Fujifilm X-A5 review

The Fujifilm X-A5 is an entry-level mirrorless camera with no viewfinder – but it's still impressive

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Our Verdict

Even with its new, compact 15-45mm power-zoom lens, the X-A5 is still bigger than some compact mirrorless rivals, and the autofocus is not quite the fastest either. But the quality of its images and its colour and tonal reproduction is first-rate – and despite having lens-only stabilisation, not in-body stabilisation, it gets sharp shots time after time, in all sorts of conditions.

For

  • • Sharp, top-quality images
  • • Great colour and tonal reproduction

Against

  • • Bigger and heavier than rivals
  • • Autofocus could be faster

The Fujifilm X-A5 is aimed at a very different market to their high-end X-mount cameras. 

With simplified, user-friendly controls, a compact body and kit lens combination, and an affordable price tag, it’s aimed at smartphone upgraders choosing their first interchangeable-lens camera.

It doesn’t have a viewfinder, but what it does have is a new compact 15-45mm retracting power zoom kit lens to help make the X-A5 the kind of camera you can carry anywhere.

Inside is a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, and there’s a 4K video mode too, although this is restricted to just 15fps. You also get a touch-sensitive rear screen that flips through 180 degrees for quick and simple selfies.

The best Fujifilm lenses in 2018 

front view of the Fujifilm X-A5 camera

Fujifilm’s new 15-45mm kit lens offers a wider than usual angle of view, and a power zoom mechanism that retracts to save space.

Build and handling

The X-A5 looks smart and stylish and comes in a choice of black, brown and pink bodies. The control layout hasn’t changed much from previous X-A models: it features a mode dial and a control dial on the top plate and four-way navigational buttons on the rear, supplemented by a Q (Quick menu) button and a further small, ‘clickable’ control wheel next to the thumbrest.

The touchscreen display is not used for settings changes, but is used for touch focus and touch shooting options, both of which are quick, simple and effective. It’s a bit trickier to balance the camera for selfies than it is with a smartphone, particularly one-handed, but you’d expect that.

back view of the Fujifilm X-A5

There is a second control wheel on the back of the camera, handily placed just above the thumbrest. The touchscreen display flips up for low-angle shots and through a full 180° for selfies.

Performance

Testing the new 15-45mm lens on Fujifilm’s original X-A1 model revealed that the X-A5’s autofocus is faster, but not by much. The new Olympus E-PL9, for example, is faster. 

The new power-zoom kit lens produces great image quality, but the electrically-operated zoom feels a little vague and unresponsive. It does have a stabilisation mechanism, though, and in our tests the AF system and stabiliser between them produced a really high hit rate of sharp images in a wide variety of shooting conditions. 

The sensor might be just a regular CMOS type, but it enables the X-A5 to produce shots of terrific image quality, with good dynamic range and great colours.

Top view of the Fujifilm X-A5

The top plate layout is straightforward, with a big, clearly labelled mode dial and a control dial alongside.

Lab tests

Yellow - Fujifilm X-A5
Blue - Canon EOS M50
Green - Olympus E-PL9
Red - Panasonic GX9

Colour error

The Fujifilm X-A5 beats its main rivals by a small margin for colour error, though the results will depend on your choice of Film Simulation mode.

Yellow - Fujifilm X-A5
Blue - Canon EOS M50
Green - Olympus E-PL9
Red - Panasonic GX9

RAW signal-to-noise ratio

The Fujifilm, Canon and Olympus cameras are all very close here, yielding similar levels of noise at each ISO setting. The Panasonic is a clear step ahead, though.

Yellow - Fujifilm X-A5
Blue - Canon EOS M50
Green - Olympus E-PL9
Red - Panasonic GX9

RAW dynamic range

Interestingly, it’s the two MFT cameras that take the lead here. Out of the other two, the X-A5 does beat the dynamic range of the Canon by some margin.

Verdict

Even with its new, compact 15-45mm power-zoom lens, the X-A5 is still bigger than some compact mirrorless rivals, and the autofocus is not quite the fastest either. But the quality of its images and its colour and tonal reproduction is first-rate – and despite having lens-only stabilisation, not in-body stabilisation, it gets sharp shots time after time, in all sorts of conditions. 

Specifications

  • Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS, 23.5x15.7mm
  • Image processor: Not quoted
  • AF points: 91-point hybrid phase-detection/contrast AF
  • ISO range: 200-12,800 (exp 100-51,200)
  • Max image size: 6,000x4,000px
  • Metering zones: 256
  • Video: 4K UHD at 15p
  • Viewfinder: No
  • Memory card: 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I)
  • LCD: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,040k dots
  • Max burst: 6fps
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • Size: 117x68x40mm
  • Weight: 361g (with battery and memory card)

Buying guide: 

The best Fujifilm lenses in 2018 

Best Fujifilm cameras in 2018