Fujifilm Canada lend me a X-A5 with the new kit zoom for three weeks for evaluation purposes. They never ask any questions on what I write, so this is my honest review of this new camera.
The X-A5 is an entry-level camera with a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, but it's not the X-Trans sensor that is used in the other models (X-T2, X-E3, X-Pro 2, X-H1 and X-T20). It comes with a new stabilized powerzoom: The Fujinon XC 15-45 f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ. It is light and sells for about 2/3 of the cost of the X-T20.
The screen tilt 180° upward which is helpful for selfies and vlogging. It is a touch screen and you can select your AF point by touching it, or use it to change some settings. You can't change the Q-Menu settings with the touch screen, but Fujifilm will probably add that in a software update. I found it hard to see the screen in bright sunlight. Since the X-A5 does not have a viewfinder, it's harder to use than the X-T20 in those conditions.
I missed the dials of the X-T20. You can't customize the controls either besides the Fn button. On the other hand, it is less intimidating for a beginner. Each button is clearly labeled, and it is easy to use for anyone. My boy picked it up and had no problems vlogging with it right away.
It is small but not too much. It feels nice in the hands. The build quality is good. I thought it would be a lot smaller than the X-T20, but the biggest difference is the viewfinder. It is 24g lighter, body only, or 95g lighter with the kit lenses. The Panasonic LX100 is still the best option for me if I want to bring a camera on my mountain running adventures.
the XC 15-45 is very light. It's all plastic with a plastic mount. The stabilization is average. I was not able to go slower than 1/15s and even at that speed, it was hit or miss. It is very sharp wide open at the shorter hand of the zoom, but not as good above 35mm. It is still good but not as much as at 15 to 25mm. It does not have any bad flare problems or chromatic aberrations.
It is a powerzoom which means that when you turn the dial, a motor controls the focal of the zoom. Some people may like that but I don't. It's slower to select the focal length than a traditional zoom, like the 16-50mm. On the other hand, it could be useful if you want to put the camera somewhere and control the zoom with the phone app... but at the moment, you can't control the powerzoom with the app. The minimum focus distance is small, which is nice for food photography.
Autofocus and other things
The autofocus is accurate but noticeably slower than on the X-T20. I was wondering if it was the new kit lens that was slower but i tested it with the Fujinon 50mm f/2 and the difference was clear. The continuous AF works good in video mode as long as you are not against the sun.
There are many selfie options in self-timer mode. You can set it to take a picture when the person smiles or when you and a friend are in the picture. There is a group mode that you can set to 3, 4 or 5 people and the camera takes the photo when all the peoples are in the frame. The face recognition had difficulties when I was wearing my glasses.
You have the standard color profiles (Chrome, Provia, Astia, Pro Neg.), but no Acros or Eterna. I'm surprised that Acros is missing since this is a new camera from 2018.
The video quality is good in 1080p, and you get up to 60 fps. Even though they talk about 4k video in the specs, I don't consider it an option on the X-A5 since it's maxed out at 15fps. It could be used to get a frame grab but not a usable video.
Would I buy it?
Yes and no. I would not buy it for myself. The size difference is not big enough between the X-T20 and X-A5 to make it more pocketable. I find the lack of control dials and customizable buttons too restrictive for myself. I could see it as a good option for my boy though. It's easy to use and the flip screen would be a nice option for him. Even though the price is interesting, I would save the money to get an X-T20, or I would buy a used X-E2 for less than 400$. It is a good option for a beginner photographer that wants to dive into the Fuji ecosystem. It gives you access to all the awesome Fuji lenses.
Here is a video review in French.