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There's a common adage that the smartphone killed the camera, but Fujifilm Australia General Manager for Electronic Imaging & Optical Devices Shaun Mah has a different take.
"Most people [might think] iPhone is our competitor. It's actually not," said Mah in an interview with Reviews.org Australia. "It's actually my best friend. It's actually our best friend."
In short, Mah says iPhone has encouraged people who normally wouldn't be into photography to take up the craft. If they decide to take the next step, it creates a new customer for Fujifilm.
"We couldn't have done it any better without [Apple], because they're just bringing people in. My best friend is a classic example of this. He started going 'man I actually take really good photos'. I'm like 'I know, why don't you get into it?' And [iPhone] is almost like that stepping stone."
Mah didn't have hard figures about the percentage of Fujifilm camera buyers that follow this journey, but said the company commonly sees it at its flagship House of Photography store.
Mah's comments were made following the iPhone 15 Pro's announcement, which Apple is touting as a professional camera system thanks to features like USB-C and log colour encoding which allow it to slot into pro-grade workflows. Olivia Rodrigo's latest music video was shot on iPhone 15 Pro, for example.
Fujifilm announced its latest high-end camera on the same day as iPhone 15: the GFX100 II. Priced at $12,599, the camera is clearly aimed at a very different audience. It's probably not the device someone goes to straight if they're looking a bit more capable than their phone (Fujifilm has cameras that start at around $1,300 and up). The new medium format mirrorless GFX 100 II does however have some pretty impressive specs; it shoots 102MP photos, 4K video at 60GPS, and has subject-detecting autofocus.
Mah also gave Reviews.org Australia some thoughts on generative AI as an alternative to photography.
"[Generative AI] is not someone not capturing a moment, it's someone trying to paint a particular picture, versus in photography, that image you take is that one moment frozen in time that you can't possibly replicate," said Mah.
"How many times have you taken a picture and gone 'that's awesome' but you just want your partner to go in there? I've tried it with my wife, and when you do it, it's just not the same, because the first time was that authentic, real, raw, version. You can't replicate it."