Fujifilm Customer Relationship Management + Fujifilm X100 Firmware Upgrade

If you all still remember, I did comment on the way companies should treat their customers right. At that point in time, I was lamenting on the need to come out with new models just to correct the mistakes made during design and also the software / user interface improvement. We kept seeing companies now loving to have version 2, mark II, or even ‘S’ to denote an improvement. But those who sticks their necks out (and their wallets’ monies) to buy the latest offering would always find themselves disappointed that the newer versions came out so quickly just months after the model was launched.

I do have a poster boy for agreeing to what I have said when they kept updating the X100’s firmware to a camera that have some issues to one that is a true joy to use. After the X100s was announced and sold to the public, all expectation of X100 being improved upon was curtailed. Rightfully so because Fujifilm would have easily put their resources to improve the X100s through the firmware updates as what they did to the original. Guess what, Fujifilm actually came out with a version 2 firmware for the X100 thereby making it a more capable camera that it already is, further cementing the cult status of the camera.

Think about it. The very act of actually improving a old camera do not make commercial sense more so when you have a successor swimming around in the market now. Improving the old product would mean that customers would not upgrade.  But like Steve Jobs commented, it is better to be cannibalised by your own product rather than to let other people seize the market share. So what Fujifilm has effectively done is to solidify the goodwill between itself and the people who supported its X series cameras. It is a fitting way to reward the customers that stood by you when the X100 has some teething problems.

It also make us feel more assured to get top of the line, premium cameras from Fujifilm as it would enable us to stretch our dollars by using the camera much longer.  Yes some would say they should have done it when it first come into the market and with that I say, at least Fujifilm has improved it long after it was launched. Find me another company that really do that but  I do know there are a few but they are really in the rare minority.

Contrast this to the industry norm. For every small little improvements would mean a change in the model name. What happens is that people would put off upgrading their cameras until the camera either spoiled or the technology of competitors compelled them to change. For my case, I did not upgrade from D200 to D300 as the improvements is said to be at best, paper improvements but practically very identical.

When D300s was announced, the improvements are even smaller and it doesn’t justify plonking another couple of thousands to upgrade even when I compare D200 specs to D300s specs side by side. It was only when a friend of mine hardly uses the D300 that I get to use it to shoot (bless his soul!). Even after extended usage, I don’t find that it actually warrant a upgrade to the D300s.

It does look great for those who always love to be seen with the latest. I have no qualms with that. For those who do understand that things do improve over time then getting the latest is not really a huge incentive.  I am beginning to see people don’t really go for the latest unless the improvement justifies the money spent. People are skipping versions more nowadays for example, iPhone 4s to 5s and maybe even waiting for 6s if they can afford to.

Even so, there will be a time when someone like me have to upgrade. So when do I do it? That was when I see how the little X100 is able to match the D300s, heck even the D700 full frame camera IQ when i shoot the same scenes. That got me to do some research on Full Frame versus Crop frame comparisons. The reason to compel to upgrade is now more than just sensor size but real improvements in terms of handling, image quality and value for money.  So in the end, Nikon did lost my business because the call for a D400 was not heeded but instead pushing people to get Full Frame bodies in the form of D600 that has benefits but not really needed by the majority of amateurs and even for some professionals.  It was a loss for Nikon but i am only just one customer ain’t it?

But not the case for Fujifilm it seems. They have done beyond what is expected of them and in the end, made those who bought the X100 have the peace of mind to buy the X-Pro1, X-E1 and whatever that churns out from Fujifilm in their premium series camera which I did just because they kept improving on the cameras we already bought and not succumb to the need to maximise profits by bringing out more new models that does nothing but to make you feel your money was wasted. For that Fujifilm, I can just yell at you and say “Just take my money dammit!”

So what has Fujifilm done to my X100 with firmware 2.0?

  • Improvement of AF speed. I personally feel that dark areas AF focusing speed is now much faster. I would say very close to Olympus speed. In other words the complaint that the focusing is slow is truly irrelevant to me with this firmware.  Note, they can do it with the old contast detection AF so kudos to them that has improved the algorithm so much.
  • Macro focusing is also faster. Once you hit the macro button the camera goes into macro focus distance and then hunt from there. That is an improvement definitely.
  • Focusing peaking. Not really necessary for most times except for macro use. Nice to have feature unlike the X-E1 and X-Pro1 when you use adapted lens and in need of a good manual focusing assist.
  • Manual focusing now pushes the X100 to use F2.0 to give a shallow depth of field to get a better and more accurate manual focusing.

All in, the focusing improvements in version 1.3 is now even better with version 2.0. There might be some small hiccups but generally most of the shots at night are now much faster and more accurate (with a smaller focusing box).

The link to download the latest firmware:
http://www.fujifilm.com/support/digital_cameras/software/firmware/x/finepix_x100/index.html

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