There is a lot to love about shooting Fuji gear—the look and feel of the cameras, the aperture ring on the lenses, the incredible straight-out-of-camera jpegs—but maybe the best thing is the feeling that Fuji really has our backs with the company’s business concept of “Kaizen.” The word translates roughly to “good (or virtuous) change,” and in practice it means that Fuji is dedicated to continuously/continually improving and updating their gear through firmware updates.
In short: the Fuji camera you buy today will not be obsolete next year. In fact, it will likely be a much better camera in a year.
Other companies approach the relationship between their gear and firmware differently. On one end of the spectrum you have a company like Canon. They are very conservative and reliable and rarely release a product that isn’t “perfect” right out of the box. Canon firmware updates are equally conservative: they fix minor bugs, tweak language errors in menus, maybe add profiles for new lenses that are released, and so on. Canon hardly ever adds significant or meaningful features to a previously released camera (the addition of 24fps to the 5DII is the last one that I can remember). So that means when you buy a 5D…you pretty much just get that 5D.
Opposite of Canon is a company like Blackmagic. They have been incredibly and awesomely disruptive to the video camera status quo by offering cinema-quality gear at rock-bottom revolutionary prices. Unfortunately, they have tended (at least in their early production cycles) to release cameras with problems. They then fix those problems with firmware once the gear has already been on the market. That’s definitely not the best way to do business, because potential customers learn to wait (and wait and wait) before making a purchase. Having to fix stuff with firmware totally blows for everyone involved.
Fuji, though, is different. As far as I can remember, they have never released a significantly buggy product, so they don’t need to push out firmware simply to fix something. And even though they of course want to sell new cameras to existing customers, Fuji chooses to actively improve older products. For example, Fuji announced the X-E2 in 2013, and over a period of three years released all of these improvements:
- Enhanced EVF functionality
- Selectable colors for focus peeking highlights
- Enhanced wireless shooting from smartphones
- Classic Chrome film simulation (practically worth an entire new camera purchase alone!)
- Interval timer shooting
- A brand-new autofocus system
Can you imagine any other camera company doing that? Kaizen gets Fuji all my cash now.