Fujifilm X-A2 Review - The X-A2 adopts classic rangefinder styling and presents some subtle improvements over the X-A1. Is this enough to make it stand out as one of the best options in a saturated entry-level market?
Fujifilm X-A2 Review – Features
Before delving too deeply into the features, it should be noted that the X-A2 shares many similarities with its two-year old predecessor. Most significant of these is its 16.3-million-pixel APS-C size CMOS imaging sensor that’s the same chip adopted from the X-A1 and is the standard RGBG Bayer filter sensor variety as opposed to the proprietary X-Trans sensor as typically found in models higher up in Fujifilm’s range. A likely reason for using the Bayer colour filter array, although not confirmed by Fujifilm, is to ensure the camera hits the market at competitive yet affordable price.
Getting back to the sensor in question, it’s partnered alongside Fujifilm’s EXR processor II that’s also retained from the X-A1. This combination of sensor and processor gives the new camera the same native ISO range of 200-6400 and though we’re given the option to expand the sensitivity between 100-25,600, the X-A2 is only able to record Raw files between ISO 200-6400, with the expanded settings only being available to use when the image quality is set to JPEG.
While on paper the X-A2’s contrast-detect autofocus system appears to be the same, there are a few changes to the X-A2’s autofocus functions. The new Auto Macro function is designed to detect when you’re shooting close ups and automatically switches the camera to its macro mode to save you having to do this manually. Flipping the newly designed 3in, 920,000-dot tilt-type screen at the rear (not the touchscreen type) into its selfie position also engages the X-A2’s new Multi-Target AF and Eye Auto Focus functions that not only outline the subject’s face in a face-detection box, but also indicates the location of the eye on which the camera aims to focus.
As we’ve seen on other recent Fujifilm releases, the X-A2 also adds Classic Chrome to its film simulation function to bring the total number of film simulation modes up to six. Other noteworthy improvements to the camera include an improvement in battery life (up from 350 frames on a single charge to 450 frames) and the introduction of a new kit lens. Pairing nicely with the X-A2, the XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II remains relatively unchanged from the previous design, offering optical stabilisation that’s corrective to 3.5EV, whilst being able to focus within 15cm of a subject is an improvement on the previous kit lens’s 30cm minimum focus distance. This of course ties in rather well with the camera’s new Auto Macro function as previously mentioned above.
Other similarities between the X-A2 and its predecessor are its 256-zone TTL Multi metering system, built-in pop up flash and +/-2EV exposure compensation control that can be adjusted in 1/3EV steps. The shutter speed range of 30secs-1/4000sec remains unchanged as does the X-A2’s video capabilities – recording movie clips at 30 frames per second in the .MOV format.
In similar fashion to the X-A1, the X-A2 is also Wi-fi equipped, making it possible to share images wirelessly with any iOS or Android mobile device running Fujifilm’s free Camera Application app. Out of the changes that have been made to the X-A2, the new tilt-type screen is likely to be the biggest hit with the camera’s core audience, however of more interest to serious photographers will be the options available in the main menu, particularly Fuji’s unique Film Simulation settings, which accurately mimic the classic tones of Fuji’s Provia, Velvia and Astia colour films, as well as black and white and the new classic chrome mode that imitates the look of Kodachrome.
The X-A2 also offers Dynamic range compensation that allows you to expand the dynamic range in the shadows and highlights before detail begins to clip, whilst in-camera raw conversions are possible too, allowing adjustments to be made to white balance, sharpness, noise reduction as well as highlight and shadow tone before returning home to your computer.