As any regular readers will know, photography is a huge part of my life, and not just the blogging side of it – I love experimenting with my DSLR’s settings, as well as playing with my iPhone 6 to try and capture the best shots I can when I’m on the go. Unfortunately, while my trusty iPhone6 is good when the sun is out it does fall short when I’m low on light, or trying to create photographs with a bit more substance.
Naturally a lot of my efforts involve taking portraits of my son, ideally with a focus on the eyes and a lovely smooth bokeh in the background (bokeh is a term for a blurry background for anyone who doesn’t know). I also want photographs that are good enough to print for my photo albums or to put on the wall, and usually my smartphone photos don’t make the cut. Plus, as a travel blogger, I need something reliable that takes good landscape photos and can deal with different types of light and moving subjects. Now, my DSLR does all that and more besides, but it is quite cumbersome, and I usually only take it out when I know I’m planning to get some photography – it’s not something I can take everywhere easily.
So this is where the Fujifilm X-A3 comes in. I’ve been trying out this newly released, compact and lightweight camera for the last few weeks in a range of different situations to see how it compares with my smartphone – could this be the perfect alternative to lugging my bulky DSLR around all the time?
I think the camera is perfect both for those wanting to upgrade their smartphone photography, but not ready to make the jump to a full DSLR, and also for people who want a nifty alternative to carrying a big camera around, but want a (much) higher quality than smartphone photos normally deliver.
The Fujifilm X-A3 is a very light, mirrorless camera, jam-packed with funky filters and effects, 24.3 megapixels for an extra sharp image ready to be printed. It has a 180 tilt-screen that allows you to take the perfect selfie, a USB charging cable (!), and to top it all off, it comes in a variety of colours that contribute to its vintage look beautifully. Oh, and let’s not forget the inbuilt wi-fi connectivity, helping you upload that great shot or video to Instagram straight away.
What’s inside the box: The Fujifilm X-A3 comes with the camera body, a 50mm lens, a battery pack and USB charger, and the strap – I found the setup to be very user-friendly and it took me less than 2 minutes to set up.
Why I love it
Portability – The camera is surprisingly light, and with its USB charger it makes for the perfect travel camera. You can easily slot it into your handbag, and it’s also seriously stylish, with a magnificent vintage look. Although it’s lightweight, it feels solid enough to put in my bag without its own case.
Ease of use – I loved the SR+mode io the camera. This auto mode can spot what kind of photo you’re taking and adjust the settings to match the results; for example, it knows if it’s a portrait or a flower shot and automatically fixes all your settings to ensure you get that sharp focus and soft bokeh in the background. A great feature for busy parents trying to capture those elusive family moments, or if you’re a blogger like me, this function makes restaurant reviews and press trips a doddle!
Versatility – The camera comes with the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II kit lens, which is on its own a great base lens, but if you want to expand on your photo skills you’ll be able to upgrade to a variety of pro lenses.
Shoot in raw – I enjoy the flexibility of editing my photos in Lightroom and Photoshop, but because my iPhone photos aren’t raw files, the edits are never that great. The Fujifilm X-A3 lets you shoot in Raw mode, which gives you a lot more flexibility to fix any light balances, image contrast, etc either in-camera, or later on using photography software.
Film Effects – I do like the camera’s various film effects. I’m not one to go for strong filters as a rule, so these give me the vintage film feel I want from my photos, without making them look fake. It’s also brilliant if you’re looking to upload straight to Instagram as you can easily keep your feed’s style consistent using these filters. From the film settings to the more fun fish-eye effect this camera is one to enjoy playing around with.
HD Video – We love taking little videos of our family outings and holidays, and I feel the Fujifilm will seriously improve our efforts. I will play a bit more with the video feature and show you the results in my next post.
Wifi – This is a big win for me. The ability to upload my photos online without any leads or fuss is a game-changer. Not only can you share your fresh pics with family and friends in a flash, but it’s also great to automatically create a backup of your photos!
Panoramic Shot – I love this feature! I can never make it work properly on my phone, but with the Fujifilm X-A3 it was a piece of cake!
Touch-screen – I’m not usually one to go mad about a touch screen, but I found it made the camera super-easy to navigate. The 3″ screen has a pinch and scroll like an iPhone, and you can touch and shoot, which was brilliant for my five-year-old son who loves playing with my cameras too.
Selfie / Tilt screen – The tilt screen gives you a chance to really capture the perfect selfie. Once the screen is tilted completely, the display will switch automatically, as well as recognise faces and adjust focus and depth of field, giving you a great selfie tool. The function will also retain the camera’s full resolution (unlike the iPhone front camera), which means you can wave goodbye to those hazy and blurry selfies.
Things I don’t love about it
Too many options? I have to say that for a camera that aims to be a simple alternative to the smartphone, the myriad settings and combinations can be a little overwhelming at first, though fun to try out. Having said that, the instructions guide is very user-friendly and explains what everything is clearly. Also worth noting is that Jessops offer a free training session when you purchase this camera, so you can be confident you’ll be using all its features to their best abilities.
Verdict – pretty great! The Fujifilm X-A3 makes a great transition camera from a smartphone, giving you a fun intro to more complex settings and adjustments while still capturing fantastic, high-quality photographs. It’s also ideal for those who do have a DSLR that they don’t find convenient to use often, but want more than an iPhone result.
It does take some time to get to grips with all the settings, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll end up relying on a couple that you know you love anyway. After a few weeks of playing with it, I’m already sold on the Astia Soft film setting, and SR+ for when I have a changing subject.
It’s definitely an attractive and very light piece of kit, perfect for family holidays and days out. Being able to charge the camera with just a USB cable is a massive plus for me, as is the wi-fi feature. The kids will love the endless effects, while you come home with a high-quality selection of photos that you can print at a later stage (or if you’re lucky, instantly with the Instax SHARE printer!). It is a fairly pricey camera at just over £500, but if you can afford it then I do think it’s a good investment to move up from your phone.
Have a look at examples of the great photos I’ve taken Fujifilm X-A3 camera.
The Fujifilm X-A3 is available exclusively at Jessops and retails for £549.
I was provided with an X-A3 camera to try and keep, and I am working with Fujifilm in a paid relationship. However as always, all opinions are entirely my own.