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Fujifilm X Channel Episode 1: Camera Software Development, or Putting a Soul into X Series Cameras

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Fujifilm Japan has launched the first episode of their “Fujifilm X Channel” series.

Fujifilm X Channel will cover 3 subjects:

  • X Lab: Product planners/developers talk about the essence of the X series and the inside story of development
  • X Talk: A photographer who loves the X series, talks about his impressions of the X series
  • Impressive Photograph: Photographer Minoko Orisaku teaches you some tips on various scenes in everyday photography

The first episode went online today, and it belongs to the X-Lab section. More precisely, they talk about software development.

Sadly you’ll have to rely on google automatic translation tool, as the series is in Japanese only, and Google has a hard time to translate it, with some funny results like Fuji cameras make people “accidentally drink“, “it’s difficult to lick the film” and “I wonder if anyone wants to sharpen their needs.

So, if any Japanese FR-reader out there has the time and will to make a summary for us of the 10 minutes video, it would be greatly appreciated. Just drop it in the comments.

What I understood (maybe…):

Translated by FR-reader Hiko (thanks!)

Mr. Ueno (Product Planner)
  • This is our first discussion with the development group of X Channel, X Lab, with our 3 development managers.
  • Cameras are hardware and software — today we will discuss the software side of things, specifically image quality design, AF/AE design, and firmware.
Announcer
  • Starting with the X100 in 2011, we will reflect on the past 10 years of the X series, as told by the members of the development team.
Mr. Ueno
  • 10 years has allowed the X series to grow from nothing.
  • Perhaps there’s something that stands out to you, reflecting on the past.
Mr. Uchida (AF Dev)
  • Not so much from the X100, but it was the X-Pro1 that received numerous feedback which allowed us to improve, such as issues shooting moving subjects, why is there a macro button, etc.
  • Started out negative, but that allowed us to work through struggles and mature to the point we are at now.
Mr. Irie (IQ Design Dev)
  • Film sims represent the camera.
  • Starting in 2011, a new sim was released roughly every 2 years.
  • As of late, it’s been every year, and this has become a little tough.
Mr. Mizuta (Firmware Dev)
  • FW is necessary to manipulate the processor/sensor to allow desired AF, color, etc.
  • Pro1 had reports of the camera behaving oddly in certain situations.
  • I feel that the last 10 years have allowed us to finally reach the point where the FW is near completion from the start.
    • Mr. Ueno comment: Pro1 came out in 2012, but by 2013, 2014, it was a completely different camera. Hardware is the same, but there has been much improvement, which made me believe that the FW really completes the camera.
  • This is true, the camera here is not fully functional, and without the proper FW, this is just a decoration, a box.
  • I like to think FW breathes life into the system.
Mr. Ueno
  • I would like to hear about everyone’s best accomplishment.
Mr. Uchida
  • The start was rough — the Fuji colors and image quality are there, but couldn’t take anything that’s moving, which limited the scenes that could be captured.
    • Mr. Ueno comment: Yes many users commented on this a lot — even if the colors are there, if the focus failed, it’s all for nought.
  • AF was bad, but when I tried to take moving subjects, it was more than that, like EVF delay, blackout, button response, etc.
  • I realized that the overall experience needed improving, which led the basis of our kaizen.
  • This was realized in the X-T2.
    • Mr. Ueno comment: it’s clear AF has made the biggest leaps. The improvement was substantial, and many photographers today still use T2 as long as very fast AF is not needed.
  • That is why the X-T2 is my best accomplishment.
Mr. Irie
  • T2 wasn’t my best, but would like to comment that it was a huge leap and felt this could last for the next 10 years.
  • I wanted to buy it, but due to full pre-orders, employees were told not to buy it.
  • My best accomplishment was Classic Chrome with the X-30.
  • At the time, my process was to create a look that I wanted to convey, rather than recreating the look of a film.
  • Without the name of the film in the name of the simulation, I wanted something that just looks “cool.”
  • Many said Fujifilm was a Happy Color.
    • Mr. Ueno comment: During the film marketing days, photo developers commented that Velvia/Provia was nice, but when you take photos of Europe, it turns into Hawaii.
  • And thus I accepted the challenge to make something cool, the development of CC.
    • Mr. Ueno comment: it became popular with Europeans and some started to solely use CC.
Mr. Mizuta
  • In the beginning it was just trying to meet everyone’s needs, and how to best compile them together.
  • It was about 7 years later and with the X-T3 that I felt that I had come into my own, and receiving approval from some, I felt I could see what people desired.
  • I feel that T3 was the camera that really brought the developers together to solve issues, e.g., if the exposure was bad, was it the shutter, sensor, processor, mainboard, algorithm — we all worked together.
    • Mr. Irie comment: I agree, in the beginning, many of us just requested certain features that we wanted, and then left you to deal with it. T3 development brought all of us together for solving problems.
    • Mr. Ueno comment: The amount of FW is inundating, and I know a manufacturer should not be saying this, but a 100% perfect FW is probably not possible. Of course we strive for 100%, but certainly bugs can sometimes be present. The key is how quickly we can resolve the issue.
Mr. Ueno
  • Today was a discussion of software, but cameras cannot operate on software alone.
  • The common aspect of cameras for everyone is probably the lens, as color can change, AF speed can change.
  • Working together with the hardware is what finally allows the power of the camera to show 100%.
  • Knowing just software is not enough — everyone must know the hardware as well.
  • This is perhaps what makes creating cameras challenging, but also fun.
Announcer
  • Part 2 will come next week.

Again… if any Japanese speaking FR-reader could make a summary for us, would be awesome!

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