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Fujifilm X-PRO2 rumors

Patrick FR

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Fuji is as well set as anyone in the digital camera business - there's some profit in an X-Pro 2, and in a great lens - with their more unusual lineup, they'll never sell 10 million interchangeable lens cameras/year, but they are set up to be profitable on a modest volume of enthusiast/pro cameras... Almost all of the profit has been squeezed out of a $100 compact. Companies that rely heavily on inexpensive compacts (or even low-end DSLRs) have the problem that they can sell all the units they want, but they can't make anything at it (ask any Android cell phone vender - or ask anyone making Windows PCs a few years ago).


These are the camera companies that will probably make it:


Canon and Nikon will probably be OK - they both have pro businesses that actually make money (and Canon, like Fuji, is a copier company that makes cameras).


Sony WILL be OK - their real imaging business is selling sensors to everyone - ,actually mostly to Apple - their "real camera business", including both their own cameras and all the sensors they sell to everybody else in the camera business, is much smaller than cellphone sensors.


If I were mostly a Sony shooter, what I'd worry about is that, with the restructuring, the highly successful sensor division no longer has an interest in the camera division. The camera division, taken alone, is not in a great place - they have huge sales volume in compacts and cheap mirrorless (no profit), plus a smaller business in high-end cameras with some REAL innovation in the bodies, but with a lens problem. When they are no longer using the A7 series to showcase sensors, will they stay as interested?


Fuji will be OK - they are selling mostly high-end cameras and lenses with decent margins - FinePix goes away (and it will), and they're left with a profitable high-end camera business that keeps their name in the public eye - and several of their executives are passionate photographers (it came out in a recent interview that one of their chief designers is a Hasselblad Master when he's not designing cameras for Fuji, and I've heard of several others). They'd ditch that division if it lost a lot of money, but it's profitable (probably has better than decent margins), and it has a lot of PR value.


A high-prestige, profitable little division is something a lot of companies would like to have. They make something like half a million high end cameras a year (300,000 mirrorless and a couple hundred thousand X100Ts and X70s - remember that they can make 160,000 X-Pro 2s, and half a million might even be low), and might net $300 on each one,including lens profits (a nice little $150 million business)??? They're one of the few manufacturers who sell a bunch of lenses per body (other than X100Ts and X70s, of course), and a lot of their body sales are X-T1s and 10s, with some XE2 bodies mixed in (all high enough up the scale to be profitable, and many will sell several lenses each), not X-A1 and X-M1 bodies (probably hard to profit on, and tend to keep their kit lenses). This year will be even better, with significant sales of X-Pro 2 and X-T2 bodies and high end lenses to go with them.




Here are the companies I'd really worry about...

Olympus has been wracked by scandal, and is trying to sell really nice cameras with a huge sensor disadvantage. The 16 MP Micro 4/3 sensor is a generation or so BEHIND the older X-Trans II (it's similar technology, but it's significantly smaller and uses a conventional Bayer filter). They have no state of the art X-Trans III coming to bail them out. Just like Fuji before last Friday, they're trying to sell  one (or closely related, similarly performing) sensor(s) across their line.


Panasonic has a big gap in their line - some great video-focused cameras and some low-end cameras that don't seem to sell all that well. They have a similar sensor problem to Olympus, but they have their niche to retreat into. However, they also have a well-known video camera division. The logical move is perhaps to give the video cameras to the video camera division and get out of the low-end business...


Pentax has been making some great cameras, but getting no traction in the market (outside of medium format). Unfortunately, the medium format business is dependent on the DSLRs to have a parts bin to pull from - if the DSLRs go, the medium format business will soon follow because they aren't set up for ultra-low volume like Phase One - they grab processors and AF sensors made in much larger numbers and stick them in custom shells with MF sensors. Without that parts bin, they can't keep it up (at least not with the price advantage).


Leica has an M line with a cult following, but the rest of their products are divided between collector editions (most of which could omit the image sensor without risk of discovery) and several random lines with nice features, but radically overpriced and without enough lenses. They'll continue to exist, but will anyone actually use them to take pictures?


Hasselblad may have destroyed themselves with stupidity (who came up with the idea of rebranding consumer Sony cameras - in one case, complete with $100 kit lens)... A Hasselblad with a $100 lens????


Sigma will go back to making only lenses (what? they ever made anything else???), and Samsung will go back to phones, TVs and appliances....

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This one's sealed, too... I don't think we've ever seen that design with a weather seal on it - my initial thought was "maybe the Nikon F4", but that had the ISO on the other side, with the rewind crank (actually, the BACKUP rewind crank - the F4 had a built-in motor drive, but they gave you a crank, too, in case the batteries died).

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I know that de xt1 have a bigger evf, but i hope the size of the xpro2 evf is equal to the x100t... Not smaller...

DPReview specs for X100t shows a viewfinder magnification of 0.5x, while X-Pro2 shows 0.6x. So, X-Pro2 VF is larger than X100t. For comparison, X-T1 VF magnification is 0.77x.



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With the latest reports, Fuji seems to have hit this one out of the park! I'm glad I got my deposit down on the 15th. I've been using 3 mirrorless systems. Fuji (my most complete system) for day to day shooting. Sony (original A7r) for high resolution on a tripod, and Panasonic Micro 43 for video (I've never liked the stills that much). I think my Panasonic and Sony gear is going for trade for more Fujinons! I see no question that the X-Pro 2 will print 24x36" with good technique (I have a 24" printer, but not a 44", so I print right up to 24x36" all the time, but seldom over).


I gave the A7rII a thorough look, but decided against it because the lenses were too heavy, not enough selection and of mixed quality (the best were great, but too many mediocre ones). I didn't want to mess with adapted lenses, but that's just my preference.

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And now Canon are launching their Mirrorless camera??? Now i have to wait!!! It was so close to ordering the x pro 2....


If it is another EOS M, no thank you. No viewfinder.

If they are coming out with a mirrorless with a viewfinder, that could get some attention from me if they also have some L glass lenses to go with it.

So far, the few larger sensor small cameras they have come out with in recent years have had no viewfinder.

If Canon were less arrogant and actually surveyed what photographers wanted, THEN they might offer serious competition for FUJI.

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I've seen this rumor, too - I have to say it's faster than I'd imagine Canon (or Nikon) moving - I was thinking Photokina. No details anywhere I've seen it - the full-frame aspect of the rumor seems to come from the word "surprise" in a Canon document - they say they're planning to surprise us in some way, and that's being interpreted as full-frame.  Of course, there was the time some years ago when Nikon built a huge amount of press around a BIG event at WPPI that they wouldn't tell us anything about - and it turned out to be a Blues Traveler concert! Many pundits had thought it was a medium-format camera, with all the emphasis on BIG - another popular choice was a Nikon-branded large-format printer (there was speculation afterwards that they had actually pulled back a product announcement, but no product that fit the bill emerged)..


Assuming that this IS, in fact, a mirrorless camera (and not, say, a free screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens), there are probably three basic routes it could follow.


1.) Just Another EOS-M. Still finderless, maybe with 4k video or some other upgraded feature, maybe even with a new sensor, but fundamentally an entry-level camera for the cell phone crowd. The one way I could see this being successful is if it's "Thom Hogan's Camera". He's been on the big Japanese camera companies for years to make Wi-Fi sharing and direct social media posting a bigger part of their products (whether through built-in LTE or (more likely) through enhanced phone tethering. None of us Fuji folks would give up our retro wonders for a Facebook camera (nor should we - I have a big deposit down on the X-Pro 2, and I wouldn't pay $10 extra for those features), but I am struck by how often non-photographer friends look at my X-T1 and say "but I can share my pictures instantly" . My reply of "yes, you can share your pictures with 5 stops of dynamic range instantly" doesn't diminish how people feel about iPhone photography. The iPhone is among the worst cameras ever to be in general circulation (it's today's equivalent of Kodak Disc), but it really is on to something among people who want to pass certain types of (baby, pet, etc.) pictures around. If Canon captures that, an EOS-M laughed at by hobbyists and pros could sell a ton of units.


2. )Still EF-M mount, but less oversimplified. A VIEWFINDER (presumably a decent EVF they bought someplace) is the first critical addition. They might throw in their latest Dual Pixel AF and a new or improved sensor. Perhaps base the controls around some modification of a mid-level EOS, rather than a mixture of the lowest Rebels and Powershot. Especially if they came out with a good-quality EF-M kit zoom and a couple of primes, they could actually sell a ton of these - mostly to existing Canon photographers who wanted to move to mirrorless (or add mirrorless to their kit). The big advantage (shared only with the $3200 A7rII) is that they could buy a body (and probably one everyday-use lens) and use a Canon-branded adapter to use the rest of their glass with full functionality. If they have the Dual Pixel AF in there, lenses that don't work well with contrast detection will be fine.


3.) Full-frame pro mirrorless. What some folks are hoping for! Hopefully either EF mount (an empty mirror box doesn't add much weight - it's the mirror and prism that are heavy)or a new mount entirely (with a good Canon-made EF adapter). If they try to use EF-M, they'll run into the same problem Sony did with FE - the shallow mount makes for small bodies, but huge lenses.

 If Sony had it to do over, I bet the A7 series would feature a new, somewhat deeper mount for easier lens design, rather than using an existing mount (that few lenses existed for) at the cost of large lenses that are unusually tricky to design. That would have meant losing the use of FE lenses on E-mount bodies (the other way around vignettes horribly and is really for special effects), but does anybody really put a big, heavy, expensive FE lens on a $sub-500 body? Canon would face the same issue - either keep EF-M and end up with a mount that doesn't work well at full frame OR do a new mount, leaving the new lenses incompatible with existing EOS-M bodies (come on, Canon, who's going to use a pro-grade full-frame lens on a body without a VIEWFINDER?). Of course, they could just use EF - it probably costs them an ounce or two and gives the camera 3/4 inch of protruding "nose" it wouldn't otherwise have had, but you get that ounce and that 3/4 inch back in the size of the lenses...

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This one's sealed, too... I don't think we've ever seen that design with a weather seal on it - my initial thought was "maybe the Nikon F4", but that had the ISO on the other side, with the rewind crank (actually, the BACKUP rewind crank - the F4 had a built-in motor drive, but they gave you a crank, too, in case the batteries died).

The crank was not just a backup. The motor drive is quite noisy on the f4. And it uses a lot of battery juice. Sometimes cranking it just was the best option :-)

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DPREVIEW has added Fujifilm X-Pro2: Studio analysis and full-production sample gallery.




Results look great and I'm encouraged that my pre-order Jan 15th for the PRO2 was a good decision.


I still think this PRO 2 may be more than I will ever need, so the focusing speed better be much improved. I don't want to upgrade again just for that. 

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I went wandering around that studio scene and DR test, and here's where the X-Pro 2 came out (to my eye):


Dynamic range: best in class (better than any other camera with an APS-C sensor) A little noisier than a D750, but actually holds detail and contrast BETTER THAN A D750 (and it's not close) in many parts of the scene. Looking at DPreview's grey patch, you'd say " this is a very, very good APS-C camera, but it's NOT punching above its weight and competing with a full-frame camera - easy win for the D750, despite a slight magenta cast while the Fuji's shadows are pure". The slight magenta cast inspired me to move around the scene at a 5-6 stop push; and the story changes a bit. It varies based on location in the scene (sometimes it seems to me that the X-Pro 2 wins, sometimes the D750 wins, but overall, I'd rather have the Fuji file in the extreme shadows (remember, this is pushed FIVE STOPS).

I'm not claiming the shadow noise is quite as low as a D750 (it's relatively close, but it's not there), but I AM claiming that there is significantly more detail in many parts of the scene than even a D750 can provide, and that the Fuji has microcontrast and purity of tone (no color casts in extreme shadows) that exceed ANY OTHER CAMERA IN THEIR DATABASE, even the mighty D810 (No, there isn't an A7RII in the dynamic range database). The D810, with its resolution advantage, does have more detail in the extreme shadows. It's almost as if the Fuji sensor is similar to, or slightly better than the D750 sensor, but Fuji chose to use less NR, so detail and contrast are preserved at the cost of a bit of noise


Color: Better than anything I checked - X-Trans really wins the day.


Resolution: I read it as 3825 lines (there's huge variability in how different observers read these charts, but much less variability in same observer, multiple cameras). It gains a bit in RAW and is VERY close to the Nyquist limit of 4000 lines (3950?)


Nikon D7200 -big splotch of color moire between 3600 and 3800 lines makes it hard to read, but perhaps 3650 lines (RAW 3800 lines, although with color moire)


Nikon D750 - 3600 lines (RAW 3700)


Nikon D810 (36 MP) - disappears into color moire at 4200 lines (RAW an amazing 4500 lines)


Samsung NX1 (28 MP) 3900 lines JPEG, 4050 RAW


For those who claim Micro 43 can compete:Olympus E-M1 3200 lines, Panasonic GX8 (new 20 MP sensor) 3300 lines, both in RAW, both with severe color moire


It's a very good 24 MP camera with a slight boost from X-Trans (and I suspect the freedom from color moire in fine detail may actually be significant in real world use), behaving closer to a 28 MP camera than other 24 MP cameras (I'm absolutely mystified about why the APS-C Nikons slightly outresolve their full-frame cousins, but they do, repeatedly, at least on DPreview's samples - and I can substitute similar models (D5500 for D7200; D610 for D750 with similar results). Resolution-wise, it's not close to a 36 MP camera (but remember that microcontrast from the dynamic range test - it could look sharper than it is because of that (and that is going to print).


The color moire result is striking - as you approach the Nyquist limit, every other camera (except the Phase One IQ180, which runs out of resolution chart before approaching the Nyquist limit - I suspect the artifacts are there, but they need a bigger chart) gets color artifacts. The X-Pro 2 just sits there, looking like a Leica Monochrom (which CAN'T get color artifacts).  Unfortunately, their Monochrom sample file has a tiny bit of tripod shake (the numbers below the resolution chart are slightly blurry). This is NOT what's going on with the 24 MP full-frame Nikons - after seeing the shake in the Monochrom file, I went back to the Nikons and checked, and the numbers are fine.

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