Cameras are tricky things to review, because you need to take a picture of the thing, and it seems a bit disloyal to take a picture with another camera….
Before we get to the tricky piccy bit, let’s talk about the Fuji XA-2.
First impressions are good – it is a decent size – big enough so the buttons aren’t tiny, not so big you risk walking lop-sided while carrying it! Out of the box it sets up nicely, especially if the battery has some juice, which this one did. This was a loaner, so while it wasn’t scratched or bashed, it also obviously wasn’t brand spanking new.
It’s a mirrorless camera, so not a DSLR, which makes it smaller and lighter, and gives you decent video capability. Yes, I know some DSLRs do video, but in my experience they don’t do it terribly well, and they’re still generally heavier.
There are a couple of tiny niggles, which I’m putting here, not to discourage you from the camera but just in case anyone at FUJI reads this.
- The battery door has a slide switch but isn’t sprung, so you open it, take the battery out, close the door and it flops open again. You have to close it and latch it. This is much more annoying over time than you think.
- The battery charger goes green when it’s charging. Every other one we’ve ever owned has been red while charging and green when it’s done.
- The flash and lcd supports *look* a bit industrial but seem sturdy enough.
- There are fiddly bits in the menus but this forum will help you if you have an issue.
Yeah, that’s ALL I could come up with in the negative column.
The Fuji XA-2 is a really good camera.
This is the one you should ditch your iPhone for when you’re out and about, or set up in your home studio for product shots/vlogging.
The vlogging thing is really why I wanted to try it. The forward facing screen means you can check your framing WHILE YOU’RE DOING THE VIDEO!!!! It’s like having your own monitor while videoing. You won’t have to do something again because it was slightly off-centre* or your hands got in the way. You can see what you’re taking while you’re taking it, which I think is a huge selling point.
*completely out of frame
Here is a really ****py video I made on the Fuji XA-2 to show one or two things
1) it’s pretty much idiot-proof
2) if you have a tripod and set it up, there’s really no excuse for dodgy video framing
3) the face recognition works well, even with an iPhone in the way
4) the microphone does work, but as an on-board one it might benefit from some help, but then there was..an…iPhone – you get it, right?
5) the quality is, I think, ace.
You can probably tell I didn’t take too long setting this up, but the XA-2 coped really well with a backlit subject, held the focus on me well (just standard AF mode) and produced a pretty decent video. In the hands of a proper vlogger, I am confident the results would be very impressive indeed.
The interchangeable lenses make this a very versatile video operator. This one came with the standard 16-50mm lens which is a good all-round performer, but there are longer focal length options too. An initial search suggests just one more lense would give you coverage from 16mm – 230mm, which makes this a fairly compact kit to take round with you.
Fuji talk about the screen being perfect for selfies with face recognition in the auto-focus, so you can hold the camera, check the picture and take without worrying about the autofocus. It feels a bit big for selfies to be honest, but that could just be newness.
I think the Fuji XA-2 could be the perfect holiday camera with its interchangeable lenses (like a pro camera) and selfie modes. Mrs B was really impressed with the picture quality when we were out and about last Wednesday.
This was taken around 8:45 on Wed 1/7 so mid/late evening in high summer but the detail and light range is impressive – the detail on the launch in the foreground has been retained well despite the strong light source in the reflected setting sun.
In a time when people use their phones more and more for snaps, this is a more capable, extensible, serious camera, and with the near 180 degree screen, it has potential to really carve out a vlogging niche.
It also has quite a pleasant retro styling from the front, with all the new-fangled stuff hidden behind the lens.
Talking of the modern stuff, the range of options in the software is pretty impressive.
Aperture and shutter priority, as well as full manual; soft focus; multiple exposure; several shooting modes and Advanced options for producing greyed out shots with just one colour showing, such as this yellow-filter pic (a normal pic is shown for contrast) of @cabface’s artwork, proudly hung on our wall.
Oh and it has Wi-fi (I needed to head to the forum to get that to work, but it does work) which means you can download pics from the camera to another device without having to fiddle with memory cards and card readers. I can never find that damn card reader when I need it, but maybe that’s just me.
Overall, this is a camera that could tick a lot of boxes for a lot of people. If you are looking for a video camera, this is something that could become your only camera. If you’re looking for a versatile, nicely-styled stills camera that packs a lot into a small package, this could be for you too.
It’s not a cheap option, retailing around £400, but I think you get what you pay for and this camera stands up pretty well against its price tag. And don’t forget tech moves very fast these days – this will not be a bad camera in 3 years’ time.