Sunday, April 30, 2006

Let's Hope There's a Fuji S4 Pro In The Works

I just want to go on record as saying I hope,fervently, that FujiFilm releases a FinePix S4 Pro camera. I really,truly do. If it is based upon the Nikon D200 body and that camera's basic subsystems, I'll be all over it. I've heard enough similar rumors of an S4 to think that the camera is actually likely to be made and available in 2007. The specifications of the camera would not be all that critical to me, as long as it's got 6MP or more,and has a Fuji-made sensor along with a decent AF system. The S3's problem has never been image quality, but speed and write time problems. The synch speed, frame rate,and AF performance of Fuji's S2 and S3 models has been "acceptable", but none of those three features has been state of the art for a D-SLR of its era,but the S3's speed limitations have been very much below what is considered acceptable in Canon or Nikon mid-range D-SLR's,and I think Fuji will strive with its S4 to speed things up a good bit,shall we say. Still, the Fuji D-SLR's have always been much more about file _QUALITY_ than anything else. The file, the file,the file. Trouble is, it takes a camera to make and write a DSCF, or a Digital Still Capture File. Fuji needs to offer a better camera to compete with what I can get from my D2x and my S2 Pro,or from any one of a number of Canon D-SLR models.
I think with an S4 engineered with the right design priorities kept firmly in mind, Fuji will have a chance to make a D-SLR model that will really be satisfactory to the current Fuji user base, as well as to other F-mount users who want something that,so far, Nikon has not been able to put into a D-SLR. With the current Fuji S3 price blowout situattion in the UK, it seems to me like the channel is being cleared of excess inventory with fabulous deals in the UK. As I used to say, the S3 Pro was overpriced for sales at $2499, but at low,low prices of $1199 to $1240, the S3 is selling reasonably well in the USA,with a lot of new users showing up on dPreview,many clearly mentioning that the new low price had finally allowed them to use their checkbooks and Visa cards to get the camera they had wanted, but would not buy due to price constraints.
Price-wise, I expect Fuji's S4 will enter the USA market priced at $2400 or so. Why that price? Well,they did it with the S2 at $2400,and they did it with the S3 at $2500. Nikon premiered the D100 at $1699, and Nikon premiered the D200 at $1699. Sounds reasonable to me. An S4 will likely hit the market priced at $2400--or more.

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