It was only less than three months ago when Fujifilm introduced the X-M1, a more affordable model in the X-series lineup of compact system cameras (CSC) with interchangeable lenses. Now comes a fourth camera that’s priced even lower, making the new entry level X-A1 the most affordable X-series CSC. This 16.3-megapixel camera comes bundled with a Fujinon XC16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS zoom lens, and is available this month for $600 (in black or indigo).
If unmarked, you would have a difficult time telling the X-A1 and X-M1 apart, as they look nearly identical. Like the X-M1, the X-A1 uses a large 16.3-megapixel APS-C-size sensor. However, whereas the X-M1 has a Fujifilm X-Trans CMOS sensor with no optical low pass filter, the X-A1 doesn’t. The camera is equipped with Fujifilm’s EXR Processor II, and has an extended ISO range of 100 to 25,600. The processor allows for peppy performance – Fujifilm says start-up time is 0.5 seconds, shutter lag of 0.05 seconds, and burst speed of 5.6 frames per second.
The X-A1 has a small form-factor, weighing 11.6 ounces (body only) and measuring 1.3 inches at its thinnest point. The camera has a 3-inch tilting LCD rated at 920k dots. For step-up users there are plenty of creative modes to play with. New Fujifilm cameras are rolling out with Wi-Fi, and you’ll find a dedicated button that lets you enter that function. With Fujifilm’s camera app for iOS and Android, you can transfer images from camera to smart device, and then upload to the Web. There’s no other function like remote operation, however. Movies are recorded in Full HD 1080 resolution at 30fps.
The kit lens has 12 glass elements in 10 groups, plus three aspherical elements and one ED element. It has seven round-edged aperture blades with 17 stops in 1/3 EV steps. It’s not a particularly fast lens, but it has optical stabilization and is typical for a kit lens.
In addition, Fujifilm also announced the new XC50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS lens ($400). The lens offers a telephoto zoom range, and has 13 glass elements in 10 groups, plus one aspherical lens and one ED element. There’s a stepping motor for quieter autofocusing, and the lens will come in black or silver.
In terms of specs and price, on paper the entry-level X-A1 compares favorably to Sony’s new midrange NEX-5T. Although Nikon’s 1 J3 is around the same price, the X-A1 has stronger components, including the larger compact-DSLR-class sensor and lens with wider focal range.