Fujifilm has moved to quell the furore over the X10 and X-S1's widely publicised 'white discs' issue with a 'decisive' public announcement on what action the company intends to take to rectify the problem. Unfortunately though, the announcement isn't particularly clear on how this action will affect existing X10 owners, if at all.
The X10 was launched to widespread acclaim at the end of 2011, with many camera reviewers (us included) praising the camera for its strong design, excellent handling, impressive build quality and fantastic image quality.
This near universal praise, however, was tempered by the fact that the X10 (and more recently the X-S1 superzoom, which uses the same proprietary 2/3in EXR sensor) can produce ugly white discs with strongly delineated edges instead of specular highlights.
In a statement released last night Fuji admits that it did "receive some inquiries concerning the so-called ‘white disc’ or ‘blooming’ occurrence", but counters this with the claim that the phenomenon “can occur with all digital cameras which use CMOS sensors.”
While many will welcome Fuji’s pseudo-admission of a problem, things are a little less clear as regards what remedial actions the company intends to take to address the issue. The company has already issued one firmware update for the X10, which was met with a lukewarm response at best. In its statement Fuji pledges to now make the same update available for the X-S1 from 21st March.
The bigger development, however, is that Fuji also claims to be working on a “modified sensor” for the X10. The company says it is “working hard to make this new sensor available from late May 2012.” However, the statement stops short on saying whether this new sensor will be made available to existing X10 owners.
The statement does hint at such a move with its closing statement, which reads: “We encourage any customer with an X10 and X-S1 who has experienced the ‘white disc’ phenomenon to call their local authorized Fujifilm service centre.” Quite whether this amounts to a sensor exchange program we can’t say for certain just yet. Of course, we’ve put this question directly to Fuji and will update this story as soon as we have a response.