First Impressions: Fujifilm X-A7 (A Curiously Beautiful Camera)

The Fujifilm X-A7 is a gorgeous camera–but it seems more of a fashion statement than anything.

I can imagine the Fujifilm X-A7 slung around a discerning, fashionable photographer. It’s mated to some sort of beautiful vintage optic or one of Fujifilm’s lust-inducing prime lenses. The stunning leather strap that comes with it is only the icing on top. Everything about the Fujifilm X-A7 tells me it’s designed for a specific crowd. This crowd includes the travel photographer and those accustomed to large phone screens. In the same line of thought, this photographer will like the feeling of the dials, the leatherette cover, and the lack of emphasis on control via the touchscreen. I fully expect these photographers to also use the Auto or Program modes. Best of all, they’ll adore the tilting screen.

Editor’s Note: The Phoblographer was loaned a pre-production unit of the Fujifilm X-A7. As such, our first impressions are as they apply to this unit.

Tech Specs

These specs come from the Adorama listing.

  • Carrying Fujifilm’s own APS-C CMOS sensor in a stylish camera body weighing just 320g
  • Professional video features included smooth 4K movies and high-speed capture for epic playback
  • Large 3.5″ 16:9 wide touchscreen LCD
  • Compact and lightweight design weighing only 455g with the kit lens
  • Advanced video performance and functions that cater to the growing demands for movie shooting
  • Diverse shooting modes that help produce photography with a creative flair
  • Lens Included: 15-45mm Lens
  • Sensor Size: APS-C Camera
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Max Video Quality: 4K 30fps
  • Wifi: Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Special Features: Bluetooth
  • Configuration: Body & Lens

Ergonomics

The Fujifilm X-A7 is a handsome camera in pretty much every way. While this image looks like the camera is orange, it’s more of an orange-brown. The look is minimalist.

On top of the Fujifilm X-A7, a photographer can find many of the main controls. The on/off switch is here along with the mode dial, exposure parameter controls, hot shoe, and the flash.

Turn to the back of the Fujifilm X-A7 and you’ll spot a giant screen. Said screen is meant for interacting with the camera. There is also a joystick and a few other buttons for direct control.

Oh yeah, that screen flips out and articulates. It’s a nice touch for Fujifilm as I’m sure many creators will care about this.

Build Quality

I have to be genuine here and state that the Fujifilm X-A7 isn’t going to win any awards when it comes to the build quality. But it will capture hearts with the other aesthetics like the textured dials and the leather finish. The only thing Fujifilm could have added was a brass body that will develop a patina as it ages. While walking around with the Fujifilm X-A7, the one thing I didn’t like was the one-handed operation. The camera is small enough to shoot with a single hand and with little worry about camera shake, but the ergonomics are a tad odd for that. I’m sure it isn’t designed for one-handed shooting, but when coupled with a nice wrist strap it could be. Overall, the Fujifilm X-A7 isn’t a camera built for a serious photographer.

Ease of Use

The Fujifilm X-A7 has a sort of new menu interface that I haven’t seen before. When you tap an arrow on the touchscreen, this menu pops up. It lets you control most of the parameters that you’d care about immediately. I couldn’t get the swipe functionality to work that has been in place with many previous Fujifilm cameras. Even adding parameters to this quick screen proved difficult for me. The one thing that I feel that it needs is ISO control because there is none otherwise. However, it can be assigned to the top button. This interface will be pretty straightforward for a novice to figure out. For those of us used to more manual settings, I’m not sure we should be picking up the Fujifilm X-A7. Another thing that’s really wonderful to me is how the text looks. It’s refreshing, and everything about the old menu system seems a lot more straightforward and in your face. I enjoy it.

Autofocus

While the Fujifilm X-A7 is supposed to have more phase-detection autofocus points than previous cameras, I felt it was pretty slow. I tested it with the 23mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, 50mm f2, and the 16mm f1.4 lenses. It didn’t feel as snappy as my X-T1 or my X-H1. In some ways I’m relieved, but I’d think that Fujifilm would be revamping their autofocus system quite a bit.

Image Quality

These images are from a Fujifilm X-A7. They were submitted to Fujifilm first for approval as per their loaner statement. We barely got any time to shoot with it.

First Impressions

The Fujifilm X-A7 got to us not too long ago, and we were playing with a pre-production unit. It seems like a reliable camera, but not one that many photographers would purchase. If you’re a content creator or hobbyist, I totally see it being versatile enough for you. To be honest, I see the Fujifilm X-A7 being enough for most journalists. At a price point of below $700, you’re getting a decent camera.

Stay tuned for a full review.