Fujifilm in 2023: A Big Year for GF Glass and a Boring Year for X Series

Fujifilm Year in Review

In 2023, Fujifilm’s X Series saw little love, with a single new camera and lens being added to the mix. The medium-format GFX System grew by one camera and three lenses this year.

Fujifilm’s New Cameras Are Good, if Not Plentiful

Faster. Better. Stronger. That’s the Fujifilm X-S20, the company’s lone X Series camera that debuted in 2023. While some photographers may have hoped for an X100V successor, only to have their dreams dashed (for now), the X-S20, announced in May, is still a heck of a nice X Series camera.

Fujifilm Year in Review
Fujifilm X-S20 | Credit: Fujifilm

It is perhaps not surprising that Fuji’s X Series lineup didn’t get a lot of love this year, as the company launched three excellent X Series cameras in 2022, the groundbreaking X-H2S and the high-res X-H2 and X-T5.

In typical Fujifilm fashion, the camera gets a hand-me-down image sensor, albeit the excellent, quick 26-megapixel APS-C X-Trans sensor that has been in numerous other Fuji cameras. While the X-S20 only includes some of the bells and whistles of Fuji’s more expensive offerings, the X-S20 is a great camera. The camera makes a powerful case to be the very best camera under $1,500, and it clears that mark easily, costing $1,300.

The other new camera in the Fujifilm family is the medium-format GFX 100 II. Announced at an X Summit in early September, the camera has plenty of interesting new features, including an improved image sensor, AI-powered autofocus, and continuous shooting at eight frames per second. However, Fujifilm isn’t telling quite the whole truth with all the various caveats attached to these new features.

Nonetheless, the camera is excellent and the best GFX yet, even if it is not a must-have upgrade for current GFX 100-series owners.

Lots of GF Lenses but Lean Times for X Series

Announced alongside the X-S20 in May, the XF 8mm f/3.5 R WR is the only X Series lens released this year. It has some interesting things going for it, including that it is the widest XF prime lens ever. Offering a 12mm-equivalent focal length, the lens is a compelling choice for landscape and architectural photographers.

On the GFX system side, Fujifilm released a trio of new lenses, all primes, and all announced at the company’s September X Summit event.

From widest to longest, Fujifilm released the GF 30mm f/5.6 T/S lens, the GF 55mm f/1.7 R WR, and the GF 110mm f/5.6 T/S Macro. The T/S lenses are especially interesting, as they are tilt-shift lenses, a very niche type of optic that has significant appeal for architectural, landscape, and product photographers. These additions to the GF lens lineup may not sell like hotcakes, but they significantly increase the appeal of the GFX system at large for certain photographers.

Looking ahead, Fujifilm, one of the few companies to still release a lens roadmap, is slated to add a GF 500mm f/5.6 lens to the GFX system next year and a power zoom lens in 2025.

Grading Fujifilm’s Year

As mentioned in the Sony recap, grades do not depend solely on how many new products a company releases — the quality of the products and the various roles they fill matter considerably.

And on the “quality” side of things, Fujifilm had a great 2023. The company’s two cameras — yes, only two — were both very good, especially the X-S20. For these, Fujifilm earns a respectable B-plus. Fujifilm would have easily earned an A if the GFX 100 II didn’t come with so many asterisks next to its noteworthy new features.

Fujifilm Year in Review
Fujifilm GFX 100 II

When it comes to lenses, all four are great, but it would have been nice to see the X Series lineup get a bit more love. Sure, the XF 8mm f/3.5 is a nice lens, but the lineup could really use more new long lenses. Last year’s XF 150-600mm is great, but where is the long, fast glass? Fujifilm’s X cameras are faster and more capable of capturing action than ever, but the lens offerings leave quite a bit to be desired.

The three new GF lenses are nice, and the addition of tilt-shift lenses to the medium-format system is fantastic. They have been in the works for a long time, so it is wonderful for them to launch finally. That said, some customers have reportedly had issues getting their hands on them.

For its glass, limited as it is, Fujifilm earns a C. The GFX system looks good, but the X Series needs some love.

Overall, Fujifilm had a solid, albeit quiet 2023. The company gets a B-minus.