A Secret Meeting
Today I would like to share with you an insight story, about the probably decisive moment, that convinced Fujifilm to go Medium Format.
I’ve been told this story back in mid 2015 by a trusted source while chatting on Skype, soon after my first Medium Format rumor. Today I got an email from the very same source, who told me that I’m free to share the story with all of you guys… and I’m happy to do that right now :-)
For this story, we have to go back to sometimes in 2014.
Imagine the scene:
A confidential meeting amongst the most important people at Fujifilm. The big question in the room: should we go Medium Format?
At that time, Fujifilm was looking closely at the Medium Format Pentax 645z. The camera sold better than Pentax expected, and many reviews praised it. TheCameraStoreTV said back in 2014 about the Pentax 645z here, that it has the best IQ for stills they have ever seen.
But TCSTV also made a final and important remark: the newest Full Frame sensors, like the one on the Nikon D810, could narrow the IQ gap between FF and MF.
So was it worth for Fujifilm to go Medium Format?
The Decisive Test
Fujifilm decided to make a test, that will help them to decide if Medium Format will have a future or not. And it was as simple as that:
Fujifilm took a RAW file of the Medium Format Pentax 645z and processed it using their unique image X processing engine. And guess what? The image quality Fujifilm got out of the Pentax RAW file was already superior to the original Pentax image simply by applying their own image processing algorithm.
This realization laid the foundation for Fujifilm’s decision to go Medium Format… but it was not enough!
Fujifilm wanted more
A better processing engine was not enough for Fujifilm…
They also decided to make some hardware related tweaks to the Medium Format sensor. So they customized the microlenses in front of the sensor and optimized the silicon process. This will allow Fujifilm to improve the overall image quality even more.
At the end of the day, Fujifilm’s magic trinity (processor – customized MF sensor – GF lenses) will very likely raise quite a bit the bar for Medium Format 33×44 sensors… and the gap to Full Frame should be more significant again. But to be sure of that, we have to wait and see how that GFX beast performs in real life. And it’s not a long wait anymore… January 19 is just around the corner… and I’m ready for the live blogging ;)
So this is the true behind the scenes story, that convinced Fujifilm to go Medium Format. And very soon, a few years after that test, the Fujifilm GFX will finally be reality.