Additional Thoughts on the Fujifilm X-T30 II (& X-T3 WW)

Fujifilm officially announced the X-T30 II today. This “new” camera is just like the “old” camera (including the X-T30 nameplate on the front… it says “X-T30” and not “X-T30 II”), except for a few key things. The rear screen is higher resolution. The camera has some additional built-in memory. It has (basically) the same firmware as the X-T4, X-S10, and X-E4. Otherwise, the two models are identical.

In my article Thoughts on the Upcoming Fujifilm X-T30 II I basically blasted Fujifilm for not offering a firmware update to the X-T30, but selling that firmware update as a “new” camera. I also stated:

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.

It seems that “internal memory” was indeed an issue, although I believe that the memory issue has more to do with the video side of things than still pictures. That’s just my opinion, not anything I have any evidence for. So the X-T30 II firmware can’t just be uploaded onto the X-T30, but a scaled down version, perhaps without the improved video features, certain could, and definitely should! It’s long, long overdue.

Fujifilm, if you happen to read this, please visit the comments section of my previous article. These are your customers, and those are their opinions.

The X-T30 II will be available on October 21, and if you have been thinking about getting an X-T30, you are better off waiting until October and buying the X-T30 II. I assume that the “original” X-T30 will be discontinued and discounted around that time, so perhaps a good deal on that model will be coming soon.

Also announced was the X-T3 WW, which is an X-T3 without a battery charger, and a $100 cheaper price-tag. The X-T3 and X-T3 WW are 100% identical. If you don’t need a battery charger, this might be a good option to save a little money.

Thoughts on the Upcoming Fujifilm X-T30 II

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.

See also: Additional Thoughts on the Fujifilm X-T30 II

Fujifilm X-E4 Thoughts….

I wasn’t intending to write this article. I had other things that I wanted to talk about. There are a couple new film simulation recipes I’ve created that I plan to share. I want to give my thoughts on the new GFX100S. I want to talk more about the GFX-50S that Fujifilm sent me to use. There are a couple of lens reviews that I’ve been procrastinating on. The Android version of the Fuji X Weekly App is edging closer to being finished. But, the upcoming Fujifilm X-E4 has been turning inside my brain all day, so that’s why I’m writing about it instead.

I think a lot of people had high hopes and expectations for the Fujifilm X-E4, and nobody really predicted what it ended up being. It’s like when the X-Pro3 was announced, and everyone was scratching their heads. With the X-Pro3, even though so many didn’t understand it, I think there was a pretty large curiosity towards it, and a lot of people came around to it after awhile. The X-E4 has a similar lack of understanding surrounding it, but it doesn’t carry that same curiosity, so it will likely be fairly ignored. It’s already been overshadowed by other gear announcements.

There was a post I published back in July called Shrinking Camera Market: What Fujifilm Should Do in 2021 & Beyond. I suggested that Fujifilm should make a less-expensive 100MP GFX camera. Guess what? They did! Another thing I suggested is that Fujifilm should do more to differentiate the X-E4 from the X-T30 (and the eventual X-T40) because the X-E3 and the X-T20 were so very similar (aside from camera shape). Well, it looks like they did that, too. My apologies.

The question is: what was Fujifilm thinking when they designed the X-E4? What was their vision? That’s tough to know until the tell us, if they tell us, as they might not. Until then, we’re left guessing, and most of the guesses seems to be along the lines of, “They cheapened the X-E line.” I really don’t believe that was their intention.

As I’ve thought about this, I believe the X-E4 is intended to be a minimalist’s “just shoot” camera. Looking at all of the aspects of an X-E3, the designers asked themselves, “Is this necessary?” If the answer was yes, it stayed, perhaps repositioned or redesigned. If the answer was no, to the chopping block it went! I question if the rear wheel and focus-type-selector were really unnecessary, because I think they’re both quite handy. But someone obviously didn’t think so. An ISO dial on the shutter knob (like the X100V) would have been a great addition, but that didn’t happen, unfortunately. I do believe the design of the X-E4 was very intentional, and there was a purpose to the decisions, even if I don’t fully understand them myself.

Besides being a “just shoot” camera, I think the X-E4 was intended to be a smaller pocketable-ish camera, like the X100V or the X70. Remember the X70? It was the short-lived baby-brother to the X100T, with an 18.5mm fixed-lens. Sony suddenly stopped production of the X-Trans II sensor, which the X70 used, and that killed the camera. The X-Trans III sensor was too hot to place inside the small X70 body, so an X80 never happened. Is the X-E4 actually an interchangeable-lens X80? Maybe. Attach one of Fujifilm’s pancake lenses—the 18mm f/2 or 27mm f/2.8—to the X-E4 and it could pass as an X70 successor. It wasn’t very long ago that Fujifilm said there would be no X-E4, that the X-E3 was the end of the line, so maybe the initial vision of this camera wasn’t X-E at all. Just a thought.

Where I think the Fujifilm X-E4 makes the most sense is as a lightweight, compact, carry-everywhere camera. It could nicely complement the X100V. It might be a good option to replace an aging X70. Or, if you never purchased an X70 but always wanted to, this might be a solid alternative. Maybe the XF10 never interested you because of its sluggish performance, Bayer sensor, and PASM dial, but you’d love a compact X-Trans option. Well, now you have one.

My opinion is that if you can make peace with the minimalistic redesign, and you get yourself the 18mm f/2 and/or the 27mm f/2.8—maybe even use a wrist strap instead of a neck strap—this camera could be a very nice travel/street/have-with-you-wherever-you-go option. Is it perfect? No, but what camera is?

Like a lot of you, I’m disappointed that the Fujifilm X-E4 isn’t the camera that many of us thought it could or should be, but as I’ve pondered what it is exactly that Fujifilm created, I can see its place and it does make some sort of sense. If you embrace it for what it is, and perhaps think of it more as an interchangeable-lens X80 than an X-E camera, than I think the X-E4 could actually be a wonderful and fun option.

I say all of this, but I’ve never used or even held an X-E4, so this rant should be taken with a grain of salt. I was initially bummed by the camera because my expectations were off, but now that I’ve had time to dwell on it I’m actually beginning to warm up to it. I think the X-E4, like many of the X-E cameras that came before, will go under the radar and will be under appreciated, but for those who own one, it will be a joy to use.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm X-E4 (Body Only)   Amazon  B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 (w/27mm f/2.8)   Amazon  B&H

New: Fujifilm X-E4

Fujifilm just announced the brand-new X-E4. This will be the smallest interchangeable-lens camera in the X series, and comes in at a modest $849 (body only) price tag. Plenty has been said about it, and I wanted to add my own quick opinions.

The X-E4 is a camera that I am excited for. Why? Because my Fujifilm journey began with the X-E1, and I love the X-E line. I appreciate the size and design. The X-E4 is the X-Pro3’s and X100V’s little brother; sometimes little brothers get overlooked. I could be wrong, but I bet this will be last camera with the X-Trans IV sensor, and the next Fujifilm X camera will feature a new X-Trans V sensor.

This latest version of the X-E camera, which will be released on March 11, is the smallest. It’s also the first with a tilting screen. There are some curious design choices. I’m not surprised that the D-Pad was removed, but I am surprised that the back wheel and some other buttons have been taken away. Fujifilm really embraced a minimalist camera back, which I suppose fits a philosophy that helps to separate this camera from the X-T30 and X-S10, but I wonder if that was actually a good idea. I’m personally disappointed the shutter speed knob doesn’t have an ISO dial like the X100V. It’s still such a beautiful camera body!

The GFX100S, which was announced the same day and really has received most of the attention online, and perhaps deservedly so, was given a new film simulation, called Nostalgic Negative. Strangely, the X-E4 won’t have this new film simulation (but it will have Classic Negative and Eterna Bleach Bypass). This puzzles me because 1) my assumption is that the majority of GFX users shoot RAW and not JPEG (although there are certainly many who do) and 2) this could have been a selling point for the X-E4 and would have generated more excitement for the camera. It would have made more sense to me to have included this film simulation on both cameras, or if it was going to be on only one it should have been the X-E4. My guess is that we’ll start seeing Nostalgic Negative on whatever X series camera comes after the X-E4.

I haven’t preordered the X-E4, but I’m considering selling my X-T30 and replacing it with the X-E4. I don’t think that’s necessarily an upgrade (maybe arguably in some sense, and maybe arguably a downgrade in some other sense, but mostly roughly a lateral move overall), but I just love the X-E line. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do.

The X-E4 is a compact, lightweight Fujifilm X camera that embraces minimalism, simplicity and retro goodness. It seems like such a fun camera that’s especially great for travel or street photography. Introduced at the same time is the new 27mm f/2.8 pancake. This one is weather sealed (the X-E4 isn’t) and has an aperture ring (both are great upgrades!) yet with the same great image quality, so it’s a lens that I hope to add to my collection someday. You can buy the X-E4 bundled with the Fujinon 27mm pancake lens for $1,050.

If you’d like to preorder the camera, you can use the links below:

Fujifilm X-E4 (Body Only) Amazon B&H
Fujifilm X-E4 (w/27mm f/2.8) Amazon B&H

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

New: Fujifilm X-S10

It seems like everyone is talking about the newly announced Fujifilm X-S10, an upcoming mid-range interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera with in-body image stabilization (IBIS). This new camera will be released on November 19 for $1,000 for the body-only.

The X-S10 is a new line, not just a new camera. Fujifilm obviously didn’t listen to my advice (I highly doubt they ever saw it). Really, Fujifilm should have added IBIS to the X-T30 and called it the X-T40, at least that’s what I suggested. Instead they made a new camera from scratch (is that what the “S” stands for?). Internally, the X-S10 is an X-T4 (Fujifilm’s high-end model). Externally, this is an X-T200 (Fujifilm’s low-end model) with a grip (I assume the grip is for heat dispersion more than anything). It seems like they put a Porsche engine inside a VW Bug.

The X-S10 is the X-T4, except smaller, lighter, not weather sealed, with only one memory card slot, and in a body similar to the X-T200 (but with a hand-grip). You get a pretty darn solid camera for a pretty decent price. But, you also get a PASM dial instead of the shutter and ISO dials. It’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? On the inside the X-S10 is a great camera, no doubt about it!

I don’t like the name, though. Did Fujifilm put their hand in a Scrabble bag and pull out an S? What does the S stand for? When I think of S10, I think of cheap Chevy trucks with questionable reliability and presumably lots of rust. That’s not a good association! Of course, if you say the full name, it sounds like “Excess 10” which perhaps is appropriate but not necessarily great from a marketing point-of-view. Maybe the S stands for Sony-killer, which is what I think Fujifilm hopes that this camera becomes. It seems pretty obvious that the Fujifilm X-S10 and the Sony A6500 will be direct competitors. The A6500 is aesthetically uninspiring, so despite my misgivings about the X-S10’s body design, it still wins hands down over the Sony model, in my opinion. Most likely, the S stands for stabilized, as this camera joins a small list of Fujifilm cameras that have IBIS.

Interestingly, Fujifilm also announced a new 10-24mm f/4 lens, which is simply an update to a lens they’ve had for awhile. The new version is weather-sealed. There are a few other small improvements, but weather sealing is the big one. Apparently at some point you’ll be able to buy the X-S10 bundled with the new 10-24mm lens, but the X-S10 isn’t weather sealed, so you might be better off buying the old version of the lens instead, if you plan to use it with that camera.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm X-S10 Amazon B&H

Announced: Fujifilm X-T200

Fujifilm X-T200

Fujifilm just announced the upcoming X-T200, which is the successor to the X-T100. While the X-T200 looks a lot like the camera that it’s replacing, and some of the specs might seem identical, this is definitely an improved model. Essentially, it’s a Fujifilm X-A7 that looks like an X-T100, but with some brand new features. The camera will ship on February 27, but you can pre-order now.

The main upgrades on the X-T200 are auto-focus, video, and the rear screen. For still pictures, there’s not much to distinguish this camera over the previous model. Auto-focus got a very nice boost, with the same capabilities as the X-A7. This camera also now has the same rear screen as the X-A7. Video is a night-and-day difference. The X-T100 has disappointing video capabilities, while the X-T200 overflows in this department.

One of the interesting new features is called “digital gimbal” which essentially crops the image slightly to make a smooth video without image stabilization. It’s similar to what GoPro has on their new models. It’s a great addition for those who plan to use the camera for video.

Who is it for? The X-T200 would make an excellent first interchangeable-lens camera for someone new to photography. It could be a great second body for someone who already has another Fujifilm X camera. Those who vlog or make YouTube videos might especially appreciate this model.

The X-T100 was clearly a step-down from the X-T20, both in price and features, while the X-T200 keeps up with the X-T30 quite well, and is a little cheaper, but not by a huge amount. It is a Bayer sensor camera and not X-Trans, and because of that it’s missing some of the options that the X-T30 has, yet the X-T200 has some features that the X-Trans model doesn’t. I would recommend the X-T30, but if you want to save a little money, the X-T200 is a surprisingly solid alternative. The X-A7 doesn’t have the “digital gimbal” feature found on the X-T200, but it’s also a little cheaper, so if you don’t need it, you might as well buy the X-A7 instead, because it’s essentially the same camera, just in a different shape. For still photography, the X-T100 is basically just as good as the X-T200, and you can pick it up for much less, but if video is important to you, the X-T200 is the camera to buy.

This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking my links.

Fujifilm X-T200 (Body Only) $700   B&H   Amazon
Fujifilm X-T200 w/15-45mm lens $800   B&H   Amazon