Skip to content

Top 10 Features of Modern Fujifilm X/GFX Cameras that Actually Have their DNA in Older Fujifilm Cameras


Did you ever wonder why Fujifilm cameras are so fun to use?

The short answer could be: because (unlike other brands – as SonyAlphaRumors itself admits) Fujifilm has a massive photographic culture that they cherish and honor also in their newest cameras.

Well, inspired by our recent article about the top 10 digital cameras since the launch of the X mount, FR-reader Patrik Roos decided to make a real all time top 10 list looking at the entire Fujifilm heritage.

With one important distinction, though.

He did not simply pick 10 cameras, but indentified 10 aspects of older Fujifilm cameras that form the basis for the current Fujifilm mirrorless offering.

So, what do our modern X and GFX cameras have in common with older Fujifilm cameras? Patrik will answer this for you down below.

Related Articles

guest post by Patrik Roos – Repair service Svensk Cykelservice – repairs mostly bikes but also cameras on demand

I have had a look at some of the features that make up the DNA of the current X and GFX lines and have tried to pinpoint the Fujifilm cameras that introduced those ideas into the Fuji realm. I decided on these 10 points that together form the basis of what the current Fujifilm mirrorless systems are:

  • Design
  • Non-regular sensor pattern
  • Film simulations
  • APS-C
  • Amazing lens coatings
  • Mirrorless design
  • Complete digital sub medium format system
  • Complete small frame bayonet lens system
  • The Fujifilm way
  • Dials and knobs user interface
  • Up to date overall performance


This is the easy one. The aesthetics of the current X line was introduced with the G690BL, released in the late 1960s. It has since been used by Fujifilm with only a few brief interruptions.

Non-regular sensor pattern

This starts with the SuperCCD around 2000. I believe the Fujifilm FinePix 6900 should be credited as the first camera where Fujifilm tried to avoid moiré distortion and increasing quality by tilting the sensor.

Film simulations

Film simulations obviously go back to film rather than digital cameras. But the first Fujifilm camera where you could choose between color negative, color positive and bw film look in a digital camera was the Fujifilm FinePix F700 [admin note: history of film simulations here, which also starts with the FinePix F700]


Making cameras smaller by reducing the size of the capture medium is an old idea that has been used by most camera producers. It works well to reduce the size of the cameras themselves, but the size of the lenses for comparable f-stops don’t change much by changing the capture area. Fuji’s first attempt at the APS-C size was the Fujica Half in 1964.

Amazing lens coatings

The lenses of the X and GFX systems are generally very good. Very much thanks to the coating of the lenses. The EBC coating of the first X lenses were nothing short of amazing. EBC stands for Electric beam coating and that is Fujifilm’s way of creating multi coating. EBC has 10+ coating layers [admin note: 14 layers if I am correctly informed] and was first introduced on the EBC Fujinon 55mm F3.5 Macro for the m42 mount camera Fujica ST801 in 1972.

Mirrorless design

To be fair, the mirrorless design is older than the different mirror design and Fuji has always used it. In a digital setting, and with a combined optical and LCD viewfinder, that was implemented with the Fujifilm X100.

Complete digital sub medium format system

The GFX was not Fujifilm’s first digital medium format system. They did produce the lenses for Hasselblad for quite a while and actually sold a Fuji branded camera for that system. All that is well known. But that is not all.

In 1987, Fujifilm released a monster camera, the Fujifilm GX680. I do own one and once I have put my GX680 on a stand in the right location, i wouldn’t trade it for any other camera in the world. However, getting it there is not as easy, as it is built like a tv recording set of the 1980s.

What is less well known is that Fujifilm produced a dedicated cropped super CCD sub medium format back for the GX680 system.

Complete small frame bayonet lens system

Yes, the X system was the first small frame bayonet lens system from Fujifilm. But wait a minute, it was not the Fuji X system, but rather the Fujica X system. It was a popular SLR system in the US and Japan in the 1980s and the first cameras were released in the late 1970s.

The excellent lenses can be adapted to the current X system with custom made adapters, but most of the lenses were also produced for m42, so why bother. Just let the film shooters keep them.

The Fujifilm way

So when did Fuji become the quirky oddball competitor of the camera market that keeps implementing features and releasing cameras with the goal of creating new markets rather than barely offering progress enough to keep their current customers? The answer is as simple as it is unexpected. They never did.

Everybody else was more or less the same, but they stopped, one after another. The market standard used to be to look at each other’s inventions thinking: “Nice idea, but we can do it better in our own way”. Sometimes it did get better but just as often it just got more complex or even bizarre.

Slowly, most of the producers abandoned that stance and opted for copying what was good and perfecting ideas in small steps. Fujifilm however, just kept going the old ways. We can’t really pinpoint a non-change to a single camera, but if I could pick a fairly modern example to carry the flag of that way of thinking it would be the Fujifilm S5.

In 2000 Fujifilm wanted a piece of the new DSLR market. Problem: they no longer had an SLR system in production to build a digital body for. Solution: Nikon had such a system. Why not take a Nikon film camera and put a slightly tilted digital sensor in it and call it Fujifilm S3. To everyone’s surprise that worked and eventually they even needed a successor. New problem: there was no longer any suitable Nikon film SLR:s in production to digitalize. Solution: take a Nikon DSLR, rip out the sensor and put an even stranger sensor in it, one that is not just tilted, but is composed of two different sensors with the pixels intermingled, one for shadows and one for highlights. The re-sensored and rebranded D200 was called the Fujifilm S5 Pro and sold quite well amongst photo studios.

Dials and knobs user interface

During the 20th century the user interface of the camera slowly developed. Step by step, the handheld camera progressed towards a standard, pretty much how all modern cars have the throttle, clutch and brake pedals, the wheel and stick in the same place.

By the 1970:s a photographer could pick up a camera from almost any brand and find the aperture ring on the lens, the shutter release by the index finger, the shutter speed on a knob on the top next to ISO and a program selecting dials.

Apart from quite a lot of searching for solutions on how to replace that UI with digital sliders, touchscreens and so on, the SLR producers incorporated new features like autofocus, automatic exposure and lcd screens into the old system.

When Fujifilm introduced the new X system, the UI was pretty much a return to the old knobs and dials of before the electronic age. However, for the system to attract photographers that were used to the modern DSLRs of mainly Canon and Nikon, Fujifilm had to implement house style and modern UI features of those competitors. That happened with the Fujifilm X-T1.

Up to date overall performance

Looking back, Fujifilm has always been able to deliver top performance in the specific features every single camera was optimized for. But apart from the lenses, there was usually a price to pay with lower performance regarding other features.

That was also true during the infancy of the X system. Eventually, autofocus, movie features, stabilization, connectivity, UI responsiveness and so on was on par with the competition, all in the same camera.

I think we can all agree that by now, Fujifilm has achieved that, but exactly what camera in the X line-up that we feel comfortable enough with to be able to sell off our last DSLR gear depends a both on what features each and everyone was depending on and when Fujifilm improved it enough. Thus, I will not name a camera but let you all pick one according to your own preferences.

The Fastest Growing Fujifilm Group

Join Our Owners Groups

Join Our Facebook Pages