It has been only short period of time I've got involved in Fuji World, but I already own two X cameras; and planning on getting one more Fuji shortly. I have to admit that my excitement with the X-System is much to the amusement of my friends who can randomly tease me about becoming a Fuji fanboy.
I hope not; I don't much like fanboys. I hope this, and any future articles about Fuji are as objective as possible, but always with a dose of genuine concern and interest.
So here is my shortlist on what I'd like to see from my newest favorite photographic company, during this new year:
Fuji has done a spectacular job in leading the X-System to a high level of competency during the last 3 years or so.
The primary area in developing a new system is the lens lineup. Here Fuji already shines, with a lens catalog second only to m43, among mirrorless systems; and all this in a very short amount of time. With the introduction of the 16-55mm pro zoom, plus the expected 90mm f/2 and 16mm f/1.4 there are, honestly, very small gaps to be filled, in fact mainly niche ones.
Perhaps a weather sealed 90 or 100mm macro with 1:1 capability? A 200mm f/4 prime? Definitely a 16-70 constant f/4. I can think of very little missing, really. Lets remind ourselves how easy it is to adapt lenses from other systems to Fuji-X and we can agree that the system is more than fine with lens selection.
Development and innovation
I can understand, and also highly respect, the longer development circle for camera bodies. In fact this offers me peace of mind, personally, knowing that the company is not after the "fashion" crowd, but seeks to establish a highly loyal customer base. This is helped tremendously by the Kaizen principle and if I'd had one wish to make it would be that Fuji never deviates from this philosophy.
As rumors have it, we are awaiting for the X-Pro1 successor sometime in 2015. I have to declare that this model, along with a possible X-T1 successor are on the top of my list for my primary camera body in the next year or so. This is an issue with two sides, for me.
First of all I'd like a new high-end body to capitalize on professional features, such as full weather sealing, high flash sync speed, long shutter life, high operating performance etc. And, of course, the AF performance matter: I expect major improvements here. Fuji has gone from having, fairly, mediocre AF speed and performance, to being quite capable; I'd like to see something spectacular next. Something that would leave no excuses to the DSLR crowd.
Then there is a number of parameters that need addressing, and, to be honest, this is not particular to Fuji, but indeed all mirrorless manufacturers, more or less.
For example: battery life. You know what I'm talking about. At least give us a way to know how much battery we have left, instead of the "full, full, full, oops!, dead" paradigm of today. More serious than that is RAW converter software support. Fuji has to work more with software companies to have RAF files converted to the limit of their quality. This is probably more important than having the latest in-camera processor (see also a previous article on this matter).
The other side of the coin is innovation. It would be thrilling to see something like the rumored "organic sensor" technology, but I'd take my time on that. I have a feeling that the existing technology can offer at least one more major quality iteration, and hope Fuji shall find ways to milk the last ounce of quality from current sensor tech.
There are things such as higher resolution and enhanced video capabilities that many people have high on their lists. I personally don't care that much. I'd rather prefer to have more professional tools than more tools other professionals need.
The (so called) low-end
One of the greatest things with Fuji is that practically the same IQ is offered through the whole line of X cameras. On the other hand, I don't see the entry level cameras as a sector for huge investments. That said, I'd love to see a X-M1 replacement with a number of crucial improvements.
For example: put a EVF on. C'mon Fuji, you know the target group for this camera will eventually want one. It doesn't need to be a huge, top performance item. Other companies, such as Panasonic and Sony have introduced EVFs with their latest small camera iterations. Please follow this example.
Touch screen: Seriously, Fuji? It's bleeding 2015! Yes I know, wi-fi connectivity may provide touch-interface though an external smartphone/tablet device. Trust me, most photographers want all the capability they can have, on their camera.
Since this has to be a small(-ish) camera: what about a good pancake zoom? Olympus, Panasonic and Samsung already have them; I can't believe it's too difficult to make a very good one.
And because this has to be a fun camera for everyday and serious amateur use, how about getting more up to date with features such an audience expects? Easier to use bracketing options for image filters, for one. Such a camera should not be without a clever panorama mode, for another.
In short: make it closer to the philosophy of cameras such as the Olympus Pen; but in such a way that it can also be a "X-100 for the rest of us". Make it stand out as both fun and extremely capable.
Now let's get a bit crazy
There are frequent requests about going the "full frame" route; and there will always be full-frame junkies asking. My opinion: don't bother.
In the immortal lingo of "Battlestar Galactica", frack Full Frame.
I mentioned in the beginning that I'm getting one more Fuji camera in the near future. Here it is:
So let me join the voices that ask for a new Fuji Medium Format Digital camera.
Make a X-trans version of the latest spectacular Sony MF sensor. Put it in a camera body not much different than the GA645, optically or practically. Mate it with a similar fixed 60mm Fujinon lens. As with the X-100, offer the choice of a couple of high quality telephoto/wide lens converters. Put in all the proven technology from the latest X-100T and X-T1 (don't forget the swivel LCD). Retail it, if possible, for less than $5000. Laugh all the way to the bank.
It may sound nuts, but I suspect there is a very much larger market for such a camera than you probably expect. I can see thousands of fashion, landscape, travel, documentary, and many other photographers lusting over such a machine. The concept is: having a medium format equivalent of the X-100.
Here's to a great, exciting 2015: we are keen to see what you have for us Fuji!
Signed: a reluctant, but happy, fanboy.