The Fujica X-mount was introduced in 1979, together with the Fujica STX-1 SLR. Only 6 years later Fuji Photo Film decided to withdraw from SLR manufacture, making the Fujica X-mount a somewhat short-lived SLR lens mount.
A brief history of the Fujica X mount
Fuji Photo Film (originally: Fuji Shashin Film K.K; nowadays: Fujifilm; colloquially: Fuji) has its origins in 1934. The name was chosen in veneration of Mount Fuji – arguably one of the most holy locations in Japan. After starting with photographic film and after having diversified into optical lenses, Fuji manufactured its first camera (a 6×6 folding viewfinder) in 1948. Traditionally (until the mid 80s) Fuji cameras went under the name Fujica – a contraction of Fuji and Camera.
After several decades of successfully producing medium format cameras and compact cameras, Fuji entered the SLR market only in 1970. While this was indeed somewhat late (most of Fuji’s competitors had more than a decade’s head start), it was also not the latest successful entry into a contested market (that title goes to the Olympus OM system).
Interestingly, Fuji decided to not launch its own lens mount, but instead chose to opt for using the m42 lens mount. Likely Fuji hoped that the significant amount of existing m42 lenses would help Fuji’s new cameras gain traction. At the same time, Fuji was painfully aware of the limitations of the m42 mount, so they also introduced their proprietary extension of the m42 mount to allow exposure automation (see more here).
Initially both Fuji and Fuji users seemed to have been happy with the adopted path, and – all in all – the 1970s was a successful decade for Fuji, with 10 SLR bodies and two dozen well-liked lenses. At the same time, as the 1970s progressed, Fuji’s bet on the m42 mount turned out increasingly untenable. First, in 1975 Asahi/Pentax – the biggest supporter of the m42 mount – launched its own bayonet mount (the Pentax K mount), thereby announcing its departure from the m42 fold. Next, in 1978, Pentacon – the company that arguably launched the m42 mount – also decided to abandon the m42 mount for its proprietary bayonet mount (the Praktica B mount). Suddenly, the m42 mount seemed to all to be helplessly outdated. Hence, when Fuji launched its own bayonet mount in 1979, this was seen as a relatively overdue move.
A short future
Starting in 1979, Fuji released a spate of new cameras, as well as re-releasing all its key lenses with the new mount. Fuji also embarked on an ambitious lens redesign effort, but that effort was not finished when Fuji in 1985 decided to withdraw from SLR manufacture.
Fuji’s 1985 decision was likely mostly caused by the impeding AF-revolution, and the increased R&D and capital requirements the new situation placed on companies wanting to remain competitive. With Fuji’s market position not having been enviable before Minolta’s introduction of the 7000AF, Fuji’s decision to focus on professional medium format as well as compact cameras makes perfect sense.
Fujica X mount specifications
Mount type: Bayonet (male-type; lens release on body)
Flange focal distance: 43,5 mm
Film format: 36mm x 24mm (‘Full frame’)
Mount communication (mechanical): aperture ring position (lens-to-camera); aperture stop-down (camera-to-lens)
For a pre-AF era bayonet mount, the Fujica X mount is a relatively modern mount, while it in many ways similar to the Pentax K mount (e.g. two-lever mount communication), it also differs in two critical aspects: Both Pentax and Fuji considered it of utmost importance to enable the use of the marque’s earlier m42 lenses. In Pentax’s case this meant retaining the m42 mount’s flange focal distance (and producing an adapter to convert the thread mount into a bayonet mount), this was not possible for Fuji (which had decided on implementing its proprietary extension to the m42 in way that protruded out of the flange). Hence the Fujica X mount’s flange focal distance was significantly shorter (to make space for the protrusion). The other difference was that the Fujica X mount’s diameter was a bit larger, hence – theoretically – allowing brighter lenses.
There are two subtypes of Fujica X lenses:
DM stands for ‘dial mode’, which is Fuji nomenclature for lenses that allow shutter priority and program auto on compatible camera bodies.
FM means that the lens can only be used in aperture priority and manual mode. This was clearly intended as the budget version, and not all lenses were offered in FM versions.
Adapting Fujica X lenses
Given the rather abrupt end of the Fujica X camera lineup, Fujica X lenses would have been a prime candidate for adapting for a long time.
Adapting this lens to a mirrorless, full-frame digital camera is a breeze thanks to the lens having full manual controls (aperture ring, focus ring). However, due to the method of aperture control used the Fujica X lenses, the adapter will need a control ring to allow stopping down the lens (and you will need to remember to engage that ring). However, thanks to the relative scarcity of Fujica X lenses (caused, in part, by the shortish production run), Fujica X adapters are not quite as readily available as for more common, film-era mounts. Hence, while regular adapters are not difficult to come by, specialised adapters (such as speed boosters or tilt/shift adapters) are not easy to obtain.
Due to the shortish flange focal distance used by the Fujica X mount (43,5 mm), adapting this lens to dSLR/SLR mounts is not as problem-free, and – to retain anything near infinity focus – the adapter will need both a control ring to engage the aperture mechanism and also necessitate corrective optics. Even so, adapters to many dSLR mounts are available.
Identifying Fujica X lenses
See more here.