I told you a couple weeks ago that Fujifilm was going to release one more X-series camera before the end of the year, and I speculated what it might be. Fujirumors has let the cat out of the bag, and now we know it will be the X-T30 II, which will be an X-T30 but with “firmware on steroids.” I have a lot of thoughts (and emotions) on this, which I’ll share below.
First, I do not think this is the smartest move by Fujifilm. Last year I said, “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.” Some people are looking for an excuse to upgrade from the X-T10 or X-T20 (and maybe a few other models), and whether the camera is the X-T30 II or an X-T30 with a major firmware update doesn’t matter to them. They’ll buy either. Those with an X-T30 aren’t likely to upgrade to the X-T30 II (I know I won’t).
All this does to X-T30 owners is make unhappy customers. I know that Fujifilm has no obligation to offer firmware updates. I was very happy with the my X-T30 when I bought it almost two-and-a-half years ago, and I’m still happy with it. But when a company does a certain practice (such as Kaizen firmware updates) for so long, it becomes expected. It’s not only expected that Fujifilm would do this, it makes sense for them to do so, as it creates happy customers, which means they’re more likely to be repeat customers and even unofficial brand ambassadors. Offering a major Kaizen firmware update to the X-T30 would thrill X-T30 owners and make them very happy customers (a.k.a. repeat customers who tell their friends how awesome Fujifilm cameras are), and it would breathe new life of excitement into the X-T30, increasing sales from those looking to upgrade from older models. It’s a win-win!
Instead, X-T30 owners will have to shell out $900 (or whatever the X-T30 II will cost) to get the firmware update that they’ve been hoping for. They won’t—I won’t, anyway. It seems like a greedy move. Fujifilm painted themselves with a seemingly negative light. They did it to themselves, I’m just pointing out the obvious that everyone sees.
That is, if indeed the X-T30 II is an X-T30 with nothing more than a firmware update. It is possible that the X-T30 doesn’t have the internal memory, processing power, or heat dispersion capacity to receive this firmware update. It is possible that there is a hardware limitation that prevents it. Maybe Fujifilm was attempting to do this firmware update when they realized they couldn’t, and thus the X-T30 II was born. I have no idea if this is the case or not. Emotionally I hope it is (because it means that Fujifilm isn’t driven by mere greed). Logically I hope it is not (because it means that a firmware update is still possible for the X-T30, although that seems unlikely at this point). Internally the X-T30 II might not be 100% identical to the X-T30—it’s impossible to know right now, but either way there’s a negative aspect to it for Fujifilm customers.
The X-T30 II is actually a much-needed camera in the Fujifilm lineup. Really, the X-T30 with a Kaizen firmware update is what was needed, but since that’s apparently not happening, X-T30 II will serve as a stop-gap between the X-T30 and future X-T40. You see, there are people who don’t want the X-S10 because of the PASM dial and non-retro design, who don’t want the X-E4 because it doesn’t have enough dials, switches and knobs, who don’t want an X-T4 because it is too big and expensive, and who don’t want the X-T30 because it doesn’t have all of the JPEG options that those newer cameras have. The X-T30 II will be the camera of choice for those people.
There’s also an implication here for the X-T3. Those who have an X-T3, like those with an X-T30, have been hoping for a Kaizen update for nearly two years. Since the X-T30 isn’t getting one, the X-T3 isn’t likely to get one, either. Want a firmware update for the X-T30? Buy an X-T30 II! Want a firmware update for the X-T3? Buy an X-T4! That’s the message, unfortunately.
The Fujifilm X-T30 II will be announced on September 2, the same day that the Fujinon 33mm f/1.4 will be announced.
I don’t think that Fujifilm regularly reads this website. I don’t think they were even aware of Fuji X Weekly until a little over a year ago. I do believe that they have mixed feelings about this blog, because I often use a competitor’s brand name (Kodak, Kodachrome, Portra, etc.), which seems silly to me as Kodak hasn’t been a major player in photography in awhile, yet I bring them a lot of new customers due to the film simulation recipes. They also don’t like articles where I mention yet-to-be-announced products (such as this one). I don’t have a voice at the company, but I wish that I did because I do believe I have a pretty good pulse of their customers—thanks to you, the greatest community in all of photography! In the off chance that Fujifilm reads this article, I would like your opinions to be included. If you’d like Fujifilm to release a firmware update for the X-T30 and X-T3, let them know by commenting. They might not ever read your thoughts and ideas, but they might, so please let them know, and maybe—just maybe—it will make a difference.