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Monday, 24 July 2017

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You've got Trouble, my friend, and that starts with "T" and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for Pool....

Good suggestion but Fujifilm is way ahead of you...by a couple of years! Although it's in an updated form. They's published an interactive electronic "X" magazine via Apple's iBooks for a while. Of course it's mainly a marketing tool rather than a fan publication. (i.e. It's free.). But it does offer some interesting articles occasionally and does feature enthusiast material.

I wonder how effective the old Leica-Love style publications model would hold up with today's more youthful (18-35) target market. I don't think it would work very well at all. Camera culture is largely non-existent for young people, and perhaps rightly so.

An aside: I recently blew $20 on a copy of issue 1 ofKodachrome Magazine. Themed as "Art - Film - Analog Culture" it's a lovely but very strange muddle that seems mainly aimed at promoting resurrection of chemical filmmaking. I don't think I'll be up for issue 2, if it's ever published.

A camera company needs some time to establish the system, build a network of acccomplished photographers, and a suitable body of work for such a book to be published and have success as well as credibility. Its important to remember that the first interchangeable lens Fujifilm X system has only been on the market for five years. Agree that the time is now probably right for Fujifilm to consider putting a "Fujilfilm X System" book together.

They have been publishing for some time now, a fully interactive magazine, Fujifilm X Magazine

http://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/digital_cameras/fujifilm_x_magazine/index.html

Some Japanese companies even made annual books as promotion material. I have a few about Nikkor and Pentax lenses from the eighties. Can’t read a word of it because it is in Japanese but the photographs and the printing are excellent. I also have The OM Systems Lens Handbook, a Zeiss Only book and a few others in this Mini-Collection. It would be nice if camera companies would restore this tradition, but it is a very expensive hobby. Don’t see this happen.
For me it does not matter if companies use print or digital to present themselves. I have the feeling though that the real problem is that marketing departments and advertising agencies are choosing the images. The exception is Leica, as wrote before in my reaction to your article last week. The LFI magazine and website are inspiring, no matter what camera you use.

"I just have always had this sense that the publication of such a book is a sign that a particular system is in the ascendancy,..."

Books are -very- expensive to produce, even bad ones. And they take time to produce. In today's digital era where camera models change almost annually such a book would be outdated by press time.

No, Fuji's interactive e-zine is absolutely the right approach for such soft marketing material today.

Speaking of books, how's yours coming along?

Seems to me the reason the likes of Leica are able to inspire books about their cameras while Fuiji are not may have something to do with the transient nature of digital products and their customers as opposed to the longer lasting nature and devotion felt towards analog products. Let's face it digital is fly by night whereas as long as we have film it and your camera can last more or less for ever.

Do I sense a social class destinction here with pool, golf and cameras? Rich v. less rich, readers v. talkers, educated v. less so? It may pay to market to one class, but not the other.

Just learn the language: https://www.amazon.co.jp/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?__mk_ja_JP=カタカナ&url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Fujifilm&rh=n%3A465392%2Ck%3AFujifilm

There is an independant magazine offered in print form and PDF called Fuji X Passion. Each issue has several photographers featured with articles. While not quite what you are suggesting, it is non the less a good start on something dedicated.
Check out the website for more info and the blog:
https://www.fujixpassion.com/
I too would love to see Fujifilm pick up your idea and publish a printed magazine.

"Maybe Fuji should hire Gordon to write their book. You're too busy keeping us informed and entertained."

Yo, Jim! Were you implying that Mike is busy and I am not? If so, don't confirm. I would prefer to consider what you wrote a very generous compliment.

"Digital" is not a magazine. You can't swat flies with it. You can't whap a spider. Without electricity you can't read it. You can call it what you want but if you want a magazine you print it, take it with you and read or look at it. Even works well when you stop to photograph something and you lay the magazine on the hood or roof of the vehicle so you can rest the camera or lens mounting foot (400 f/2.8) on it so you don't scrape or scratch the finish.

"Mike replies: Forgive me if I can't say this entirely politely, but I was talking about...a book. You know, stack of printed paper sheets, bound together along one edge?"
But aren't you the one that is always telling us you mostly read books on your iPhone/iPad? Bound together along one edge on the iPad, I think not. Anyway I do forgive you especially because I have saved you from being impolite to Mr Tanaka a couple of comments later. BTW you cannot put yourself forward as the editor of this work as you are changing to Sony :-)

Didn't Canon once publish a big book all about their (then current) lenses? Maybe Fuji can do something similar

I've still got my copy of Joseph Cooper's 1974 Nikon Handbook, along with all those pre-AI lenses I bought back then. I don't refer to it very often, but when I need to, it's invaluable...

Golf has a stronger literature than pool because it's a much more complicated game -- it's multi-variable calculus compared to plane geometry. The whole point of pool is that the playing field is absolutely the same from game to game: same balls, same field size, same angles off the rails, etc. The only small concession to individuality is the amount of chalk put on the cue, and the cue lengths and weights -- but for the player, those don't usually change from round to round. In golf, nothing is ever exactly the same. Except for the putter, you rarely would use the same club twice in a row. Your lie is different each time, and is different than your opponent's. Your opponent can, in some cases, win purely through luck and good breaks, and you have to accept that. In pool, you're playing against a table; in golf, you're playing against your own fears, which are considerably more complex than the surface of a table. IMHO.

How's your Japanese? I could send you a book or two if you're willing to struggle with the language.

I have both the Leica manual and the Speed Graphic manual- "Graphic Graphlex Photography" by Morgan & Lester, 8th Edition, 1947.

It too used the anthology format. Chapter 3, "Your Lens" by R Kingslake. Professor Kingslake used plenty of math, mostly basic algebra, to explain the properties of large format lenses. Chapter 5 "A Design for Printing" was by this then fairly unknown California teacher- Ansel Adams.

My Speed Graphic, a gallon of Diafine & this book was an advanced education in photography that has served me well since I discovered it.

Personally way back when, Pentax had published books or had somebody publish for them (Focal Press?) their publications were superb as was their cameras.
Now without owning any form of camera (aside from a $50.00 used point and shoot) wish I had stayed with Pentax.
Sadly Pentax is no longer the company it once was, for many reasons.
However could apply the same criteria to many other photographic hardware manufacturers.

Don't you think golf and pool are the same game played on vastly different scales? Oooh, I've done it now....Teasing, of course.

I know books are wonderful, Mike, but when it comes to enthusiasts expressing enthusiasm video and social media are the dominant paradigms. Books, lovely as they are, just aren't sharable enough to be worth the investment on today's scale.

The beauty of enthusiasm is that it's infectious. For a marketer, that infection needs to spread as easily as possible. Digital enthusiasts consume YouTube channels, Vimeo accounts, Facebook posts, blogs and Instagram feeds to the same end.

Actually, this talk about the digital X magazine has got me thinking. I've never liked 'digital magazines' – magazines are a print format that don't translate well to digital.

Leica still publish the LFI and M magazines, which are complimented by digital channels that aren't 'online magazines'. Something that's really amazing is how some work sings on screen and dies on the page, but other work can be flat on screen and is deep and moving in print. I'm an avid consumer of both, and each makes the other one better.

"Fuji would do well to find a writer / photographer / editor with long experience to edit their volume."

My thought is that Rico Pfirstinger would be a good editor.

And of course, it would be great to have chapters from notable X-Photographers like Zack Arias, Kevin Mullins, Damien Lovegrove, Jonas Rask, and Marco Larousse.

Hi Mike
A book about Fuji? About their past? Maybe about their LF lenses? They were good, but not better than others. Just marketing? About new bodies? They are new. They are very, very good, but essentially "only" concepts of the past with new technology inside. Yes, a bit innovation, but not as much as others. Ok, maybe as much, but not more. A couple of bodies and a couple of lenses. That is not a system in tha sense as Canikon, Hasselblad or Sinar have been. The bodies are very good, have a couple of interesting features, but also some which are not as good as other brands offer. I like to look at them, they remind me of film days of old, but that is not enough for me. When it comes to the question should I buy one, I must pass. A book about what exactly - could you please expand?

The first "Lens Work" book was for the FD system (well the New FD system to be precise)!

Aren't you being a little dismissive of the efforts from the fujixpassion and fujilove teams? Their publications are wonderful fan orientated examples of what you're suggesting.

Re: 'and pool (billiards)'—

Not even remotely the same game.

[Some people know pool as "billiards." If you're referring to 3-cushion, it's essentially extinct, and is virtually never what anyone these days means when they say "billiards." As I'm sure you well know.... --Mike]


Indeed a good idea, I remember getting several versions of the EF Lens Book from Canon. The latest I got a few years back was version III, and it was available as a PDF download.

But who would buy an actual book? Not many, I suspect. So, I think that to complement the existing "E-zines", a PDF book would be great to have.

As an aside to Ken Tanaka's aside, I have in my eclectic book collection a book by Kodak that features quite a few photographs by Ansel Adams - in colour. I found it remaindered, I think, in a village in the Rheingau in Germany. My goodness.

As a long time Fuji shooter, I'm sure there's a story to be told.
As for pool, I think it's a social class thing, one being played largely at the club (or at least in public), the other at the "pool hall" or backroom of the bar. You could argue that pool is far more accessible than golf as well.

Hey, how about a Fujifilm Festival ?!! Looks like an old-fashioned love-in! I'm buying tye-dye pants for this!

You are so right. I pored over my copies of both the Olympus and Canon books, dealing of the lenses I could buy. I feel the same way about my Fuji XT1 that I did about my OM1. However, I recall, back in the 1960's regularly borrowing a book from the library called " The Pentax Way". I dreamed of owning one of those whilst my father always wanted a Rollieflex!

How many of the "milennials" buy books??
I was told this weekend that if I want to get closer to my grandson I need to text him rather than phone.
What are the stats on book sales? fyi I just bought a photo book last week. I am 80

Make sure you visit FujiLove and check out our magazine, we have an ongoing series of articles on individual Fujinon lenses by Jonas Rask being published on a monthly basis.

Oh boy, not good. Just like Leica, Fujifilm cameras will become collector cameras once you start the book nonsense. Prices will sky-rocket for old and new cameras.

You really want that?

Just a thought. ;(

A Fuji book? Why? Do you think that Fuji cameras have the storied history that Leica has? If you said a book about Nikon cameras, perhaps.

Maybe golf has better books, but pool has better movies!

Interesting idea and yes I think you are right. I'd buy a Fuji book. There are a couple coffee-table books about Apple, and when I owned one, I collected a couple devoted to the (new) Mini Cooper.

Fuji published a book in Australia upon the release of the X100. It featured work of individual photographers shooting with the X100.

Leica has its 'We were first and always will be' badge. Nikon has its 'Worn around the necks of war photographers' badge.

I agree that there is a Fuji mystique, but I don't see that Fuji has sufficient of an edge. The S3 on a Nikon body had a following, and the X100 series has a cult following, but for the brand as a whole? It needs to be seen outside of its user base. And not by a celebrity. Queen Elizabeth II is unlikely to desert her Leica, but maybe President Macron or President Trump snapping the crowds could lift it onto its pedestal?

Leica in it's film days was a lot more accessible - you lusted after one, maybe started collecting magazines, reading books, becoming familiar with the lenses and cameras, and then, after saving, you spent too much on a used one. A lot of money, but in the range of possible, if not wise. Now? There's a much larger separation, and the knowledge that by the time you could afford one, it's not classic, it's just...old.

Fuji should do a lens book - let the cameras fade, they're more ephemeral. The lenses would make for a great browsable book, tho.

Mike, so said:
"So far, nobody has been creating much of a literature about any digital cameramaker or its system"
Not true, the olympus users created books and Lens guides. Speaking from the days of the original four thirds system. There was an active user in the UK, Braim Moseley, I think. Workshops, photo walks and books were released in the early days. The user group even managed discounts on software. I may still have a digital pdf version of one of the books. The I think I have was a photo theme book.
Olympus also now has active magazines, and lens books for the micro four thirds system. But I haven't keep up.

Looks like the book you wanted is has been published:

https://fujilove.com/x-series-unlimited-by-dan-bailey/?mc_cid=f34cad3399&mc_eid=28501410f2

Remember that Leica was not only promoting their cameras and their 'brand', but the whole concept of 'miniature' photography; that is, a small, portable camera system that could produce results better than those using 'traditional' (big camera) methods. Fuji's cameras (although, apparently, admirable) are in no sense disruptive of standard 21st-century photographic methods, which the Leica certainly was in the 1930s- when the Leica Manual was first an important teaching and marketing tool.

I have seen many books dedicated to one brand of camera in Japan. I have seen one on Sigma Foveon cameras another on Ricoh GR series.
They have many pages of history, interviews with the development team, some notable users like Daido on GR and a complete introduction to features and accessories.
But only in Japanese.

Maybe it's a analog-analog and digital-digital matchup. Film and paper are dying together, aren't they? Digital cameras are computers with lenses, and it's easy to love them but hard to warm up to them enough to honor them with paper. And I agree with the comment about loyalties and change.

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