Top 10 Attacks on Fujifilm (That Don’t Make Sense): Full Frame Desires, GFX Facts Distortion, Kaizen Death, X-Trans Flaws, DOF and more
Criticizing and attacking Fujifilm is quite popular on the internet, and down below I will talk about possible reasons why it is like this.
Sometimes these critiques are justified, but sometimes I feel these attacks are unjustified.
Let’s talk about it now.
10 Critiques To Fujifilm
1) It’s not Full Frame – Part 1 (GFX)
Fujifilm offers cameras with a sensor that is 70% “fuller” than full frame.
Fujifilm does this, to offer the best image quality possible at a reasonable price.
If image quality is paramount for you, then look no further and get a GFX camera. As DPReview once said, you need the power of 3 high end full frame cameras combined to deliver the image quality close to the one of one single Fujifilm GFX camera.
Now it’s up to you to decide if you want to buy and drag around 3 full frame cameras or just get one GFX. ;)
Personally I went for the Fujifilm GFX100S for the purpose of ultimate image quality. And yes, I sacrifice a bit of portability for that purpose, but I also have my stellar Fujifilm X system for that.
2) It’s not Full Frame – Part 2 (APS-C)
But I can hear you!
We don’t always need the best dynamic range, the highest resolution, the best ISO performance. It’s not always all just about image quality.
Ergo: we don’t really always need a GFX.
And you are right!
So, if you don’t get a GFX, you have decided that you are willing to “sacrifice” a bit of GFX image quality in favor of better hybrid all-rounders, with smaller lenses and more affordable camera bodies, with better video specs and more versatility.
And if that is what you are looking for, then APS-C is probably the sweet spot, as also these industry insiders claim.
3) Full Frame Pricing is Same as APS-C
There are full frame cameras out there that cost as much as APS-C cameras.
But as we have explained in a few articles in the past, no full frame camera can match the APS-C value for money ratio.
Often mentioned here by “professional” reviewers is the Canon RP, which costs just $999. But apart from the fact that, even though it is full frame, according to technical tests, it has worst base dynamic range and inferior shadow recovery capablities than Fujifilm APS-C cameras, the Canon RP also lacks of tons of other features offered by Fujifilm APS-C cameras at the same price point, such as the Fujifilm X-S10 with IBIS. You can see a specs comparison here.
And it’s not just the Canon RP.
Entry level Full Frame cameras that cost like high-end APS-C cameras have always to sacrifice something to match APS-C price, like using an older non BSI sensor (Nikon Z5 with slow sensor readout, tons of rolling shutter, etc), or using cheaper parts (Sony A7C with older shutter unit, bad viewfinder, single SD-Card slot etc).
But that’s something some “professional” reviewers seem to ignore. As long as it is full frame, they don’t care if the sensor performs worst than APS-C (Canon RP), or lacks of IBIS, of dual SD-card slot and what not. It’s full frame. That’s enough to declare it the winner.
- The Sony A7C Proves My Point: Full Frame Compromises vs APS-C Balance
- Fujifilm APS-C is Dead? Nikon Z5, Sony A7III, Canon R6 vs the Fujifilm X Series Art of Balance
4) Complain about Things Fujifilm GFX shooters Don’t Care That Much about
One of the complaints I hear most often, is that the GFX can’t shoot at 30 fps bursts or 8K video and what not. And in fact, the GFX50SII can’t shoot 4K either (the GFX100S can).
Well, I seriously doubt that people who buy a Fujifilm GFX50SII care about 4K video.
And I doubt that Fujifilm GFX100S shooters ever missed the fact that their camera can’t shoot 20fps continuous bursts.
I mean, it’s like buying a Sony A7S camera and then complain all day long that it does not offer tons of resolution.
Different cameras serve different purposes.
But while this is something reviewers and youtubers get when it comes to Sony and Canon cameras (they don’t complain about the Sony A7S having less megapixel), they keep up moaning about it when it comes to Fujifilm (hence complain that the GFX can’t shoot 30 fps etc).
In short: complain about stuff that people who buy certain cameras actually don’t care about.
5) Getting Facts Wrong, Making up Definitions aimed to Ridicule the System
This is a tricky one.
Because sometimes it’s just an error, and those can happen to everybody.
Like when the GFX sensor was called being only 30% bigger than full frame (when in truth it’s about 70% bigger). Huge errors, but done in good faith. I make tons of those myself.
But then there are some curious cases, like the one of those, who find definitions for the GFX system in an attempt to give us the impression that it uses a small sensor, with definitions like “baby MF”. A wonderful way to make a sensor that is 70% larger than full frame perceive as small (it’s a “baby” sensor) and at the same time make us perceive full frame as big.
And then there is the curious case of DPReview (not DPReviewTV).
Like when they basically said the GFX system does not make sense as full frame is just good the same. But then when you read the article you realize they end up recommending three full frame cameras combined (!!!), the Canon 5DSr, Nikon D810 and Sony A7rII, over one single Fujifilm GFX50S. We wrote about it here.
Or when DPReview wrote in their Fujifilm GFX100S review:
The Nikon’s base ISO of 64 [on Nikon Z7 II] lets it come close to the tonal quality and dynamic range [of the GFX100S]
That intrigued me, so I used DPReview’s own studio comparison tool, pushed it 6 stops, and while the Nikon Z7II performed better than the Sony A7rIV and Canon R5, I still see a clear advantage for the GFX100S here.
6) Kaizen is Dead
- Kaizen = firmware that does not fix only bugs, but adds new features, too
Over the years, Fujifilm did an amazing job in keeping our cameras up to date with the latest features. That’s something no other brand offered with such a consistency and dedication.
However, we have to be realistic.
At the beginning Fujifilm had few cameras to offer. The X100, the X-Pro1 and later on the X-E1.
It was simply easier to keep up with Kaizen with so few cameras to work on.
But it is also clear to me that, with the rapidly growing number of X series cameras, the costs to keep them all updated with the latest new features would be unsustainable. Fujifilm can’t release major firmware updates all the time to the X100, X-A, X-M, X-E, X-T*, X-T**. X-T***, X-E, X-H, X-Pro and X-S line of cameras as well as all the GFX cameras.
Too many cameras. The cost for Kaizen would pretty much make the imaging division of Fujifilm go broke.
Fujifilm has to pick carefully where to put their Kaizen love. This, or just make us pay for firmware updates, as it happens with other brands. But Fujifilm managers explained here why paid firmware updates are a bad idea.
So what, is Kaizen dead as they say? Let’s take a look at what happened in 2021.
- There has been massive of Kaizen love for the GFX series cameras such as here and here.
- Also the Fujifilm X-S10 got a significant firmware update
- Some new Features came also for the X-T4.
- Lots of love came also for the X100V
- Some firmware love has been released also for X-Pro3 and X-T30
I don’t know you, but that’s a bit too much firmware love for calling Kaizen dead ;).
You see, Fujifilm is doing what they can. Not everything can get the latest and greatest all the time, as time and resources are limited. But they do what they can. And looking back to 2021, Fuji hasn’t been lazy at all when it comes to Kaizen.
When Fujifilm designed its own color filter array, they did want to try to find a way to squeeze more green pixels on the sensor than the regular Bayer layout, as green pixels are more light sensitive.
The result is X-Trans.
A bit more light sensitive, a bit less moire, a bit better looking film like grain and less color noise at high ISO.
Ok good, but what about purple flare, wormy artifacts, high ISO cheating, waxy skin tones and the other stuff Fujifilm X-Trans is guilty for? Well, we have addressed (and debunked it) all in this article.
The potential issues with X-Trans are others, as we described in this article. In short: it’s a decision between more features (easier with Bayer) and better image quality (with X-Trans).
8) Film Simulations are Useless for RAW shooters
Fujifilm puts lots of marketing effort into promoting its film simulations.
The critique here is that it’s bad marketing, as film simulations are interesting for JPEG shooters only. But we shoot RAW, right?
The Fujifilm film simulations are even more useful for RAW shooters, as they can represent a great starting point in your editing process.
I myself had to edit my first wedding recently, and being able to set the right mood with the right colors simply by quickly sliding over the film simulation options in Capture One 21 was a true time saver. ProNegHi, Astia, Classic Chrome, Acros came out as my top used film simulations. And they saved me tons of time.
9) Fujifilm Managers Make Pessimistic Statements
This misunderstanding comes from an interview released by the new Fujifilm CEO here, where he says Fujifilm will focus on medical care division.
This was interpreted as Fujifilm having no interest anymore to run the photography business and hence just end up like Olympus and sell their camera division.
What people ignore is that the very same Fujifilm CEO also categorically said Fujifilm will not sell its photography business.
Moreover, at the latest Fujifilm X Summit, Fujifilm managers looked back at the 10 years of X series history and said that they are planing already for the next 10 years. The start of the new decade will be made by this brand new sensor that will find its way into “future cameras” (which FujiRumors readers know to be the Fujifilm X-H2).
10) We Want Shallower DOF and those f/2 Zooms
There is this kind of notion that on APS-C you can’t get enough shallow depth of field. But that’s not true. All it needs are proper lenses.
So, for example you can put the Fujinon XF50mmF1.0 on any Fujifilm APS-C body to get a shallow DOF similar to an f/1.4 lens on full frame. Also the Fujinon XF200mmF2.0 gives you about the shallow DOF of a full frame 300mm f/2.8 lens.
Fujifilm has some very fast glass to offer if you desire shallow DOF. And now that X mount is open for third party manufacturers, we can hope for more fast AF glass to join also made by third party manufacturers.
Also, some ask for f/1.8 or f/2 zooms. And while I get where this wish comes from, it is also true that over the years ISO performance on digital cameras has improved drastically.
So, when in the past you absolutely needed to use f/2 to avoid to get over ISO400 and already suffer from visible noise, now you can easily push ISO much more. This improved ISO performance allows you to go around with smaller and more affordable f/2.8 or f/4 lenses.
Is there a Full Frame Bias?
Attacking Fujifilm was always easy.
Well, when Fujifilm started its mirrorless adventure (rather late, more or less at the same time with Samsung, who failed), almost nobody shot Fujifilm.
The retro controls and vintage design appealed only to a minority of photographers.
So, if you wanted to make content that guaranteed you lots of traffic and money, it was better to push other and more popular brands, like Canon and Sony (who had also bigger budgets to fly you around at big launch events with lots of fun activities), and to treat the X system like a hipster experiment in the photography world by giving it for example denigratory definitions like “the poor man’s Leica“.
Being niche, it was inevitable that Fujifilm never attracted much interest, and that “professional” reviewers focused on the more lucrative full frame market (first DLSR, then mirrorless).
And here it’s where it gets tricky.
Imagine you’ve put years of effort into convincing your audience that full frame is the best system ever. But then suddenly APS-C cameras come along that exploit the better allrounder possibilities APS-C offers, and the GFX comes along with a 70% fuller sensor than full frame.
It is suddenly hard to tell your audience (that you’ve pushed to buy into full frame) that they might actually have made the wrong decision, since if image quality is paramount, then GFX is better, and if the equation value-money-features-portability-image quality-video is paramount, than APS-C should be considered as a serious option now.
So you end up defending your initial choice, by calling a sensor 70% larger than full frame a “baby” sensor and recommending full frame cameras that have lower base dynamic range, inferior shadow recovery capabilities and less features (Canon RP) over a Fujifilm X-S10.
I am biased.
Yes, I did launch FujiRumors when almost nobody shot Fujifilm and hence few people read FujiRumors. With few X shooter around and no money to be made, I just covered Fujifilm for the sheer pleasure and joy I had using their cameras. Fujifilm brought back fun into my photography. A joy I wanted to share with you guys on this blog.
But with FujiRumors growing, the audience growing, the system getting more popular, you are absolutely right if you accuse me of being potentially biased myself.
And it’s therefore that I wanted to end this article with an older video of Andrew, where he explains why we are all biased.
What I can say is that in order to try to be as little biased as possible, I decided to cover everything. I will not hide stuff from you. If Fujifilm fails, if there are flaws with any of their cameras, I will report about it.
So it happens that I write about what Sony does right and Fuji wrong, I make roundups highlighting just complains users have with Fujifilm cameras such as here and here, I write about my own main 2 complaints with Fujifilm cameras here, I launch polls investigating why people don’t buy Fujifilm highlighting the weaknesses of the system here. FujiRumors is also regularly the first place that reports about issues and bugs, we have reported about people using the X system and then switching back to other brands here, if somebody has reliability issues we wrote about it here, we investigate if Fujinon lenses are overpriced here and if they have quality issues here and much more.
Because at the end of the day, despite my own love for Fujifilm, that might make me biased myself, I also have a more “journalistic” approach to it all, which means if something needs to be covered, even though it is not positive for Fujifilm, I’ll do it.
And that’s the good thing of being 100% independent from Fujifilm: I can write what I want when I want.
And don’t worry, I am already preparing an article that will serve as a counterpart to this one, listing some attacks on Fujifilm that I consider totally justified.