Fujifilm’s Dilemma: And A Looming X100V Killer?

Luckily, as much as I would love to just purchase a Fujifilm X100V, I can’t – Fujifilm doesn’t seem to be able to:

+ Make them at all – or at least fast enough – possibly due to Covid supply chain or production restrictions
+ Make enough of them given their production planning and platform strategy
+ Make them because they are moving to a new sensor chip for all of their models?

I only vaguely remember when this most recent model camera came out 2 years ago – and its previous models going back to 2012 or 2013. I thought at the time that this camera was kind of “gimmicky” – because having Fujifilm film simulations and “recipes” was cute – but because I use Gimp – I can get whatever film simulation I want. And I pretty much always will take some image worth posting and run it through at least two steps of post processing. In fact, all of this pretty much renders the Fujifilm film simulations just a “nice to have” – a “cute” feature. I would imagine some do look pretty cool though.

I didn’t see the brilliance in this product until I started scanning my film negatives – using a macro lens on my Lumix GX85 – which turns out to be just the best film scanner I ever have had. Its better than the flat bed film scanners by a country mile.

Recently I started shooting using manual aperture and shutter speed on my (beloved) Lumix LX100III – which is the most fun camera I have ever owned, and is nearly “pocketable”. Its Leica lens is awesome. My images are better when I take the time to use some manual functions. I never shoot RAW – because I never care to print large any more either. I only post photo’s on a blog – its my “virtual gallery” where I can have a show every day. I can be that “legend in my own mind” and laugh at myself every day.

Back to Fujifilm. What a weird situation – they make all of these great cameras and use the same sensor and processor – which on one hand is brilliant, but on the other it seems potentially crippling. If they can’t get the chips for a specific product in their product line – it affects ALL of their products. And the other problem – if they want to switch from say a 26 MP X100V – which has been in crazy demand for over a year – and they need to move off that platform so they can upgrade to say a X100VI – based on a new 40 MP sensor – they are kind of screwed. Add in availability of the new platform chips and fixing any firmware bugs – and I can see why they are sold out across all products (it seems) and that they had to stop orders.

Bigger is NOT always better. I have no need for a 40 MP camera – for my use and needs. 26 MP is more than enough – so I am NOT clamoring for bigger / better. The main thing I want is the leaf shutter and fast ability to do street photography – plus the manual controls that bring me back to when I had a Leica M6. This is where the X100V rings my bell.

Now – if Fujifilm can’t deliver to its demand – at some point people will get disgusted – regardless of TikTok or whatever other stupid social media hype platform they get interest from. At some point – someone like Panasonic Lumix might enter this market.

I worked at Kodak in Rochester in 1981 – 82 before leaving Rochester – life was way too short for shitty weather – but it still really hurts me to think they made cameras an film and right now – could be kicking Fujifilm’s X100V ass if they had any decent business planning. When I worked there – there were 55,000 people employed there. Now its a couple thousand.

Why America has sent its manufacturing offshore for cheap labor – might have seemed brilliant to the bean counters – but look where we are now – we are relying on Asia for chip based projects – and hell – we invented these chips and their manufacturing process right here in Silicon Valley (plus many fine universities around the US).

I am praying that Biden’s Chips Act gets us back in the game. It was so short sighted to send all chip manufacturing to places that are sending spy balloons over our country to do whatever nefarious acts they have in mind.


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