Fuji X-T1 25fps video and more on the reaction to THAT update.

Fuji X-T1 18-135mm lens 25fps 1080 HD iMovie

This is some sample video footage shot with the X-T1 - post firmware update. And maybe I was a little harsh as there does seem to be an improvement here on what the camera produced before.(Since writing that I've shot some more footage and unfortunately it's still pretty disappointing)

On the update itself, I was somewhat surprised to discover that a lot of people agreed with me about the nature of Fuji's 'generosity' and the fact that it isn't generosity at all. Mathieu at Mirrorlessons made the excellent point that this can be seen as a marketing strategy and all companies have them, which is of course very true. 

I have of course, as well, had the usual (and expected) spate of Fuji funded put downs and fanboy fantasies and I can't help but marvel at the mindset that allows people to believe that Fuji release a camera (the X-T1) with (I'll be charitable here) some 'undeveloped' features and then release the 'developed' features two days before the biggest christmas shopping weekend of the year and prior to the January sales, (coincidence?) out of the kindness of their heart? And then we all have to bow down and worship at the feet of this benevolent multi-national for being so open-handed and customer friendly that it could apply for sainthood. Incredible.

Fuji have form with this. This is not the first time they have released major updates just as sales of a camera are starting to wane and dropping out of the chatter sites radar. Is this again coincidence? Well I guess if you are incredibly naive, you might think so. Because Fuji are just as hard-nosed and manipulative as the next Japanese camera manufacturer. They do seem to have a great PR department though, that seems to have convinced some that they are the Mother Teresa of the camera world. They even have a name for it. Kaizen. Here's the definition of that.

'Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement. Kaizen was originally introduced to the West by Masaaki Imai in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan's Competitive Success in 1986. Today kaizen is recognized worldwide as an important pillar of an organization's long-term competitive strategy.' Source - http://uk.kaizen.com/about-us/definition-of-kaizen.html

And yes you are right, it's total BS. So exactly which companies intentionally plan to not continually improve? Well I guess we don't know about them because they have already gone out of business!

To me this whole thing is a serious case of the Emperors new clothes. Obviously people can believe what they like, but the idea that as owners we are somehow nurtured and respected by the great benefactor Fuji is as preposterous as it sounds. If Fuji really did care about us as customers they wouldn't work on a continuous cashback and discount cycle which makes the resale value of our Fuji 'investments' drop like a stone. And if they got their cameras 'right' in the first place they wouldn't have to have that continuous cashback and discount cycle in the first place. (Or these ridiculous firmware updates)

And the update itself, apart from the electronic shutter, is mostly a shuffling about of functions and menu items. I'm sure Fuji make some of these up, because I'm actually puzzled as to what some of them actually do. 

  • 19.Lock Function
    Add software lock function during shooting mode. The update will let users prevent from the unexpected dial/button operation.


??????? 'The update will let users prevent from the unexpected dial/button operation.'  Well, who wouldn't want that!!!

I write all this as someone who has bought a LOT of Fuji gear and indeed still has a fair amount sitting on the shelf. But I'm seriously wondering if there is any future in remaining a Fuji fanboy. It seems to me that the way they behave is now turning into a pattern and this is what we will see in the years to come. Plus these days if I want to use my X-T1 or X100s I have to accept that I will be giving up quite a lot in comparison to my Sony FE cameras. These have better image quality for stills and video, the A7r beats anything Fuji have for resolution, the A7s beats anything Fuji have for low light capture, the Sony's are faster, better specified and the system with it's 'full-frame' sensor has more potential to expand and improve than Fuji and it's continuous reliance on the now, seriously outdated, X-Trans sensor (Three years is an age in the digital camera sensor world). And yes Fuji has some great lenses, but it's what they are screwed onto that's really important.

And yes I like the electronic shutter, but in the scheme of things, how important is that? More important than addressing the fact that Fuji's native software and the industry standard Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop produce inferior raw file conversions? More important than the fact that any camera with 'professional aspirations' has to have a range of video options and the possibility to create professional looking footage? More important than releasing a camera with it's full capability right from the start, without some vague promise that improvements might be arriving in a few months time? More important than coming up with a way of powering their cameras without us all having to carry spare batteries every time we go out to use them and providing a way of monitoring battery use? Well, for me the answer to all those questions is no. 

I DO like using Fuji cameras and lenses. I CAN get decent results from raw with third party software. And up to recently I was prepared to make some compromises. But with the arrival of my Sony A7s, I don't have to compromise any more. Fuji's low light, small footprint advantage has gone. My Sony A7s + Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA combination is significantly better than my X100s in almost every way. The lens doesn't bend straight lines, even after 'correcton' for a start. As a 'professional aspirant' camera the X-T1 could be seen as a decent option, but now it has the Olympus E-M1 and a pair of 'pro spec' lenses to contend with, without even mentioning the Samsung NX-1, Sony A7 Mk II and the Panasonic GH4. And Fuji seem to be pushing back the X-Pro 2 (If there is to be an X-Pro 2) further and further. Why?

As I've indicated in previous posts, I was waiting for this update to make some decisions as to what to do with my Fuji gear. But that has now been delivered and I suspect you can see which way I'm probably going to go. I'll miss my X100s, but I'm somewhat frustrated these days by what I have to give up to use it, so once it's gone I doubt I'll get nostalgic for it. And I do like the Fuji lenses. But then the one thing I do like about my Sony FE system is those metallic Zeiss lenses, so that won't cause me any sleepless nights. 

I will say, finally, that from my perspective Fuji have missed quite a few tricks here. Let's remember that even though they get a lot of internet attention (and internet loyalty), they don't actually sell that many units. Their attitude of trying to be independent and different at all costs, has I believe, held them back from making a serious breakthrough. They have consistently failed to address the raw conversion, video and battery life issues and to my mind have (accidentally or deliberately) consigned their brand to the retro fan enthusiast market, with a few exceptions. And that's not a recipe for selling lots of cameras. They have always been an interesting company, though unfortunately more often frustrating rather than inspiring. That they will always have a fan base seems certain, but unless something dramatic happens that fanbase will be shrinking by one in the near future.

PLEASE NOTE:- I've closed this post off to comments as per my previous article on this update. I should point out to the Fuji spammers and the deranged fanboys who choose to direct their ill-informed bile at me, that I don't read what you write, immediately consign your comments to the trash and ban you from ever commenting here again.

So if you want to waste your time then feel free to do so, but be assured that your poorly thought out rantings will not find an audience here. And if you have your own twisted agenda then perhaps I could send you some suggestions as to what to with it!! Apart from anything else the serious unpleasantness of a (small but vocal) minority of Fuji owners, who seem to be significantly more vitriolic than other brand worshippers, is only hastening my intent to sell off my Fuji gear ASAP. To be honest, I'll be glad to be rid of the hassle.