My X-Pro3 sub-monitor issue

Background

I’ve enjoyed my X-Pro3 camera since the first day I’ve had it. I previously owned an X-Pro2 which had been my sort of perfect camera, from street photography to travel photography. After long thought I decided to upgrade to the X-Pro3 and sell the X-Pro2 which I quite frankly regret sometimes, not because I’m not happy with the new one, but because I think the two can coexist perfectly as they have a different sensor and produce different images in terms of quality and style. Anyway, that’s another story, let’s get to the point :

The sub-monitor on the X-Pro3 showing the Classic Negative film simulation

I doubt it if you are reading this, but in the case you don’t know what the Fuji X-Pro3 sub-monitor is, it has been a little of a controversy since day one. The back of the camera, contrary to other Fuji cameras in their line-up or even other brand’s mirrorless cameras, doesn’t display your shots unless you flip the LCD pannel down. In the default upright position, you get a little sub-monitor that either displays your settings, or the film simulation you are currently using. It’s a reminder of the old times when you shot film and used to attach the little flap piece of the film roll box to the back of the camera just to remind you which film was currently loaded. I have mine set to displaying the film simulation. Yes, it’s kind of a little gimmick, but I love it and think it’s very cool.

The problem

After around only 10 months of use, I started to noticed there was a problem with mine when all of a sudden the colours of the sub-monitor’s film simulation randomly started to change. Unfortunately I couldn’t take a picture of it when it happened. The best description I can come up with, is that it was like the colours morphed to their negative version, like Reds turning into Cyan or Greens into Magenta. In the beginning I even thought it was some kind of feature I had not noticed previously , like a low power mode because I had little battery power left. Alas, I rapidly got to the conclusion that it was a malfunction. During 2 or 3 days, it just kept changing between the normal display and the “weird negative” one. Eventually, the sub-monitor just turned black and didn’t display anything (not even the settings). At that point I was aware that some other people have experienced similar, although with different malfunction symptoms, that all led to the sub-monitor failure. Some of them even experiencing total LCD failure (which I didn’t, maybe because I sent immediately the camera for repair).

Fortunately enough, my camera was still under warranty, so I contacted Fujifilm and send them the camera, which they repaired at no cost for me. They replaced the whole LCD back panel (I understand it is not possible to change the sub-monitor only, or maybe be it is not cost effective to do so, but don’t take my word I could be wrong).

Conclusion

The X-Pro3 is the most expensive X series camera to the day in Fujifilm’s line-up. Fujifilm has quite a good reputation with the reliability of their gear. As a bonus this is a camera that is manufactured in Japan (not all Fuji cameras are) which used to give a sort of guaranty and peace of mind that your gear was engineered so to last a long time. Rightly so, Fujifilm even emphasised the reliability and durability in their marketing for this new camera, issuing the Duratect™ versions of these titanium cameras, which get a special coated treatment for durability and scratch resistance.

I suppose that in the globalised world we leave in, “made in Japan” is not a guaranty of anything anymore, because components my come from different parts of the world and suppliers.

I understand that sometimes s**t happens but I nonetheless would expect these very expensive cameras to be thoroughly tested before issuing them to the market. Only ten months of use (in my case) is not a very long time for something to begin breaking down.

Of course, in the light of the all the other documented failures I found in internet, I got quite a bit concerned for the future of my camera. My worries are that there is some kind of design or conception weakness with the replaced part. If this is true, that failure could repeat in the near future. To that specific concern, Fujifilm Europe replied to me by e-mail that ” .. we are not aware that there is any recurring failure with these parts (LCD and sub-monitor) so we must assume that the breakdown has been due to some occasional failure.

I will update on that matter if there’s some news developments.

If you too have experienced a similar problem, please let me know in the comments.

Leave a Reply