Fujifilm has a strategy problem they need to fix

The latest release of the X-T3 is a good and bad problem to have for Fujifilm.

On one hand they have released a camera that is likely to restore Fujifilm’s reputation after the X-H1’s release was overshadowed by Sony’s release of the A7iii. With this release, Fujifilm did a good enough job on the X-T3 to ensure that not even the release of two prominent full frame cameras from Nikon and canon could overshadow their announcement. It’s a damn good camera with very little to complain about.

This being the case, what exactly is the problem?

The X-H1…

If you have a look at the forums, there is a consistent issue arising. With the X-T3 being so good, where exactly does the X-H1 fit it. Despite what people think, it wasn’t a video camera, it was Fujifilm’s attempt at a professional camera. The X-T3 on the other hand is a better stills AND video camera so their “high-end” camera just got overshadowed by a lower model and that is raising some heads.

The consensus from most people is simple: Fujifilm should have waited 6 months and put the new sensor in! Fujifilm knew the new sensor was coming, they wouldn’t have been developing the X-T3 blindly so I would be questioning who made the call to put that sensor in and whether there was any actual thought behind it because it could turn out to be a death nail in the X-H1 coffin.

Past decisions aside, Fujifilm have a problem to fix and they need to do it quickly. Those looking for IBIS and the new sensor won’t find it in the X-T3 and for potential switchers that may be a problem. If I was sitting on with Nikon or Canon, disappointed with the current releases, and trying to decide which way to go, Sony still has an advantage with IBIS and far better battery life and even Nikon has put IBIS in their new mirrorless. For potential switchers, this offers compelling reasons to switch and the Sony glass in the equivalent apertures (i.e. 24-70 f4 vs 16-55 f/2.8) isn’t actually much bigger than Fujifilm so the size argument is mute.

But its not only potential switchers that are confused. It’s current X-H1 owners who are scratching their heads at Fujifilm’s strategy and asking “where to now?”.

If Fujifilm continue their previous trend of releasing the X-H2 18 months after the X-T3, I won’t be a buyer of it and neither will 50% of the X-H1 buyers, so the line is essentially dead.

12 Comments

  1. The grip and handling. My X-T2 is not very comfortable to hold (for me) with other than small Primes. The power grip doesn’t Help. This a good camera though…

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  2. I think the XH-1 is dead. Fuji probably knew that when it launched but figured they could recoup some of the R&D. Sony set the market with their release of the A7iii. The H1 would have had a chance if it was full frame. It cant complete at its price point and its larger than other full frame mirrorless cameras with less options. This is also why fuji reduced the price of the xt3. All these nice full frame mirrorless cameras at $2K, no way are you going to sell a crop sensor camera for 1800-2000. Then you have Sony’s APSC body which will have same or better specs at the XT3 for around 1400 and it will include IBIS. I think Fuji did right by not holding back on the XT3 to keep relevant. I also think they will need IBIS on the future XT4. Fuji needs to figure it out. All of the other manufactures are doing it. I love my xt2 and cant wait for my xt3 to get here in a couple weeks. Nice blog page. I am also a dad with a real job and love to do photography as a hobby. Keep up the good work..

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      1. Every manufacturer who brings out a flagship never brings it out with an end of life sensor. That’s reality. I’d say from that, that I seem to understand the market better than Fujifilm. I like the X-H1, I like the form factor, but I think they should have waited and I think they should have put in a bigger battery. Even Fujifilm employees I know have agreed on that.

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      2. “May not like” and “wrong” are two different things. In this case, I think it’s the latter. The majority of people I know who bought or considered the X-H1 all agree that they made a mistake and should have waited. Obviously it’s easy to say that in hindsite, but when you have a team of people dedicated to strategy, we have a tendency to expect better. Putting your flagship on an end of life sensor makes no sense what so ever. If they release an X-H1S in Q1, then I think they will be okay, but without that, it won’t happen

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      1. Understood. WordPress spam seems to have picked up in the last few weeks.

        Perhaps Fuji was using the X-H1 to test the market. I’ve always considered the X-T series the best of the X series. That’s the APS-C camera I think Fuji must evolve and market to professionals along with the GFX. There seems to be a demand for IBIS. I shoot mostly from a tripod so … nothing in it for me.

        But I could see how it would benefit sports photographers. But … most of the are likely shooting on a Canon.

        YMMV.

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      2. I like the X-H1, the size suits my hands a little better so I’d like to see it survive, they have so many small cameras that having something larger is nice. I think with a larger battery (twice the capacity like the A7) and the X-T3 sensor, the X-H1 would have been a killer release and would have done much better against the A7(which incidentally is still sold out since it’s release while the X-H1 is being discounted heavily). For those who wanted compatibility with their old batteries, they could have offered an adapter to use the old batteries similar to the AAA-AA converter.

        On the IBIS front, I don’t think it’s essential but I do like it. For night shoots with models, being able to shoot the 56f/1.2 and 90 f2 at 1/15 is really good because the models stay still and you can still get sharp photos.

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