Would you switch brands if an nex sized ff competitor entered the market?

Started Jun 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
Mel Snyder
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Re: Fuji's medium format "failures"
In reply to JeffS7444, Jun 4, 2013

JeffS7444 wrote:

Mel Snyder wrote:

Reminds me what happened when Fuji tried to scale up a 35mm rangefinder design to accommodate a 6x7 and 6x9 cm negatives, and Kodak did likewise with the Medalist - and both fell flat on their faces.

Yup, Fuji's 6x4.6, 6x7 and 6x9 rangefinders were such dismal failures that they produced at least 3-4 generations of them, and last time I checked, still offer a 6x7 folder in Japan. Mainstream best-sellers, no, but I doubt that was ever their intent.

Yes, I know - back then, they were trying like hell to stimulate the large-format business.

Here's a little-known fact about all those Fuji cameras - 35mm and 120 roll film - they were part of the same philosophy that led Google to be in the Android business.

Fuji saw cameras as the razors for their razor blades: film. In fact, one of the unfair competitive practices Kodak realized is that photo shops were incentivized to sell Fuji film over Kodak with a kind of "frequent flyer" points program - the more film you bought from Fuji, the more points you got in the form of discounts and even free Fujinon cameras.

Those generations of large-format (120) roll film cameras were part of the incentive program. Of course that meant Fuji needed to keep renewing the lineup.

The Fuji above was one of that campaign. It is a little counter-intuitive - when held conventionally, it shoots a 6x4.5cm vertical. The lens is great.

Interesting also - Fuji gave away nothing. I was their medical ad agency for their fiber and video endoscopes for 10 years, and while they frequently hosted me and even insisted I stay at their "guest house" for free, they always assumed I would buy at employee price a camera before I left. A business partner warned me of that in advance, so I carried my Leica M4P on each visit, sort of a "wolfbane" I thought against them leading me to the employee store. But no, it didn't.

I bought a splendid military grade 7x50 binoculars for my boat, then on a subsequent visit, the folding 6x4.5 above.

Their plant was very, very old. They apologized for its age. They explained that, because they were far outside the Tokyo industrial zone, American bombers never hit their factors. And so, while Nippon Kogaku ("Nikon"), Tokyo Optical ("Topcon") and others were wiped out, the war ended with Fuji still owning very antiquated facilities.

Fuji was the power behind Xerox copiers. They built the optics and engine.

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