Sep 18

Interview with Fujifilm’s Torben Hondong

I had a chance to speak briefly with Torben Hondong of Fujifilm Germany today about the recently announced Fujifilm X-Series lenses and the future of the lens lineup at Fuji.

Stabilization in the 16-55mm f/2.8

I asked Mr. Hondong the question that everyone’s been asking: Why does the new 16-55mm f/2.8 not feature an image stabilizer?

Mr. Hondong stated that the main concerns were to do with size and weight. To keep the high quality they wanted, the lens with a stabilizer would have been too large, both larger in diameter and length, as well as weight. He thought that the lens would have enough performance to be useful to photographers without having a stabilizer.

The new 90mm f/2

The new 90mm f/2

Large Lens Size

Noting that the 16-55mm did not include a stabilizer due to size concerns, I asked Mr. Hondong about the larger size of the 90mm f/2 and 140-400mm mockups that are shown at Photokina, especially the 90mm f/2, which seemed very large for a 90mm f/2 lens.

Mr. Hondong stated that the lenses shown at Photokina are only mockups for the direction they are moving in for these lenses at the moment. The mockups are not a final size for the lenses. They could be the same size, or they could be smaller. He also noted that any larger size of these lenses would only be to give the best possible picture quality.

Lens Lineup in the future

I asked Mr. Hondong whether Fuji planned to continue catering to the high end shooter solely, or if they also planned on releasing cheaper, smaller and slower lenses in the same range.

Mr. Hondong noted that Fuji would be doing both. Plans are to fill out the lens lineup fully for both advanced shooters as well as on the consumer level.

I asked if there were plans to add any specialty lenses to the system, such as tilt-shift lenses, fisheye lenses or so on. He stated that the 56mm f/1.2 APD is the first step in a more specialized lens. They’re going to see how the market reacts to the more specialized optics before deciding on expanding in that area, since these specialty lenses are very low volume.

I asked if there were plans to release any long prime lenses, and he stated that there were no plans for that at the moment, but perhaps it would be reexamined when the 2016 roadmap comes out.

Finally, I asked if the rumors of a replacement with a faster focus motor for the 35mm f/1.4 were true. Mr. Hondong replied that he did not know if there were plans to replace the 35mm. He thought it was possible it would be looked at in the future, but he had no knowledge if it was being pursued right now.

X-Pro 2

Finally, I asked Mr. Hondong about any news on the long-awaited replacement for the X-Pro 1.

Mr. Hondong said that it was difficult. Shooters of the X-Pro 1 desire the hybrid optical finder, and they are thinking of ways to bring something like the EVF of the X-T1 into a hybrid finder, but that this proves challenging to fit into a body that people expect. To be clear, he wasn’t confirming that an X-T1 sized finder would be in an X-Pro 2, but that the fact that the X-T1 exists makes designing the new finder challenging due to expectations. He mentioned the X100s and T improving on the hybrid finder of the X100, and that Fuji would see how the response to the X100T was to consider the options for any potential X-Pro replacement.

About the author

Jordan Steele

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Admiring Light; Photographer; Electrical Engineer and Dad


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  1. bitbonk

    So it seems like it is still a long way off to an X-Pro1 replacement.

  2. ras

    i’m fine with the x-pro2 having a smaller evf than the x-t1. horses for courses.

    it would be a real shame if the 16-55/2.5 doesn’t have image stabilization, and if the 35/1.4 doesn’t get a fast silent motor.

    24mm-e f4 and 90mm-e f2.8 tilt-shift lenses would be hugely appreciated, despite being low volume.

    great interview, you hit on all the main issues.

  3. Tim L

    I have to agree with the trade off Fuji is making in removing OIS from the 16-55. Higher IQ-smaller-lighter is preferable to OIS on an f/2.8 lens. I certainly agree with ras that 24mm and 90mm tilt-shift lenses would be a great addition to the Fuji lens line up.

    Great info, Jordan. Your attendance at Photokina has been a real benefit to the Fuji user base.

  4. Jacques Mathurin

    What I would want as a replacement to the X-Pro1 is a manual focus X-Pro2 with a full-frame sensor and an M mount that would make it possible to use Leica, Voigtlander and Zeiss lenses without an adapter. This type of camera would appeal to the purists and would be in direct competition with the Leica M bodies.

    1. BanBs

      The purist? What a load of nonsense! Leica users are no more purist than Fuji X users. If you want an ” X-pro 2″ with an “M” mount, you don’t really want a Fujifilm camera! Save money and go get yourself a Leiiiiiiiica!

    2. David

      The purist doesn’t even consider 35mm. It’s 4X5 at the least.

  5. rico

    On the X Pro 2,

    He’s already got the new finder in the X100T, so not sure what he’s going on about there.
    The X Pro 2, needs serious video features (like usable video) or just look at the GH4 and follow (or try)
    and they’re home.

    Lack of usable and controllable video in Fujis is what keeps me from being a Fuji user. I owned a Xpro 1 and an X E1 but found I had to buy another camera for video which equaled a commitment to another camera system $$$. Ended up selling my Fuji gear and now waiting, hoping they could offer something to work with.

    Another thing I don’t understand on the Fujis is that they seem to be introducing big zooms, and I think of Fuji is as a rangefinder, small elegant mirror less cam.. Too much emphasis on mondo lenses.

    1. Alan

      They did announce dramatically improved video is coming in the next firmware updates, 24p, full manual controls and a 30-something bitrate, which is eminently useful, imo.
      to really compete, they need the big zooms and the small primes, they’ve already got a lovely lineup of small fast lenses, but they also need to give their users the option of selling their DSLRs and big zooms.

    2. Erik

      The xpro2 should not have video at all! Save that for the video cameras

  6. Andrea

    In all honesty, I don’t get Fujifilm at the moment. They release new colorschemes and slight upgrades to their cameras (XT1/X100S) and lenses (56) but have nothing (not even a prototype) for Photokina, that has XE/XPro on its sleeve? I mean come on! This is THE show!

    What are they waiting for?
    Panasonic steals the show IMHO and makes very compelling cameras.
    Now I already am into m43 with a nice set of lenses and have a lovely black x100S, besides my flagship nikons. BUT, I have had so much high hopes on Fujifilm to show off the X-Pro2 as to seriously buy into the system for almost a year now!
    Personally I dont like the XT1 design and prefer the “Rangefinder style” btw….

  7. James

    Sorry to comment on an old post, but I’m in the market for an X-Pro 2, and I found some of this puzzling.

    First off, the better hybrid viewfinder already exists – it’s in the X100T, put it in a ILC updated X-Pro body already. It’s lovely with its MF rangefinder focus patch projected onto the OVF. Sure make it a little bigger and clearer but it’s basically good to go?

    Second, all we really need aside from this is all the improvements in AF, ergonomics, video, etc., etc., that are on the intervening models, isn’t it? Genuinely don’t understand the hold-up here. Sure my X-T1 is lovely, but there’s a place for a RF style body and OVF, but I’m not buying into an out of date X-Pro 1 at this stage and putting up with no MF in OVF, when the X100T has it, no way.

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