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Fujifilm spent almost a year developing stabilization for the X100VI


Fujifilm is at the forefront of sensor stabilization, and the system found in the new X100VI is especially impressive given the camera’s very small body size.

Over the past few years, Fujifilm has made great strides in developing image stabilization systems called in-body image stabilization (IBIS) units. The company’s engineers have worked to make them not only more efficient, but also more compact, allowing them to perform as well (or even better) than cameras from other manufacturers, while requiring less space and energy.

Stabilization modules (from left to right): Fujifilm X100VI, X-T5 and X-H1

The X100VI’s IBIS module is Fujifilm’s smallest yet and represents the culmination of research and development that the company has spent a lot of time creating.

Speaking to PetaPixel at its headquarters in Tokyo, Fujifilm’s Jun Watanabe, product planning manager at the Professional Imaging Group, explained the features of IBIS technology.

Fujifilm X-H1 image stabilization unit

“This is our first IBIS system dedicated to the X-H1,” Watanabe explained as he held the device. “And around the same time we had the X100V, but we couldn’t fit it in because it was too big.”

He then pulled out the second IBIS block and continued: “This is the block for the X-T5, but we also couldn’t install it in the X100VI”:

Fujifilm X-T5 image stabilization unit

Watanabe explained that in order to add IBIS to the X100VI, the team had to change their priorities, changing the proportions of the module. Therefore, engineers had to redesign the module differently.

The team moved the wiring that is typically found on the back of IBIS devices to the side and overlapped the cable as much as possible to make use of the limited space.

“We make the most of that space and make the most of the cable tension. This way we were able to install a smaller spring.”

Fujifilm X100VI image stabilization unit

Because the cable is pulled through a narrow space, tension is created to keep the IBIS unit in a central position. By changing the position of the magnetic spring, a force is created that compensates for the tension, which makes it possible to achieve a corrective effect with standard energy consumption.

Watanabe says the development of this new, updated IBIS module took almost a year.

From this angle, the difference in depth between these IBIS devices is more obvious

It is important to note that while the development teams of different Fujifilm cameras overlap and work together, the requirements of each camera are unique. It’s easy to think that Fujifilm could simply borrow the technology used in, for example, the GFX100 II, but that’s not possible here.

Cross section of the X100VI showing the position of the IBIS unit behind the lens sensor

“It is different [from the IBIS module in the GFX100 II],” explains Yujiro Igarashi, manager of Fujifilm’s Professional Imaging Group.

Cross section of X100VI and X100V

“As you know, the X100VI does not have a shutter inside the body, but rather a shutter in the lens. This way the camera has space along the long side, which is why we opted for the wider option.”

Watanabi and Igarashi were joined in the discussion by Makoto Oishi, product planning group manager at Professional Imaging Group, and the three explained that the original X100V body was created with the hope that at some point the team would be able to add IBIS to the line cameras

“Initially, when we developed the X100V, we already had a plan to implement IBIS,” explained Igarashi.

The team learned a lot about creating compact cameras with IBIS, and although the X100VI had to design everything from scratch, it was mostly based on the X-T5, as well as ideas from other cameras. In short, this is one team that works on stabilization for all Fujifilm cameras.

“The IBIS module was developed by the same team. The same engineers. So, the latest technology for the next XF model or the latest technology for the next GFX model, and not only the hardware, but also our control algorithm,” says Watanabe.

“IBIS X100VI uses not only a gyro sensor but also an image sensor, which improves stabilization performance. It’s actually GFX100 II technology.”

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