Cameras

Fujifilm X-A5 review: The perfect camera to up your social media game

Yep, I did an #OOTD challenge

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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.

Still from boyfriend’s vlog. That’s me shooting with the XA-3!

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.

Quick specs

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.

Here’s a photo of me with the X-A5 for those of you who, like me, get bored with specs 😅

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.

Looks matter

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.

The pink on this camera is a little brownish. My X-A3 was a brighter pink.

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…

Like, look at them! They can be stock photos!

The hot cocoa looks super delicious!

The color and the blur is on point

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:

Shoutout to the photobomb couple at the back!

To this:

I’m controlling the camera with the phone in my hand through the Fujifilm remote app

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.

#OOTD Challenge!

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.

SEE ALSO: Fujifilm X-A5 is brand’s smallest and lightest mirrorless camera

Cameras

Sony’s new ZV-1 camera is built for vlogging

Shipping in June

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How much personalization do you want your cameras to have? Some purists prefer completely manual cameras, allowing for absolute control over every aspect of their photos. Other professionals prefer a more consumer-friendly approach to photography, balancing easy-to-use functions with stellar photo quality.

Combining both aspects, the recently launched Sony ZV-1 is an all-in-one compact camera built specifically for casual video shooters. A boon to the vlogging community, the ZV-1 maintains both uncompromising video quality with ease of use.

Featuring a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor and the latest BIONZ X image processor, the camera shoots at 4K resolution with in-body image stabilization. Inside, a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 large-aperture lens allows for dynamic bokeh control. Named the Bokeh Switch feature, the camera can increase and decrease background blur according to preference without losing its main focus.

In the same vein, the new Product Showcase feature allows for an easy transition between different focal points, such as switching between a subject’s face and a focused object. As the name suggests, the feature helps vloggers easily unbox and review products.

A Face Priority autoexposure feature automatically adjusts the device’s exposure settings depending on the brightness of the background. It will prioritize the subject’s face, ensuring correct exposure settings regardless of background. With the feature, it’s easier to shoot in bright sunlight, low-light conditions, and transitioning quickly between the two.

Besides what’s inside, the camera is also built ergonomically for a casual shooter’s hands. Instead of the traditional vertically flipping screen, it carries a horizontally flipping LCD screen, allowing users to easily see what’s being caught on camera. It comes with a 3.5mm microphone jack and a wind screen accessory to reduce wind interference.

Sony will start selling the ZV-1 at authorized Sony stores and through Lazada starting June 2020. It will retail for US$ 799.99.

SEE ALSO: Sony Xperia 1 II camera phone now available for pre-order

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Apps

Use your Canon camera as a laptop webcam

Up the quality on your video call meetings

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Video conferencing is the new normal as most of us continue to work from home. Canon hopes to make the experience better with the EOS Webcam Utility Beta.

You may have noticed though that the video quality from your laptop’s webcam is not up to par with your smartphone’s front camera. Most manufacturers tend to put sub-par cameras on laptops. The reason: your laptop’s webcams were not that highly used before the whole COVID-19 situation.

To address this, Canon recently released a tool that will level up your video quality over online conferencing apps. The idea is to transform your Canon camera into a portable webcam. Simply plug-in an EOS or a PowerShot camera to your laptop, configure the software, and you now have a powerful webcam at your disposal.

The utility is called “EOS Webcam Utility Beta”. It’s a software that automatically configures your Canon camera into a portable web camera over a USB connection.

The caveat though is that only select EOS DSLR, EOS Mirrorless, and PowerShot cameras are compatible. The software is still in beta, but if you’re really determined to level up your video calling game, you can view the full list of compatible cameras here.

Grainy and lifeless videos will be a thing of the past for Canon users with this new tool. If you own a Canon EOS or DSLR camera, make sure to give this utility a try to improve your video chats with friends, family, or your fellow co-workers.

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Cameras

These refurbished vintage Polaroid 600 cameras bring back our childhood!

Ah, take me back~

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My latest obsession with Polaroid’s latest release — Polaroid NOW — has led me to discover refurbished vintage Polaroid 600 cameras. For 90’s kids, these instant cameras relive our colorful, childhood memories dabbling in popping colors celebrated throughout the 80s until the early 2000s.

Look at this refurbished Barbie Throwback, based on the original Barbie Polaroid released in 1999.

How about this bold and loud Neon Yellow & Pink Cool Cam…

… Or this Pink Cool Cam that screams black and pink (like a revolution).

Remember this Blue ’96 Edition perfectly complementing your windbreaker and fanny packs?

Back then, we have Japanese brand Tomy collaborating with Polaroid as a merch for popular manga and anime Kodomo no Omocha, also known as Kodocha.

Remember when we’re all obsessed with MTV?

Oh, look at this fabulous, super rare, Pink Checkers Polaroid 600!

Hello Kitty fans, can you hear me??????

Ah, this Spice Cam makes us remember the times we dance and sing to Spice Girls — like it’s our anthem before Britney Spears finally took over.

In true Maroon 5 fashion, memories really do bring back you. Seeing these instant cameras made me remember who I was before the world told me who I should be. It felt like an ode to my inner child, calling for retrospection. Remember how fun and young we used to be?

Professionally refurbished by Retrospekt

These vintage Polaroid 600 cameras are refurbished by Retrospekt, a company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Founded by Adam and KoriFuerst in 2008, Retrospekt started as a project to recreate their beloved instant film products.

Retrospekt uses Polaroid’s original components, and properly clean, test, rebuild and test the products again before sending out. Just like any refurbished vintage product, these instant cameras may show some light wear. Still, Retrospekt guarantees functionality.

And when it arrives at your doorsteps, all you need is just a pack of Polaroid 600 film, and you’ll be back to shooting instant films again.

SEE ALSO: Polaroid OneStep+ review | Polaroid OneStep 2 review: The ultimate throwback camera | Polaroid Snap Touch Review: Print photos with a digital camera

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