It’s no secret that camera sales have been declining for several years. The global pandemic has unsurprisingly significantly impacted the camera industry. Some companies have had bigger declines than others, and I think over the coming couple of years we’ll see some camera makers restructure, put themselves up for sale, or go out of business altogether. What should Fujifilm do to minimize declines and maximize profits in these tough times?
I’m not an industry insider or business expert. There aren’t any good reasons why Fujifilm should listen to me on this topic (other than I’m one of their customers). Besides, they have a pretty darn good track record for dealing with change within the industry and economy. Fujifilm doesn’t need my help. This article is more for my own enjoyment and perhaps yours. It’s fun to consider and discuss this topic. I don’t expect anything else to come from this.
Camera sales have been declining since the collapse of the compact camera market. Cellphone camera technology has come a long ways, which has rendered point-and-shoot cameras obsolete. The casual amateur snap-shooter uses their phone now to capture pictures, and has no need or interest in another camera. Before cellphone cameras had decent image quality, camera manufacturers were selling cheap automatic cameras to these folks. Lots and lots of them. But now that market is all dried up.
The more serious shooters are still buying cameras, but cameras have reached a point of diminishing returns. Digital technology changes quickly, but if a camera is already really good, these improvements have less of a practical application. For instance, if a photographer finds that his or her camera’s autofocus is already more than good enough for their photography, a quicker autofocus system won’t likely tempt that photographer to upgrade. If a photographer finds that his or her camera already has enough resolution for the size they print, more resolution won’t likely tempt that photographer to upgrade. In other words, photographers by-and-large are keeping and using their gear for longer than they did 10 years ago, or even five. Digital is still disposable, but it is becoming less so, or at least photographers are beginning to realize that they don’t need to “upgrade” as frequently as they used to.
The camera industry isn’t Fujifilm’s main business. After the film collapse, Fujifilm diversified, and now they’re a pharmaceutical and cosmetics company that also happens to sell cameras. Their camera arm, which is just a small part of their business model, is doing better than many other camera makers right now. Still, the current market is impacting Fujifilm, and will continue to do so, which means Fujifilm might need to consider some changes.
Fujifilm has several camera models that are essentially the same, but look different and have only small feature differences. Fujifilm should consider ways to either further differentiate their similar models or combine them into one. The X-T200 and the X-A7 have nearly identical features, and having both models seems redundant. The X-Pro3 was made more unique to further separate it from the X-T3, and that worked out well, I believe. I look at the X-E line, which I love. My first Fujifilm camera was an X-E1. The X-E3 is so similar to the X-T20, aside from camera body design, so what differentiates the two besides shape? Fujifilm should consider discontinuing the X-E line, or do something to the eventual X-T40 or X-E4 to better differentiate the models. For example, if Fujifilm added IBIS to the X-T40 or made the X-E4 a black-and-white only camera (the “X-E Acros” is what I’d call it), that would separate them, and Fujifilm would have unique models. I think, alternatively, the X-T40 could basically be transitioned into a higher-end model, and serve as the (eventual) X-T5 without IBIS. The X-H line, now that the X-T4 has IBIS, is also redundant, so the X-H2 would need something to make it stand out, such as 8K video. Since the X-T4 has been so well received, I’m not sure how much of a market there is for an X-H2, but Fujifilm insists that this camera is in the works. It will be interesting to see it when it comes out, perhaps next year, and how well it does.
Fujifilm has situated itself as the leader in digital medium-format. It seems like overnight they went from not-even-in-that-market to top-dog, thanks to the success of the GFX line. Still, it’s more of a niche market than anything mainstream. I think what’s missing is a “budget” rangefinder-style 100-megapixel camera without IBIS. Essentially a GFX-50R, but with the 100MP sensor of the GFX100 inside. Maybe Fujifilm should consider adding IBIS to whatever camera replaces the GFX-50S. I have no idea how profitable this line has been for Fujifilm, and if it will stand the test of time, but I think it was smart of Fujifilm to jump into a market that they could easily dominate.
Something else that I think Fujifilm should consider is replacing cameras less frequently. When they release a camera and then replace it with a new model one year later, that’s too soon. Two years is too soon. Three years should be a minimum between updated cameras, and four to five years is even better. I know this might sound counter to what consumers want, but X-Trans III cameras, such as the X100F, X-T2, X-T20 and X-E3, are still very excellent! The X-E3 hasn’t been replaced yet, and the X100F was only recently replaced after three years, but the X-T2 is three models old now, and there’s already “talk” of an upcoming X-T40, while the X-T30 isn’t even a year-and-a-half old yet. It’s better to get the most out of a model, then replace it with something that’s a significant improvement over the previous edition. There’s a latin phrase festina lente, which means “make haste slowly.” Fujifilm needs to keep pushing the envelope and strive to produce more technologically advanced cameras, but not be too eager to release new models that only have small improvements over previous versions. If Fujifilm were to update the firmware on the X-T3 and X-T30 to breathe new excitement into these models, these cameras could still be sold for another two years easily.
There’s one more important point that I’d like to make, and this relates to Fuji X Weekly. I think Fujifilm needs to focus even more on JPEGs. I’ve discovered that there’s a huge community of photographers who love the camera-made JPEGs produced by Fujifilm cameras, whether straight-out-of-camera or with X RAW Studio. The film simulations—a brilliant idea by Fujifilm—were just the tip of the iceberg, and now film simulation recipes are all the rage. There’s something big here, bigger than I think Fujifilm realizes. Yes, Fujifilm has demonstrated their commitment to the JPEG with the X100V, X-Pro3 and X-T4, but they need to continue their commitment on future models. This is a fairly unique angle that Fujifilm has. While other camera makers do, in fact, have some nice JPEGs, Fujifilm is perhaps the only brand with a cult following based on it. They should absolutely capitalize on that, more so than they have been.
I doubt that Fujifilm will read this article, and I’m even more doubtful that they’ll make any internal changes based on it. I think it’s sound advice, but what do I know? Whether or not Fujifilm does any of the things I suggest, I think they’ll be just fine and will weather this “storm” without too much trouble. The guys running the company seem pretty smart to me, and are doing just fine without my advice. It will be fascinating to see exactly what happens within the camera industry in 2021 and beyond, and what Fujifilm does to find success during these tough times.
Interesting commentary. I really like your idea that Fuji should really focus on their jpegs. That aspect makes their cameras really unique and fun.
I appreciate the feedback! Thanks!
“There’s a latin phrase festina lente, which means “make haste slowly.” Fujifilm needs to keep pushing the envelope and strive to produce more technologically advanced cameras, but not be too eager to release new models that only have small improvements over previous versions. If Fujifilm were to update the firmware on the X-T3 and X-T30 to breathe new excitement into these models, these cameras could still be sold for another two years easily.”
Thanks! I appreciate it!
Based on reactions and videos on YouTube it could be a serious and good suggestion for FujiFilm to first and for all reconsider their production plants in China. Consumers welcome the products made in Japan, but increasingly less so the ones made in China. That could become a serious thread with what’s happening in China and in Hong Kong. X-Trans is and will remain to be a great part of the FujiFilm success, but less so if full frame cameras become lighter, smaller and less expensive. That is where a real thread lies.
A couple good points. It doesn’t bother me that some products are made in China, but it seems that “made in Japan” equates to a more consistent quality control. That might just be my imagination. As full-frame becomes lighter, smaller and cheaper, Fujifilm will have to find more ways to make their products attractive to photographers.
Interesting point of view Ritchie and some great suggestions. I’m sure the Fuji team has already some big plans ahead. What I’d like to see is probably a more minimalistic approach. I’m not saying they should copy the Ricoh design but maybe concentrate on just a few features in one camera but do them to 120% and with a reasonable price range lol
I like that idea! I’d love to see an X80 (basically an X70 with an X-Trans IV sensor) with a minimalistic design.
Please w/ a EVF too!!!
That would indeed be great!
I as probably many wonder why Fuji doesn’t take on the GRII full frontal. The X70/XF10 are their unofficial answer to the Ricoh. But no X-Trans brands them as “low end” and I guess they weren’t allowed to perform on par with the X100s.
Now imagine a GRII like (or even smaller) pocketable X-Trans Fuji, with the balls to be full auto (in a sophisticated way, with various full auto modes, like highlight priority) and JPEG-only (yes, I’m serious), with latest Fuji AF capabilities – at the same price as the GRII.
Cannot edit: I was thinking of the GRIII:)
Fujifilm did have the X70, which had an X-Trans II sensor. It’s my understanding that Sony pulled the carpet from under Fujifilm by suddenly discontinuing the sensor right when they started selling the camera, and as a result production was abruptly discontinued and fewer cameras were made compared to other models. It’s also my understanding that X-Trans III sensors are too hot to fit into a small camera body. The X-Trans IV runs cooler, but still has a heat issue, especially for video. I think that’s why Fujifilm went with a Bayer sensor on the XF10, but that model had disappointing sales. I do think there’s a market for such a camera, but it won’t come easily, I believe.
Regarding Full-frame, this reminded me of a DPreview article I read today. I put a quote below, but essentially it says that the magnificent camera producers of Japan have in fact, for the past couple of decades, been just smashing each other with technology improvements, rather than taking a wider view and recognising competitive forces like smartphones. I think for Fuji to go FF would be just more of that – better for them to make a much lower price version of the GFX (and reasonably priced lenses) for us poor enthusiasts and thereby leap-frog the over-stuffed full-frame market.
“More fundamentally, Masamichi [Olympus chief designer] believes the camera industry itself is to blame, as ‘excessive competition’ has created a fast-moving, unsustainable market that will inevitably lead to camera manufacturers paying the ultimate price:
‘Smartphones are not the only reason Japanese camera makers, who had established an oligopoly nearly everywhere around the world, have come to this point. Japanese industry, which has a penchant for competing against its own products, can also blame itself.’
Masamichi references an unsourced quote he says was shared 11 years ago by Hiroshi Hamada, the former Chief Operating Officer of Hoya, who had acquired Pentax around the time of his tenure:
‘Digital camera companies intend to strangle their rivals through excessive competition, but in the end, they’ll strangle themselves’”
That’s a fascinating quote you found. It seems very true from my perspective. Thank you for sharing! I do think if Fujifilm made a sub-$3,000 GFX camera, that would be tempting for a lot of full-frame shooters. Not sure how practical that might be.
With newer models from canon and SONY, XT-40 is in a tough spot with its capability and price range.
I think the X-T30 is the best-value camera in the Fujifilm lineup. It’s the right balance of features and price. But it does have a lot of stiff competition. I could see Fujifilm giving the X-T40 IBIS, or not giving it IBIS but tweaking the design to be closer to the X-T4 (perhaps weather sealed), to make it more competitive and to further separate it from the X-E line. I don’t know if that’s the right move, but it’s something for Fujifilm to possibly consider.
All I wish, with all these almost toxic competition, good camera brands don’t die. These major companies should stand together and fight with the main enemy. (I am watching Avatar-the last air-bender right now)
It would be interesting to see them work together more. Not sure what that might look like, but it would be fascinating nonetheless.
It’s a shame Fuji probably won’t read your entry, as one thing all the camera companies could learn is the value of input from product users. And I don’t mean a select few who happen to share corporate’s ideas and simply applaud anything they come up with.
Thanks! You never know, maybe they will read it. Who knows? I hope they do!
One of the key barriers that companies like Fuji and the MFT manufacturers have to clear is the public’s understanding of where ‘value’ is derived from. for many years FF cameras justified their position and cost because of the high cost of manufacturing sensors. That is no longer the case, sensors make up a far smaller proportion of a camera’s overall cost. I’m sure that fact, in part, sat behind fuji’s move into MF.
We now have a situation where entry level ff cameras are cheaper than premium units from Fuji not to mention the offerings from MFT such as the OM-D E-M1X. Promoting the virtues of smaller more compact systems will be key to Fuji prospering. I would disagree about the view that XH line should be scrapped. It’s SLR like function is appealing to many long term SLR users looking to transition from traditional to mirrorless.
I use an XPRO2 and love it. But I also use a Lumix G9 and love it, for what it can do. It doesn’t have tactile ‘analogue’ interface and brilliant evf/ovf of the XPRO2, but it’s built like a brick, has (for me) perfect ergonomics, I can carry a full set of four quality WR zoom lenses covering the range from 16mm to 800mm equivalents in one Tenba BYOB bag that slips into a 25Ltr day pack. The G9’s DSLR like feel and layout made moving from Canon easy and I think the XH fuji can fulfil the same function.
I agree on the JPEG point, I like many people have been a devoted RAW processor for years and perhaps historically the limits of digital tech made RAW processing necessary to get the best output, but I find using the XPRO’s film simulations a fantastic approach. It ‘front loads’ the work; choosing the simulation and exposure settings to get it right out of camera, rather than ‘rear loading’ with massive amounts of post processing. I just wish the G9 allowed a similar way of creating profiles, that remains a RAW shooting process.
Thanks for the input and thoughtful response! I love the X-Pro2. It’s such a great camera! It’s my understanding that the X-H1 didn’t sell especially well until the price was lowered. Now that the X-T4 has IBIS and improved video, Fujifilm will have to carefully consider what will separate the X-T4 and X-H2, and how much consumers are willing to pay for it. I hope that it is incredibly successful for them.
The follow up for X-H1 will be a very big problem and or risk for FujiFilm given the fact it may or must have a new and bigger sensor that could make all existing glass a problem (given it’s limitations concerning resolution).
I actually suggested a year ago that Fujifilm should consider putting in an APS-H X-Trans sensor into an X-H camera. No new lenses necessary.
I would like to see more integration between your phone and the camera. I would love to be able to download and update recipes on the camera from the phone. My X-E3 only has about 6-7 slots. If the phone could store more and you can select which ones to send to camera it would save a huge time having to manually enter them prior to a journey. With the unlimited storage in a phone it can be the perfect companion to store items like custom white balances, recipes, and other information to swap out of the camera quickly. Currently I have a google doc library with these and I have to manually update the camera either on the fly or thing ahead before I leave the house. Having them on my phone and just tap download to camera would be awesome. It would also strengthen the power of recipes.
That’s such a brilliant idea! The integration between phone and camera is mediocre at best. The Cam Remote app could be so much better. It’s adequate for the most part, but far from great. The idea of storing Q presets that could be uploaded to the camera from the app is genius, and I truly hope Fujifilm reads this comment here and figures out how to do it.
That’s a pretty good idea. I’d settle for backing up and reloading from an SD card like we used to be able to do with Nikon and tone curves. But I think you’re right that Fuji really needs to push further into using phones. I don’t see any reason why XRAW Studio shouldn’t be run from a phone.
Yes, a mobile X RAW Studio would be great!
Also further integrations between phone and FujiFilm cameras could include automated adjusted clock-settings when changing time-zones or seasonal day light saving switches. It seems odd the cameras have not incorporated these logical issues already.
That’s what I want to say about user experience. And it is not only about making it easier for operation, but also make it fun and enjoyable to play with!
Yeah, I think it’s important to balance both ease of operation with fun. I hope they’re already working on it.
What I’d like to see is Fuji moving further into the niche, and diversifying the products as you said. The users are for the most part pretty loyal and Fuji is used to operating on a smaller scale, so it makes sense to cater to a specific demographic.
One thing I’d like to see is Fuji experimenting with the sensor, maybe so that the photos can resemble film somewhat. There are already differences in how noise looks at higher ISOs, would be interesting to see what they do with X-trans V.
IBIS is definitely something to work on. For a lot of prospective buyers IBIS is becoming an essential feature. If Fuji have managed to fit it into the X-T series, I’d like to see them get it into the X-Pro as well. One thing Olympus did well was IBIS, they managed to get it into very small cameras.
I definitely agree that JPEGs are important, for so many photographers who aren’t looking to shoot professionally cameras are appealing simply for the experience of shooting with them. There are a good number of film simulations already, hopefully can add more options similar to the Colour Chrome effects and clarity to make it easier to fine-tune recipes.
Hopefully Fuji will continue to improve their lenses. The f1.4/f1.2 lenses are great, as are the 90mm and 80mm. I’m not the biggest fan of the fujicrons as they are a bit more sterile by comparison. Fuji should ideally focus on lenses with “character”, microcontrast, softer focus fall-off etc.
This is really just my wishlist for an X-Pro4, but I think Fuji will probably be fine as long as they stick with what the users want instead of trying to diversify their market share too much.
Thanks! I do think Fujifilm can do well with niche cameras. The X-Pro3 and GFX prove that, as do some of their other cameras. They could get quite creative with the next generation of X-Trans.
I didn’t mention lenses, but I did think about lenses. Some people may not realize that lenses are a big money-maker, but they can also be expensive to design. I think it would be interesting if Fuji made a series of lenses that are manual and have great character. Not “perfect” lenses but perfectly imperfect. Thanks for the comment!
That’s a good idea, I’d love to see some proper manual focus lenses as opposed to focus-by-wire. I think it would be useful for the X-Pros and correcting parallax because presumably it’d have electronic communication.
Fuji JPEGs are the key differentiator and I do believe Fuji knows this. Many of us want a one stop shop still photography experience. We don’t want to spend countless hours in front of our computers editing after a day of shooting.
In my humble opinion Fuji must double down on in camera raw conversion options but with focus on ease of use without compromising speed and simplicity.
I would welcome a stills focused camera with in camera options and settings for tone curve and rgb tone curve adjustments. An HSL setting would be amazing.
Perhaps wishful thinking but a Fuji in camera “app store” for modified film simulations or “presets” if you will for in camera use. Fuji are you listening?
Personally would hate monetised ‘film simulation’ purchases, but some kind of library with user presets would be cool.
It could be better monetised than going and buying the next gen just for a simulation, but something tells me they’d still continue limited retrospective updates (most tech firms are the same honesfly)
Could still group Simulations by ‘vivid’, ‘Pro neg’, ‘cine’ but have sub groups of actual films.
So cine may have a few varied Eternas plus Cinestill, kodak 250d…jus subtle variations.
Same with b+w film most film like Ilford or kodak tmax are similar but they are NOT Acros. Neopan Acros is an unusual film, so they should do some more standard bw films like hp5, tmax or something (they are much higher contrast)
The more film simulations, the better! The more we’re given, the more we can create. Thanks for the input!
I like the idea of being able to set up presets on a computer or (preferably) a mobile device and being able to choose the ones I want to upload to the camera. I wouldn’t want to pay for new features, though. Or maybe I would. I’d pay $25 for Classic Negative, CCEB, and Clarity and such to be added to my X-T30. I would, in fact, do that.
Those are great suggestions! They need to keep adding and improving JPEG options, yet not overcomplicating things. That’s a tough balance, but I’m sure not impossible. Thanks for the input!
This is one of the most intelligent discussions I’ve seen of the future of Fujifilm! Thank you all!
Thanks! It’s been interesting, for sure!
They probably could advance the jpeg features. Like a full in-camera editor- they are almost there, maybe something like ‘curves’, real colour balance or a system to load custom presets as “film simulation” that are built of computer software….would have most used features! The in camera RAW export/editor could be a bit easier too.
Currently I can get away with Instagram uploads using the Instagram tools for editing photos. A few pros have discussed only using apps, or even instagram’s editors (the settings, not ‘filters’).
Most of these popular options are in firmware like ‘clarity’, shadows/highlights and sharpness etc. But a few essential ones are missing like ‘white balance compensation’ is not a full shadow/highlight colour balance. You can’t decide to increase red+cyan at once for example. It’s analogous to white balance/tint sliders in light room.
Getting pics from camera to phone could be easier but currently is very easy if you plug in an SD reader to phone.
Yes, indeed they’re not far off from being there! There’s a big difference between X-Trans II and the latest X-Trans IV, so perhaps there will be a big difference between X-Trans IV and VI.
I agree that getting pics from the camera to the phone could be improved significantly. I think a mobile X RAW Studio app would be good.
Thanks for the input!
I completely agree with the slowing of camera body production. We’re at a point where tech is so good that you don’t need to make incremental advancements. Let it wear and then create a body upgrade when it’s a true upgrade.
Instead, I would love for them to do 2 things:
1. Focus on lens improvements. The lens selection is more than enough for me, but as users become more video centric, new lenses with smoother, quieter autofocus and OIS would be nice. For instance, I would love them to make a 16-55 version with OIS or create a similar lesn to the sigma 18-35 1.8. That seems like a hot lens that many adapt and I would like to, but it gets too long when I have to buy an adapter. Or update the 35 and 23 1.4 versions. I think focusing on lenses or accessories like native microphones like sony does could be other avenues that would keep hype up and money coming in. Plus, there’s generally more profit margins on accessories.
2. I hope the XH-2 can compete with the new sony a7s iii. I don’t think we need higher resolution, we need more dynamic range, separate photo/video options (so it remembers settings to quickly jump back and forth – I know it exists on xt4) and an ibis that works really when with panning or moving (I know they’ve improved the xt4 with latest firmware).
I’m still loving my xt2, xt3 and xh1. Use them for wedding days no prob. It’s these types of upgrades or accessories that would keep me buying from fuji. 🙂
Thanks for the input! Those are both great suggestions! Definitely what separates the X-T4 and X-H2 doesn’t need to be specs, but how the camera is intended for use (as you suggested).
Since the hardware is already so good (I still use an X-T1), maybe they could focus more on the software side? They could make the built-in RAW converter more capable, e.g. by making it possible to mass convert in camera, or to apply custom presets (I know about X-RAW Studio, but that’s not exactly the same). Apart from that, they could maybe offer different software features at different price points. If you want a RAW only camera, you maybe could do without film simulations, but you’d want a better histogram (not clipping so soon). If you mainly are a JPEG shooter, you could do with extra features in the built-in RAW converter, or custom presets that can be loaded from a SD card. Or they could sell additional film simulations maybe? That would allow consumers to personalise their cameras, and could generate income for the software development teams.
Yeah, that’s a great idea! They could potentially create extra income sources through software without creating new hardware, while also giving their customers something to be excited about.
Could not agree more!
Much rather fuji keeps refining the bodies and have customers pay for their updates (e.g. certain new film simulations)
Plus I would love to see if they give us more control on the film sim e.g. shadow color & highlight color, midtone, whites & blacks etc (while still maintaining the characteristics of the film sim)
Oh, absolutely! The X-T4 has 0.5 Highlight and Shadow adjustments. I’d love for that to come to the other cameras. I think it would be cool if you could “fade” the blacks and make highlights “creamy” and have tools like that. Split B&W toning. There’s a ton that Fujifilm could do that would elevate their JPEGs even more.
Hope someone from Fuji will read this.
Thanks! I hope so too!
It could be a great selling-point if camera’s would either have a fixed RAM-chip or read-write capability to the card-readers so as to be able to store a great number of film-simulations or recipes there for direct use.
Yeah, that could really open up some possibilities, would it? If internal memory was no longer a limiting factor, the sky’s the limit.
Agree, if I am not wrong Nikon cameras keep their color settings on the sd card.
Like many others here I do not use my smartphone for my images but my FujiFilm X camera. But the shrinking camera market is shrinking because of so many using their smartphones. Now that smartphones have become better and better by time it should be time camera’s should have more and better apps like camera’s. I am sure many FujiFilm shooters have many apps on their phones for their photography shoots. Could be time for some of those to be on the camera instead.
I said a couple years ago that some camera company should partner with or buy RNI or Snapseed or Alien Skin or Nik, etc., and include a mobile-like version of editing software right on the camera.
Well now certainly must be the right time for camera-companies to reconsider their strategies in the shrinking market. It seems odd it takes so long with all new technology and new additions in camera like bluetooth and wifi. Building in a GSM-card should not be an issue and would open new possibilities (like having your images directly transferred to your laptop or even desktop at home).
Absolutely! The technology is there and has been for some time, they just need to integrate it.
Hi nicely written thank you. I am a 15 year casual Nikon shooter moving to Fuji. Why ? So much image consumption is moving to video and to 16:9 stills. For studio interviews I need two 4K video capable bodies with identical lenses and for stills I want good JPEGs without post processing time. Two Fuji x-a7 were the answer – does both of those requirements and importantly a great 16:9 screen.
Video and JPEGs are two things Fuji does well and Fuji has to capitalise on this.
Thank you! I appreciate the input! The time that you save not editing RAW increases productivity significantly in my experience.
I think the camera companies are rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic. They should adopt the Android operating system so that I can upload my pictures and videos directly to the internet without messing around with my phone. Their real competition is smartphones. Fujifilm seems like a smart enough company to figure that out. They didn’t go the way of Kodak.
I think mobile integration is where the next big advancements in camera technology should go. Great input!
Agreed on the point about deck chairs and Titanic. Disagree that Android is the answer.
Camera sales will continue to decline. The trend is bigger than anyone camera manufacturer and there is nothing Fuji on its own can do. Nothing.
That’s a very true statement. Especially when things like the iPhone 12 are so good at picture-making, who’s going to buy a camera? Only professionals and hobbyists, and the average person will use their phone. That’s already been happening, but even more so now.
meaning: a specialized market
To me, it makes no sense for Fuji to create a budget medium format camera. The medium format camera has been a niche product ever since 35mm film became good enough and was embraced by the larger market of buyers. That trend continues to the present digital camera market.
The people who buy medium format want the best quality image and are not concerned with the budget. These buyers are either 1) professional photographers who need a medium format camera for client work or 2) amateurs with a lot of disposable income.
That’s the very definition of a niche. If you can’t afford to be in that niche, move on.
The GFX cameras are luxury cameras. Some fo the luxury product makers will happily create an inexpensive and less capable product and slap their logo on it for those people suffering from brand envy. I doubt Fuji is one of those.
I guess what I meant by “budget” was sub $10,000, maybe in the $7,000-ish range. Supposedly that’s coming within the next 6 months.
But… I’ve heard from so many people that have said to me, “If GFX was just a little cheaper, I’d buy it.” I think if they did make a camera/lens combo that was perhaps near $3,500, people would buy it, for sure. I don’t know if that’s a great idea or not (“cheapen the brand”?) to get people in.
It is, in fact, as you stated, a luxury. I know that I can’t afford it, and that’s why I don’t have it.
Sub $10,000 is what I understood as well which I why I wrote what I wrote. At near $3500 Fuji would have to remove a lot; maybe just stick a medium format sensor inside a plastic body with one-button automatic controls.
I think if I had the budget I would buy a Fuji X100V and GFX 50R and skip the entire X-series line up. One big sensor camera that beat APS-C and FF in quality and one tiny camera for the everyday.
I really would love to have a GFX camera. I can see doing just what you said: X100V + GFX system. But that’s not in my budget by a long shot, LOL.
though camera market was shrinking, end-user/consumer are indeed increasing dramatically!!! they just did it using smartphone. indeed smartphone is replacing not only camera but also many other things: newspaper, TV, walkman, diary (the written one), even credit card and wallet…
i personally believe in this new era, how ordinary people consume content (and how businesses want them to) will be the new norm. in my teenage time (80s-90s), i spent a lot of time and money on magazines, now my favorite format is watching blog/vlog on smartphone, when i am commuting, having meals, waiting for elevator, etc., smartphone+web is a new ecosystem.
many ordinary people now start creating visual contents for different purposes, some are just for fun, to share an interesting thing or moment with their friends and families, while some are doing this to make money in a new stream, they are no photographer or filmmaker in traditional concept, they can be blogger/vlogger, or someone trying to sell stuffs on social platforms, promoting themselves for their services and businesses offline, etc. there are a lot of photos and videos being composed, and it is just starting!!!
maybe this is another unavoidable disruption in imaging industry. importance of better hardware is diminishing while user experience and ease of content creation-consumption in digital world will be the vital element when everyone is content-creator and consumer at the same time.
to be frank i don’t see any brand playing good hand in the digital era so far, from their mobile app we all see how bad they are….
Yeah, mobile integration is going to have to be a big part of the plan for camera makers, no doubt about it. They need to think less about hardware improvements, and more about software improvements, in my opinion. Thanks for the comment!
I just read your article following APP announcement and can only agree. SW will make the difference!
That the X-T3 didn’t get the X100V menu with the last FW update is very annoying for me. Since I use the X-T3 almost only as a tele supplement to the X100V I will probably sell it.
I would pay money for:
– an X-RAW Studio like iOS APP
– an X40 like camera
– an X70 successor
I look forward to install your app
Thank you for the comment! I wish that Fujifilm had given the X-T3 (and X-T30) the same features as the newer camera with the same sensor. A real shame that they didn’t. A mobile X-Raw Studio app would be nice!
The Latin phrase makes sense to me also. And for the most part I agree with what you are saying. I use XT3s and I would not consider moving up to an XT4. However, I would consider a XT4S which doesn’t exsist but if it did the S would stand for Stills! it would be as the present XT4 but without the Video so it would be cheaper or should be! One of the local photo clubs near me has 65 members not one of them shoots video. We are paying for something I don’t use!
I think there are three photographers: those who photograph, those who photography and shoot video, and those who shoot video. Camera makers seem to focus on the middle group, but the outside groups make up a pretty large segment of the market.
Fuji has been influenced a lot by Leica which is obvious. The one thing I like about Leica is simplicity. That’s what made Leica cameras beautiful. I think too much is less.There are too many buttons on cameras today.
It’s definitely a fine-line. I often believe that less-is-more; however, the X-E4 is an example of where too much less might be less (too many buttons/switches/etc were removed). So I guess less is more until it isn’t, and that’s tough to know exactly where that is, and it’s likely different for each user. I’m just glad it’s not my responsibility to determine what the right amount is—I don’t envy whoever that is. Thanks for the input!