Dear Fujifilm | About Kaizen… or another Open Letter
Dear people in charge at Fujifilm,
I am not so naive as to believe that this open letter will really be read by any of you. But who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky… 😉
The following comments are not meant to be a know-it-all or annoying and rude criticism. The internet is full enough of that. I just want to express a few thoughts that are close to my heart as a long-time and loyal Fujifilm user. And I hope that these thoughts are in the spirit of kaizen.
I have been an enthusiastic and convinced user of the Fujifilm X series since 2011. So, I have owned quite a few of these cameras and still use three of them today. In the last seven years, I have also reviewed many of the lenses and cameras here on my blog. And I am still convinced that the Fujifilm X-series is the absolute best choice for me – for many different reasons, which I have clearly explained in many posts.
But what can I put it? On the one hand, there is always room for improvement. On the other hand, I have a few points that I would like to raise here as a small (and hopefully constructive) suggestion.
So, let´s talk about Kaizen and the future.
Don´t forget Kaizen
I’m not one of those who complain every time there’s a FW update that they didn’t get a completely new camera – possibly even better than the latest model. 😉
I and many others have greatly celebrated Fujifilm’s Kaizen idea. So, I am very grateful for the many updates in recent years, which have improved the cameras continuously. I’m thinking here, for example, of the immense improvements of the autofocus of many older cameras…
However, I would ask you to pay a little more attention to the following two things in particular.
Film Simulation Modes
Yes, I understand that not all camera generations can also receive all film simulations retroactively. But it is a pity that models that are current and will remain so for a while are not updated. I currently use an X-T5, an X-Pro3 and an X100V. With the latter two, I unfortunately have to do without Bleach Bypass and Nostalgic Neg.
This is annoying because I built custom functions for both simulations. Unfortunately, it only works on the X-T5 at the moment. I wish that at least my current cameras had the same seven custom functions. I would love to use them in parallel on a shoot without any problems.
It is no longer easy to work with different Fujifilm X cameras at the same time on a shoot. The arrangement of the buttons changes not only from series to series, but also from generation to generation. Maybe I’m getting too old, or maybe I really need a new brain. At the very least, I have to make a real effort to be able to operate the cameras smoothly even when things become hectic.
In part, I understand that it can’t be prevented – the cameras should be able to serve different applications. And the operation should probably also be optimised constantly. But I would like to see at least a certain consistency, at least for the current cameras.
Futthermore, when basic operating processes (e.g. those of the focus field or the starting point of the custom functions menu) are changed, then it becomes difficult. I can see the sense of these improvements in the X-T5 in terms of Kaizen and progress. But it would be so easy to give these changes in the software to an X-Pro3 or X100V. Come on, Fujifilm! 😉
Keep the X-Pro-Series
I know the X-Pro series is certainly not the commercial success par excellence for Fujifilm. These cameras are probably too much like niche products for that. But from my point of view this niche is part of the soul and DNA of the X series. And I know for sure I´m not the only one to think so…
I’m keeping this short because I recently made a detailed and passionate plea for an X-Pro4. I would have so many ideas and wishes for one…. Please, get on with it!
Continue the sharpening of the product lines
I’m really celebrating Fujifilm’s efforts to better differentiate the cameras in the different X-series. Especially the differentiation of the X-H from the X-T series was, in my opinion, long overdue and has been very well done.
I would be delighted if Fujifilm were to continue down this path with the X-Pro. I have an X-T5, so I don’t need an X-Pro4 which can do almost the same. An X-Pro4 that is even more radically bulit for “Photography First” and designed for simplicity, that would be awesome! And I bet it would find a lot of takers on the market.
The X100 line – well, it’s unique and very successful anyway. Evolution rather than revolution is probably the key here.
Keep it simple
Yes, I like the configurability of my Fujifilm cameras. And yes, I also like a minimum number of buttons and wheels to be able to operate the cameras well according to my wishes. I also believe that there are natural limits to what is good here.
Especially with the menu, I think these limits have been reached – if not already exceeded. The menu of Fujifilm cameras has become very large and very complex over the years. And also quite confusing – including the typeface.
Ten menu pages for the configuration of the FN buttons alone are maybe a bit too much of a good thing. I would very much like Fujifilm to take care of this and make simplicity their goal. Even though I’m not always a fan of that brand and its policy, the Leica menu is really good.
A way like with the new Fujifilm XApp would be great. Simple and cleverly made, easy to read, not too many levels… that’s what I would like to see.
I think all this has a lot to do with kaizen as well. It is about change for the better, not necessarily about change for more.
If there is going to be a Fujifilm X-Pro4 or a Fujifilm X100VI (or whatever it will be called), please keep it as simple as you can. Kaizen and simplicity are key!
There is always light somewhere – go out and shoot!