Fujifilm in Times of Mirrorless Wars
With all the buzz around this new mirrorless war, and the tons of comments here on FujiRumors, I felt the need to launch one article to rule them all.
Hence, this will be the one article, where you can let your thoughts soar free, talk about the mirrorless war, vote polls, share thoughts and ideas.
Let it all out… we need that sometimes.
Is M43 dying?
43rumors just broke the news: Panasonic will join the full frame mirrorless market (and there are rumors that also Olympus will).
If true, then I guess we will see the M43 system slowly dying.
This is a sad news for me, since I made my first moves into the mirrorless world thanks to the Olympus PEN E-P1 and the Panasonic GF3, and even now as a Fuji X shooter, I loved to follow the amazing evolution those systems.
A pity, the M43 still remains a great system with an image quality that is honestly good enough for 99% of us.
The Full Frame Mirrorless Battle
So we will soon have 5/6 companies (Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Leica, Nikon and maybe even Olympus) battling for 1 piece of cake: the full frame mirrorless market.
That’s a tough battle, but we know how it will end: Canon will win ;) .
PRO: Nikon has a huge and loyal fellowship. Nikon lovers lusting after mirrorless, might stick with their DSLR’s for now, and wait 3/4 years until more lenses are available (the more interesting ones) and the second generation Nikon Z series hits the market.
CON: As said, no comment from me here. In these days it would be like shooting on the red cross.
Arguably the one that has to fear Canon and Nikon FF the most.
PRO: They make the sensors, and they might hold the best technology for themselves (as a Sony manager said in an interview at imaging-resource) or at least give themselves a strategic advantage, by delivering the latest sensor tech only many months later to other companies.
CON: Sony has to improve the design/ergonomics of their cameras, which is basically unchanged since half a decade now. But most of all, they are perceived as a consumer electronic company rather than a true photographic company with deep roots in the history of photography, like Canon and Nikon (and even Fujifilm). And Sony’s customer support pales compared to the one of Canon or Nikon.
Panasonic / Olympus
Panasonic’s (and maybe Olympus) move to Full Frame is dictated by necessity, since the M43 system is the one that struggles most in this mirrorless war.
PRO: Nothing to lose at this point. Panasonic and Olympus can go all in and don’t have to “castrate” their FF cameras like Nikon did with their Nikon Z series in order not to affect Nikon D850 sales. They can take all the risks and try out innovative stuff that surprises us.
CON: A complete lens lineup to build up. While Canon and Nikon might have loyal followers willing to wait, in case of Panasonic and Olympus I can’t see photographers waiting years for them to complete the lens lineup. They might switch directly to other brands
Easy winner in the Full Frame mirrorless battle
PRO: Dual Pixel AF for video, great colors (second only to Fujifilm IMO) and… well, that Canon logo!
CON: If they still have a non-isoless sensor, that would be a dealbreaker for me. But I guess it’s just me.
Leica lives in a parallel universe, where they have the luxury not to care about any mirrorless war ;).
So there is a huge war in the Full Frame mirrorless market. And so what, should Fujifilm join and be the 6th or maybe even 7th company to battle on the same ground?
The answer is very clear: I don’t know ;).
What I know is that Fujifilm has some great cameras coming up:
- the Fujifilm X-T3 will arguably be one of the very top all-rounder cameras on the market
- the Fujifilm GFX 50R will attack the market with an “affordable” price (for medium format standards), and, as DPReview said in their Fujifilm GFX 50S review, deliver “the best image quality we’ve ever seen.”
- the Fujifilm GFX 100S will just raise the bar once more, and set new standards in terms of IQ. The best image quality you can get without breaking your bank account and going 55×41 digital MF sensor
In the tumultuous full frame mirrorless waters, Fujifilm could have a relatively safe existence under (APS-C) and above (MF) full frame, by offering
- an APS-C system, that can be very affordable (X-T20 + F2 Fujicron primes) and perfect for those, who make their first more serious steps into photography and enthusiasts with limited budget
- an APS-C system, attractive also for Pros thanks to high-end glass and more sophisticated camera bodies (X-T, X-H and X-Pro)
- a quickly growing and maturing MF system
At the end the question is:
Protect and extend the small niche Fujifilm created (they are Nr.1 in APS-C and Nr.1 in MF), or go Full Frame, where the big cake seems to be, but also the toughest battles take place, and where Canon, the giant, is going to show all other competitors what their role really is: get the crumbles of the cake Canon eats up almost alone.
I honestly don’t know… sometimes I think Fujifilm should go FF and try their luck, sometimes I think that they should stay out of that war, and just make the most out of the advantages that APS-C and/or MF offer over Full Frame.
Something tells me that Fujifilm will look closely to this poll (because they do, as you can see here) ;)
The poll is based on comments and suggestions I have read over the last few months here on Fujirumors.