The Fujifilm X community of photographers are a loyal bunch, sometimes to a fault. It’s understandable, though, as Fujifilm provides consistent updates, even for cameras of previous generations. But recently, this seems to have become a crutch, and the X-T3 has inspired me to write this open letter.
You’ve been a wonderful partner over the years. With each and every camera release, we’ve enjoyed not only incremental improvements to usability, but huge improvements in hardware that make each generation of the X Series worth the upgrade. On top of that, you have provided your customers with what they have come to know as “new cameras” through your excellent Kaizen firmware program.
Then, the X-H1 came along. Not only was it a camera we weren't expecting in the X series lineup, but it simply wasn’t finished. On release, it would lock up, reset itself, and at times, not write data to the memory cards before doing so. For the first month, our new cameras were simply glorified paperweights. Once the kinks were ironed out, the X-H1 proved to be an incredible camera, and it's been my staple for both video and stills for the past six months.
Now comes the X-T3, the latest update to your other flagship. The huge improvements in autofocus and overall operational speed sold me again. I picked up my X-T3 on release day. You can imagine my surprise when it suffered from the same issue as the X-H1. Around halfway through my shoot that night, the camera locked up and the images on the buffer vanished into the ether. Not once, but twice.
I can understand that your technology develops and your software engineers find new ways to do things with the current processing power. These are wonderful and welcome additions to the firmware. I also understand small bugs that arise in very specific use cases need to be fixed. But a camera that doesn’t reliably write the photographs to the memory card? This is the camera’s basic function. It shouldn't happen. And that on not one flagship, but two in a row. That is the point when I start questioning whether I made the right choice in switching to Fujifilm's system.
So, Fujifilm, I’ve never picked up a camera so often or made so many photographs. Your cameras make me a better photographer by making me want to leave the house and make photographs. But, if it’s all the same to you, I’d like to keep those photographs as well. Again, this should not be an issue that we face with a flagship model.
Oh, and please update your own raw processing software with the release of the camera. I still can't open my raw files.
Let's not take this beyond the scope of what it is supposed to be. We're taking a look at how firmware is used as a crutch when releasing unfinished cameras. Aside from this, the X-T3 has been an excellent update and my full review will come after I've been able to use it for some time and as Adobe Camera Raw supports the files from the camera. Look out for that!
NOTE: Since writing this article, I have spoken with Fujifilm Korea and there is a firmware update on the way for the X-T3 to fix this issue.