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What’s Next for Fujifilm GFX100S? What about a Sony Medium Format?

There’s what I hope for, and what is going to happen. Where that intersection will fall out is hard to say, particularly in today’s constrained chip environment. But that in itself means tht higher-margin higher-end products might make more sense than before (lower volume of chips needed).

Where does Fujifilm go from here, now totally dominating the medium format market, particularly with the Fujifilm GFX100S? Possibilities in no particular order include:

Fujifilm GFX100S
  • Increasing pixel density, to arrive at a ~150 megapixel or so sensor. Viable within a year or two, maybe already. Given optical shortcomings, this prospect is not all that exciting, but some lenses could deliver the goods.
  • Fixing image quality post-processing limitations by solving the horizontal white stripes problem that makes the 100MP sensor a dubious choice for monochrome conversions.
  • Offer a PDAF-free sensor for cleaner image quality, one dedicated to landscape photographers. Also, a monochrome sensor so that one could carry around a color and mono body at heretofore unprecedented price+quality captures.
  • Two of three truly exceptional optics at a higher price point? The 100MP sensor is eminently capable, but constrained by at least half the lenses. Capture more on the same sensor via a better lens.
  • Better software such as field-usable multi-shot high-res mode or pixel shift mode. De-confusing the user interface for things like Fortran-based 1983 space shuttle focus stacking feature. Any computational photography stuff.
  • Lenses with better focusing motors; they pretty much suck in most Fujifilm GF lenses compared with what Sony delivers.
  • Pushing the price down, to get 100MP pricing down to $4000 or so?

Of these, price reductions make the most sense to me from a strategic perspective, so as to gain a stranglehold on the medium format market, to discourage competition. Already way ahead, turn on the afterburners. In terms of parts cost, a 100MP sensor surely doesn’t cost much more than a 50MP sensor (same area on a wafer, which is the primary cost driver).

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm Medium Format System

David K writes:

Please add to the list of having in-camera 'Consolidation of Quality' where you can choose to have 50 or 25 MP photos 'squeezed down' from the 100 MP, for even better photos. [Sorry! Can't remember the correct designation for that process!]

Drop the video and use the camera computer space for us still-life photographers. (Video cameras are out there and are better suited than the add-on/second-hand 'do everything approach'!)

DIGLLOYD: the first point refers to oversampling capture at full resolution, but recording reduced-size images (downsampling). I’m not a fan of this myself, since I’d always prefer a full-res capture, but some cameras offer it, and it does have its purposes.

As for video, I would also love to see the menu system decluttered by enabling the removal of all video-related settings. I can get far superior 8K video on the Sony A1; the Fujifilm medium format cameras and lenses are poorly suited to video IMO.

Sony medium format?

Sony is dominating in so many areas now that even though the medium format market is very small by comparison, it could make sense for a “halo” product line to emerge. Besides, no company wants a competitor to dominate a market area and thus gain traction down the product line.

Still, I give a Sony medium format reltively low odds, and even lower odds of clear distinction, such as a larger sensor in the 48 X 36mm sensor range, for a compelling medium format sensor area twice that of the 35mm format and 20% larger than 44 X 33mm. Something like that would have an immediate marketing advantage, even if its practical advantage is modest.


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