Does Fujifilm Produce Too Few Cameras on Purpose?

A glowing red background with the bold, uppercase text "FUJIFILM" displayed prominently in black with white outlines. A stylized design in white and red is used for the "J" in "FUJIFILM". Radiating lines give a dynamic effect to the background.

In early May, Fujifilm released its latest financial results, which PetaPixel covered at the time. However, while an addendum Q&A segment didn’t warrant focus then, it has gotten considerable attention online in the last few days.

Late last week, Fuji Rumors brought a section of Fujifilm’s financial presentation from May 9, 2024, back into the light.

Fujifilm’s Financial Presentation Raised Some Eyebrows

Before discussing the resulting characterizations of Fujifilm’s financial document, it is worth considering precisely what the company published.

Mr. Shimamoto of Okasan Securities asked the following: “I have another question about the Imaging [business]. Although your company performed well from January to March, there were some companies, such as Canon, whose performance was difficult due to inventory adjustments. In your camera business, is there any change in the inventory adjustment and market for digital cameras and Instax, respectively, this year? I think you have a reasonably strong plan. Can you tell us about your current situation?”

In response, Teiichi Goto, President and CEO, and Representative Director of Fujifilm Holdings, affirmed that Fujifilm’s FY2023 performance was good and touched on the company’s approach to inventory.

“The most important point is how much brand strength to create and how to maintain it. Therefore, it would be quite unfortunate to manufacture too much and lower the price. What Fujifilm has been trying to do for a long time is finally coming true now,” Goto says in a document translated by Fujifilm itself.

Front view of a black Fujifilm professional digital camera placed on a light gray surface. The camera features a prominent lens and detailed buttons on the left side of its body. The brand name "Fujifilm" is clearly visible on the top of the camera.
Fujifilm GFX 100S II

“One is a camera with features. The GFX series, for example, is equipped with the world’s largest CMOS and has earned tremendous trust from professional users and advanced amateurs. The price is quite high, but customers are still waiting for back orders. The lenses accompanying them are also selling well,” Goto continues.

As a minor digression, the GFX series doesn’t feature the world’s largest CMOS image sensor.

“We intend to drive the entire imaging business, including Instax, while concentrating on building brand strength and not reducing the value of the properties purchased by our customers,” Goto adds.

“For example, as I say internally, Leica, a well-known German manufacturer, still maintains a very high value for both their old cameras and the cameras they sell now, and this is our goal. Our goal with mirrorless cameras is to fundamentally change the way Fujifilm has sold cameras in the past.”

Shimamoto then asks Goto to confirm that the “inventory situation” is “normal?”

“Yes,” Goto confirms, thus ending the Fujifilm Holdings financial results briefing.

Fujifilm X100VI standard
Fujifilm X100VI

Fujifilm’s Clarifications Point Toward Genuine Efforts to Meet Demand

There’s quite a bit to unpack there, and some have concluded, arguably incorrectly, that product shortages are reflective of a marketing ploy.

Using the recent Fujifilm X100VI as an example, it has been difficult to purchase at MSRP since it launched a few months ago. In March, Fujifilm said it would take “months” to fulfill the existing orders, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel yet. The camera remains back ordered at retailers in the United States and elsewhere, with B&H not even letting customers order on the product page, which is unusual.

The shortage of X100VI’s is as easily attributed to production challenges as it is to intention, though. While having excess supply is bad from a financial perspective, so too is not being able to meet existing demand. In an ideal world, Fujifilm would produce precisely as many cameras as the market demands at any given time.

“We are so pleased with the positive reception of X100VI and continue to work hard to ensure that every customer who orders an X100VI gets one. We appreciate our community’s support and patience as we accelerate our production to meet demand,” Fujifilm tells PetaPixel over email.

“Having adequate inventory to sell is part and parcel to our success, and we are committed to meeting the needs of the market,” Fujifilm continues in its statement. “We do not hold excess inventory of these products at this time — they are being made and immediately shipped as quickly as possible.”

The company’s inability to meet demand for some of its most popular cameras, including the X100VI, is not due to a lack of trying. Fujifilm previously confirmed to PetaPixel that it’s making 15,000 units a month, which is a considerable production rate. The company thought the X100VI would be about twice as popular as its predecessor and planned accordingly. However, demand went above and beyond this ambitious target.

Close-up view of the Fujifilm X100VI Limited Edition camera
Fujifilm X100VI Limited Edition

Any suggestions that Fujifilm is either happy to not have enough cameras to sell to meet customer demand or that a production shortfall is actually by design are inaccurate, per Fujifilm.

“Regarding X100VI, building off the wildly popular success of its predecessor, X100V, we significantly increased production forecasts and capabilities to accelerate production to meet the anticipated demand. However, even with our advanced production planning and increased capacity, there remains a waiting list for orders. While it will take some time to accelerate production to meet this increased demand, we are committed to delivering all orders to all customers,” Fujifilm tells PetaPixel. “We appreciate our community’s support and patience regarding this matter.”

When asked if Fujifilm considers backorders or insufficient supply as part of its broader marketing strategy, the company replies, “No. Our marketing strategy is to showcase the innovation behind our lineup of digital cameras and lenses to provide creators with a variety of options so they can choose the right tools for their craft.”

As for Goto’s reference to Leica and how that relates to a fundamental change in how Fujifilm sells mirrorless cameras, Fujifilm says its “goal is to create products that have long-term intrinsic value to our users. It’s important for us to create products that last for years, so that they can continue to add value to the lives of the individuals that are using them.”

The objective is not to build prestige through scarcity but to do so through making products that photographers love.

“We are truly grateful and honored that Fujifilm has become the brand of choice for many content creators. We appreciate our community’s support and patience as we accelerate our production to meet demand,” Fujifilm concludes.

Understandably, people are frustrated that they cannot always purchase the Fujifilm cameras and lenses they want from authorized retailers at MSRP. This is a genuine problem that has become common across multiple manufacturers. But rest assured, Fujifilm isn’t maliciously constraining its production capabilities or supply — it just simply cannot make enough products to meet current demand.