The feeling of déja vu is obvious. Just as they did with the unveiling of the X100, Fujifilm have once again managed to capture the imagination of an impressive range of photographers. Derek Clark has a post on Fuji’s newfound fame that’s well worth reading if you get a chance. Essentially the company has managed — in just over a year — to reinvent itself completely in the eyes of serious shooters. No small feat. And they’ve done it not by adding silly whiz bang features, not by reinventing the wheel… They’ve done it by simply taking a deep breath, looking at the photography landscape and delivering products photographers have been claiming for. The bodies of the past merging with today’s reality. Think Different by Thinking Back.
That no one else has imitated them so far is amazing to me. And with their upcoming X-Pro1 they get a chance to solidify their lead and forge lasting allegiances. The question is: have they nailed it?
Drew Gardner wonders about this as well in a post entitled: Please, Please, Please let the auto focus be up to the job. I agree completely. While I’ve defended the X100’s AF against attacks that went totally overboard, I’ve also always said it wasn’t DSLR performance — not by a long shot. We could argue that the X-Pro1 would be just as successful with the same focusing system by simply being the interchangeable lens version of the X100. I think we’d be wrong though.
An entirely new camera ecosystem doesn’t come too often. With their new APS-C advancements and X-mount system Fuji have clearly invested in what they see as the future. They’re gunning for the pro market and I tend to believe they’re not just looking to be the professional’s other camera this time around. Long term they’re looking to push back into Nikon and Canon territory. Main gear, not second fiddle.
But for this to work they need to seize the momentum. Just like Gardner, I believe their achille’s heel is focusing. We already know the new lenses are fly by wire (ugh). We also know they’ve kept a contrast detection system — same as the X100. In an extensive interview, Kayce Baker says it’s much faster thanks to the new onboard processor. But we’ll only know once we get one in our hands and actually test it out. She also says they’re working on phase detection so…
As far as I’m concerned there’s a lot riding on this for Fuji and my relationship with this company: if the new sensor really blows me away, if the camera performs and becomes a realistic option for work related projects… I could be tempted to forego a Nikon upgrade and add to my current gear with the idea of testing this as my eventual system of choice. From comments I’ve received so far, I know I’m not the only one contemplating this. Maybe I’m not being realistic, maybe it’s my innate need to be slightly off the mark and look for alternative ways of doing things but still… That’s where I am right now. In my world this is rather big.
Another area where Fuji is investing energy is with their film simulation modes.
Here’s a thought: what if they went against the grain, leapfrogged all the other manufacturers and actually worked at integrating their full raw specs and rendering engine into third-party DAWs? Could you imagine getting the benefits of all the Fujifilm recipes in Aperture or Lightroom? Having the ability to keep a raw workflow while using those film simulations non-destructively?
If they did that… Well, if they did that they’d get my money just for allowing it to happen. Just for thinking outside the well-established box that doesn’t serve any of us out here.
Lot’s of wishes.
But one can dream, right?
I shot the picture below in the studio with the X100 and a single BX500ri in a Portalite softbox — 1/1000s f4 ISO 200. Why 1/1000s? Just because I could ;)
Oh… and I asked my girlfriend to look bored. Honest. We’re good.