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About the Unexpected Success of the XF35mmF2 WR + FUJIFILM’s New Lens Strategy !


Go to Minute 20:00 of the video for Tony’s Prediction about the Mirrorless Future

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Out Of the Dark

Anyone out there, who, like me, switched to the X-system very early?

Then you’ll remember how in the first years, every financial Report of Fujifilm said the imaging division is losing money. In the first 2 years of existence, Fujifilm sold only 700,000 X-series cameras! (src- New York Times)… not really exciting numbers!

So we are all happy to read in the latest reports, that the X-series system, despite being still a niche, is selling better, and, along with the Instax World, is pushing Fujifilm’s imaging division into profits.

The New Lens Strategy

It was mainly the X-T1, to give Fujifilm hope that the dark times are over. But in the last months, there is also one lens, that is making Fujifilm very happy: the Fujifilm XF35mmF2 WR (which for a limited time costs only $299 at BHphoto / AmazonUS / FocusCamera / Adorama)

The success of the XF35mmF2 WR was far beyond any expectation. I mean, who would have bet that it would become such a best seller, when there are already two faster and great X-mount primes covering that focal length, the XF35mmF1.4 and the Zeiss 32mmF1.8?

But it happened… the 35mmF2 is selling like hot cakes and therefore made Fujifilm rethink their lens strategy! Smaller & Cheaper… that’s where the money is!

So here is a Recap of what changed in Fuji’s Lens Strategy:

  • SMALLER: the XF120mm will be dropped and Fuji will make a smaller and OIS-less XF80mm Marcro lens – Rumor here
  • SLOWER: Fujifilm has no hurry anymore to release the XF33mmF1.0 – Post here
  • WEATHER RESITANT: the upcoming small and cheap lenses will be weather resistant, just like the 23mmF2 – Rumor here
  • CHEAPER: there will be a XF50mmF2 lens, basically a cheaper version of the XF56mm and Zeiss 50mmRumor here

And where is the 200mm, huh? Or something even longer? Or a nice tilt-shift lens? And why not step on gas and give us a prestige lens like the ultra-fast XF33mmF1.0 now?

The answer is easy: they won’t sell good. These are niche lenses within the already contained Fuji X-series market and will hardly give Fuji the same profits like the XF35mmF2 WR currently does.

The Final Mirrorless Battle

As you can see in the Video I’ve shared above, Tony Northrup is confident: some MILC makers will fall, but Fujifilm will Survive the Mirrorless Battle.

A battle, that is already going on, and made his first “victim”: Samsung! And you can bet that others will follow in the next few years.

Will the next one be the Micro Four Thirds system, as Kai from DigitalRev thinks here? Or maybe even Fuji itself, if they can’t make the big breakthrough and finally go mainstream? And how sustainable is Sony’s business strategy? Will they really be able to keep up developing cameras and lenses for APS-C, Full Frame and maybe even Medium Format all at the same time? And how competitive will Canikon’s mirrorless offer be in future?

I don’t know what will happen, but if lenses like the 35mmF2, 23mmF2, 50mmF2 will help Fujifilm to grow and make more profits, then let them come… the mirrorless battle just started, and the more X-shooters there are out there (and the more they invest into the system), the brighter Fuji’s future will be.