Crying Wolf

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Fuji X-T1, XF 50-140 F2.8

As most of you know, almost all the images presented on this blog have been shot with the X-series cameras. Since we got our first X100 and then the Fuji X-Pro1, we have become independent ambassadors of the X-series system. Many readers have bought Fuji cameras because they like the imagery we present here.

Given that the Fuji X-series is relatively new and is still evolving, we have been paying close attention to every development. As early adopters, we have been pleased with the Fuji approach of receiving feedback from photographers and making appropriate changes or improvements in the form of software updates – an approach marketed by Fuji itself as Kaizen.

Recently, however, Fuji has sent numerous signals that it would end this philosophy – no more major software updates for older models! We cannot hide the fact that we are deeply disappointed by this news. Here is why.

It was Fuji that introduced the idea of Kaizen, promoted it and marketed their cameras along with it. We believe this philosophy, along with the photographer-friendly design of Fuji cameras, among other factors, distinguished Fuji from other manufacturers and contributed to the rising popularity of the Fuji X-series. Therefore, we have no doubt that this change, if confirmed, would have a negative impact on the brand – at least among its keenest proponents.

But there is a solution. Some of our fellow photographers have suggested that Fuji could start charging for such major updates (don’t confuse it with fixes). We certainly wouldn’t mind paying for major improvements. It’s an idea worth exploring!

The signal to abandon the Kaizen philosophy is one thing but we recently picked up more news from Fuji that makes us a little bit concerned. There is a lot of talk about improvements in video and delays in the development of the highly anticipated Fuji X-Pro2. In regard to video, please don’t bother; we are not at all interested. In fact, the majority of photographers we know who shoot X-series are not interested either. There is still a need for simple, photographer-friendly cameras with excellent viewfinders and an improved menu system. Please, don’t turn the X-series into a “do-it-all” camera system.    

Then there is the X-trans sensor. It is already a few years old and we haven’t seen any material improvement to it since its introduction. We only hope that Fuji is delaying Fuji X-Pro2 to pack some new sensor technology into it (a dramatic improvement in the X-trans technology or organic sensor).

We express this litany of concerns out of care for the brand that we enjoy so much. The X-series is still our favourite line of cameras and lenses. We hope that our unease about the future direction of the X-series cameras will turn out to be unwarranted and upcoming products will show that this fulmination proved to be nothing more than crying wolf.

©osztaba_west_20140103__DSF6467

Fuji X100T.

©osztaba_west_20141206__DSF6434

Fuji X-T1, XF 14mm F2.8

 

2015 © Kasia & Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.

19 thoughts on “Crying Wolf

  1. Can someone point to where Fuji said they mean to continue improving old devices through software updates when saying kaizen? I see it all over blogs, but wonder when/where Fuji said it. It would be strange to me if that’s what Fuji said, as Kaizen has never been used to mean that before (and it has been used before).

  2. Hi Olaf,

    I share your concerns about Fuji’s Kaizen. My first Fuji was an XE-1 which I sold and then over the next 2 years bought and sold a Nikon D800E, Sony A7, Olympus OMD EM5, Panasonic GH2, Olympus OMD EM1, Pansonic GH4, Sony A7ii and a Sony A7R! I begun realizing that not only was I getting fed up with the amount of money I have lost in reselling those cameras and fed up with learning new controls but also that I kept on returning to Fuji. Because after I bought the XE-1 I also tried a X100S, a XE-2 and a X100T (which I still own). One reason is because Fuji has shown a commitment to listening to its customers and the kaizen philosophy. I have decided to get an XT-1 and build it up into a system.

    However, I have also enjoyed using video especially after using the EM1, GH4 and A7ii. Also I notice that many professionals are discovering that hey have to provide video as well as still if they want to survive in their specialty. A good example is Zack Arias who is a particularly passionate Fuji user but had to invest in Panasonic GH4 just for video. So I probably don’t think it is fair to say to Fuji that “we are not at all interested” in video. I think there is a fast growing trend for people to embrace both.

    Jon

    P.S. I like your blog very much.

    • Jon,

      Thank you for sharing your camera journey. Indeed, we went through a similar experience and ultimately we have always returned to Fuji.

      Regarding video, I guess you are right and maybe it is becoming much more important for users that we thought.

      We appreciate your comments.

      Regards,

      Olaf

  3. Pingback: miXed Zone: AF-performance with FW 3.10, about Kaizen, Fuji Interview, X-Trans + C1… and Max Angeloni’s “holy” Fuji work! | Fuji Rumors

  4. There is certainly a lot of chatter about this translated comment. I wonder if they expected this result. If nothing else it does show Fuji that people are watching and do care. That has to be a positive.

    I see though that this may be a bit of a quandary for them. On the one hand camera manufacturers release new models on a regular basis to lots of fanfare. Each requires new investments of time to learn, and to discover the new improved model’s shortcomings. Then a short time later the new camera’s problems are “fixed” with an entirely new model camera and we start all over again. The camera company sells cameras and hopefully stays in business.

    Fuji has embarked on an evolutionary path, correcting issues with an already outstanding camera. If they continually give those fixes to older cameras for free then how do they stay in the evolution business?

    For example: I bought the original X-100 and love it. I quickly learned how to use it and never really saw it’s problems as problems. The upgrade was wonderful but frankly unnecessary for me. Now my teenage granddaughter has rather permanently borrowed the X-100. I am considering an X-100T to replace it. I’m delaying because I don’t have an extra $1300 but mainly because if they give the major upgrades to the S model I can save $500…more or less. In the meantime though, Fuji’s not selling me a new camera even though I need one.

    At any rate, it will be interesting to see what the rest of 2015 brings us from Fuji.

  5. Does it matter if you cry wolf but then you show us a coyote? ( I think the animal ^ is not a wolf!)

    Seems rather ominous really! A visual “ Parable” of these lucubrations on the end of Kaizen ( and I am saying this with a little of tougue in cheek but with some seriousness) .

    You warn us a bout something that isn’t at all what you are waning us about!

    Fuji has decided to boost the popularity of certain models present or past by adding some improvements along the way. The public appreciates that!

    On the other hand giving the benefit of more improvement to newer models rather than older ones seems only a good practice to stimulate sales over the secondhand trade.

    There is not reason to believe that the future would be any different from the past.

    It’s a coyote!😉

    • Congratulations! You noticed that it is not a wolf (just couldn’t find a better photo).

      I am not warning anyone about anything! Just shared my thoughts about the line of cameras I deeply care about. That’s all.

      Thank you for stopping by.

      Olaf

      • You are welcome. Have I won anything?🙂

        I thought it was indeed particularly ominous to cry wolf over a coyote, because the situation exactly applied to what you did in your article, namely the same thing. Sharing your concerns ( or warning, which would be consistent with the “ cry wolf” title) about something that might not at all be what you think or say it is.

        I deeply care about my fuji cameras too, but despite what anyone of us, fuji owners, at a personal level thinks, I am sure that Fuji, as a company, has already planned several months ahead if not years what their intended course would be for their “ Kaizen” strategy.

        If they think that the road ahed goes through selling the improvements they will do that and see what the people’s response would be. I am sure that they have focus groups too, as everyone else does. My impression is that there is absolutely nothing to be concerned about.

        Much ado…….🙂

    • milandro,

      What all that about wolf vs. coyote stuff really necessary to state your point of view? much ado about nothing indeed. I suggest you work on trying to get to the point without all the drama and coming off like looking like a jerk in the process.

  6. I remember translating an interview of Fuji product manager last December where the question of paid upgrades, or paid customizations was discussed. It would make some sense for Fuji to monetize the upgrades like Classic Chrome and Electronic shutter, which many people seem ready to pay for.
    Regarding video, the reason Fuji wasn’t good at it is the sensor readout speed. If they manage to improve that speed, it will not only make video better, but also improve the overall camera performance, so I guess it kills two birds with one stone.

    Anyway, I am still waiting a bit before making my mind for my next ILC. For now my X100s covers most of my needs (except when a longer focal length would be needed).

  7. Hi Olaf

    With regard to future software improvements, I’m betting that the concerns are largely overblown. Specifically, in one (translated) interview a Fuji rep said that the X100s would not receive updates. As far as I can tell it was not a blanket statement.

    • I would tend to agree with you Stepehn, I am really surprised to see how big this rumor has been inflated out of no substance from a “No update for the X100s” to “We are ditching the Kaizen Philosophy”. I suppose this is the nature of the Internet

      • Again, just shared my thoughts. Still, the lack of an update for the X100S concerns me. After all, the X100/S/T line put Fuji on many people radar.

        Thank you for commenting,

        Olaf

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