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Fujifilm Designer Talks about GFX: “I would Love to Evolve the GFX50R Rangefinder Series” and More on GFX Series Development


Fujifilm design manager Mr. Masazumi Imai (the guy we are all very grateful to because he designed the original X100 – read the story of his inspiration here) gave an interview in Japanese to MapCamera.

As usual youtube struggles with live video translations, but down below you can find a summary in English of both videos as well as the videos themselves.

Part 1:

  • Other companies were already offering lots of higher end cameras
  • Fujifilm joined late, and he made the Finepix Fujifilm X100 first (read the story here)
  • the X series was born
  • Fujifilm was thinking on how they could enter the market
  • professionals were aware of the quality of Fujinon lenses
  • he wanted to make a camera that people all over the world would immediately understand and would also be fun to operate [admin note: hence the intuitive dedicated dials]
  • making a fun camera was his first inspiration. After that came the X100
  • Fujifilm made it APS-C
  • the request for higher resolution and for Full Frame came up and Fujifilm discussed it
  • during film times, there were 10 films that one could easily purchase, whereas in digital time the offering was mainly only M43, APS-C and Full Frame
  • Masazumi Imai had the desire to expand the offering
  • the desire to make a medium format was strong, so they went for that and needed time to develop that
  • there were challenges to overcome in order to keep size and price contained
  • they wanted to offer something to professionals and customers who wanted higher resolution
  • but ideally one wants to take the camera with him also when he just goes out for a daily walk, not only have a tool for work
  • Original GFX50S with tilt EVF was particularly aimed to studio
  • with GFX50R he wanted to create something that gets more into people’s feelings
  • as a photo lover himself, the GFX50S was fine, but he wanted to do something that would easily fit into “his life” [I guess he means his photography style]
  • there were lots of hurdle to surpass in terms of mechanical parts (such as shutter mechanism) to make the GFX50R
  • the design manager said he would like to evolve the GFX50R, hence discuss it with people inside the company [remember how other managers said here that the goal of the GFX50R was to make the GFX series smaller, and now with GFX100S they perceive it is at the moment small enough, basically hinting they see no need at the moment to develop a GFX50RII. So thanks Mr. Masazumi Imai for fighting for us to make it happen despite what other managers said]
  • GFX100: positioned at the top of the GFX series
  • first GFX camera with IBIS. Sensor is 1.7x larger than full frame and IBIS unit must stabilize that
  • they designed it with integrated grip
  • he showed a mockup of a version of the GFX100 (see image above or also at the bottom of this article), which in my opinion looks much better than the one we got at the end. Google translate is quite bad at this point so that I can not really surely say to you why they picked the other version, and if anyone out there speaks Japanese, go at minute 21:40 of the first video and feel free to let me know what he says
  • PSAM dial interface and hence using more the command dials to adjust the settings is better for adjusting the settings while still looking through the EVF

Part 2:

  • Goal was to make GFX100S as small and affordable as possible, so that people in the market for a full frame camera would also consider the medium format GFX system instead
    [admin note: Note that the GFX100S is smaller than some full frame cameras and also more affordable than others]
  • the mechanism for the modal EVF (available on GFX50S and GFX100) takes space, hence there is not attachable EVF on GFX100S
  • also the connecter and screw for a vertical grip would increase size, so the designer decided to remove that too
  • the GFX100S takes an even larger battery than other GFX cameras. On GFX100S the battery goes in the grip, and on GFX50S behind the LCD.
  • he has heard from many people that their preferred grip design is the one of the original GFX50S, so they tried to design the GFX100S in a way that people who love the GFX50S grip would also like the on on the GFX100S
  • the design manager says he is proud that GFX cameras have received so many design awards (IF design award, Red Dot Award, Good Design Award etc…. honestly, Fujifilm payed lots of money for those awards so let them brag about them) :)
  • in future the designer would like to think on how to design GFX cameras that are suitable for younger generations who want to shoot with large format
  • the designer says he would like to give shape to the fact that he really likes these GFX cameras and it is fun to use them
  • they will continue to create products that are suitable for everyone and all generations will have fun with photography

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