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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extremely Impressive Performer
If you haven't looked into these Fuji "X" cameras, they deserve a look before you make your next major camera purchase. This latest release from Fuji, which comes at an extremely reasonable price, is easily an "outperformer" when it comes to picture quality and device quality. The images you can take with it will rival those taken by the much more expensive (and...
Published 12 months ago by Ray

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Histogram not useful in manual exposure mode
The low noise is impressive but there is a design flaw that Fujifilm needs to fix. In manual exposure mode the histogram shows what the histogram would be in auto exposure mode and it does not change with the manual settings. I give it two stars hoping that it is noticed by Fujifilm and they issue a firmware update. I also wish they would save the RAW images when using...
Published 1 month ago by WILLIAM WILSON

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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extremely Impressive Performer, October 12, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you haven't looked into these Fuji "X" cameras, they deserve a look before you make your next major camera purchase. This latest release from Fuji, which comes at an extremely reasonable price, is easily an "outperformer" when it comes to picture quality and device quality. The images you can take with it will rival those taken by the much more expensive (and physically larger) Nikons and Canons. If that is a claim that is very hard to believe, you should do some online searching for reviews on these Fuji cameras and their lens offerings. The reviews are almost uniformly positive, and my own experience with this X-A1 agrees.

This particular version comes with either a dark blue or black textured finish which is very comfortable to hold while at the same time providing a good "grippy" surface. (It feels not wholly unlike the back of the earlier version of the Nexus 7 tablet, with a surface that almost does not feel like metal or plastic; you just have to feel it to understand.) The camera is very light, and even with the lens and battery attached, you are only at a fraction of what your typical DSLR will weigh. There is no viewfinder, either optical or electronic, but there is a gorgeous, tilting 3-inch high resolution screen. This is a full APS-C sensor, the same size as most all DSLRs that are not full frame, and, of course, hugely larger than nearly all point and shoots, including the 1-inch models that have recently been released by the various manufacturers. This model is based on the well received Sony 16mp sensor that is found in a number of other cameras (some of the Sony NEX models, at least one Olympus model, and at least one or more Nikon models), and does not make use of Fuji's "X trans" sensor that is found on its X-Pro 1. So, although this model is using a far more traditional sensor, the sensor itself has been very well received in the photographic community, and its use in this model is one reason for the very reasonable price. Fuji is also undoubtedly utilizing some very sophisticated processing "down the pipeline" from the image sensor to arrive at such excellent photographic quality.

The camera is reasonably comfortable to hold, due primarily to its light weight, but because the hand grip is not very deep, it can be a challenge to keep a good grip until you get the knack of it. The camera's fantastic screen that allows you to compose either above, under, or even with eye level (the screen tilts both up and down to facilitate this) is wonderful. Operational performance of the camera is good. Turn on is nearly instantaneous, and there is very little focusing lag (maybe not quite 100% as fast as some of the Sony's, but very, very fast, and I doubt you'd notice much of a difference), and shut down is also fast. Picture playback on the screen is also very fast, with little hesitation or stutter. The exception to this rule is that when the camera goes into power saving "sleep" mode, it is quite sluggish to get it woken back up, sometimes in the neighborhood of 2-3 seconds.

There is much more I can say about these types of features, but where this camera excels is in photo quality. Even with the kit lens that comes with this Fuji model the photos are sharp, sharp, sharp, with very nice color and saturation. And I mean, REALLY good. My own experience even with this kit lens is that the camera is knocking off images that rival my Nikon D7000. That might be difficult to believe, and I was skeptical myself until I started examining my own images. There is amazing clarity in these shots, and this is even using just the standard jpg format (not even using RAW mode), so it seems that the jpg rendering engine is doing a superb job of processing the shots.

But it is the Fuji lenses that are also being identified as some of the best lenses currently on the market (this camera, along with the other Fuji interchangeable lens cameras, uses the Fuji X-Mount system). Even this kit lens is sharp, with virtually no edge distortion or softness, with images that are sharp and straight across the frame. This particular lens is a Fuji "XC" model, and starts at a wide 16mm (24mm equivalent) at F/3.5 and goes to 50mm (75mm equivalent). Are you worried that F/3.5 is not wide enough for low light settings? This is one of the places where these Fuji's excel. There is so little noise in shots that you can run up and down the ISO levels and get perfectly acceptable shots all the way up to 3,200 ISO. (I know that is hard to believe, but I've experienced it myself, and you can check other reviews of the camera along these lines).

You can purchase the very highly reviewed "XF" lenses, but you might find that the kit lens is all you need for now. It is simply an amazing combination of lens quality, camera performance, and jpg rendering engine. And at its price point, which is lower than some of the new "super" point and and shoots, it seems like an unbeatable combination.

There are a few non-Fuji X-Mount lenses now available, but they tend to be either highly expensive (the Zeiss "Touit" lenses) or quite inexpensive (Samyang, Rokinon). For now, unless you have the money to spring for Zeiss, Fuji's own lenses seem by far the better choice, with high image performance and build quality.

I will expand this review over time, but for now, what I want to say is that if you are considering a new camera purchase, you really owe it to yourself to look over these Fuji's before you make a decision. They are superlative devices.

++ Superb image quality, with sharp, rich, and undistorted images even from the kit lens
++ Low noise high ISO performance that must surely rank as some of the best available today
++ Outstanding 3-inch, one million pixel LCD screen with full set of customizable display options
++ Lightweight and easy to handle (though grip is too shallow for most people's fullest comfort)
++ Excellent build quality (primarily the camera, but the lens is good for a kit model)
++ Very nice image color rendition (many of my images remind me of those taken with my favorite Zeiss lenses, and, yes, I understand that may be difficult to believe)
++ "Velvia" color mode available in "P" mode (simulates Fuji Velvia film)
++ Large feature set roughly analogous to most DSLRs (S, A, P, M modes, and many other specialized modes)
++ Shots per battery exceed specifications in my own daily use (but drops precipitously at the end; keep a backup handy)
++ Extremely reasonable price for what you get (it may be all you need, in some cases)
++ Great implementation of "focus peaking" for manual focusing
++ A variety of "XF" lenses are available, most reviewed as some of the best lenses on the market
++ A 55-200mm "XC" lens is available at a very reasonable price
++ Built-in WiFi (some will make use of this, others not)
++ Full printed manual comes in the box
++ Blue body color available, if that is of interest to you (all black is currently the other body color option) - the blue is dark, and not overly "showy"

-- Hand grip would be slightly more comfortable if a bit thicker
-- Tendency to overexpose, and this is true inside, as well as outside (use the EV setting in "P" mode to control for this)
-- Focusing issues in low light (the camera won't autofocus at all when it is very, very dark)
-- Autofocusing options limited, compared to other cameras in class (center weighted only, selected point only; manual; no multi-point AF)
-- Manual focus peaking only available in one color, white
-- Fujifilm brand batteries are expensive (true of all "brand" batteries)
-- Wake up from power save sleep too slow (about 2 - 3 seconds, depending on level of sleep)
-- Mechanical power switch not as smooth to rotate as one would prefer
-- No viewfinder of any typr (if you want to use a viewfinder, this X-A1 model will not work for you; you'll need one of the other Fuji models)
-- No hand strap provided (only a neck strap; a hand strap is, for me, a much more useful device)
-- Manual has no index at the end, making it difficult to look up specific features/functions that you are trying to research
-- Kit lens has limited macro ability (minimum focusing distance about 30 cm)
-- Lens cover may come off a bit too easily
-- Charger unit comes with long, heavy a/c cord; this is unnecessarily heavy and not nearly as portable as a built-in flip-switch style of plug found on many charger units
-- "XF" lenses very expensive (but only in a relative sense; they are often compared in quality and performance to Leica lenses 10 times their price)

Two-Month Shooting Update
After returning from France and from three weeks of shooting in Paris with my wife, all I can say again is WOW. Some of the images this little guy knocks out can are nothing short of incredible. I used three lenses (the 16-50mm XC kit lens that comes with the camera, the 55-200mm XF, and the 35mm XF lenses), and I captured images that are simply among the best I've ever gotten over years of shooting with all kinds of cameras. And it's not just the expensive "XF" lenses that account for the quality, although both of these XF lenses here are simply superb (and it shows in the images). Many of the shots I took with the kit lens are simply spectacular. Deep, rich, sharp images that, at times, seem to "pop" out from the frame (try experimenting with -1.0 EV, and shooting in Velvia color when shooting in "P" mode), and I keep asking myself why I've spent so much money on equipment over the years when this $600 camera and lens often runs circles around them. I even dropped my 16-50mm lens on the Passy Viaduct in Paris, bounced it three times off the concrete, leaving two gouges in the plastic casing, and the guy just keep shooting (although there is no guarantee this will always be the result.) Yes, the grip is a bit uncomfortable at times, due to its shallow depth, and there are some peculiarities that take getting used to (Why can't I turn off the screen info data when rotating the control dial? And why isn't there a built-in help menu, such as used by Sony, to give me help with some arcane settings?), but this is all just quibbling. I keep returning back to the images themselves. Simply stunning. Its one of the most exciting and forward-thinking systems I've ever used. Shooting at 3200 ISO with almost no noise? It's true (although sharpness suffers somewhat). Handheld shots in dark interiors? The camera did it for weeks. Shots within museums? Amazing clarity and sharpness. And, if you're willing to switch to manual focusing, the focus peaking feature allows you to get some truly sharp images (and will reveal just how much error can sometimes be present with auto focusing). The XF line of lenses (at least the two I used) are simply incredible, with a superlative build quality that can be clearly discerned (and with prices to match), but don't rule out the 16-50mm XC kit lens. Some of the best shots I took were from the kit lens. I don't want to exaggerate here, but once I got home and started looking at the photos more carefully on a high resolution computer screen, I was amazed.

One-Year Shooting Update (Comments Fall, 2014)
The Fuji X-mount system has continued to gain positive press, and, specifically, the X-T1 (but also the X-Pro1 and the X-E2) have sucked up the attention like a high-powered vacuum cleaner. There are more than enough reasons for selecting any one of these models, and some people call them "the poor man's Leica's," but--and I may be in a minority in this--I would not overlook the absolutely CHEAP X-A1 model if you are new to the Fuji world. It's true that the X-A1 does not have the xTrans sensor used in the other Fuji models, using in its place a traditional, Sony-manufactured APC-class sensor, and, yes, the X-A1 lacks the viewfinder (which I completely understand is a deal breaker for many). But after shooting with the X-A1 for nearly a year now in both Europe and North America, I continue to be impressed with the shots this camera is capable of taking.

Even with the X-A1's inexpensive supplied "XC" 16-50mm kit lens, image quality can be enormously impressive. This XC kit lens' tactile feel is certainly not like that of any of the Fuji XF lenses (the XC 16-50mm is an all-plastic), but I nevertheless remain astounded its image quality. (The cheap-o plastic construction has the added benefit of low weight, too!) But then pair the X-A1 with, say the Fuji XF 14mm lens, and images take on a whole new level. The results can be so good that they seem to reach out of the screen with an almost three-dimensional feel. (Look at some of these images on a MacBook Pro with Retina, and you'll easily see what I mean: the detail in these shots is remarkable.) The same can be said for the Fuji XF 35mm lens and the (admittedly heavy) Fuji XF 55-200mm lens.

The word that comes to mind for me is "shockingly" good. I keep asking myself why this camera is so cheap, and I guess it does indeed come down to what I've mentioned before, the lack of a viewfinder and the use of a traditional sensor. And the X-A1 is indeed an entry camera, designed to bring new people into the Fuji fold, so its intent is to demonstrate the benefits of the X-mount system and then encourage you to move on to more expensive X-mount lenses, so its price has been kept down (and its price has seemed now to move onto a perpetual "sale" price of around $450). The ergonomics of the camera itself could have been better, particularly where it comes to the decision to use a too-thin handgrip on the right side of the camera, and you will notice this during shooting. The tilt screen's mechanical mechanism, too, does not feel as nice as the X-T1 (but its image quality is very good). But at $450, including the kit lens, if you can live with the limitations of a 16-50mm lens and the lack of a viewfinder, it's a truly remarkable bargain that can yield results that rival cameras many times its price.

And while we are at it, remember that the kit lens opens up all the way to a 16mm wide end, something you won't find on anything other than the much more expensive XF 10-24mm or the 14mm XF prime (an f/2.8 16-55mm XF lens is scheduled for release for 2015, but it will be many times the price, and will be many times heavier because of the wide, constant aperture). So, basically, at an insanely low entry point, you have a wide angle lens and camera with a 3x zoom whose images can just blow your socks off. Highly detailed, rich, rich color shots that often require little post processing and that can be hauntingly beautiful.

I had the X-A1 at an event a few weeks ago, and someone who had seen some of my photos online commented and asked me why I didn't bring my "good" camera, the one I had used to take the photos for my online albums. The person seemed not to believe me when I said, "You're looking at the camera I used for those shots!" I said something like, "I know it looks a bit like a toy," [I have the blue version of the camera] "but this little guy is the one I've been using all this past year. I'm not sure he ever believed me.

A lot has been said about the Zeiss "Touit" lenses that were released for the X format (and there was a super sale on these about four months ago), but, while taking nothing away from these lenses, both of which have tested out very well by professional reviewers, the Fuji lenses easily keep up with them, and so you can stay in a full-Fuji world with any of the X cameras. These Fuji lenses are not cheap, by any means, but they occasionally go on sale (I picked up the XF 35mm, the XF 14mm, and the XF 55-200mm lenses all on sale), which takes a little of the sting out their prices. And the 55-200mm really is a bit on the heavy side, so you have to be really dedicated to want to use it for specific purposes, but these lenses are basically all so well executed that its hardly an exaggeration to say Fuji is driving somewhat of a Renaissance in photography.

To get back on topic, if the "shortcomings" of the Fuji X-A1 (i.e., no viewfinder, no X-trans sensor, and only a 3x zoom lens) don't deter you, I have to say that it is the best bargain in photography I've seen in years, and its a bargain that will never give itself away in the stellar pictures you will be able to take with it. I'm in the minority here in the sense that everyone is really excited about the admittedly excellent X-T1 and X-E2 cameras, but I feel it is a mistake, particularly for the person entering photography or the X-mount world, to overlook the impressive, inexpensive X-A1 camera.

Some of the Fuji Lenses:

The cost reduced Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 Camera Lens

Some of the more expensive, highly reviewed "XF" lenses:

Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 Zoom Lens

Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 Lens Wide Angle Lens

Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 Compact Prime Lens

Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4.0 Lens Zoom Lens

Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 Lens

Fujifilm XF 60mm F2.4 Macro Lens

Highly Recommended for this Camera:
OP/TECH USA Cam Strap - QD (Black) - the perfect size for this camera
Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Charger for Fujifilm NP-W126 - almost as good as the Fuji brand battery, and a charger that's better
Expert Shield Screen Protector for: FujiFilm X-M1 - fits perfectly on the X-A1
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59 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Low end Fuji delivers high end results, October 26, 2013
Eric T "ejt" (Marion, IA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fujifilm X-A1 Kit with 16-50mm Lens (Black) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 6:58 Mins

Background: I have owned the Fuji X Pro1 and many other mirrorless and SLR cameras. I shoot some paid and many volunteer events including weddings, portraits, and general photography. I do formal lens reviews for fun.

First Impressions: Coming from the X-Pro1 this camera feels cheap, but control layout is similar and is easy to switch between the two. I don't like the all plastic build of lens and camera, but the body still feels sturdy.

✔: Direct Controls (2 command dials, many direct access buttons, Q menu)
✔: Image Quality (well proven 16.3 MP sensor used in many cameras)
✔: Features (ISO Hotshoe, built in flash, delivers most of what an X Pro1 will for image quality)
✔: Included lens is very good stopped down 1 stop across the range. This makes it a great general carry lens.
✔: Wi-Fi features (Geotagging, transfer photos, etc)
✘: Plastic build (lens is all plastic with plastic mount, body on camera is all plastic, still well built, just cheap materials)
✘: No touch screen (makes changing camera settings and focus points much easier)
✘: No option for viewfinder
✘: No charging over USB like most competitors (but thankfully it still includes AC battery charger unlike most competitors).

1: Press and hold "Q" button to max screen brightness (avoids menu diving).
2: Press and hold "Disp/Back" button to set silent mode.
3: Set focus point mode to AF[] (flexible point) which lets you set focus point location and size (helps prevent inadvertently focusing on background)
4: Set Auto ISO range to 3200 or 6400, default of 800 is much to low for this high quality sensor.
5: Set Image Review if you want to see short preview of image immediately after shot (I prefer to leave disabled so I can immediately shoot again without wasting 1sec or so to get the image to go away).
6: Focus Tracking: To activate this mode set to focus tracking AF with Q menu. Point the center plus where you want to track and hit the Macro button (left directional, looks like a flower).

Continuous (don't even use on this camera, stops focusing after half press of shutter making it useless), Single, Tracking are the main modes. Tracking mode is enabled by setting it first in the menus and then pressing the Macro/Flower button. This mode is for focus recompose or tracking a subject moving parallel to the subject. It is basically like flexible point where the point can move to stay with your subject. It is not for tracking quickly moving subjects.

Focus speed is good with the included 16-50mm lens and if you want to make sure you get a shot set the camera to AF-S and just depress the shutter button all the way until it takes the shot. This minimizes lag between focusing on half press and fully depressing the shutter. I use flexible point focus the most and you can change the size of the point with the rear command dial and move it around if you first press AF button.

Image Quality:
This 16.3 MP sensor is used in many cameras and is a very good sensor. JPEG quality is typical Fuji, which is pretty good even at high ISO. You don't have all the film simulation modes that the X Pro1 has, but you get standard, velvia, B&W and the most used ones. You can also change many JPEG parameters from in the Q menu.

Lens Quality:
My copy has some issues wide open in the corners at 16mm, and also a bit soft wide open towards 50mm, but this lens will mostly be used stepped down 1 stop, and if you do it is excellent corner to corner at all settings (especially mid range). One of the best kit lenses I have used, and 16mm wide end to boot.

Lots of great features on this camera. This hotshoe can be used to fire generic flash triggers and also Fuji flashes. The built in flash can be used as a bounce flash in small rooms. This requires setting the ISO at 3200 or 6400 only because the flash is pretty weak, but it really gives images the more professional bounce flash look (direct flash gives the deer in headlights look and shadows on the wall behind).

Honestly, coming from my X Pro1 I didn't feel like I was missing much except the viewfinder, which I rarely used. I actually prefer the usability of this camera since everything can be done with one hand. The X Pro1 had the AF button and some others on the left side which was really annoying. I also compared this to my Sony NEX 3n and Samsung NX300. The Samsung has the most features like touch screen and PDAF in the same price class, but the Fuji has a better lens and is better suited for use with manual focus lenses.

If you shoot with manual focus lenses (optional of course), I think this Fuji is one of the cheapest and best manual focus cameras (or the NEX 5T), it has excellent focus peaking, lots of manual controls, high resolution screen to see focus, and is a great value. The 5T would add touch screen and ability to use external viewfinder.

A really neat feature is you can download an App for most smart phones that lets you use your Phones GPS to geotag your photos, and you can also transfer photos to your phone or computer. However, it doesn't let you direct upload to social media sites like some cameras.

Bottom Line: This is a camera I thought I wouldn't like at first, but after using it for a week or so it has become one of my favorite mirrorless cameras to date and Fuji has a stellar set of lenses for APS-C cameras. I think it is more geared towards an enthusiast, but Fuji has made many excellent consumer cameras too so I think they are in a good position to be good for both users.

Verdict: A+, value, features, image quality, performance
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic camera at this price point, with one caveat, November 30, 2013
Strohmian (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fujifilm X-A1 Kit with 16-50mm Lens (Black) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Fuji has built itself a good reputation in the higher end of the currently very active Mirrorless Compact market, by coming up with new sensor designs and producing quality lenses. This camera is a little different though; it's more of a "value" product. For example, it doesn't have their famed X-trans sensor, the body feels a bit cheap with no rubbery grip, and the non- touch screen doesn't do all that well in sunlight. I'd say say that most (but not all!) aspects of this camera are good, but not great. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it's properly reflected in the price - which it is.

The kit lens disappointed me initially, because it looks even cheaper than the body and the slippery zoom ring is a bit hard to move, especially with slightly moist fingers. I came around though when I saw the pictures that it was capable of producing: tack- sharp and beautiful, putting my Panasonic GX7+Kit to shame - a system that costs twice as much! Also this lens starts at an equivalent of 24mm, which is considerably more wide- angle than most standard zooms. I think that many people will probably simply leave the kit lens on and they won't miss a thing.

Fuji also offers a 50-230mm telezoom lens lens of similar characteristics as the kit lens (i.e. "value" and still fairly compact, they call it the "XC" line), and there is an upgrade path with the "XF" line lenses. The latter lenses are larger and more expensive, but also more solidly built and with more options such as on- lens button for the stabilizer or an aperture ring. Painfully missing (to me) in the entire line-up is a wideangle pancake prime lens though, something that I really like for hiking. I do know that it's particularly hard to make such a lens for APS-C sensors, but Samsung has done it (for their incompatible system, that is).

Fuji uses an APS-C sized sensor in this camera (same size as most DSLRs), which has some implications:
- First, the format is 3:2, which is more widescreen than the 4:3 used in Point & Shoots and the Micro Four Thirds System. I actually find this an advantage especially for landscape pictures, but YMMV. If you're willing to lose some resolution, you can also pick a 1:1 or 16:9 format (but still no 4:3, oddly).
- Another implication of the sensor size is that you get a narrower depth of field. This should be expected and is desirable in my book, but it's also easier to get an out-of-focus picture if one is not careful.
- Last but not least, the large sensor size means lower picture noise. Sometimes the camera goes up to ISO 3200 and I don't see noise in the picture! No doubt there's some in- camera processing, but still, I can now take hand- held night shots and they look smooth! Again, this "kills" the images that the expensive Panasonic GX7 produces at high ISO.

There aren't many bells and whistles, and I may be a little old school for liking it that way. The M, A, P and S modes are solid, in fact I was delighted to find that Manual works with auto-ISO! Apparently that's not standard even in DSLRs, but to me it just makes sense that somebody wants to pick shutter and aperture, with the camera then picking ISO up to your set limit. Also, the mode switching and parameter- changing is easy and quick. I find that a little ridiculous to have to mention even, but I own other cameras that take a second switching modes (one even shows a full- screen notice "You have chosen S mode. This is good for ..blah blah..") or clutter up the display with annoying colorful bars when you adjust a parameter.

After about a month of use, I did find a few things that I found a little bothersome:
1) The autofocus is slow and "hunty" (for lack of a better word; what I mean is it's overshooting the focus zone to realize it needs to go back, even if you're just taking a second picture with the lens already in perfect focus). It's particularly unsuited for movies, which Fuji seems to know, as you can set a dedicated movie focus mode such as manual. Also, there is an explicit macro mode like on Point & Shoot cameras. By contrast, the autofocus on the Panasonic is so dead-on-instant that you can easily use it for movies and it doesn't hunt at all. That's an unfair comparison I know, but still I think the autofocus is by far the biggest downside of this camera. Firmware update 1.0.1 addresses this, but I have not seen a marked improvement. Yet? All this is less important if you shoot landscapes, of course.
2) The flash system is quite finicky. The built-in flash is a bit underpowered to start with, and I get inconsistent results (dark face on one shot, overexposed the next).
3) Unfortunate button assignment. There aren't too many buttons on this camera (and none on the lens), so it bothers me a bit that two buttons are used for Macro (should not exist, just give me good autofocus) and White Balance (people who really care shoot RAW).

My "question marks" list seems a little long, but it's mostly workable and the only remaining weakness is the mediocre autofocus, which may not even be an issue for many types of photography. On the plus side, we have the stunning picture quality and the very competitive price. Speaking of competition, I don't think there is much else in this category as of December 2013 as it even underprices cheap DSLRs and Sony's NEX3 line.
I've come to think of the X-A1 as a "I love it" product with half a star dinged for the so-so autofocus, which technically still rounds back up to 5 stars. If you know what you're getting, i.e. a "value" camera with jaw- dropping picture quality, everything should fall into place and I predict you'll be very happy with this product.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent entry level camera with few quirks., May 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fujifilm X-A1 Kit with 16-50mm Lens (Black) (Electronics)
I own an X M1 and a Sony NEX 5T. I used to have Olympus PEN PM2, Canon T3i and Nikon D5200. Compared to all these cameras, I must say X M1 and X A1 are a joy to use. And Image quality(NOT talking about resolution) of the Fujis is the best among all. Although resolution is lower than D5200, there seems to be good levels of finer details. The X A1 is one of the cheapest APS-C format cameras yet produces some of the best images in it's category. It is the cheapest camera yet produces best images for any camera under $1000, just like X M1 does.

The Fuji 16-50 kit lens is sharp! Forget about using legacy Leica, Zeiss etc. lenses. you can get similar sharpness from this kit lens and as a bonus, you don't have to fiddle with focus peaking to focus manually. The only reason to get prime lenses is, if you absolutely have to have faster apertures. I find no problems using kit lens with slower apertures while zoomed in, because the camera is capable of producing excellent details up to ISO 3200. No other brand camera comes close to Fujifilm X-series cameras. Even though X A1 do not have X-trans array, it's high ISOs up to 6400 are very similar to X M1, IMO.

Fujifilm's proprietary "Q" button is amazing, every camera manufacturer should copy it. You can access every menu setting on one single page, so that you can review the vital settings or change them as needed.

Fujifilm's OOC(out of cam) jpegs are the best in business. There's almost no difference between RAW and OOC jpegs. With that being said, I found these settings to deliver best this camera can do.

NR: -2 (even at "0", NR is way too aggressive and robbing some finer details. I like to keep it at -2).
Color: +1 (If shooting in STD film mode)
Sharpness: +1
DR: I keep it to 100 most times. Few times, I use DR 400, if you feel the need to produce more details in shadows. You could no longer use ISOs lower than 800, if you choose DR 400. If the light is low and you cannot choose ISO below 800, then just choose DR 400.
Shadows and highlights: +2

Some cons according to me:
My X A1 tends to overexpose most shots. I don't know if I have defective piece but I have to set exposure (-2/3) at all times to get "normal" exposure. Another issue, to me is that, the jpeg files have aggressive amounts of NR by default and setting the NR to (-2) is not improving anything significantly. IMO, NR is too much that it's robbing some finer details. Unacceptable. IMO, this NR issue is the same with all Fuji X-series cameras.

I have owned 2 Fuji X-series cameras (X A1 and X M1) and used another 2 (X-E1 and X 100S). And all these cameras have at least 1 stuck pixel visible at all times at ISOs below 800. Even at ISO 200! These stuck pixels are not visible at ISOs greater than 800. I tried sensor cleaning in camera to rid of the issue but NO luck. With X-trans cameras, the stuck pixels is NOT removed even if I shoot RAW and load files onto LR5 and Photoninja. However, X A1's stuck pixel is removed automatically when I load RAW files on LR5. Fuji needs to incorporate sensor mapping like Sony and Olympus have been doing. Pixel mapping is very simple program that can be included into camera menus. Olympus has been doing it for so many years and I don't see why other companies shouldn't do that. Something so simple like that can save consumers from returning the cameras to dealers for something so minuscule as stuck pixels.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best value yet in a point and shoot digicam with manual override, May 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fujifilm X-A1 Kit with 16-50mm Lens (Black) (Electronics)
It's all about the image quality. The Fuji X-A1 and 16-50 kit zoom is such a good value I almost feel guilty giving it four stars rather than five. But it's also the only camera I've ever felt lukewarm enough about for the first week that I nearly boxed it up and returned it several times. In the end, after a month, we got along just fine. The quality of the in-camera JPEGs has freed me from the tedious chore of having to tweak every raw file to suit my preferences. It's very nearly the perfect travel camera for folks who don't want to be burdened by a heavy, bulky and pricey dSLR kit.

I wanted something to supplement - not replace - my Nikon V1, which remains my favorite camera for candid snapshots ranging from street photography to snaps of family and friends. The Nikon V1 is very quick with AF that can match most dSLRs, but lacks the high ISO image quality of an APS sensor camera. The Fuji X-A1 fills that niche nicely. The Fuji can't quite match the Nikon V1 for quick AF, shutter response and an uncluttered top panel, but the IQ is superb. And the Fuji's physical design overall is more sensible than Nikon's earliest efforts in the 1 System (the notoriously poor rear panel controls of the J1 and V1).

Basically, Fuji packed all of their image quality into a box that's as inexpensively made as possible without being junk. The X-A1 and 16-50 kit zoom do feel plasticky, but not cheap or flimsy. And the quality of the photos makes up the difference. Not having to re-edit every photo from the raw files makes using the Fuji a real pleasure.

==Best features, strengths, pros:==
--All the image quality of an APS/DX sensor for the price of a high end tiny sensor P&S digicam, and less money than most entry level dSLR/kit zoom combos.

--Fits in my smallest waist pack, the Lowepro Off Trail. My aching back and neck really appreciate not lugging my dSLR kit around.

--The image quality. Yes, it's as good as the hype. After more than a decade with digital this is the first camera I've used that consistently produces top quality JPEGs that don't disappoint. Fuji has managed to capture the spirit, if not quite the accuracy, of their classic films. In more than 1,000 photos during the first month I found only a handful that might have been improved working from the raw files in Lightroom, Silkypix or Photo Ninja.

Fuji aims to flatter and please with the digital emulations of Provia, Velvia and Astia. Skin tones look great for folks of every skin color I've photographed the past month. The overall color balance is very slightly warm compared with the slightly cool bias of my Nikons.

The b&w emulation is reminiscent of Fuji's own Neopan, or virtually grainless films like Kodak's T-Max 100 and Ilford's XP2 Super C-41 process monochrome film. Don't look for the grit of Tri-X pushed in Rodinal. Fuji aims for a classic tonal range and conventional contrast. This is where a computer based raw converter or other supplemental editor comes in, whether you like Lightroom, DxO Filmpack or the Nik suite.

--In-camera raw converter. Along with the overall IQ, the in-camera raw converter greatly reduces any need for computer based raw converters. The camera quickly and easily handles a variety of color and b&w looks. Unless you need higher bit depth TIFFs to avoid posterizing in heavily saturated blue skies, sunsets or other brilliant colors that may be re-edited in post, the in-camera raw-to-JPEG converter should handle most scenarios.

Fuji's in-camera raw converter is so good, and so quick, I wish they'd issue it as a free computer-based option similar to Nikon's ViewNX2, which nicely emulates Nikon's in-camera raw-to-JPEG conversions, but adds the option to convert to TIFF and to try a few additional adjustments, while keeping the software quick and simple.

--Very good optics despite the plasticky feeling lens. It's sharp enough even wide open for most situations throughout the focal range. Distortion and chromatic aberration are generally well corrected.

--Stabilization works very well in the 16-50 kit zoom, comparable to any VR Nikkor I've tried in this price class. Really helps for folks who'd rather not lug a tripod.

--Full manual exposure control available.

--Tilt screen is very handy for horizontal/landscape orientation photos. When used at waist level or lower, it also helps with physically stabilizing the camera to minimize blur from camera shake.

--Scrolling through photos on the camera is incredibly quick, much quicker than my Nikon V1. I only wish Fuji would add the more sensible options of the Ricoh GRD4, which easily enables selecting groups or ranges of photos to be deleted.

--Battery life seems okay, but it's hard to be sure. I've been so enraptured by the in-camera raw conversion options that I tend to get only 100 or so photos per charge. But I'm burning up a lot of juice chimping and admiring the photos on the rear screen.

==Drawbacks, weaknesses, cons:==
--The single most infuriating quirk is the dreadful placement of the delete button on the top of the rear control paddle/cursor up key, sharing the same controller with the AF switch. This is right beneath the thumb rest area - ergonomically a disaster waiting to happen. What were Fuji thinking? Delete buttons should always be single purpose, recessed and well away from the normal range of motion of the thumb or forefinger. So far I haven't inadvertently deleted any important photos, but I'm keeping a copy of an image rescue utility handy.

--Laggy, stuttery screen in anything less than bright light. I'm spoiled by the Nikon V1's rear screen and EVF, which are nearly as good as looking through an optical viewfinder. The Fuji X-A1 never lets you forget you're looking *at* a view screen, rather than offering a transparent window on the world. But, to be fair, I grew accustomed to it within a month and find it less annoying than I did the first week.

--Some combinations of button presses are non-intuitive, particularly with in-camera raw conversions. It would be nice to be able to reassign buttons to suit the user's preferences. Or just copy Ricoh, which generally has the most sensible ergonomics.

--At 16mm uncorrected raw photos from the kit zoom show near-fisheye distortion. There's also some waveform/"mustache" distortion along the edges. Most of this is corrected internally with in-camera JPEGs, and by lens profiles in Lightroom, the supplied raw converter (a variation of Silkypix 3), Photo Ninja and other software. But even stopped down some edge and corner softness is unavoidable when correcting this much distortion.

--With the 16-50 kit zoom the camera feels a bit awkward overall. I'll probably add a stick-on Flipbac rubber finger grip, which greatly improved the handling of my Nikon V1. Folks who've used the 27/2.8 pancake prime say it's a better combination, especially for one-handed carry.

--Autofocus is adequately quick and responsive in good lighting but will struggle a bit in EV 5 or dimmer light (average household room lighting at night or dimmer). Face recognition and focus tracking are not quite a match for my Nikon V1.

--Focus peaking in manual focus mode is less useful than I'd anticipated, especially for deliberately composed low light photos. However it works best when combined with the Fn button to quickly lock focus, which the user can then adjust as needed. I find it handier for selective focusing in crowds than for twilight landscapes.

--While full manual exposure control is available it isn't intuitive, and isn't aided by the non-standard controls. The rear sub-command dial is less intuitive than a front mounted dial, for folks transitioning from a dSLR (or the well designed Ricoh GR, GRD or GX models). ISO adjustments require a trip through the menus or Q-menu.

--So-so flash. Balanced ambient light/auto flash isn't quite as consistent and satisfying as the Ricoh GRD4 or Nikon V1 with SB-N5 flash. No completely manual flash. And despite the height the pop-up flash is still partially blocked by the kit zoom's hood. But I got the X-A1 for available light so flash won't often be an issue. And it will work with my Nikon SB-800 flash on or off camera with the SC-29 cord, in non-TTL auto or manual modes.

--The shutter release button isn't quite as nice as the Nikon V1. The first stage takeup requires more effort and it's too easy to follow through to the second stage and trip the shutter. I'd rather have a lighter first stage takeup spring pressure on the X-A1, which is generally used for prefocusing and locking exposure (unless you choose other options via the menu).

--The rear screen is very good but not great. Resolution is very good but it's not quite as crisp and clear in daylight as Sony's outstanding White Magic screen (also available on the Ricoh GR and GRD4). However that White Magic screen is probably what contributed to the Ricoh GRD4's high price, and Fuji is aiming the X-A1 to take market share from the teensy sensor and bridge camera market.

--The strap lugs look and feel like cheap stamped metal. I'm not sure I'll be comfortable carrying this one-handed like I do my Nikon V1, via a wrist strap.

--The tripod socket probably shouldn't be subjected to very much stress, such as by supporting a long, heavy lens with the camera mounted on a tripod. And don't crank the tripod mount too tightly.

--As with many digital cameras, reds can be hypersaturated, even with global saturation reduced for in-camera JPEGs. For some photos of brilliant red flowers and fabrics I've had to pull back the red slider a bit in Lightroom. Fortunately the X-A1 JPEGs hold up well enough to these adjustments. This gamut problem may be confined to sRGB and not a problem with professional printing.

--The included raw conversion software on CD, a version of Silkypix 3, is adequate but feels awkward compared with Lightroom. Unfortunately Adobe didn't include native support for Fuji RAFs until version 5, so I'll need to either upgrade from LR4 or continue using Adobe's RAF-to-DNG converter. However, so far I've been very satisfied with the X-A1 JPEGs and don't expect to need to tweak many raw files. That makes the camera a real pleasure to use.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly a great camera, August 31, 2014
Fuji X-A1 Pros and Cons:


-Excellent image quality..uses the same Sony 16MP sensor as found in cameras like the Nikon D7000 and Pentax K-5
-Kit lens is very at every focal length
-You get a lens hood for the kit lens which is a rarity, especially at this price point
-Excellent color reproduction
-Excellent IS
-Great Battery Life
-Menu system fairly easy and intuitive
-Dual dials for adjusting settings
-Nice LCD screen
-Fairly well made despite being mostly plastic


-Camera feels out of balance and front-heavy even with the 16-50 kit lens
-Grip up front is too shallow
-Autofocus system sometimes fails to lock on in low light (but is otherwise satisfactory)
-Slow shot to shot times

I have not tested video so I won't rate the camera either way. I have not shot with any of the X-Trans Fuji cameras so I can't make a direct comparison between this camera and it's more expensive siblings. But if they are using an AA filter, it's a very weak one. While it will not win any speed tests and really needs to be held with two hands, this camera has some of the best image quality I have seen in a sub-$1000 cameras. It also comes with the best kit lens I have ever used, bar none. If you can tolerate the marginal performance and some of the ergonomics issues, this is a great camera for the money. I would really like to give the camera 4.5 stars instead of 4, but I will leave it at 4 due to the fact that its imperfections might annoy some folks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best low light performer among mirro-less format under $500., May 15, 2014
This review is from: Fujifilm X-A1 Kit with 16-50mm Lens (Black) (Electronics)
First off, I am an avid amateur photographer and I have gone through tons of camera systems last 15 years. Currently have Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony A7, and Fuji systems.

Fuji's jpeg engine and white balance performance is the best in the industry and this camera has the same engine like all other Fuji cameras. It has Sony CMOS sensor in stead of Fuji's own version but in reality you won't see much difference. Sony sensor actually performs better in low light. I had X-E1 for almost 2 years and sold it after I got this one.

The body goes about $300 used and there is no other cameras performing better in low light at that price. At ISO 6400 (some argues it is equivalent sensitivity of ISO4000 to 5000 in Canon or Nikon but I haven't verified), images maintain accurate colors, contrast too ISO6400 and noises kept to a degree where you can print out 13 by 19 easily.

AF speed is pretty decent and tad faster than X-E1. Fuji format is certainly slower than Olympus or Panasonic but none of these mirrorless formats can match SLR's tracking performance for sports event or kids running around. So general snapshots and landscape purpose, I am perfectly with its AF performance. Again, we are talking about $450 camera with lens bundle.

It has enough controls to control apertures, shutter speed, and others without having to go through menus in the screen. Again, among the best at this price range.

Others I can think at this price range is

1) Olympus E-PL5 (used): Olympus has better AF speed and touch screen but low light performance is 1-2 steps worse than Fuji. Also, Fuji has larger sensors than M4/3 formats so it works well for portraits when used with large aperture primes such as 35mm f1.4.

2) Its sibling X-M1: Exact same camera other than the sensor. I don't really care even if it is priced the same. X-A1 is probably $100-$150 cheaper.

3) all the Sony NEX formats: lack of good prime lenses and I personally don't like Sony colors that much.

Lastly, Fuji has best prime lens lineup. 18mm, 23mm, 27mm, 35mm, and now 56mm. They are not cheap but some of them are relatively affordable. All of these lenses are tack sharp wide open and renders great colors.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great camera with amazing low light performance, November 3, 2013
This review is from: Fujifilm X-A1 Kit with 16-50mm Lens (Black) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 0:45 Mins

I really like this camera for its convenience and controls. I love it for its low light performance and overall outstanding image quality.

The accompanying video provides a demonstration of low light performance. I'll describe the rest below.

I'm not going to go into details of what each button and know does as I'm pretty sure other reviews will cover that at length and am certain the information is readily available on line. However, I will tell you what I really like about them.

Exposure compensation - With the exception of Manual Mode (where you pick the shutter speed and aperture setting, one of the two adjustment knobs is always dedicated to exposure compensation. That is the adjustment I find myself making most often and it's handy to always have it in the same place.

Function access (Fn button) - I can easily change it on the fly. As with many cameras there's a "Fn" button that lets you get to a specific (and preselected, usually by some setup menu function) function quickly. For example, you might assign it to changing the ISO or focus mode. That's how it works here but there's the added convenience that if you hold it down for three seconds you get the list of possible assignments and you can pick something else without having to go through the setup menus.

Quick menu access (Q button) - There's another button that brings 16 of the most common menu choices to the display where they can be quickly and easily changed. Between this and the Fn button I haven't had any need to "go to the menus" in weeks.

The articulated display - The ability to angle the LCD display either upwards or downwards makes it easy for me to get shows that would have been difficult or impossible otherwise. By tilting it up I can get low angle shots properly framed without having to lie (lay?) in the muck. Same goes for high angle shots when combined with a monopod and the built in self timer.

The Nikon Fotodiox Lens Mount Adapter works perfectly with this camera and gives me access to any of my Nikon lenses. Also, I've been using the Fujifilm EF-20 Shoe Mount Flash and it's working out to be the perfect accessory. Compact, light, powerful, and engineered to work with this camera. It sync's at 1/250th of a second and provides lots more light than the built-in flash. As an aside, if you already have one on hand, the Sunpak RD2000N Nikon Camera Flash works with this camera except you have to work in manual and do some arithmetic along the way. (Just remember to set "Silent Mode" to off.)

I've also added an inexpensive, hot shoe mounted view finder. When used with preset manual focus I can take instantaneous shots which is great for kids at parties. (I can do the same without the additional finder and I just find it's quicker for me when I use it. A couple other things I added are a UV filter, take your pick (the Tiffen 58mm UV Protection Filter works just fine) and a Fotodiox 58mm Inner-pinch Lens Cap because the supplied lens cap doesn't hold to the UV filter as well as I would like.

One final, perhaps minor, point is that the supplied lens hood fits as well as any I've seen. It might even encourage people who don't normally use it to take it along.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good for most users!, November 17, 2013
This review is from: Fujifilm X-A1 Kit with 16-50mm Lens (Black) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Fuji X-A1 is a great little camera. It is not too heavy, and not too bulky. Smaller than a dslr, but pretty much all of the features. This seems very much like the Sony NEX's, except a little bigger. The images are crisp and colors are very accurate. I had a bit of problem with the flash, but it wasprobably something I did, as it only happened once. There are a few little annoyances, and I will get to them straight away. My first is that while you get a good image, don't think you willbe making poster sized prints if the the conditions are not ideal. The image size just seems to be so much smaller, and while it doesn't appear to be an issue when viewing, it certainly comes out when printing 11x14 or larger! Use RAW if you want to make really large prints. The outdoor shots in full daylight were acceptable, btw. The flash is also pretty weak, and you really should get a flash for the camera. The lense is basic, and really could have had a little bit more zoom to it, I think that would make a good starting point at this price point. Still, focusing was very fast. Please understand that these are not THAT major, but should all be noted. None of these are deal breakers though. Video is great, however, I found the focusing would sometimes go out if anything came into the frame, even slightly. Plenty of control in the camera for those who want it, and plenty of program modes for those who don't. Burst shots are great, and with a good card, like the Fuji Ultra Performance card, you will snap the 5.6/max with no problem (this is a good card, but I still prefer my Extremepro's). Macro photography with this lens is mediocore at best, and if that is what you want, you will have to look for a better lense. Also,don't plan on keeping the lenscover for very long as it comes off easily, and I have no doubt I will lose it in a month or so.The screen is really nifty. At first I thought it was a completely foolish design, and didn't see the need for its elaborate, origami-like positions....until I started to use it. What a pleasure! This madeit much easier to film my daughters play without disturbing the people around me or blocking their view! Nice job,Fuji. Start up time is IMPRESSIVE! It's fast, almost instant. The only time it hangs up is when it is on and sleeps, then it feels like it takes forever to come back. As for lag, it is really minimal, and using the burst mode, I don't think you will miss any action. Unfortunately, when the flash decides not to work, you will get some very bad blurred images. Note that the flash will not work in burst mode....but I wouldn't expect it to. As for battery life, it is fantastic. Video taping and photographing 3 different events that each lasted over an hour (not continuous use, but plenty of on and off and lots of images) plus viewing, and I still have plenty of charge left(75%)! I couldn'tbe happier,especially since I always feel that I have to buy a second battery. Keep in mind this battery is about the size of 6 sugar cubes and 1200mAh, min. Low light shots are not bad, and have relatively less noise than others, including the NEX (5). This really surprised me, as I wasn't expecting it. Built-in wifi is fun, but I don't know how much I will use it. I will update in a couple of months as I really start to get to know this camera.

If you are looking for a not so compact,compactish camera with most features of a DSLR, look no further. The X-A1 delivers what 80% of photographers need (and want). This set up and a nice telephoto lens will do the trick for just about anyone. One last little nitpick, the neck strap is aweful.It is uncomfortable, and they could have/should have done better. Again, this is not a deal breaker. :)This is a great little set up and worth considering.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent camera with 1 flaw. (maybe it was a defective lens), July 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fujifilm X-A1 Kit with 16-50mm Lens (Black) (Electronics)
Nice camera for the price. The swivel screen is a plus. I am a tall guy, so getting shots low to the ground are a little hard on my knees sometimes. This helped alot. Picture quality is excellent, build quality is ok. The lens feels a little cheap and plasticky but sturdy enough. I ended up returning it because the lens made a weird "click" just before the 50mm zoom range. Ive owned many lenses and never ran into that issue before. I own too many cameras already so i didnt ask for a replacement. But i would definitely recommend this camera to anyone looking for a decent SLR replacement or travel camera. Very small and easy to carry. I really liked it. Maybe i will give this camera another look if and when Fuji updates the model.
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