The road ahead – Recap
Back in Feb 2014 I wrote the following commentary https://akiwiretrospective.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/fuji-cameras-the-road-ahead/. Four months later things have moved on a little since the original article. ( Note that some of the links in the original piece aren’t working as retailers have changed their product line-ups). The most obvious happening has been the arrival of the Fuji XT1, whereas the prosumer market ( bridge cameras/ super-zoom compacts) has stalled, with only the Fuji S1 as a new model. Commentary by high level Fuji management has left us in no doubt that Fuji’s continued interest now lies almost solely with the X-series range of cameras. This is not too surprising given the pressure being applied by new generation mobile phones & tablets, with ever increasing photography abilities. This leaves a number of long time Fuji users with a problem, namely what their future upgrade path is to be when changing from their current bridgecamera to something newer.
Photography and the Bridge-camera
For those of us with more than a passing interest in photography, we like to have and use good quality equipment. For myself and a lot of others the introduction of the HS series by Fuji was hailed as a great innovative move forward for those wanting a complete system in one camera. The bridgecamera freed us from having to cart around various lenses and equipment. It gave us the opportunity to go from Macro to long range telephoto shooting in the blink of an eye ( well almost). Other manufactures were offering similar equipment at similar price points, and so the bridgecamera race heated up. For me a bridgecamera has to look & feel and operate as closely as possible to a DSLR. The trade off being increased focal length but a reduction in IQ from an APS sensor camera.
The arrival of the Fuji HS10 was the turning point for me as it opened up a wider range of possibilities and allowed me to put away my film SLR’s and my venerable s5700, which I used a good deal but always hated the slow powered zoom.
Must have requirements for a bridge camera ( my personal wants/needs)
- Manual zoom
- macro ability
- Long focal length & digital zoom
- responsive AF
- DSLR format
- Manual focus a manual modes.
- Powered by AA batteries. ( Go anywhere in the world and you will always find these – unlike lithium batteries.)
- Reasonable to good IQ
- Less then $1000.00 NZD ( New Zealand Dollars)
- Good size & weight ( especially for those of us with larger hands).
Others may have slightly different needs, but for me those would be the over riding prerequisites.
New generation Fujis.
Those interested in updating older equipment would be aware that the X series is Fujis’ new direction. We will exclude both the XQ1 and the XF1 as they are compact cameras whereas we need to consider system cameras as a viable solution to our intended upgrade path. That leaves us with the XA1 – XM1 – XE2 – XT and the XS1, of which there still appears to be good stocks, in fact the XS1 appears to be making something of a comeback. So here’s the current line-up.
As you can see from the above graphic the XS1 is a bit of a monster in comparison to its cousins.
The XS1 is now more reasonably priced and worth a look if you can be assured that the model you are getting has either been repaired by Fuji is one of the newer generation. The XS1 still remains a good all rounder with better than average IQ, but its not as nimble or quick as its younger sibling the HS50. If you can live with the slower AF and shot to shot and write times then the XS1 still makes a good buy. If however you are likely to be shooting moving targets and need fast reflexes coupled with very good write times then the HS50 wins that battle. In fact the HS50 is generally faster all round than any previous bridge camera and the IQ if shot well isn’t too far short of the output of the XS1. Personally I wouldn’t bother with the XS1 simply because the newer model X series cameras have a great deal more to offer, such as Wi-Fi compatibility and the ability to be used remotely, two things I would really value in a modern camera. Then there’s the vast improvement in IQ as all the X series cameras have an APS-c sensor….. more to come