One has to wonder at what Fuji has in store for 2014. As I mentioned in a previous post there has been very little chatter as to what Fuji may bring to the market. We can However make some assumptions.
The demise of the compact camera is now well underway. It’s reasonable to assume that in this category there may only be one or two new models that will be of real interest. The “T” & “F” & “XP” series may see another year but it isn’t a stretch to think that the “T” series may well go the way of all the other low end compacts.
We know the X-S1 is gone and very unlikely to be repeated so a truly high quality bridgecamera doesn’t appear to be likely.
The HS50 will likely morph into an upgrade of some sort. To really gain my interest they will need to put a larger sensor in it or its going to be more of the same old same old…. very boring and totally forgettable. And this is the crux of the matter with the bridgecamera – to really be a serious contender they (Fuji) really need to put a considerably better sensor in the HS series or it’s going to be just another superzoom, of which there are plenty of other makers models to choose from, and some of these are better in the IQ stakes than the Fuji.
We are likely to see a reduction in the amount of models available in this category, which can only be a good thing as most of the other “S” series models are rubbish and a waste of hard earned currency. I’ve tried a number of the lesser models and to be frank I wouldn’t recommend any of them. In a good many cases my venerable s5700 is a better performer.
What then are we to make of all this? The most obvious thing is the demise of the compacts brought about by better and better mobile devices with good cameras. Good in the respect that they can at least equal and in some cases better the compacts that they are replacing. My daughters’ iPad ( less than 12 months old ) takes a good picture in almost every environment and you can print A4 prints that are as good as most folks will ever need.
Add to this the fact that Fuji never publicly put the HS50 into the Australian and New Zealand markets tells us a lot about how Fuji sees the market in this part of the world. Local Fuji shops still don’t have a HS50 on the shelf and aren’t likely to either. They are still trying to get rid of old stocks of the HS30.
If Fuji are serious about staying with the bridge camera format they really need to put out a unit that can go head to head with the smaller micro 4/3 class cameras that are rapidly becoming more affordable. (I will be covering this in up coming posts). From my point of view there are some very good reasons to produce a HS50 style camera. The ability to have an all in one lens with a top line sensor is going to make it a very attractive proposition for those needing something a bit smaller than a DSLR but with IQ that is a very close match. That’s where the X-S1 should have been but it was generally priced to high and plagued by some serious defects.
That takes care of the entry level and enthusiast superzoom cameras.
It’s clear that Fuji are now much more focused on the X series cameras, and to that end have been bringing several new models to market, some of which have even grabbed my attention and we will take a closer look at these as well. For now though we will just have to wait and see what Fuji has cooked up for us in next years’ announcements and what gets reported from CES 2014.
In the mean time …. anyone want an XF1? Cheap as at the moment.