Fujifilm X-A1 review
23.6x15.6mm 16.0-megapixel sensor, 3.1x zoom (24-76mm equivalent), 530g
Compact system cameras (CSCs) have reached new heights of sophistication and refinement this year. While it's nice to be spoiled for choice, it also makes the choice much harder. With the X-M1, Fujifilm raised the bar for image quality, with exceptionally sharp details and low noise from its innovative X-Trans sensor. Its nippy performance, superb controls, Wi-Fi and elegant appearance with a hint of retro chic didn't hurt its chances, either. However, with a price just shy of £700, it's more expensive than other cameras with similar features, such as the Sony NEX-5R (and the practically identical NEX-5T which simply adds NFC to the its already strong list of features).
The Fujifilm X-A1 tucks in below the X-M1 to form the new entry-level model in the X Mount line-up. From the outside the two cameras are almost indistinguishable. Other than the inscription on the front, the only difference we can spot is the texture to the front of the camera body. Wi-Fi is built in for wireless transfers to Android and iOS devices, but there's no remote control function.
Both cameras use the same articulated LCD screen and the same controls. There's a dedicated mode dial and dual command dials for direct access to shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation, depending on the selected mode. The Fn button is customisable and makes for a useful ISO speed control.
There are labelled buttons on the back for autofocus area, white balance, macro focus and drive mode. Pressing the Q button reveals 15 icons on the screen for quick access to everything from autofocus mode to film simulation presets and even LCD brightness. It's arguably the most elegant and efficient control system on a CSC.