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Sony A6100 vs. Fujfilm X-T200: Best beginner mirrorless cameras compared

The Fujifilm X-T200 and Sony A6100 both target the beginner photographer, but despite being entry-level cameras, they have some features we would expect to find on flagship models. That’s great news for those on a tighter budget who still want a capable camera that will last for years. But when it comes to picking between the two, which is one the better investment?

Before the X-T200, the Sony A6100 easily trounced the older Fujifilm X-T100. While image quality was more-or-less equal, the A6100 was the better camera in almost all other aspects save design (which is more of a personal preference, anyway). But with the X-T200, Fujifilm has placed a true competitor on the board — so much so, we can no longer say that the A6100 is the easy choice.

At a glance

Sony A6100

  • 24MP APS-C sensor
  • UHD 4K/30p, FHD 1080/120p video
  • 1.44-million-dot EVF
  • 3-inch, 920,000-pixel LCD
  • Industry-leading Real-Time autofocus
  • 11-fps continuous shooting

Fujifilm X-T200

  • 24MP APS-C sensor
  • UHD 4K/30p, FHD 1080/120p video
  • 2.36-million-dot OLED EVF
  • 3.5-inch, 2.78-million-pixel LCD
  • 425-point phase-detection autofocus
  • 8-fps continuous shooting

Sensor

Both cameras have a 24-megapixel sensor and they both produce fantastic images. For anyone starting their journey in photography, you’re going to be blown away when comparing it to the image quality on a smartphone camera. When it comes to JPEGs, if we had to choose between the two, our preference goes to the X-T200 thanks to Fujifilm’s “film simulations” which mimic the color and contrast of several of its 35mm film stocks. Fujifilm has a reputation for delivering ready-to-publish JPEGs straight from the camera, and the X-T200 continues the trend.

Fujifilm X-T200

The A6100 is no slouch, however. Sony updated its color science in this generation and its JPEGs are much better right out of the camera than they were in older models.

Of course, if you prefer to shoot in RAW, the in-camera color science doesn’t matter. Both cameras will give you equal flexibility in post and you can give your images pretty much any look you want.

Sony A6100 Photo Sample
Sony A6100 David Elrich / Digital Trends

You start to see some distance between the cameras when comparing ISO performance. The X-T200 has a native range of 200-12,800 (expanded: 100-51,200). The A6100 pushes this farther on both ends, offering a native range of 100-32,000 (expanded: 100 to 51,200). While the A6100 doesn’t offer better image quality at any given ISO, the extra range does mean it will be more flexible in both extremely bright and extremely dark settings.

Both cameras are hampered by their kit lenses, which are neither the sharpest nor brightest lenses in Sony and Fujifilm’s respective portfolios. While buying the kit is a good value for beginner photographers, we highly recommend investing in better glass as soon as you have the means to.

Autofocus

The good news is that the X-T200 has vastly improved its autofocus compared to the X-T100 — but it’s still no match for Sony’s Real-Time Tracking and Real-Time Eye AF, which are simply the best AF technologies available on mirrorless. Sony claims a focus time of 0.02 seconds, but in our experience we can only describe it as “extremely fast.” And when it came to photographing fast-moving subjects, the level of accuracy was impressive, to say the least.

The X-T200 isn’t at all bad, but it falls behind the A6100 (and even higher-end Fujis, like the X-T3 and X-T30) when it comes to continuous autofocus. It has face- and eye-recognition, which work well for stationary subjects, but it doesn’t keep up with moving subjects as well as the Sony. For the average customer, it gets the job done, but anyone who needs the best possible tracking performance will definitely see a benefit with the A6100.

Design

The design of the X-T200 is that of a traditional camera, whereas the A6100 feels more like a modern content creation tool. On looks alone, we have to side with the X-T200 — it also has a couple of technical advantages. Both cameras have functional control layouts, and which is better is largely a matter of personal preference.

The X-T200’s electronic viewfinder (EVF) is centered over the lens, which we find to be a more comfortable setup compared to the A6100’s corner-mounted EVF. It is also higher resolution, with 2.36 million pixels compared to the Sony’s 1.44 million.

However, the Sony’s design means it is slightly shorter than the Fuji, which may help it slip into a smaller camera bag. Both cameras are otherwise remarkably close in size and weight. The X-T200 measures 4.8 x 3.3 x 2.2 inches and weighs 13 ounces without a lens. The A6100 measures 4.7 x 2.6 x 2.3 inches and weighs 14 ounces.

Ergonomically, the X-T200 aims to replicate Fujfilm’s higher-end X-T cameras, but with some obvious differences to make it more approachable for new photographers. While it lacks the dedicated ISO, exposure compensation, and shutter speed dials of single-digit X-T cameras, it features two top-mounted command dials as well as a programmable functional dial that can take over those roles. This lets you adjust aperture and shutter speed on the fly with your thumb and forefinger.

The A6100 has a single command dial on the top deck, with a second on the back of the camera. This means you have to use your thumb to control both shutter speed and aperture when in manual mode, but the rear dial is a bit more convenient for menu navigation and image playback. Overall, the X-T200 feels like the more grown-up control layout and feels more like a premium camera, even if it isn’t necessarily more functional.

Both cameras feature fully-articulating touchscreens, but the X-T200’s rotates out to the side whereas the A6100’s flips up over the top. Both are useful for selfies and vlogging, but the A6100’s screen will be blocked if you attach an external microphone to the top of the camera. The X-T200’s screen can also be reversed to hide the screen completely, which can help protect it when not in use.

The screen itself is also noticeably larger and sharper on the X-T200, thanks to the 3.5-inch, 2.78-million-pixel 16:9 display. This is one of the best monitors we’ve ever used on a camera. However, its larger size does leave less room for buttons on the back of the camera, although the space-efficient joystick largely makes up with the lack of the four-way button cluster and is also helpful for selecting a focus point in single-point AF mode.

The A6100’s big advantage is battery life, which is rated for 420 shots per charge. In comparison, the X-T200’s battery performance is very underwhelming, offering only 270 shots per charge.

Video

Neither Sony and Fujifilm are targeting these cameras to the serious videographer, but both are quite capable for casual use and pack enough punch to make quality content.

The cameras both shoot Ultra HD 4K (3,840 x 2,160) up to 30 fps and Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) at up to 120 fps for slow-motion. Neither camera offers advanced options like log gamma or 10-bit output seen on some higher-end models, but the X-T200 does have a high dynamic range (HDR) movie mode that helps preserve color and detail in high contrast scenes — but is limited to 1080p.

Another advantage for X-T200 allows for headphones to be connected over USB-C using the included adapter; the A6100 does not have a headphone port. Both cameras have microphone inputs.

Which to choose?

What’s clear here is that both cameras excel at different things. With it’s class-leading autofocus and superior burst speed, the A6100 is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects, while the X-T200 offers a refined, and arguably more pleasant, user experience thanks to the control layout and higher-resolution EVF and screen.

At present, both cameras are available for $600 body-only, or $700 with a kit lens.

Editors’ Recommendations







Source
DigitalTrends

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