Eyes wide open | new WCL-X100 converter for the X100

I’ve said this before but I was again reminded this morning: I really like the way Fujifilm is handling the X-series. In a world where most companies race to make their products obsolete as quickly as possible, Fujifilm seems to recognize the value in taking care of its customers for more than the requisite buzz period.

Case in point: the newly announced WCL-X100 Wide Conversion Lens for the X100. Never saw that one coming. The converter attaches to the original lens by removing the decorative ring (the same one you remove to attach the lens hood and 49mm adapter) and transforms the camera’s 35mm equivalent to a 28mm.

It’s not a huge jump (24mm would’ve been nice) but it’s quite interesting to see the company moving this way, investing in the X100 rather than trying to replace it with the next big thing.

This new lens is supported by new UI options in firmware update 1.3.0 released today. When switching to Wide Conversion Lens Mode in the menu, the frame lines and distance scale will reflect the change in focal length. The camera’s software is also designed to correct distortion, vignetting and CA just as it does with the original lens. All in all this seems like a very well thought-out implementation meant to transform the X100 without sacrificing the quality that’s been its hallmark from day one.

As a bonus, the update also fixes the annoying need to power off the camera for changes to Auto ISO min shutter speed to take effect.

Info and sample images (as average as always) can be found here. The new firmware update is here. No pricing or release date information so far. I’ve seen $350 floating around but I have no idea how valid this is.

Could we eventually see other converters? Maybe step it up to 50mm? No idea. But the door is certainly open with this release. And while I’m as interested as anyone to see what an eventual X200 could bring, I’m glad to see the refinements and care being given to the X100. It shows a dedication rarely seen nowadays.

UPDATE: Street price has been confirmed at $349.95 US and it should ship in June.