Fujifilm Interviews

Fujifilm Sticks to Existing Strategy for the Future

In an interview with DPReview, Fujifilm executives reiterated that they are sticking to their existing strategy for the forseeable future, with perhaps some small tweaks thrown in to satisfy customers who want better movie features and online communication.

What it means is that Fujifilm will continue to design and manufacture APS-C mirrorless cameras (X-T series) for the enthusiast market, and medium-frame mirrorless cameras (GFX series) for the professional market. The GFX 100S was specifically developed to be smaller and more matched in price to compete with its full-frame mirrorless competitors and attract more professional photographers.

Price is very, very important, but it’s not the top priority in the GFX system. Of course we recognize that if we matched our prices to full-frame, probably the demand for our products would be greater… That’s our strategy.

Then, Mr. Yamamoto (General Manager of the Optical Device & Electronic Imaging Products Division) said the following: “We are not just a camera company, we are an imaging company.” Good sound bite, and pressed on what he means and what opportunities he sees for Fujifilm as an “imaging company,” he mentions attracting customers who shoots with smartphones (the X-S10 is their step-up camera) … and the Instax system.

There is an epic battle brewing at the top end of the full-frame mirrorless camera market, and so far only three (four?) camera companies (Sony, Nikon and Canon, and perhaps Panasonic) have staked a claim. Fujifilm hopes to play in that market with their GFX 100S medium-frame mirrorless camera.

However, as Mr. Udono (Senior Manager) mentioned, “[T]o achieve high quality we need things like a more accurate IBIS unit, bigger shutter and bigger sensors. These things all cost more. So in order to maintain quality in our GFX line, the price needs to be probably a little higher than full-frame.” Fujifilm quality is tops, and so designing and building for a bigger medium-frame sensor makes everything more complicated and more expensive, and hence less competitive.

The number of professional photographers who are asking for a sensor bigger than full-frame has always been a niche market, even in the days of film. The vast majority of professional photographers will never even consider a medium-frame camera when thinking of which mirrorless camera system to standardize on as they switch from DSLRs.

Fujifilm’s existing strategy of avoiding to design a full-frame mirrorless camera and instead rely on its medium-frame mirrorless camera to lure professional photographers to its brand looks like a very risky gamble. The danger here is that if Fujifilm cannot keep up with the features, AF speed, shooting performance and price of the flagship full-frame mirrorless cameras, it risks becoming an irrelevant brand for the majority of professional photographers. Does Fujifilm still have time to enter the full-frame mirrorless market? Nikon and Canon just entered, in hot pursuit of Sony. Fujifilm just might still have time to throw their hat into the ring.

Their full-frame mirrorless models won’t have to beat Nikon, Canon or Sony — just provide the best value for money, like what the X-T4 does currently. But AF speed and precision, and IBIS are two big things for consumers now, and must be improved. Consumers are looking for smaller, more affordable and easier to use mirrorless cameras. Instead of refreshing the “old” line-up of APS-C lenses, why not design a brand new line of weather-proof, fast AF full-frame lenses? Right now, Fujifilm has too many different models (X-S10, X-T4, GFX 100S, GFX 100), using different parts and sensors. It’s difficult to innovate when all you are doing is trying to keep up. Learn from the others: one mount, one line of lenses, different sensor sizes.

The future of mirrorless is… full-frame.


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Cameras Editorial

Nikon Flagship Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera May Be Coming Out This Year

Back in December 2020/January 2021, as I was surveying the state of mirrorless camera manufacturing in the midst of a global virus pandemic, I predicted gloomily that, though the major camera manufacturers would be busy working on their flagship full-frame mirrorless cameras, they would not release them because the economic landscape was just not right for it. Perhaps, I was wrong.

First, Sony beat everyone to the punch with the release of the Alpha 1. With a name like the Alpha 1, it’s got to be their flagship camera, right? I know the naming convention is crazy: the A9 is better than the A7, but the A1 is the best of them all.

Now, in an interview with DPReview, Keiji Oishi (Department Manager of Nikon’s Imaging Business Unit, UX Planning Department) has quietly let the cat out of the bag:

A flagship Nikon Z-series mirrorless camera can be expected within the year, and is being developed with the goal of surpassing the D6. It will respond to the advanced needs of professionals. The upcoming model will debut a newly developed high-resolution stacked CMOS sensor. While this camera will be a major technological leap for still photographers of a wide variety of genres, our engineers are considering powerful video features such as 8K that respond to the needs of all kinds of content creators and professionals.

Read that again: Nikon’s new flagship full-frame mirrorless Z 1 (we’ll call it that, why not?) “can be expected within the year, and is being developed with the goal of surpassing the D6.” If you ever wondered whether Nikon is fully committed to mirrorless technology, you have it black-and-white here in writing. If the release of the Z 6 and Z 7 was any indication, we can expect lots of teasers and intentional leaks before the Z 1 is formally announced “within the year.”

That leaves Canon as the only other major camera manufacturer who has yet to announce (officially or through teasers and intentional leaks, though rumors have already started to surface) their flagship full-frame mirrorless camera. Now, what will it be called? We unfortunately already have the R, and the RP, Ra, R5 and R6. It could be called the R1, R8, or R9. If Canon follows past naming conventions, it could well call it the EOS-1R and EOS-1R X. After the EOS R5 marketing mishap, Canon will be just a little bit more careful with their announcement this time around. But just a little bit.

I was perhaps wrong about the major camera manufacturers not releasing their flagship full-frame mirrorless cameras this year. Sony already did, and now it looks like Nikon is planning to. Aside from this one interview, we haven’t heard any rumors or leaks. They are working on it, but will they be able to release it — or, as I predicted, will they only show a prototype and lots of teasers? We hope they can actually release it, and we hope Canon’s full-frame flagship mirrorless camera will also not be far behind. Mirrorless technology is the future and deserves to have the two biggest players give Sony some serious competition so that mirrorles technology can develop further, better and faster. And every progress will inevitably filter down to lesser and more affordable models. Users can only rejoice that there will be more full-frame mirrorless choices ahead soon, if not this year, then certainly in 2022.

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Nikon Software & Apps

Nikon Integrates ViewNX-i and Capture NX-D Into NX Studio, Free to Download

Nikon has integrated its viewing utility ViewNX-i and processing/editing utility Capture NX-D into one program, NX Studio. NX Studio is now available for free download in the Windows or Mac version.

It processes Nikon RAW .NEF and .NRW image files. You can access Picture Controls, White Balance, Exposure, Active D-lighting, Noise Reduction and other options found in many Nikon cameras. It, of course, supports editing options for JPEG and TIFF.

A variety of views is available for thumbnails, location data, metadata, side-by-side comparisons and full screen images. Color Control Points make it easy to apply image processing only to colors in a selected range in an image. You can also quickly and easily adjust brightness, saturation, hue or contrast only to the chosen radius and to objects of similar color in the selected area.

The menu now utilizes the same terms found in Nikon camera menus. You can also edit movie with Movie Editor, which allows the usual functionality: trim unwanted segments from your movie footage, add background music, splice together multiple clips into one video, and create slide shows that include both still images and videos. You can publish your creation directly to Nikon Image Space or to YouTube.

NX Studio works in collaboration with other Nikon software, including Camera Control Pro 2 and Picture Control Utility 2.

Download NX Studio

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DJI Drones

DJI FPV (First-Person View) Drone Features Intuitive New Single-Handed Motion Controller

The DJI FPV drone is a hybrid drone that combines the best available technology from its various drones: first-person view and high-speed performance of racing drones, the cinematic camera sweep of traditional drones, and the safety and transmission technology of DJI’s leading consumer drones. Add to this an optional (but who wouldn’t want it) innovative single-handed DJI Motion Controller that allows pilots to control the drone with just hand movements.

The DJI FPV can therefore “fly like a racer, hover like a traditional drone, accelerate like a homebuilt project and stop faster than any of them.” Maximum flight time is approximately 20 mins (measured while flying at 40 kph in windless conditions), maximum hover time is approximately 16 mins (measured when flying in windless conditions), and maximum flight distance is 16.8 km (measured while flying in windless conditions). It has a maximum transmission range of 10 km (when unobstructed, free of interference, and FCC-compliant).

The drone features high-performance motors, an intuitive user interface and the latest safety features (new Emergency Brake and Hover features, GPS-based geofencing to advise pilots of airspace restrictions and potential hazards, and an ADS-B receiver system to warn pilots when other manned aircraft are nearby). With the FPV Googles V2, pilots can have an immersive experience and get to see from the drone’s perspective in low-latency high definition thanks to O3, the third iteration of DJI’s proprietary OcuSync technology. It captures 12 million pixels JPEG images on a 1/2.3” CMOS image sensor and the fixed-focus lens has a 35mm format equivalent of ultra-wide angle 14.66 mm with a fast f/2.8 aperture. It also captures 4K MP4/MOV video at 60 fps (FHD at 120fps) with the assistance of its integrated RockSteady electronic image stabilization (Single-axis (tilt), electronic roll axis).

News

2021-03-02

DJI Reinvents The Drone Flying Experience With The DJI FPV

Breakthrough Drone Technology Offers Immersive, Cinematic Flight Experience And Intuitive New Single-Handed Motion Controller

DJI, the global leader in civilian drones and creative camera technology, today launched an entirely new type of drone with an intuitive, immersive flight experience never available until now. DJI FPV combines the first-person view and high-speed performance of racing drones, the cinematic camera sweep of traditional drones, the safety and transmission technology of DJI’s leading consumer drones, and an optional innovative single-handed motion controller that allows pilots to control the drone with just hand movements. DJI FPV creates a new drone category, and opens up new worlds of possibilities for content creators and drone fans from beginners to experts alike.

“DJI has been redefining what drones can do since our company began in 2006, and as we celebrate our 15-year anniversary this year, we honor that heritage of innovation by redefining what drone flight can be with DJI FPV,” said Ferdinand Wolf, Creative Director, DJI Europe. “Right out of the box, DJI FPV combines the best available technology for a hybrid drone like no other. It can fly like a racer, hover like a traditional drone, accelerate like a homebuilt project and stop faster than any of them. DJI FPV lets the world experience the absolute thrill of immersive drone flight without being intimidated by the technology or spending hours building a system from scratch. We can’t wait for the world to try it.”
(more…)

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Fujifilm Lenses

Fujifilm CP+ 2021 ONLINE Talk Show

Fujifilm presented their three new mirrorless interchangeable lenses at CP+ 2021. In a video (with English subtitles) Fujifilm execs (Mr. Soga of Product Planning and Mr. Takeshita of Development) talked at length about the XF27mmF2.8 R WR, XF70-300mmF4-5.6 R LM OIS WR and the GF80mmF1.7 R WR, and the reasons why they came out with these lenses as well as the design decisions behind each lens.

Highlights:

1:02 The original Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 (40mm equivalent) used to be the only XF lens that did not have an aperture ring. This is now fixed on the new Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 R WR lens, so only the cheaper XC lenses will have no aperture ring. The new lens is also weather resistant (and hence the WR label), i.e. dust-proof and splash-proof, while keeping about the same compact dimensions. There is also a lock switch on the A position, so it cannot be inadvertently moved to the f/16 position. Released at the same time as the X-E4, this camera-lens pairing makes for a very compact combo.

Fujifilm X-E4 with XF27mmF2.8 R WR

Fujifilm X-E4 with XF27mmF2.8 R WR

6:28 With the Fujinon XF70-300mmF4-5.6 R LM OIS WR (107-457mm equivalent), Fujifilm wanted something really compact and light to meet the increasing demands of users who want smaller and lighter telephoto lenses that they can carry with them all the time. Using the 55-200mm lens as a starting point, and trying to keep everything within the same dimensions was a real long struggle. Eventually they had to restart the design from scratch, relying on every department involved to miniaturize whatever was possible until they achieved a weight the same as, and a length that was “one finger” (about 14 mm) longer than, the 55-200mm.

The XF70-300mmF4-5.6 R LM OIS WR can focus as close as 83 cm, giving a maximum magnification of 0.33x, and filling the screen with an area smaller than a credit card.

Fujifilm X-T4 with XF70-300mmF4-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Fujifilm X-T4 with XF70-300mmF4-5.6 R LM OIS WR

A 1.4X Teleconverter extends the tele reach to 420mm (640mm equivalent), and the 2x Teleconverter further extends the tele reach to 600mm (914mm equivalent). (Of course, there will also be a corresponding 1 stop and 2 stops aperture decrease, respectively.) This makes the XF70-300mmF4-5.6 R LM OIS WR with its 5.5 stops OIS a convenient, compact and light macro to supertelephoto lens that can be carried everywhere and shot handheld.

The XF 16-80mmF4 R OIS WR (24-122mm equivalent) paired with the XF70-300mmF4-5.6 R LM OIS WR (107-457mm equivalent) would make a good travel combo with an equivalent focal length covering a wide-angle 24mm to long tele 457mm (and longer when used with a teleconverter).

15:18 The Fujinon GF80mmF1.7 R WR is for Fujifilm’s medium format mirrorless cameras and targets professional portrait photographers. Whereas the existing the GF110mmF2 R LM WR (87mm equivalent) is great for shooting indoors in photo studios, the GF80mmF1.7 R WR targets portrait photographers who shoots outdoors where the quality of the bokeh is important. It provides a standard angle of view (63mm equivalent) and was designed to give the most smooth and beautiful bokeh possible (as beautiful as that obtained from the XF50mmF1.0 R WR).

Fujifilm GFX100S with GF80mmF1.7 R WR

Fujifilm GFX100S with GF80mmF1.7 R WR

21:37 Fujifilm’s idea of a good bokeh is that you don’t notice it but it supports the main subject.

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