Fujifilm’s Rational Mirrorless Approach

Fujifilm X-T30

Today’s post is the last of a three-part series of observations I made of the current mirrorless camera industry. I started with a post called State of Mirrorless Cameras in 2019. Yesterday, I talked in detail about Canon and their disjointed mirrorless strategy. As a stark contrast, Fujifilm appears to have an incredibly well thought out and logical approach to their entire mirrorless lineup.

Who would have thought the niche camera turned cult classic, the Fujifilm FinePix X100, would launch an entire line of X-cameras that would completely remake Fuji’s digital approach. Nine years later, Fuji has a rich line of X-cameras at every price point, a high-end medium format line, and a single waterproof point and shoot.

I own a Fuji X100S and a few more Fuji compact cameras. And, while I’ve followed and lightly played with their recent X-cameras, I haven’t scrutinized them. They have well regard cameras but don’t have in-body image stabilization (except the hefty X-H1), so I really wasn’t interested. However, as I surveyed the rich landscape of lenses available for the platform, at last weekend’s Precision Camera Expo, I was thoroughly impressed and intrigued. I spent more time at the Fuji booth than any other.

As a travel and street photography enthusiast, I was immediately attracted to the compact prime lenses in all the right focal lengths. Key focal lengths even sported two flavors, at f1.4 and f2. They also have some wonderful telephoto primes for portraits. And, most of these lenses were compact and reasonably priced.

I also like their mid-level junior sized cameras like the X-T20 and X-T30. They retain most of the key features of their bigger brother X-T2 and X-T3, but with a smaller and lighter form factor and at a significant discount.

In a span of nine years, Fuji has built out a complete ecosystem — pretty quietly actually — making steady progress along the way. Their initially pokey focusing system has been upgraded with a capable hybrid phase and contrast detect. They have cameras in all price points from entry level to professional. They have nearly every lens for most photographic disciplines. Even their once laughable movie mode has improved greatly.

Wisely, they’ve dodged the full frame mirrorless fray, covering the smaller sensor APS-C segment with the X-cameras and going larger with their medium format G mount. With their retro-inspired design and controls, they are not a copycat company following everyone else. They march to their own drummer. They may still be a niche company compared to Canon and Nikon, but they have a loyal following with distinct advantages.

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