Fuji Inconsistent Aperture

kevenv

Regular
I have many emails from members at other forums asking me to explain the test I set up. It works and actually is nothing more than what we old view camera shooters did before a shoot.

Perhaps the test process/steps could be a sticky topic in this section outlining the steps involved. It is a huge help. It confirmed the issue for me.
 

adanac

Veteran
Location
Vancouver, BC
11 cameras being made known as failures to a single individual, personally, is a lot. Not being a go-to guy for advice, I only know of three others (plus mine is four) in my home town alone. I count that as a lot, too, especially given the relative youth of the camera. Of course I'm aware of a great many more failed cameras as a result of my participation in the x100forum.com.

On the internet it certainly is true that people will problems gravitate to forums and thus the incidence of problem can seem higher than it is across the entire, real, community of users.

But what concerns me is how many cameras of regular forum members - not the "sign up the instant I have a problem" type of member - that we've seen.

Regular forum members might not be statistically representative of the entire population of users because they tend to be more active camera users, or at least more active camera discussers ;) - but they should not be visited by a higher than normal rate of camera failure.

If you look at the number of x100forum.com users who have had a camera fail *after* they've been a member for some time I do not believe you can come to any other conclusion other than that there is a problem affecting a very large number of cameras, geographically dispersed evenly around the world.

It's like the NEX-5N clicking video problem, but worse, in that it disables the camera's core functionality. Sony doesn't announce a recall but instead fixes cameras, calling the fix euphemistically a "performance upgrade". Issuing a recall would mean fixing many more cameras. Fujifilm is playing the same game.

One can only hope that Fujifilm treats X100 owners better than the stated warranty would imply and fix these cameras when they are out of warranty because very clearly the failure is a manufacturing defect quite unlike a random component failure.
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Location
SoCal
Real Name
Bob
Ok, let’s count how many x100s have been sold, how many are owned by people on this forum, how many of those have this problem, when does the problem manifest itself, have any of these cameras be been hit, been near high humidity, how many were using Fuji batteries, were the batteries fully charged, how many have had the problem fixed, how many have had the problem happen again after the fix. Not hearsay but real numbers.
Again not saying there is nothing wrong but let see what the number is.

As to out of warrantee repairs, that is going to be purely up to Fuji as to how they want to be seen, I have all sorts of cameras with issues that are not being repaired free of charge out of warrantee, even some really large ticket ones. And I have some that are being taken care of.

Just this morning on a watch forum, someone wrote how their new watch stopped, immediately a lot of folks posted about the rumored problem with that watch’s movement having a history of this problem. The problem for me was that half of the people posting have never owned a watch with that movement but were only responding to what they had read or heard on the Internet.
 

adanac

Veteran
Location
Vancouver, BC
Landshark, the difference between what I related and your watch story is that the people I referenced actually own X100's.

Those folks I'm highlighting as clear evidence of a wide spread problem were users of the camera who had been active on X100forum.com for some time. I was one of them. Those of us who joined that community before or immediately after obtaining our camera did not join to complain but to praise and share.

Then one by one cameras belonging to on-going members of the forum started to fail. A few failed even after being repaired. These affected users are from all over the world.

You can choose to disagree but my contention is that the evenly spread distribution of failure instances across this body of users, regardless of where they live in the world, points to a design or manufacturing defect. I'm leaning to a design defect, since if only a few batches were affected we'd probably see more geographic concentration. The reported serial numbers of cameras affected do not show a pattern, either, further supporting the design defect hypothesis.

The sticky aperture failure is widespread enough to have become widely known. This has to affect resale prices and will increasingly depress resale prices the closer the clock ticks to the two-year warranty limit of cameras potentially affected.

Meanwhile Fujifilm claims that less than 0.5% of all cameras made are experiencing this problem, which would equate to about 500 cameras world wide. If this were true, then it would be nearly impossible for a single user to receive two failing cameras or two failed lens assemblies, yet that has happened in at least a dozen instances that are known, and a handful of unlucky individuals have received three failing lens assemblies or combo of new cameras that failed out of the box and replaced lens assemblies that have failed.

An issue like this can leave a dark cloud hovering over a maker, dissuading future buyers from purchasing their products. You can count me as one of those who likely will not buy a Fujifilm camera in the future unless I see them improve their handling of this particular problem. Unless they change their stance on warranty and support for second hand owners, I certainly will never be an early adopter of any Fujifilm product again. Providing X100 owners with the assurance they'll be looked after, even after the warranty expires -- for this specific issue only -- would be what I'd want to see. That'd be the smart play for Fujifilm but there's no been no suggestion so far they plan to act accordingly.
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Location
Down Under
Real Name
Mark
Wow passion still runs hot on the topic - much like the symptom that persists on x100forums.

I suppose folks need to be aware that the issue exists and make the ultimate choice - sell or keep the camera. I went the former route and am at peace with my decision. Might I suggest a similar course of action for folks who are losing sleep over the issue - I know I did - I have moved on and am honestly better for it. Otherwise if you choose the latter route, and I wouldn't blame you if you did, then get out there and use it as its design intended!

I just fear that a lot of quality image making time might be squandered in going over the same ground ad infinitum....talking about a tool that should be inspiring us to get out there in amongst it.

Agreed Don's instructions should be a sticky on this thread or forum, for a handy-billy test resources.

Otherwise guys, life's too short. Choose your weapons wisely and get out there and shoot!
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Location
Not too far from Philly
Real Name
you should be able to figure it out...
The bottom line is we don't know HOW big the problem is but we know there is a problem. From following both the X100 forum and the Fuji forum on DPR, I had the same experience as Adanac, seeing people who had and loved their X100's developing the problems and then new people show up who'd just bought their cameras, were wildly enthusiastic about them, and then they started dropping in notable numbers. These are enthusiasts who hang out on photo forums so I don't know how this population relates to the general population of X100 owners, but I suspect a relatively high percentage of X100 owners are reasonably serious. So, we don't know if its one tenth of one percent, one percent, ten percent, or more. We just don't know. But its not an isolated problem like you run into with most cameras - you hear about a problem or a failure once in a while, but you don't hear all that many of the same thing. With this, there were quite a few of the same thing. So I suspect its quite a lot, but I don't know what "quite a lot" means in percentage terms.

So that's all we know. It happens. The same thing has happened to quite a few separate people who hang out on photo forums. We can assume it also happens to a lot of people who don't hang out on photo forums. But we have no way of calculating our risk before buying the camera if we don't have one yet. Or our risk of developing the problem if we already have the camera. I have an X100 - it was one of the very early ones, I have at least a few thousand actuations on it, and no problems. Most seem to happen a lot more quickly than that, as far as we know. So I feel reasonably comfortable with my cameras - then again, maybe there was a batch that was built a bit better but is still susceptible and that just means the problem could take longer to turn up??? I don't know - its in the back of my mind, but for now at least, its WAAAAAY in the back of my mind. There appears to finally be a new lens assembly that's working for people after many repairs didn't fix it, but it hasn't really been around long enough to say for sure.

We can rant and rave about Fuji being terrible for not handling it better or we can praise them to the moon for dealing with it as well as they have. None of which changes the basic problem or solution. If you don't have the problem, just be aware of how your camera is acting so if it develops, you can address it. If you don't have the camera, its a tougher call whether to buy on now or wait for further information on the new lens assembly we've been hearing about, but not officially, and is surely not in all of the cameras out on sales floors yet.

Its a calculated risk, like most things.

-Ray
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Location
SoCal
Real Name
Bob
We can go on here forever here, but no one has yet to answer the questions asked,
"You can choose to disagree but my contention is that the evenly spread distribution of failure instances across this body of users, regardless of where they live in the world, points to a design or manufacturing defect. I'm leaning to a design defect, since if only a few batches were affected we'd probably see more geographic concentration. The reported serial numbers of cameras affected do not show a pattern, either, further supporting the design defect hypothesis." There is a lot of assumption in this statement, none of us know anything about the cameras distribution as it relates to either serial number or manufacture date
This is no different than my watch story, I can also tell stories of ringland failures with my car, in both cases no one has been able to produce anywhere near a real number of cases compared to cameras, watches or cars built. There is always the retelling of some other's experience. No one has answered any of the questions about the pattern of the defect as it relates to use of the camera. We just found out that I own a $40,000 Hasselblad H4d-60 that picks up so much static electricity when it flies that it will not function until we re-do the firmware when we land. Years ago I loved working with the Fuji 680 but I could never get a rental unit to make it through a shoot, every rental house said they were an issue for them, I decided to buy one anyway, because there was nothing else like it and soon discovered how dependable the camera was when well looked after. Actually ended up with two that still work fine today.
As I have said multiple times I have no doubt some people have had problem but let's try and get the best count possible of the issue.
These forums can kill resale far more than anything Fuji does to respond.
 

Streetshooter

Administrator Emeritus
Location
Philly, Pa
This is all fine and dandy. The key issue is this... There is a problem.
Fuji will fix the problem. They have to take accountability for the problem well into the future as no one can predict when and if it will occur. If one gets the camera second hand even 2 years from now, will Fuji repair it free of charge?
Isn't that really the big issue? Not that there are a number of cameras effected but how Fuji deals with their manufacturing defect that their users are buying into.

There should be an official announcement about how they intend to warrant each camera made.
To assume that one has a camera without this problem is just taking risk for the future. One should know without doubt that if and when something happens, one is covered without cost to get it fixed, now or in the future.
 
Many cameras had problems at the beginning of production. The Nikon F2 started production in 1971, but it was not until the 1973 production that problems with jammed shutters and motor backlash were worked out. Yet I have two cameras from the first 1500 ever produced (out of almost 950,000 made) that still work well.
When the Nikon F5 came out, my favorite salesman at Penn told me to wait before buying- the shutters had problems.

I waited several years before buying a Leica M8, and bought one very late in the run. I waited 18months into the production of the Leica M9 before buying. Bought extended warranty for both cameras.

Fuji needs to address this wide-spread problem with the X100. It is a design defect. Other fixed-lens cameras with leaf shutters do not seize up with this frequency due to "humidity". I've had enough of mine on the beach and in the swimming pool to know this should not be a problem. If Fuji wants to be taken seriously in this field, they need to announce that they will fix this problem and basically issue a recall. Warranties do not convey with used cameras. If you buy an X100, buy it new or buy it with an extended warranty.

I had cash sitting in my Paypal account, set aside for an X100. "A Digital Canonet Ql17". After reading forum members experience with this camera, I bought a Zeiss C-Sonnar 50/1.5 instead.
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Location
SoCal
Real Name
Bob
One can push the actual numbers aside all one wants but the real percentage of the failures as compared to cameras sold/made is the first issue, next what is the percentage of a repeat problem after the fix. If one cannot prove a high percentage of failure than I do not see how anybody expects Fuji or any company to repair the camera/product after warrantee expiration forever for free. Anything you buy has some sort of risk to what will life of the product be after the warrantee runs out and not much is well made or simply designed as it used to be.

A few years ago we invested over $100,000 dollars in a Leaf AFI medium format camera system, based around a Rollei camera, Zeiss lenses and Leaf digital backs, no other medium format camera was such a pleasure to use for the first year, after that it was hard to get it to make it through two shoots in a row, without something going wrong. The camera was sold by Leaf and distributed by the MAC group (Mamiya), they knew there were problems, after that first year, which they would try to fix, (I over shot the “pro cameras” shutter), Phase bought Leaf, the rollei plant went bankrupt, Mac turned there back not only on free repairs but on all repairs, Sinar which had a similar camera would take over repairs, until they told us we could not go directly to them but had to go through Mac. After long talks with MAC, (I still buy other stuff from them) we now have a path for repairs, not free but at least they are getting done.
Resale on this camera is completely gone, but honestly cameras are never good investments.

With my car, there is lots of heated debate on the forums, about the ringland problem, is it operator error, factory defect, factory tune because of emission testing, one does not know anything other than that some have had a problem and most have not, The company is taking care of anyone with the issue while under warranty and peoples are just on their own after the warranty has run out. This has been going on since the 2008 model introduction. No statement from the company at all.

Someone gave us a giant but simple Amana microwave when we got married over 30 years ago, it has now been passed around the family for years and still works, on the other hand we have replaced three “modern” smaller more feature oriented microwaves in the same 30 years because they died.

On the other hand with a little cleaning, shutter timing and lube my original Nikon Fs work fine
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Location
SoCal
Real Name
Bob
Other fixed-lens cameras with leaf shutters do not seize up with this frequency due to "humidity". I've had enough of mine on the beach and in the swimming pool to know this should not be a problem. If Fuji wants to be taken seriously in this field, they need to announce that they will fix this problem and basically issue a recall. Warranties do not convey with used cameras.

I have had countless problems with cameras in high humidity situations; fortunately they are rarely damaged permanently.
It has happened at all level of cameras, my Ricoh GRD II stopped working for a week once after shooting outdoors with in very high humidity conditions. One of my worst photo nightmares was shooting a high profile celebrity with limited time, in a New York studio during a snowstorm with the heater up pretty high in the studio. As we started the shoot both of my Mamiya RZ bodies shut down, when I went to shoot with my Fuji 680 it also shut down due to the humidity level in the studio, as the sweat started to pour off of my forehead, in this high pressure situation and before I could my Canon ready to go the talent told me not to worry they were days when she had a hard time starting in the morning. By the time we finished the first setup with the Canon, the other cameras had acclimated and everything worked out well in the end.
Nothing worse for an electronic camera than high humidity.
 
If Fuji would release the number of cameras repaired, and make some statements about the root cause of the problem- they would improve their credibility. Simply stating that "high humidity" caused the failures is ridiculous.

When the Olympus OM1md was introduced, there were serious problems and the store that I worked in at the time had 15% of them fail and come back for refunds. Way beyond "infant mortality" of similar cameras. We talked customers out of buying them.

After reading problems that x100 users have experienced, and Fuji's response- I would not buy one for myself or suggest that anyone else buy one until the problems are sorted out and the hardware is revised to correct it. I would tell someone to buy a Nikon F2 made after 1972, and a Nikon F made after 1964. Small changes are made to the mechanics to correct problems and increase reliability. I suspect Fuji will be doing this on newly produced x100's.
 

adanac

Veteran
Location
Vancouver, BC
Unfortunately for the company and their users, the failure is not a temporary one and I dispute the humidity claim they are recently making. I received my camera in Vancouver during the summer - hardly a high humidity location - and it failed within just a couple of weeks having never seen rain nor been subject to high humidity at all. Additionally, the problem is not temporary at all but is permanent. The failure is progressive - a little worse bit by bit until one day all you are left with is a soft f/2.0 only machine. The majority of users experiencing the blade failure problem have seen this failure pattern. This again speaks to a design or manufacturing defect.

Consumer products that fail badly and visibly can become real problems for their makers. The X100 is headed in that direction if it hasn't already arrived.

The difference between Fujifilm and Leaf/AFI or Hassleblad or the sadly defunct Rollei (I'm just now unloading the last of my Rollei 6000 series gear) is that Fujifilm markets to consumers have a great deal more choice in their gear than do professionals.
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Location
SoCal
Real Name
Bob
Consumer products that fail badly and visibly can become real problems for their makers. The X100 is headed in that direction if it hasn't already arrived.

The difference between Fujifilm and Leaf/AFI or Hassleblad or the sadly defunct Rollei (I'm just now unloading the last of my Rollei 6000 series gear) is that Fujifilm markets to consumers have a great deal more choice in their gear than do professionals.

I honestly do not see the situation with Fujifilm to be that different than the medium format mess, The x100 is a prosummer camera at best, even it turns out to be a troubled camera (mine has been fine), it will probably have little impact on the larger consumer P&S market, the Wal-Mart, Best Buy consumer. If on the other hand, their plans are to go back into the pro market, which there are rumors of, that would be more of a problem

Speaking of problem cameras, if one believes the camera is permanently flawed unless the manufacturer does a recall how does one sell it to someone else, unless you think everything is now solved.

I do not remember if I have said this here before or not but the idea of indestructible reliability in cameras went out with the death of mostly mechanical cameras. I cannot begin to tell you how many rolls of film went through my Nikons, Canons and RZs over the years. Now we cannot make it through a complete summer of shooting with one of the many medium format digital cameras I own dying. Which is why I always have a spare camera or two.
 

adanac

Veteran
Location
Vancouver, BC
I don't see the X100 issues causing Fujifilm much problem with its low and point and shoot business, either, but the development of the "X" line is on-going and in that prosumer market one does expect the buyer to be a little more informed before showing up at a counter or on-line to plunk down $1000 plus on a camera and there they remain vulnerable if issues like this hang around. Hopefully they've solved their aperture issues in the X10 because it'd be damning to see them show up on a different model altogether.

Regarding selling a camera on the used market, I've written about that before. In my case I fully disclosed everything I knew about the issue, the camera, and even pointed the buyer to X100forum.com where the issue is talked to death. I had my faulty lens assembly replaced and ran through enough exposures to feel confident that it wasn't likely to fail again as my first had. Finally, I gave the buyer, who is local, my contact information and a commitment to stand in for him as the original buyer if his X100 needs warranty service, since Fujifilm isn't willing to fix their problem when it appears on second hand cameras.

I feel I've done all I can to prepare the buyer of my camera, with no help from Fujifilm in light of the issue.

It'd be nice if Fujifilm offered a warranty transfer program - they could even charge for it - or a warranty expansion. Some makers offer such service options.
 

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