Time for Fuji to refocus

Can we still trust Fuji? That is the question that many are asking today in the wake of the release of the Fuji 56/1.2 APD.

The lens, a very-slightly tweaked 56/1.2 which has had a filter added to “enhance bokeh,” has newbs all a twitter at the prospect. MOAR BOKEH!

Actual sample images, which show that there is VERY little difference for your extra $500 and the loss of a FULL STOP of light, are being ignored by the aforementioned newbs.

Go take a look at these links:

laROQUE – Blood Brothers: the Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD

Does this mean you should immediately sell your 6 months-old standard 56mm? Well, I won’t — and I certainly won’t feel cheated. What this amounts to is choice, not replacement, upgrade or deprecation. As far as I’m concerned, neither can disappoint.

 

Nathan Elson – The New Fuji 56mm f/1.2R APD

I don’t see anyone who shoots in the same kind of settings as I do selling their 56mm f/1.2R to get their hands on the APD version, but you could consider it to be a slight improvement to an already awesome lens for those who haven’t yet picked up a Fuji 56mm f/1.2R, or often shoot in situations that would benefit more from the APD filter, whatever those situations might be (my emphasis).

 

But professionals and serious enthusiasts who have bought into the Fuji ethos on the basis that they were producing quality gear and had a strong and definite direction for the brand, have been left dismayed and confused.

The issue isn’t that this is a total niche lens, something that a lens manufacturer could be expected to produce once the basics – like, say, a couple of all purpose 2.8 zooms, not to mention a proper macro and a decent flash system (preferably with off-camera capabilities) – have been attended to.

The real problem is that this lens appeared out of nowhere.

Fuji has (had?) a roadmap, which, while not everyone was thrilled about the timing of certain lenses, at least gave a direction and some certainty.

fuji road 2

They then updated the roadmap a couple of months ago, and while there was wide-spread dismay at the pushing back of the 2.8 zooms (seeing a theme?), people appreciated being updated as to timelines and products (a 16/1.4 was added, along with a (much anticipated) 90/2).

fuji road 3

And then this bizarre bolt from the blue.

I get that adapting the current 56 into BOKEH MONSTR 56 it wasn’t a terribly hard thing to do. But that’s not the issue. Any company has a limited R&D budget, and time and money spent on fluff like this means someone wasn’t working on the 2.8 zooms. Or the macro. Or the flash system.

We constantly hear about how Fuji listens to its customers. And it’s clear that they do, it’s one of the reasons we’re here. But who asked for this? Marketing?

It’s not just that it’s a fairly pointless luxury lens – the current 56/1.2 (which I own and love) is a stellar piece of glass, with MOAR BOKEH than you can shake a stick at – it’s the loss of trust in Fuji’s decision-making and planning. Why have a roadmap, which you diligently update, if you are going to pop up a luxury lens out of nowhere?

The WHOLE POINT of a roadmap is to tell people you know where you’re going and let them buy into that vision. To lob a luxury lens into the mix while delaying the absolute basics is bad enough, but do it in secret? They surely knew this lens was in the pipeline when they released the updated roadmap a couple of months ago, so this feels like deception.

And just like the first time that you see a questionable text message from someone else on your partner’s phone, trust is an easy thing to lose, and significantly harder thing to rebuild.

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  • September 11, 2014 - 01:52

    Īceman Baldy - Agree. Please spend some time working on a decent flash system; preferably something with wireless radio TTL like the Canon system that I gave up when moving to Fuji.ReplyCancel

  • September 11, 2014 - 03:33

    Ariel Prince - And here I had thought that Fuji was different in the treatment of it’s customers; apparently not with this unnecessary “bolt out of the blue”!!!! Extremely poor customer relations when attempting to build a sustaining customer base.ReplyCancel

  • September 11, 2014 - 05:03

    Stefan Töpfer - Agreed, the Fuji hype is beginning to turn me off Fuji. NOT words, but actions is what we need. Why make a plan when you do not stick to it. Many of the recent product updates appear pointless and more marketing than substance. Fuji better pause and focus – forget hype, substance is what got you here – you better do not forget it.ReplyCancel

    • September 12, 2014 - 07:01

      juice - Unfortunately, the “oooh, shiny!” brigade don’t understand the concept of a long-term plan, and the value of sticking to it.ReplyCancel

  • September 11, 2014 - 16:33

    Simon Revill - Fully agree Mic – Fuji have lost the plot and are at risk of turning off real working pros who are fully aware of the quality of the base system but who are tired of Fuji not actually listening anymore …. I mean – come on we also didn’t really need an updated XT yet … they need to get the basic bread and butter working lenses out and to market.

    What a shameReplyCancel

  • September 11, 2014 - 17:27

    Charles Maclauchlan - Good Lord. Whaaaah Whaaaah Whaaaah. “Professionals…left dismayed and confused.” Fuji added an expensive version of a good lens. So what? “but, but, but…I didn’t expect it, they didn’t tell me, sniff sniff sniff.” “I wish they had done something different” Get over yourself, find a hobby or something ReplyCancel

    • September 12, 2014 - 06:59

      juice - I’m sorry, it’s written from the perspective of working professionals, not hobbiests. Professionals bought into this system on the basis of what was coming and when in order to do their job. If you have no stake in it in terms of producing work, then the disruption makes no difference, I get that. That’s why I used the word professionals, it’s to explain who it’s aimed at.ReplyCancel

  • September 12, 2014 - 06:04

    Frank Bicking - What am I missing, how do you lose a full stop of light? There both f/1.2.ReplyCancel

    • September 12, 2014 - 06:56

      juice - It is a 1.2 without the filter, but the filter eats light. Thus the red aperture markers on the lens, which shows the reality.ReplyCancel

  • September 16, 2014 - 13:02

    Richard Scott Marsh - I need the 16-55 and long zoom, I can see why there last in line and can see why they added APD. It added little to the run time and the high cost is what one gets for even a short run lens, High cost. I need zooms as I need to cover a lot of lenses with a small bag as I never know what FL lens I be shooting. A fast 300mm prime will come in handy and that never get’s talked about at all. ReplyCancel

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