FujiFilm XT2 Camera Woes – A decision reached and steps taken

I recently started having problems with my FujiFilm XT2 camera. Basically, its a well known problem with the shutter button where it gets sticky or just gets stuck. It was getting that way for awhile so I started reading about the problem. Then I started searching local ex-pat fora for other fuji photographers that may be haunting them. I was given the name of a reputable shop.

I found the only Fuji reseller and service person in Phnom Penh yesterday and he worked on the camera for me for an hour and his appraisal is that it needs to be serviced. This would mean 3 to 5 weeks with no camera to speak of. No learning for me. I just don’t think I can do it. I am stuck in forever learning mode walking and having the camera with me.

His recommendation was to leave the body with him and get it serviced which means a new top cover unit where the button sits. That takes time. He further offered to sell me a new XT3 body which he will get today and at a discount. He will take the XT2 and get it serviced for me and return to either my hotel here or on the road where I am. The XT3 is the brand new camera body that Fuji just released in September. But before that I took another tack. I decided to try some DIY repairs. I tried the following things in roughly the order below:

  1. Toothbrush to clean. I tried a toothbrush to remove any grit or crap within the housing. While this worked for awhile the button still did not feel normal to the touch and would auto focus at the merest touch. Yesterday it locked completely down and would not release.
  2. Rubbing Alcohol and Q-tips. I did not try this although there is a pharmacy down the street and I could have gotten both there. I asked a Khmer friend that works at the hotel to accompany me just in case. At the last moment I bailed on this for the night and moved on.
  3. Tap water. I believed and I still believe that the problem is with grit, sweat, or crap from my backpack that got embedded in the housing and impacted the button. So given that the XT2 camera is water resistant, I tried some tap water to loosen any crap. I removed the battery, SD card, and lens and let water flow down on the shutter switch. It immediately loosened up and now it feels like when I bought it. Did it fix it? I don’t know.
  4. Service Warranty Repair. This will take weeks to a month to get done. I would be without a camera whatsoever except my iPhone camera. The shop would send me the camera back fixed on the road wherever I am. This led me to the final point below.
  5. Upgrade the body to the XT3. I can upgrade to the XT3 body tonight at the dealer and give the XT2 to him to have fixed and then send to me. It will cost me yet more money but seriously this is my only hobby on the road that goes with me walking my daily walks. The compelling thing though is that what do I get with the upgrade? A person on twitter does not feel its a compelling upgrade if I am not going to shoot video. I don’t do video and am after a camera for traveling that is also flexible, sturdy, and weather resistant. Either the XT2 or XT3 support that.

So I reached the decision point in this little story. What to do? Upgrade to the latest and spend the money which is not a big deal to me. Give the XT2 and not have a camera for weeks maybe months? Not good. I cannot just live with the iPhone camera. It does not satisfy me. Keep the XT2 until it starts doing the same thing again in some place like Siem Reap where the photography becomes important?

Here is what I decided to do and it is not a function of money or quality.

I am keeping the XT2 and not buying the XT3 camera body. If it fails or locks up again so be it. I also dropped the camera shop in Da Nang Vietnam a e-mail and asked them to provide a new body since I have only had the camera for a month and change. The shutter button I think is my own doing with some treatment or sweat with stuff in my backpack getting embedded. No matter, I can get it fixed. I would rather get a new XT2 body at some point down the road from the camera shop in Da Nang. I believe they will offer that.

This way also I do not spend money on a thing with questionable value that would replace a thing that now works okay. Maybe there is no right decision folks. Damned if I do or don’t. But I like the XT2 camera a lot. I just bought this camera on the recommendations of a few Fuji photographers who told me it was worthwhile for the type of travel I do. And it has been.

An interesting quest I think with a final decision which I feel good about. Lets see what happens down the road. Mistakes are human. Cameras can be fixed or replaced later. I believe I solved the problem. Refer to the mistake rule above 🙂