Fujifilm’s curious dichotomy
So here is a company that until recently made low-end POS point and shoots. The kind you see bargain priced at Costco or Target. How curious that a company selling these cheap throw-aways comes up with one of the most compelling digital cameras in recent memory.
But they always had their own special sensor technology. They also had extensive film experience. And while their DSLR foray with Nikon never amounted to much, they were uniquely positioned. But until recently, their point and shoots, even with their special sensor didn’t give them a competitive advantage.
Of course, I’m talking about Fujifilm. Their breakthrough camera, the X100. They have parleyed this success to grow the X line into both point and shoots and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.
They’ve combined their sensor technology with nostalgic, retro designs to create cameras with character. I’m really happy with my Olympus gear but I’ve been tempted more than once by the X100 or the X10 point and shoot. More than any manufacturer, save Leica, Fuji has struck a chord with people who want a compact and gentle camera — unlike DSLRs which I consider tactical weapons of mass photography.
I wonder if Fujifilm will phase out their lower-end stuff if they continue to succeed with their X series? Either way, it’s a curious dichotomy of the premium and the cheap. The lower-end is getting challenged by smart phones but the Fuji has a unique niche on the premium. A tempting niche at that.