I guess for any of us hoping for a sign of better things to come from Fuji we feel a little disappointed.
I for one had hoped to see a new offering from Fuji regarding a replacement X-S1 or HS50. There are of course another couple of large trade shows in February so there may still be some good news in the future.
However at this point it seems a little less likely and the only serious trade show is later in the year. I’m referring of course to Photokina, which often showcases the more high end product range.
What I have gleaned from CES is that the majority of Fuji’s ongoing effort will be with the new X series cameras, which to be fair have been getting extremely favorable reports from a good many sources. That of course doesn’t help the mid tier camera user such as myself to whom the quality and cost (sub $1000.00 )bridgecamera was a godsend.
For those of us who have tried other companies cameras in the bridgecamera range ,will know that the Fuji is by far the closest in feel and operation to a smaller DSLR. The other cameras seem to be made for people with delicate hands, weigh half as much as the Fujis and are just too small in the hand, especially for someone like myself, as I feel the HS20 is about smallest in size, while still being comfortable for my use.
And while we know camera makers are being squeezed in the lower tiers by mobile devices, it seems odd that Fuji have adopted the philosophy that everyone wants an X series camera, to the detriment of the rest of their users. For any serious camera user their S1 offering is an insult. Motorized zoom and smaller sensor to start with. It may have snappy ergonomics and be a nice transition from a compact or mobile device but a top tier bridge replacement it isn’t by any stretch of the imagination.
I would have been extremely keen to have Fuji continue the X-S1 style bridge. With the sensor issue fixed, AF tweaked and a little better treatment to stabilize the lens barrel, coupled with a non metal frame, they could have had a real winner on their hands. They needed to make sure that they priced it sub $500US or sub $1000NZ here and they would have had, with a good promotion a loyal fan base.
The XS1 had the potential to be great and to some it already is, with the changes I mentioned, the speed of the HS50 coupled with an excellent lens and body what was not to like. You basically had an all purpose take anywhere 450mm zoom lens mini DSLR. They got oh so close with the X-S1.
On another note however it was noticed by most of the attendees at the CES show that there was in fact very little being offered in the way of new or upgrades to the current bridgecamera market so maybe there is indeed still some good things to come later in the year. One things for sure, by the end of this year I definitely need to retire the HS20, as its getting tired and I’m finding little joy in using it as it is starting to show signs of aging, particularly in the AF speed, which isn’t as good now as it once was.