Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot
  • 24.2MP APS-C CMOS image sensor
  • Updated image processing engine
  • 3.0" (1,040k dot) tilting touchscreen LCD
    • tilts to 180°
    • Touch AF
    • Touch Shoot
    • Touch Zoom
    • Self Timer
    • Smile Detection
    • Buddy Timer
    • Group Timer
  • ISO200 - ISO25600
  • Full 1080p HD Video Recording
  • 0.5 seconds start-up
  • 0.3 seconds AF speed
  • 0.05 seconds shutter lag
  • 0.4 seconds shooting interval time
  • 49-point Single Point AF
    • 77-point focus areas in Zone and Wide / Tracking modes
  • 2.75" macro minimum distance
  • Release Priority
  • Focus Priority
  • AF+MF
  • In-camera RAW processing
  • Film Simulation Modes
    • PRO Neg.Hi
    • PRO Neg.Std.
    • PROVIA (standard)
    • Velvia (vivid)
    • ASTIA (soft)
    • CLASSIC CHROME
    • Monochrome
    • Sepia
  • Advanced Filters
    • Fisheye
    • Cross Screen
    • Toy Camera
    • Miniature
    • Dynamic Tone
    • Pop Color
    • Soft Focus
    • High Key
    • Low Key
    • Partial Color
  • Panorama
  • Time Lapse
  • Focus Peaking (for Manual Focus)
  • Support for Adobe RGB color space
  • Wi-Fi
    • Compatible with INSTAX Share Printer via the free INSTAX Share App (iOS and Android)
    Pros
    • Can shoot in RAW or JPEG image formats (or both at same time)
    • Good image quality in a variety of shooting situations
    • Large increase in resolution to 24.2MP versus what was found in previous model
    • Can use hot shoe to attach external flash or viewfinder (must be purchased separately)
    • LCD screen is of a high quality
    • LCD is touch enabled and can tilt up to 180 degrees for easy-to-shoot selfies
    • Both manual focus and autofocus modes available
    • Camera is very easy to use
    • Q screen provides quick access to X-A3's settings
    • Film Simulation and Advanced Filters modes are fun to use
    • Retro design is sharp looking
    • Above average battery life
    Cons
    • Autofocus system had some trouble locking on to the point we desired when shooting close up and indoors
    • No 4K video resolution available
    • 12 options on mode dial are probably too many; mode dial could be smaller
    • No viewfinder included
    • Very limited features in WiFi connectivity
    • RAW photos are limited to a 6400 ISO setting
    • Although you can shoot at 12800 or 25600 ISO in JPEG, such images have too much noise
    • Start up to first image captured time is a little slow versus similarly priced cameras
    • Shutter lag performance is a little below average
    • Some control buttons on the back are a little small
    • Must charge the battery inside the camera
    Timing Test Results
    • Power up to first image captured = 2.2 seconds
    • Shutter lag when prefocused = about 0.1 seconds
    • Shutter lag with autofocus = 0.5 seconds
    • Shot to shot delay w/ flash = 2.0 seconds (review off), 2.6 seconds (minimum review on)
    • Shot to shot delay w/o flash = 1.8 seconds (review off), 2.4 seconds (minimum review on)
    • Continuous Low = 10 frames in 3.5 seconds at 24M
    • Continuous High = 10 frames in 2.0 seconds at 24M
    All tests taken using 16 MB memory card, Program mode, flash off, review off, and all other settings at default unless noted.
    Bottom Line
    The Fujifilm X-A3 is an easy-to-use mirrorless ILC that has a lot of great features for beginning and intermediate photographers. Advanced shooters probably won't find enough to entice them here, but the A3's good image quality, tiltable touch screen LCD, and simple design is a great option for those migrating from a smartphone camera to a nice dedicated digital camera. The price point of the A3 is reasonable too, especially for a cool looking camera body that has a retro feel.
    Pick This Up If...
    You want an easy-to-use camera that provides strong image quality, a tiltable touch screen LCD, and a reasonable price point, all in a cool looking, retro design camera body.
    Fujifilm has carved out a nice niche for itself in the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (ILC) market. They've almost made designing this type of camera an art form. These small cameras have a sharp retro look that's really appealing. And, they also shoot photos that look great in most conditions.

    Because that formula has worked so well for Fujifilm in recent years, the company didn't change a lot in its latest mirrorless ILC, the X-A3. The A3 is a solid performing mirrorless ILC, aimed at beginning and intermediate photographers with a reasonable price point. It has some nice manual control options, including the ability to shoot in RAW, but it's not complex enough for advanced photographers.

    Still, it's a fun camera that will give you pleasing results in a small camera body.

    When compared to its predecessor, the Fujifilm X-A2, the A3 has enough improvements to give owners of the older A2 a good reason to consider purchasing the new version. Some of the key comparisons between the X-A2 and the X-A3 include:

    • More Resolution: The X-A3 has 24.2 megapixels versus the 16.3MP in the X-A2. Both models of camera can shoot in the RAW image format.
    • LCD Screen: Both cameras have a 3.0-inch high resolution LCD screen, although the A3's screen has about 10% more resolution at a little over 1 million pixels. Both screens are tiltable up to 180 degrees on a horizontal axis, allowing for shooting selfies. However, the X-A3 has touch screen capabilities, similar to the Fujifilm X-Pro2, whereas the A2 does not.
    • Design and Layout: The two cameras are very similar in terms of buttons and body design. Both cameras make use of a mode dial, which is a nice feature. The A3 has a focus mode switch on the front, similar to the Fujifilm X-T2, but the A2 does not.
    • Battery: Both cameras have a similar battery lifespan, which Fujifilm estimates at 410 shots per charge. However, the X-A2 has a separate battery charger included with it, while the X-A3's battery must be charged inside the camera
    • Special Effects and Features: Both cameras offer Film Simulation modes, Advanced Filter modes, Panorama mode, and Wi-Fi connectivity..
    Image quality with the Fujifilm X-A3 is pleasing. In nearly all instances, the images are sharp with realistic colors.

    You can shoot in either RAW or JPEG image formats (or both at the same time), which is a nice feature for those who have a bit of experience with image editing software. For a camera in its price range, having RAW image format capability is nice.

    The various special effect options with the X-A3 are a lot of fun to use, allowing you to create some cool photos straight out of the camera without having to go through image editing software. The A3's options are very similar to what you'll find with past Fujifilm mirrorless cameras, including Film Simulation mode, where you'll have access to shooting formats such as Classic Chrome. And, the special effect options are pretty easy to use, including panorama, fish eye, and partial color.

    When shooting in low light mode, you can use the popup flash unit, which has some hit and miss results. The camera seems to struggle with creating the proper exposure when using the flash. You can adjust the flash compensation setting in the camera's menus to try to compensate.

    If you want to shoot without the flash, you can increase the ISO setting and still receive pretty good results in low light photography with the X-A3. You'll start to notice noise when you're shooting at an ISO of 6400, which is the maximum ISO setting for RAW image format photos. You can use ISO settings of 12800 or 25600 in JPEG, but these images are pretty rough in terms of noise.

    You can attach an external flash unit to the X-A3's hot shoe, but you'll have to purchase the external flash separately. Fujifilm also sells separately an external viewfinder that you can attach to the hot shoe if desired.

    If you decide not to purchase a viewfinder and instead stick with the the camera's LCD screen for framing images, you'll have good results. The LCD screen is sharp and bright, producing good looking images.

    Fujifilm also gave the display touch and tilt capabilities, which are great features for someone who's perhaps looking to make a migration from a smartphone camera to a mirrorless camera. If you tilt the screen 180 degrees with the touch screen shutter enabled, you can shoot a selfie with the X-A3 by just touching the screen, similar to how you'd use a smartphone camera. These are great features for beginners.

    You also can use the touch screen to set the autofocus point. However, you cannot use the touch screen to to change menu settings.

    Speaking of the autofocus mode, we had a mixed bag of results with the X-A3's autofocus system. When shooting photos over a distance in adequate lighting conditions, the camera's autofocus worked accurately. However, when we shot our M&M man photos on the Sample Photos page -- which are close-up photos indoors -- we really had a difficult time forcing the A3's autofocus system to focus on the point we wanted. This is an unfortunate quirk that could leave you with some blurry images when shooting photos that require a precise autofocus point. You do have the option of switching over to manual focus when the X-A3 can't quite find the exact autofocus point you want, but this is a hassle that shouldn't have to happen for a camera in this price range.

    Ultimately, we probably wouldn't recommend the X-A3 as a camera for more experienced photographers, at least in part because of this quirk. Additionally, the A3 wasn't the fastest performer among cameras in its price range, experiencing about half a second of shutter lag and more than two seconds from start up to recording the first photo, which are below average performance levels, especially versus others in this price range. The A3 struggled a bit when shooting fast moving and sports action photos, which a more experienced photographer likely will want to do.

    It's also a little disappointing for cameras in 2017 to not include 4K video recording resolution, so the A3 doesn't quite stack up here either. However, recording movies with the A3 is an easy process, as it offers a dedicated movie recording button. Just understand you're limited to full HD 1080p movie resolution with this camera.

    The movie recording button is part of the collection of control buttons on the far right side of the back of the X-A3. Each of these buttons is clearly marked as to its purpose. That makes this model easy to use for those just starting out with a digital camera. And there aren't a whole bunch of buttons and dials on the Fujifilm X-A3, so someone could take this model out of the box and start using it successfully immediately. Some of the buttons could be a little bigger, but for the most part, this command button layout works well.

    As another easy-to-use feature, the X-A3 includes the Q button, which provides access to the Quick menu. This is the easiest way to change settings for the camera. We'd love to see more camera makers use a feature similar to Fujifilm's Q button.

    Finally, the X-A3 has pretty good battery life. You can expect anywhere from 350 to around 400 shots per charge, which should allow you to use the camera most of the day without needing to charge the battery. And that's good, because you have to charge the battery while it's inside the camera through a USB cable connected to a wall outlet adapter. This is a little awkward, as you'll be out of commission from shooting photos while the camera charges. Because of its good battery life, charging the battery inside the camera overnight should work for most people in most instances. (You can purchase a battery charger separately that can be used with this model.) The X-A3 also has limited built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, along with an HDMI port.

    Bottom Line - Fujifilm's popular retro-inspired design has appeared on many of its mirrorless ILCs, and the latest model, the X-A3, follows the same design formula. But, Fujifilm upgraded the resolution count in the A3 over its predecessor, providing nearly 50% more resolution than the X-A2. The Fujifilm X-A3's resolution measures 24.2 megapixels in an APS-C sized image sensor, and this model is able to create pleasing image quality in a variety of shooting situations. It can shoot in both the RAW and JPEG image formats, which represents nice flexibility to find in a camera with a $600 price point (including a kit lens). For less experienced photographers, Fujifilm's choice to give the A3 a touch screen display that can rotate 180 degrees on a horizontal axis for selfies is a great option. Unfortunately, we found some autofocus oddities when using the A3 that will frustrate more advanced photographers. Its performance speeds are a bit below average versus similarly priced models. It also cannot record movies in 4K resolution, which is disappointing in a new camera. But, the A3 is easy to use and shoots photographs at a high enough quality that it'll work well for many photographers.

    Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.