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The FinePix X100 is the starting point of the high-end cameras

The FinePix X100 is the starting point of the high-end cameras to follow in future


Interview with Hiroshi Kawahara, Operations Manager at Fujifilm Electronic Imaging Products Division and one of the designers of the FinePix X100. Iker Morán.

In spite of the fact that it is not a camera designed for all user types, the new FinePix X100 has become one of the most talked-about new products of the year. Did you expect there to be so much speculation surrounding this product announcement? Why has Fujifilm set out on this new adventure now?

The response from the public has been very positive, even after Photokina, which has exceeded our expectations. We believed it was the right time for us to announce a camera packed with all our technologies accumulated over the years, and judging by the expectation created we were right in doing so.

Hiroshi Kawahara answered our questions by e-mail.


Is it a kind of trial balloon experiment to see how the market responds or is this the first camera of a new saga?


Given Fujifilm's long and successful experience in developing high range products, the company has never stopped manufacturing this type of product and the FinePix X100 will help us to consolidate our brand image in such a competitive market sector as this.

In the specifications of the FinePix X100 figures an APS-C sized CMOS accompanied by an EXR processor. In what way will this image motor be noticed? Will it offer different modes (HR, SN, and DR) like the cameras with Super CCD EXR?

The FinePix X100 is a camera conceived so that photographers can express themselves freely; this is why there is no automatic mode setting except for the exposure. However, thanks to the newly developed EXR processor, images are processed based on the idea of high resolution / high sensitivity and low noise / wide dynamic range, in order to achieve best quality pictures in every condition.

Why has a CMOS sensor been used instead of a Super CCD? Does there exist any limitation to manufacturing Super CCD EXR sensors of this size?


I can assure you there is no limitation in production of Super CCD EXR in this size. On this occasion, we have chosen a CMOS sensor because of its high-speed processing, achieving in this way a high-speed AF. In addition, the size of the conventional Super CCD EXR sensor is between 1/2 and 2/3 inches, and the EXR arrangement is the structure most effective for such a small size. APS sensors are large and have enough information, so it does not require an image capturing method using two pixels in different ways, like in an EXR sensor.

Why an APS-C sized sensor instead of one with smaller dimensions, like in the case of the Micro Four Thirds cameras, which would have enabled you to reduce the size of the camera?

Although the size of the camera is not a fundamental aspect in this type of model, we designed the FinePix X100 under the concept "co-existence of compact size and high-quality". From the viewpoint of image quality, the APS-C system has a clear advantage over Micro Four Thirds (in particular, high sensitivity and low noise). Also, for obtaining a beautiful soft focus background "bokeh" effect, APS achieves beautiful result. For these reasons, we chose an APS-C sized sensor.

It has been said that the sensor used is similar to that seen in some Nikon SLR cameras, and therefore manufactured by Sony. Can this information be confirmed?

The sensor of the FinePixX100 is customized to match its lens. We should point out that the most important thing is not who produces the technology but the technology in itself, and in this sense Fujifilm optimizes its technologies depending on the photographic result being pursued at any given time.

One might guess that the autofocus of the X100 will be by contrast. Did you not consider the possibility of using a hybrid AF like in the FinePix F300 EXR? Is this option contemplated for the future?


The FinePix X100 adopts contrast AF and realizes similar focus speed to hybrid AF of F300EXR. We are considering developing both hybrid AF and phase detection AF technology for future.

At Photokina we tried a pre-production unit of the X100 and one of the things we liked most was the "hybrid viewfinder". Is this your own technology or will we see it in future cameras of other companies?

Fujifilm is the first company to use a hybrid system viewfinder and we did this because we thought it was the best option for this type of product. We cannot say whether other companies are going to follow in our footsteps, but in view of the speed with which other manufacturers' technology is currently adopted, it's possible this might happen.

At a time in which all the manufacturers seem to be going for mirror less systems, Fujifilm has chosen a compact camera with a large sensor. Do you consider the possibility of conceiving in the future a camera like the X100 but with interchangeable lenses?

The first thing I would like to make clear is that the FinePix X100 is not out to overshadow the reflex models, but that it will look for its own place in the market. Furthermore, it is very difficult for an interchangeable lenses system to be compatible with a "hybrid viewfinder" system. In addition, achieving compact size and structure for high-resolution becomes a problem in interchangeable lenses systems. We will of course consider the possibility of forthcoming models reflecting the expectation of the end-users.


The X100 uses a lens equivalent to 35 mm f2. Will we see future versions of the camera with other focal lengths just like Sigma has done with its DP cameras?

The 35 mm lens is an ideal and standard focal length with versatility to capture a wide range of subjects from macro to wide angle shots. Before making any firm decision affecting our future models, we want to hear a lot of opinions from photographers.

With the FinePix X100 Fujifilm comes back into the world of professional digital photography. Is the following step to recover SLR cameras too or is that road definitely closed?


I'm happy to hear people commenting that Fujifilm came back to the professional market. The FinePix X100 is the starting point of the high-end cameras to follow in future, and although I can not tell you anything specific at this stage, please look forward to new Fujifilm cameras in the future.

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