The future for Fuji cameras

Started Dec 31, 2013 | Discussions
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John Motts
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to Graham Hill, Jan 1, 2014

Graham Hill wrote:

It's happened before, when Fujifilm abandoned the SLR market. However, they stuck with that for 4 generations before they gave up. It is far too soon for Fujifilm to give up.

The S Pro series of DSLRs were just reworked nikon bodies and Fuji abandoned that market because Nikon were no longer making it easy for them. i don't think this is the same as abandoning manufacture of their own bodies.

I would hope sales will improve for Fuji because the flaws that were holding many buyers back are disappearing with their new models.

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57even
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to LWS2013, Jan 1, 2014

LWS2013 wrote:

mooshoepork wrote:

Not trying to troll...

But given the recent sales reports over at fuji rumors, does anyone else worry about the potential for Fuji to throw in the towel and abandon this venture?

Having only sold 700,000...seems really low.

I love my x100s and x-e2, but I'm worried that if they continue to not make money they'll withdraw.

It's a tough market to crack, and I hope they fair better in 2014.

Thoughts?

If Fuji drop the X sensor and use a bayer one instead then they have a future, at the moment a great camera and lens systems is being ruined by the X sensor

No. It isn't.

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shawnfb
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to Graham Hill, Jan 1, 2014

Graham Hill wrote:

IKB wrote:

It's not rankings that matters, it is profitability. If Fujifilm can make money, then why abandon these products?

Have you seen Fujifilm's financials? There is no profitability at all in their camera division. Nothing but losses.

Are they on track?

No, they are going backwards. Losses increased by 260% last quarter, year on year.

Only they know,

No, we do, as the documents are public.

in the meantime enjoy the products.

Absolutely.

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Malcy
----------------

I  can see how they could lose money in their camera division.. Fuji is GIVING their product away at this level of quality ... $799.00 for the incredible 23mm 1.4? What other camera company offers this level of lens at this price?? ..They need to raise prices... :)..

Happy new year

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shawnfb
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Re: This might provide a perspective
In reply to Chris Dodkin, Jan 1, 2014

Chris Dodkin wrote:

The generation and adoption of new technologies is not a new phenomenon, it's been going on for hundreds if not thousands of years.

There has been a great deal of study in this area, and models have been generated that help companies plan their product launches, and understand where they stand as new technologies make their way to market.

There are no guarantees, but there are well developed models which have been well proven over time.

There are two that we can review here, based on the OP:

The Hype Cycle model (used by Gartner since 1995)

The Technology Adoption Lifecycle model championed by Everett Rogers and Geoffrey Moore

The accepted model is that a new technology goes through the following three phases:

  1. Hype: Search for next big thing leads to Hype around any new technology.
  2. Struggle: Adoption of these Bleeding Edge technologies depended on the Visionaries who had the vision, energy and money to make it work.
  3. Success: Mainstream adoption required convincing the Pragmatists who needed success stories and support system around the technology.

You can simplify the two models, and see their relationships by plotting Expectation and Adoption Rate against time, on a pair of graphs.

The top graph maps the expectations over time - you may not recognize the exact terms used, but if you think about new technologies that you've seen come to market, you'll see how the cycle of expectation maps to this diagram.

The OP based on the NYT article would put us right after the peak of inflated expectation, and in the trough of disillusionment.

The lower graph shows the adoption of new technologies over time - initially you have innovators picking up the new products, sales are low because most people are not comfortable investing in bleeding edge tech, and want to see success stories in order to feel comfortable to make the investment in a new tech or system.

As sales grow you have to cross the chasm from the early adopters, to the Majority - where normal folk start to see the product as a viable option, and feel safe buying it. This is where volume of sales rises steeply, and the profitability/productivity comes.

Based on the sales numbers, we'd say that Fuji are currently trying to cross the chasm - you see them injecting the market with body+lens deals to get the adoption rate up, building momentum to try and cross the chasm and get to that mainstream (majority) adoption phase.

Companies are well aware of these models, so you could expect that Fuji have planed for this ahead of time, and have a strategy in place to reach profitable sales to the plateau of productivity.

This is the piece that is not in the public domain - we don't know the details of their strategy.

However - for us 'Early Adopters' - we at least have a perspective of why we see what we see regarding sales numbers, visible numbers of cameras in the field, special sales promotions from the manufacturer, statements about profit and loss etc etc.

Because without the bigger picture, you might be confused as to what's going on and why.

At the end of the day - new technology adoption rarely happens overnight - all of this takes a lot of time and money, and there's still no guarantee of success.

Some people are ok with that - they like being here at the bleeding/leading edge.

Some people are uncomfortable with that - you see them post here and express their discomfort with the technology, or the products progression, or the companies performance.

It's an interesting journey - should be fun to see how it all shakes out.

More detail on the Hype Cycle idea here: http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/methodologies/hype-cycle.jsp

More Detail on the Technology Adoption Cycle here: http://www.hightechstrategies.com/profiles.html

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+1 .. just what i was thinking.. :)...

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shawn

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oldtimer29
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to Maximus176, Jan 1, 2014

While I think that the issue has been quite overworked by the forum, I would like to add a little personal perspective to the discussion. More years ago than I would prefer to remember, I had three Leica bodies and a fair number of lenses. I had a 3F and a 3G body as well as a 3M. The lenses I used were both screw on with adapters when used on the M mount as well as M mount lenses. All of this old stuff was kept and used by me up until the 80s when it just became too heavy to to carry around. I used that equipment for a very long time because it both handled well and gave such good results that there was no reason to look elsewhere. Most importantly, experience thought me how to set that equipment in most every situation I faced, without regard to light meters etc.

I feel similarly about my X1 and prime lenses. If fuji went out of business today I would feel no different about the camera and lenses I currently use. They meet my needs beautifully and their ability to continue to do that is not dependent on fuji continuing to support or  "upgrade" it's firmware. Too many are interested in being on the front edge of technology that they forget that the most important technology of the camera is the photographer herself. It takes years to learn handle your camera and lenses instinctively. Rather than looking for the newest bell and whistle, take the time to know you camera and lenses. Get to just know what your exposure is for the conditions you are facing and what the lens you have on sees from the position you are in as a matter of instinct and experience. As you are raising the camera to your eye, have the experience of knowing how to make adjustments faster than than the autofocus and to set your exposure more accurately than autoexposure can do. Learn to have fun with these lovely retro cameras. I am having a great time and look forward to living with this equipment for a long time, tho at 84, it may not be that long.

Have fun everyone and take good pictures. Remember, the most important equipment you have is the photographer. The most important up firmware you need to upgrade is that of the photographer himself, and you, not fuji, control that one.

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Chris G Hughes
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to Graham Hill, Jan 1, 2014

They're all over Hulu+. They run ads for the X-M1 there like crazy.

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dark13star
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to Graham Hill, Jan 1, 2014

Graham Hill wrote:

That's exactly the problem. Fujifilm needs to get out to the masses. The enthusiasts will find the X cameras without ads.

But the masses are the ones opting for cell phone cameras over real cameras, or are you differentiating another level, like "hobbyist" that will still look for more than a cell phone?

I actually think that Fuji needs to focus on the enthusiast. The masses will either use cell phones or buy the cheapest thing they can get. They could build a strong business among enthusiasts if they have high enough margins on their products. Market share is irrelevant, but profitability is essential in the long run.

Rich

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Graham Hill
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to tecnoworld, Jan 1, 2014

tecnoworld wrote:

It's a very odd market the one where even eos-m sold better than fuji x, which is imo the best mirrorless system to date.

Sometimes it's just the way products are perceived. I have many friends that would buy a canon 70d over a fuji x-e2 just because they think the former is 'pro' and the latter is a step up from 'p&s'.

And, believe me, most customers think this way alas.

That's what I wrote in a previous post:  Fujifilm has to have the whole package.  They have some of the finest cameras in the market, but they have to market them and distribute them as well as, or even better, than Canon and Nikon.

It is in these last two areas that Fujifilm sadly falls down hard at.

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tecnoworld
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to Graham Hill, Jan 1, 2014

True. And sometimes those areas, along with wom and customers' perceptions and biases are more important than the 'real' quality of a product, to make it succesfull or not.

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gustabod
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to Red G8R, Jan 2, 2014

saw that too. It will be a shame if only the slr makers remain, this will reduce innovation overall, but most social snaps are taken with a smart phone. Oh well, there's always Leica.

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Chris Dodkin
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to Ralph McKenzie, Jan 2, 2014

Ralph McKenzie wrote:

Interesting you should mention the Instax. Its the only Fuji camera that receives any media coverage, in retail flyers or television advertising. You never see a Fuji advert on TV pertaining to anything other than that camera and occasionally the S8400 when its on special from a retail chain.

Otherwise Fuji advertising is no existent.

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I get more consistent hits on my Instax shots on a daily basis, than any other images - interesting to see how much traction Instax has.

I like my Mini 90 - it's a satisfying experience to have the image in your hand so quickly

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Midwest
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to 57even, Jan 2, 2014

57even wrote:

Reuters article fails to mention the fact that smaller companies have minimal penetration in the US compared to the big three. Only reasons SLRs are still dominant are:

1. Price - entry level prices for DSLRs are still low compared to mirrorless. Fuji's low cost entry level is a bid to fight off that difference.

2. Brand - most people only know Nikon and Canon in the camera market, and they push SLRs so that's what people buy.

Nothing to do with a preference for the OVF? Faster AF and something called 'tracking'? Great handling and plenty of body controls on a non-cramped body?

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John Carson
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to Graham Hill, Jan 2, 2014

Graham Hill wrote:

Caerolle wrote:

John Carson wrote:

Of course they abandoned the S series. The future is mirror less. Why invest millions trying to succeed in a dying market?

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john carson

Funny. I hope the future is mirrorless, but it isn't the present, which is where people are buying cameras. And wasn't the past, either, which was when they killed the S-system.

I thought John's comment was strange too. Mirrorless didn't hardly exist when Fuji abandoned their SLR customers. There was a gap of almost 4 years between the S5 and X100.

Panasonic introduced the G1 in 2008, following years of development. The future was clear then.

Of course, DSLRs continued to sell and will do so for some years. However, developing a line of cameras that may potentially compete with the market leaders requires years of investment, and then many more years of sales in order to recoup the cost of that investment. Fuji did not appear to be particularly well-placed to make inroads in the DSLR market -- it was dependent on Nikon for its bodies -- so we are talking about a very long-term campaign, which, had it succeeded, would have done so just when Fuji needed to be putting all its resources into mirrorless.

The fundamental point here is that investment is intrinsically a long-term thing. You have to position yourself for the future. Fuji has survived whereas Kodak has not because Fuji has thought long term. If they made a mistake, it was to spend too much time fiddling about in the compact camera market which had an even bleaker future than the DSLR market.

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john carson

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Graham Hill
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to John Carson, Jan 2, 2014

John Carson wrote:

Graham Hill wrote:

Caerolle wrote:

John Carson wrote:

Of course they abandoned the S series. The future is mirror less. Why invest millions trying to succeed in a dying market?

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john carson

Funny. I hope the future is mirrorless, but it isn't the present, which is where people are buying cameras. And wasn't the past, either, which was when they killed the S-system.

I thought John's comment was strange too. Mirrorless didn't hardly exist when Fuji abandoned their SLR customers. There was a gap of almost 4 years between the S5 and X100.

Panasonic introduced the G1 in 2008, following years of development. The future was clear then.

Not at all.  I recall all kinds of issues with this camera, particularly it's beyond lethargic focusing. No one was proclaiming the future is mirrorless back then.

Of course, DSLRs continued to sell and will do so for some years. However, developing a line of cameras that may potentially compete with the market leaders requires years of investment, and then many more years of sales in order to recoup the cost of that investment. Fuji did not appear to be particularly well-placed to make inroads in the DSLR market -- it was dependent on Nikon for its bodies -- so we are talking about a very long-term campaign, which, had it succeeded, would have done so just when Fuji needed to be putting all its resources into mirrorless.

The fundamental point here is that investment is intrinsically a long-term thing. You have to position yourself for the future. Fuji has survived whereas Kodak has not because Fuji has thought long term.

Incorrect!  Fujifilm survived because it *diversified* away from film and photography in general.  85% of Fujifilm's revenue and 100% of it's profits come from non photographic businesses.  Imagine Solutions makes up only 15% of Fuji's revenues. Cameras are HALF of that.   Office equipment, medical equipment, medicines, various LCD coatings, inks, etc, are all businesses that Fujifilm entered when it decided that the only way to survive the collapse of film was to diversify.

Fujifilm would have failed completely (just like Kodak) had they planned on surviving as a camera maker.  They simply have no profits in these efforts.

If they made a mistake, it was to spend too much time fiddling about in the compact camera market which had an even bleaker future than the DSLR market.

The DSLR market is doing fine.  That's where the profits are, then and today.  But you are right, the years between the end of the S5 and the beginning of the X100 were dark years for Fujifilm's camera group.

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Graham Hill
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to Chris Dodkin, Jan 2, 2014

Chris Dodkin wrote:

Ralph McKenzie wrote:

Interesting you should mention the Instax. Its the only Fuji camera that receives any media coverage, in retail flyers or television advertising. You never see a Fuji advert on TV pertaining to anything other than that camera and occasionally the S8400 when its on special from a retail chain.

Otherwise Fuji advertising is no existent.

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Love dat Fuji
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I get more consistent hits on my Instax shots on a daily basis, than any other images - interesting to see how much traction Instax has.

Instax is the only film you can find in no nphotography stores here in China. It's very easy to find and is VERY popular. Interestingly, Fujifilm's quarterly report presentation mentioned INSTAX as a growth area in 2014. That was the ONLY photography related business that got mentioned in the growth slides.

I like my Mini 90 - it's a satisfying experience to have the image in your hand so quickly

Instant film is HIGHLY addictive. I've shot a few hundred pics with my kids and I never tire of watching the image appear. I hope Fujifilm makes a Neo 210 or something like that. The mini's just a bit too small for me.

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John Gellings
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to Graham Hill, Jan 2, 2014

Graham Hill wrote:

IKB wrote:

It's not rankings that matters, it is profitability. If Fujifilm can make money, then why abandon these products?

Have you seen Fujifilm's financials? There is no profitability at all in their camera division. Nothing but losses.

Are they on track?

No, they are going backwards. Losses increased by 260% last quarter, year on year.

Only they know,

No, we do, as the documents are public.

in the meantime enjoy the products.

Absolutely.

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Malcy
----------------

It seems strange that Fuji sold way more X cameras than it thought it would (they were shocked at the initial reception of the X100), yet isn't making cash... how is that possible?

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Graham Hill
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to John Gellings, Jan 2, 2014

John Gellings wrote:

Graham Hill wrote:

IKB wrote:

It's not rankings that matters, it is profitability. If Fujifilm can make money, then why abandon these products?

Have you seen Fujifilm's financials? There is no profitability at all in their camera division. Nothing but losses.

Are they on track?

No, they are going backwards. Losses increased by 260% last quarter, year on year.

Only they know,

No, we do, as the documents are public.

in the meantime enjoy the products.

Absolutely.

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Malcy
----------------

It seems strange that Fuji sold way more X cameras than it thought it would (they were shocked at the initial reception of the X100), yet isn't making cash... how is that possible?

Well, the collapse of their compact camera sales was not yet underway while the X100 was in development, so that can explain a bit.

Yet now that the X camera line up is mostly filled out, and there are many lenses for sale, the last year saw losses continue to increase even as revenue went up.   The positive spin on this is that Fujifilm is buying a customer base by all these amazing sale prices that you see every few months.  Lenses like the 14mm and 23mm have been offered for hundreds off their original price.

I dont see how this can work because it is not like lenses get re-bought over and over and over again.

These are desperate times for many camera manufacturers.

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John Carson
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to Graham Hill, Jan 2, 2014

Graham Hill wrote:

John Carson wrote:

Panasonic introduced the G1 in 2008, following years of development. The future was clear then.

Not at all. I recall all kinds of issues with this camera, particularly it's beyond lethargic focusing. No one was proclaiming the future is mirrorless back then.

Its focusing was not "beyond lethargic" (though the first offering from Olympus was widely criticised on that basis). DP Review declared in its review.

"And our initial tests would suggest that they have solved at least one of the technological problems mentioned earlier (the contrast-detect autofocus is easily as fast as any other entry-level DSLR)." (emphasis added)

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmcg1/

As for no one proclaiming that the future was mirrorless "back then", DP Review's forums were full of such proclamations (which were hotly disputed by others). Indeed, people were proclaiming it even before the G1 was announced (there was many a thread about EVIL cameras -- Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens -- long before such a thing actually existed).

As things have turned out, mirrorless cameras have not achieved dominance as quickly as some (including me) expected. For several years, mirrorless basically meant m4/3 cameras and these were held back by having inferior IQ compared to APS-C DSLRs.

Beyond that, autofocusing has taken longer to reach DSLR standards than might have been hoped, with subject tracking being the main problem.

However, while the exact timing of the mirrorless takeover was (and is) hard to predict, the fact that it would happen was clear to many back in 2008 or even earlier.

Of course, DSLRs continued to sell and will do so for some years. However, developing a line of cameras that may potentially compete with the market leaders requires years of investment, and then many more years of sales in order to recoup the cost of that investment. Fuji did not appear to be particularly well-placed to make inroads in the DSLR market -- it was dependent on Nikon for its bodies -- so we are talking about a very long-term campaign, which, had it succeeded, would have done so just when Fuji needed to be putting all its resources into mirrorless.

The fundamental point here is that investment is intrinsically a long-term thing. You have to position yourself for the future. Fuji has survived whereas Kodak has not because Fuji has thought long term.

Incorrect! Fujifilm survived because it *diversified* away from film and photography in general. 85% of Fujifilm's revenue and 100% of it's profits come from non photographic businesses. Imagine Solutions makes up only 15% of Fuji's revenues. Cameras are HALF of that. Office equipment, medical equipment, medicines, various LCD coatings, inks, etc, are all businesses that Fujifilm entered when it decided that the only way to survive the collapse of film was to diversify.

I don't dispute any of that. It remains a fact that, as I stated, Fuji has thought long term and survived because of that. It saw the end of film and it sought other revenue sources. It applied the same long term thinking when it ditched DSLRs.

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john carson

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57even
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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to Midwest, Jan 2, 2014

Midwest wrote:

57even wrote:

Reuters article fails to mention the fact that smaller companies have minimal penetration in the US compared to the big three. Only reasons SLRs are still dominant are:

1. Price - entry level prices for DSLRs are still low compared to mirrorless. Fuji's low cost entry level is a bid to fight off that difference.

2. Brand - most people only know Nikon and Canon in the camera market, and they push SLRs so that's what people buy.

Nothing to do with a preference for the OVF? Faster AF and something called 'tracking'? Great handling and plenty of body controls on a non-cramped body?

No. Most first time users or buyers of entry level SLRs generally have no idea, and they are quite used to a compact or smart-phone so unlike you they don't care about EVFs.

The OVF on entry level (and most APSC) SLRs is pretty awful anyway. I know several people who bought an EVF camera because is was much brighter and easier to see, plus you have all the information in the VF and you don't have to hold it at arm's length to do video.

I am completely OK using an EVF alongside my D800, and I don't mind it in the least. It's extremely convenient being able to preview so much information (WB, exposure etc) before firing the shutter, and it's much easier to manual focus (magnified image etc).

AF is also far more accurate and it's no longer slow by comparison. As for tracking, most entry level SLR cameras can't track a three legged tortoise so I don't see that makes any difference.

But if you don't know you will buy a Canon or Nikon SLR because that's what everyone else does.

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Re: The future for Fuji cameras
In reply to 57even, Jan 2, 2014

57even wrote:

LWS2013 wrote:

mooshoepork wrote:

Not trying to troll...

But given the recent sales reports over at fuji rumors, does anyone else worry about the potential for Fuji to throw in the towel and abandon this venture?

Having only sold 700,000...seems really low.

I love my x100s and x-e2, but I'm worried that if they continue to not make money they'll withdraw.

It's a tough market to crack, and I hope they fair better in 2014.

Thoughts?

If Fuji drop the X sensor and use a bayer one instead then they have a future, at the moment a great camera and lens systems is being ruined by the X sensor

No. It isn't.

Yes, it is, the X sensor is the biggest arguing point of the whole system, some like it and some don't but many put up with it because they like the cameras and lenses.

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