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Fujifilm GFX100 and Lenses Firmware Updated, Software Engineering by Fujifilm Needs More Attention to Detail, Usability

Update July 25: severe autofocus error is confirmed on a Siemens Star target.

When I first connected the Fujifilm iOS app to the Fujifilm GFX100, it alerted me to the availability of a firmware upgrade for the GFX100, which I installed—well done.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

Problem is, the app did not alert me to the fact that every lens also had a firmware update. Nor did the GFX100 itself once upgraded. Huh?

The camera firmware could easily incorporate knowledge of the minimum required lens firmware for full compatibility—just incorporate that info into a firmware update and warn the user when a lens with old firmware is attached. How freaking hard is that to engineer?!

Since I cannot be sure that my initial work represents the results with the now-current firmware (I updated all lenses), I have to redo most of it. Which means reshooting and then redoing the work of organizing and assessing (much more time than the shooting). Any pros out there love re-shooting jobs?

Fujifilm GFX-100

Given the results so far, I now have to assess whether I can rely on AF for critical work. And even if AF is seen to be reliable with the new firmware, then it remains to be seen how to avoid the killer feature of unstable lens focus (as in killing image sharpness). That must be done before I spend days shooting the GFX100.

It will take me a day or two of boring work to figure out how to reliably get an optimally focused image every time, if that is even possible. Then I can resume my review and share what I’ve learned, saving readers some hair. That said, not all my images were degraded from my initial shoot, so I still have some stuff to show.

Add to that mess the still extant problem that has plagued Fujifilm cameras for years: Play-Delete resets lens focus. Since I frequently check exposure by Play, deleting the file should I need to adjust exposure, this has caused serious usability harm for years. I cannot understand why Fujifilm does not fix this awful behavior. It’s not the only brain-dead thing still remaining, either.

I love the image quality with the GFX100, but it just stinks to put up with half-baked camera behavior. I hope someone at Fujifilm engineering reads this and takes action.

Not just me...

Jim Kasson reports similar issues in his work with Fujifilm GFX, and with other lenses, so it appears to be a general problem with Fujifilm GFX gear. See his posts: Fujifilm GFX/63 focus instability and Focus shift, LOCA, focus stability of Fuji 23/4 on GFX. I have observed much worse issues than he has, but the behavior is the same— the lens focus just changes on its own regardless of camera settings and in 8 seconds or less, so it happens quickly.

Reviewing my work with the 63/2.8 a few days ago, I now see that it also suffers from unstable lens focus (a change in magnification is damning evidence). I am now convinced that the unstable lens focus behavior is an issue that applies to all the lenses, debunking my "LM" focusing motor theory.

Jason W writes:

None of your reports shock me. You're dealing with a bleeding edge professional product that's a first to market. It would be a total shock if it worked without issues this soon.

Extremely complex products take years of iteration to perfect. Canon is about the only manufacturer that gets that, and as a result, they're always late to the party. They got screwed waiting to create the superlative EOS R as Sony iterated how many buggy, ill-designed sub-par A7 series cameras and took the whole market. Panasonic's S1R? Best in class and years too late.

Fujifilm was first to market with this sensor, the cheapest 100 megapixel camera in history, and you can tell they were moving fast to get it out there. Back in April a Fuji rep at NAB told me they had firmware issues. I can only imagine the engineering task.

DIGLLOYD: actually, it has been years—2+ years for GFX and many more for Fujifilm X—same genetics, same behaviors. I don’t think there is any evidence that the behaviors I describe are anything new for years now—quite the contrary.

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