Urban Landscape + Lifestyle Photography

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.

2 responses

  1. I think that many companies realize that providing cheap throwaways only gets them ‘so’ far. They have to innovate and do something different to survive in the long term… and it’s good to see that Fujifilm is moving in that direction.

    December 2, 2012 at 7:27 am

  2. I think a lot of the companies out their are going to need to make choices. From a user point of view, I see absolutely no reason to produce a dozen flavors of a point & shoot camera, a la Canon and Nikon, with this $100 model and that $200 model., and several more in between. Make one GOOD low end to mid level model and be done with it. And make it the best you can. Don’t set up your production lines to tool 20 different models – it doesn’t work anymore and there’s no more market to by them.

    Point & shoots will still sell. They just won’t sell at the previous numbers There are people out there that don’t want smartphones. There are senior citizens out there that just want a camera they can hold and operate. But 100 variations of point & shoot is now impossible to support in a manufacturer gameplan if you want to stay viable as a company. Phasing out the lower end crap is a necessity.

    This article may be of interest

    http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/report/2228796/the-smart-threat-how-mobile-phones-are-forcing-camera-manufacturers-to-evolve

    Just as an aside nite – it took me a LONG time to buy one of the PEN cameras. It was only when I got to your blog that I could settle down and buy. Why? Too many models, too much confusion. Some of the camera blogs even posted wrong pictures of the cameras, mixing them up. Which of course ticked me off because here they were giving their canned press release reviews and they couldn’t even get the camera picture right. In essence, consumer confusion and actually too much choice, at least from my perspective.

    December 2, 2012 at 10:43 am

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