Colour,  Daily photo,  Gear

Fujifilm XF 18-120 just snapped in two

Everything breaks down eventually, but there are different kinds of breakdowns and different kinds of reasons for them.
On the one hand, you cannot expect a product to be indestructible and you must take proper care to maintain its efficiency. As I said, it will break eventually, but probably not in an unexpected way.
On the other hand, when you buy a ‘professional’ or simply an expensive product, you expect the overall quality of the build to match the price.
Enter the Fuji XF 18-120. It costs around 900 Euros. Not a steep price compared to Leica, Zeiss or even Canon lenses, and far more expensive than Chinese brands such as Viltrox (which has no comparable product), but 900 Euros is not an amount that the average photographer would spend lightly.
A few weeks ago, a moderately used XF 18-120 suddenly broke . The screws that hold the bayonet to the lens just failed and the lens snapped in two, leaving the bayonet locked in the body and the lens hanging on just one screw.
I have since contacted Fujifilm Italy for an explanation. They replied that they had never encountered such a problem and asked for more information. As the lens was out of warranty, I took it to a professional repair service and asked them to take some pictures of the problem to send back to Fujifilm. In the meantime, the preliminary assessment was that the bayonet socket had lost its thread and that the only way to fix the problem was to fill the socket with resin and re-tap the threads. Oddly enough, the repair service found that the screws were of different diameters (three of the four have a diameter ranging from 1.53 to 1.61 mm), and it seems that the materials were not of the highest quality.
Irrational as it may be – and indeed it is – the reaction to this news was an instant disillusionment with Fujifilm quality and a questioning of its reliability for professional work.
Prior to this incident, I was so committed to Fujifilm that I had traded back my entire Nikon setup for sports and concert photography, rather than just swap the DSLRs for a Z whatever, in the firm belief that, barring bad luck, Fujifilm cameras and lenses would not let me down.
Now, after the XF18-120 incident, I find it hard to bring Fujifilm stuff into serious work. For instance, I am preparing to go to Japan to make a documentary and I have serious concerns about how to deal with unexpected problems.
Once again, this change of heart about Fujifilm is completely irrational, and there is no reason at the moment to extend the failure of a single unit to the whole product line and, by extension, the brand as such. However, as with all irrational emotions, there is no way to keep this one at bay with logical thinking and, one way or another, I will stop using Fujifilm equipment in due course.
If only Pentax made MILCs…