Fujifilm X-A7 hands-on evaluation: A traditional in a contemporary world

“You’ll check out the X-A7 for its large touchscreen, but stay for its classic design.”

Great design

Large, high-res touchscreen

Much improved autofocus

Sturdy controls

4K/30p and 24p video

Touch interface wants work

No inner stabilization

The Fujifilm X-A7 feels caught between two worlds. Fujifilm is attempting to stability old-school enchantment with fashionable comfort, and it’s a little bit of battle. On one hand, it is a mirrorless digital camera with an excellent 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, good bodily controls, and, in fact, compatibility with Fujifilm’s glorious XF lens lineup. On the opposite, it’s attempting to win over would-be cellphone photographers with a big, 3.5-inch flip-out touchscreen and a few built-in artistic capturing modes.
It doesn’t absolutely succeed at both. I’m largely OK with that, however you will not be, relying on what you need out of a digital camera.
As an entry-level mirrorless digital camera, the X-A7 could be very good. It runs circles across the X-A5 due to a significantly better autofocus system and improved 4K video mode. If you want a superb digital camera for journey and household photographs, it’s a stable selection. But its contact interface, regardless of the attractive display, doesn’t come near replicating the expertise and comfort of a cellphone, and is as a lot the reason for confusion as an answer to it.
An glorious display, OK contact controls
With no built-in viewfinder, you’ll depend on the X-A7’s absolutely articulating LCD display to border your photographs. Fortunately, it’s the most effective on any digital camera on this class. Not solely is it giant, at 3.5 inches diagonal, it additionally boasts a decision of two.7 million pixels. That alone is a good characteristic on a $700 digital camera (and that’s with the XF 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 package lens included, thoughts you).
But there is a matter with this large display. Due to the scale constraints of the digital camera, there merely isn’t room for the standard 3:2 display at 3.5 inches. The X-A7’s display is subsequently 16:9, which is nice for video, however not a lot for stills.
Interestingly, my preproduction evaluation unit arrived with the nonetheless picture ratio set to 16:9, seemingly for the aim of exhibiting off the display with out a pillarboxed picture. I’m unsure if this would be the default setting for the ultimate digital camera, however it’s best to in all probability change it in that case. The bodily facet ratio of the sensor is 3:2; capturing the rest simply means cropping away pixels.
The contact interface additionally leaves one thing to be desired. There are two totally different layers to it, a touch-friendly overlay menu and Fujifilm’s customary fast (Q) and predominant menus. The overlay menu provides entry to barely totally different settings relying on the publicity mode, together with tap-focus management, white stability, movie simulations (colour profiles), focus mode, facet ratio, and one thing known as depth management (extra on this later).
But tapping on one among these buttons takes you to the usual Fujifilm interface for that setting, not a touch-specific model of it. The white stability menu, for instance, is only a vertically oriented listing of choices with most of them trailing off past the boundary of the display; at this level, it’s merely simpler to pick out one utilizing the joystick. If you do attempt to navigate this listing with contact, you will see that your self very confused. You should scroll to pick out a setting — strive tapping on one and it’ll as an alternative advance you to the “white balance shift” possibility, the place can manually dial in a tint on a two-axis colour picker.
Did I lose you there? I ought to have. A two-tap answer for white stability shift is solely not a characteristic that the X-A7’s goal buyer wants, particularly when it’s so simply accessed by chance. The saving grace right here is that absolute freshmen who keep on with the absolutely computerized SR Auto mode won’t be introduced with the white stability button in any respect, and can as an alternative acquire Portrait Enhancer (which appears to be like to be a type of pores and skin smoothing) and easy publicity compensation.
By default, different, extra primary choices like ISO are surprisingly hidden a layer deeper, contained in the Q menu. Fortunately, two of the overlay menu’s contact buttons could be personalized, so you possibly can set one to ISO for those who want. Given there isn’t a devoted button for ISO on the digital camera, that is one thing that intermediate and superior photographers will possible wish to do.
Let’s bounce again to that depth management characteristic. This is a jargon-free option to management depth of discipline by opening or closing the aperture. You don’t should know something about f-stops — you merely drag the slider for kind of depth. Simple sufficient.
The odd factor about depth management is that it stays obtainable even in guide publicity mode. Make no mistake, all it does is change the aperture, however as a result of it doesn’t expressly inform you this and there aren’t any equal touch-friendly controls for shutter pace or ISO, it could lead you to consider one thing else is happening. Don’t fear, there’s no depth map processing or simulated blur being utilized right here; in guide mode, depth management is only a redundant aperture management by a special identify.
Touch apart, the expertise is classy
As important as I could also be of the X-A7’s contact interface, I nonetheless actually loved capturing with this digital camera, and I feel any intermediate-to-advanced photographers will really feel the identical method. That’s largely as a result of such customers will possible bypass the contact controls virtually solely, and the X-A7 makes it comparatively simple to do that.
With two management dials, you might have direct entry to each shutter pace and aperture. Many cameras at this degree are inclined to have only a single management dial. You additionally get an autofocus selector joystick, so even for those who flip the touchscreen fully off (which is an possibility), you continue to have one-button management over the main focus level.
The digital camera weighs simply 11.3 ounces however feels stable and well-made. All of the dials are agency and supply good tactile suggestions. Nothing appears to be like or feels low-cost. The “dark silver” colour of my evaluation unit oozes class and class, whereas different obtainable colours — significantly the “mint green” — supply a bit extra enjoyable.
The X-A7 can also be a superb performer. It advantages considerably from a brand new hybrid section and contrast-detection autofocus system with 117 selectable factors. It is an enormous step up from the X-A5 by way of pace, with considerably diminished focus looking. Face- and eye-detection are additionally obtainable and work in each nonetheless and video mode. The autofocus was the most important issue stopping the X-A5 (and its sibling, the X-T100) from being a straightforward suggestion, and it’s nice to see Fujifilm took that suggestions to coronary heart.
I want it had inner picture stabilization, however that’s a fairly uncommon characteristic on this class — and even rarer from Fujifilm, which nonetheless solely provides it in a single X collection digital camera, the flagship X-H1. The package lens, at the very least, is stabilized, however a lot of Fujifilm’s finest lenses usually are not.
Image and video high quality
This being a preproduction mannequin, the pattern photographs you see right here will not be indicative of ultimate picture high quality, and thus I’ll withhold judgement till we get a manufacturing digital camera in hand. (RAW help additionally wasn’t obtainable by the point of this evaluation, so I’ve solely been in a position to have a look at JPEGs.) Even so, I’ve no main complaints about picture high quality.

However, excessive ISO noise discount was too heavy-handed for my style, even when turned all the best way down. This was attention-grabbing to me primarily based on how Fujifilm has marketed this new sensor as being higher in low mild. The X-A7 ought to have improved noise efficiency due to new copper wiring, however the digital camera appears to be like to nonetheless be relying closely on noise discount at ISO values of 3,200 and above. I’ll have a greater thought of precise noise efficiency as soon as I can open the RAW recordsdata.
Video might be the place the most important enhancements in high quality have been made. The X-A5 might technically shoot 4K, but it surely was restricted to simply 15 frames per second. In different phrases, it was unusable. The X-A7 now shoots 4K at as much as 30 frames per second, and from the complete width of the sensor. For the cinematic look, 24 frames per second can also be provided. A microphone jack is included, but it surely’s the smaller 2.5mm measurement, so an adapter can be wanted to make use of a normal exterior microphone.
These are good specs for a $700 digital camera. Combined with the flip display and eye-detection autofocus, the X-A7 wouldn’t be a foul vlogging digital camera.
However, much more so than with the stills, I’ve to order judgement of the video high quality. There was one habits involving steady autofocus and/or autoexposure that would doubtlessly smash a shot, and it’s my hope that this can be resolved within the manufacturing digital camera. For now, I’ll stay cautiously optimistic.
Then there’s the lens. The XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 package lens that comes with the X-A7 is much from the perfect. It’s small and light-weight, which is nice, however for those who’re wanting on the X-A7 as your first Fujifilm digital camera, know that there are significantly better lenses on the market. I want Fujifilm provided a package with the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4, which is a far superior lens, however that may possible enhance the price by a number of hundred {dollars}.
Still an X-series digital camera
The X-A7 could also be billed as a cellphone digital camera substitute, however the fact is, it’s a traditional Fujifilm X-series digital camera by and thru. The fashionable design, giant articulating display, stable bodily controls, and tremendously improved autofocus make it a powerful contender amongst low-end mirrorless cameras, even when the contact interface isn’t pretty much as good as I’d have appreciated.
The closest competitor is the Sony A6100, but it surely’s priced $50 larger than the X-A7 — with out a lens. Add a lens, and also you’re a $150 distinction. The X-A7 can’t fairly match the superior real-time autofocus capabilities of the Sony, nor its 11-frames-per-second burst price, however in any other case it ought to maintain its personal.
As your first interchangeable lens digital camera or your first dip into the Fujifilm X ecosystem, the X-A7 isn’t a foul selection. It provides good all-around efficiency — and nobody can argue with its sharp appears to be like.

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