What’s coming? Well, something will. That at least is certain.
Recently, here, a rumour surfaced that two new Fujifilm cameras will be announced, possibly this summer. The monetary number of seven hundred presumably US dollars was mentioned. The general feeling is that one camera will be the previously rumoured entry level interchangeable lens X-Trans sensor model. What the other will be is less clear ( not that it is exactly clear what the fist one will be either – far from it in fact).
Speculation, the entity, is already running rampant. To me, much of this seems more like wish listing than actual considered thought.
Entering the fray, here are my considerations, such as they are.
1: Although I can’t (be bothered to) track them down now, there are rumours that seem credible regarding the aforementioned entry level model.
2: I have also found a reliable sounding report where a Fujifilm rep has told someone not to expect an updated X-Pro1 any time soon (in particular – not only saying that, but mentioning that Fujifilm is currently focused on their lens roadmap and one new entry level model). Ditto the above bit about not being bothered.
3: Here in Japan, I have been told that camera shop workers know absolutely nothing of Fujifilm’s plans, but that they can also see no reason why Fujifilm would deviate from the timing already established. I.e., any new X-Pro model would likely come around a year after the introduction of the X100s. Remember, Japanese companies tend to stick to established practice.
?: The number that should go here is an unlucky number in Japan. Let’s skip straight to 5.
5: To me, this makes economic sense. All those possessing both the interest and means to own the latest and greatest will have had ample time to slake their thirst on an X100s before the arrival of their next purchase, an updated X-Pro model. Fujifilm will sell more X100s units this way. Ditto the late arriving 35mm equivalent lens.
6: Mirrorless cameras without finders but with interchangeable lenses are popular in Japan, where they are becoming a highly respected class (often marketed to ‘sha-gals,’ i.e. camera girls – a substantial subculture group). I’m sitting in a train typing this right now. For the first half of the week the insides of the cars were all plastered with advertisements for Panasonic’s latest offerings in this class (the ads change frequently, and today I’m confronted by a multitude of cell phone urgings)*. This is a popular and presumably profitable class that Fujifilm currently does not compete in.
7: Thusly I predict: there will be at least one completely new model of camera. It will be in the general form of the X-E1 but smaller. It will have the Fujifilm X mount. It will have no viewfinder. All focusing, framing, etc. will be done on a rear, possibly articulated LCD panel. It will have all the features typical of this class of system (face detection, wifi, etc.). It will have a similar X-Trans sensor and processor set to the X100s (won’t be exactly the same, as the X100s one is custom matched to the fixed lens).
8: There may be a similar version at some stage, sans the X-Trans features. However, this seems unlikely to me, as once you remove the viewfinder, the X-Trans sensor is all that’s left for differentiating the product from those of the competitors. The rumour referenced above also suggested that the second camera may be announced later. Push this back to a late (northern hemisphere) autumn announcement, and it could well herald a winter released new X-Pro model.
Well, that’s what I think. With the limited actual facts we have available, I think it is a fair assessment of what might happen. Trouble is, with such a restricted data set, there are plenty of other creditable conclusions that can be reached. The biggest problem with this particular conclusion is that it would leave the X-Pro1 looking quite outdated sensor wise, and it’s not good to have the flag ship model outclassed by the entry level model in even one specification category.
* On the following train, equipped with a screen for commercials, I saw an abbreviated version of this ‘sha-gal-ish’ Panasonic ad.