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

The instax Mini 9 comes with a retro craft bundle for the holiday season

For all your scrapbooking dreams

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The holiday season is here!

If you’re still struggling in coming up with a gift idea, Team Instax might have just curated one for you. Fujifilm partnered with Craft Easy to create the instax Mini 9 Craft Kit.

The craft kit comes with a unique, retro tin box that comes in five colors — each with an accompanying message and particular design. Inside you get a Mini 9 camera, a pack of film, as well as crafting materials including wooden clips, washi tapes, and a set of fun stickers. This special bundle could be a great gift for only PhP 4,499 (US$ 89).

instax Mini 9

The instax Mini 9 is an instant camera that lets you take better selfies that you can print thanks to the built-in selfie mirror placed next to its lens. There’s also a close-up lens attachment if you want to photograph your subjects closer. Lighting can easily be adjusted, too, with its brightness adjustment dial. To operate the camera, you only need two AA size alkaline batteries. Happiness is just one click away!

The Mini 9 is available in Flamingo Pink, Ice Blue, Lime Green, Cobalt Blue, and Smoky White. The camera retails for PhP 3,999. It’s available at Fujifilm authorized dealers nationwide.

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Cameras

Best of 2019: Our favorite cameras

Carefully curated for your camera needs

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Just like any other consumer product, asking for the best product of all time is a lot. Various products were made to cater to the needs of different people. Even though smartphone cameras are fast-evolving, cameras are slower to develop but are far from being obsolete.

Here’s a list to help you decide the next best camera for you.

Best cameras for vlogging

Portability and flip screens — two among the many features that vloggers and content creators want to have in a camera.

Sony RX100 VII

If you want to have the lightest and most compact camera for vlogging, the RX100 VII is your best pick. Unlike other cameras in the list, it doesn’t feature interchangeable lens. Don’t worry, it’s equivalent to a 24-200mm f/2.8-f/4.5 lens, giving you the flexibility to shoot photos and videos on-the-go. It features real-time eye AF and tracking, a 180-degree flip screen, and 4K 30fps video shooting, as well as 960fps slow-mo shooting.

SEE ALSO: Sony RX100 VII: full-frame features on a compact camera

Sony a6400

If you’re already invested with Sony’s E-mount lenses, this new camera is for you. It’s one of the few cameras from Sony with interchangeable lenses that also has a flippy screen. It features a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, higher ISO expandability at 102,800, and even a weather-sealed body.

SEE ALSO: Sony’s new A6400 mirrorless camera is for professional vlogging

Canon EOS M6 Mark II

Successor to the EOS M6, Canon brings the M6 Mark II to the table with a larger 32.5-megapixel APS-C sensor, faster shutter speed (together with the electronic shutter), higher ISO sensitivity range, and more AF points. It now features 4K 30fps/1080p 120fps shooting, a huge bump up from the old video resolution settings. Forget the lack of optical viewfinder! The 3-inch tilting LCD is helpful enough to make it an ideal vlogging companion.

SEE ALSO: Canon EOS M6 Mark II Philippine launch

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Cameras

Sony A9 II launches, improves speed and durability

Still made for sports photographers

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Sports photographers looking to upgrade their gear have something to look forward to with the announcement of the Sony A9 II.

This second generation camera builds upon the legacy of its predecessor. It maintains high speed performance which include blackout-free continuous shooting at up to 20 frames per second with Auto Focus and Auto Exposure tracking, 60 times per second AF/AE calculations.

The more significant updates are faster connectivity and file delivery, continuous shooting at up to 10 FPS with mechanical shutter, evolved AF performance with newly optimized algorithms, and a re-designed build to enhance durability.

The dust and moisture resistant design has been upgraded to meet the needs of professionals in the most challenging outdoor conditions.Stronger sealing provided at all body seams as well as the battery compartment cover and media slot. There’s also Improved grip configuration for better comfort and a sure hold. It’s compatible with the Sony VG-C4EM vertical grip.

Other features include an upgraded BIONZ X™ image processing engine gains maximum benefit from the sensor’s fast readout speed. Processor works with front-end LSI to enhance speed in AF/AE detection, image processing and, face detection and accuracy.

The Sony Alpha 9 II will be available in selected countries in Asia Pacific starting October 2019. Pricing will be announced at a later time.

SEE ALSO: 24 Hours in Baguio with the Sony A9

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