The X system.
For those who don’t mind doing a bit of lens swapping Fuji now has a good and growing list of lenses for the X series. That then gives some surety for those wondering how much Fuji was going to develop as far as lenses are concerned. X series users have reported that the lenses for these camera including the kit lenses are very good and some of the faster primes equal or better than many of the oppositions offering. Fuji has always done good lenses.
Couple this with fast reflexes, good performance for high speed shooting and you have a winner. The jury is still out though regarding the video side of the X series cameras. To date this is something that still seems to elude the Fuji engineers. I have no doubt that as Fuji’s development program proceeds this will become a thing of the past. Lets hope that’s the case.
So what then is on offer in the X series that would temp one away from their current bridgecamera. Well not a lot as it turns out. As our purchase price is $1000NZD, that pretty much rules out all the X series camera other than the X-A1. The two lens kit is available for $1025.00 NZD. While this is a tiny amount over the price cap I think it would worth the extra for this setup. For a good many people though this camera just simply wouldn’t do, because it doesn’t have a viewfinder. For me its a non issue, for others it could be the end of the world. I never bother with the viewfinder on any camera simply because I wear low profile graduated bi-focals and this just becomes a giant pain in the ass when trying to use a viewfinder. And yes the dioptre does help if I were to take my glasses off, but then I can’t see properly for everything else, therefore a viewfinder for me at least isn’t an issue.
The X-A1 sports a standard APS-C sensor (not X-Trans) but does include the very good EXR II processor so both Raw and Jpeg images should be very good. There’s is a bit of discussion as to how much better the X-trans sensor is, but in all reality it will be a very small amount as the standard CMOS sensors are well proven for Image Quality. Suffice to say, the X-A1 is a nice entry into the X-Series world. The X-M1, identical to the X-A1 other than having an X-Trans sensor starts at Starts at $985.00 NZD and only comes with the XC16-50mm lens.
The X-A1 two lens kit has both the Fujifilm Finepix X-A1+XC16-50mm+55-230mm lenses. With a crop factor of 1.5 this gives the equivalent of 345mm focal length for the telephoto lens. Add to that the cropping ability of the APS-C sensor and you could quite happily crop to the equivalent of 450 – 500 mm focal length. Not perhaps as good as a HS50 but the image quality would several orders of magnitude above anything the HS50 is capable of.
So where does this leave our would be bridge camera owner who is looking to upgrade. They could buy an XS-1. But this is an aging camera, having been released in Nov 2011. Some of its ergonomics are almost substandard compared to newer models. That being said if you are not in the market for a fleetfooted and snappy camera then it could be for you. However be careful as to how much you pay for it. At the time of writing this the lowest price ( in stock) was $800.00 NZD. When you consider what you get from the X-A1 package for an extra $200.00 NZD it bears some serious consideration before buying.
You may have noticed a couple of omissions in the X series line-ups. That being the X-Pro1 and the X20 which for obvious reasons are also non starters for this discussion. All things considered these two choices really aren’t what we are looking for. The XS-1 is really overpriced for a camera thats now almost 4 years old, and the XA-1 while a very nice unit still doesn’t give us that all in one system that we are looking for. It seems we will have to look further afield and see if there really is anything out there that will do the job…. more to come