A US class action suit accuses Fujifilm of false advertising of the X-Pro3 which, despite being marketed as durable, apparently has a faulty LCD due to poor connecting cables.
The Fujifilm X-Pro3, released in late 2019 with an RRP of $2699, has two big selling points. Firstly, having ‘one of the most durable camera bodies’ due to a titanium build; and secondly, an enhanced ‘Advanced Hybrid viewfinder’.
The camera has an unusual retro design for a modern digital camera. The rear display features a digital ‘film box-end holder’, which shows the basic settings or film simulation mode, and the larger LCD screen is ‘hidden’ and flips downward. This quirky design feature has been applauded by Fujifilm fanboys and fangirls.
‘The design of a classic film body with a covered rear LCD display is breathtaking,’ writes former Fujifilm X ambassador, Lukáš Trefilík, in FujiLove Magazine. ‘The information about actual film simulation as well as the basic settings at the small LCD display in the back is an imaginary cherry on the cake for me. This concept is based on classic film cameras that is also applied in today’s Leica M-D models.’
But it appears these LCD displays have a tendency to stop working. US Fujifiilm X-Pro3 owner Jethro Inong claims in his lawsuit that Fujifilm’s ribbon connector cables are defective, causing the viewfinder and LCD ‘to glitch or stop working altogether’. Based on online discussion, operating the LCD flip screen apparently puts tension on and wears down the connector cables.
While the X-Pro3’s durability is attributed to top design materials, the lawsuit claims the so-called strength of the camera is at odds with the ‘defective’ connector cables.
The lawsuit alleges ‘most consumers have encountered this defect and the related issues without warning’.
‘In fact, many experienced the defect unexpectedly, once loosening or disconnection occurred,’ the lawsuit claims. ‘However, the defect was present and continuously evolving much sooner than noticed or experienced.
‘This is because the ribbon connector cable mechanism is too weak to withstand normal use, frequent opening-and-closing, and switching between view modes. Even if there is proper maintenance and only normal and intended use of the Product, the defect and related issues occur.’
The lawsuit doesn’t provide evidence that ‘most consumers’ have encountered the X-Pro3 ‘defect’, although it’s not a one-off issue experienced by just Inong. A handful of photography forums threads are included in the court papers to show several X-Pro3 owners discussing the malfunctioning viewfinder and LCD.
In 2021 US photographer, Chris Gampat, editor in chief and founder of the Phoblographer, wrote an article ‘How bad is the Fujifilm X Pro 3 sub-monitor issue?‘
A reader, Jett, sent Gampat an Instagram message exchange with a friend, whose Fujifilm X-Pro3 had just returned from a repair shop. ‘Let me guess… Your sub monitor failed’, Jett said, and the friend responded: ‘sub monitor and then my rear LCD’.
Jet said, ‘yo that happened to me and my friend!! Dude there should be a class action lawsuit for that shit.’
Gampat contacted Fujifilm America, and heard back from Victor Ha, senior director of marketing and product management, who said the X-Pro3 sub monitor and LCD repairs are ‘limited’.
Searching ‘X-Pro3 monitor issue’ in Google reveals a large number of camera owners have experienced the issue. While it’s hardly a proper sample of all X-Pro3 owners experience, it doesn’t appear to be a ‘limited’ problem. Whether its grounds for a recall and compensation will be up to a US judge.
In a DPReview forum thread, an Australian X-Pro3 owner said their camera repairer contacted Fujifilm Australia, which ‘said they only supply the entire screen assembly and you can’t order just the ribbon. The entire screen is $450 AUD + tax’.
The lawsuit estimates it will represent over 100 affected members. Read it here.