Crying Wolf about the X-Pro3

No, I haven’t had a chance to test this new camera just yet and I wasn’t planning to write this post, but things changed. The announcement of the X-Pro3 by Fujifilm has set in motion a real drama on the internet. 

To be specific, Fujifilm’s bold new design of the back screen of the camera has caused an uproar. I can’t flip any pages or scroll any feeds without seeing an avalanche of cries about this solution. Some people are starting feeds with huge posters screaming “X-Pro3 – Design Failure.” 

Wait a minute! 

First, nobody or almost nobody who is crying wolf has had a chance to shoot with this camera yet. Luckily, it appears that a physical camera is no longer needed to prove its usefulness to the world. People just know! What a brilliant bunch! Saves a lot of hassle. We’re on the intuitive internet.

Second, cameras have been designed in a certain way for years. We are used to it and we absolutely refuse to contemplate any changes. Does it mean that the way we do things today is the best way? Not necessarily. We just don’t like change. Who wants to rethink the way we shoot? Why bother? That’s the problem. 

Third, I have great respect for any company that is not afraid to rethink their design and introduce something new. You need bold decisions and people in charge who are not tied to their corporate chairs to make such risky decisions. We should applaud it, not criticize.  

Fourth, the innovations may not always work, and I am not saying this move by Fujifilm will succeed. I can’t tell since I haven’t had a chance to shoot with this camera, nor has the camera hit the market yet – so we don’t know if the market will accept this solution or not. The biggest risk is not doing anything. Look at Canon. They were afraid to go mirrorless. If not for hugely discounted cameras at the local Costco and their massive financial backing, that would be it. 

Fifth, please, Facebook group users, think before you post something and don’t waste everybody’s time on something you haven’t even tried. Crying wolf is easy; innovating and changing the way we photograph and use cameras is not. Kudos to Fujifilm for trying. Kudos to any company that tries new things.  

End of rant.  

2019 © OLI Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.

21 thoughts on “Crying Wolf about the X-Pro3

  1. Hi everybody,
    I found it very interesting to read so many comments regarding the screen design.
    What I personally find much more important is the d-pad question: Why did it have to go?
    The screen will still be there if one needs it, but the d-pad which gave us the freedom to assign some quite useable functions is gone. After my innitially strong disappointment, I am now rather curious to see and feel if I‘ll miss this functionality in the new body. Soon we‘ll all know what we like and what we don‘t.
    Cheers,
    Milen

  2. What‘s the benefit of having the XT-3 technology in an other body as the X-Pro3, without major differentiation? Form factor and optical viewfinder with suitable lenses?

    The XT-2/3 is a work horse, I think there is almost no situation it would not fit, even street photography. The X-Pro2 is my „go slow and easy“ camera, just one prime lens (XF 23mm F1.4 being my favorite), scout and search and take it along whenever you can, even if you do not expect a good opportunity to shoot a great picture.

    Now the X-Pro3 promises even more of that, it supports you in taking not looking at pictures. It pull‘s you gently back to the film days.This may help me to go even slower. Going slow and with the essentials (minimum) is for me the essence of a rangefinder style of camera. Reading about the X-Pro3 made me really think how I want to photograph with a rangefinder camera, what situations and how I want to use it. I now even consider the Leica M … manual focusing, only optical viewfinder with no WYSIWYG, just to go slower and shoot less 😏. Maybe that’s an elitist thought too.

    Urs

  3. With you!! At let the physical camera be released before damming it! I personally (I shoot x100f and x-t3) I think it is an interesting innovation (the screen change). Leica seems to manage ok with no LCD.

  4. Greetings Olaf,

    Great to read your post (as usual) but this time, it began for me with a great deal of excitement! For several months now, I’ve read all the rumours of an impending xpro3 but then, life sidetracked the thought of just how exciting the proposed new body might be.

    I’ve been a passionate photographer for most of my life and spent many years shooting with film bodies from 110 pocket jobs to 5×4 view cameras and everything in between. As the convenience and cost savings of digital photography evolved, I followed suit with DSLR equipment and sold off my much loved film gear.

    But in that time, I have become increasingly frustrated with the immediacy of digital cameras; presenting me with an exact replica of what I’ve just seen, a confirmation of ‘getting the shot’ and, to some degree, a comfort pillow. I feel I no longer need to act upon my (technical) knowledge and experience in capturing images.Sure, I can simply switch off the screen output and look when I upload to the desktop. But then, it comes down to an aesthetics thing. There’s a big piece of disused real estate on the back of the camera that’s only role in life is to get scratched up and smudged with fingerprints and palm smears! No thanks!

    I really do love the direction Fujifilm has taken with their bold revisit to the era of film photography. I’m not boohooing all those that like a bit of instantaneous gratification; that’s their thing and I’m totally guilty of that too on occasion, but this new announcement from Fujifilm has me very excited.
    Bring on the formal announcement, I think I have a pre-order to place!

    Kind regards,
    John (Western Australia)

  5. I think it is a brillant design. Full digital feeling for the ones who want it, analog feeling for the ones who want it – all with the flip of a screen. And with the TI body…I‘d say Fuji goes full Contax.

  6. I bought my first Fuji because of the look of it, and that it didn’t largely rely on menus to shoot (X100s). Then I fell in love with the images. Since then, I have purchased three bodies (X-T1/3) and a variety of lenses. I don’t shoot with the rear screen on, I use it occasionally if I need to check something or change a menu setting (as its easier). I love the analogue feel of the cameras, it makes using it so much easier and rewarding in my view.

    I’ve never really been a lover of the body style of the X-Pro series, that weird sloping bit puts me off. I would be happy to have one and I’m sure would love using it, but the X-Ts are more appealing to me.

    However, for the first time, I’m actually interested in this camera. It suits me and I like the look of it more than previously. For me it tidies up what I don’t want (rear screen always on show) but retains access to a screen when I need it. It increases the analogue effect and for me that’s a good thing.

    I know that I am not the same as many others, so it all comes down to personal choice at the end. I like it, some agree with me, some don’t. Big deal, we may differ and that’s okay.

    I will check it out when it becomes available and if I like it as much as I think I will, it will be next on my buy list; although we will probably be up to X-Pro 4 before I have saved enough.

    Good article, good read.

  7. Hey Olaf, thanks for this “rant.”

    Makes me very happy that I spend so little time online that I miss most of this type of dialogue.

    Perhaps many of these people (men!) have never had the fantastic experience of shooting with the Epson R-D1, one of the first digital cameras. They might want to use the Google to look it up. Rangefinder body (rangefinder camera, actually), rear panel that could be reversed so that the the screen was hidden and fantastic (but small) files. Sound familiar? I replaced my R-D1 (sensor was tired) and a Leica M9 (couldn’t compete with the X-trans files or versatility) when I purchased my X-Pro1.

    So, I’m thrilled with the prospect of this new X-Pro3. It embodies the type features that I want in this type of camera. Fortunately, Fujifilm does make enough other type of bodies to accommodate other types of shooting and workflows. I know as I use the X-H1 and X-T3 for work.

    Given the genesis of the original X100 and X-Pro1, the X-Pro3 continues the approach of Fujifilm’s management, who appear to cherish a pure photography experience for these cameras, leaving the computer-as-camera (is that a Sony?) for their other bodies. A business model that satisfies their soul and bottom line. Good for them!

    Thanks again Olaf. I look forward to trying the new X-Pro3 and to reading your common-sense approach to photography and gear. Have a great trip to Holland!

    Don

  8. I’ve made my thoughts on this elsewhere. I haven’t actually expressed my thoughts yet as “disappointment”. This design does not align with my elevated expectations of an X-T2 style LCD which does in fact fit my shooting style and would have perfectly complemented my current use of the X-Pro2, EVF and OVF. I find the minimal differences between the X-Pro2 and X-T2 back face button placement to be somewhat of a tripping point when shooting with two bodies (and I do that often). I’m certain the radical difference in the X-Pro3 back button placement and potential usage will only exacerbate that facility.

    I’m a product of the high tech world and a contributor to high tech offerings. Users are human and they have emotions and there are whole phases of design philosophy that tries to ensure that innovation doesn’t outstrip the capacity of the humans to grasp the concept or utilize the product. In my experience, this is tripping on that line.

    Whether I become an adopter will depend like I’ve heard others say, if there are sleeper features that outweigh the inconvenience of finding a workaround for a screen that doesn’t facilitate the current usage flow, then I might bite. Until then I’ll continue to use the part of the system that works for me and deal with my disappointment later, after my final period on this rant, perpetrated by your rant :-).

    Fuji IMO has a very loyal fan base and for good reason. The original form factor was near perfect, the glass delivers results – some of my best results ever. Kaizan is arguably a good idea unless you dig deeply into the reason there needs to be Kaizan. Many people have sold their very functional existing systems to be a part of this community. That is a binding decision. Disappointment could be viewed as just that, something to get over. But when an investment of time, resources, money and emotion are involved, sometimes it gets vented as bordering on betrayal. What we are seeing here, is not so much an astonished reaction to a technology innovation but an outright and utter surprise that’s tagged with an emotional attachment and a sense that something expected and now hyped to the point of NEED is being pulled back by confusion and disbelief.

    Best Regards,
    Roger

    1. Roger,

      Thank you so much for sharing your interesting viewpoint and I appreciate this civil conversation. You raised some valid points but, as much as I enjoy shooting with Fujifilm cameras, I am not convinced that the original form factor was “near perfect.” There are still many things that could be improved – for example its user interface. I also believe that photograph world is ready for a major disruption and reinvention the ways we have been shooting. The problem is that most companies are afraid to do that, not to upset their audience. Fujifilm is obviously pushing some innovation and therefore they achieved so much in such a short period of time. They must continue pushing the envelope even at the risk of an occasional failure.

      I am going to be open about this new design and evaluate it in person.

      Thank you again for visiting and sharing your view point.

      Warm Regards,

      Olaf

  9. I “Leica” that new design reference the hidden LCD;) If the EVF is improved, and the optical is there when I need it, I’m good with the XPro-3! Frankly, I started out with film 35mm so I am happy with anything that keeps me from using a camera like an iPhone.

  10. My X-Pro2 was my first Fuji and I love it. It rekindled my passion for photography. Although I have the X-T2 and X-T3, my X-Pro2 is still my go-to for grab and shoot for pleasure. I began shooting film with fully manual SLR many years ago and so I don’t need some of the tech or articulating screen as much as others. I just want a camera that fits me with good images and sharp lenses. I will wait and see if the X-Pro3 has enough advance to warrant the investment but, even so, I can’t imaging parting with my original Fuji, the X-Pro2. Thanks for the “rant” Olaf and all of the good work. Best, Terry in Tennessee

  11. I agree. I love the look and idea of this new screen design. It’s similar to the way I use my Pen-F with the screen folded in and only occasionally opening it for review or for awkward angle shots.
    I’d love to try the Xpro3 but fear the cost of entry will be too high.

  12. First: I’m pretty sure nobody doubts that the camera can make great images. People are unhappy about the decision to hide the LCD and forcing you to have it flipped down just to use it to go through menues, see the images you took etc. People don’t need the camera in hand to understand this – Fuji already told us how it’s gonna be.

    Second: People don’t mind change, as long as it’s a change for the better. Fuji has the technology to make an awesome and powerful camera while retaining the aestetics and simplicity of a rangerfinder body. Instead they chose to deliberately limit the functionality and usability of the camera. This is a big disappointment to a lot of user who have been waiting for a long time for the X-Pro 3.

    Third: As consumers we have two ways to communicate with companies. We can talk about it online on Facebook, blogs and other forums. And we can vote with our dollars. We should applaud the company when we believe they make decisions that match what we want/need as a consumer, not when we feel they abandon a decently sized customer segment, that was waiting for X-T3 technology in a X-Pro body. All the purists and their frankly elitist “I’m such a good photographer I don’t need to chimp” comments doesn’t really help anybody. If you don’t need to LCD you had a very nice option of just turning it off, which meant that the X-Pro 2 was awesome for both purists and people who like being able to check their image, record movies etc.

    Fourth: Nobody is talking about whether it will sell for Fuji or not. People are sharing their own disappointment because for a lot of people, this wasn’t what they wanted. If you want to limit the risk of being put out of business, then it’s usually not a good idea to go against a large part of the market. But this is a red-herring – Fuji is not gonna win huge market shares by making a camera for a tiny group of elitist people. And let’s just make it clear – This camera is not innovative in any way of the word. I’m sure it’s gonna shoot great images like other Fuji cameras, but there is nothing innovative about taking two steps back and limiting the users option and providing worse usability than previous models.

    Fifth: No, Facebook groups are for sharing opinions and discussing photography and equipment. Facebook is not just a one-sided cheering section from X-photographers/brand ambassadors who are currently quite busy trying to downplay the backlash thats coming from a large section of the photography community.

    I find all the purist and elitist BS laughable. It’s the same people that was raving about how awesome the Pro 1 and Pro 2 where. So just because Fuji decides to implement the screen in a horrible way, then all of the sudden they are all too good to be a “lowly chimper”. I got a solution for those people – Just turn off the LCD and let the rest of us use it as much as we like. I don’t personally chimp, but having the option to check if the exposure was right in tricky lighting situations, without having to flip out a screen and have that be in the way – Now THATS good design.

    1. Michael,

      Purist? – yes! Elitist? I am working on it 🙂

      I am not an X-Photographer/Ambassador.

      I have already addressed most of your points. I will repeat – let’s wait for the camera before causing so much drama. It is impossible to evaluate any gear without shooting with it.

      Thank you for visiting my blog.

      Warm Regards,

      Olaf

    2. I’d second all that Michael Weiland has said. I too have been drawn to the X-PRO models and was eagerly awaiting this model, but am bummed at the design of the rear LCD. Fuji had already designed a wonderful means to enable or disable the LCD with or without the EVF. Why not just offer that?

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