Fujifilm has decided to enter the interchangeable lens mirrorless camera’s market with a brand new X10 camera. Many Fujifilm fans will certainly be very glad to hear this. The mirrorless market is already very saturated and very competitive. Sony, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic will make it really hard for Fujifilm to grab significant market share. First of all, the X-Pro 1 doesn’t come cheap at all (around ~$1700). This may cause some disappointment for many photographers who wished to have a camera like the X-Pro 1.
Furthermore, Fujifilm, most probably, want to grab as much market share as possible in the first months after the release of this camera. With such a high starting price tag, it will be hard to do so (reminds me what Sigma has done with the SD1). Leaving the price aside, the X-Pro 1 is certainly a very attractive camera on paper. Fujifilm has setup a minisite at fujifilm-x.com to show off the look and feel of this camera.
As with any interchangeable lens camera, a new mount has been introduced, in this case, the “X-mount”. At the hear of this new camera you can find a newly developed X-Trans CMOS sensor with 16MP and with an innovative color-array pattern design. By using this specific design, Fujifilm actually needn’t use an optical low-pass filer, allowing the X-Pro 1 to achieve higher resolution, as high as full-frame DSLR cameras, and even better according to Fujiflm.
Just by reading the specs sheet, It easy to get very excited about it. We can see that Fujifilm want to be a leading innovative company, and produce unique and intelligent digital camera that will differ from what we have today. The fixed-lens mirrorless X100 was praised by many reviews online. It seems that Fujiilm was testing the concept of those type of cameras, and have decided that it’s a good time to enter the mirrorless market with this new product.
When people search for a new mirrorless camera, they want the camera do be compact, produce high-quality images, and have a wide range of interchangeable lenses to choose from. Right now, the Micro Four Thirds standard has the strongest presence in this market. It means that when you purchase a Micro Four Third camera, you have a large range of lenses to choose from, and from a large range of manufacturers. For example, of you purchase an Olympus PEN camera, you can use any of Panasonic’s lenses for the Micro Four Thirds and vice versa. Certainly a good reason to buy into this standard.
FUJIFILM on the other hand has its own mount and will be producing its own lenses. Maybe in the future we’ll see some thirds party manufacturers that will be producing their own lenses for the X-mount. Sigma and Tamron said to the press that they intend to manufacture lenses for the Micro Four Thirds. A large collection of lenses will certainly help attract more buyers. Right now, Fujifilm introduced two lenses,a 35mm f1.4, 18mm f2 and a 60mm f2.4. Yes, all prime lenses.
By releasing only prime lenses, it seems that Fujifilm want to make a statement, showing that this is a prestige and unique product line (and the price reflects that). Prime lenses will certainly help to achieve very high image rendition. However, we want to see some zoom lenses, for those who just don’t want to mass up changing lenses every few minutes just to get a few different shots.
Fujifilm has already release some X-Pro 1 sample images on its official website. There are some sample images at various ISO (IS O200, 400, 1600). After viewing the sample images, I must admit that they look very good. Image colors are vibrant with lots of details and high dynamic range; exposure is also handles very well. I have no doubt in my mind that many reviews will give the camera a very high rating.
All in all, it looks like a great start and I hope that Fujifilm will manage to lower the price, so more people will be able to afford it.