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. 
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