I posted this commentary at Dpreview FujiFilm Talk forums a short while ago and thought it worth sharing here as well. (Further Comments below)
Normally by this time of the year we have a pretty good handle on the likely offerings from various camera manufacturers for the coming year. Traditionally we have seen Fuji announce new models very early in the beginning of the year, for example the HS20 was announced Jan 7th 2011 here and Jan 5th in the northern hemisphere.
By mid November of 2010 I had confirmation from Fuji NZ the the new HS camera was coming.
To date there has been no news as to a HS50 replacement, and it seems the only info to date is to the ongoing development and release cycle for the X series cameras.
This leads to the speculation that perhaps Fuji may be going to a 2 year cycle for the HS cameras rather than the annual yearly offering. Not a bad thing IMHO as it allows a better development timescale for firmware updates and improvements in the camera production cycle.
Whatever the case may be, Fuji have been extraordinarily quite in so far as leaking news to the community. If one looks at the Fujifilm global website it’s obvious that a good many of the lower echelon cameras have now been removed from the listings, a sign of the times perhaps?
Fuji is moving away from the pocket camera market apart from one or two offerings and heading into the more refined pro & enthusiast range of cameras. Certainly the arrival of the new models, X-M1 & X-Q1 & X-A1 would support the notion that this is where Fuji’s marketing and development teams are steering FujiFilm for the future. The low end compact market is pretty much dead with the advent of some pretty good performing mobile devices. Even my daughters iPad takes a reasonable photo, good enough for any family snaps and travel photos.
All of which bothers me as I’m still in the market for a new HS or X series bridgecamera as they best suit both my interest in photography as well as fit very comfortably in my hand, which none of the X series cameras do ( apart from the XS1 ). I hope they have something in the pipeline in the way of an improved 2/3 bridge camera as a continuation of the current 1/2 sensor would really be pointless as there is not real gain in IQ between the HS20 to the HS50, when compared with the XS1.
An XS2 with the same lens and 2x digital zoom would be very nice for Xmas. One can only hope.
I’ve had this nagging feeling that Fuji may be about to leave the bridgecamera market. The arrival of the HS50 was really only a tweak of the lens (albeit a big tweak ) as a long awaited speeding up of the overall performance of the camera.
In terms of IQ upgrade and improved performance, frankly it really didn’t happen. I see people posting images on forums from the HS50 and extolling its virtues as to how great it is, but seriously these people took better photos with their HS10’s and HS20’s than they have with the following two models. Both the HS30 & HS50 are really only refinements of a good camera, that really hasn’t got better.
Fuji is quite capable of putting a new generation X-Trans sensor in the HS50 body, very few will be bothered by a reduction in overall focal length if the IQ is vastly improved and they retain the digital zoom option, one of the real successes of the HS50.
But most perplexing of all has to be the utter silence from Fuji this close to the announcements of their new lineup for the coming year, due in about 35 days.
I guess we wait and see, hopefully it’s good news as at present I’m seriously giving consideration to the notion of moving platforms, perhaps to Pentax or Nikon as a option.
I have no doubt more will be revealed in time, hopefully a very pleasant surprise is in the cards.