After an exciting year during which Fujifilm has updated its two top-tier cameras, the company is now focusing its attention on the entry-level X-A-series. The new X-A3 mirrorless camera succeeds last year’s X-A2, and sees a bump in imaging and handling capabilities. Announced alongside this new compact and connected model is the equally sleek XF 23mm f/2 R WR lens. Similar to the release of the 35mm f/2, this new 23mm lens offers a slimmed-down, lighter-weight alternative to the well-liked 23mm f/1.4 lens, making it ideal for travel and everyday shooting.
Improving upon last year’s model, the most notable update in the X-A3 is the newly developed, higher-resolution 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, which works to realize a broad native sensitivity range from ISO 200-6400 that can be further expanded to ISO 25600 to suit working in difficult lighting conditions. A new electronic shutter function is also featured to permit working with shutter speeds up to 1/32,000-second to suit shooting in bright, daylight conditions with wider aperture settings. In addition to stills, the updated sensor design also avails improved Full HD 1080p movie recording up to 60p, as well as quickened overall camera performance. In regard to focusing performance, a total of 77 AF areas are available in Zone and Wide focusing modes, or up to 49 selectable areas when working in Single Point mode for more precise control. If working in manual focus, Focus Peaking colors can now be chosen, too, to suit working with various subjects or under different lighting conditions.
The X-A3’s physical design is very much “selfie oriented,” and incorporates a rear 3.0" 920k-dot LCD touchscreen that features an 180° upward “slide-and-tilt” mechanism that prevents the camera body from blocking the screen, to provide full 100% framing accuracy when making front-facing shots. This screen pairs with sophisticated Eye Detection AF, for accurate focusing on facial details, and a Portrait Enhancer mode for brightening skin tones optionally to craft well-composed and well-exposed self-portraits. A new self-timer function also has Smile Detection, Buddy Timer, and Group Timer modes to automatically release the shutter.
The retro-inspired profile of the camera body, which is made from aluminum alloy and fitted with a leatherette wrap, also features a redesigned ergonomic grip for greater stability, and a vertical control dial for easier settings switching. As with previous X-series cameras, 11 different Film Simulation modes are included for simulating the look of classic Fujifilm film types, and Advanced Filters are also featured for creative effects in-camera. Of course, the X-A3 also has built-in Wi-Fi to enable wireless remote control shooting and image sharing to linked smartphones and tablets or even printing with an instax Share Printer.
Announced alongside the new mirrorless camera is a compact and versatile prime lens, the XF 23mm f/2 R WR. Along the lines of last year’s popular 35mm f/2 release, this new 23mm f/2 serves as an alternative to the XF 23mm f/1.4 R, and prioritizes weight and size over speed. As a 35mm equivalent lens, it serves as an ideal general wide-angle prime, suitable for everyday shooting. Its optical design incorporates a pair of aspherical elements to reduce spherical aberrations to produce notable sharpness and clarity from edge to edge, and a Super Electron Beam Coating has also been applied to reduce flare and ghosting. An internal focusing design with a stepping motor AF system maintains the overall short lens length during operation and also contributes to quick focusing speeds down to 0.05 of a second when paired with an X-T2 or X-Pro2. The physical construction also sports a freeze-proof and weather-resistant design, which makes it well suited for use in trying environmental conditions.