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Wednesday, 27 April 2022


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Re: Canon’s long-rumored fear of Fujifilm may have originated outside consumer cameras. The two have been fierce long-time rivals in the broadcast/ENG camera gear market long before digital still photography market materialized.

Re: Instax, aside from the dedicated cameras it’s a fun, Polaroid-like way to print images from your phone. I use the square format wireless portable printer quite often.

I lament that Fuji has discontinued their peel-apart instant film pack business. It was the best game in town for my old Polaroid Land camera. I still have a dozen packs of (now-expired) FP film just waiting for the right moment. 😂

Hi Mike,

Could there be another, if minor factor affecting sales of Fuji digital cameras: lasting product satisfaction?
I'm still using the original X100, which still produces wonderful files.
It's my main personal digital camera, I know it very well, and since I am not a professional I have felt no need - despite occasionally testing out its successors and others - to replace it with faster and better. But then I could be just unwilling to give up the safety of the familiar.
(and my "backup" is the now ancient XT-10 with the very nice standard zoom.)

An interesting article by Mike Smith, but the comments at PetaPixel get quite toxic. I'll stick to The Online Photographer, thank you.

“Instax flies under the radar for me.”
With the fairly recent development of a holder/developer unit that takes Instax Wide for 4X5 cameras my interest was piqued. Instax Wide has a *just* large enough image area (62x99mm) to be viewed. Not as large as the late lamented peel apart film, but not the credit card size of Instax Mini either. This back and a 135mm’ish lens on a press camera could make a decent setup, bit narrow angle of view to be sure but still a lot of control.

PS; Lomography developed and sells this unit. Not sure of the quality and reliability yet, it has not been available very long.

Mike. I heard this on Shark Tank (TV show, featuring venture capitalists)
Pioneers get slaughtered Settlers prosper.

Postage sive 2.4x1.8 Instak has little to do with adults, it is a teen party favorite. A way to document goings on, sorta hard copy selfys.

"Engaging," yes. Thanks!

This was not news but good to see again:

"Fuji’s pitch is that full-frame is the worst of both worlds; if you want great image quality in a svelte camera, go for the APS-C X-Series. If you are serious about image quality, the medium format GFX is the answer."

It occurred to me while reading this that ILC makers who bet on "cropped" sensors and those who bet on FF were both right, and both losers--the pie seems to me to be shrinking rather evenly.

So Instax is giving people something digital cameras do not. I suspect it's simple fun as much as the tactile, not-perfectly-reproducible artifact. Those cameras are basically point-and-shoot, and most have plastic lenses. Maybe Instax shooters are all small children? Whatever their age, I'm sure most have phones close by if needed.

I can't help seeing parallels to the music industry (I think TOP mentioned it) that vinyl accounted for more album sales in 2021 than either CD or streaming albums. (Though album sales are a shrinking share of music consumption vs single streams or downloads.) And the other surprise--new vinyl releases outsold reissue LPs.


I have been shooting lots of actual film lately with Nikon F3, FE2 and a couple of Mamiya 7ii's. Do you think there is any possibility that some of these companies come out with new 35mm or 120mm bodies? They are all making these digital cameras that look like retro rangefinders and SLR's. Might they go full retro and make a new film body??? The experience of shooting film at this point has been VERY satisfying in ways I'm still trying to wrap my head around.

As I recall, Fuji licensed Kodak’s instant film tech and just to be safe licensed from Polaroid as well. Kodak was too arrogant to license anything photographic from anyone and thus got sued out of the instant photography business leaving Fuji. Fuji eventually added some Polaroid tech to the instax film and came up with a good product. The Kodak instant gift was just hideous and almost immediately faded. Come to think of it, Kodak’s consumer color film and print materials in the 70s was pretty awful with the exception of Kodachrome.

I wish Fuji hadn’t dropped their peel apart instant film.

This is a honor well deserved. Many "photographers" have posted have posted snarky comments on Fuji's recent efforts questioning what they could possibly know about making cameras. Remember the old saying on not studying history and repeating it? There are too many photographers and especially bloggers who are blissfully unaware of Fuji's background.

In the seventies, I worked for a commercial photo studio, and often clients specified certain shots be made with a 4x5 or 8x10 camera, to get the quality of an 8x10 chrome. (remember, before digital, the playboy playmate of the month fold out was shot on 8x10 chrome) The best lenses we had for those cameras we not made in Germany, they were made in Japan by Fuji. Remembe3r the Texas Leicas? Yup, Fuji. And most of all to me, my Hasselblad xPan. I should have never sold it, but I just didn't use that much film after I went digital. It was sold under the Hasselblad name in much of the world, but it was available in Japan under the name of the designer and maker, Fuji. They did the whole thing, camera body, lens, everything. Superb lenses, highly reliable body, Unfortunately, too few labs could make prints from the negs.

And don't forget, a lot of what you see on TV was shot using Fuji lenses. So don't look down on Fuji. They have been innovative, and have made some good business moves.

Interesting observation for sure, especially given that most non-photographers are likely even unaware of Fuji being a camera brand and also given the perspective that this is the 50th year anniversary of the Polaroid SX-70 which was clearly their “moonshot” product but gone less than a decade later (at least it’s original form...)

FujiFILM is a great name!
I shoot Instax wide with a Lomograflok back on my 4x5 cameras and enjoy it. Better than the current Polaroid films IMO. I also print with a square Instax printer off my phone. Fun stuff.

I gave up DSLR FF with Fuji’s X-Pro cameras and their x100 series are my handy cameras. I only need medium format and APS-C sizes. I am a Fujifilm fan girl for sure!

Quite successful with young people, my daughter has one. Reasons for success: immediacy of results away from the smartphone; prints for personal souvenir; Kodak's recipe - you click and we do the rest.

This reminds me of the fact that the largest and most successful car manufacturer in the world is the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

I am rather impressed with the portrait the gentleman sent. The colors are quite nice. A pleasant looking man. I’m not able to indulge in any new photography possibilities, especially film, but this post and the commenter’s picture really piqued my interest!
This is why I love TOP! Stuff like this. Keep it up! 👍😁

Apparently Instax camers and film are popular with people who journal.

". . . the X and GFX lines all of us are so familiar with!"

all should read most, perhaps even many.

Just a data point from a persnickety reader. My last Fuji was an F30, well ahead of the other minis of the time. Last used 13 years ago.

The models you mention are all Greek to me. I'm FF and µ4/3, No Mister In Between

I shoot maybe 10 rolls of 120 400TX per year in my elderly Mamiya RB67. Apparently some folks are buying these with the Polaroid back included, and are dismayed to discover that there's no Polaroid or Fuji that doesn't cost 100 bucks on eBay and is 10 years out of date. So there are now a few cottage industries building Instax backs for the RB.
Also, to Hugh Crawford. I just found a couple of Kodak Instant pix down in my archives (cardboard boxes)and there's no noticeable fading. Unless it's my memory fading, too.

Little to no interest in any Fujifilm product. My 4x5 can shoot Chromes which are available with ISOs up to 800. Scanned 4x5 Chromes have a look you can't get with digital.

On the subject of unexpectedly successful operations, it used to be said that the world’s largest manufacturer of tires was - Lego.

My opinion and perhaps my future investment would be just purchase the portable FUJI Instax printer and shoot with the lastest iPhone ? The image quality from the phone is very good. It eliminates the poor quality from the Instax camera lenses plus you have 3 lenses on the latest phone plus just download Snapseed and you can edit before printing, yee ha.

I’ve had three Fujinon lenses for 4x5 - all have been superb even though I didn’t mind-meld with the 90/8 and traded it for my beloved Rolleiflex, then buying a Nikkor 75/4.5 for a wide. All my enlarging lenses are Fujinon.

The Lomo graflok back for Instax Wide is very attractive - I can see working with it and the Fujinon 240A/9 on the Chamonix.

Fuji did build SLR's. I own three of them, a ST-801, ST-901 and AZ-1. Sold under the brand Fujica.

I bought them in the early 70's and have a 28mm, 55mm, 55mm macro, 135mm and a 28-70mm zoom. All of them are labeled EBC using the M42 thread mount. All of them still work.

I got into the Pentax's I own today, after my Fujica's were stolen in a burglary. They were found and returned (in working condition) five years later.

[They did make SLRs, but the point was that they never made in-house *digital* SLRs. --Mike

I wonder if the author had any inside reports or data to support his note that Fuji’s digital cameras may be making a net loss? Some of the comments in the PetaPixel article: what is it about the internet that brings out the troll and anus in so many people?

To me, the never-mentioned genius of the APS/C Fujis is that the lenses mount to a DSLR-like body (the XT's), a rangefinder-like body (XPro) and the 'digital brick' style bodies (the XE's), something Leica or Nikon or anyone else ever accomplished.

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