It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the Fujifilm X-T3 is coming soon, we have been hearing about it for months, even if unofficially. The discovery today by Nokishita of the registration of an X-T3 in China only confirms what we have all been expecting from Fujifilm. However, it also introduced a new ripple into this picture of the upcoming Fujifilm flagship camera. Apparently, the X-T3 itself will, in fact, be manufactured in China; a first for a Fujifilm flagship camera, these have previously all been built in Japan.
If you were to make the comment that hey, the X-T3 isn’t technically a flagship anymore, with the X-H line now sitting ahead of it, you wouldn’t be incorrect. That may be exactly the reasoning that Fujifilm decided to move the manufacturing of the X-T3 over to China, who knows. But it is an interesting decision. It is funny how as a market we get so attached to certain products coming from certain places as if they can’t be produced as well elsewhere. Potatoes from Idaho, Cars from Detroit, Cameras from Japan; These are several examples that come to mind, but the fact Is that these days consumers really only care about one thing – cost.
A company can shave a few hundred dollars off a camera by building it in China vs Japan, that makes it a much more compelling buy for people interested. For example, just taking the X-H1 as an example, at $1,899 (built in Japan) it is right up there with the Sony A7III and is honestly mostly outclassed by that camera. But let’s say Fujifilm moved the production of that camera to China and could shave $300-$400 off the cost of the camera, bringing the Fujifilm X-H1 down to around that $1400-$1500 range – all of a sudden the X-H1 is a much easier pill to swallow.
Then there’s the theoretical issue with the USA in particular and Trump’s tariffs.
Obviously, the above example is just that, an example. I don’t have any knowledge of the actual numbers that Fujifilm could save by moving production to China, but my point is that in a market as competitive as the camera market is right now; and given how no one makes a bad camera these days (they are all very capable, on their own) a consumer’s choice comes down to minor features they like, style preferences, but mostly – it comes down to cost. So if Fujifilm can make their camera more attractive to buyers by keeping its capabilities the same, but offloading the production to China, it is understandable why they would make that choice.
If there is anything that the influx of affordable Chinese brands into the photography market has shown us it is that, by and large, most people don’t care where the gear they are buying comes from. They just want it to work as expected; no one expects a digital camera to last more than 3-5 years these days, and that is not even because of build quality or functionality, but simply because of performance, and the chances being that they will be upgrading by then to something newer anyway.
So you can’t tell me that a camera built in China will be any less capable after that 3-5 year mark than one built in Japan. It simply isn’t enough time, if these were the film days and you could use the same camera for 10 years then sure, maybe the Japanese model would last you a bit longer. But this isn’t the film days, and you likely won’t be using your camera long enough for that to matter – in my opinion.
Do we even care that the X-T3 could be built in China? Some of you surely will, but by and large, in my estimation, the majority of anyone even interested in an X-T3 probably couldn’t care less – especially if there truly is a lower price tag because of it.
Agree? Disagree? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think.