The right way to handle a technical issue: Kudos to Fujifilm

2m 34s exposure showing evidence of a light leak from the left-side access cover in the Fujifilm X-T1
2m 34s exposure showing evidence of a light leak from the left-side access cover in the Fujifilm X-T1

A friend of mine mentioned that some Fujifilm X-T1 cameras were susceptible to light leaks when the side access port cover is open. I honestly don’t spend a lot of time scrubbing through all the online babble to worry myself with such things, but in this case I figured I’d check my camera. It turns out that the problem occurs if you have the left side access cover open in bright conditions. That’s important to me, because you need to have this particular cover open to use the remote release for long-exposures. I put my 15-stops of ND filtration on, grabbed a 2-minute exposure, and sure enough there were purple and orange streaks in the image; the classic sign of a light leak.

It turns out that Fujifilm has not only publicly acknowledged this issue, but they are fixing it for free. I checked Fuji’s support site and they offered this very clear bulletin on the issue. I called the repair hotline, I got connected to a live human within 30 seconds, and he immediately acknowledged the issue. Fuji is sending a pre-paid shipping label, and promised a 7-day turnaround time on the fix. If you’re keeping score at home, this is how you handle a technical issue!

In the meantime, I found that by simply putting a couple layers of carefully placed gaffer’s tape over the microphone and HDMI ports, I can eliminate the light leak in the X-T1 entirely. That will tide me over until I send the camera in for the free repair. In the shot below, I made a 170s exposure with the sun directly coming in from the left side of the camera; a worst-case scenario.

170s exposure after covering the Microphone and HDMI ports with two layers of black gaffer tape.
170s exposure after covering the Microphone and HDMI ports with two layers of black gaffer tape.

A few quick points on the X-T1 light leak issue:

  • This is only a potential problem in bodies with serial #s ending in numbers lower than 410A05201. My camera had a serial number in this range.
  • It will only occur if you’re shooting in bright conditions with the left access cover opened (as with a remote release)
  • Fujifilm will fix the issue free of charge. If you aren’t sure about whether your camera is affected, you can send it to Fuji for a no questions asked evaluation and they will repair it if necessary.
  • Contact Fujifilm USA at 1-800-659-3854 and select option #2 for the repair department

4 thoughts on “The right way to handle a technical issue: Kudos to Fujifilm”

  1. I just don’t understand that people and even serious photographers accept this kind of problems from a premium system. ‘Fixing it for free’ doesn’t deserve kudos, this is poor, bad, awful engineering and design and the only reasonable thing to do should be to abandon Fujifilm forever, let them feel in Tokyo they have to review their R&D and testing in a very significant manner. I’m trying to live with Fuji as a compact alternative solution for 3 years now, and Fujifilm proofs camera after camera that are just not able to design something the first time right. No kaizen, but pure damage control. The x100 was a disaster, the X-Pro1 I have was also a plain release disaster many firmwares later, from certain point of views it still is. Poor and erratic AF, shutter lag, flash problems, poor body, LCD and paint materials, a poor and unreliable interface,… I had also with my 35mm an 60mm very serious problems. It took Fujifilm exactly 3 months to come with the solution to replace the 35mm lens. 3 months! The 60mm is just a toy to fill the empty space in your bag, AF could as well not being existing on this lens. I really regret to have invested quite a bit in hardware and lenses because I kept on much too long believing in the system, blinded by the extreme fan-wave, but this poor X-T1 design once again proofs Fujifilm is not worth it. Even the IQ is not really where it should be, a lot of people seem to have bad eyes, when I start looking at all the color artifacts the X-trans still generates in any of the major RAW-convertors, it’s a shame.

  2. Indeed. But the oil / shutter problem seems to be much more common with mechanical shutters than people think. May cameras – not only Nikon – are having problems with this, even Leica is suffering of this. But Fujifilm’s R&D is not OK and it has been a typical Fujifilm problem for much longer than the X-series. Brilliant ideas and excellent designers aren’t everything. If a company can’t release one camera that is ticking all the boxes from day one, without return plans, FW upgrades or ‘known issues that don’t get resolved’, for me, they can as well stay off the market. I lost my believe in Fujifilm quite a bit, one day they may release the perfect camera but without going in details, see all the issues with the X-trans RAW conversions, they still have a long way to go and competition is very sharp now with better, more reliable solutions.

  3. Well, we can go down the list of issues:
    Canon 1DMk IV focus issues
    Canon 5D light leaks
    Nikon D800 left focus issue
    Nikon D600 shutter oil
    Sony A7 lens mount light leaks

    No manufacturer is immune. How they respond to issues is another matter. Denying a problem exists but fixing it discreetly is not always the best way forward.

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