Guest Post by FXF member Jano
Dear fellow Fuji shooters,
thanks a lot for your participation in the poll that I created! Thank you also for all the encouraging comments I got. Thank you Patrick for publishing it on FujiRumors and thereby allowing the poll to reach 2,000 people who took the time to participate. I’m sorry that it took so long to publish the results. The idiotic way that Google Forms formats the data cost me a lot of time and my sons were sick a lot lately so I got way less time to work on it than I had hoped. And when I was almost done my computer broke and it took me even more time to get it back up and running. Great…
To begin let me address some criticism I received.
Of course I know that this poll won’t be completely accurate and realistic. There is a big difference between being asked whether you want a feature and being asked to actually open your wallet for it. But as we’ll see most people seem to have had rather realistic expectations.
I am also fully aware that it might be way too late to change the basic specs of the X-E3. Development might have advanced so far that Fuji can’t change anything major without losing a lot of money and time doing it. But I would rather get the X-E3 that I want in spring 2018 than one I don’t want in autumn 2017. If you made a wrong decision it might still be worth going back to the drawing table if that means that you’ll sell a lot more cameras in the end.
Lastly, I didn’t include the new X-Trans III sensor as a feature you could vote for because that’s the most obvious thing we know will be included (and Acros with it).
If you want to see the diagrams with precise numbers for all the questions, head over to Google Forms. I won’t be posting diagrams here since it would become way too cluttered and instead I’ll be adding information that you can’t extract without the complete response spreadsheet and some Excel/Numbers calculations.
As I wrote 2,000 of you participated before I closed the poll. Of those people 40% own an X-E2(S) and 22% own an X-E1. Those were unsurprisingly the most popular cameras. They were followed by the X-T1 (19%) and the X-T2 (17%). Interestingly 6.3% don’t own any Fuji camera, while about half of you own one X model (but maybe several times), and just over one quarter own two models (again, maybe several times). One person even claimed to own every single X model out there. Crazy.
Now from the looks of it the X-E3 will be very popular with the people participating. 60% are claiming they will probably or definitely buy it. Now – as Patrick would say ;-) – take these numbers with a grain of salt because while 22% claimed they will “definitely” buy the X-E3, only 6.7% left out the question that started with “If you’re still unsure about buying the X-E3…”
Anyway, since only 9% said that price will be the deciding factor I really hope Fuji will take these results at least a little seriously. Because it means 91% of us will decide partly or entirely depending on the features it will have.
Now I’ll turn to the features that you voted about and I will do a quick rundown of what I believe this means for our hypothetical X-E3. Yes, some of those conclusions will be my subjective opinion.
You guys clearly want it. The 8% that are against it seem to be a particularly vocal minority when you look at the FR comments but that doesn’t change the fact that most people are for it and it scored a very close third place as the most important feature (summing up the results of “most important” and “second most important”). By far the most votes were cast for a standard tilt screen like we have in the X-T1.
To those people who claim it will make the camera larger or destroy the design: please have a look at the A6500. Keep the link open since we’ll use it a few more times. The A6500 body (excluding the grip) is actually minimally thinner than the X-E2. Just grab the Sony and pull the image over the Fuji. And from a design perspective that tilt screen certainly looks better and less distracting than that weird plastic bezel on the Fuji.
Quite a few people don’t care about this and 12% are against it. But more than half of us would like to have one. I really don’t believe it’s clever to release any new camera without a touchscreen in a smartphone generation. Fuji really messed up by not putting one in the X-Pro2 and X-T2. This way they won’t be able to overhaul the firmware with a touch-friendly interface for sharing or menu navigation. Imho a well implemented touch screen is like a tilt screen: many people don’t see the need but once they use one they really start to appreciate it being there.
Despite my personal view the numbers show that a touch screen is not considered essential or particularly important by most. I’m pretty sure though that this is only true if they give us a joystick for focus point selection. There are just too many PDAF pixels on that sensor to navigate them with buttons and we also want to free those for use as function buttons.
Now look at that Fuji. There’s not much to say about it apart from “get it done”. Eight poor souls are against a larger EVF (probably for financial reasons?) but a large majority considers it really important and gives it a clear first place as the most important new feature.
Those who are afraid that the camera will get bigger or it is impossible please go back to that A6500 comparison. Look at it from the back – the Sony eyecup is smaller. Look at it from the top – the Sony body plus eyecup is smaller. Yet the A6500 has 0.70x magnification with 23mm eye relief and the X-E2 has 0.64x magnification with the same eye relief. Fuji, please give us as much magnification as you can fit in there without making it (significantly) bigger and without reducing the eye relief. It doesn’t have to be X-T2-big, but at least 0.70x would be nice. It’s doable and Sony has shown it.
Wow, didn’t expect that. The joystick does not take first place in the questions asking for the most important feature (it’s second) but it is the one feature that gets the highest vote for being a “must-have” (35%). A large majority wants this and I get it. Kind of.
Honestly I believe that a well implemented touch screen can replace and beat the joystick especially in a camera with corner EVF. Most people who actually use this feature in cameras are really happy about how well and fast it works and I’ve never heard complains about it.
So, Fuji, you either need to give us a joystick or you need to convince a lot of users that a touch screen will do fine replacing it. I have no idea what a joystick costs you (I guess not too much) but unless it is particularly expensive I wouldn’t risk losing all those users by leaving it out.
This was more of a fun question to be honest. We all know how Fuji rolls and they’re never going to put major new features in the lesser bodies.
But there was a serious aspect to the question considering there will probably be that ultimate X camera thing and also an X-Trans IV camera generation. And again we have that vocal minority (6.3%) who are actually against IBIS. Almost a third of the people claim to not care about it but as with tilt and touch screen many people only start to appreciate it once they have it. What’s important is that the majority would like to have IBIS. Again if you’re scared of a size increase go look at the A6500 that is smaller in every dimension. The main point of criticism would be weight, price, and possible overheating. Overheating should be less an issue than in the cramped A6500 but price and weight are an important consideration (the Sony is ~100g heavier despite being smaller).
Considering the rest of the market and the numbers here (IBIS took 5th place for most important new feature) I believe Fuji needs to offer IBIS in at least one or two future bodies to attract customers who are looking for it for video, prime use, or adapted lenses. But please don’t expect it to happen in the X-E3.
A comment to those sheep who keep telling us IBIS is impossible with the X mount: please read that interview again. Of course it’s possible but Fuji currently chooses not to make the compromise of digitally correcting the vignetting that would occur.
WR is clearly desired by many and scores 4th place as most important feature. Since this would include a redesign of all the buttons, dials, and doors I’m not sure how expensive it would be. I don’t think it would need to make the body any bigger (again, see the A6500) so no need to worry about size. Maybe Fuji could do something in between “no sealing at all” and “survives downpours and snow storms”. I believe most of us don’t use the camera in those extreme conditions but having a bit more peace of mind when using it in sandy areas or in normal rain would be greatly appreciated.
Dual Card Slots & Card Slot Position
From now on I’ll be more brief since most of these will be rather clear-cut. Dual card slots would be nice, but are not considered important by most. Leave them out. And while we’re at it: leave the card where it is, people don’t really care if it can be accessed from the side or not. One less door to seal.
Most people don’t care about it but really there shouldn’t be any reason to release a camera in 2017 that doesn’t have it.
Dual-function ISO Dial
Leave it out. Considering its complexity it is probably quite expensive and the numbers show that most people don’t need it. Many of us don’t even like it even if Palle Schultz thinks differently.
Better Mechanical Shutter
The numbers clearly show that most people want this shutter. But it doesn’t seem like it would be a deal breaker since hardly anyone chose it as one of their most important features (it didn’t have its own option but people could select “other”). My opinion: put it in if it doesn’t make a noteworthy difference in price or size and leave it out if it does.
Front Command Dial
Many people want this and I see no reason to leave it out considering every other model has it now. Shouldn’t really influence the price but it will finally allow us to change ISO and shutter speed directly without having to press any buttons first to open a laggy menu-thing that covers way too much of the screen. Dude, that is annoying!
This is interesting. Many don’t care, many do. I’ve never once used the thing and consider it a waste of space, added weight and cost, and a vulnerability for water to get in. I’d rather have it as a separate item like with the X-T1. Ideally that item would be optional for those who actually want it and are willing to pay for it. But then please keep the option of tilting it upwards because I believe that’s how many use it (as a flash trigger).
Many (42%) want or demand that the body size doesn’t change while 56% are fine with a slight size increase if that results in more/better features. It’s quite close so it would probably be wiser to stay with the current size. But I believe the A6500 is a rather convincing argument that all of the features the respondents consider to be important should easily fit into the X-E2 form factor, especially if IBIS is not included. And of course keeping the basic outer shell would also make financial sense for Fuji. For these reasons I believe we won’t see a size increase.
I was surprised that this was so clear: you guys want X-Trans. There are a certain number of people who would prefer Bayer but they are a clear minority. I think it might be interesting for Fuji to offer one or two models with both sensors if that doesn’t make manufacturing too difficult. I’m quite sure there are users out there who aren’t considering Fuji simply because of the workflow problems or artefacts that X-Trans can produce.
DSLR or Rangefinder
Disclaimer: I know it’s not an actual DSLR or an actual rangefinder, no need to be a smartypants in the comments. Thanks.
Now this is an interesting question and I was really looking forward to the results. As we all know the X-Pro and X-E line have always been held back by certain things. Lesser firmware, no tilt screens, no 4K, and smaller EVFs mainly. Even now the X-Pro2 is missing some minor and major features compared to the X-T2 and even the X-T20. So comparing their sales numbers just doesn’t settle the debate which form factor is more popular. Yes, there is anecdotal evidence than the average consumer prefers the DSLR shape but the popularity of something like the Sony A6000 makes me wonder whether that is actually true.
The result – 86% said they’d choose the rangefinder – is not surprising considering this is a poll on the X-E3. What I was actually interested in was to calculate how the owners of X-T cameras would vote.
Of the 492 people (25%) who own at least one model of each form factor 75% said they would choose the rangefinder if the features and price were the same. Another 16% would choose both form factors.
Of the 300 people (15%) who own only DSLR-style models from Fuji 69% of them would rather choose a rangefinder and 15% would choose both.
Those numbers are pretty incredible I think. They might not be representative of the entire customer population, but they certainly show that Fuji is forcing many people into the DSLR form factor simply because they need or want the features that only those cameras offer. Or because they don’t want to be treated as second-class citizens because they prefer cameras other than the X-T1/2.
The Question of Price and Conclusion
It was obvious that this question wouldn’t be clear-cut since our photography budgets are surely all over the place. But there’s a clear majority wanting the X-E3 to at least match the X-T20 in features and therefore also in price. This should be a strong signal towards Fuji.
This whole question becomes more interesting if we look at the current ILC lineup Fuji has: X-Pro2 at $1,700, X-T2 at $1,600, and X-T20 at $900. Two expensive flagships and one “cheap” model. Between those there’s a $700 gap. Not good. Considering how much you save the X-T20 is an impressive baby X-T2 but it can’t be overlooked that you loose plenty of great features (huge EVF, WR, joystick, better tilt LCD, dual cards). There should really be something in between an X-T20 and an X-T2 price-wise. I believe that should be the X-E3 at $1,200. This would neatly close that huge price gap between both X-T cameras and would fulfil the wishes of all of us who are looking for some of the “pro” features at a slightly reduced price point.
On the other hand I believe there is also the need for a camera cheaper than $900 for people first getting into the system. So what do we do with that? Here’s my conclusion from the poll: Fuji should build two X-E cameras:
- The X-E2T (keeping the “2” would fit into the current sensor generation) should feature the same body size as the X-E2. It should of course come with the new sensor/processor generation and all that is associated with that (new menu, new film simulations, new AF system, 4K video). In addition to that Fuji should give it a larger EVF (at least 0.70x), a joystick and front dial, a simple tilt screen with touch (like the X-T20 has), simple weather resistance, and the better mechanical shutter. Keep one card slot next to the battery. If the WR requires it remove the flash or make it external.
Some people might think that those are too many of the “pro” features for that price so I’ll compare it directly. For the additional $300 (over the X-T20) the X-E2T would get a larger EVF, the better shutter, simple WR, and the joystick. I really don’t think those four features would cost more than $300. On the other hand the X-T2 would still have better build and WR, even larger and faster EVF, dual cards, more dials and doors, UHS-II, better tilt screen, better video specs, larger buffer and battery grip compatibility. All that for just $400 more than my suggested X-E2T.
So there you go, that’s the X-E3 I’ve come up with by analysing the poll results.
- In addition to that I believe Fuji should make an X-E20 as a budget camera. Keep everything from the X-E2 and just replace sensor and processor with the new generation. Maybe add a touch screen because of all those AF points. Sell it for the $700 that the X-E2S costs now. It would be even better if they made this model even smaller but that would require additional R&D.
Now here are some things we all want in the X-E3 so I didn’t include them in the poll. But not having them would be totally stupid and just in case Fuji forgets that these still need to be fixed I wanted to include them here:
- Better eyecup: the X-E eyecup is just terrible. It’s uncomfortable, not replaceable and having the eye sensor outside the eyecup is embarassing. Doesn’t cost a thing to just add a simple eyecup with thread so we can replace it.
- Centralised tripod mount: we want it a) aligned with the lens and b) further away from the battery door. Sony can do it in their smaller camera with IBIS so you can do it too.
- Clicky buttons: I love the buttons on my X-E2. All of them. The buttons on the X-T1/2 feel so bad in comparison, it’s not even funny. The X-T10 is a mixed bag, bottom buttons are great, top buttons (AE-L, trash etc.) are not good at all.
- Diopter adjustment: I have moved this thing so often by accident, I sometimes just give up resetting it to the correct position. And give us a mark at the neutral position!
- Better eyecup: in case you forget I’ll say it again because it really is that bad and annoying!
Instead of ending with what annoys me about my X-E2 I’ll just say that I really love that camera. Especially since FW 4.0 it has been simply wonderful. AF-C is still pretty bad but at least I can get sharp photos with it now in most situations. Since the update the camera mostly gets out of my way and I simply love the images it produces. I don’t really need an update but – Fuji – if you build that X-E3 I suggested from the poll results then it’ll be really hard to resist buying it.
Thanks again for participating in the poll. Hit me up in the comments with feedback or questions and I’ll do my best to answer.