When Fujifilm first announced their 56mm f1.2 lens, everyone got excited. The company announced an f1.2 lens for an APS-C sensor system–truly making it the fastest aperture lens for a mirrorless camera system with autofocus capabilities (Panasonic’s 42.5mm f1.2 has more in focus at a given aperture due to the smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor.) and despite the fact that it’s real full frame depth of field equivalent is around f2, that’s still not so bad. With seven aperture blades and a field of view of 84mm, this is perhaps one of Fujifilm’s most specialized lenses ever due to the fact that it begs to shoot portraits.
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The Amateur Photographer reports that Fujifilm’s imaging business was able to cut its losses in the last three months of 2013 by more than 60%, thanks to great sales of its X-series cameras such as the X-Pro 1, X-E2 and X100S. In the same period in 2012, Fujifilm’s imaging business generated losses of JPY 3.9bn (US-$ 38.3m,) which the company managed to reduce to JPY 1.5bn (US-$ 14.7m) in 2013.
The internal report (PDF file) stating these figures had already been published in late January, but has only now received attention by the media. According to the report, besides cutting losses in the imaging division, Fujifilm was also able to raise its overall operating income by more than 50%, from JPY 65.4bn (US-$ 642m) to JPY 99.6bn (US-$ 978m.)
Besides the X-series cameras, the report also names instant cameras as responsible for the raise in revenue, as well as optical devices such as camera modules for smartphones and projector lenses. While Fujifilm’s imaging business is still not making any profits, it is at least on a good way, and the decision to focus on higher-end products seems to be paying off.
Here’s one we missed when it was originally announced: Fujifilm recently introduced a pair of accessory grips for its X-Pro and X-E models, called MHG-XPro and MHG-XE respectively. The grips attach to the bottom of the camera and provide a new tripod mount that is positioned on the lens axis. Access to the battery compartment is possible while the grips are attached.
In addition to extra comfort when holding the camera, the grips also provide an extra bit of height, so that larger lenses don’t get in the way of a tripod head. The MHG-XPro and MHG-XE’s frames are milled from aluminium and sit right on top of the camera’s integrated grip, providing the same textured pattern.
Both grips are available now for prices of US-$ 150 (MHG-XPro) and US-$ 130 (MHG-XE) respectively, according to dpreview. However, we couldn’t find them with any of the regular retailers as of yet.
This week has seen a number of firmware updates being announced, not all of which we were able to report on in a timely manner. So in order to keep you all in the loop, here’s a roundup of what’s been going on. Fuji has added new functionality to its X-series mirrorless cameras, the Nokia Lumia 1020 has gotten the ‘Black’ treatment with DNG raw file support, the Pentax K-3 was given some general improvements, and Sigma’s SD1 models have received some bugfixes. Full breakdown after the jump.
In an interview recently conducted by the Thai website 2how.com, Fujifilm manager Kawahara-san claims that at this point, the company had no plans to introduce a full-frame X-mount camera. The question came up because such a camera body has recently been asked for by fans of the X-system, in part due to the fact that Sony recently introduced the world’s first mirrorless full-frame camera that is not a Leica M rangerfinder. It would seem only logical that we’d see more cameras like the A7 and A7R in the near future.
Kawahara-san mentions a couple of convincing reasons for not going full frame with the X-system, though. For one, current X lenses would not be compatible with the new camera because they were designed for APS-C sensors. Also, part of the X-system’s formula is overall small size, which would be compromised by introducing a full-frame sensor along with new lenses that will work with it.
The good news though is that Fujifilm is continuing to actively improve their current models by listening to the wishes of their customers and providing firmware upgrades. They’ll continue to do so, which is part of the reason they won’t introduce an X-Pro 2 soon. Instead, they want their customers to use their cameras longer in their life. That’s actually one of the best things we’ve heard from any industry official all year, because it means the company won’t make your new camera obselete in half year or a year from now, further nurturing the throwaway culture.
The full interview is after the break, and it’s well worth spending ten minutes for it, if you’re into the Fujifilm X-system at all.
Fujifilm’s 23mm f1.4 will render an equivalent of 35mm on Fujifilm’s APS-C X series cameras. As one of the classic focal lengths, this has been a lens that photographers have been asking for for a while. The lens features a minimum focusing distance of around 11 inches, 11 lens elements in 8 groups, an all metal build, a snap-back style focusing ring that lets you toggle between autofocus and manual focus, and overall just some seriously beautiful image quality. And there is very little to complain about with this lens.
Justifying the purchase of $899 to yourself though, will be one of the toughest things to do.