“Why full frame?”

My last post has generated some great feedback, and questions about whether or not I want Fujifilm to produce a full frame camera, and why. I started responding to these questions in the arena in which they were asked, but the length of my response quickly got into blog post territory so here we are.

“Do you want Fujifilm to produce a full frame camera?”

I sort of alluded to this in my previous post, but for clarity, my position on full frame is I don’t think it is necessary (yet), but I wouldn’t be disappointed if they did. Again, this is because I believe the current lineup of XF lenses is already (or soon will be) very complete. I don’t think we are missing much in the prime world now that the 56mm f/1.2 has been released. The “high speed wide angle prime” will be gravy. We still need a line of pro/weather sealed zooms. Happily, they’re on their way.

“For what purpose?”

This is a more interesting question to answer, and the differences may seem minor. It’s sort of *“last 10%”* sort of thing. There is a real difference in what f-stops mean on APS-C sensors as it relates to depth of field, but beyond that, the added light-gathering of a full frame X-Trans would be phenomenal, and I suspect dynamic range would also improve.

When I made the move from my Nikon D300 to the D700, the difference was huge. APS-C sensors have improved dramatically since then, but so have full frame sensors. Just imagine what Fujifilm’s noise reduction algorithms could do on 24 megapixel full frame sensor.

Full frame = bigger

If the X-Pro2 does go full frame, I expect it will stay within the same size as the current X-Pro1 (which is smaller than Sony’s A7), with a few modifications to bring it in line with the X-T1.2 Physics dictates that lens sizes may need to increase, but if you look at the size of previous lens generations from Nikon (AI-S, AF-D) or even Leica and Voigtländer, it quickly becomes apparent that much more compact full frame lens designs are possible.3 Who knows what sort of engineering trickery Fujifilm Japan have up their collective sleeves.

A second lens line up?

If they did release a full frame line of cameras, then yes, I would expect a full line of full frame lenses. Canon and Nikon have been trying to execute that plan for years with varying degrees of success so why not Fujifilm? Remember, digital started with cropped sensors and full frame lenses, and it stayed that way for years before the full frame sensor came out. In fact, Nikon still hasn’t had a full frame digital camera available for longer than it only had an APS-C camera available. If anything, Fujifilm at least have the order right.


My previous post wasn’t meant to outline what I want or what my expectations are. It was largely idle speculation, what I think could happen based on what we’ve already seen Fujifilm achieve—a complete camera system in about 3 years.

I don’t quite understand why some people are up in arms about this though. APS-C-sized cameras aren’t going anywhere. Fujifilm will no doubt continue to iterate on them, and will almost certainly keep releasing firmware updates for them. The torrent of new lenses may slow to a trickle, but once again, I don’t think that’s a problem. I would much prefer to see Fujifilm continue to innovate and push boundaries rather than slow down and start resting on their laurels. If they do decide to stun us with an impossibly small full frame camera system that we can decide to buy (or not), how is that a bad thing? Either way, I’m looking forward to their next big announcement.

  1. More on that in another post.
  2. I fully acknowledge those lenses are manual focus only and/or are driven by the camera so they don’t have the circuitry found within Fujifilm’s lenses. All this demonstrates is more compact lenses then say the latest generation of primes from Nikon is possible.

Fujifilm and Full Frame

Discussions around the X-Pro2 being full frame are heating up fast. For a long time now, I’d been thinking that moving to full frame would be a mistake for Fujifilm, but something occurred to me today. Take a look at the current FUJINON lens roadmap. Now think about what’s missing. I’m not talking about niche or crazy exotic lenses, I’m talking real voids in the line up.

First, let’s look at primes:

We have the 14mm f/2.8, 18mm f/2, 23mm f/1.4, 27mm f/2.8, 35mm f/1.4, 56mm f/1.2, 60mm f/2.4 Macro already out with a “high speed wide angle lens” on the way (my money is on 16mm at about f/1.4). Save for an 85–90mm portrait lens to cover off the 135mm equivalent, and maybe a 1:1 macro lens, I don’t see any major holes.

Second, let's look at zooms:

We have two “pro” f/2.8 zooms on the way covering 16-140mm, and an ultra-wide fixed-aperture 10-24mm zoom. Then there are variable aperture high-end consumer zooms covering 18-200mm, a weather sealed 18-135mm variable aperture zoom due out shortly, and affordable consumer zooms covering 16-230mm. Finally, there’s also a mysterious “Super Telephoto Zoom lens.” Let’s pretend it’s also a “pro” lens covering something like the equivalent of 200-400mm on 35mm. Again, we aren’t left with any major holes.

Now we’ll look at timing:

The X-Pro1 was announced in January of 2012. By the end of 2014, we’ll have all the lenses listed above. The pace is downright staggering, and it’s astounding how thoroughly Fujifilm have humiliated Nikon in terms of having a complete APS-C lens line up.

So what’s next?

Enter full frame:

Imagine a full frame X-Pro2 is announced on January of 2015 along with 3 lens, and is available in March of 2015. Sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it? Fujifilm have shown that they can crank out a very capable, complete camera system in about 2 years. What’s stopping them from doing it again?

These last two years have shown Fujifilm are in the mirrorless camera game to come out on top. Maybe I’m just tired from staying up too late getting my 60mm f/2.4 Macro vs. 56mm f/1.2 article done last night, but the more I think about it, the more I think a full frame X-Pro2 is a very real possibility, and maybe even the obvious next step.


Now, this is all just speculation. I am in no way suggesting that it’s something Fujifilm has to do or that we need a full frame camera in order to produce images that compete with the DSLRs, but if Fujifilm have their eye on cornering the mirrorless market, having a complete system in both APS-C and full frame formats does make some sense. Canon and Nikon have been operating in a similar fashion for quite some time now with their DSLRs.

There will always be folks who balk at the notion of using a smartphone as their primary cameras (I do), but the reality is “Consumer” cameras are dying fast. The high end is where the money will continue to be for some time yet, and if that high end can be served by Fujifilm, I won’t complain.

Fujifilm could simply continue to iterate on the system they’ve got, but recent history has shown that outside of Japan, mirrorless cameras aren’t gaining ground like anyone would expect. The addition of “full frame” with the other marketing bullet points will draw more eyeballs towards Fujifilm and the mirrorless market in general.

If you’re happy with APS-C, you’re already in really good shape for lens selection. There’s a lot to choose from, and there’s no chance Fujifilm will abandon the format anytime soon. If you’re waiting for a complete, compact, full frame system, it’s possible you’ll have it in a little over years after the X-Pro2 is released, provided it is in fact full frame. Fujifilm have already shown they can do it.