Friday, April 1, 2011

The wait continues...

I don't usually comment on camera gear but I'll make an exception for the Fuji x100. I've never actually seen one in person, but judging by all reports this is a camera to be reckoned with. I won't go into all the features, but you can basically think of it as an M9 without the ridiculous price tag. At least that's how I think of it. In fact it's the first high end digital camera that I've seriously considered purchasing. And I'm a film guy, so that's saying a lot.

The x100 is one of the most anticipated cameras in years and much has been written about it. Just when it seemed the camera couldn't get any more hyped, the Japan disaster came along and did just that. Apparently the camera production line in Japan took a hit. New shipments have been indefinitely suspended.


No arrival date known. Supplies limited. Now suddenly the already existing x100s have become a rare commodity. The eBay listings have shot through the roof with prices ranging from around $1,300 on up past $2,000. These compare to the original retail price of $1,200, which itself was an increase over the initial proposed price of $1,000. Someone's pockets somewhere are being lined.


Of course all of these prices are for non-radioactive models. You might find a deal if you're willing to put up with a little nuclear decay, although you'll want keep the glow away from photosensitive materials.

Either way the x100 is probably the first digital camera in history to actually appreciate in value after new purchase. Who knows. If prices keep going up it could threaten the pricepoint of the M9, although there's still a ways to go.

What does all this mean for us average Joes? More months of waiting for prices to stabilize and drop, or for some other camera manufacturer to wake up and realize there's a market for this type of thing.

In the mean time I guess I'll stick with film a while longer.

14 comments:

g said...

Hmm. I keep thinking there must be an April Fool's thing in here, but I can't quite find it.

Blake Andrews said...

Maybe you just did.

amgphoto said...

My first thought when I saw the specs for this camera was that it was more of a digital version of the Konica Hexar autofocus...which is something that interests me very much.

I've never owned a Leica M of any stripe, but I love my Hexar to death!

Blake Andrews said...

I cut my street teeth on the Hexar. Great camera, great lens, but slightly finicky and impossible to repair.

akk said...

So this being a camera that wants to be a leica and all, are we going to have books (bibles!) listing the serial numbers before the earthquake/tsunami and after?

Are early models going to be sold in a year for twice the price of later models just because of the serial number?
And finally will someone put together a list of serials that may have radioactive elements on the lens coating?

The rangefinder people need to know!

Anonymous said...

Well I have an x100 and there's lots to love about it - the quietness, the 1/4000 flash sync (yes, I've tested it) and the superb image quality and good iso. On the downside, the manual focus and AF-C modes are broken and there are some menu/firmware oddities.

But I'm keeping mine. D700 quality that I can fit in a pocket. Nice.

amgphoto said...

I agree about the finickiness of the Hexar. I'm willing to be that the X100 is going to be a lot more reliable.

Even though I can't afford one right now, it's still one of the cameras on my wish list (actually at the top of it).

Blake Andrews said...

Microcord in Japan writes:

I've actually held and looked through one of these. It certainly doesn't feel as solid as my Canon F-1, its finder isn't as pleasant, and it costs a lot more than a replacement F-1 would. But neither the finder or the price of this digicam is at all bad. I'd been thinking that perhaps when the replacement X110 (or X200 or whatever) comes out I might snap up one of these at half price.

A bit of Japanese-language web sleuthing shows that the camera was assembled in a place in Miyagi called Taiwa. (Taiwa is an unusual reading of the two characters, but one that's correct here; you may see "Daiwa" or "Yamato" as an understandable misreading.) This old page of Fuji's specifies the address. Here it is at Google map. Here's Google's rather wobbly English translation of the town's page about its status: nobody missing or dead, but injuries as well as 17 buildings destroyed and 123 partly destroyed. Surely some of these belong to workers at Fujifilm.

So if you have a wad of money and are in an altruistic mood, a charity would be a good idea. But failing that -- or for you rich people, on top of that -- why indeed not buy a Fuji X100? Ganbarou Miyagi! (がんばろう 宮城! something like "Take heart Miyagi" or "Go Miyagi!") says the top page of the town website, but what's going to fuel this? It's not so close to the nuclear power plant, but people are going to look askance at its fish and agricultural products. Tourism will seem ghoulish for some time, so that leaves industry. Yup, buy an X100 and tell yourself you're doing a little to revitalize the area, an area that's going to need a lot of revitalization.

Of course prices at eBay are set by overpaid idiots. Nothing new in that. So try Japan Exposures instead.

Minick said...

I'm hearing that production of the x100 has resumed.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1301340455.html

Blake Andrews said...

Thanks for the updates, Microcord and Minick. Just checked eBay and the going rate is still above $1,800. Surely that premium can't last long but who knows.

nate said...

bah! you just like this cam cause it looks like a street photogs camera, why not just get a regular dslr ? form factor? whatever- heres to a rapid recovery for the people of Japan.

Blake Andrews said...

Yes, the relatively small size is a factor. At this point I've been using small cameras for so long that I don't think I could ever switch back to a full size SLR.

First Class Photographer said...

Now that the X100 is selling for about $800 and Fuji seems to have fixed a lot of the quirkiness, are you going to spring for one?

Blake Andrews said...

No plans to buy one. I've borrowed an X100 from George Kelly a few times. It's sort of fun to use but it didn't really hook me. I think it's a matter of old dog, new tricks. I'm happy just being an old fart shooting an antiquated format.