Dear Fuji, (The End of Full Frame?)

In my previous post I discussed the reasons I felt Fujifilm was not ready for professional use. The conclusion stemming from Fuji’s lack of professional support networks via service centers, tether support, and TTL support. These would possibly lead one to believe that I am not a fan of the Fuji system and likely wont stick to it. On the contrary, I would say Fuji is the future of professional use, and are currently making the best camera (moneywise) on the market. Before I delve deeper into this claim I would like to link the following video to provide some leadup to why I believe crop sensor mirrorless is the future of professional photography.

For those who did not watch the video, it consisted of Zach Arias discussing what he carries with him on a shoot. This kit contained a Phase one XF-100 MP, a Fujifilm X-Pro 2 and a Fujifilm X-100s. It is this setup that Zach uses to conquer any assignment given to him. And it is this setup that will become the future of professional photography.

Now I’m not saying that in the future all pros will have medium format cameras costing as much as a Benz. What I am saying is with the advancements being made in the 645-digital medium format via Pentax, Hasselblad, and Fuji. Soon very few pros will have a reason to stick with full-frame, and medium format will likely become the standard for professional work.

So, what dose this mean for full-frame? Medium format cameras continue to get smaller and smaller, the benefits of Full Frame systems will disappear. Higher megapixel counts as well as greater dynamic range and Depth Of Field (three of the main advantages Full frame has over APS-C) are all key benefits of medium format systems.

With this move to medium format, a new market will likely open for cameras that preform all the secondary functions that medium format doesn’t such as video, high frame rate shooting, and portability. These functions are ones that crop sensor cameras such as the Fujifilm XT-2 and Nikon D500, Olympus OMD-EM1, and the Panasonic Gh5 excel in. Additionally, with the current advancements in technology the gap between full-frame performance, and crop sensor performance is becoming narrower and narrower.  As this closes the weight savings gained from a smaller sensor will likely overpower and benefits of full frame.

So, where dose this place Fujifilm? Currently the X-trans sensor used by Fujifilm offers higher resolution with as good or better dynamic range and color than similarly priced full frame cameras form Canon, Nikon, and Sony.  While these other offerings may have a slight advantage in the low light performance, this is largely overridden by the higher body and lenses costs. A point that will become far more important as professionals begin moving into the medium format sector.  Additionally, Fujifilm has built their entire camera business around the creation of APS-C specific lenses allowing greater sharpness and focus speed compared to adapting full frame lenses to APS-C bodies.

When it comes to Crop sensor use, the ecosystem designed by Fujifilm is class leading. This combined with their release of the GFX 50s puts them at the forefront of technological innovation. As full frame use begins to die out they will likely become one of the largest players in the professional camera marketplace.

This being said for Fujifilm to truly dominate the camera market, they need to begin offering the services needed by working professionals. Once this is done I truly believe it will solidify them as one of if not the leading camera manufacture in the business.