News/Views

News & Opinions about the mirrorless camera market appear below, latest article first. Over in right column—bottom if you're reading on a small screen—you'll find the News/Views Archive, which lets you go back in time to look at articles that have trickled off this page. If you're looking for older articles, click here for the deeper news archive.

 If you want to read an article below without the sidebar and other distractions, just click on its title.

Canon's R3 Development Announcement

So now we have three top-end mirrorless bodies that will be duking it out soon (Canon R3, Nikon Z9, and Sony A1). Since Canon and Nikon are both simply at the development announcement stage, it's not possible to compare much.

What I find interesting is that all three are stacked BSI image sensor designs. What this tells us is that none of the big three think that they can improve bandwidth fast enough on the basic CMOS of the imaging sensor itself. It also portends the next development—which Nikon gave us a preview of with their 1" sensor development announcement earlier this year—and that is that we'll see "smarts" start to appear in the stacked side of the chip. 

Eventually, we'll see the image sensor and SoC combined is my guess, much like Apple has done with throwing all the silicon bits into their M line of processors. This is the ultimate thing about semiconductors: they get more sophisticated over time and you end up with one part that has all the electronics in it, not boards of components. Dedicated cameras are a little late to the electronic consolidation game, but the A1, R3, and Z9 are indications that we'll get there.

bythom canon r3

Meanwhile, what else do we know about the R3?

  • Integrated vertical grip body ala 1DX, and with Canon's best weather sealing
  • Canon will be resurrecting their focus-where-the-photographer-looks system in the EVF
  • 30 fps electronic shutter, with low rolling shutter
  • Still dual-pixel (not quad-pixel as some expected)
  • Additional subject detection (beyond face, eye, animal)
  • A new Mobile File Transmitter app for your mobile device

You know what excites me most? That last bullet. Particularly if Canon has recognized that the camera workflow needs some additions, as well. If I can push selected and annotated images through my smartphone on the sidelines to my client, Canon has a winner. Take out two of the words (selected and annotated) and not so much a winner, but an improvement over current state of the art. 

Numerology

With all the recent announcements, we're now going to have a Sony A1, a Canon R3, and a Nikon Z9 as top models. Apparently the Canon is three-times better than the Sony, the Nikon three times better than the Canon ;~). 

This, of course, introduces a real issue for Panasonic. They now need to call their eventual top end model the S27. Or will OM Digital Solutions beat them to the punch with an E-M27? 

Yes, camera naming is absurd. It's always been fraught with inconsistencies, skipped numbers, and unusual progressions. Sony now has "top" models at both ends of their numbering system in the A1 and A9, a plethora of A7's, and no logical place to put an entry full frame camera (A5? since when is the middle the bottom?). 

Canon's in worse shape, with an R, RP, R5 (current top), and R6. Nikon placed their bottom at 5, leaving themselves only five numbers to work with. OM Digital Solutions boxed themselves in a corner by not having a number lower than 1 to use for their highest end camera; enter the X factor. 

Every one of these companies had a chance to "start again" with their numbering—they all seem averse to naming—and then got the math wrong. 

Frankly, if you can't get the model numbering logical and ordered, it seems unlikely that you can get the camera capabilities logical and ordered. Moreover, not getting model numbers logically arranged appears to also indicate that the camera companies didn't see very far into their future when they started their current numbering schemes. Almost every camera maker is sending terrible signals to its customer base at the moment just in their numbering schemes (and don't get me started about Fujifilm's letters ;~). My take? None of them correctly anticipated exactly what their immediate model future might look like. Either that or they've been drinking too much sake in the naming meetings. 

The funny thing is this: there really are only two variables the camera companies are dealing with: (1) sensor size, and (2) model level. Nikon probably comes the closest to an understandable mirrorless naming structure at the moment (which in itself is a surprise): (a) two numbers are crop sensor, one is full frame; (b) higher number is better model. But again, they put their bottom model at a middle number for some reason, leaving themselves very little naming room. Moreover, where would a medium format or larger sensor camera go in such a system (0 numbers? ;~). 

I'll stick with my thesis here: the confused numbering systems show that the camera companies can't see into their future. At all. The Sony A1 (better than previously top A9) was just an opening salvo in the "dumb numbering" wars. We'll see worse. 


Where is Sony Optically Weak?

The Sony A1 is now sitting on my desk beginning its testing. In terms of my own photography, the natural places to test the A1 in extremis are with landscape photography and in wildlife/sports work. Which led me to contemplating the lenses I needed to pull out of the gear closet to put on the A1.

If you're not familiar with Phillip Reeve's list of Sony FE lenses, you probably should go check that out (you can also explore the Sony and Third Party lens lists on this site, though that will resort in you doing a little manual work to consolidate what's available). The total FE autofocus lens list right now is approaching 100 lenses.

For landscape testing, there are a plethora of great lens choices. I tend to use 24mm or wider for landscape work, and if I include the two Zeiss 25mm lenses, I've got 38 choices. The problem happens at the other end of the focal range, where I'm looking at lenses for wildlife and sports work. Above 100mm, we have exactly eight autofocus lenses. It's probably worth listing them:

  • 100-400mm f/5-6.3 Sigma
  • 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 Sony
  • 135mm f/1.8 Sony
  • 135mm f/1.8 Sigma
  • 135mm f/2.8 Zeiss
  • 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 Sony
  • 400mm f/2.8 Sony
  • 600mm f/4 Sony

The last two of those list for US$12,000 or more, so aren't in my gear closet. The 135mm primes aren't flexible enough for my testing. That left me with the 100-400mm and 200-600mm choices. Yes, we've also got possible 70-180mm, 70-200mm, and 70-300mm choices, but those probably aren't going to push my testing enough to see what the camera can really do.

But this does introduce the problem that the Big Three all have in differing degrees: the mirrorless systems "aren't all there yet." Canon's missing the top body and a slew of native lenses*, Nikon's missing the top body and a slew of native lenses*, and Sony's still missing some lenses that would make them fully competitive, though they do now have a top body.

* Both Canon and Nikon have DSLR lenses that work just fine on their mirrorless bodies, but those are not optimized lenses for the system, and the double mount introduces potential other issues.

It's pre-mature to conclude that any full frame mirrorless option is fully fleshed out, though Sony does indeed come the closest. They should, given their long head start. 

My guess is that Canon will now be pedal-to-the-floor and will get to "complete" right behind Sony, with Nikon not quite matching that, but within shouting distance. I don't think the L-mount cameras will get there, as about the only lens maker that could fill in some needed exotics is Sigma, and none of the L-mount systems really have the AF systems necessary to take full advantage of them. 

The Not New New Model

Sony today dropped two new full frame mirrorless cameras into the market, the A7R Mark IIIa and the A7R Mark IVa. 

The only two changes to the previous non-a models appear to be an upgraded rear LCD (now 2.4m dots, up from 1.4m), as well as updated USB 3.2 capability (5Mbps transfers). The LCD change drops the CIPA battery numbers by 10 shots for each camera (not significant). 

I believe this is the first of perhaps many “parts shortages” issues we’re going to see over the coming year. Camera companies, like everyone using electronic parts, are scrambling to balance their supply chains with their production. Sticking higher specification LCDs into models that fetch top prices frees up more of the lower specification LCDs for the lower-priced models, in all likelihood. 

I’ve elected not to split out new models and just add comments about the “a” variants in the data pages.

Meanwhile, the fact that we got an A7R Mark IIIa means that the Mark III is still being actively made (the Mark II didn’t get a change). So, in essence, Sony has two “current” A7R models priced US$700 apart. How long that will last, I don’t know, but it does seem to indicate that Sony has adopted the old Nikon tactic of leaving previous generation models in production at lower prices. Companies do this to make a product line look broader and to have more price points at which to capture a sale. 

The US$1000 Crop Sensor Mirrorless Camera

Today I'm posting two new mirrorless camera reviews. One for the Fujifilm X-S10 and the other catching up with the Canon M6 Mark II

If you restrict the B&H search function to US$800 to US$1200 these days, you get the following crop sensor mirrorless camera choices (some are kits, some are body only):

  • Canon M50 Mark II 
  • Canon M6 Mark II
  • Fujifilm X-E4
  • Fujifilm X-S10
  • Fujifilm X-T30
  • Nikon Z50
  • Olympus E-M1 Mark II
  • Olympus E-M5 Mark II
  • Olympus E-M5 Mark III
  • Panasonic G7
  • Panasonic G85
  • Panasonic G9
  • Panasonic G95
  • Sigma sd Quattro
  • Sony A6100
  • Sony A6400

Yikes! A very crowded place to be considering a camera. Even a full frame mirrorless Canon RP body sneaks into this search. 

So let me give you a bit of advice here. I've reviewed five of those cameras fully, used ten of them, and am familiar with the pluses and minuses of the other six. 

You can make a very quick cut by just deciding if you're going m4/3 or APS-C. 

That's not quite as straight forward as it seems: m4/3 uses a 4:3 aspect ratio while APS-C uses 3:2. I personally don't like the squarer 4:3 ratio and tend to use even wider 16:9 aspect ratios on all my m4/3 cameras, though that gobbles up some pixels. Meanwhile, m4/3 has a more complete lens selection available than APS-C, and that might tempt you. 

APS-C sensors are currently "better" than m4/3 ones. Perhaps not by as much as the APS-C users think, but more than the m4/3 users think ;~). Two of the APS-C makers (Nikon, Sony) have options that would let you grow into full frame using the same lens mount. 

But the real "decider" to me is going to be the user experience (UX). 

Some of you will prefer simpler, more automatic cameras, others ones with a rich set of user options and controls. Moreover, there's considerable difference between all of these cameras when it comes to the handling side. I'd argue that if you're not 100% comfortable with the handling of a camera, you're not going to be happy with your choice long term. Thus, Canon users will gravitate towards Canon, Nikon towards Nikon, and Sony towards Sony. A local camera store that stocks multiple brands is your friend here. You're going to have a visceral reaction to holding and framing with each camera, and that first impression is usually accurate. 

Okay, with that out of the way, what are my choices? 

Here is my preferred subset of the above list and a quick word on why I think you might consider each:

  • Canon M6 Mark II — It's simple, but it's flexible and extendable. It arguably has the best image sensor of the bunch. If the few M lenses appeal to you and you've been a Canon user before, this is your choice.
  • Fujifilm X-S10 — Surprised? In many ways, this is Fujifilm's "most complete" design yet. That's not to say it has every feature or performance capability, but that everything about the camera feels right and complete for most uses. The image sensor is great, and you've got lots of lens choices. 
  • Nikon Z50 — This little camera keeps getting under-estimated, probably because of its 20mp sensor. Yet that sensor is excellent, and the Z50 really feels and operates like a very miniature DSLR. The two kit lenses are excellent, compact, and about as good as kit lenses get.
  • Olympus E-M1 Mark II — Surprised again? This was one of Olympus's best efforts, and still shines today with all the firmware updates. At the close-out pricing, it's a bargain. 
  • Panasonic G9 — This may be the most complete camera of the bunch. My only real problem with it is the camera size versus the sensor size, so make sure it's what you want. 
  • Sony A6400 — A solid choice but in a strange, uncomfortable for some, body. Make sure you can live with the UX. If you can, your big decision really is what lens to match it with. I don't like the Sony kit lenses. The Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 might be the better choice, but that's pricey for people shooting at this price point.

There's not a dud in that list of six. But they are all very different from one another. The Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, and Panasonic are the most DSLR-like, but different DSLRs ;~). The Olympus is the most rugged and has been in my gear closet since it first came out. The Nikon two-lens kit is the best value and the one I travel with the most these days.

You have great choices here. Take the time to figure out the right one for you. 

Sigma Adds L to fp

bythom sigma fpl

Sigma today announced the fp-L, a 61mp version of the unique fp camera. I'm not entirely sure why. 

Oh, there are improvements from the original fp, including a new detachable EVF, the addition of phase detect to the autofocus system, USB Power Delivery (but not with the EVF attached), and a few other small bits and pieces. But it's the 61mp image sensor that makes me wonder about this camera.

The fp you may recall, can take stills but is really a small, powerhouse video camera. In that sense, the 61mp sensor—almost certainly the one that powers the Sony A7R Mark IV—is confusing. With its slow 1/10 second rolling shutter, motion gets easily jellied and frequency-driven lighting will often be an issue. Meanwhile, as a 61mp stills landscape camera, there's not much on offer to make the fp-L all that attractive for that, either, other than the sheer pixel count. 

As has been the case with pretty much every Sigma camera, the fp-L is idiosyncratic. 

I can see how the original fp makes for an interesting and potentially useful addition to a videographers' bag. It's small size and excellent video capabilities make a lot of sense for certain types of work where you need to be discrete and portable (though as you "rig up" a video camera, the body size becomes less important). But the fp-L doesn't really tick any new critical boxes for me, so I'm not sure what Sigma's intention is.

Post CP+

CP+ was an online show only this year (end of February), and as such, it was a very subdued one. In the run-up to the show really only Fujifilm and Sony used that time to do any major product introductions, while Canon and Nikon stayed quiet during the show (but keep reading). OM Digital and Panasonic made some mumblings about future products. Pentax and Sigma appeared to pull rumored camera announcements. Even the lens front was relatively quiet, with only two significant lenses being introduced (Panasonic 70-300mm, Sigma 28-70mm).

On that latter front, with little else to report about, that Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 got a quick assessment by many, and it's a bit telling to where we are in the state of the market now. For instance, it appears that the quick verdict is that the Tamron 28-70mm f/2.8 is a bit sharper in the center of the frame while the Sigma is a bit sharper in the corners. The Tamron has bit less vignetting and linear distortion, but the Sigma is a bit shorter and lighter. Lots of "bit" differences, nothing significant. That's pretty much true of full frame cameras and their basic lens sets these days: smaller differences, not necessarily significant ones. At least at APS-C there are still some clear and obvious differences to consider.

Curiously, Nikon choose post CP+ to reveal that they will release a Z9 flagship camera in 2021. Virtually no details are available (stacked FX sensor, new imaging pipeline, 8K video), and only a photo of an initial prototype's front (for a fuller discussion, see zystemuser.com):

bythom z9 front

Likewise, Sony appears to have held a few minor products out of CP+. They've now introduced one, the ECM-W2BT wireless microphone whose receiver slots into the Digital Multi Interface in the hot shoe of many Sony cameras. But others are going to trickle out shortly, including at least one new lens.

dpreview seems to have conducted their usual CP+ interviews with camera company executives, though via email rather than in person. The first two have been published: Fujifilm, Nikon.

Sony Takes on the BMD Pocket Cinema

I guess Sony got tired of being beaten up in the "small video camera" realm by Blackmagic Design, ECam, and others. Today Sony announced the full frame FX3, which is basically a ruggedized and repurposed A6600 body designed specifically for video. Or: it's a repurposed A7S Mark III with a smaller, video-specific body. Take your pick.

bythom sony fx3

"Specifically for video?" Yes. Take a closer look. You'll see the customizable buttons all numbered (up to 6) ala pro video cameras, there's no Mode dial, you'll see 1/4" mounting sockets across the top and sides, there's no EVF, there are three tally lights onboard, and if you still haven't figured it out, Sony also puts a very large "Cinema Line" label atop the camera. Even closer examination reveals that the A6### body has grown a bit to provide better heat management via a fan and vents (dust and moisture resistance is maintained).

Yes, you can take stills with the camera, but since the image sensor is 12mp, many will probably discount it as a true still camera, and for that the A7S Mark III body is probably a better choice. Of course, I'm not sure that either the FX3 or A7S Mark III body design is quite right for handholding (run and gun) video. Sony's own introductory video had several scenes of people awkwardly trying to handhold the FX3. Good thing that there's not only sensor IS as well as new Sony post production stabilization software, Catalyst Browse/Prepare.

bythom sony fx3 handle


Like the A7S Mark III the big claim is low noise in low light, with up to 15 stops of dynamic range, coupled with Sony's S-Cinetone look. 4K up to 120 fps (slight crop) is available, and 4K 60P (full frame) is said to be infinite in recording length due to the cooling system. A 16-bit raw output is available to an external recorder. An XLR "handle/microphone holder" is included with the camera. Price is US$3899. 

Sony is having some of the same problems every camera maker has had as their line matured. Lately, we've seen Sony veer towards a more video orientation (A7C, RX3, and some would argue the A7S Mark III and the 8K of the A1). Most of us who use a Sony Alpha for stills would argue there are still plenty of things left "undone" on the still side (focus stacking, for example).

One has to wonder whether Sony Imaging is having some internal political battles about how to ward off the competition now that Canon and Nikon seem fully committed to full frame mirrorless. I don't think "video" is the ultimate answer, though I do appreciate the fact that it's easy to move between truly still-centric cameras (e.g. A7R Mark IV) and truly video-centric cameras (e.g. FX6) without having to buy new accessories or lenses.

The Mirrorless Myths Continue

The Internet is a harsh place. You're left on your own to try to sort out the disinformation from the real information. To that end, let me once again tackle a few myths surrounding mirrorless cameras that seem to just keep propagating and replicating themselves, much like a virus.

  1. Mirrorless cameras have poor battery life. This myth tends to revolve around CIPA test figures. The CIPA standardized testing basically is this: "take a picture every 30 seconds while leaving the camera fully active during the test; use flash every other picture if the camera has one built in." Because mirrorless cameras would have their display run the entire time during such a test, while DSLRs don't have a power hungry display active all the time, the CIPA test numbers really start to tell you how long you can continuously use the camera, not how many shots you can take. For instance, a CIPA number of 360, which is pretty typical for a mirrorless camera, would suggest that the camera can run continuously for three hours, max. In real life, of course, you may be shooting more than one shot every thirty seconds (sports), not shooting every thirty seconds (casual, travel), of some other variant where the display does get shut down for longish periods. Every variation on those themes will net you more shots per charge than CIPA suggests, sometimes considerably so. I regularly get 2x to 3x the suggested shot capability on pretty much all my mirrorless cameras, sometimes much more. Oh, and by the way, are you really taking 360 shots a day in the first place? Most folk can get by with one battery and charging it each day, but carry an extra just to be safe. Not a big deal.
  2. The electronic viewfinders (EVF) on mirrorless cameras have terrible lag. Certainly the first mirrorless cameras had more lag than current ones do, but I'm not sure I'd ever characterize it as terrible. Today, generally the viewfinder lag is no more than 60Hz, which, by the way, is faster than the actual mechanical shutter lag on many low-end DSLRs. Doh! In reality, there's a chain of things that happen: (a) you're watching for something and respond to it (human lag), (b) you press the shutter release (in DSLRs the mirror needs to moved out of the way and the shutter opened), (c) the camera takes a photo. I wouldn't judge mirrorless cameras today to be any slower at a-to-c than DSLRs. Indeed, some are better in actual use, as they don't ever blackout the viewfinder (e.g. Sony A9). 
  3. EVFs aren't good for your eyes. This plays off another Internet myth that gets circulated, that all displays are bad for your eyes. Were that actually true to the level where you'd need to fight against having a display provide information, we'd be seeing huge volumes of eye problems at optometrists that we've never seen before. Having read a large number of studies in this arena, one problem I see is that not all factors and variables are being controlled. While I have no doubt that artificial displays can have some impact on vision, I also have no doubt that plenty of other situations can have impact on vision, too, such as not shielding eyes from brightness or UV. Just as you wear sunglasses for those, there may come a time when you wear some type of lens for EVFs. (And no, I don't think the "blue filter" optics that get promoted on the Internet are exactly the right answer.) Another sub-complaint here that needs to be dismissed is that "you're looking at a screen that's only inches away from your eyes." That's a naive interpretation. The optics in modern viewfinders, both for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, attempt to place the perceived distance of what you're looking at about a meter away. And let's not talk about presbyopia ;~).
  4. Mirrorless cameras have terrible, small, or fiddly controls. No doubt there are mirrorless cameras that don't have a reasonable hand grip, have controls scattered in unusual places, use buttons that are small and difficult to find by touch, have menus that are tough to understand or navigate, or aren't particularly configurable. Back when it was mostly the consumer camera engineers designing mirrorless bodies, a lot of consumer nonsense made it into those early mirrorless cameras. These days, the systems have all matured, and with perhaps the exception of menu nomenclature and organization, I'd say you can pretty much set this myth aside.
  5. Image Noise or Depth of Field is a problem. This myth originated from the fact that mirrorless started with smaller sensor sizes when DSLRs were in the midst of their full frame heyday. Today, however, you can directly compare apples-to-apples in terms of sensor size and capability, and if you do, you find that mirrorless really doesn't have any penalty at all. True, if you pick an m4/3 mirrorless camera over a full frame DSLR, then there are some differences you need to be aware of, but apple-to-apples there is no difference.
  6. Mirrorless cameras aren't as well built as DSLRs. Well, if you're talking Canon 1DX Mark III or Nikon D6, I suppose that might be somewhat true, as those DSLRs are built like tanks, and few mirrorless camera to date have really matched that level of build quality other than perhaps the E-M1 Mark III and E-M1X. But in terms of the mainstream of mirrorless cameras, most have robust structures and reasonable weatherproofing these days. 
  7. Autofocus isn't as fast or responsive. This is a little bit tricky, because "fast" isn't the sole attribute on which you need to judge autofocus. However, once most mirrorless cameras went to phase detect autofocus on the image sensor—exceptions still exist at the lower end of the spectrum, and Panasonic still sticks with their DFD focus system—things evened up very quickly between mirrorless and DSLR in terms of the speed at which focus is initially acquired. Generally, cameras with dedicated processing power for focus, which includes a few top DSLRs and more and more mirrorless cameras, focus not only faster, but track focus better. In the mirrorless world, the top focusing cameras right now would be the Canon R5 and R6, plus the Sony A9 Mark II and A1. Some, like the Nikon Z6 II and Z7 II, are not much behind those. But looked at a different way—from the viewpoint of consumer DSLRs—most mirrorless cameras these days focus more than fast enough, and may even beat some of those low-end DSLRs.
  8. Mirrorless cameras don't make good sports or wildlife systems. This is related to the previous myth, but given that the previous myth is indeed a myth, you can probably guess my comment here. Anyone paying attention has known that I've been using a mirrorless camera at least part of the time for wildlife photography for about a decade, and have been taking wildlife and sports photos with mirrorless cameras quite often in the last few years. Do I prefer my Nikon D6 over a Nikon Z6 II for sports? Yes, but not by as wide a margin as you might guess. Would I be disappointed if I had to use a Sony A9 Mark II instead of my D6? Not in terms of performance.
  9. Phase Detect on sensor reduces sensor capability. No. Not in any way that most people would ever encounter. Many of the "low-level banding" complaints are actually just attempts by DSLR users to find something to criticize about mirrorless cameras. Practically speaking, I've not had any image ruined by "low-level banding," and on the early Nikon Z bodies, there's a way to simply avoid that in the first place (use 12-bit raw). 
  10. Lens choice is a problem. Any new mount has the chicken-and-egg problem. At one time  every mirrorless camera system had a "new mount." The DSLR systems had decades to round out lens lineups of 60+ optics (plus older no-longer-in-production optics, as well). On day one of any new mirrorless system, each started with a half dozen or fewer lenses, so, yes, you can see how this could be an issue. However, time has transitioned this complaint to that of a myth, even for the most recent mounts (e.g. Nikon Z). The oldest mirrorless mount, m4/3? Plenty of lens choice, with a lot of redundancy, too. The oldest full frame lens mount, Sony FE? Plenty of lens choice, with lots of third party support. Canon RF and Nikon Z? Both systems launched with really good lens adapters that let you use your DSLR lenses, and each is running at the rate of about 8 new lenses a year. The Z mount, for instance, has 16 currently available Nikkors, over 50 third party lenses, and hundreds of Nikkors that can run on the FTZ adapter available already. I'd argue that "lens choice" is not one of the mirrorless camera issues you should be worried about.

Mirrorless cameras are here to stay, and they're only going to get better. Most of the myths I describe above are (sometimes blatant) attempts at dismissing that notion. I say judge for yourself based upon real information and handling of a camera yourself. You might find that you've had a bias that was keeping you from exploring what's possible with the latest photographic gear.

Fujifilm's Latest Announcements

Fujifilm today announced the not-so-secret GFX100S and X-E4 cameras plus several new lenses (for both GF and X mounts). 

bythom fujifilm gfx100s diag

The big news is (literally), of course, the 100mp GFX100S. Actually, it's also the small(er) news, as the two big pluses to the new camera are that it's much smaller than the original GFX100—which has an integrated vertical grip—and it has a lower cost. Most of the rest of the camera is very similar to the more expensive one I reviewed last year.

It's that price, US$5999, that probably is the big news with the GFX100S. That's US$4000 less than the original GFX100, and only US$500 more than the 50mp GFX50S. With Sony already offering 61mp in a full frame body at US$3500, it seems to me that Fujifilm is trying to drive a price stake in the ground that forms a ceiling for the upcoming higher spec full frame cameras. 

Yes, higher pixel count full frame is coming. Canon is rumored to be thinking in the 100mp range themselves, Nikon is targeting 80mp, and Sony's next plans aren't yet clear, but are likely to be in that same range. Can you sell a US$5000 full frame body with a high pixel count when a medium format one is available at US$6000? We might actually see that fight.

Meanwhile, some differences that account for that lower price include no drive, ISO, metering, or exposure compensation dials. We do get six custom C# settings on the Mode dial, which should prove useful. Strangely, the UX design definitely evokes Nikon here (button+dial). 

bythom fujifilm xe4 angle

Near the other end of the buying spectrum, the Fujifilm X-E4 re-exerts the offset EVF, rangefinder-style body in the APS-C lineup. I'm not a big fan of doubly offset viewfinders—SLRs are singly offset—as when you're following erratic or fast motion you're not only not any axis of the action, but you also have most of the mass on one side of the axis. With long telephoto lenses, that can start to be a problem. 

Of course, the X-E4 isn't really designed for that kind of work. Still, I'm not really understanding the difference between the X-E4, X-S10, and the inevitable X-T40. Yes, the X-E4 just became the smallest X camera in the main lineup, but is that enough to justify it?

Even with the downsize, I'm not really understanding the difference between the X-E3 and X-E4. Yes, I know that one was 24mp with minimal video capability and the newer one is 26mp with higher video capability. I guess I can understand why an EX-2 user might want to upgrade, but I suspect a lot of those folk have already picked another Fujifilm APS-C camera to update to.

In terms of lenses, we get three new ones:

  • GF 80mm f/1.7 — a very welcome fast, slightly long, normal lens for the GFX cameras.
  • XF 27mm f/2.8 Mark II — oh dear, now we're marking lenses, too ;~). New is an aperture ring and weatherproofing.
  • XF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 — another very welcome lens that helps give some telephoto choice to the X mount user base. 

Looking for gear-specific information? Check out our other Web sites:
DSLRS: dslrbodies.com | general: bythom.com| Z System: zsystemuser.com | film SLR: filmbodies.com

sansmirror: all text and original images © 2021 Thom Hogan
portions Copyright 1999-2020 Thom Hogan-- All Rights Reserved
Follow us on Twitter: @bythom, hashtags #bythom, #sansmirror