Fuji X-A5 vs Fuji X-A3, Canon M6, Olympus E-PL9, Panasonic GX850, and Sony A6000 – Image Quality Comparison

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SUMMARY

For those who want in on Fuji’s X Series system without a big financial investment, the updated Fuji X-A5 makes a good entry point, especially if your priority is image quality. Offering a similar, but updated, 24MP Bayer-filtered APS-C sensor, the X-A5 provides some of the best image quality performance, at both low and high ISOs, we’ve seen from an entry-level camera around the $600 price point. Despite a new hybrid AF system and image processor, its performance, however, isn’t overly impressive, with slower-than-average AF speed, sluggish shot-to-shot times and a shallow RAW buffer. Still, the Fuji X-A5 makes for a great entry-level camera and is a solid bargain when it comes to image quality.

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Pros
  • Impressive overall image quality
  • Excellent high ISO performance for APS-C sensor
  • Very good dynamic range from RAW files
  • Bright colors with good hue accuracy
  • Separate highlight and shadow tone adjustments
  • D-Range and HDR modes help with high contrast scenes
  • Fuji’s famous Film Simulation modes
  • Compact kit lens is wider than most and offers decent optical performance
  • Full HD video at 60 fps
  • Good battery life
  • Built-in flash
  • Flash hot shoe
  • External mic/remote jack
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • 3-inch selfie-friendly touchscreen
  • Stylish, lightweight design with comfortable ergonomics
  • Decent number of physical controls
Cons
  • Default sharpening and contrast too high
  • Slower-than-average AF speed despite new hybrid AF system
  • Inconsistent AF performance (missed focus, unnecessary focus shifts during continuous shooting)
  • RAW buffer depth only 6 frames
  • Very slow startup to first shot time with new power-zoom kit lens (needs to extend first when powered on)
  • Sluggish single-shot cycle times
  • Shutter pre-press penalty
  • 4K videos are only 15 fps
  • No EVF (new X-T100 addresses that)
  • No headphone jack
  • Some buttons and controls don’t feel solidy built
  • Display can be difficult to see in bright light

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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Fujifilm X-A5
Resolution: 24.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
(23.5mm x 15.7mm)
Kit Lens: 3.00x zoom
15-45mm
(22.5-67.5mm eq.)
Viewfinder: No / LCD
Native ISO: 200 – 12,800
Extended ISO: 100 – 51,200
Shutter: 1/32000 – 30 seconds
Max Aperture: 3.5 (kit lens)
Dimensions: 4.6 x 2.7 x 1.6 in.
(117 x 68 x 40 mm)
Weight: 17.5 oz (496 g)
includes batteries, kit lens
Availability: 02/2018
Manufacturer: Fujifilm

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Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Fuji X-A5’s image quality to its predecessor’s, the X-A3, as well as against several competing entry-level mirrorless cameras at similar price points: the Canon EOS M6, Olympus E-PL9, Panasonic GX850 and Sony A6000.

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Image Quality Comparison

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera’s actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera’s respective sample image thumbnail page: Fuji X-A5, Fuji X-A3, Canon M6, Olympus E-PL9, Panasonic GX850, and Sony A6000 — links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. 

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Fujifilm X-A3 at Base ISO
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Fujifilm X-A3 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Fujifilm X-A3 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Fujifilm X-A3 test image taken at ISO 200
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 200
Fujifilm X-A3 at ISO 200

Above we compare X-A5 image quality at base ISO to its predecessor, the X-A3, which also uses a 24-megapixel Bayer-filtered APS-C sensor, though without integrated PDAF pixels. As expected, image quality is very similar at ISO 200 with both cameras providing very crisp, detailed images but that contain really obvious sharpening halos around high-contrast edges, as well as the exaggeration of subtle textures and details. This is especially noticeable in the solid background of “Mas Portel” bottle label where it appears “noisy”, and even the subtle label adhesive pattern is amplified to the point of being readily visible. Default sharpening is definitely very aggressive from both cameras. The X-A5’s image is a bit sharper, but this is mostly due to the different lenses used, as we had to retire our Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 lens used with the X-A3 as it was no longer manually focusing reliably. We will probably switch to the Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 in the long term, but in the meantime the X-A5 shots here were taken with the Fujinon 90mm f/2 which is a bit sharper than the 60mm lens at f/8. Still, it appears Fuji has tweaked default JPEG processing as well, producing slightly higher contrast and revising noise reduction to do a better job at preserving fine detail. Colors are also a bit warmer from the X-A5, but that just appears to be due to slightly better custom white balance.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Canon EOS M6 at Base ISO
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Canon EOS M6 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Canon EOS M6 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Canon EOS M6 test image taken at ISO 100
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 200
Canon EOS M6 at ISO 100

Above we compare the X-A5 to the Canon M6, another 24-megapixel APS-C mirrorless camera. Both images show noticeable sharpening halos along high-contrast edges, but the X-A5’s are much more obtrusive, however the Fuji image is much crisper and more detailed. When looking closely at the images, you can see that the X-A5 image has higher luma noise than the M6 in the shadows, but keep in mind its higher base ISO. The X-A5 image however has lower chroma noise than the M6. Contrast is much higher from the Canon in our tricky red-leaf swatch giving the impression of greater detail, however the two cameras capture about the same amount of subtle detail. Both cameras produce pleasing color but the Fuji’s colors are warmer and generally more saturated.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Olympus E-PL9 at Base ISO
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Olympus E-PL9 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Olympus E-PL9 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Olympus E-PL9 test image taken at ISO 200
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 200
Olympus E-PL9 at ISO 200

Here we compare the X-A5 to the 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds Olympus E-PL9. Both cameras produce very sharp images with visible sharpening artifacts here at base ISO, though again the halos are more obvious from the Fuji around high-contrast elements. The 24-megapixel X-A5 out-resolves the E-PL9 though the Olympus offers somewhat higher contrast which helps it to appear a little crisper than the X-A5 in some areas. Noise is actually lower from the E-PL9 however its JPEG engine does generate a few unwanted artifacts while smoothing it out. Both cameras produce pleasing color, though the Fuji’s are a little brighter.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Panasonic GX850 at Base ISO
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Panasonic GX850 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Panasonic GX850 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Panasonic GX850 test image taken at ISO 200
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 200
Panasonic GX850 at ISO 200

Here we compare the X-A5 to another entry-level mirrorless camera, the Panasonic GX850. The 24-megapixel X-A5 easily out-resolves the 16-megapixel GX850 while offering lower noise levels, however the GX850 produces a somewhat more natural-looking image with less noticeable sharpening halos. Contrast and detail are also better from the GX850 in our tricky red-leaf swatch, however overall contrast is higher from the Fuji, with brighter and more pleasing colors as well.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Sony A6000 at Base ISO
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 200
Sony A6000 at ISO 100

Both these rivals use similar 24-megapixel APS-C sensors and thus resolve very similar amounts of detail, however Fuji’s processing produces a crisper, sharper image with strong haloing while the Sony’s sharpening algorithm produces almost no sharpening halos. The X-A5’s colors are more vibrant, warmer and more accurate, though the Sony retains some of the offset printing coloration in the mosaic crop that the Fuji pretty much eliminates. The Sony also produces much higher contrast and better detail in our tricky red-leaf fabric.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Fujifilm X-A3 at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Fujifilm X-A3 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Fujifilm X-A3 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Fujifilm X-A3 test image taken at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-A3 at ISO 1600

Fairly similar image quality from the two Fuji siblings here at ISO 1600, though again, the X-A5 image appears a little sharper, contrastier and slightly more detailed, likely at least in part because of the better lens. Luma noise levels appear a little higher from the X-A5, though, perhaps the result of somewhat stronger default sharpening as noise levels in RAW files appear quite similar. Still, these entry-level Fujis offer some of the best high ISO performance we’ve seen from an APS-C camera.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Canon EOS M6 at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon EOS M6 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon EOS M6 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon EOS M6 test image taken at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 1600
Canon EOS M6 at ISO 1600

The Fuji X-A5 produces a much sharper, crisper, cleaner and more detailed image here at ISO 1600 compared to the Canon M6. Colors continue to be brighter and more vibrant from the Fuji as well.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Olympus E-PL9 at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Olympus E-PL9 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Olympus E-PL9 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Olympus E-PL9 test image taken at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 1600
Olympus E-PL9 at ISO 1600

The X-A5 continues to out-resolve the E-PL9 here at ISO 1600, though its luma noise levels are higher in flatter areas. The E-PL9 works hard at smoothing away noise while still doing a good job of holding onto fine detail, however it does generate more noise reduction artifacts.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Panasonic GX850 at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Panasonic GX850 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Panasonic GX850 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Panasonic GX850 test image taken at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 1600
Panasonic GX850 at ISO 1600

The X-A5 pulls further away from the GX850 here at ISO 1600, with lower noise, more detail, higher contrast and better color, although sharpening halos remain more obvious from the Fuji.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Sony A6000 at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 1600
Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

The X-A5 produces a crisper, more detailed image sharper but with noticeable haloing and slightly higher noise levels than the A6000. The Sony produces much higher contrast in our tricky red-leaf swatch, however it’s starting to distort the pattern more than the Fuji. The X-A5’s colors remain more vibrant, warmer and more accurate.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Fujifilm X-A3 at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Fujifilm X-A3 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Fujifilm X-A3 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Fujifilm X-A3 test image taken at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-A3 at ISO 3200

Once again, we see a sharper, crisper and better detailed image from the X-A5 compared to its predecessor here at ISO 3200. Again, much of the improvement is likely due to the sharper lens, but it appears the tone curve and default processing have been improved as well.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Canon EOS M6 at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon EOS M6 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon EOS M6 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon EOS M6 test image taken at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 3200
Canon EOS M6 at ISO 3200

There’s really no contest here at ISO 3200, with the X-A5 producing a much crisper, detailed image with better color and lower noise levels, at least in the shadows and mid-tones. In brighter areas, the Canon is actually cleaner, likely in part due to its far less aggressive sharpening. The M6 also produces better contrast in our troublesome red-leaf swatch, though fine detail is actually a bit better from the Fuji.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Olympus E-PL9 at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Olympus E-PL9 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Olympus E-PL9 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Olympus E-PL9 test image taken at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 3200
Olympus E-PL9 at ISO 3200

Similar to what we saw at ISO 1600, the X-A5 retains more detail and produces a crisper, more vibrant image with fewer noise reduction artifacts. Noise levels are similar in flatter areas, however the Fuji’s grain pattern has a less consistent nature than the E-PL9’s.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Panasonic GX850 at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Panasonic GX850 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Panasonic GX850 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Panasonic GX850 test image taken at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 3200
Panasonic GX850 at ISO 3200

The X-A5 still comes out ahead here at ISO 3200 with much better detail in most areas, lower noise with a tighter and more natural-looking “grain” pattern, and more pleasing colors. Both cameras really struggle with fine detail in our tricky red-leaf swatch, blurring most of it away, but the GX850 renders slightly better contrast.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs Sony A6000 at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 3200
Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

This is an easy win for the Fuji, producing a much crisper, clearer and more vibrant image than the Sony. The A6000’s heavy-handed noise reduction smears away a lot of fine detail, and what appears to be better detail in our red-leaf swatch is heavily distorted and false.

Fujifilm X-A5 vs. Fujifilm X-A3, Canon EOS M6, Olympus E-PL9, Panasonic GX850, Sony A6000
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Fujifilm X-A3 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Canon EOS M6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Olympus E-PL9 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Panasonic GX850 test image taken at ISO 200 100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Fujifilm X-A3 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon EOS M6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Olympus E-PL9 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Panasonic GX850 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Fujifilm X-A5 test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Fujifilm X-A3 test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Canon EOS M6 test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Olympus E-PL9 test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Panasonic GX850 test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 6400
Fujifilm
X-A5
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Fujifilm
X-A3
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
EOS M6
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Olympus
E-PL9
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Panasonic
GX850
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A6000
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing the camera in different ways, so we like to look at it, too. Here, we can see the X-A5 outperforms its predecessor, the X-A3, with better sharpness and contrast across the ISO range, though keep in mind the slightly sharper lens. The X-A5 performs very well compared to the Canon M6, with better sharpness and contrast, and less of a drop-off in image quality is sensitivity rises. The Olympus E-PL9 does well with high-contrast detail, almost keeping pace with the Fuji, though it can’t quite compete in terms of resolution. The Panasonic GX850 isn’t as sharp or contrasty and also can’t quite compete in terms of resolving power. The Sony A6000 arguably does better than the X-A5 at base ISO due to its more refined processing and lack of sharpening haloes, but the X-A5 pulls away at higher ISOs with better clarity and fewer false colors.

(imaging-resource.com, http://bit.ly/2J0QE1G)

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