How Bad Is the Fujifilm X Pro 3 Sub-Monitor Issue?

Every now and again, we’re told by photographers about problems their cameras have. Sometimes, these problems lead to class action lawsuits. A few companies have suffered this. And the latest issue we’ve been told about has to do with the Fujifilm X Pro 3. The word is that the eInk Fujifilm X Pro 3 sub-monitor becomes faulty and stops working after a while. So we did some investigation.

What’s Wrong with the Fujifilm X Pro 3 Sub-Monitor?

To explain this further, Fujifilm did one of the most brilliant moves we’ve seen in years. The Fujifilm X Pro 3 has a hidden LCD screen and an eInk display. The latter is what’s called the Fujifilm X Pro 3 sub-monitor. This eInk display is for anyone that’s shot film or has worked in photography for a long time. A lot of folks complained about it. But in my eyes, the folks who complain don’t truly know how to shoot. (That’s a whole other story though.)

For the record, I own and love the Fujifilm X Pro 3. Yes, my relationship with the camera isn’t perfect. They give it the most meager of firmware updates that are a slap in the face to any long-time Fuji fan. I use mine weekly. And of any of my cameras, this is the digital camera that’s my absolute favorite. The big draw to the camera is this specific eInk monitor. It helps me really stay in tune with what’s happening. I’ve worked with the camera so much that I can often predict what it’s going to give me. Otherwise, you can customize the viewfinder to do just that. The eInk display is just a constant reminder to myself not to worry about the images immediately. And more often than not, I’ve never edited images from the camera. It’s nice to just be able to shoot, like the look, and move on with my life. I’ll usually beam the images to my phone, upload them to a platform, and call it a day. Sometimes I’ll edit in Capture One, but I don’t usually need to. I only end up bringing out the LCD screen when I need to switch menus or I want to shoot in a different way.

That’s a very long way from saying that if this eInk Fujifilm X Pro 3 sub-monitor weren’t working, I’d be heartbroken. I use it to display my film simulation usually.

So when we were sent an email by a reader about the Fujifilm X Pro 3 having an issue like this, I was personally a bit shocked and confused. But just because I’m not personally experiencing the problem doesn’t mean that others aren’t. We were sent the video below. It shows how the eInk screen isn’t reflecting the settings on the camera. The user even goes deeper to change settings. But it doesn’t work.

“What happens is the sub monitor would go blank and then a little time after the rear LCD flip down monitor follows the same fate,” says Jett, who sent us the email. Jett explained that this also happened to his friends. But this isn’t the only problem to happen though. According to a Fred Mirana forum, the problem is more varied. Sometimes it can go completely black or gray out. Again, this is all quite sad since the camera already doesn’t receive the best firmware updates. One could say that it adds insult to injury. Oh right, and it’s also Fujifilm’s most expensive X-series camera. But again, we rated it very highly.

So What’s the Word?

As you can see in the chat, they speak about a class action lawsuit. But that’s not really how these things work. Sometimes there’s an issue with a recall and manufacturers refusing to do repairs to a known fault. However, Fujifilm America says that the problem is limited. “Fujifilm is committed to providing creators with best-in-class service and technology when it comes to our digital cameras,” says Victor Ha, Senior Director of Marketing and Product Management, Electronic Imaging Division & Cinema and Broadcast Products, FUJIFILM North America Corporation. “The number of sub monitor and LCD repairs for the X-Pro 3 within Fujifilm’s camera repair center is limited. If users are experiencing this issue, they can reach out to our repair center here.” Victor’s quote came to us via email when we asked our reps about the issue.

To get more insight into what’s happening, we reached out to the GOAT: LensRentals. Surely, they’d have seen this problem, right? Well, you’d be shocked.

“The popularity of the Fuji X-Pro3 means we’ve experienced a notable number of general issues with the EVF and have sent those out for repair, instead of in-house at Lensrentals,” said Drew Cicala, vice-president and co-owner Lensrentals. They said nothing about the sub-monitor issue, even after a slight quote amendment. 

Final Thoughts

Personally, I hope that this doesn’t become a class action lawsuit and that Fujifilm fixes all the issues. If it’s very prevalent, then a recall should be done. But this could be a tougher fight. The Fujifilm X Pro 3 isn’t the company’s most popular camera. This, at least, is my hypothesis as to why the firmware support for it isn’t really there. However, we’ve been told that sometimes it’s an internal storage issue. It’s hard for me to believe that though. A camera this new couldn’t have internal storage issues this soon. I don’t think Fujifilm would essentially sabotage their own devices like that.

As a journalist, I also can empathize with both sides here. There’s the customer — who paid good money to get a product that they want to be passionate about only to have failure. Lots of folks got into photography during the pandemic, and some of them did it for mental health reasons. On the other side, there’s the manufacturer — they’re facing various supply issues, shipping delays due to things out of their control, etc. There are credible reasons to have empathy for both sides. But without any sort of reconciliation, the favor clearly goes to the customer. And for what it’s worth, the manufacturers should be making better products from the start. No one needs a camera these days. They buy them because of work, or a passion. It’s one thing when an essential product fails. But when the product designed to tug at your heart becomes problematic, the issue just hits harder.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.