I got this new camera from Fujifilm; it’s outstanding, but has a really irritating software problem. Fuji could fix that on the double-quick and at the same time turn the problem into a marketing weapon. How? Two words: Open source.
[Update: It turns out the problem is you can’t WiFi RAW pix off the cam, just jpegs. This would be a problem for RAW shooters except for you can do the R-to-j conversion on the cam with just a couple of clicks. No, this isn’t documented or anything, I just poked around and figured it out. The argument for open-sourcing is not weakened.]
The problem · I’ll probably write more about the camera, but today I want to focus on its wireless features, of which there are three:
You can remote-control the camera from a mobile device.
You can pull photos from the camera onto a mobile.
You can upload photos from the camera to your computer.
I tried them with my Nexus 5 and Mac; the setup is kind of klunky. #1 worked fine. #2 sort of tries to work, and after a few attempts I managed to move one photo to my Nexus. I’ve never got #3 to work, but who cares? It’s immensely faster to jam the SD card in your computer and upload that way anyhow.
But #2 not working is irritating; when I’m out in the field and get a snazzy photo, it’d be cool to shoot it over to the phone and share it with the world.
However, I hear that it works OK on iOS, so this is an Android problem.
The solution · Publish the damn Android app source on Github already! This is one of the hottest cameras in the universe, and the probability is very high that someone talented would leap at the chance to clean up the app. My guess is, chances are good you’d have an app that actually worked within a couple of weeks
Plus you’d sell a bunch of X-T1s to geeks just because they’d jump at a chance to wrangle their own mobile apps for it Which is a pretty desirable demographic to have carrying your camera around; well-paid, and the kind of people who get asked for tech advice by all their friends and relations.
Could it happen? · Even a few year ago, this idea would have been egregiously silly. First, the chances of breaking through to anyone at Fujifilm who even understood what you were saying would be more or less zero. Second, if you did, the reaction would be along the lines of “What kind of hippie foolishness is this?”
But today, it doesn’t feel impossible. First, companies are more permeable than they used to be. Second, even the most nontechnical management types are dimly aware that they’re probably basing parts of their business on that hippie-foolishness stuff. Third, Fujifilm seems unusually savvy about software, doing things like releasing substantive, useful firmware updates even for discontinued models.
So... does anyone reading this know anyone who knows anyone at Fujifilm? Pass the word!
Open-source and Free too · If I were in Fujifilm management and we were going to go the open-source route, I’d seriously consider GPLing the sucker. Seems like a no-brainer from a business point of view, right?