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.
Fujifilm X-T30 is a lightweight 4K mirrorless camera
Cheaper version of the X-T3
The X-T30 is positioned to be a cheaper variant of the flagship X-T3 camera, but they actually share many common features and specs. It’s got a compact and lightweight body at just 383g which looks similar to the premium model, but with some minor changes at the back. It’s got a focus joystick instead of a d-pad, but retains the touchscreen.
Speaking of, it’s a 2-way tilting LCD panel with 1.04 million dots. The EVF, on the other hand, is a 2.36-million-dot OLED color viewfinder with a near 100 percent coverage area.
Inside the camera is a 26.1-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 160 to 12800, which is expandable up to 51200, and backed by an X-Processor 4. With this, the X-T30 can shoot 30fps at 1.25x crop and 20fps without a crop using the electronic shutter. If you wish to use the mechanical shutter, the speed will be reduced to 8fps.
It has a hybrid AF system with 100 percent phase-detect AF, face detection, and eye tracking. Autofocus is also improved even in low-light. Focusing can be selected either through the touchscreen or joystick.
When it comes to video, the camera can shoot 4K at 30fps and up to 120fps when downscaled to 1080p. It’s capable of 10-bit recording and 4:2:2 DCI 4K video through the HDMI port. Fujifilm’s Film Simulation modes are also available.
The Fujifilm X-T30 will be available in March starting at US$ 899 for the body only. It’ll go up to US$ 999 when bundled with an XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens, or US$ 1,299 when bundled with an 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens.
Canon EOS RP is company’s cheaper and smaller full-frame mirrorless camera
The second model in the series
After the first EOS R last year, Canon has a new full-frame mirrorless camera — the EOS RP. It’s positioned below the EOS R, yet it happens to be Canon’s smallest full-frame camera. It’s also cheaper, which means it’s aimed for the mass market.
For starters, the EOS RP has a 26.2-megapixel full-frame sensor, only a slight step down from the 30.3-megapixel sensor of the EOS R. It still features the same ISO range of 100 to 25600, DIGIC 8 image processor, and Dual Pixel CMOS AF. Of course, the camera uses the new RF-mount system.
To make the EOS RP cheaper and smaller, Canon had to cut down some features like the continuous shooting speed to 5fps (from 8fps of the EOS R) and 4,779 autofocus points (EOS R has 5,655).
Both the 0.39-inch OLED EVF and 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen LCD have fewer pixels at 2.36 and 1.04 million dots, respectively.
The EOS RP can only shoot 4K at 25fps with 120Mb/s bitrate and 8-bit color depth. It also doesn’t support Canon Log for professional color grading. It only has one SD card slot as well, so you’ll need high capacity memory cards when shooting non-stop.
Size-wise, this is where the EOS RP shines. It measures 132.5 x 85 x 70mm and weighs 485g with a battery and card already. This makes the EOS RP significantly smaller than the EOS R and even entry-level Canon DSLR cameras.
Other features of the EOS RP include focus peaking, 8.3-megapixel still photo capture when recording in 4K, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, stereo microphones, water and dust resistance, 250-shot battery life, and USB-C charging.
Despite some of the shortcomings of the EOS RP, its price is a pretty sweet deal. It’ll be available by the end of the month starting at US$ 1,299 for the body-only package, but it’ll come with an EG-E1 extension grip and an EF-mount adapter in the box. It’ll also come bundled with a 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens for US$ 1,699 or with a 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens for US$ 2,199.
Fujifilm Instax SQ20 hands-on: How good is it?
Trying out the new Motion Mode on doggies!
Fujifilm’s sequel to their first ever digital/analog hybrid is here and it’s looking better than ever. The Instax SQ20 is one classy-looking instant camera but what can it do? With a set of built-in filters and new features like the Motion Mode, it looks like a promising device.
I finally try it out, with help from some doggies, on our hands-on video.
The SQ20 retails for US$ 199 in the US, PhP 12,999 in the Philippines, and SG$ 299 in Singapore.
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