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Fujifilm X-A1 Compact System Camera Review

The Fujifilm X-A1 is Fujifilm's entry level mirrorless camera and features a 16 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor.

| Fujifilm X-A1 in Mirrorless Cameras

Fujifilm X-A1 Compact System Camera Review: Fujifilm X A1 (4)

The Fujifilm X-A1 is the entry level mirrorless camera in the Fujifilm X series, designed to provide high image quality whilst being easy to use and is the most affordable mirrorless camera from Fujifilm, available for £499 with 16-50mm OIS kit lens. 

Fujifilm X-A1 Features

Fujifilm X-A1 Compact System Camera Review: Fujifilm X A1 (5)

The heart of the camera is the sensor, and for other Fujifilm X series compact system cameras, such as the X-Pro1, X-E1, and X-M1, the sensor features the unique X-Trans CMOS sensor with a Fujifilm arrangement of the colour filter array. Fujifilm developed this to provide better colour and low light performance, as well as higher detail due to the removal of the anti-aliasing filter.

The X-A1 instead uses a standard APS-C CMOS sensor with the more standard Bayer filter, allowing the price to be lower, but what affect this will have on image quality, such as colour performance, low light performance, and level of detail is what we plan to find out in this review. The camera is virtually identical in specification to the Fujifilm X-M1, and features a tilting 3 inch screen, built in pop-up flash, manual controls, Wi-Fi connectivity and the same ISO range.

Fujifilm X-A1 Compact System Camera Review: Fujifilm X A1 (10)

Key Features

  • 16.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 3inch tilting LCD, 920K dots
  • Built in flash with Fujifilm’s Super i-Flash technology
  • ISO200-6400, and extended range of ISO100 to 25600
  • Full HD Video recording at 30fps, with stereo sound
  • Art filters: 8 Advanced Filters plus 5 Film Simulation modes
  • In-camera RAW processing
  • Q button for list view of frequently-used menus and smooth configuration
  • Wireless image transfer to smart phones and tablet PCs via Fujifilm Camera app
  • PC Autosave Wi-Fi connectivity to PCs (for easy image backup)
  • The X-A1 camera is available in three colours: Black, Blue and Red

Fujifilm X-A1 Handling

Fujifilm X-A1 Compact System Camera Review: Fujifilm X A1 (7)

Like the X-M1, the camera feels well built with good build quality even though the camera is mostly constructed of plastic, with some metal parts used in the pop up flash and tilting screen mechanisms. The textured front grip gives a decent area for your hand to hold, and on the back is a raised plastic area for your thumb although unfortunately it is not rubberised.

The 16-50mm OIS lens doesn't feature an aperture ring around the lens, and the lens mount is made of plastic, compared to the more standard metal mount found on other X series lenses. Whilst the camera body is quite small and lightweight, some of the X mount lenses are quite large due to the APS-C sensor, and the Fujinon XF 55-200mm lens is particularly large on this compact body.

Fujifilm X-A1 Compact System Camera Review: Fujifilm X A1 (14)

The top Fn / function button can be customised, and also doubles as the Wi-Fi button in playback mode. Also on top is a control wheel, which is on the corner of the camera body, this defaults to exposure compensation in P mode, and is quite easy to accidentally move. A second control wheel can be found where your thumb rests, you can press this in playback mode to instantly zoom into a photo. Using Wi-Fi to transfer images to a smartphone is quite straightforward, however the app doesn't feature a remote control feature.

Fujifilm X-A1 Compact System Camera Review: Fujifilm X A1 (12)

The menu system has the photo and setup options neatly separated over a number of screens, with each section colour coded. There is an additional control panel accessible using the Q button on the back, which is used in combination with the 4-way controller and scroll wheel. This makes it easy and quick to set options, without having to dive into the menus options.

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 350 shots according to Fujifilm / CIPA test results.

Fujifilm X-A1 Compact System Camera Review: Fujifilm X A1 (15)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Fujifilm X-A1
Shutter Response 0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.45
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.2*
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.8
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.7
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
5fps (68 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 5fps (11 shots)

*Tested with Quick start mode on. Shutter response is excellent, and the camera has a quick continuous shooting mode, as well as quick shot to shot time. It's also possible to shoot a large number of JPEG images before slowdown. 

Fujifilm X-A1 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Fujifilm X-A1 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The camera produces images with excellent colour and good exposure. Photos taken with the built in flash show no red-eye, however we found it was easy to accidentally change exposure compensation due to the placement of the control wheel.

Fujifilm X-A1 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Using the 16-50mm OIS lens, the closest focus is 40cm which means that the lens isn't ideal for close-up photos or macro use. Detail and resolution in the centre is very good, with good detail to the edges. The lens appears to be quite resistant to flare thanks to provided hood. Barrel or pincushion distortion is low enough not to cause issues in the photos we took, and purple fringing or chromatic aberration was low. Unfortunately the focus occasionally struggled indoors in low light.

Fujifilm X-A1 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - ISO performance is impressive up to ISO3200 and even ISO6400 where images show low levels of noise and retain good levels of detail. At ISO12800 noise increases and detail drops, and noise increases again at ISO25600. ISO100, ISO12800 and ISO25600 aren't available if shooting RAW or JPEG+RAW, instead these are only available when shooting JPEG. The camera delivers impressive performance, and smoother results than the X-Trans CMOS sensor used in the X-M1, with excellent levels of detail.

Fujifilm X-A1 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs reasonably well under incandescent lighting with the incandescent preset giving a slightly less warm result. Auto white balance performs very well under fluorescent lighting, with the presets working well when adjusted.

Fujifilm X-A1 Outdoor images

Dynamic range can be extended using DR100, 200 and 400, and this does a very good job of expanding dynamic range and stops the sky from being over-exposed in these shots, although this does increase the ISO setting up to ISO800.

Fujifilm X-A1 Digital filters

Digital Filters - Under the "Advanced Filter" mode dial position, there are a number of digital filters with examples shown above, although unfortunately raw is not available. You can also access the multi-exposure mode here. There is no built in HDR mode, although you can use AEB shooting. There are a number of film simulation modes, with the famous Fujifilm film types including: Provia (Standard), Velvia (Vivid), Astia (soft), B&W, and Sepia. You can also adjust colour, sharpness, highlight tone, shadow tone, and noise reduction settings individually.

There is no built in panoramic mode, which seems a strange omission as the X-E1 and X-Pro1 both feature this.

Video - The camera records good quality video at full HD with stereo sound and 30fps. Film simulation options are available. Continuous focus can appear quite slow, particularly with low-contrast subjects.

Value For Money

The Fujifilm X-A1 is available for £499 with 16-50mm lens, which makes it very good value for money considering the X-M1 with kit lens is around £650 with 16-50mm kit lens. Alternatives to consider include the following cameras:

Olympus PEN E-PL5, with touchscreen, £449 with lens.
Panasonic Lumix GF6, with Wi-Fi, touchscreen, £369 with lens.
Samsung NX300, with Wi-Fi, touchscreen, £510 with lens.
Sony NEX-6, with Wi-Fi, EVF, £585 with lens.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Fujifilm X-A1 Verdict

The 16-50mm OIS kit lens, despite being a kit lens, delivers excellent image quality with a useful wide-angle to telephoto zoom range and includes a good sized lens hood. The combination of this lens and the compact body makes for a compelling package, with the added bonus of a good 3inch tilting screen and built in Wi-Fi connectivity. For those that want a more traditional feeling camera, as well as a built in viewfinder, you would be best looking at the X-E1, however for the price, the X-A1 delivers excellent results with good controls and layout.

The X-A1 is the most affordable Fujifilm X series CSC available yet, and despite using a "standard" APS-C CMOS sensor, delivers impressive image quality, with low noise right up to ISO3200 and ISO6400 while retaining good levels of detail. Some may even find the results from this camera preferable to the results from the more expensive X-M1. With the introduction of the X-A1, Fujifilm also introduced a number of more affordable lenses, making the Fujifilm X series a much more compelling system. With impressive image quality and a camera packed with features, we would highly recommend the Fujifilm X-A1.

Fujifilm X-A1 Compact System Camera Review:
  The Fujifilm X-A1 delivers impressive image quality, all for an excellent price and comes with a great kit lens.

Fujifilm X-A1 Pros

Excellent 16-50mm OIS kit lens
Very good value for money
Excellent noise performance
Excellent colour reproduction
Impressive detail and resolution
Dynamic range expansion works well
3inch tilting screen
Wi-Fi connectivity
Printed manual
Compact body

Fujifilm X-A1 Cons

Lacks panoramic mode
Lacks HDR shooting
Advanced filters don't save raw files
Wi-Fi doesn't allow remote operation


Fujifilm X-A1 Specifications

Image Sensor
Pixels16.3Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4896
Pixels (H)3264
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.6mm
Sensor Size (height)15.6mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 1:1
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution920k
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Cloudy
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
MagnificationNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting5.6fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)350shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsLi-ion Battery NP-W126, Battery Charger BC-W126, Shoulder strap, Body cap, CD-ROM (Viewer software, RAW File Converter etc.), Owner's manual

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Photographs taken using the Fujifilm X-A1

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kodachrome 11 789
2 Oct 2013 3:36PM
Fuji never ceases to amaze me with their designs and innovations, not to mention their superb sensor technology. If only this camera had some sort of eye level view finder it would be the sale of the century. A plug in EVF would probably work or even a little optical finder like the X10/20, it would make this camera complete, well, at least for me.
Fuji are certainly carving out for themselves a fantastic range of 'X' cameras that are becoming very popular with the enthusiast. They already hold the title for the best Jpegs in the business, once held by Olympus and that alone will sell this camera.
CatMouse 19 115 Russian Federation
3 Oct 2013 6:55AM
Hm... A1? Well, we have already M1, Pro1, E1, A1,.....Z1 Who is next? We will be waiting for A2, ..., Z2?
No more! Where is a REALLY GREAT cameras, like S2Pro - S3Pro - S5Pro? !
AlexandraSD 11 773 United Kingdom
5 Jan 2014 4:57PM
No touch screen? Thats a bummer really, and no remote control through the app either, i know the price reflects the spec, but these are becomming standard now!
Just Jas Plus
21 26.4k 1 England
2 Jun 2014 11:20AM
So you want more for a less expensive model> Hmmm.......
24 Nov 2014 12:15PM
I had the Canon EOS-M for a while and could not live with the touch screen (for me a "bridge too far"), so sold it and bought the Fuji X-A1, whilst I agree that an eye-level view finder would make this camera almost perfect, I love it. The combination of light weight, excellent images from combination of the "standard" CMOS chip and the quality kit lens, and not forgetting the free tele zoom from Fuji make this my camera of choice when walking. (The Sony DSLR stays at home).

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