13 September 2017

Three Companies that Excel in Customer Service Part I: Fujifilm


Anonymous Model in Nicaragua, Shot on Fujifilm X-E2, ©2014 Terrell Neasley

"Always render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be." 


No matter the industry, there are companies in each that make a good product and suck at customer service. Often times its because of their product demand, like the iPhone or the size of the company like Bank of America. Canon and Nikon are the most well-known photography company brands and that brand is also factored into their product pricing models.

Right now, I'm going to give props to three photography related companies that I feel do an excellent job at delivering a great product and STILL provides a great customer experience to the consumers who purchase their products. First, in this Part I, I'm going to go all in a camera manufacturer.

Anonymous Model in Nicaragua, Shot on Fujifilm X-E2, ©2014 Terrell Neasley

I first picked up a Fujifilm X-E2 a few years back and took off to Nicaragua for about 3 months. I had become a fan of mirrorless tech and I started with them before eventually making Sony my main system. At the time, Sony had the full-frame mirrorless experience, but lacked the lens line-up that I needed. I did not expect much and bought the camera strictly for street photography work, but I learned it was capable of much more. After less than a week in country...I had a rather rough experience with ocean waves, large rocks, and a cliff. My poor Fuji spent hours in and out of the Pacific as I attempted to save my life.

I don't know of ANY camera system that can come back from that. It wasn't even weather-proof, yet after 5 days in a plastic bag full of rice, (and eventually ants), the camera came back to full functioning operation capability. both camera AND lens. Upon my return to the US, I stopped in Los Angeles to shoot the Black College Expo AND models in fashion apparel for a non-profit. I rented an X100S to pair with my X-E2. Upon returning home to Las Vegas and beginning my edits, I quickly realized there was absolutely no added benefit had I used my Nikon D800e. That's a 16mp crop sensor versus a 36mp full frame. No added benefit!

Anonymous Model in Nicaragua, Shot on Fujifilm X-E2, ©2014 Terrell Neasley

On top of that, I have to say that of all the camera manufacturers out there, Fujifilm is the one that listens to its customer base the most. They are firm believers in the Japanese philosophy of the Kaizen continuous improvement model. They'll usually add firmware to update your current camera, whereas other manufacturers will only add the more demanded features in subsequent models. The Fujifilm X-T1 came out only a few months after I bought my X-E2. It was more rugged and more frames per second. Fujifilm eliminated any buyer's remorse I might have acquired by issuing a firmware update that gave me almost the exact same features as the X-T1. Later on, they added more firmware upgrades that effectively gave me a brand new camera. When have you ever had a camera that had more functionality spec-wise three years after you bought it than at the time of purchase? Only Fujifilm has done this.

If you bought the X-Pro2 when it came out last summer, you bought yourself a good rangefinder-style mirrorless camera. Its the papa of the X-E series. Guess what, they've now just announced a firmware upgrade to make your camera do 4K video. See what I'm talking about? Can you feel me now? Most camera companies will use a firmware upgrade to fix a bug OR to make the camera more compatible with a new product from the same manufacturer. A camera maker might release a new lens and then do a firmware update on older cameras to accommodate said lens. Who the hell is dropping 4K functionality into a pre-existing system. Canon isn't doing that. Nikon isn't doing that. If Canon or Nikon had the X-Pro2 and wanted to add 4K video, they'd sit on that firmware upgrade for a year and then introduce the X-Pro3!

Anonymous Model in Nicaragua, Shot on Fujifilm X-E2,
©2014 Terrell Neasley
Fujifilm is definitely not paying me to say any of this. And like I mentioned, I shoot primarily with the Sony Alpha system and I love it. That full frame tech with the high ISO system (a7sII) along with the high resolution system (a7rII) is bad ass. Fujifilm only has APS-C senors in their mirrorless system. I've been full-on Canon. I've been full-on Nikon. I'm full-on Sony right now, but I am not above shooting two systems. In fact, I've got my eye on the Fujifilm X-T2, even though I'm also likely to upgrade my Sony a6300 to the a6500.

On top of that, if you didn't know before, then you know now. Fujifilm is in the medium format business. The Fujifilm GFX 50s is a 50MP medium format mirrorless camera system. Right now, its not where I need it to be to dive into it. Personally, I think there were a few missteps with this first attempt, but I have no doubt the next generation will be a hit. A leaf shutter, faster sync speed, and I definitely want to be able to shoot in bulb mode for longer than 60mins. I think I can adjust to a mechanical shutter that tops out at 1/4000th, but why? That, along with a deeper lens line-up, and I can easily see myself rocking dual systems. I see the GFX in my life moreso than the Sony a9 and I'm very likely to pull the trigger on the next version of this camera. They just released a new 120mm macro!  That makes 6 lenses in the line-up. A new wide prime is one thing I'm waiting for. They have a 23mm f/4, but can it get faster in medium format? Maybe I'm still thinking in full frame perspective.

Anonymous Model in Nicaragua, Shot on Fujifilm X-E2, ©2014 Terrell Neasley


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