Changing the game at Photokina 2016

Photokina 2016 kicked off with something rather special. We held a press conference to tell the world about a little project we’ve been working on for a few years now.

The world’s press gathered in the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany in eager anticipation to see what we were planning to bring to the world of photography.

Toru Takahashi, Senior Vice President of Fujifilm Corporation, was welcomed to the stage to talk about our long history of launching amazing products at Photokina.

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Although Photokina started in 1950, Fujifilm’s first appearance was in 1966 and has attended the show, which runs every two years, for every show since.

  • 1968 saw us launch the FUJICA 690 medium format rangefinder.
  • 1978 was the launch of the “FUJINON W Series” of large format lenses.
  • 1988 saw the world’s first digital camera, the DS-1P.
  • 2010 saw the announcement of the X100 – the launch that combined our analogue legacy expertise with our digital future.

We hope that 2016 will be another historical landmark in our Photokina announcement history, as this was the year that we announced our new format – GFX – which will be available from early 2017.

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The FUJIFILM X Series is focused on the perfect balance of size, mobility and image quality and has brought back the joy of photography to many people.

GFX, with its large sized sensor, will provide the ultimate image quality, whilst also inheriting a lot of “X DNA”.

These two systems will complement each other perfectly. They are the two answers from Fujifilm for this era of photographic creativity.

Once the video finished playing, Toshi Iida, General Manager for Sales & Marketing was welcomed up onto the stage to explain more about this new camera format.


G FORMAT

“G Format” – the name comes from Fujifilm’s heritage of Medium Format cameras – the G690, GS645, GX680 etc…

The sensor that will be in the first G Format camera will be a huge 43.8 x 32.9mm in size. It’s 1.7x bigger than a standard 35mm sensor and the first generation sensor will record 51.4 million pixels. This means that if you compare it to a 35mm sensor of the same pixel count, each pixel is 70% larger which allows them to capture a larger amount of light.

Toshi went on to explain that the sensor is completely brand new. It has been designed and customised for the G Format. It has specially shaped micro lenses that will collect light very effectively and the silicon process has also been optimised to maximise resolution and widen dynamic range.

This new sensor will sit behind a newly designed mount called the “G Mount”. This mount will have a 4mm thick plate to ensure it is strong and stiff, and will be equipped with a 12-pin terminal to supply power to support the AF speed.

There is no mirror in the G Format system. One reason for this is mirror shock which affects image quality. Additionally, the mirror constrains lens design. The typical flange-back distance on a Medium Format SLR is about 70mm. This will be approximately 26.7mm which will give us more flexibility to design high quality, small lenses.

The back focus can be as short as 10mm so there is less drop-off on the light’s final part of the journey onto the sensor’s surface.

Toshi then spoke about the shutter. The mount is equipped with a focal plane shutter so the maximum shutter speed will be 1/4000th to allow capture of fast moving subjects or shooting in bright scenes with wide aperture settings.


GF LENSES

Moving onto lenses, Toshi introduced our new range – “GF Lenses”. This large sensor is going to need high quality lenses as without excellent glass, there is no point having such a large sensor.

The lenses should last many decades after launch. To ensure they are future proof they have been designed to confidently operate with sensors of up to 100 megapixels in the future.

We set ourselves new standards that the lenses must meet. Normally, MTF of 35mm lenses is measured at 30 and 10 lines per mm. When converted to 33×44 sensor, this would be the equivalent of measuring at 20 and 7 lines per mm. However, the MTF of GF Lenses will be measured at 40 and 20 lines per mm. All GF Lenses will have to exceed this standard.

All lenses will be designed to be sharp regardless of the aperture setting and thanks to a large sized sensor, the image will hardly be affected by diffraction at all..

Our philosophy for lens design has always been to minimise correction of signal processing. Our XF Lenses for X Series are a good example. This philosophy will be applied to the GF Lenses.

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The system will ideally be launched with the following lenses available:

  • GF63mm F2.8 Prime Standard
  • GF32-64mm F4 Zoom Standard
  • GF120mm F4 Macro

And the following lenses will hopefully be available before the end of 2017:

  • GF45mm F2.8
  • GF23mm F4
  • GF110mm F2

GFX DESIGN

G – Fujifilm’s Medium Format heritage
F – Film-look image quality
X – Design and operability of X Series

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The first GFX camera body will be the GFX 50S. With the weight of around 800g, it’s incredibly small and light compared to existing Medium Format cameras and even lighter and smaller than most 35mm DSLR cameras. With it’s tilting LCD you will be able to shoot at waist level.

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You can attach the Electronic Viewfinder that is included with the camera to shoot in an SLR style.

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You can even add a tilting adaptor between the EVF and the camera and can shoot in any angle with your eye on the viewfinder which helps with low-angle shooting.

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To allow you to precisely control focusing you can also use an optional external screen.

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Toshi finished his presentation by saying that GFX is here to re-invent Medium Format.

“We will look back on Photokina 2016 in the future and I believe we will say it was a game changing event.” – Toshi Iida, General Manager for Sales & Marketing

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Photokina 2016 is on until 25th September 2016 and the GFX camera and GF lenses can be seen behind a glass show case on our booth in Hall 4.2.

Photokina 2016 Microsite
GFX Special Contents


Fujifilm at Photokina 2014!

Last week we were at photokina, the world’s largest imaging fair, from Tuesday 16th to Sunday 21st September. It’s been a complete blast and this post will hopefully highlight the bits you missed if you couldn’t make it to Cologne this year.

Our booth was big. It was made up with lots of different sections covering many different areas of our business, all with the same common goal – helping people with photography.

The X-Photographers Gallery

We had images from many different photographers displayed how they were always meant to be seen – printed.

Some were printed on FUJIFLEX Crystal Archive Printing Material and others on Fujicolor Crystal Archive Digital Paper but they were all amazingly good to look at. We’ve combined our X series cameras with many years’ experience of printing and finally the creativity of real users of our cameras to create a truly awe inspiring array of beautiful prints. Many visitors to the stand told us that they thought these were the best prints on display at the show.

The X-Photographers Stage

For me the stage was the real star of the show.

We had 23 photographers from all over the world talking about a wide range of subjects. Some were very inspirational, other educational, but all were very interesting. We will post another blog post shortly with more detail on each of the photographers and what their talk was like. Sign up at the top-right of the page to receive notifications when it is published.

“Touch and Try” section

On the stand we had the new X100T and X30 cameras and the new XF50-140mm F2.8  and XF56mm APD lenses available in our “Touch and Try” section for people to use. We also made sure there was something beautiful to shoot in the way of a BMW i8 and some lovely models so everyone had something to shoot.

The X100T is an evolution from the X100 and X100S with the main upgrades being a 1/32000th electronic shutter, digital rangefinder and new Classic Chrome film simulation.

Shot by Kevin Mullins at f/2 and 1/32000th in bright sunlight using Classic Chrome film simulation
Image by Kevin Mullins using the X100T at f/2 and 1/32000th using Classic Chrome film simulation

The X30 takes the popular X20 and gives it a new high-resolution Electronic Viewfinder, tilting LCD, new control ring, lots of new customisable Function buttons and the same awesome Classic Chrome Film Simulation as sported by the X100T.

Image by Alex Lambrechts using the X30 with new Classic Chrome film simulation
Image by Alex Lambrechts using the X30 with new Classic Chrome film simulation

The XF50-140mm is our first weather resistant constant aperture lens. It boasts f/2.8 throughout its focal length range and contains a lot of amazing technology to make sure the results are comparable to prime lens quality

The XF56mm APD is a fast, sharp prime lens that contains an Apodisation filter that helps produce an even smoother bokeh affect than the standard XF56mm.

The final new product people could get their hands on was the new X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition pictured below.

The full X line-up

Additionally, behind a glass cabinet we had the entire range lined up (click the image below for a larger display)

Full X series lineup. Click to enlarge
Full X series lineup. Click to enlarge

Notable products were:

The XF16mmF1.4 has the same focus ring as the XF14 and XF23 with focus distance and depth of field guide on the barrel itself.

The XF16-55mmF2.8 appears to have OIS dropped from its name suggesting that the final lens will not have OIS, but instead aim for absolute optimal image quality. This is still to be confirmed though.

The XF90mmF2 looks like it’s going to be a big bit of glass. Similar in length to the XF56mm but a bit thicker.

Finally, previously known as the Super Tele-Photo Zoom Lens on the roadmap, a lens with no label underneath. However, it had an inscription bearing the specifications “XF 140-400mmF4-5.6 R LM OIS WR”. I’d like to point out that these are not 100% final specifications. They just needed to put something on the front of the mock-up lens to give a better idea of what the final lens would look like. Either way this gives us a guide as to what sort of spec the final lens is likely to be, and also how big it will be.

Free maintenance and camera loan service

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We offered a FREE maintenance service and a FREE camera loan service for the six days of photokina, In total we were able to service 510 cameras and loaned 433 cameras and lenses combined.

Technologies

We showcased a few of our technologies – some current and some in development

Film simulation
Fujifilm Film Simulations
Film is our heritage and therefore we spend a lot of time developing (pun not intended) our film simulation modes for our digital cameras. The latest film simulation mode we have released is Classic Chrome and it is available on the new X100T, X30 and will be made available via a firmware update for the X-T1 later this year.

Electronic rangefinder
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Here’s what the Hybrid Viewfinder in the X100T looks like. Learn more about the X100T Electronic Rangefinder here.

Lens coating demo
Nano GI comparison demoAlthough it’s pretty hard to see in this photo, here we demonstrate the lens coating on the new XF50-140. It has a special coating applied to reduce the amount of light that is reflected away.
Learn more about the technology that goes into the XF50-140mm lens, including Nano GI technology, here.

Remote “Multi-shooting” application
tech-multi-shoot Here’s a new app we’re currently working on that allows you to wirelessly control and shoot up to three cameras at one time using the same tablet computer.

Applications for this could be for recording video, creating 3D imagery or shooting event photography.

Since the launch of the X-T1 we have seen some amazingly creative uses people have found for the existing remote shooting app so we hope that this will allow people to be even more creative with their photography.

 

The Cologne photokina Photowalk

photowalk

On Saturday night we held a photowalk with X-Photographers Elia Locardi and Ken Kaminesky. 213 people showed up, despite the threat for heavy rain beforehand. Most people brought their own equipment to shoot with and Fujifilm X-T1s and lenses were available for people to borrow if they wished.

We met at the Dom and then walked as a very large group around the cathedral and then across the river to watch the sunset from the East bank. It was a great event and we’re sure everyone enjoyed themselves and made a few new friends that share their love of photography.

These guys even won some prizes by having their names drawn at random:photowalk-prize-winners

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Fabiano Dallmeyer , Richard Powazynski, Jens Fricke, Ken Kaminesky, Carl Nasman, Patrick Mayon, Elia Locardi, Florin Lucian Patras and Michael Magner

Participants soohting the padlocks on the bridge (image by Naomi Locardi)
Participants shooting padlocks on the bridge (image by Naomi Locardi)
An after-dark image by Naomi Locardi
After-dark (image by Naomi Locardi)
Me, being mocked by Justin from Fujifilm USA... (image also by Naomi Locardi)
And finally me, being unwittingly mocked by Justin from Fujifilm USA… (image also by Naomi Locardi)

Many more photos from participants of the event have uploaded and will continue to be added to the Google Plus public event here: https://plus.google.com/events/chu5ri84smk6smt9ags8inu36l4

Fujifilm X Live

For more photos from the whole photokina event, and to keep up to date in real time with future events like this, please check out our Social Media accounts:

– http://www.facebook.com/FujifilmXLive
– http://twitter.com/FujifilmXLive
– http://instagram.com/FujifilmXLive