Interview With Kayce M. Baker, Director of Marketing for Fujifilm North America Corporation
Like many of you, we welcomed the Fujifilm X-PRO1 and X-E1. Their return to a more intuitive design and the use of the X-Trans sensor set them apart from all other cameras. We even liked the X-M1 though it went back to using a more contemporary Mode Dial. But the introduction of the X-A1 (which does not use the exceptional X-Trans sensor used in the other 3 cameras) had us wondering just where Fujifilm was taking their X-Series cameras.
Puzzled, and a bit concerned that the X-Series brand was perhaps being diluted, we reached out to Fujifilm to hear their side of the story. Turns out, we needn’t have worried: Fujifilm stands firmly commited to the highest standard of image quality in their X-Series cameras irrespective of what image sensor is used and, if the reviews of the X-A1 that are beginning to trickle in are any indication, the X-A1 should be able to proudly wear the X-Series badge.
Here are the interview questions we asked Kayce M. Baker, Director of Marketing for Fujifilm North America Corporation, and his answers.
FUJIFILM Interview 2013
The X-PRO1 and X-E1 mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras have received a tremendously positive market reaction when they were introduced. They remind many of the classic 35mm rangefinder cameras, and the availability of a dedicated Shutter Speed Dial and Aperture Ring made using them very intuitive. They also set a new standard in image quality with their new X-Trans CMOS sensor array and removal of the low pass filter.
However, the introduction of the X-M1, XC lenses and the X-A1 have thrown some confusion about just what the X-brand stands for.
1. When the X-PRO 1 was introduced, Fujifilm gained considerable mindshare and photographers were simply captivated with both the design and the return to intuitive direct controls. But now, with the X-M1, XC lenses and the newly announced X-A1, we’re not too sure just what the X-brand stands for.
The FUJIFILM X-Series started with the FUJIFILM X100 fixed lens camera in 2011. The camera was a clear move to re-engage the culture of photography and give photographers what they had been looking for in a camera.
The new cameras are not that different in that while we have engaged the higher-end photographer, we also want to introduce exceptional image quality and classic design for people who are looking for their first CSC as well.
FUJIFILM X-Series stands for exceptional image quality, uncompromising design, and outstanding color reproduction that all speak to our photographic legacy.
2. Could you position each camera clearly as to whom it is specifically targeting?
Each camera targets a specific area of the photographic marketplace.
The FUJIFILM X-E1 is there for the advanced amateur, the professional and the photo enthusiast. The FUJIFILM X-M1 crosses into the photo enthusiast area, and the FUJIFILM X-A1 is for the step-up shooter or person looking for a great first CSC.
3. The X-M1 did not quite follow in the first two cameras’ footprints, returning to the use of a Mode Dial, to the chagrined of many. Can you comment on why Fujifilm decided to return to the Mode Dial on the X-M1?
This camera is clearly designed to deliver exceptional image quality and all the benefits of an X-Series model, but as it is a photo enthusiast CSC, the mode dial adds a degree of familiarity with our other non-X-Series cameras.
4. Also, the introduction of the XC series of lenses without an aperture ring is a further departure from the “purity” of the direct exposure controls. Changing lenses from an XF prime lens (marked aperture ring) to an XF zoom lens (unmarked aperture ring, plus an Auto Aperture switch) to an XC lens (no aperture ring) gets complicated. Why did Fujifilm not stay consistent with a marked aperture ring on all its lenses?
These lenses give photographers options; if someone wants to step up to the XF lenses, that is most certainly a choice that can be made. But keep in mind that even though we may have designed a different series of lenses that may not have the same overall physical feature set as the other lineup, the fact is that it is still a FUJINON lens, and delivers amazing sharpness, performance and clarity.
5. The X-A1 has totally confused the fans of the X-series cameras as it seems to be sending the wrong message about the X-brand. It does not even use the X-Trans CMOS sensor?
Why? We started the FUJIFILM X-Series with a non-X-Trans sensor – so the definition of X-Series is not the X-Trans sensor, but the image quality that is accomplished with all the parts: the sensor, the EXR processor, the FUJINON lenses, the design, functionality and GUI interface.
The FUJIFILM X-Series experience that delivers exceptional image quality – that is the number one priority.
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