Today Fujifilm is formally announcing the X-A1, the small and cheap mirrorless camera that had leaked almost in full a couple of weeks ago, marking the lowest end of Fuji's interchangeable lens cameras.
The $US599 (chasing Aussie pricing!) X-A1 features guts a bit less robust than Fuji's more expensive cameras. The 16.3 megapixel APS-C sensor will retain shallow depth-of-field and low-light capability, but don't expect it to be as wonderful as the X-Trans sensor of the X-Pro1, X-E1, and X-M1.
Speaking of the X-M1, the A1 look almost identical. Except for the textured front, the size and controls are much the same. It features your standard 3" tilting LCD display, WiFi, pop-up flash, as well as a host of software image modification tools like multiple-exposure mode, film simulation, and other filters.
The X-A1 will come bundles with a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS kit lens. Again, the theme is budget here. Most of Fuji's X mount lenses up until now have been very high quality with large apertures. This bundled lens is more in line with the cheap-o kit lenses that come with most other interchangeable lens camera systems. This one does have optical image stabilisation though, which is nice.
In addition to the X-A1, Fuji is announcing a new telephoto lens, a 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS. This lens will be $US399, another very cheap option, this time for long-range shooters.
Despite the compromises, $US600 for the X-A1 and 16-50mm kit lens still seems pricey. The Sony NEX 3N is $US500 for the same features and a tried-and-true great sensor. But a bigger problem for mirrorless camera manufacturers in general is that they have yet to convince entry-level consumers that their devices are just as good as DLSRs from Canon or Nikon. Stripping away features and sacrificing build quality may not prove successful on that front.