28
Apr
2013

Fuji’s idea of Kaizen, or why Fuji frequently releases firmware updates

 photo 180px-Kaizen_zpse3e0546e.gif

The brand new X100S has already been updated with a new firmware (1.02). I was curious to know why Fuji seems to release firmware updates more often than other companies. So I made a little search and stumbled across this article at fujifilmxseries.

According to the author “some manufacturers might be reluctant to update firmware, as it represents, in a sense, an admission that things were not correct or perfect at the time of product release“. This isn’t the case of Fujifilm, as they frequently release firmware updates to improve their cameras. This philosophy can be summarized in one word: KAIZEN… and, unless you are a Japanese reader, many of you probably won’t know what “kaizen” means. Fujifilmxseries looked for the definition:

kaizen [...] My iOS dictionary [...] defines kaizen as “betterment, improvement.” It then expands thusly, “kaizen (Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement). [...] Thus, strictly speaking, I’m not sure that firmware updates in of themselves are an example of kaizen. However, the frequent refinement of the firmware itself most probably is, and Fujifilm can only be applauded in extending this concept out to cameras already in the hands of consumers, rather than waiting for the cycle of new generation releases. If nothing else, an understanding of kaizen might offer a convenient framework for interpreting why Fujifilm frequently updates firmware, rather than attempting to ‘get it right’ the first time round. It was ‘right,’ now it’s ‘more right.’”

There is always something to improve. Now, just add in the comments what you would like to have fixed (or added) with the next firmware update: faster autofocus, focus peaking for the X-E1/X-PRO1, set minimum shutter speed when in Auto-ISO, customizable “Q menu”… just extend this list in the comments.

Over at uservoice you can vote a X100S firmware-poll (thanks Fredrik).

Kaizen (wikipedia) / fujifilmxseries (read here)

enjoy your Sunday
Patrick

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  • Gab

    -Live histogram in manual mode
    -Exposure compensation in manual mode. (would be useful with auto iso on)
    -faster custom shutter speeds in T mode, 1/45 & 1/90 would be especially useful
    -smarter matrix meter
    -Bigger EV bracketing range. (3 frames with 2-3EV steps, rather than 1 would be fantastic)
    -spot metering on focus point selected
    -the FN button is rlly lackluster, I would love to see the following assignable to the FN button: Spot metering on press; EV bracketing on next photo taken; Exposure preview; Changing min shutter speed for auto iso

  • Gab

    Auto iso doesn’t necessarily need a min shutter speed option, they could keep using a Focal Length based formula, granted that we can set up our own shutter speed multiplier. (for example with a multiplier of 5 it would use 1/90 with the 18mm lens with auto iso)

    • ph

      +1

  • Gab

    -option to automatically raise the aperture in Aperture Priority mode when there is clipping due 1/4000 is reached.

  • Zachery

    - Assign flash compensation control to Fn
    - Option to lock shutter speed when adjusted away from the setting on the dial, currently if you review images then return to shooting mode it resets the speed to the dial, this is very annoying for flash users since there is no 1/160 or 1/200 (it works 90% of the time) on the dial.
    - Agree that exposure compensation should apply to ISO with auto ISO enabled in manual mode
    - Less choppy EVF particularly in low light (if Sony can do it, Fuji can)
    - BUILT-IN INTERVALOMETER WITH BRACKETING SUPPORT AND LONG EXPOSURE SUPPORT

  • Zachery

    Oh yeah a couple more
    - Allow me to move the viewing position freely when zoomed in for manual focus assist the same way I can when reviewing an image and zoomed in. Could probably improve this in other ways too, like, allow focus assist magnification when in AF mode
    - (This one really bugs me) Enable exposure compensation dial while AE-L enabled! It should just modify appropriately from where the exposure was locked, example: If I AE-L in Aperture Priority mode and shutter is at 1/200 and I rotate the compensation dial up one stop then I should get a 1/100 shutter speed.

  • tim

    The concept that these frequent releases of firmware are a good thing is nonsense.

    It’s not bad that they fix shortcomings with the cameras, but as someone who lived through the XP1 autofocus debacle from day 1, I can tell you that Fuji often broke more than they fixed. Eventually I stopped updating and just waited until Fuji exhausted themselves, then I put in the update … which on the XP1 generally means Autofocus updates and new lens support _only_.

    • phil

      I know when i bought the XP1 on day 1 it wasn’t perfect. And improvements suck, fuji should never update camera’s firmwares because it takes time for me to update it and then i don’t get the improvements I expected of when i first bought the camera! Why can’t they just release a camera that is always better than my expectations?

      =)

  • ja

    allow to choose 9 or 11 autofocus points – for quick autofocus point changing (like on Nikon DSLR) (and maybe also AF-C with 3D-tracking, if it is possible on mirrorless)

    • Ricci

      YES! YES! YES! 11+ AF points with 3D tracking please!
      I want to shoot my kids soccer games with new 55-200mm zoom!

  • Jing

    Probably add a firmware update for x100, so we can use the q menu and other new functions?

  • choco

    I’m not japanese, but I do know what Kaizen is.

  • ph

    - Allow assignment of copyright information.

  • Lelle

    Yes! Focus peaking for the X-E1 would be a nice feature… *keeping my fingers crossed*

  • http://www.jasonchart.com JasonChart

    -Ditch the AF button for choosing focus point (ditch the macro) (Faster Focus point selection )
    -Intervalometer
    -Customizable quick menu
    -Set min shutter speed

    I think the above are easy to achieve, many other improvements are limited by hardware.

  • http://www.jimgamblin.com Jim

    - Focus peaking to use MF lenses
    - better corrected framelines in OVF
    - and a real big wish some, sort of focusing aide implemented in the OVF

  • kalvin

    XE1

    I would very much appreciate a significantly better autofocus for the XE1, allowing to make something acceptable in the sports and reportage activities.
    As well as the possiblity to include © personal copyright indications such as the owner of the camera.
    Quality of images is by the way a splendid achievement

  • karmel

    definitely minimum shutter speed for auto iso on the x-pro 1. it would make things so much easier – i have no use for auto iso as it is.
    focus peaking would be very nice too, and the ability to change aperture after AF.

  • Renato S.

    I would like full manual control on video mode, this shouldn’t be hard

  • Stephen

    1. Set minimum shutter speed while using auto ISO.
    2. Have a TIFF option, both 8 bit and 16 bit.
    3. Redesign the thumb rest; sometimes I hit the Q button by mistake.
    4. Fuji needs to develop their own RAW editing software, so that we can get Fuji color shooting and Developing RAW. Also, an option to have both 12 and 14 bit, compressed and uncompressed RAW files, like Nikon.

  • RussellInCincinnati

    The 3 top things are so obvious that it barely feels useful to comment on them. How could Fuji not know. And all mentioned by other folks above, and none requiring a change in hardware:
    1. live exposure histogram in manual mode, so that people who set their own exposure have some idea of what exposure they might want to set. Ideally (nobody else does this that I know of) the histogram could be optioned to either be a reflection of the raw file exposure data (with the current ISO considered), or reflect the data as interpreted for the current-selected JPEG settings. If there is no option, then the display should show JPEG-interpreted data if there is no raw file output, or show data for the current ISO settings in the raw file, if there is raw file output or raw+JPEG output.
    2. Focus peaking, hard to believe that Fuji has no idea how to implement this.
    3. Once you’re zoomed into a magnified focus-assist mode, there should be a real easy way to hunt around the full scene. That is to say easily move around the entire frame and closely inspect some portion of the full scene, just like you can do in a magnified playback mode. On my Nex the position of the frame fragment you were last magnifying stays persistent between exposures, only getting reset to the middle after power-off I think.

    Only affecting certain kinds of sophisticated users (but who else would want a camera with the subtle Fuji advantages?):
    4. Ability to assign “set custom white balance” function to a single button press, of some button, somewhere on the outside of the camera. Ideally there should be an option to NOT ask for another confirmation button press after taking a custom white balance, if the camera thinks the overall exposure was reasonable enough to get a custom white balance. Also not rocket science here.

  • RussellInCincinnati

    Also heartily DISagree with someone who mentioned above that “the concept that these frequent releases of firmware are a good thing is nonsense”. I would love it if we could all choose to download latest, thoroughly-debugged-Fuji new firmware EVERY DAY. Who would not want that option?

    Of course it needs no commenting that it is bad for Fuji to release bad firmware with bugs in it. But that is just saying that Fuji should not release any “bad firmware’, for example not release any firmware until they’ve checked it out more thoroughly. And that would be true whether Fuji released new firmware every two years or every two minutes. It doesn’t mean that “the concept of making firmware improvements available as soon as they’re ready” is nonsense.

    We should be careful to applaud manufacturers for not forcing people to buy new hardware, just to get to improvements that could be gotten today, through firmware updates to cameras you’ve already purchased.

  • Dr.S

    I hope the kaizen apply also to the X100C (classic)!

  • FN”function “swap last shoting profile”

    I usualy use two Shooting Profiles, one for B&W and other for Color.
    I use Quick Menu to change between.

    But what about a new “button FN” function “swap last shoting profile”

    With an only push of fn button I can change from B&W settings to color.

    Te button only remember last shoting profile and alternate from actual.
    Somebody could use to change his most often used setings.

    I use for b&w change but it can be usued for what te user wants. One for hig dynamic range, or for low ligth…

  • http://www.bestmirrorlesscamerareviews.com/ Heather @ MirrorLessons

    Everything mentioned above, with priority on faster AF. I’ve become too accustomed to the speed of the E-M5!

  • Sky

    “kaizen (Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement)” – quite ironic when most of Japanese companies don’t bother with firmware upgrades, while the company most famous for firmware upgrades is from USA – I’m talking here about Apple.

  • http://www.photoluma.com marschp

    3×4 and 4×5 aspect ratios on all X series cameras.
    delete option available from the Quick button during image playback

  • Fuji Fan

    Funny this….
    “Kai Zen” is actually Chinese Characters that the Japanese call KanJi,
    So technically & originally this is a Chinese (Traditional) Character, not really Japanese…
    But it has to be said that the Japanese probably taken the philisophy of continously improving, into much better use than us, the Chinese.

  • Shay

    I love my X E1
    would love it even more with:
    faster autofocus, focus peaking for the X-E1/X-PRO1, set minimum shutter speed when in Auto-ISO

  • Terry

    My wish list for X E1:

    1. Minimum shutter speed with auto Iso
    2. Exposure compensation in manual mode and when AE-L active
    3. Faster auto focus
    4. Focus peaking
    5. With external flash, fix to use external flash AF assist lamp rather than cameras
    6. Live histogram in manual mode

  • Bernie Ess

    People have been asking for minimum shutter speed in Auto ISO since months and months. This has been in their last DSLR, the S5pro (which had a Nikon d200 body, all Nikon DSLRs have this since 2007 or so), in the x100, but then was taken out in the XP1 and X-E1.

    A fix that presumably requires a dozen lines of firmware code. It limits shooting every time there are changing light situations, I have little understanding that Fuji does not do anything about it.

    I don’t understand why this feature that people ask for in every “feature thread” on every forum.

    I will not buy a future model of the X just to get this feature.

    Sorry Fuji!

    • peter

      > It limits shooting every time there are changing light situations, I have little understanding that Fuji does not do anything about it.

      Set manual shutter speed to your desired min value and you’ll have exactly the same behavior in manual mode (sans exposure compensation) as with minimum shutter speed. You don’t really need a new feature to do the same thing that’s possible now.

      Lack of exposure compensation with auto-iso in manual mode is the real problem. And there is a simple solution — add Aperture-Shutter speed priority (ATv on Pentax) mode. This mode will be active when you set manual shutter speed, manual aperture and auto-iso and exposure compensation will actually mean something.

  • http://www.abhishekscariya.com Abhishek Scariya

    Here’s my list in the order of importance.

    -Exposure compensation in manual mode (with auto ISO on) to enable over or underexposing photos in M mode using ISO. This can be extremely important for shooting situations in varied lighting situations.

    - Assigning copyright information.

    - Spot metering on focus point selected

    - Customizable quick menu

  • Ryan-R470

    X-E1

    - Option to assign the AF-Point button to one of the cursor buttons on the right for a easier access like the X100S

  • http://www.fernandocol.com Fernando Colaço

    -ISO: 100-6400
    -SPEED: to 1/8000
    -auto iso: minimum speed/higher iso

    With that I can buy one. With out that I will not.

    ah! and… 56 1.4/1.2 and 85/90 1.4 ( without the last one no buy). Need the all system.

  • Markus Wörsdörfer

    Love my X-E1. Focus peaking means absolutely nothing to me. However, improved low light auto focus with improved speed, YES. Auto focus point selection that does not require to press the af -button first, absolutely. Base ISO 100-6400 most definitely ( maybe even ISO 50, can I really ask for it? ) A larger and higher resolution screen for X-E1, please. A 16 and 90mm 1.4 to round of the future lens roadmap, a dream. And last but not least, copyright information, a must!

  • Gab

    It would be nice if we had more flash EV compensation for the X-E1′s onboard flash, also it would be useful, if autoiso + distance information would be calculated in a smarter way when using flash in close range.

  • Aleste

    Fuji is not going to “add” a new feature (ie. focus peaking) that was not announced in the product release. These firmware updates are meant to improve already existing functions that doesn’t quite live up to user’s expectations. The drive behind this can be summarized in the form of a question: Why waste this in a firmware update when this can be marketed as a new feature in the next model and get the them to buy our new camera?

    • Gab

      It’s not that simple. Most of the time when the user buys a new camera, the old one will end up on the used market & will stop someone from buying a new camera from Fuji, certainly it would still be worth it, but someone buying a new camera will also less likely to buy a new lens, also less likely will he remain loyal to Fuji in the long term..

      Focus peaking is something that probably won’t happen, but auto iso & manual mode issues with histogram & EV compensation should be fixed, their reputation is on the line, them being in many ways broken cannot be good for Fuji, no way..

      (I personally don’t care so much about focus peaking as the existing press to enlarge works alright for when I need manual focusing)

  • romi.foto

    yes, at least focus peaking.

  • John

    x100s:
    in standby mode: i would to see a pics taken…with a button only

    as is:
    1. half press shutter
    2. press play

    to be:
    1. press play

    like…canon, nikon….etc etc

  • Jeff

    XE-1
    – in photo review, use FULL SCREEN when ZOOMING PORTRAIT PICTURES! (I mean, who programmed that software..)
    – Manual everything video mode (Really, just do it)
    – Exposure preview in M mode
    – Less choppy EVF
    – Have a separate AE setting for the metering and EVF preview (That’s really annoying. I like to meter with spot, but it makes the EVF go crazy, it’s awful to use)
    – Intervalometer
    – Cleaner EVF interface design.

    I’m pretty sure Focus peaking and fake split-screen is hardware dependant. As is the choppy EVF too probably.