Happy New Year, everyone! Last year was a big one for Fujifilm. With the release of the groundbreaking GFX 100 and the controversial X-Pro3, Fujifilm shook the market and capped off the high end of both of their product lines. They also introduced more quality consumer-oriented products with the X-T30, X-A7, and XF 16-80mm f/4. These have solidified Fujifilm’s position at each end of their extensive market range, but what about the middle of the range? What can we hope for in 2020?
(Featured image above: courtesy Fujifilm)
Fujirumors have been all over the upcoming replacement for the ageing X100F recently and, if they’re correct, we should see it very soon. The X100 series is where it all started and where Fujifilm nailed down their design language for the X Series cameras. The update should contain many of the features allowed by Fujifilm’s X-Trans 4 sensor and the new processor along with a new lens, but will that be all?
Personally, I’d love to see weather sealing, a higher quality EVF with better frame-rates and more accurate colours (the X100F viewfinder is fun to look through, but simply can’t be trusted for colour accuracy), and an overall improvement in build quality (no more sticky shutter buttons, etc.). Aside from that, I really couldn’t hope for much more.
We’re likely to see the updated X-T flagship later in the year as well. There’s even been rumour that it might have IBIS. Despite the X-T3 being hailed as the best value for money hybrid on the market by many, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. The X-T3 took the X-T2, sped everything up and added exceptional video quality to the package. Much like the X-T1 to X-T2 jump, this was a huge leap forward, even though it may not have seemed so on paper. As an X-T3 abuser, there are some things I’d love to see in the next iteration of the camera.
The first is a much improved auto-focus system. While the X-T3 brought about a much faster autofocus system, its functionality was more of a generational bump. I would like to see a huge refinement in the way we switch between autofocus modes (I’ve written about this before), the ability for the wide-tracking mode to really hold onto the subject you choose (right now, Area AF seems to be the most effective, but it’s a bit like a buckshot – not too precise), and for Face/Eye Detection to be brought up to at least the level that Nikon and Canon have been able to achieve.
The second is, much like with the X100 series, an increase in durability. The rigours of professional use have taught me quite a few things about the X-T3 (and the X-H1 for that matter) and how well they are built. While they’re fine for simple day-to-day use, the weather-sealing isn’t quite as good as is claimed and the bodies could do with being able to survive a couple of knocks here and there.
We’re not likely to see an update to the existing GFX bodies any time soon (our local Fujifilm rep said they’re looking at a 4-5 year cycle on those), but a little firmware love would go a long way. The GFX 50S is currently at version 3.30 and the later released GFX 50R has all the same features at version 1.00.
There is still plenty of room in these cameras to offer Firmware updates. While the 50MP bodies rely solely on contrast-detect AF, there is most certainly refinement to the algorithm that can be done to make it more confident and work more effectively in low light. On top of this, some of the features we have seen introduced in the X-Pro3, such as the HDR raw function and focus limiting (many GFX lenses have linear motors, so it should be possible) would be welcome in the GFX bodies.
Fujifilm’s lens lineup is quite significant for the X Series cameras now. They’ve got a full suite of primes, a good set of pro-grade zooms, and budget-friendly options in the XC lenses. While there’s been no formal release of the next lens roadmap yet, I’d like to speculate a little on what we might see and muse a little on what I’d hope to see.
Based on Fujifilm’s focus on getting more consumer-oriented lenses and bodies to market, I’d suggest we’ll see some more consumer-oriented lenses. The release of the XF 16-80mm f/4 gave me this idea. Perhaps we’ll see something like a 50-140mm f/4? While the f/2.8 zoom is a great lens, it’s necessarily large and heavy. Thus, it’s not a great walk-around for many people. An f/4 “beer can” version of this lens might attract hobbyists to such a lens.
We’ve also seen the unveiling of the 50mm f/1.0 in place of the previously planned 33mm f/1.0. As Fujifilm has brought the company’s focus back to high-end prime lenses, there is hope that we may see a refresh of one or more of the classic fast primes. With the 50mm on the way, it’s not likely to be the 56mm f/1.2, but there is a little hope of the 23mm and 35mm lenses in that case.
So, there’s a couple of educated guesses and a bit of a wish list for you to muse on. Are you interested in the upcoming X100V or X-T4? What would you like to see in those bodies? We’re also likely to see a few firmware updates over the next few months. What would you like to see in those? Where do you see Fujifilm taking the X Series lens lineup in 2020? Any dream lenses you’d like to see on their roadmap?
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