News/Views

Fujifilm Updates Mid-Level Products

Fujifilm today updated two "mid-level" cameras. By this I mean cameras in the middle of their two primary product lines (XF and GFX). 

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The GFX50s II is basically the GFX100s body with the 50mp small medium format image sensor. Given that the GFX100s sold in double the quantity that Fujifilm originally expected, the GFX50s II at its new low price is likely to also be quite popular. The major talking points are the addition of sensor-based image stabilization and the US$3999 price. Initial examination shows that this should be an interesting choice for many photographers currently considering high-end full frame. 

Many among the Fujifilm faithful were expected one or both of two things: X-T40, or adding sensor-based image stabilization (IBIS). We got neither. The X-T30 II is thus not quite what people were expecting, consisting of no meaningful physical changes to the older model, but rather a number of firmware and operational improvements. Of course, Fujifilm did hint that in 2022 as part of their X-mount 10th anniversary Fujifilm will introduce a camera with a stacked BSI X-Trans sensor (likely referring to the X-H2 model). 

Fujifilm also announced that they will support the Blackmagic Design RAW format in future GFX cameras, as well as a new XLR microphone update. Apparently firmware updates are coming in October for the GFX100s, as well.

In addition to the cameras, Fujifilm launched three new lenses: GF 35-70mm f/4.5-5.6, XF 23mm f/1.4 II, and 33mm f/1.4.

The new GF lens is approximately 28-55mm (effective), and far smaller for travel than the current 32-64mm f/4 partly due to its collapsing design. Weight also drops almost in half. The new lens doesn't have image stabilization (OIS in Fujifilm terms), nor does it have an aperture ring of its larger sibling. Given the size/weight change and the low US$999 price (US$500 if bought with camera), I'd say that Fujifilm is trying to squeeze into competing with the full frame cameras such as the Nikon Z7 II or Sony A7R Mark IV. 

Moreover, Fujifilm discussed three upcoming GF lenses, 55mm 1.7, 20-30mm unspecified, and a tilt-shift lens (also unspecified). 

Meanwhile, with XF lenses, Fujifilm is now promising higher resolution lenses in the future. Other strategies for future lens design are to broader the focal length options (a 150-600mm was discussed) as well to make lenses work better for both still and video. I also note that Fujifilm has lately been working on autofocus speed with the XF lenses, too. 

Fujifilm's competence and confidence—not unrelated—continues to grow with each annual X Summit. This was the sixth such event, and as noted we're coming up on the tenth anniversary of the FX system, which is one of the reasons why Fujifilm has a lot to crow about. Being relatively early to the mirrorless camera market has paid dividends for Fujifilm, returning them, at least temporarily, to what they can say is a #3 position in the primary ILC market (they were #3 in DSLRs for awhile, though their dependence upon Nikon for bodies to cannibalize hurt them and caused them to eventually withdraw temporarily from the ILC market). 

Clearly, Fujifilm wants to solidify that position, which is probably one reason why they peppered their new product introductions with a fair amount of discussion about future products. Fujifilm still has some weaknesses in both the FX and GF mounts that need to be addressed, and I think the operative word for the day was "we're going to address those." 

As always with Fujifilm, I appreciate their no-nonsense, emphasize the details and benefits approach to product introductions. 

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