An undeniable and long-standing staple in the photography world, Fujifilm's market share in the West is still fractional. With all of its innovation and strong reviews, one must ask, what more can Fujifilm do to increase influence in the Western market?
As more information surfaces on Fujifilm's 100-megapixel medium format camera, the announcement of a sequel to their best selling camera, and rumors of a GFX modular system, I can't help but wonder what Fujifilm have to do to compete in the West. You only need look at Digital Camera World's summary of Fujifilm's 2018 to realize they are putting in the hours. Their relentless innovation and production has raised eyebrows and garnered positive reception from the photography community at large, but one fact can't be overlooked: their market share in the West renders them almost irrelevant.
Allow me to take a step back briefly. I like Fujifilm cameras and I like their history in industry. I have used several Fujifilm cameras (one more if you'll let me include the brilliant Instax! No? Fine.) albeit not for any of my commercial work, and I'm always impressed. The build quality is high-end, the specs are strong, and they feel good to use. But when push comes to shove, would I buy one?
Alex Cooke and I were discussing the new 100 megapixel medium format monster Fujifilm are preparing. He was fighting the urge to get one when he can, whereas I essentially scoffed at the idea. Yes, its spec is brilliant and its selling points are alluring. Here's the summary from Cooke's article:
- DP Review says the body feels like a Nikon D5 or Canon 1D X II with a fast prime
- Highly improved EVF performance
- Secondary OLED display under the back LCD
- Tilting rear touchscreen
- Dual SD card slots
- 4K at 30p
- Improved autofocus performance
- Likely coming in late spring or early summer
- In the past, Fujifilm has said that the camera will be priced under $10,000
A lot of what the camera offers isn't unique, however high-end it may be. However, it has two huge attractions: brand new, modern spec medium format for under $10,000, and 100 megapixels. The former is far more intriguing than the latter for me. Honestly, I'm not sure what I'd need 100 megapixels for, and I do extremely long macro stacks for commercial use, including billboard printing. The fact is — as Fstoppers showed last year — megapixels are overrated for printing, no matter how large. The generous spec on a medium format camera, for a price closer to a top of the range full-frame body is far more interesting.
Whether you would buy it or not, it's an impressive piece of kit, well priced, and yet the only place Fuji are dominant is Thailand. Every 2018 report of market shares for cameras and lenses are utterly dominated by Canon, Nikon, and Sony, usually in that order. For video, Panasonic are a heavy hitter, admittedly, but if you want Fuji's market strengths, you'll have to depart from cameras and look at medical use picture archiving systems and film for polarizers.
So, why the deficit? Admittedly, there's always the concern over lenses, with favorites like the Sigma Art series only being made to fit either Nikon, Canon, Sony, or Sigma mounts. But having used adapters on Sony bodies for Canon lenses and vice versa, I can confidently say that adapters are not much of a worry anymore.
So I put this question to you readers, both Fujifilm and non-Fujifilm users, why are they not better represented in the Western camera market, given they are arguably working harder and innovating more than their rivals? What would it take for you to switch to Fuji?
Lead image courtesy of Lina Kivaka via Pexels