The Fujifilm X-A7 offers several options for both amateur photographers and video bloggers. Nilofer Khan reports.
When Fujifilm introduced its X-A series, it was with the intent to cater to those who wish to buy their first interchangeable lens camera system. The company has worked towards enhancing the features to make the entire shooting experience easier for its users. Last year, the company announced its latest iteration in this series, the X-A7. The camera has been enhanced to meet the demands of video bloggers.
Fujifilm has incorporated a new 24.2MP APS-C sensor, which uses copper wiring to enable high-speed data readout, and has phase detection pixels across the entire sensor surface. The X-A7 has 425 points in MF, and 117 points when employing AF-C or AF-S. In MF, there is also the peak off and distance scale feature, to capture focused images. There are four AF modes—Single Point, Zone, Wide/Tracking, and All. In the Tracking setting, users can choose between face and eye, or select both. The eye-tracking has further options such as eye auto, right eye priority, and left eye priority.
It’s worth noting that while the X-A7 can shoot at high ISO 51,200, it can only do so in the JPEG mode. RAW shooting is restricted to ISO 200–12,800.
In the Program mode, the speed of the mechanical shutter is 4 sec to 1/4000 sec, whereas with the electronic shutter, it is 4 sec to 1/32,000 sec. If you use all the remaining modes, the mechanical shutter is between 30 sec to 1/4000 sec, and the electronic shutter is 30 sec to 1/32,000 sec. The Bulb mode in both the shutter is up to 60 mins.
It has a continuous shooting speed of 6fps. There is also the option to switch to a lower speed of 3fps. Exposure metering is available via TTL 256-zone. There are three metering options—Multi, Spot, and Average. Exposure can be compensated by -5EV to +5EV, and for movies, it is -2EV to +2EV. Its pop-up flash has a GN of 4 at ISO 100, with EV of -2EV to +2EV.
In comparison to its predecessor, the X-A7 has made a few changes on the video recording front. The uncropped 4K video recording time has been increased from 5 mins to 15 mins. The Full HD recording time has been increased from 14 mins to 30 mins, and 720p recordings have also been enhanced from 27 mins to 30 mins. There is a new mode called Countdown Video that allows you to record short clips of 15, 30 or 60 seconds and upload it on social media.
Along with the main camera modes the additional modes are Advanced Filter, Light trail (SP), Portrait Enhancer, Landscape, Sport, Night, and Motion Panorama. The device comes with creative modes, popular Film Simulations, and two new features—the Bright Mode (to capture HDR images with a single shot) and Light Trails.
For video blogging, the X-A7 features a 3.5-inch 2760K-dot vari-angle type LCD monitor, the first vari-angle in the X-series. It has a default aspect ratio of 16:9, but users can change it to other ratios. The company has introduced a new 1:1 aspect ratio mode as well. The 2.5mm mini jack type is likely to require a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter so as to use common microphones. It comes with a USB Type C slot, HDMI output, Bluetooth, WiFi, and the Fujinon XC 15–45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ kit lens.
Weighing merely 320g, the camera is a few grams lighter than the previous edition (361g), making it extremely convenient to carry around. However, when I first began using the X-A7, it took me a while to get used to the right-hand grip on the camera, which isn’t too deep. After prolonged use, I got the hand of it.
There have been some major design changes too. For instance, the back and top side have been redesigned completely. The placement of the power button has been changed. Now, it’s towards the back, between the Mode and Rear Command dials. Perhaps it was done to make the dials a little larger. The markings on the Mode dial is quite detailed too.
The LCD is larger and the touch response is quite good. The dial pad has been replaced with a joystick. There are only four buttons to control everything, which is sufficient. You can easily change the setting using the LCD, similar to the use of smartphones. However, I found the menu a bit confusing. For instance, the ISO setting is buried deep in the Q menu. There is also a slider for Portrait Enhancer LV, EV and Depth Control, to make functions easier. Besides the LCD, the Drive button can also be used to quickly change settings.
The X-A7’s menu is quite detailed, giving one the opportunity to have complete control over how their images look. The JPEG quality is extremely good and the images appear quite vibrant. The details in the highlights and shadows are good as well. The pictures have slightly soft edges, and there is a loss of details. The sensor does extremely well with image quality at higher ISO settings. Up to ISO 3200, the image quality is extremely good but starts showing increasing luminance and chrominance noise after that, with images at ISO 6400 or above requiring significant noise correction.
The vari-angle LCD is very useful. I had to raise my hands, and tilt down the screen to take the image. Exposure: 1/13sec at f/7.1 (ISO 1000) Photograph/Nilofer Khan
The AF is quite accurate but a little slow in certain situations, such as dimly lit areas. For instance, when I was shooting children running at the beach, it was a bit dark, and their movements were extremely fast. It took a couple of seconds before the AF could detect them. In a crowded place, it can accurately detect faces closest to the camera, but too much movement also means it takes a second to focus. The Smile option in the self-timer mode did not work because of my glasses.
The battery performance is quite good when shooting in Economy mode, under Power Management. I was able to shoot continuously for about four or five hours per charge, even while using the flash.
The overall video quality is also good. However, the stabilisation is not too great. The camera shake reduces a little when you turn on Digital Image Stabilisation. But it is advisable to use a monopod to get better results.
Whoever wishes to transition from a cellphone to a camera, the X-A7 is a great option. It is versatile, has a decent AF, extremely responsive LCD, uncropped 4K video, and great image quality, even in low light. Priced at Rs. 59,999, it might seem a bit expensive in comparison to Canon’s EOS M50 and the EOS M200, Rs. 51,995 and Rs. 43,995, respectively. Both the cameras offer 4K, however, it comes with 1.6x crop factor. If you can’t compromise on the crop factor, then the Fujifilm X-A7 is the camera to go for.
This article originally appeared in the April 2020 issue of Better Photography.
24.2MP sensor, uncropped 4K video
Quick AF, good colours, excellent details
Magnesium alloy, sturdy
Lightweight, easy controls
|Warranty & Support
|MRP||Rs. 59,999 (with lens)|
|VALUE FOR MONEY||3.5/5|
|Who should buy it?||Amateur photographers, bloggers and video bloggers looking for a camera that’s not just easy to use, but also comes with a variety of features.|
|Why?||Light and compact body with a friendly interface, good image quality, RAW files, uncropped 4K, as well as plenty of features for beginners to experiment with.|