaching ISO 12800 (which may mean good things for low-light shots). It’s also the first X series camera with phase detection which means that this device will focus twice as fast as previous cameras, like my X-A3. The body comes bundled with an XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens and it has a built-in internal flash.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s move on.
In true Fujifilm fashion, this camera looks like a pretty Instagrammable itself. The body has clean matte aluminum-silver details that extend to the buttons and the back. The body itself is textured and comes in black, brown, or pink. Of course, I pushed for the pink one.
Button placements are about the same: On/Off toggle with the shutter button, mode dial, exposure compensation dial, and a function key up top, and the usual buttons like menu, video record, playback, and other shortcuts are on the back of the camera. The display is also a touchscreen for easier navigation. Basically, if you’ve used an X series Fujifilm camera before, you’ll know where everything is.
This camera, dubbed Fujifilm’s smallest mirrorless camera, is light and it fits my hands perfectly. Although, I’d have to admit: There isn’t much of a size difference between the X-A5 and my trusty X-A3, save for the X-A3’s bigger kit lens.
The thing is, there’s no way I’m lugging around a big camera on vacation trips and the X-A5 (as well as my old X-A3) is a size that I find acceptable — it’s not as bulky and it’s small enough to fit in my bag with everything else I decide to bring around on trips.
Pointing and shooting
Fujifilm is a beloved brand in photography and it comes as no surprise that this camera can capture stunning pictures. I mean look at these sample shots…
Although I know my camera basics, I am not the best in shooting or handling cameras, mine or otherwise. The X-A5 was amazingly easy to use, especially since I’m already familiar with the past model. Honestly, I’ve had my share of crappy photos but these samples actually impressed me. Low-light photos, however, are a different story. Like many devices on the market now, you don’t exactly get the best photos when lighting conditions aren’t ideal.
The X-A3, my previous camera, only had Wi-Fi connectivity which means that it could only transfer photos when my phone is connected to the camera’s Wi-Fi. This process was a little cumbersome as that connection gets cut when you switch back to an actual network to get on the internet. That is now a problem of the past. The XA-5 is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity so that mean transferring photos from camera to your phone is so easy — you can even do it automatically and while connected to the internet through Wi-Fi.
Also, tourist selfies can go from this:
Yep, connecting the camera to the app allows you to take photos and videos remotely. This means you don’t need another person to take your photos; you can control everything with your phone.
Now, I generally suck at #OOTDs and posed travel content in general but I felt it was time for a challenge. I’d seen a lot of Instagram influencers tout their Fujifilm cameras so I wondered: Could I take the same photos with this thing?
Since I was traveling with the boyfriend when I was testing out this camera, I enlisted his help and had him be my token Instagram Boyfriend — ah the things we do for work!
I stood at random picturesque spots in Hong Kong and did the best travel/wanderlust/OOTD poses I could muster (which always translated to me looking up, for some reason). Since I’m not so big on editing, I only used the VSCO app on my phone to slightly adjust these photos and add a filter. Again, transferring photos to my phone for editing (and eventual posting) was a breeze because of connectivity functions. The results are as follows:
Needless to say, I was pretty happy with the pics, despite my awkward and repetitive posing. Expect these shots to be on my Instagram feed soon.
Videos and vlogging
One of the big things I use my camera for is vlogging. The fact that this thing is light is a big plus for me because it’s the weight my frail arm can handle as I hold out the camera to shoot myself. I mean, I have no idea how people actually shoot video with those humongous vlogging rigs, but that’s not a problem with the X-A5.
Although I’ve shot vlogs with this camera, my main gripe with this thing is that there’s no movie mode on it. This makes it a little hard to preview settings on the screen for shooting video — a problem I’ve grappled with on my X-A3 as well. The camera is capable of recording in 4K, which is literally bigger videos, but the camera display lags too much on that setting so I’d suggest sticking to a lower resolution like 1080p.
What’s great though is that there’s a touch-to-focus feature on video now, something only previously found on the photo mode. The X-A5 is also equipped with an audio port so you can now improve your vlog audio with an external mic.
Is the Fujifilm X-A5 your GadgetMatch?
Obviously, there are bigger, badder, and more expensive cameras out there that do a whole lot that this dainty thing can’t. But, that’s not the point (and those cameras are probably not pink). This shooter is designed for a certain demographic: those, like me, who want a simple, easy-to-use device in a light, compact, and stylish body. It’s not the best camera out there and at its price point, that would be pretty impossible. Nonetheless, it’s a camera that I really enjoy using.
If you’re like me and you’re looking for a more compact camera for IG photos and social media posts with great phone and app integration, you should consider the X-A5. It’s a great camera for beginners and enthusiasts who are just wetting their toes in the pool of content creation.
The Fujifilm retails for US$ 599 in the US and PhP 34,990 in the Philippines.
Insta360 Nano S hands-on: What’s new?
An improved 360 camera!
Last year, I first tried out the plug-and-play Insta360 Nano and I was introduced to the world of 360 videos. Boy, did I have fun with it. From 360-degree Facebook Live shows to cute tiny planet videos, there were a lot of media possibilities. And, it didn’t stop there. Later on in the year, the Insta360 ONE was released and it was a 360 camera game-changer with 4K video capabilities and standalone recording functions.
This year’s release is the Insta360 Nano S: An updated version of that first camera with the best qualities of the second.
It looks and feels like the Insta360 Nano. It’s almost identical and it still connects via Lightning port to your iPhone. But, it can do a lot more.
Unlike the Insta360 Nano, this camera can work without being plugged to a phone since it has a microSD slot.
This thing has two 20-megapixel fisheye cameras that are capable of shooting 4K 360-degree videos or 20-megapixel photos.
Basically, it can take cool shots like this:
It’s the multiple export modes, though, that makes the Nano S more fun. You can save photos and videos using the different MultiView modes to get different perspectives. I’m not just talking about 360 videos, either. This option below gives you both front and back views simultaneously.
This one gives you three different perspectives all at the same time because why not!
The tiny earth effect, a classic Insta360 favorite, is still available as one of the export modes.
Think of all the great things you can capture!
— Chay Lazaro (@chaylazaro) May 10, 2018
Of course, this camera comes with FreeCapture capabilities first introduced to us on the Insta360 ONE. This just means that you can edit the 360-degree video you’ve already shot and export it as a normal video. The best part? You can choose what specific POV you’d want on that 2D video as the Insta360 app allows you to pick out scenes and edit to your liking. There’s also real-time stabilization for smoother video, which is always a great thing.
The Nano S combines the best that Insta360 has to offer. If you’re interested in getting yourself a 360 camera, this might be worth looking into.
Tough luck if you aren’t an iPhone user, however. Although the company has announced that an Android version may be coming, there isn’t any concrete news on this yet. The Insta360 Nano S retails for US$ 239.
The new Instax Square SQ6 is here and it looks awesome!
What a good-looking camera
Fujifilm has just added another instant camera to their Instax line and it’s one photogenic shooter! The Instax Square SQ6 was unveiled and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
It comes in three colors. One is in gray or graphite. This basic look is more classic and neutral.
There’s also one that comes in a clean, crisp white — because we’re seeing more white devices in 2018.
And my favorite, of course, a rose gold variant.
This pretty thing has an auto exposure function which means the camera adjusts to different lighting scenarios and even a selfie mode for optimum instant selfies! There’s also a double exposure mode, macro mode, and landscape mode. It shoots with Fujifilm’s square format film.
These freshly announced cameras look less bulky and definitely more stylish compared to the brand’s previous release, the SQ10 that I reviewed last year. Of course, the SQ6 is also simpler than its predecessor: It doesn’t look like you can edit the photos before printing, which isn’t really a deal breaker for these types of cameras. The best part? It retails for only US$ 130 in the US and PhP 8,000 in the Philippines (which is basically half the price of the high-end SQ10).
The SQ6 will be available starting May 25. In the Philippines, it will be in stores starting June.
Sony A7 III launches in the Philippines with price and availability
The basic model of Sony’s latest full-frame mirrorless cameras
The latest addition to the full-frame mirrorless camera family of Sony has finally landed in the Philippines. The A7 III is positioned as the base model of Sony’s third-generation A7 series, sitting below the A7R III which was launched late last year, but it’s not just a “basic model” in the series.
The camera boasts a 35mm full-frame sensor with 24.2 megapixels and built-in 5-axis image stabilization. The sensor is complemented by an upgraded BIONZ-X processor making it possible for the camera to shoot 10fps in both RAW and JPEG formats. It also has 693 autofocus points and an Eye AF feature for fast detection of subjects.
As for its video capabilities, the A7 III can capture 4K HDR up to 30fps with 100Mbps bitrate. It also supports S-Log3 and 120fps slow-motion capture in 1080p resolution.
The body has an OLED viewfinder, LCD touchscreen, dual SD card slots, USB-C port, and complete suite of wireless connectivity. It’s also compatible with all E-mount accessories.
The A7 III is already available through Sony concept stores and authorized retailers in the Philippines for PhP 115,999 for the body only and PhP 129,999 with the FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.
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