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Can a camera company make an app that doesn’t suck? Fujifilm tries again

A few weeks ago, I decided I couldn’t deal with Fujifilm’s Camera Remote app anymore. So I threw in the towel and bought an SD-to-Lightning adapter that lets me reliably take photos from my Fujifilm cameras to my iPhone without any fuss. But it also makes me feel like a damn caveman. It’s going to get better than this in 2023.

I’ve been using Fujifilm’s mirrorless cameras since the X-T1 days. But like many others, I’ve had mixed experiences with the company’s mobile app. Just check out those reviews on the App Store and Google Play.

In theory, this software aims to make syncing photos between camera and smartphone very convenient. Sometimes it really is, and despite its rudimentary interface, Fujifilm’s app can be a useful tool in those cases. Opening an app and wirelessly snagging a few images straight from the camera is unquestionably more intuitive than pulling out an SD card and inserting it into the dongle. But every time it serves its purpose, the camera fails to connect with the remote camera and fails miserably to get the job done. This problem is not unique to Fujifilm; Becca covers weak performance from Canon, Nikon and Sony in the latest full frame,

Today, Fujifilm is wiping the slate clean and giving it another chance.

The new Fujifilm XApp will be released on May 25 for both iOS and Android. Earlier this week, Fujifilm offered an early glimpse of the software to the press. Fujifilm’s Justin Staley insisted that the company’s engineers focused on stability and established a more robust link between its cameras and the overhauled companion app. Bluetooth is playing a part in that, so XApp is only compatible with Fujifilm cameras that include Bluetooth connectivity. Those models are:

  • X-T5, X-T4, XT-3, X-T30 II, X-T30
  • X-H2S, X-H2
  • X-S20, X-S10
  • X-Pro3
  • X100V
  • X-E4
  • GFX100, GFX100S, GFX50S II, GFX50R

It might sting a bit for owners of older, but not ancient Fujifilm cameras like the X-H1, X-Pro2 and X100F in any way. But it’s a cutoff that Fujifilm made to ensure more stable performance.

As before, you can use the app as a remote viewfinder and shutter button.
Image: Fujifilm

As with the previous Camera Remote app, even when in wireless communication mode, your camera creates an ad hoc Wi-Fi network that your phone then connects to so that the XApp can retrieve images. Staley says every part of the process is made fast and easy, and a brief demo of XApp pairing with the recently announced X-S20 gave me reason to be to some extent optimistic.

In addition to the core functionality of transferring photos and videos, the XApp lets you operate your camera remotely using your phone. Previous software could do this, but Fujifilm says it has taken new steps to give users control over practically every function without needing to touch the camera.

Fujifilm now offers the option to backup and restore your camera’s settings. So if you need to factory reset your body or want to offload your go-to settings onto a secondary camera for a shoot, this app can do it; Could not remote the camera.

The new app can show detailed statistics about your lens and film simulation usage.
Image: Fujifilm

Activity and Timeline

There are two new sections in the XApp that were never part of a camera remote, and they’re geared toward Fujifilm’s biggest advocates. For the first time, you can set up a user profile in XApp. And when you do, Fujifilm will sync your camera history to the cloud and show you stats like the number of shots you’ve taken, how much video you’ve recorded, and geolocation (pulled from your phone’s GPS) . Your Transferred Content.

But it goes deeper than that. The XApp can also show how many shots you’ve taken with each of Fujifilm’s signature film simulations. I’m guessing I’ll see a lot of Classic Chrome and Estia in my summary when I start using the app. It will also break whatever lenses you use. This data is available for both stills and video. The timeline also displays snapshots of your transferred media and serves as a scrapbook of sorts.

not you Near To create an account to use the Fujifilm XApp. It can control your camera or take pictures without it. But if you want to access the Activity and Timeline tabs and get a deeper dive into your camera history, you’ll need to create a profile. The company provides detailed control over what activities you allow the app to collect.

I only saw a short demo and haven’t used Fujifilm XApp directly yet. But if the action and timeline are executed well, they could make for a fun addition that Fujifilm’s shooters will compare with each other.

During Fujifilm’s runthrough, I still found some rough patches in XApp such as weird translations; There has to be a better way to describe the “Image Acquisition/Photography” label in the Connect tab. Still, I’m very eager to kick the tires on this new app and hit the sweet, sweet “delete” icon for Camera Remote once and for all. Maybe this will mark Fujifilm as turning the page and we’ll start to see average review scores that rise above 1.5 stars.

You can expect a wave of firmware updates this week to introduce support for Fujifilm XApp for many of the cameras above – you know, because this software didn’t exist when they were released. In the case of the X-T5 and X-H2, those updates will also include substantial autofocus enhancements that originally arrived in the X-H2S via a firmware upgrade several months ago.

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