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Fujifilm X-A1 versus Fujifilm X-A3

The Fujifilm X-A1 and the Fujifilm X-A3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2013 and August 2016. Both the X-A1 and the X-A3 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The X-A1 has a resolution of 16 megapixel, whereas the X-A3 provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Fujifilm X-A1 vs Fujifilm X-A3

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Fujifilm X-A1 and the Fujifilm X-A3. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the X-A1 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Fujifilm X-A1 vs Fujifilm X-A3
Compare X-A1 versus X-A3 top
Compare X-A1 and X-A3 rear

In this particular case, the Fujifilm X-A1 and the Fujifilm X-A3 have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the X-A3 is slightly heavier (3 percent) than the X-A1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X-A1 nor the X-A3 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Fujinon X Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the X-A1 gets 350 shots out of its NP-W126 battery, while the X-A3 can take 410 images on a single charge of its NP-W126S power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-A1» 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.6 oz 350 n Sep 2013 399- i Fujifilm X-A1
Fujifilm X-A3« 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.0 oz 410 n Aug 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-A5« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.6 in 12.7 oz 450 n Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-E3« » 4.8 in 2.9 in 1.7 in 11.9 oz 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-E2S« » 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Jan 2016 699- i Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-A10« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.7 oz 410 n Dec 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-T10« » 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.6 in 13.4 oz 350 n May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-A2« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.3 oz 410 n Jan 2015 399- i Fujifilm X-A2
Fujifilm X-E2« » 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Oct 2013 999- i Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm X-M1« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.6 oz 350 n Jun 2013 699 i i Fujifilm X-M1
Fujifilm X-Pro1« » 5.5 in 3.2 in 1.7 in 15.9 oz 300 n Jan 2012 1,699- i Fujifilm X-Pro1
Fujifilm X-E1« » 5.1 in 3.0 in 1.5 in 12.3 oz 350 n Sep 2012 999- i Fujifilm X-E1

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Fujifilm X-A1 vs Fujifilm X-A3

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Fujifilm X-A1 and Fujifilm X-A3 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the X-A3 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 16 MP of the X-A1. This megapixel advantage translates into a 23 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the X-A3 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 4.80μm for the X-A1). However, it should be noted that the X-A3 is much more recent (by 2 years and 11 months) than the X-A1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

X-A1 versus X-A3 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-A1» APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-A1
Fujifilm X-A3« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-A5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p----Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-E3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-E2S« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-A10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-T10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-A2« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-A2
Fujifilm X-E2« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm X-M1« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-M1
Fujifilm X-Pro1« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/24p----Fujifilm X-Pro1
Fujifilm X-E1« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/24p----Fujifilm X-E1

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the X-A3 provides a faster frame rate than the X-A1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the X-A1 is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Fujifilm X-A1 vs Fujifilm X-A3

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The X-A1 and the X-A3 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Fujifilm X-A1 and Fujifilm X-A3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-A1»- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.6 Y n Fujifilm X-A1
Fujifilm X-A3«- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-A5« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-E3« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n n Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-E2S« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 7.0 Y n Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-A10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting n 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-T10« »2360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-A2« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.6 Y n Fujifilm X-A2
Fujifilm X-E2« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 7.0 Y n Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm X-M1« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.6 Y n Fujifilm X-M1
Fujifilm X-Pro1« »1440 n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 6.0 n n Fujifilm X-Pro1
Fujifilm X-E1« »2360 n 2.8 460 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-E1

The X-A3 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the X-A1 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the X-A1 was succeeded by the Fujifilm X-A2.

Review summary: Fujifilm X-A1 vs Fujifilm X-A3

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Fujifilm X-A1 or the Fujifilm X-A3 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Advantages of the Fujifilm X-A1:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2013).


Reasons to prefer the Fujifilm X-A3:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 16MP), which boosts linear resolution by 23%.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the X-A1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the X-A3 is the clear winner of the contest (6 : 1 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

X-A1 01:06 X-A3

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the X-A1 or the X-A3 handle or perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Fujifilm X-A1»--4.5/5-4.5/5 Sep 2013 399- i Fujifilm X-A1
Fujifilm X-A3«-74/1004.5/5-4/5 Aug 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-A5« »----3.5/5 Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-E3« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-E2S« »-77/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i Fujifilm X-E2S
Fujifilm X-A10« »--4/5-4/5 Dec 2016 399 i i Fujifilm X-A10
Fujifilm X-T10« »HiRec80/1005/54/55/5 May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
Fujifilm X-A2« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2015 399- i Fujifilm X-A2
Fujifilm X-E2« »-80/1004.5/5-5/5 Oct 2013 999- i Fujifilm X-E2
Fujifilm X-M1« »Rec77/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jun 2013 699 i i Fujifilm X-M1
Fujifilm X-Pro1« »HiRec79/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 1,699- i Fujifilm X-Pro1
Fujifilm X-E1« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999- i Fujifilm X-E1

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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