If you’re an APS-C sensor fan, Fuji just jumped in with a bomb of a camera – the X-A3. Granted, it won’t blow the doors off on the spec sheet, but for $600, the new Nikon D3400 may have a problem. Except for the marketing of the Fuji X-A3 as a selfie camera. Come on Fuji, don’t do that.

Here are the specs of each and we can debate the pros and cons of each.

Nikon D3400 specs

Consider this the upgrade from the D3300 that takes advantage of Nikon’s new Snapbridge connectivity. Bluetooth LE that always connects the camera to your smartphone. I understand the delay in the iOS rollout. They need iPhones with a base storage of 32GB and not the absurd 16GB. 2MB JPEGs laugh at the current slate of iOS devices.

nikon d3400 front view

Features include 5fps with a 24.2-megapixel sensor. Obviously, it’s a crop sensor and can handle the DX lenses of which there are plenty – be it Nikkor or third party. ISO hits 25,600, but the upper range is useless. Video capability sits comfortably within the 1080p with fps hitting 60fps.

Cost. Here’s where Nikon shines and also presents a problem for the company. $649 will get you a body along with an 18-55mm kit lens. You’ll have to jump to nearly a $1000 with for a two lens kit – the 70-300mm kit lens is added into the pack.

Fujifilm X-A3 Specs

Nikon needs to watch its entry level flank. A stylish mirrorless camera for $600? That’s a problem for one of the titans of grabbing smartphone users that want to dip into the world of DSLRs. Fuji has positioned itself as a stylish and cheaper alternative to the Nikon D3400. Yes, we can have the mirrorless debate all we want. But the entry level market isn’t keen on having debates on the pros and cons of full-frame/mirror/mirrorless etc.

No, they want something they can take on a road trip that doesn’t involve a backpack or a pelican case. And that looks good. It’s hard to discount aesthetics of a camera when one of the principles of photography is capturing aesthetics. The retro look wins over the millennial crowd and hell, I have a hard time not wishing I had a brown one.

Features. Not all that different from the Nikon D3400. Except for one giant difference. The X-A3 has a 3.0-inch tilting touch LCD screen. Yeah, it’s where the selfie mode comes into play. However, it can handle touch AF, shoot and zoom.

Its kit lens is the XC16-50mm F3 5.56 OIS II. Food bloggers rejoice at the macro capabilities – the Fuji X-A3 needs 7cm of distance. The smaller footprint means you won’t be annoying the hell out of people as you take 80 snaps of your dinner. Built-in Wifi handles the image transfer to smartphones and tablets. Spam those Instagram feeds.

ISO numbers are the same as the Nikon D3400, but the frames per second bump along with an electric shutter that hits speeds of 1/32000 second. AF is a 77-point contrast-based system with a variety of film modes. 49 areas are selectable for tighter focusing.

Who Wins?

Well, it depends on your target market. And which company is first to market. That would be Nikon, with the D3400 already on sale (ship date early September). FujiFilm will be playing catchup when it ships in October. Still, that price point of $600 with a tilting touchscreen is hard to pass on. And it gets it in stores well before Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

If there’s one definite, the holiday sales will be epic this year. Multiple flagship cameras. Plenty of new entry level models and whatever the hell Sony decides to drop on the market.

If you already have an enthusiast/pro setup on Nikon, I’d lean towards the Fujifilm as a semi-point and shoot backup. The camera as a small footprint yet has all the features of its more expensive X-line cousins.

Gear. TV. Movies. Lifestyle. Photography. Yeah, I’m the type who sees a shiny object and is immediately captivated. Wait... There’s another. You can reach me at marcus@newsledge.com

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