If you didn’t know, Fujifilm is on the cusp of announcing the X-T5 (you can find all of the latest details at Fujirumors). I’ve been asked by a number of people to give my opinions on this upcoming camera. I hadn’t yet commented about it because a camera retailer reached out to me about the possibility of testing a preproduction X-T5, which comes with a promise not to talk about it until after it’s been officially announced; however, it didn’t work out, so I am free to say whatever I want. And just to be clear, I have no inside information on anything—I find out about things the same exact way that you do.
The X-T5 will be a pivotal camera, in my opinion. The X-H2 and X-H2S are pivotal cameras, too. I’m getting a little ahead of myself here—let’s back this bus up a little bit, and start over from the beginning.
Fujifilm launched the X-A7 in September of 2019, and the X-T200 in January of 2020. These were Fujifilm’s budget entry-level models. The X-A line had always been a good seller, especially in the Asian markets, and the X-T100 had done quite well; however, the X-A7 and X-T200 flopped pretty hard—not because they weren’t good cameras, but because that budget entry-level segment of the market suddenly dried up. Those who would normally purchase those cameras were using their cellphones instead. I think this is the origins of a big shift at Fujifilm, and what we’re seeing today is a result of that shift.
One big change is that Fujifilm pulled back on Kaizen (updating the firmware of older models to improve the cameras for no reason other than to have happy customers that will hopefully be repeat customers). This is something that they were renown for. Some at Fujifilm seem to believe that improving older models hinders the sales of newer models, which is likely true to an extent, but it also builds a very loyal customer base who are less likely to jump ship on the brand, which is good for long-term sales. Fujifilm stated recently that Kaizen isn’t necessary anymore, and to expect even less of it. This is a shame, and I believe a big misstep.
Another change is the models that one might think of as mid-range are now the new entry-level. The X-T30 II, X-S10, and X-E4 are the current options. I don’t see Fujifilm continuing with three entry-level models, and I think the X-T00 or X-E line will become defunct. The X-E line might seem most logical, as it’s discontinuation is often discussed, but the X-T00 and X-S lines are basically competing against each other, so it could be that the X-T00 line is first to go. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next two or three years.
Fujifilm finds themselves as, more-or-less, the top dog in the APS-C market. Canon and Sony are only half-heartedly in it, as it’s clear they’re primarily focused on full-frame. Nikon is in a similar boat, but with perhaps slightly more heart. Pentax… they’ve got the GR line, but beyond that, they’re only half-heartedly making cameras anymore, period. Fujifilm is not only setting themselves up as the king of APS-C, they’re making it known that they’re the most premium APS-C brand in the market.
Which brings me to the X-H2 and X-H2S. These two cameras—the flagship models—are intended to compete against full-frame Canikony cameras—maybe not high-end full-frame, but certainly bottom-end and mid-range. These cameras are a statement that APS-C is still relevant, and is just as good as, or perhaps in some ways better than, many full-frame options. The X-H2 and X-H2S are made/marketed for three groups of people: 1) those with full-frame Canikony cameras who aren’t completely satisfied with their system and are considering a change, 2) those with a GFX model who otherwise don’t own a Fujifilm X camera (but, because of their GFX, think they might want to try it), and 3) those who came into the Fujifilm system via the X-S10 and want to upgrade to a higher-end model but want PASM and not the traditional dials found on most Fujifilm cameras. Those people are who these two cameras are for.
It should come as no surprise that those who have been in the system for a long time aren’t thrilled about this. Maybe they started with the original X100, later purchased an X-Pro1, upgraded to the X100T, upgraded to the X-Pro2, purchased an X-H1, purchased an X-T3, and upgraded to an X100V. They’ve faithfully been with Fujifilm for a decade, purchasing a number of cameras and lenses. They’re eager to upgrade to the best that Fujifilm has to offer, and yet the new top-of-the-line flagship models aren’t for them, but for someone else. They’ll have to settle for second best (or is it third best?). I’ve had a dozen or more people tell me that the above is essentially their story, and how they feel. That shouldn’t be so easily brushed off as a “get off my lawn” mentality, because their feelings are valid whether you agree with it or not—just as valid as your feelings. In fact, I would suggest that the long-time loyal customers’ feelings should be more valuable than anyone else’s. Should is the keyword, because obviously that’s not the case here—Fujifilm has made that clear, and that’s another misstep, in my opinion.
Fujifilm took a significant risk with the X-H2 and X-H2S. They placed a pretty big bet on their decisions and design. If the bet pays off—and early indications are that it is—I have no doubts that Fujifilm will double-down on it. Why wouldn’t they? If you find gold, you don’t stop panning. The direction of the brand, which has been altering course due to fluctuating philosophies, will be determined, in part, by the success of these two cameras. That’s why I said that they are pivotal models.
The X-T5 will also be a pivotal model because it, too, could have a significant effect on the trajectory of the brand. If it does very well, Fujifilm will likely continue to produce this model (and others) that appeal to the long-time base, spending lots of R&D time and money on these types of cameras. If it doesn’t sell well, Fujifilm might pivot away from it, and it will be the beginning of the end of the X-T0 line. I think a lot more is at stake than many realize, and I’m sure that I will receive plenty of criticism for stating this.
The question is: will the X-T5 sell well or not? Will it convince people to upgrade from their X-T3 or X-T4. The X-T3 is Fujifilm’s all-time best selling model. I think the X-T4, while it did in fact sell well, wasn’t quite as big of a success as Fujifilm hoped it would be. I think they wanted it to be the flagship model that the X-H2 and X-H2S are now, but it didn’t work out because it wasn’t Goldilocks for either the X-T0 camp or the X-H camp—the compromises weren’t appreciated by either group. Will those who purchased an X-T3 or X-T4 be ready to upgrade to a new model? That’s the million dollar question.
Overall, I believe that the X-T5 will be better appreciated than the X-T4 because Fujifilm (apparently) walked back some of the changes introduced on the X-T4, and the X-T5 will be more similar to the X-T3 (except with IBIS and the new sensor and processor). I think this is very good. Bravo! However, the issue that I think could potentially derail the success of the X-T5 is that we’ve reached a point of diminishing returns. Does it matter that the X-T5 has 40-megapixels when the 26-megapixels of the X-T3 and X-T4 are more than enough for 99% of photographers? More megapixels can also mean more required memory, and you’ll have to upgrade your SD cards and external hard drives and/or cloud storage… sometimes less is more. Does it matter that the X-T5 has faster autofocus when the autofocus speed of the X-T3 and X-T4 is already fast enough for 99% of photographers? Sure, there are those who actually do need more resolution or faster autofocus (it’s a small group, and they know who they are), and there are those who think they need it but in reality don’t (better to learn the gear you’ve already got…), and that will generate some sales, too. But otherwise, is there enough to convince those who spent over a grand—maybe nearly two—on a camera body within the last two years—a camera that’s been working quite well for them—to drop $1,700 on a new body that they don’t really need? Time will tell.
I think the two new cameras that Fujifilm just introduced could potentially be a problem for the X-T5. You see, there were eager photographers who had money burning a hole in their pockets (a nice problem to have, I suppose) who wanted to get their hands on the latest-and-greatest and got caught up in the hype. They weren’t thrilled that it was a PASM camera, but they didn’t let that stop them, and they dropped $2,000 or more just recently. If they had known that the X-T5 was right around the corner, they would have waited and purchased that instead because they would have preferred it; however, they cannot justify owning both an X-H2 model and an X-T5, so they won’t buy the X-T5, at least not right away.
The other thing, which is a result of Fujifilm’s Kaizen retreat, is that new JPEG features introduced on later models won’t trickle to earlier models. The X-T3 doesn’t have Classic Negative, Eterna Bleach Bypass, Clarity, Color Chrome FX Blue, Grain size, half-step Highlight/Shadow adjustments, or the ability to save White Balance Shifts in the C1-C7 presets. The X-Pro3 doesn’t have Eterna Bleach Bypass or half-step Highlight/Shadow adjustments. The X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II have all of it, despite not being premium models, because they were introduced later. Whatever new features Fujifilm has up their sleeves that they will introduce on some later model won’t likely make it onto the X-T5, so if you want it, it’s better to wait towards the end of the X-Trans V lifecycle. The early bird gets …hosed, while the patient bird is rewarded.
Will I buy an X-T5? Maybe. Probably not, simply because I don’t need it. There’s no void in my camera lineup that the X-T5 would fill. All of my current Fujifilm models fulfill my photographic needs, so dropping so much money on something that I don’t need doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Still, I’m intrigued by it, so I won’t say absolutely not; maybe I’ll put in a preorder on November 2—I’d definitely have to part ways with some other gear to fund it, and I have no ideas what that would be right now.
I could be very wrong, and I’ve been wrong in the past and I freely admit it, so take all of this with a grain of salt. I do think the X-T5 will sell well. Those who purchased an X-T3 maybe two or more years ago will take a very long look at the X-T5. Those who purchased an X-T4 but weren’t thrilled with the flippy screen will also consider upgrading to an X-T5. But I’m not convinced it will sell well enough (in Fujifilm’s eyes), which (if so) will result in some deep discussions at Fujifilm’s headquarters over the direction of the digital camera division. Again, time will tell if that happens, and, if so, what it even means.
This has been a whole lot of rambling about nothing. I have no real insights to offer. I’ve not seen or touched a Fujifilm X-T5. I’ve never spoken with anyone within the Japan office of Fujifilm about anything. I have talked with a number of Fujifilm photographers—I get nearly 50 messages a day—and I think I have a pretty good pulse on the community… at least those who primarily shoot JPEGs. I think the X-T5 will be a wonderful camera that many of you will purchase and love. I truly hope it far exceeds Fujifilm’s wildest sales expectations, because I believe this camera is a pivotal model. Will it? I have no idea—it’s as much my guess as anyone else’s.
Good insights here. I started into the Fuji lineup first with the X20, then the X-T20 (later sold), that led to the X-T3..then I explored backwards into previous sensors with the X-E1 and X-T1 (sold and re-bought) and more recently with the X-Pro2 (which I really appreciate the OVF – cause I also dipped into film. I also picked up an X-E4 while waiting on the never materializing X100V. I am also well-invested in X-Series glass…so why ever bother with the X100V :). What is missing is IBIS as I start to play with video, and I looked at the X-H variants and determined, I prefer the classic dial layout and those were too much camera. The X-T3 meets all my needs and prefer the 3-way tilt screen (so never upgraded to the X-T4). All to say that I placed my name on the list for the X-T5 over the weekend. Always appreciate your commentary, I am an avid user of the film recipes…keep doing your thing !
Wow! How did you get your name on the list already? Local camera store? I need to look at what camera stores are near me (I recently moved). I appreciate the comment!
Yup…local camera store where I have a relationship with the used camera guy…Toronto Downtown Camera. While this was a bit of an impulse move.. I do have your great insights which generate excitement, but also confidence in the move. Also side note…I did fess up to the wife, so I don’t have to hide this one :).
It’s always good to be honest. When I first suggested it to my wife, she gave me a sideways glance with her eyebrows raised, lol! I think she might be a little more on board with it now, as long as I share it with her. 🤣
Wow – some food for thought here …
I traded in an entire Nikon system for a pair of XT-3’s a few years ago after buying a X100S – it was all about the color accuracy and the weight. I just could not hold the 9+ lbs of a D3 + 80/200 2.8 anymore. Have never been happier …
Got to play with an XT-4 last year and it’s a beautiful camera but not enough to make me replace the 3’s.
BUT there are times when I want more pixels for really large images – and stupid fast autofocus, perhaps a 3 and a 5 might be the right mix ?
If you print larger than 24″ x 36″ then the X-T5 is likely a good choice. At 24″ x 36″ you’d likely only really notice a difference when side-by-side closely comparing. I think the (supposed) smaller size of the X-T5 might be a plus.
I do print larger than 24”x36” but only occasionally. Will definitely look at the 5 as a nice step between that and the GFX.
Notice I am not leaving the Fuji sphere….
I don’t think they’ll be much of a difference between the 50mp GFX and 40mp X, if that helps any….
Talking of fast autofocus; if X-T5 autofocus is Sony-good (I do lots of kids photos) I will definitely trade in one of my X-T3s.
I wished Fuji would come up with in-camera storage space, say 128G? That would be awesome for a Hi-Res camera.
I like the idea of built-in in-camera storage. A 64gb micro SD card is like $12 and a 128gb is around $16, and takes up so little space. Fujifilm could easily install these inside their cameras—I promise there’s enough empty real estate inside most models for it. I don’t understand why this isn’t a thing. I appreciate the comment!
Interesting perspective here and many points I second. I have just got into Fujifilm last year with an X-T3, largely because it is a very well regarded camera and I was drawn to the vintage aesthetic that is a product of the film simulations. I’m very pleased with the camera and do not really “need” any more megapixels or faster autofocus, as I am (for the time being) a hobbiest photographer. That said, I have the money to spend and am interested in the new film simulations and some of the other features (pixel shift!) — there are a lot of questions I have regarding the difference between the 40MP & 26MP sensors. Among the key ones are: will the 40MP unit be noisier since there are more, smaller pixels on the same surface area? If so how much noisier? How great a difference will pixel shift offer in terms of image quality? What about straight head to head RAW files between the two sensors Dynamic range? And so on.
While I have designs of doing product photography as a side gig and these new offerings might be excellent tools for that, I don’t think it’s advisable to jump into the investment of these new units until I get the answers to these questions and more. In the interim, I’ll finesse my touch and approach on the gear I already have!
Several websites have tested the new 40MP sensor and come to the conclusion that it is not noisier than the 26MP one, in fact they are nearly identical or slightly better on the newer one. Fuji engineers gave an interview the other day and discussed this, they managed to reengineer the pixels and supporting circuitry to ensure that despite the increased density each pixel could receive full light saturation. Check the Photons to Photos comparisons, it’s virtually identical between the T3/4, H2 & H2S despite the pixel density differences.
thanks for your reply. I will look into this when I have some time.
I looked for the information you claimed here:
And found the opposite to be true. Unless I’m in the wrong place (don’t think I am) or interpreting the data incorrectly (again, I doubt it), the newer 40MP sensor has elevated noise when compared to the 26MP sensor. Can you please be more pointed if you have some information to share on this topic that I am not finding?
Hey there, I see where you are coming from on that chart, but obviously it misses the point of higher resolutions, namely that if you downscale to an equivalent resolution you end up with a superior output with less noise than the lower res (more data to determine the real result). The main chart I was using was the dynamic range one as that’s another one that is both linked to noise and says more about the overall output and it finds them to be identical. I suppose it is true that on a per pixel basis you may see a little more noise at some ISO values, but the end result is still going to be overall better whether viewed at full size or down scaled which is a heck of an achievement given the pixel density. The advantage is more pronounced when you compare to other APS-C options where it slightly outperforms the 33MP sensor in the R7 despite being denser.
Pixel-shift isn’t combined in-camera, but via a software on your computer. Not sure how hard or easy it is to use. I’m pretty certain that you need a tripod and hope the wind doesn’t blow and that nothing moves at all. That is to say, I think pixel-shift is more of a gee-whiz feature than something practical, but I’m sure some will figure out a good way to use it.
As far as noise: I have no personal experience, but I have heard that the X-H2 applies a more heavily-handed noise reduction to the JPEGs (compared to X-Trans IV) at ISO 3200 and above, even when NR is set to -4. Not sure if this is true or not, but two different people have reported it to me, and it makes sense that this would be the case. However, like I said, I cannot say for certain because I’ve never used the camera.
I know what pixel shift is but you need a sensor that will move nano-meters to hone focus of all points of the image — only the new 40MP sensor can do this. For product photography, which I am interested in, I think it’s a big asset.
So far as noise is concerned, I’ve done some surface digging and haven’t found any evidence that the new 40MP sensor is better or equal to previous sensors at reducing noise at equivalent ISO values, as David Fleetwood below suggests.
Yes! I’m quoted in this! I’m famous! You forgot my dinosaur quote too :). Ok all seriousness all the get off my lawyers should be rooting for the success of the pasm cameras so that there are more XT5 and dialed cameras can be built!!! For me I love my H2S and have held off the H2 exactly for the T5. I can’t wait however I am concerned about the large files and worse low light performance but I love the dials with way better AF is my reasoning. The H2S is required for my sports photography. The T5 will be my making art camera.
The good news is that they reduced the ISO via some reengineering of the pixels on the sensor, negating the pixel density impact on noise/DR/etc. Good article on FujiRumors about this.
I saw that, and just read it again in your write-up. I’m skeptical though of this, I think low light will still suffer alot, compared to the 26mps.
I don’t think the success of the X-H line means that more X-T5’s and retro-styled cameras will be built; in fact, I think the opposite could be true, depending on how things pan out. I hope I’m wrong, though.
you will see, you are wrong. why? like i said before, tons of pros will love the H line, but also because of the surge in film, and the retro-ness of it all, the pros will be very curious of the dial’ed cameras. on another note, if film price keeps rising, there is no better option then fuji and fuji recipes to go to.
🙄 And tons of pros hate the X-H2/X-H2S. It’s preference and nothing more. My point is that Fujifilm is going in a new direction, and those who have been around awhile can clearly see it. Is it a better direction? Maybe, some think so. Is it a worse direction? Maybe, some think so. Nobody knows for sure, but time will certainly tell.
yup, i’m rooting hard for Fuji. the H2S allowed me to rid myself of Sony. I am sure more pros prefer the H2S performance over any previous Fuji.
I’m rooting hard for Fujifilm, too, maybe more than anyone. As far as pros, I have had several tell me that they purchased and then returned an X-H2 or X-H2S. I’ve had many, many more tell me that they’d never buy one. It’s all if one prefers it or not, and whether they are pro or not is irrelevant. The argument that “pros like it so it must be good” is really silly. The X-H2 is primarily there to attract Canikony users to Fujifilm, and it seems to be doing that.
I won’t retread a lot of territory I’ve gone over before, you know the points I disagree on. But I will say a couple of things. First the X-T5 I expect to be a major hit. The X-T3 is a 2018 camera with 2017 and earlier tech and it shows. Fuji’s ability to get to 40MP without sacrificing image quality is astounding and based on the interview some of their engineers gave the other day it required them to redesign how the sensor actually absorbs light. Astonishing stuff that shows the old ideas about pixel density and low light/high ISO performance really leave other advances out of the equation.
The other point is the one about autofocus. I know this will sound like I’m speaking poorly of you and other Fuji users, but I heard this over and over from Fuji users, how the X-Trans IV generation was more than enough autofocus for anyone and that if we couldn’t use it it said more about the photographer than the camera. This is why Fuji needed to step out of the echo chamber of their existing customers and go see why people were overwhelmingly buying other brands that were not Fuji. Autofocus is a huge deal. I came from a Canon M50, it was among the lowest end cameras in the Canon stack, based on Digic 8, released six months prior to the first X-Trans IV camera, the X-T3. The autofocus on that camera runs circles around any camera Fuji has ever released (until the X-H2/S). In a camera that cost about $780, a full $720 less than a X-T3.
When I got my X-S10 I spent the first few months trying to figure out what was wrong with it as people on forums kept telling me that I wasn’t using it right, my settings needed work, and how it worked great for some pro somewhere. After two years I learned that no, it’s just Fuji AF and I was not alone at all. I learned how to live with it but I was never okay with it and it was the big compromised I accepted for a otherwise more advanced APS-C system.
For another comparison, my wife had a Canon M100 based on the previous generation Digic 7 (2016) processor and it also had fast and reliable AF. When she tried my X-S10 she was frustrated and said she’d rather just use her iPhone than fight the AF like that. This is a woman who is very comfortable using a camera or a phone, runs a video channel with 55k subscribers, not someone who has zero interest or technical capability.
I do not agree at all that the AF on the previous gen was good enough for 99% of users. Not when most of them have phones in their pocket that nail the AF regardless of the subject 95% of the time with little intervention. It’s just not worth the hassle, and all the missed moments they get such a camera for but that they can’t count on it to actually catch.
The X-H2/2S and X-Trans V are a drastic leap forward. I just got my XF18mmF1.4 today and I am looking forward to putting it through it’s paces with my H2S this coming weekend (rain permitting). Already I have had great experiences shooting with the Viltrox 13mm (most delightful surprise of a lens I’ve bought in years) and the XF90mmF2. I had far less luck with the XF56mmF1.2 and unfortunately may be forced to upgrade to the new one despite not really wanting to. The new 18 will be my first test of this camera with a lens that was developed specifically with it in mind, so I’m expecting even better performance.
All that out of the way I’ll just say this: The X-T5 is shaping up to be one hell of a camera, a huge advance over the T4/T3. I think just about anyone will be happy with it who loves those previous models and the classic control scheme. I suspect that the same economic factors driving the sale of high ticket items will push sales of the T5 beyond what the T3/T4 generation accomplished, and at least in the FR discussions lots of T2 users are also discussing it as the first upgrade they believe would be justified (seeing that sentiment in my discord as well).
It’ll be a hit, and rest easy there will be a classic layout X-T6. Assuming Fuji keeps turning out the hits like they have been I expect them to continue to gain market share as they have since 2020 (the only company besides Canon to do so). I think they are doing a good job of both listening to Fuji’s existing base by building a very capable successor to the X-T line that has the users excited while also building new experiences not considered by their existing customer base. Which is how you succeed, especially in a shrinking market (one estimate I saw recently said the ILC camera market may have contracted to as few as 5.3m bodies sold this year which would be another huge decline).
My sentiments exactly, particularly around the previous AF performance of Fuji. I couldn’t stand all the old heads and dinosaurs who kept claiming AF “does work” you just have to do it “a particular way.” Thats ludicrous, and that is why Sony was my workhorse. You shouldn’t have to tinker and make the situation a certain way to fit your camera’s AF. AF should just work without the user’s intervention. I get it though, the dinosaurs wnat to hold onto what they found to work and cherish it and then somehow like to tell others “you just don’t know how to use Fuji.” Thats rubbish. I’m sorry, but your lawn has to go, if it benefits thousands of others over your old sentiment, then as in real life, you deserve to be left behind.
Agreed, I love my Fuji cameras but in low light they just aren’t dependable enough. The X100V struggles even in decent lighting but that’s another story. X-T4 continuous has caused me to miss many shots at weddings and low light events, and the eye tracking isn’t something I’ve been able to depend on at all. From the videos I’ve seen of the X-H2 and X-H2S this is really a game changer. And I most certainly do not need 40MP but the added ability to crop while still retaining high detail will be super nice for landscape work.
I haven’t heard anyone speaking about it but the announced 8mm 3.5 is also a huge deal, if it’s rectilinear which it seems it will be, it will likely be a better version of the laowa 9mm with auto focus. The new 56 seems to be an incredible performer for portraits especially with the new eye tracking, I think they have a lot of things going to make people upgrade. The video feature to do 2x digital zoom in and out is also killer, I don’t care about rolling shutter as I always do slow pans but having primes able to zoom in and still retain 4k quality would be amazing.
I don’t appreciate the meanness of this remark. Play nice, please. I don’t put up with crap here. Patrick might, but I don’t.
what meanness are you referring to? the “you deserve to be left behind?” that was more geared toward the get off my lawn types who are completely stuck in their own ways and refuse to see the light that new ways of doing things can and usually are better. its like the people who love to say i love driving a vw beetle cuz of the “ride” and downtalk someone who wants a porsche. sure, i could enjoy a ride or 2 in a beetle, but come on. if you want to say the beetle is better performer then the porsche, you do deserve to be left behind.
Or like those who are always right, and anyone who disagrees with them is always wrong, and are dinosaurs that deserve to be left behind. Very troll-like behavior. This isn’t Fujirumors, and I don’t put up with it. There are plenty of places where this is tolerated, but Fuji X Weekly isn’t one of them.
i think you’re being a bit oversensitive, i’m just retorting back to those who keep saying get off their lawn. but you do you, i still stand by what i say strongly.
Please stop. Just stop.
I learned on and used a manual-focus-only camera for over a decade. I didn’t get my first autofocus camera until 2009, and by today’s standards, it was awful, but I didn’t think that about it back then (I thought it was amazing!). So many great photographers created amazing photographs on (what would now be considered) ancient gear. The camera’s focus ability wasn’t a limiting factor for them, and it shouldn’t be for anyone else, either. I see it like this: one complains that they’re always late for work because their Mustang isn’t fast enough. “If only I had a Lamborghini I’d be on time!” At some point one has to say that the car isn’t the issue, but the one driving it. That might sound offensive, and I don’t mean it to be. I certainly have my own photographic struggles, and I’m far from perfect (which you can see just by looking at my photography). If some gear helps you accomplish what you’re trying to do, then that’s good, and I’m glad that it’s doing so—that’s really great!
While I get that you had to do it that way, that does not mean everyone else should have to. In your time there were not a lot of options, but now there are and for most phones are the most convenient option.
I look at it purely from the point of view of wanting photography to exist with a dedicated ecosystem rather than simply becoming a secondary function of a multi-use device. That is decreasingly what is happening though, with the low end essentially dead camera makers are increasingly moving pricing and products up stream and their best hits are costing thousands (R5 was the first one that demonstrated where the money was suddenly).
That barrier to entry will create a negative cycle where younger people with less disposable income will be unable to justify the investment needed to buy a dedicated camera, and thus will increasingly just rely on their phones (which are starting to get their own accessory ecosystem from companies like Moment). Without the critical mass of lower and soon mid range cameras keeping unit sales high enough for economies of scale to kick in the midrange will continue to be pushed upwards in price. Eventually photography would *only* be the realm of well heeled hobbyists and those who make a living at it.
Given that photography is, among other things, an art, I think it would be a tremendous loss to eliminate all the gateways into the hobby outside of a phone. And a big way you keep people interested is that you make the transition as simple as possible, which means the baseline should be superior in performance/capability to what it purports to replace (a phone).
That is why I believe Canon and Sony doubled down on autofocus. And why I think Fuji is finally seeing the light. It’s a big deal for anyone who wants to use a camera to capture special moments. Missing your child’s first steps because the AF decided to focus on some object behind them will leave any parent regretting their choices when the phone in their pocket would have made the right decision 99% of the time.
I think the gateway cameras are already gone, or nearly so. What was “mid-range” is the new “entry-level”, so you already have to be somewhat serious to even buy, willing to drop at least a grand. The cellphone is the new gateway camera, and I think camera makers need to do a better job of convincing those people why they should want (and purchase) a “real” camera… and I don’t mean with “impressive” specs but with ad campaigns of various sorts. I don’t think they will, though.
The failure to market themselves is true across the industry and is utterly baffling. Especially as we’ve increasingly moved to a culture of Instagram/Youtube/TikTok/etc which is literally in their wheelhouse. The best they can do is ‘vlogger cams’ rather than doing direct service integration, strong apps, marketing partnerships/sponsorships with creators and artists, and building in features that permit users to create their look/style and have it come out of camera ready for upload (or, ideally, already uploaded).
And I don’t mean making them all vlogger cams, I mean actually extending what that means, pushing the social media companies to add features and capabilities, driving it from the hardware side rather than trying to fit their hardware into the social media side. Also, someone, anyone needs to buy someone like Flikr and make it part of their brand and grant free accounts with unlimited file sizes to users of their hardware. Capture One Express should be the tip of the iceberg of what you get when you buy into the Fuji ecosystem.
They’ve taken their hands off the wheel and are letting everyone else drive instead.
I agree. Good points.
I’m your stereotypical amateur enthusiast who’s been saving my pennies with hopes of someday upgrading my XT3. I do love my camera but the autofocus accuracy certaintly could be improved upon. I will likely wait for the ‘hands on’ reviews before making my decision. It is a slippery slope however. New camera equals more funds for an extra battery, maybe an L-bracket. Larger file size might mean the need for a faster, bigger computer.
I wouldn’t worry about the computer part, even my secondary PC, a decade old i7 4xxx series handles files from my GFX 100S without a hiccup. Video is where you end up needing more compute power, photos, even high res ones, just aren’t much of a challenge for a computer anymore.
That’s good to know David. I have very little interest in video as I was a news videographer for 40+yrs and have made still photography my retirement passion.
Gotta say the XH2S is stupendous and the 150-600 mm lens incredible. I was extremely trepidatious about using it but it is actually as easy or complicated as you desire. The ability to capture fast birds in low light and track moving objects that are obscured is fantastic as is everything else.So I made friends with the PASM and still have the XPro 2 to love.
It seems like no company is exploring how to approach the marketplace differently when considering the digital camera as a mature product. What if Fujifilm revised the industrial design of each of its cameras only once every 5-8 years, or even longer in some cases, while doing only “spec bump” updates like used to be more common in the computer world. Updated sensor, processor, or autofocus in the same body. Perhaps even paid software updates – how much would you, as an XT-3 owner, be willing to pay for Classic Neg? $100? $200-300 for all the simulations available on the newest models? It just seems like there are other ways to maintain a diverse line of camera form factors without holding the mature products to the same expectation of a revolutionary new industrial design and feature set (with revolutionary sales) every two years.
My personal opinion is they need to open up the software side and create an extension system for third parties for on camera features, and open the APIs so third parties can create apps to control and integrate the camera (think like Cascable). Let the community make the camera suit their needs.
“.. open up the software side…”
I agree with this.
But I wonder how many people have dealt with Japanese IT or been to Japan. We assume that they are brilliant technologists – and look at their cameras, they are – but Japan isn’t called a Land of Contrasts for nothing. If you’ve ever had to use a lot of Japanese websites & software integrations it’s obvious that there’s a weird blind spot.
As a friend of mine (who’s work is in your iphone) said to me, “I love the japanese but when they’re faced with a tech problem their solution is to throw people at it – even if we think the solution is in the software.”
Or maybe it’s just a cultural thing – I sort-of oscillate back and forth on that.
I agree. I’ve said before that camera manufacturers release new models far too frequently. Five years is a good gap. Release firmware updates every year or so to improve the model and keep it fresh. Make a paid firmware option to add bigger features for those who want them. Then, when a new model is released, it’s a bigger “upgrade”… think X-T1 vs X-T3, or X100T vs X100V.
I believe that the current practice of frequent releases has some negative side effects. One is there’s a whole group of people who will never buy new. Why should they? With the release of the X-T5, there’s going to be a flood of used X-T3’s on eBay, and probably some X-T4’s, too, for a good discount. The X-T3 and X-T4 are still very solid cameras, still very good. These people won’t ever buy new because, with a little patience, you can save a bunch of money buying used—because so many feel the need to upgrade whenever a new model is released. In other words, camera manufacturers are making their money from one group (those who frequently upgrade) while (for the most part) completely missing another (those who don’t and buy used instead). But if new models were released less often (five years or more apart), they’d do better at capturing both groups. I appreciate the input!
Honestly this is a strategy that would make a lot of sense although it would require pre-planning on the part of the camera maker. They’d have to be innovative with the hardware to ensure they really could keep it fresh and performant relative to the competition for that long a period (perhaps including a small FPGA to permit limited hardware reconfiguration).
It would also make it a much bigger deal when a new model arrived.
Yeah, absolutely. It would be fascinating if a camera maker dared try it.
What I’m suggesting goes beyond just firmware updates over an 8-year lifecycle. I’m thinking it’s more like how a given computer will be updated each year or two with the newest iteration of a processor without making any changes to the design and operation of the hardware. As an example, look at the current iPhone SE. The industrial design is literally unchanged since the iPhone 8 in 2017, but counting the iPhone 8 is now on its third processor, which when the SE is updated every couple of years gets literally the same processor as what’s used in the current flagship iPhone.
I wouldn’t just call such a strategy “interesting;” I think at some point it becomes the only way to sustain the industry as new features push the point of diminishing returns, where they do less and less to transform how people can use a camera and the photos they can make from it. Without this kind of strategy, cameras like the X-E (or X-T, or X-Pro for that matter?) might get discontinued because the R&D to make a “new” version every 2-3 years just doesn’t pay off. On the other hand, Fujifilm could sell an X-E4 “SE” for 10 years, at half the original MSRP, with spec-bumped processors every few years based on (if not literally the same as, for technical reasons) the processors they’re making for whatever Fujifilm decides a flagship camera needs to be.
Finally, consider how Leica has just reintroduced the (film) M6. They didn’t redesign a new film camera – they took one that was perfect and (aside from a few tiny tweaks) just started making it again. Leica rangefinders are obviously not an apples to apples comparison to any digital camera, but I also think there are lessons to be learned from Leica: just how few camera models they sell, and how the different models adopt or reject technology (a brand-new camera without autofocus?)
There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel each time a camera needs an upgrade. Keep it the same for long periods of time, and simply improve the innards every once in awhile. I appreciate the input!
Man, I’d pay up for X-Pro 2 updates that at least gets some of the more modern features in it. Even then I’d be as curious about the next X-Pro as I actually am right now.
If a camera manufacturer would start giving dependable product release timeframes (every line gets a new model ever third year) and six to nine years of upgrades (paid after a new camera version releases) this would be a massive shift in how customers could plan their purchases and manufacturers could continue to cash in not only from camera sales but also from the used marked. In a market that’s shrinking I really believe this would create a win/win situation and would have an almost disruptive effect. The success of Fuji x Weekly is all the indication I need to believe in this statement.
I do think that if a camera manufacturer approached this differently than the way it is now, it would be refreshing and successful. Thanks for the input!
I might be interested to upgrade my xt3 to the xt5. Not because I need it, but out of curiosity. I didn’t move to the xt4 primarily because I use it for street photography and don’t want the flip out lcd. The flip UP is far more useful for street despite the benefit of IBIS with my quakey hands. So if the XT5 with IBIS has the flip up, not flip out LCD, I’ll consider trading up for 40mpx that I surely don’t need. But why not.
I think those upgrading from the X-T3 will be the primary purchaser of the X-T5. Maybe also those still using the X-T2 or even X-T1, but my feeling is that many of those will likely buy a used X-T3 or X-T4 instead, as a flood of those hit the market. It’s my understanding that the X-T5 will have a screen similar (identical?) to the X-T3, and not the flippy screen of the X-T4.
If Fujifilm discontinues the XE line? This would be a major shot in the foot, I mean for me a major heartbreak! I can’t imagine them doing that. I’m all over the net on this model and I tell you X-E4 owners in particular love, I’m talkin, love this camera. It’s not just me.
I love the X-E line! My introduction to Fujifilm was the X-E1, and now I own an X-E4. Fujifilm has more than once teased that the X-E line was dead. It’s kind of Fujifilm’s ugly stepchild (as in, that’s how they treat it), I guess. But a cult classic, that has a passionate fanbase. With the bottom-end of APS-C drying up, and Fujifilm positioning themselves as *the* high-end APS-C brand, I don’t think all three of the (now) entry-level models will survive. While there certainly could be another model of each (X-S20, X-T40, and X-E5), I wouldn’t be surprised if one has seen the last iteration, most likely the X-E, but possibly the X-T00. Or it could be that the next X-E camera doesn’t come for three or four years, and possibly even skips X-Trans V. It’s hard to know, but I do think the sales numbers of the X-T5 will play a role in it, however it shakes out.
That all sounds pretty logical to me Richie, I dont think your too far off in your thinking. I came to Fuji via micro 4 third cameras to get a bigger sensor size but not full frame. I bought an XT30 ( the XT3 being too pricey for me at the time) and dont know about any updating as it suits.me fine. Maybe a used XT3 as well as the XT30 as I guess they will get even cheaper when XT5 is out. Keep up the good work.
I think here pretty soon there’s going to be a flood of used X-T3’s on eBay….
A slight deviation, but one that may be of interest. I have both the H2S and the Sony A7c, which is a full frame (I use it when travelling light). I did exhausting testing in various scenarios, mainly in stills. The testing was only for low light capability differences. Lens used were the Sony 35mm F1.8 and Fuji 35mm F2 ( the ‘budget’ version). To my surprise, the Fuji beat the Sony in all tests, but one (barely). Sony’s colour noise was very apparent and ugly, and its grain was much rougher than the Fuji, which had imperceptible to no colour noise and finer grain. Tests were done from 1,600 up to 10,000 ISO. I was really amazed. The only positive about the Sony is that it retained slightly more details at higher ISO’s.
Technology has progressed indeed. Soon there won’t be much argument between a full frame and APC-S sensors.
James makes a very good point. I think if the time permitted within the tests between the Sony and the Fuji, the 33mm 1.4 may have turned, “Soon,” into no contest, or may I say, “Now!”
A benefit of X-Trans that almost nobody talks about is the ability to differentiate digital noise. By differentiating it from the rest of the image, you’re able to control it (not just smear it with noise reduction), which is why Fujifilm’s high-ISO images look so good, and the color noise much less pronounced and perhaps a little more film-grain-like in appearance.
Great article Ritchie as always! I’m still using the X-T2 and getting very close to upgrading- I was thinking both the X-T4 and the X-Pro3 but not sure to really push the boat out for the X-T5!
I think the X-T5 will be worth waiting for. And it should be a pretty short wait, too. I appreciate your kindness!
With my other system being Pentax, I’m not sure how to feel about their characterization as half-heated. For instance, the K-3iii represents a lot of effort. Far less of an afterthought than Canikony’s models. They put a tonne of work into making a huge prism finder for an APS-C camera, lots of AF improvements, continuing with good IBIS and robust weather sealing, and making clever improvements to things like their astrotracing. No doubt one of the best APS-C DSLRs ever built.*
But it is clear that they’re not the most dynamic company in terms of releases. I have a KP, released nearly six years ago, and they’ve only had one-and-a-half new DSLRs since then. Few new D-FA lenses, and fewer APS-C. Ricoh Pentax seems fine with being a niche camera company, but they also seem like they intend to keep chugging at their modest pace.
Say… just crossed my mind to wonder if there will be a 645Zii, with the sensor out of the GFX100s. That’d be neat, but beyond budget and needs.
*Best APS-C DSLR? Is that a condemnation or praise?
My first two DSLRs were Pentax… because I was shooting with a Pentax SLR just prior to going digital, and I could use my “old” K-mount lenses on my digital cameras. I remember when Pentax was one of the “big three” camera manufacturers: Canon, Nikon, and Pentax. Back then there were tons of camera makers, but those three were typically regarded as the leaders. Obviously everything changed with digital. I’m not exactly sure why, but Pentax has really struggled to sell models and stay relevant over the last five or more years, despite having quality products. I wish them well, and hope they keep chugging. I think they could become relevant again, but it won’t be with DSLRs, as that will be niche going forward. But maybe they’re happy being niche? I appreciate the comment!
Rumors is all we have on the X-T5 they also are saying there will be a Fujifim summit but if you goggle any of this there is nothing out the. Here it is the 28th of October and no news about a summit.
It’s for certain coming. Fujirumors is almost never wrong. And a camera retailer confirmed with me that it’s coming. So I have 0 doubts that the Fujifilm X-T5 will be officially announced on November 2.
“This has been a whole lot of rambling about nothing” It could be the definition of Internet, or the reason of its popularity. About Fujifilm I suspect in ten years it will be clear if the choices of today made any sense. Personally I hope they continue the photographic experience, more than the utilitarian, professional and disposable one by the other big players. This focus in photography made it look like Fujifilm was competing with Leica rather than with Canikony. Now to be honest I am not sure what are doing all the manufacturers of cameras, is like all of them are trending to the same mirrorless offering. And I cannot avoid a bit to blame mainstream journalism for this. Seeing it in retrospective is like media has been pushing for gadgets with this design as if they would measure what is popular; while most of the audience was looking for other things and they moved to cellphones. Is a pity as I always recall a comparison of a cheap chinese compact camera without brand, compared with a Pixel phone. The Pixel had extraordinary HDR capability, super sharpness, the image was perfect, but looked like a constructed digital image; the cheap compact camera, forced by economy to rely on its lens and a common sensor without computacional assistance, looked just natural and more like the eyes see. We have too many options to take a photograph but at the same time most of them are turning disposable, digital images before photographs, and cameras manufacturers for the most part are not exploiting this.
I agree! Fujifilm has a fairly unique position to exploit it, and they don’t really have to create anything new to do so, they just need to communicate better and more widely the “why”… I don’t think they will, however, since they seem to be choosing a different path.
Is there decent interplay between their analog and digital models?
Fujifilm doesn’t make very many film cameras anymore, outside of Instax, and there’s no interplay between them and the digital models. A guess some models can print directly to an Instax printer, so there’s that, I suppose; otherwise, no interplay.
Gotcha. I just flip between two Nikons. Stay away from digital pics for younger gen’s biometrics sake so they helps
Wow, I feel like you play down your insight. In my opinion, and I’ve been with Fuji since the xt-1, you’re 100% right on everything you’ve said. It’s how I feel. If the Xt-5 had the XH2s sensor, I’d upgrade in a heartbeat. Now I feel slightly lost within the Fuji lineup. I don’t want 40mp. I don’t want pasm. I want 26mp, good low light, fast focus and the camera body that I love. Which now doesn’t exist.
Yeah, I do think I’d prefer the sensor in the X-H2S over the X-H2/X-T5 sensor. I think Fujifilm is more interested in attracting new customers than pleasing long-time customers, which I get, but I think it’s really too bad. They do “listen” to an extent, but not nearly as much as I’d like (and they’ve never asked me for my opinions…). I appreciate the input!