IR: Fujifilm Interview With Toshihisa Iida and Makoto Oishi at CP+ 2019


Fujifilm has been giving lots of interviews lately and here is yet another one from CP+2019 after the one posted the other day. This interview is full of technical details that you can read into and image resource got lost talking about PDAF a few times so you might want to read their interview if my excerpts aren’t clear enough. Also, Fujifilm provided IR with some slides about their PDAF system that I have reproduced. Below are excerpts from the interview that cover all of the key details:

  • Canon believes that the camera market will contract by half, over the next two years, but Fujifilm believes it could grow given the right innovations.
  • The Asian market is huge so some markets might grow a lot while others contract, especially China where many don’t own a digital camera yet.
  • Fujifilm thinks that full-frame is probably one-third of the market by value.
  • “Two-thirds of the market is non-full frame, which is predominantly APS-C, Micro Four Thirds, and some medium-format as well.”
  • Fujifilm sees this fact as an opportunity to grow their APS-C and Medium format camera base
  • Their recent financial results show around 10% growth for them in the camera market.
  • They attribute this growth to the Fujifilm X-T3 and Fujifilm GFX50R
  • Fujifilm X-T3 sold better than expected
  • It even sold 40% better than the very popular X-T2 during the same period
  • Fujifilm isn’t convinced that most customers pick a system on sensor size alone
  • The Fujifilm X-T3 was designed from the beginning to drive the starting price down $200
  • The Fujifilm X-T3 and X-H1 cannibalize each other’s sales a little, but they repriced the X-H1 so it made sense again
  • The X-H line will continue on and it is not just about IBIS, but also form factor.
  • The X-T will continue being compact with dials, but the X-H lets them get a little bulky and add things like the top LCD
  • The Fujinon XF200 f/2 isn’t just for sports and they do not want to market it that way
  • The Fujinon XF200 f/2 is great for portraiture, concerts and more
  • Fujifilm wants to have a presence at the 2020 Olympics, but they mention video is just as important as photography at the event.
  • They want to support photographers and videographers and broadcasters.
  • The Fujifilm GFX 50R is selling better than expected and the Sendai factory is very busy
  • The Fujifilm GFX100Mpx is almost final hardware, but the firmware is still very early and IBIS isn’t even working yet.
  • The IBIS system is proving to be very challenging
  • Photokina 2018 just had a mockup
  • They are still working on image quality
  • We should see Fujifilm GFX100Mpx before the end of June/first half of 2019
  • Now they are saying around $10k
  • The Fujinon GF32-64mmF4 is popular with the GFX50S
  • The Fujinon GF45mmF2.8 is popular with the GFX50R
  • Street photographers are into the GFX50R
  • GFX50S owners tend to have more lenses than GFX50R owners
  • Fujinon GF45-100mmF4 coming in 2020
  • They are considering GFX lenses with faster apertures in the future
  • Fujifilm tries to make lenses for everyone, but some requests like an XF100mm f/1.1 would be very expensive
  • We can expect to see XF AF speed in future GF lenses
  • The GFX100Mpx has the same kind of sensor design as the X-T3 with copper wiring that makes for higher readout speeds and lower power consumption.
  • The GFX100Mpx also has similar phase-detection pixel coverage and structure as the X-T3 for it’s PDAF pixels
  • The sensor in the GFX100Mpx is a huge leap over the GFX50
  • The Fujifilm X-T30 already has the improved AF software that will be coming to the X-T3 soon.
  • Picking horizontal or vertical PDAF pixels is easiest with CMOS sensors, but vertical are used the most so it is pretty much the standard with mirrorless cameras.
  • They could do a cross type like Olympus if they felt it was needed
  • The resolution of the vertical PDAF is good enough that you don’t really need cross type, plus you can just tilt the camera a little and it will track like a cross type if necessary.
  • There is some vertical sensitivity already from their sensor design
  • CMOS sensors read the entire scene before making adjustments
  • Their current sensor can read signal and phase pixel separately
  • This is good for video because they can optimize the signal level for the phase-detect pixels without affecting the exposure of the image pixels
  • Over two million out of 26 million are now used for PDAF
  • The amount of PDAF pixels is why low light AF is getting better and is why high-frequency subjects like textures focus better now
  • X-T3 AF has twice as many PDAF pixels as the X-T2 and it processes them with twice as much spatial frequencies
  • The X-T3 is dealing with about 4 times as much PDAF data as the X-T2
  • Since they read all the data before making adjustments they could make it do cross type
  • Their AF is basically limited by their algorithm and processing power, but right now it’s more limited by processing power.
  • ZA/ZB pairs are close horizontally, but not vertically so AF resolution would not be equal
  • Vertical AF correlation hasn’t really been a need yet also
  • Fujifilm can also bin their PDAF pixel data to read better in low light
  • Fujifilm doesn’t really think anyone has a competing camera to go up against the Fujifilm GFX100Mpx
  • Fujifilm isn’t sure they want to do a multi-shot high-res mode because moving the huge sensor isn’t very easy
  • Not sure how many stops of IBIS performance they can get with the GFX100Mpx
  • Fujifilm GFX and X are being developed together because they do not separate their teams
  • So their hardware and software is developed across systems
  • Both teams also have one budget
  • Fujifilm’s team will make more GF or more X lenses based on customer feedback
  • When designing XF lenses the challenge is making the lens small
  • When designing GF lenses the challenge is aberrations
  • Lenses like the XF33mm f/1.0 are a different kind of challenge to design
  • Fujifilm designs their lenses to have a super sharp point when focusing and not to just have a generally sharp area like others, which is one of the advantages of mirrorless.
  • DSLR need a general focus region because they aren’t as accurate at AF
  • Easier to make contract detect AF lenses work with PDAF than PDAF lenses work with contrast detect

via imaging-resource

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