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Wednesday, 05 October 2011

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I'm starting to get a little tired of people (usually camera company employees) saying that "camera x has better quality than camera y" when "quality" is such a poorly defined term.

This news just made me hit the pause button on my planned m4/3 or NEX7 purchase... which may be the effect Fuji is shooting for.

I eagerly await their details, I have an x100 and it is the only digital camera that i have used in the last 11 years that feels like a film camera, it is not without quirks but they are software things, I bought a very expensive Samurai Silk strap for this camera because I love it, my usual work camera is a D3X and D3s and they are good but no charisma, when digital came in I sold all my film bodies except for the Fuji 6x9 and panorama. This is good news for some "old school photographers"

When Fuji finally get a decent UI designer, they could become the giant killers of the industry. I've long liked the technical capabilities of their cameras that fit neatly with my own desires for picture making, pity they're all so poor to use.

Looking forward to springtime! If not prohibitively expensive, could be my first foray into the magical realm of digital I've been hearing so much about (provided they got some suitable WA's)...

While I'm a big ovf guy, I'm interested in this. Fuji really seems to be on a roll.

I want to get an accessible Leica. If they can get something retro like and with interchangeable lenses, maybe this will be a big change in digital photography.

The X100 is the iPhone of cameras asfaik. Good design, great image quality. Lovers and haters.

I am lucky enough to be one of the lovers.

Canon doesn't need to fear anybody because the name they've built in video and still surpasses any out there. And they always have their other ventures.

Of course the only "X" camera that Fuji needs to make is XPan Digital. And even if Fuji did not do the XPan in the first place, they would be maverick enough to do it the 2nd time around...

except that sadly the sensor will probably just be too expensive....

Sensor schmensor. Another new mount, which means another small set of consumer lenses and adaptors for the same legacy glass. Can we get some standardization up in the house please?

Richard,
Except they did...the Hasselblad XPans were rebranded Fujifilm TX-1 and TX-2's.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/haomin2007/3860721052/lightbox/

Mike

David, what Mike said was shorthand for Komori's statement that resolution and low noise will surpass the 35mm full size sensor. Which is quite a tall claim but that's apparently what he said, according to Google Translate. (For some reason, I cannot insert the normal link to the DC Watch translation here. So here it is in all its unshortened glory. http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ja&tl=en&twu=1&u=http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20111005_481838.html&usg=ALkJrhhHKndZWGhILAVHtFfb2rk4EQylXw">http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ja&tl=en&twu=1&u=http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20111005_481838.html&usg=ALkJrhhHKndZWGhILAVHtFfb2rk4EQylXw">http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20111005_481838.html&usg=ALkJrhhHKndZWGhILAVHtFfb2rk4EQylXw">http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20111005_481838.html&usg=ALkJrhhHKndZWGhILAVHtFfb2rk4EQylXw">http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ja&tl=en&twu=1&u=http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20111005_481838.html&usg=ALkJrhhHKndZWGhILAVHtFfb2rk4EQylXw

As to the new mount and lenses, Fuji had cameras with Nikon mount and we all saw how it ended.

These are indeed fascinating times to living in for photographers. It wasn't that long ago that we witnessed the shift in emphasis from film to digital. Now we seem to be seeing the beginnings of a shift to EVF cameras. Will the swinging mirror be a relic in the not too distant future? EVFs have really come a long way in the last 5 years or so, and the advancement in EVF quality continues to accelerate. DSLRs with swinging mirrors are still the standard with serious amateurs and pros, but I think that landscape could look very different in just a few years.

If you compare Fuji's and Kodak's fate, the difference is striking:

Where both companies depended on film sales 20 years ago, Kodak stopped innovating in digital cameras sometime circa 2000 (with their final DSLRs).

What came afterwards was nothing but uninteresting (in features as well as design), completely generic OEM produced consumer compact cameras.

While Fuji's successes were also hit and miss (e.g. *their* DSLRs), they regularily had products absolutely loved by photographers.

Where was Kodak's F31 compact?
Where is Kodak's answer to the X100?

Kodak's management seemingly thought that a strong brand and marketing can substitute strong products. This does not work in the long run, as we can see now. I think the story of Kodak and Fuji will be Management School case study material.

In Japan, dealer's shelves are filled with used X100s.

I've owned 2 Fuji digital cameras - an S2 Pro and the X100. Both possess very strange features and operation, but both also have produced wonderful images with impressive colour and tonality.

@ken ford: of course that's why Fujifilm preannounced something (well, nothing). It's the FUD approach: get the user to not commit to what's available for the promise of something (maybe) in the future. Rarely does that work out for the consumer.

@mike: really? One camera that sells 300k units is "on a roll?"

@mike johnston: if Canon was indeed mostly worried about Fujifilm, their management is more disconnected than it already seems. Fujifilm isn't a threatening player in sensors at any level, as they've priced themselves out of anyone else using them. Sony is a threat. And in larger-than-compact cameras, we're down to four volume players: Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, and Sony, with three non-volume players (Kodak, Samsung, and Sigma). Fujifilm has no mount (and choosing to do their own would be a very silly thing to do, IMHO. If Fujifilm truly has an outperforming sensor, put it in m4/3 or NEX (it's on open mount, after all) and it over.

This makes me think to this patent that Fujifilm filled in 2005.
A sensor like this would in IMHO revolutionize Digital Imaging as we are accustomed to know it.

I also believe Fujifilm has it right as regards sensors. My working camera is a D700 for many good reasons, but the 6mp files from my S5 Pro are something special.

Who guesses it'd have an M mount?

Now why couldn't Kodak, with all their expertise, have done this?

Digital Ektra anyone?

Oh! Ektra,.....now I remember.
Never mind.

As an addendum to the comments above, I think Fuji has really proven their ability to create outstanding "glass" over the years, and I hope that premise continues in any new offerings.

I think I will demur on this one. The last time I lusted after a Fuji camera was one of their large film range finders. I did use one of their digital point and shoots for a while as a pocket camera when the quality really stood out.

They had a business model similar to Kodak's and Gillette's producing huge quantities of low profit film like razor blades. They have not made a great camera body in years, buying the better ones from Nikon. What can you say about a company that does not play to its strength? They could be competing with Sony in the sensor market but seem to lack the will. Of course knowing anything about their strengths is difficult because they hide their capabilities. I am reminded of the the Sony sensor fiasco several years ago when Sony was reimbursing all their sensor customers like Canon and Nikonas those companies did recalls. Fuji was part of the Sony sensor recall, but their customers valued the myth more than the truth. So I am not optimistic for Fuji. Smoke and mirrors. So I really don't think Canon is worried at all.

A double size negative would be a double negative... The existing Fuji X100 can do motion pano's already as can the Sony NEX series.. it may not be perfect but this technology will only get better with faster processors and data streams. An Xpan/TX would require a special lens mount of a larger size than that of Leica too.
The best compromise I see for Fuji would be to build a Leica compatible system. Cosina (Zeiss/Voigt), do this, so why can't Fuji?
Regarding Canon, not only do Fuji make nice sensors, but they also make great glass too...
Bring it on! I just hope the sensor they make is at least APS-C and preferably full frame.

John seems to be the only other person I've come across that acknowledges the GH2's superior sensor. What's up with that?

Fuji might be the company that finally entices me into a mirrorless system. Neither m4/3 or the Samsung system do it for me. The Nikon 1 is very interesting but about 25% too expensive. So I haven't jumped yet.

I've always had a soft spot for Fuji, and a Fuji mirrorless that incorporates their corporate DNA would be very hard to resist.

(I'm hoping for a camera with a native Fuji lens mount, plus adapters for M-, K-, and F-mount lenses. I think it's likely that I'll be disappointed. C'est la vie.)

really? One camera that sells 300k units is "on a roll?"

I'd like to remind you of Leica... don't remember which one, but one of the compacts they got from Panasonic... D-Lux 3 most probably. They were proud of that little camera because it was the first camera they sold more than a hundred thousand of. For them, that was "on a roll". It may not be the numbers the biggest manufacturers sell, but still... The same with Fuji. For them, 300K is "on a roll".

I have to agree with Thom, working on the open mount of micro four thirds would make the most sense to me. An M mount could also be interesting. I am intreged by the sensor claims, and am looking forward to seeing what they are going to offer.

The hybrid viewfinder definitely had some fantastic advantages, and showed a real innovative approach and was a leap forward from SLR's.

One of the most important aspects of mirror less cameras for me, are the wonderful electronic viewfinders, live histograms in the viewfinder, seeing the crop ratio, 100% views and composing square.

Mind you the bottom line is really the glass... If it is only a small handful of new mount lenses, I doubt it will catch my attention. I do want lens choice, fast primes, and sharp, tack sharp lenses.

Fuji is part of 4/3, but 4/3 is different than m4/3. The organic CMOS they are trying to build was focused at small efficient pixels, and no microlenses, seems perfect for this application. But I think it is still early to see it in production.
As far as sensor production goes Fuji joined forces with a big player - Toshiba. I am awaiting the teardown of Nikon 1, and expect a Toshiba/Fuji sensor inside.

Thom, actually it *does* work out to my advantage! If the Fuji pans out, I get one; if not, I get m4/3 or a NEX7.

re: Len Metcalf wwho said "Mind you the bottom line is really the glass" (and I am not singling him out, since this isn't in any way an original premise he's presenting), I'd say that glass is down the chain in what goes into a good photograph. In my estimation, if one were to analyze any good/great photograph, the vast majority would still be good/great with a crap lens (assuming the same focal length/aperture). I guess this is related to Ctein's essay about how nobody cares how hard you worked. pixel/print peepers may notice, but in the aesthetic sense it just doesn't matter (I'm excepting areas of photography that are technical in nature, where aesthetics are not the paramount driver such as architecture/scientific etc.).
I know it is not a popular position, but I'm of the belief that the camera is more important than the lens for this reason. But the qualities of the camera that are important aren't what are usually hyped in camera marketing. To me, ergonomics are the key thing to choose a camera by (whether film or digital). The easier it is for the photographer to operate the camera, the better the chance of getting the shot.

Patrick

Probably the first photography blog post I've seen to credit Google translate. I dug up this link for you about an article I read not too long ago which you'll find interesting in case you didn't know how it worked:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/how-google-translate-works-2353594.html

@Mitaka:

Fuji is a member of the 4/3 organization, which includes all instantiations of 4/3: this is the business organization behind 4/3, rather than technical. m4/3 is for the tasks of this organization simply part of the 4/3 organization...

Farhiz,
That's seriously fascinating. Thank you.

Mike

If it's true that the quality will surpass that of 35mm, whatever that means, it is unlikely that Fuji will be using a 4/3 sensor in this camera, as there is no way on earth that they could achieve that goal with such a small sensor. I am a Pentax user who is eager to see what the new Pentax Ricoh union will bring, but I am quite keen on the cameras that Fuji has been producing of late. The forthcoming X10 may be the first digital compact that I will even consider.

Rob

According to internet sources (the folks who twitter for Fuji, apparently), the camera will NOT be a 4/3 sensor size. :-(

Sigh. YAECM. Double-plus ungood.

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