Why Fujifilm Should NOT Make a Full Frame Camera

Discussion in 'Fuji X-Mount Cameras' started by entropic remnants, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    718
    Jul 28, 2013
    This may ruffle some feathers, but take off your partisan hat and take in my argument before you just reply without knowing WHY I say this. I'll keep it as simple and brief as I can.

    The Bottom Line

    Fujifilm needs to create a complete camera system in a timely manner to really grow and most importantly: they need to make money. They currently have an incomplete and occasionally frustrating system.

    Furthermore, they have created a reputation and more importantly an EXPECTATION that they will continue to evolve existing products quickly, even obsolete ones. That takes resources.


    The Flawed Assumption


    If you don't make a full frame compact, you're not a "player" in the market and you won't be part of the "next big thing".


    The Practical Problem

    Fujifilm will have to divert resources from developing the APS-C universe they've created which is far from complete. Look at the delays on lens releases already -- you can only develop so many new products at once.

    I'm sorry but I was in manufacturing and whether you like it or not resources are FINITE. Think about the team it will take to roll out a whole new system -- especially the lenses -- in a timely manner. Do you really believe that it will NOT take away from development of the rest of the lens infrastructure for the APS-C systems? It will.

    Many took issue (including Rico) when I criticized the X-A1 and I still think it was unnecessary and doesn't do much for Fuji -- but it's not a disaster, just a waste of resources. That's the price point the X-M1 should have been released at, IMO.


    The Existing System Still Needs

    • A normal and tele CONSTANT APERTURE zoom, weather sealed of course
    • Some fast tele primes
    • The ultrawide zoom and 55mm released ON TIME as announced, and not delayed
    • Evolution of the APS-C infrastructure -- i.e.: the existing cameras still need refinements (X-E2 is a great start on that though)


    Final Thoughts

    This is a business decision and it is Fuji's to make. But I think the clamor from people saying Fuji should make a full frame comes mostly from folks which won't buy it. It would have to be much pricier, and would it attract so many buyers? Especially if it's released without lenses? And is all this just to compete with the likes of the Sony A7's and Nikon Df's? Why? We don't even know if those systems will really make money in the long term (though I suspect they will).

    For a long time, mirrorless has been overpriced. Not recouping your investment in system after system is a recipe for eventual failure. It's much like here in America where we borrow SO much money from China faster than we can pay it back. There has to be an end to that, and it won't be nice. Fuji is wandering down that same road in my opinion by stretching too thin too quickly.
     
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  2. jloden

    jloden FujiXspot Top Veteran

    708
    Mar 9, 2013
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I have to agree with the line in bold... most of what you see is just Internet talk, and I'm not at all convinced it's translatable to sales numbers.

    Having said that, it's obvious from the success of the 6D and D600, RX1, and the buzz around the Sony A7/A7R that there's demand for full frame sensors at lower price points. And I think for a lot of people, the sensor size will be a deciding factor; look for example at m4/3 versus NEX sales. Disregarding camera forum talk, the big draw for most buyers seems to have been wider marketing and the simple fact that with an APS-C sensor in the NEX system, they could say "just like the DSLR, without the bulk" where m4/3 had to fight a harder uphill battle over smaller sensors, despite having a much better lens selection and well rounded system by comparison. Not saying that's the only factor, but it's obviously there and I think it may affect Fuji somewhat with the A7 offerings being fairly close in price point but with a larger sensor. We'll see what the numbers say I guess.

    Fuji has done really well with the X-system by providing a solid lens lineup quickly - excellent quality, wide angle through telephoto, fast apertures). They've also designed an aesthetic specific to Fuji that *also* is functional in practice. Lastly, the've provided quick, effective, iterative updates to their cameras both in FW updates and HW (X-E2, X100S for example). There are still a few gaps as you noted, and I agree they would do really well to concentrate on those rather than trying to develop a FF sensor competitor to the Sony A7 system.

    I'm not averse to seeing a Fuji FF sensor camera someday I suppose, but in the short term I'd much rather see the existing X system get polished. They're doing a fantastic job given how young the system is and I would hate to see that stumble or stall out.
     
  3. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    718
    Jul 28, 2013
    "...stumble or stall out..." is exactly what I'm worried about.

    Or: they bleed so much capital the executives pull the plug on massive amounts of development.

    The lens infrastructure build is what I'm worried about. That's where there should be more time and money spent and if a new format is released, that's a huge investment.

    The 6D and D600/610 were both release to a huge existing lens infrastructure from companies who have mainly made their best lenses in full frame versions that would work on crop sensors (compatible mounts). That's a big difference over what Fuji is taking on -- a HUGE difference actually. Sony is in the same boat, but their economy of scale, the fact they make their own sensors, etc. puts them in a better place than Fuji I suspect.
     
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  4. pniev

    pniev FujiXspot Veteran

    489
    May 13, 2013
    Thanks for starting a thought-provoking discussion. Frankly, I am not able to comment on whether Fuji should or should not go full-frame. Perhaps the margins on FF cameras are substantially higher? Perhaps Fuji is able to attract resources from outside? From a user standpoint, a bigger sensor makes sense only when the size of the pixels will also grow. But then again, the sony/nikon 36MP sensor are impressive for large scale prints and crops. I am wondering if the rumored organic sensor will combine the best of all worlds.

    I am hopeful that Fuji will find (or have found) a way to keep innovating and improving existing products.

    PS: I wholeheartedly agree w.r.t the lens lineup!
     
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  5. jloden

    jloden FujiXspot Top Veteran

    708
    Mar 9, 2013
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Yep... when the first Fuji FF rumor came out, it was suggested the existing Fujinon X-mount lenses would work on a FF sensor version of the camera. If that were true, I'd probably be the first in line to pick one up :biggrin:

    Unfortunately, with them having to re-design all new lenses for FF, I can't see that creating another FF camera and ecosystem around a new mount would be beneficial to the development investment in the existing lineup. It'd be bound to reduce resources for the X-series... and I think a big part of why Fuji did well so far is that they invested in hardware, firmware, and lens updates to the series.
     
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  6. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2013
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Good thread...

    My take, fwiw...

    It feels a bit like the 1930s, when Leica was battling it out with Zeiss in the "miniature" format - i.e.35mm... Remember that the likes of Parkinson and Avedon were still shooting large format, press photographers like Weegee were shooting Speed Graphics and 2 1/4 "medium format" was the portable format of choice. 35mm was not taken seriously for professional use until portability, speed and ease of use combined with "need" - the Spanish Civil War followed by the Second World war drove the demand for high quality image capture kit that could be carried into battle.

    Today, the old 35mm is regarded as "large" (full-frame) and APS-C as a compromise...

    BUT

    APS-C has a fundamental advantage, which we will call "physics". In a nutshell, high quality images can be captured with kit that is smaller, lighter...

    If I were Fuji I would be using physics to my advantage. Look at Pentax (Ricoh) - they are carving a niche for themselves as the outdoor and wildlife photographer's tool of choice - weatherproofed, light, portable, with high quality telephoto primes. APS-C is the perfect "travel" format; I know, I have lugged big SLRs and DSLRs all over the world and I have the chiropractor to prove it. That was what attracted me to Leica M in the first place - small, compact portable quality.

    I don't own a DSLR anymore - my last was a Nikon D700. Fuji X is my "core system of choice" which meets 90% of my photographic needs. What would I like to see? Steady development of improved bodies - weather-sealing, for instance - and long fast primes in the 300-600mm range. I would also like to see a high quality 1.4x teleconverter and above all a Pro scheme, that would offer loaner bodies and fast repair turnaround at a premium.

    Fuji almost has it right. They should keep their nerve now, a bit like Leica in the 1990s...



    Sent from another Galaxy
     
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  7. phil62

    phil62 FujiXspot Regular

    77
    Oct 27, 2013
    I agree but... a Full frame X100 could be interesting :)


    Sent from my iPhone using FujiXspot mobile app
     
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  8. LoFi

    LoFi FujiXspot Regular

    35
    Mar 3, 2013
    Austin, TX
    Eliot
    I don't care what they SHOULD DO. I just WANT them to make a ff x100 :)
    So let it be written, so let it be done, *clap clap*

    Oh. And yes, I would buy it!
     
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  9. romi.gilles

    romi.gilles FujiXspot Top Veteran

    654
    May 17, 2013
    back in Crooklyn
    as far as ilc goes, i'd gladly welcome the x-pro as a FF line (it's already big enough) while the x-e can continue the apsc line.

    (Sent from another Galaxy - Tapatalk.)
     
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  10. bobbywise

    bobbywise FujiXspot Regular

    94
    Feb 15, 2013
    Nantes
    Robert Wisbey
    Fujifilm's interchangeable X-series of cameras have hit the sweet spot I think (but they are arguably pricey by comparison).
    Their bodies are not overly imposing, and their lenses are top notch and pretty compact compared to full frame equivalents.
    I think they should stick to APS-C for the next few years.
    Knowing what quality Fujifilm brings, I'm happy to pay a slight premium for their products.
    However, many people will not want to pay a premium when they compare what's on the market (e.g. Sony A7).
    My fear is that Fujifilm will be considered expensive by comparison to others.
    I think for Fujifilm to remain profitable, they should stay with APS-C and drop the price of their system a little bit (to get more people on board).

    The big issue Fujifilm may have though is that FF is getting cheaper. Even if the lenses are bigger (and on some systems hardly any choice), new users may just take the plunge thinking for roughly the same money they have FF.

    I must admit, I recently got myself a Sony A7 -- but that was for playing with old lenses and getting the most out of them on a FF sensor (FOV etc.). Admittedly, I was pining for a FF Fujifilm body for those lenses, but myself (and others here who frequent these photography forums) are not the masses.

    For the masses (who don't have a bunch of old lenses that want to put on a FF digital body) or the serious photographers who only want native lenses on a system (and there are many of them too), the Fujifilm interchangeable X-system is the "sweet spot". I for one hope Fujifilm carry on with the APS-C sensor size and lens development.
     
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  11. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    718
    Jul 28, 2013
    I like the idea of a full frame X100S style camera. That would not take near the effort of a complete lens infrastructure.

    And I'm not saying that some people wouldn't buy such a camera -- but mainly that not enough to make it worthwhile for a company to do that doesn't have a lens line -- not without jeopardizing work on their existing lines.

    Nikon could really do something amazing if they did something like the Sony A7. Think about an "affordable" full frame mirrorless that has access to tons of Nikon glass. Now, the problem is that legacy glass needs an adapter to space it out, so there's another expense. Full frame mirrorless and lenses will not be "affordable" ever at the level APS-C can be.

    I just don't see it as being a good idea for Fuji now. They've scarcely gained a foothold in the APS-C market, the full frame system as another mountain to climb at the same time? I think that would be hubris.
     
  12. jloden

    jloden FujiXspot Top Veteran

    708
    Mar 9, 2013
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    That's what I was alluding to in my post(s), I think that's the biggest concern for Fuji right now. With the Sony A7 kit being about $600 more than the X-E2 kit (and an even narrower gap to the X-Pro1's release price) there are a certain number of people that are definitely going to go with the bigger sensor option.

    On the other hand, there are some people who will see the cost differential between the body + kit and the correspondingly more expensive lens prices across the board and be willing to go with APS-C. Just like Canon and Nikon still sell plenty of crop sensor DSLRs even with the D600 and 6D changing the price landscape for FF. We'll see, but I think Fuji's only option will be to watch the market and respond accordingly.
     
  13. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    718
    Jul 28, 2013
    Anybody willing to pay $600 more for a system with virtually no native lenses deserves what they get, lol.
     
  14. LoFi

    LoFi FujiXspot Regular

    35
    Mar 3, 2013
    Austin, TX
    Eliot
    The more early adopters to a no lens system the better! That means there will be plenty of those 35/2.8s out n about on the used market when the silent shutter a7s(s for silent!) comes out. Lol

    Anyways
    I'm sure they're getting exactly what they want
    The chance to be an early adopter in a new exciting system
     
  15. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    718
    Jul 28, 2013
    I'm sure that's how the folks that bought the K-01 Pentax and Canon EOS-M felt as well... :rolleyes:

    And the folks that bought the original V1 at full price, lol. Well, time will tell -- but my point about Fuji stretching its resources over too many platforms still stands.
     
  16. RStarPhoto

    RStarPhoto FujiXspot Regular

    36
    Dec 4, 2013
    I imagine most people buying the A7 want it for their m lenses anyways, so the system does have a major lens set already.
     
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  17. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    718
    Jul 28, 2013
    Which makes it not even worth discussing in regard to what I'm talking about in this thread. Have you priced Leica glass?

    The idea of a system being released with almost no lenses, and a justification of "just shoot Leica on it" smacks of: "We just had to be first even if we're not ready!" lol

    If I was had all that Leica glass, I'd just get a Leica, lol.
     
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  18. RStarPhoto

    RStarPhoto FujiXspot Regular

    36
    Dec 4, 2013
    Sony's got the better sensor. Plus it's more that $5000 cheaper. Not everyone cares about the red dot, and their lenses pretty much are the best of the best.
     
  19. RStarPhoto

    RStarPhoto FujiXspot Regular

    36
    Dec 4, 2013
    And for as much as I'd love fuji to keep churning out awesome aps-c products, FF is the next logical step. It sucks that means a new lens lineup, but a fuji FF with Leica and Voigt lenses??? Sign me up...
     
  20. flysurfer

    flysurfer X-Pert

    Feb 1, 2013
    Nuremberg
    Rico Pfirstinger
    Too bad the sensor and flange-back aren't very suitable for many third-party lens designs, like biogon and other symmetrical designs. Basically, this will also be Fuji's main obstacle if they want to go full-frame with the X-Mount. X-Mount has an even shorter flange-back than NEX, so adapting the sensor to work with all existing lenses (in crop mode), with new native lenses and with a broad selection of adapted lenses (especially M glass), is a challenge.