Why didn't Fuji ever make a full frame camera?

Discussion in 'Photography and Cameras' started by rhythmdevils, Apr 29, 2022.

  1. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

    Friend Banned
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2020
    Likes Received:
    10,058
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    https://www.rhythmdevilsaudio.com
    Home Page:
    Interesting article about what might have happened if they did, and I really agree.

    https://petapixel.com/2018/09/18/wa...ake-should-fuji-have-gone-full-frame-instead/

    I have wanted a Fuji full frame camera for over a decade. I kind of think they make the best cameras, they just don't make the format that would allow them to make the best cameras on the. market. APS-C isn't as good in low light and I never needed small size.

    I recently did need to buy a compact camera, and wound up going with a compact full frame camera instead of Fuji because of the very controversial issues with their APS-C X-trans sensor in Lightroom and my inability to switch to Capture 1 right now.

    If Fuji made a full frame camera with the compact design of the XT-4 and no X-trans issues I would have bought it.

    Sad to see, as I love that the former film manufacturer is doing even as well as they are in digital cameras. But I think if they jumped on mirrorless full frame cameras in 2017 instead of medium format, they'd possibly be the biggest manufacturer of full frame mirrorless cameras instead of Sony. Because Fuji could easily beat the clumsy design of Sony cameras.
     
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    81,286
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    I wouldn't worry about low light these days, especially if you are coming from film. What I like most about Fuji is their algorithm for handling noise. The grain is pleasant, random, like film grain, not splotches of shit. No Internet review site really demonstrates how good the Fuji grain looks. The review sites out there today are too objective, too much based on measurements and graphs. They don't talk about handling, controls, color, grain, etc. Camera reviews have long since gone the ASR route.

    With the small Fujis, I would intentionally crank up the ISO (to get grain) and shoot in black and white ARCOS film sim mode. I miss my Fuji and will probably get another one. I kept the good lenses. The downside is can't get super shallow DOF with APS-C. Also, the Fuji menu system is craptastic. This is less of an issue with their larger cameras where there are many physical dials and controls. However on the smaller cameras X-T## series that didn't have the physical dials, the menu UI drove me nuts, to the point where I sold the body.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2022
  3. TomNC

    TomNC Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    Likes Received:
    199
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Hillsborough, NJ
    There are some niche products I wish Fujifilm or another manufacturer can make. For instance, a compact camera with a really great (large and bright) viewfinder and manual control of ISO/shutter/aperture/exposure. I cannot forget my pleasant experience with the optical VF on an old Hasselblad MF camera. Nowadays Leica have great VF on their SL series, but those cameras are so heavy and impractical for casual hobbyists, let alone prices. Can Fujifilm or Nikon/Canon make some moderately priced cameras with a great VF?

    For years, people have wished Fujifilm make an X100 camera with a longer lens. No response.

    Now I am looking forward to a Zf full-frame camera from Nikon. Again, my concern is that they will put a good, but not great VF in it.

    Alternatively, can Fujifilm make an MF version of X100 camera with a 50mm (full-frame equivalent) lens?

    BTW, I like my X-T1 and use it more frequently than my Leica Q due to focal lengths and film sim.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    81,286
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    With electronic viewfinders on mirrorless, my Canon R6 has a good viewfinder. 3.7mp, 0.76x, 120 refresh, but it's not cheap and also a big hunky body. The Sony A9ii has similarly awesome viewfinder. But again not cheap. And none of these as good as my old Nikon F100, at least in good light.

    I don't think any of the camera manufacturers have any interest in bringing moderate priced cameras with good viewfinders. They need a reason for people to spend more.
     
  5. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    7,307
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Northwest France
  6. chesebert

    chesebert Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2020
    Likes Received:
    29
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    USA
    If you wait long enough and make enough noise good things may happen. I waited for 20yrs for Pentax to release their first dSLR - still using it with my fav lenses.
     
  7. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    1,738
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Fuji is a savvy manufacturer and their decision to not get in FF is the same decision I'd have made.

    Unlike Kodak, Fuji survived the end of the film era because they had an understanding of what they do well and made wise decisions that capitalized on areas of likely success rather than trying to eke out a win in competitive, low margin spaces that are shrinking. The same thought process has been applied here to their FF avoidance.

    The FF space is a bloody warzone dominated by major players like Sony, Canon, and Nikon. To have half a chance, they must produce something with either class leading auto-focus, world class video performance, superb haptics, or best in class wide aperture telephotos. Fuji does none of that well, and you're talking years of development time with arms race style spending to have half a chance, and best guess, they'd still lose to the major players who have a significant lead.

    Alternatively, Fuji has very strong performance in the APS-C space and did extremely well trailblazing into medium format with the GFX line (which I own), which is stealing at least some of the high-end FF market. They are currently pushing Sony back in Japan and their medium format division is one of the few product lines that is doing well while overall camera sales are shrinking.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2022
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    81,286
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    Yup, Fuji went deep down two paths: APS-C and medium format. Remember, it always comes down to the lenses. A body is nothing without the right lenses. Fuji has a ton of X lens for APS-C and GF lenses for medium format. Their medium format stuff actually isn't outrageously priced either. They got a decently lineup for GF and X lenses. The only thing they lack seems to be on the telephoto side for the X lenses. Some of the X lenses are really good.
     
  9. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

    Friend Banned
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2020
    Likes Received:
    10,058
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    https://www.rhythmdevilsaudio.com
    Home Page:
    I agree if we're talking about 2015 or 2013 and making a full on DSLR with an auto focus system and mirror and shutter system that competes with Nikon and Canon. There is evidence of this in how they partnered with Nikon and used their camera body to make their first cameras, because they obviously calculated that they couldn't catch up with that tech.

    But the point the article is making is that in 2017 when Fuji released the GFX line, there was a huge hole in the full frame mirrorless market that only Sony was filling and it's taken all the way until 2022 for Nikon to make a competing pro FF mirrorless camera in the Z9. Sony cameras suck. I just got one because the form factor is the best for me right now in the A7c. But it's nothing compared to my D3s. The Sony feels like a chunk of electronics, the Nikon felt like a camera and is still the only digital camera I've owned that felt like a camera. This is the opportunity Fuji missed out on. They easily could have made a mirrorless full frame camera and they would have had time to get their auto focus up to speed to be pro level, and they would, by the time Canon and Nikon caught up, have a huge percentage of the market. Instead, they went for accessible medium format, which is still an enthusiast camera for the most part. The enthusiast with deep pockets or the pro studio or landscape only photographer. Someone like me can't use the GFX line unless it just complements a FF pro body that can shoot at high iso, focus accurately and quickly, and for others, take shots fast.

    This decision to be in niche market segments was smart when DSLR's ruled the camera world, but with mirrorless taking over and Nikon and Canon way behind, they had a chance to be a big player but went for something else niche. It's sort of too late now, as the article says as well. Canon and Nikon have caught up and Fuji would now have to release something truly phenomenal again now to compete. Unlike in 2017.

    Too bad, I'd love a FF Fuji.

    And I don't care about depth of field, I don't really shoot wider than 5.6 if I can help it. I'm not into "bokeh" I make documentary photographs or realist landscape or portrait work that is far away from the fashion world where f1.2 works.

    I appreciate good quality noise vs nasty noise and believe you that Fuji's noise could look much nicer but I'd rather have less in general.

    I still might pick up a T-X4 to see how it compares to the A7c. All the hysteria online about "worming" in Lightroom scared me away, but I bet it's mostly pixel peeping especially if you use the Iridient X-transformer software first. I'm also not photographing leaves at all right now.
     
  10. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    1,738
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Except that narrative doesn't fit with reality.

    In the 2013 era you're discussing, Sony openly declared they wished to unseat Canon or Nikon and crown themselves the #2 FF camera maker. The Sony A7 was their first airstrike in that campaign, and what followed was the most aggressive release of new FF bodies, variations and lenses the world has ever seen.

    Sony could do this because they're not just a camera maker, but the largest manufacturer of CMOS sensors in the world.

    Nikon didn't seem to read the tea leaves correctly and made the same mistake as Kodak by investing deeper in what they they did well: SLR's. Their big wins with the revolutionary D800 and D600 series were accomplished only by using Sony chips, which Sony was probably happy to supply so as to not disturb their opponent while they were making a mistake. When mirrorless became a big deal and Sony's market share caught up it wasn't much of a surprise. Today, Nikon's mirrorless offerings are basically the value option.

    Canon makes their own chips, but they still could not and cannot hold a candle to Sony's manufacturing prowess. Canon's mirrorless image quality has progressed but never quite caught up and they still are languishing a bit today. However, Canon survived because:

    1) Brand strength / strong starting position
    2) Sony failed miserably in haptics and usability where Canon is superb
    3) Canon telephoto lenses
    4) Canon didn't completely ignore mirrorless, even though they took their sweet time

    Fuij is about the size of Canon overall, but they saw the writing on the wall:

    They were not going to beat Sony FF sensor image quality (and certainly not at the price Sony could offer it). They were not going to beat Canon's brand strength, haptics, and telephotos.

    So, they made the wise choice: stick with their low cost home-brew X-Trans sensors which were already a winner in the APS-C space and outsource Sony's own outdated and cheap IMX161 sensor to attack a market segment Sony and Canon didn't compete in: medium format.

    This was a ripe target, as Fuji could easily undercut the pricey digital back makers by thousands, but also produce a better lens arsenal than what was available for the reasonably priced but poorly outfitted Pentax medium format DSLR's.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2022
  11. Syzygy

    Syzygy Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2018
    Likes Received:
    2,053
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    I was always a C1 user, never Lightroom, so never had the issues. But IIRC, those really only showed up in early days, and in particular lighting situations. I think Adobe has done work to mostly fix the issue. But yes there's also Iridient to preprocess if you have a problematic scene.

    I recently switched from C1 to ON1 Photo (from the same company that made/makes Genuine Fractals). I like the UI better, it's cheaper to own, and it does a great job. And no conversion issues so far.

    I find the XPro3's viewfinder to be plenty bright. And since it's an interchangeable camera, it's also an "X100 with a longer lense"! :)

    ---

    I lament that they're not going to make another viewfinder-style medium format (RIP GFX50R), but that GFX50SII looks amazing. About the same size as a full-frame camera, but with a comparatively giant sensor. That one can be used handheld with fairly quick movement scenes.
     
  12. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    11,274
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    India
    What do you mean by haptics in this context/conversation?

    I only learned the word from mobile phones: the physical feedback when touching the screen. Do you mean the actual sensation of button pushing, etc, or the wider ergonomics of general handling?

    (never happy with phone photography, I somehow fell into Sony APS-C world when I returned to "real" camera land from compact P&Ss, my last real camera having been an OM-1n, which was a pleasure and a delight to handle, whereas my Sony always feels like it needs what I call finger yoga. Of course, there were no electronic buttons/dials in the days before the electronics they controlled. I have no reason for not going the Fuji route. Perhaps I should have.)
     
  13. je2a3

    je2a3 Almost "Made"

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    Likes Received:
    286
    Trophy Points:
    53
    Location:
    USA
    Home Page:
    [​IMG]

    When my Fuji X-E1 died, I got a Sony A7II. Since I shoot mostly with legacy lenses, it was nice to see how they looked in a full frame sensor + DOF.

    [​IMG]

    But I missed the "traditional" ergonomics of a Fuji X, so I got an X-E3. Aside from ergonomics, JPEGs from the Fuji only need minor tweaking.

    [​IMG]

    Since I can't afford a Leica M digital body, it would be nice if the virtues of the Fuji X-E3 + Sony A7II are combined. :D

    [​IMG]
     
  14. TomNC

    TomNC Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    Likes Received:
    199
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Hillsborough, NJ
    Yes. The VF in X-Pro3 seems quite good (only handling it once), but not as bright as the one in my Leica Q, though bigger. Really great ones are those in Leica SL series and top Sony cameras (>5mp and high magnification). Even Fujifilm MF cameras lack behind in VF specifications. Same thing with today's Nikon cameras. These days new cameras are so good in image quality but user satisfaction or pleasure should be enhanced especially for potential buyers who value this aspect. I, for one, am willing to pay around $500 just for a VF upgrade. I get instant enjoyment looking at the images through a great VF, which are more visually pleasing than real world objects.
     
  15. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

    Friend Banned
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2020
    Likes Received:
    10,058
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    https://www.rhythmdevilsaudio.com
    Home Page:
    Me neither! I loved shooting with my 501CM with KODAK Portra Endura.

    My D3 and D3s (and later D series pro cameras if I had not had to stop shooting for 10 years) came close to being as loved as that camera as far as the shooting experIence but not the same still. The Sony a7c is in a different league to these cameras it’s playing T ball.
     
  16. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    81,286
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    There's still the D750/D780. You'll get the classic Nikon ergo with the same sensor from Sony.
     
  17. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

    Friend Banned
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2020
    Likes Received:
    10,058
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    https://www.rhythmdevilsaudio.com
    Home Page:
    Yeah if I could use a large body, I'd get a Nikon, maybe the Z9. But I need something compact right now. the Sony is good enough with some frustration involved.
     
  18. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    1,738
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    All that to a degree, but the critical thing is the layout of the camera in terms of controls and how intuitive it is to use. It's a complex interplay of the expectations of the shooter against the form factor and features of the camera.

    I work in an ENG environment. For professional shooters who are doing regular 18-hour days, putting one critical button in the wrong spot can be the end of the conversation. These people can have decades of muscle memory for where things should be and if you do something "new" we might buy a couple of your cameras to shoot amusing B-roll footage but that's it. Image quality is important and necessary but not sufficient. Our OP (original programming) departments have more leeway in the the type of cameras they will use because it's edited long format stuff not live or fast turnaround, so they can be the wild west.

    That being said, you pickup an FS7 or a Canon C200 and you tell me which one is easier to shoot with. I was at NAB last week and Canon's sales director handed me their new handheld cine camera and I was able to turn it on and use it immediately while still having a conversation with two people. The layout makes sense. If I'm alone in Best Buy I struggle to figure out how to turn on and use Sony's consumer mirrorless cameras. Their designs feel built by engineers who don't consider humans. The tech is amazing, but things are wherever they put them. Sony stuff also tends to feel "dead" in the hand.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2022
  19. elwappo99

    elwappo99 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2015
    Likes Received:
    578
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    SoCal
    Any minimal thoughts I have on the subject are covered (and then some here). Only thing I would add is that they would also be well behind in terms of lens selection, which was one of the hottest topics when Sony started mirrorless. "mIrRorleSs caN'T Be tHe FuTurE, tHeY dOn'T eVen hAVE LenSeS" "wHeRe iS mY 70-200mm". Obviously allowing adapted lenses was a massive benefit to Sony's adoption. Heck even to this day I think I only have 1 native E-mount lens, the rest are Canon EF on adapters.


    Only food for thought comes from the many discussions that came from the Olympus buyout. With the rapid improvement of cell phone cameras the number of camera sales has plummeted. In the Olympus communities (pretty hard fanbois) there's even some people willing to look ahead 5 years and see that improvements in cellphones and AI computational photography may start to push into the IQ of a micro 4/3 system.

    Camera manufacturers are all fighting for a 6" pizza when they used to be going to a pizza buffet. Fuji would have then been trying to shove their tongs into the crab leg full frame buffet. We're also getting to the point where people will have less and less reason to churn into new bodies. So ultimately, I think MF was a smart move to provide something to distinguish themselves. Given the recent price cuts, it really has garnered a lot more attention.








    [​IMG]
     
  20. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    1,738
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    And in a practical sense, phone image quality is and has been there. Heck, the old justification that you couldn't do long exposures without a tripod isn't even true anymore, my iphone can do 3s handheld. When non-pro people (the kind who buy cameras that end up sitting in a closet) ask me what camera to buy I tell them unless you're willing to spend $4000+ and want large prints then just use your phone, maybe get one of the multiple lens models if you're more serious. Almost nobody can tell I shoot with a 50mpx camera after Facebook and IG compression steps on it.
     

Share This Page