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.
Razer’s new webcam: the Kiyo Pro
For work and play
With Razer showing off their dedication to workers and gamers staying safe and indoors, they’ve announced the new Razer Kiyo Pro.
The Kiyo Pro is a USB camera with a high-performance Adaptive Light Sensor to deliver sharp video quality even in low-light conditions. Combined with an ultra-sensitive Type 1/2.8 CMOS sensor with STARVIS technology, the Kiyo Pro boasts professional-level image quality to video conferencing and streaming.
In this day and age, it’s no surprise that Razer is bringing new webcams especially with work-from-home and new digital communications. Working from home has really become an integral part of professional life today.
However, sometimes built-in laptop cameras lack the resolution and framerates for professional-looking conference calls or streams. They often struggle to cope with low-light and deliver blurry images and that’s where the Kiyo Pro comes in.
The Kiyo Pro is capable of uncompressed full HD 1080p 60FPS. Razer says this will not only ramp up dynamic range but also, correct under- or overexposed areas on the fly, eliminating silhouetting if the subject is lit from behind.
Making sure it’s ideal for video conferencing or streaming, the wide-angle lens on the Kiyo Pro gives you a choice of three fields of view: 103°, 90° or 80°. The 103° view lets everyone fit in a group video call or allow streamers viewers to show off their set up. But, if you’re just looking for a perfect headshot view for meetings or streams, the 80° view will suffice.
The Kiyo Pro has a range of extra features with flexible mounting options to perfectly set it up. And, its omnidirectional stereo microphone array ensures your voice is properly picked up wherever you’ve mounted it. A separate cover is included to protect the lens and assure your privacy when not in use.
Razer Kiyo Pro Specs:
- Connection type: USB3.0
- Image resolution: 2.1 Megapixels
- Video Resolution: 1080p @ 60/30/24FPS / 720p @ 60FPS / 480p @ 30FPS / 360p @ 30FPS
- Video encoding: H.264 codec
- Still Image Resolution: 1920×1080
- Image Quality Settings Customization: Yes
- Diagonal Field of View (FOV): 103°, 90°, 80°
- Focus Type: Auto
- Mounting Options: L-shape joint and Tripod (Not included)
- Cable Length: 1.5 meters braided cable
- Channels: Stereo
- Audio Codec: 16bit 48KHz
- Polar patterns: Omni-directional
- Sensitivity: -38dB
- PC with a free USB port
- Windows® 8 (or higher)
- Internet connection
- 500 MB of free hard disk space
- Compatible with Open Broadcaster Software and Xsplit
The Razer Kiyo Pro is already available on Razer’s website with the price tag of USD$199.99 or EUR€ 209.99
Canon EOS M50 Mark II is finally here in the Philippines
With improvements in autofocus
Canon finally unveils the Canon EOS M50 Mark II in the Philippines, the successor to the EOS M50 from three years ago.
Just like its predecessor, it’s a mirrorless camera designed for amateur and casual photographers who are also into shooting videos and livestreaming.
The good stuff
Just like the first Canon EOS M50, the EOS M50 Mark II features a 24.1MP APS-C CMOS image sensor. It also has the nifty DIGIC 8 Image Processor with Auto Lighting Optimizer for better photos and videos altogether.
Other than that, it still has that 3-inch articulating Vari-angle LCD monitor which is always helpful for shooting in tight angles and situations. It also supports touchscreen recording, movie self-timer and an external microphone jack that’s helpful for vloggers out there. There’s also a 2.36 million dot built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF) for clearer viewing when shooting outdoors and a more comfortable ergonomic grip than its predecessor.
ISO Sensitivity is still limited to 25,600 (and expandable up to ISO 51,200), and it still shoots videos of up to 4K/24p and 720p/120p in Slow-Motion. The old high-speed continuous shooting of up to 10fps (frames per second) in One-Shot AF mode is still present in this newer model. Its quick and accurate Dual Pixel CMOS AF (Autofocus) is also here, but with some changes and updates.
Fast and stable AF is essential when it comes to shooting videos of moving subjects. On the EOS M50 Mark II, the AF frame display in EVF or LCD screen has been improved with faster tracking so users can see which part is in focus without any on-screen lag. Also, there’s a new Tap AF feature where users can instantly switch focus from one person to another by just tapping on the screen — helpful in group shots.
Meanwhile, its old Eye Detection AF has some improvements in detecting and focusing. It can now focus on a subject’s eye even when the person is far away. Users can also use this feature to capture subjects faster and more accurate when they are approaching from a distance — ideal for candid shots.
The combination of Eye detection AF with Servo AF when shooting still images will help you capture your subject’s natural expressions even when they are in motion. In this AF mode, it also lets you shoot up to multiple shots (7.4fps) of moving subjects such as children or pets.
Eye Detection AF also works with Movie Servo AF mode. By simply keeping the subject within the frame while shooting, it will track the subject at ease. Users can focus on the composition of the video and leave the tracking of the subject to the camera.
More video enhancements
In this modern age where people often use social media apps such as Instagram and TikTok, more users dedicate their time in shooting videos vertically. With the EOS M50 II, you can now shoot vertically — something the older model can’t do. , movies shot vertically are displayed smaller in a horizontal position when users play back the movie on a smart device. On the EOS M50 Mark II, an “add rotate info” option enables automatic vertical playback on smart devices, PCs and compatible social media, which enables a better viewing experience.
An improved contrast AF algorithm gives you more stability when shooting 4K clips using Canon’s EF-M lenses. This will enable smoother and reduced wobbling when recording. There’s also the ability to digitally zoom (around 3-10x) at the central part of the screen when shooting. This can be paired with optical zoom on a telephoto zoom lens to achieve better close-up shots.
Users of the M50 Mark II can also directly livestream to YouTube through its built-in Wi-Fi without using a streaming unit. Also, this new model also supports Canon’s new cloud platform wherein registered users can upload, store, download and transfer images between various devices seamlessly.
Pricing and Availability
The Canon EOS M50 Mark II in the Philippines is currently offered in two packages:
- Body Only = PhP 36,998
- Body + EF-M 15-45mm lens = PhP 49,998
- Freebie: Canon PV-123 mini photo printer
- Available in all Canon authorized dealers nationwide
- Body Only = PhP 36,998
- Body + EF-M 15-45mm lens = PhP 49,998
- Freebies: Canon PV-123 mini photo printer and HG-100TBR Camera Tripod
- Available only in Canon Image Square and Concept Stores nationwide
The Fujifilm GFX100S is a 102MP camera made for tougher environments
An improved medium format camera with a less expensive price tag
Remember the Fujifilm GFX100 from 2019? Well, Fujifilm has finally updated it with an updated model called the GFX100S — but what exactly has changed?
A medium format camera in a full-frame body
Medium-format cameras are a lot larger than the usual full-frame DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. But the GFX100S is an exception as it only weighs at 900g (1.9lb) — almost half the size of the heavyweight GFX100 at 1400g (3.1lb) and can go with existing full-frame bodies.
Despite its small size, it has a 3.2-inch touch-enabled LCD panel and supports up to 2.36 million colors. It’s not fully-articulated but it can be tilted up (90º), down (45º), and right (60º). There’s also a 1.8-inch sub LCD monitor at the camera’s top for viewing those handy EXIF settings that can also be customized depending on your liking.
Built for harsher climate conditions
The new GFX100S is built for tougher climates. Whether you’re shooting at a beach, desert, or even as high as Mount Fuji’s summit, the GFX100S can withstand all of that. This is a rare feature among most cameras and this is what makes it better than its two-year-old predecessor.
With its magnesium alloy body, it’s dust and moisture-resistant. At the same time, it’s also capable of operating under cooler temperatures (-10ºC or 14ºF).
Better autofocus + improved stabilization
Having an almost 100% coverage of phase detection pixels on its sensor, the GFX100S is capable of focusing as little as 0.18 seconds, even in low-light situations.
Although it still rocks the X-Processor 4 quad-core CPU, it will still be able to provide high-performance shooting on-the-go. With an updated focus tracking algorithm using the same sensor, it’s still capable of using Face and Eye AF functions for better focus at moving subjects.
Other than that, there’s also an improved and more compact 5-axis IBIS (in-body image stabilization) system that’s 20% smaller and 10% lighter than the older model. Even if there’s a size reduction, the stabilization system provides 6-stops of CIPA-rated IS and has a 0.5-overall improvement than the GFX100.
Still with 102MP and 4K video recording
Fujifilm has kept its secret sauce. The GFX100S still has that same 102-megapixel sensor that’s around 1.7 times larger than any of the full-frame offerings out in the market today.
The 4K/30p video recording support is also present for those crisp footage and be able to keep up with the industry’s standards. But other than shooting in the standard 16:9 aspect ratio, it also supports 17:9 that’s used in digital cinema.
To make video shooting even better, you can choose between F-Log and HLG (Hybrid Gamma Log) other than the usual H.264 and H.265 codecs. This means you can edit and have better color-grading options in post-processing to achieve a more cinematic output.
For utmost video capability, the GFX100S can also record 4K/30p footage in 12-bit RAW (recorded as Apple ProRes RAW files) through an HDMI hooked up to an Atomos Ninja V Monitor Recorder. Also, simultaneous outputs of RAW and F-Log / HLG footages with Film Simulation mode is also doable.
With their 86-year expertise in color science, it comes to no surprise that their classic Film Simulation Mode still remains. You can pick between 19 exclusive modes and simulate that classic film look with just a press of a button.
New FUJINON lens
The new GFX100S is paired with the announcement of the newest FUJINON GF80mmF1.7 R WR lens. From the name itself, it is a prime lens with an 80mm focal length (a 35mm equivalent of 63mm) and a wide aperture of f/1.7 for better bokeh and brighter images at night.
The lens is composed of nine rounded diaphragm blades plus 12-lens elements with one aspherical element and two Super ED elements. These provide better background segmentation with sharper subjects and smoother bokeh.
What makes it special is that, it’s the world’s first f/1.7 lens with an autofocus for a large format system. The powerful DC motor is enough to make the subject stand out — even with the wider aperture and shallower Depth of Field (DoF). There’s even support for Face and Eye AF for better-looking portraits even when you’re on the move.
Just like the GFX100s, it’s also weather-resistant that survives colder temperatures as low as -10ºC (or 14ºF). The seals around the lens also protect it from dust and rain. The front lens element is also coated with fluorine that repels dirt.
Pricing and availability
In the Philippines, the Fujifilm GFX100S retails at PhP 329,990. On the other hand, the FUJINON GF80mmF1.7R WR will cost you exactly PhP 128,990. Both of these will be available at the end of February 2021.
For an enhanced in-hand feel when using this camera, there’s a Metal Hand Grip accessory (MHG-GFX-S) which is priced at PhP 8,390. This hand grip is helpful for supporting larger lenses without feeling unstable. At the same time, it’s compatible with Arca-Swiss tripod plates for faster and smoother transition between mounted and handheld scenarios.
If you’re planning to buy all of them, it will cost you roughly PhP 467K. That’s still less expensive than the sub PhP-600K body-only GFX100 launched two years ago.
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