9
\$\begingroup\$

The recently announced Fuji X100V touts aluminium construction over previously used magnesium as a benefit, what are the claimed advantages of aluminium over magnesium ?

\$\endgroup\$
2
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Those are elements. It is almost undoubtedly made from alloys. Which ones? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mazura
    Feb 7, 2020 at 6:53
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Mazura ones that are either made mainly of aluiminium or from magnesium. \$\endgroup\$
    – Hobbamok
    Feb 7, 2020 at 11:09

2 Answers 2

14
\$\begingroup\$

They are touting that the parts are CNC milled from billet aluminum compared to cast magnesium as is commonly used. Both are alloys and probably contain some of the other in their mix.

In general, if you compared identical parts; one milled from billet and one cast from the same material, the billet part will be stronger. But that is not the comparison. Magnesium alloys are both lighter and stronger, particularly in thin wall construction. It is also less prone to corrosion.

I agree with Michael... it's probably just hype. In this case, besides being a somewhat cheaper material, it also has much lower initial production costs. Programming a CNC mill is a lot quicker and cheaper than creating high precision molds. There is a lot less risk compared to machining magnesium (the cast parts are still machined/finished). And it's also a lot cheaper to change/abandon in two years when it's time for the next "upgrade."

TBH, I think it was a smart move. But no real benefit to the end user (unless some cost savings are passed along?).

FWIW, the Sigma fp is being milled from billet magnesium...

\$\endgroup\$
8
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with you but, it does seem odd that they'd hype this change as opposed to make an attempt to silently sweep it under the rug... \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Feb 6, 2020 at 16:52
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Milling aluminum isn't very cheap because it takes a lot of time and a lot of material is wasted. \$\endgroup\$
    – Orbit
    Feb 6, 2020 at 17:50
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Hueco They had to hype something... \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6, 2020 at 21:24
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ @Orbit, have you ever priced high precision molds? They easily cost 10's of thousands. And the machining waste is recycled to recoup some of the cost. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6, 2020 at 21:28
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @Luaan: I know. But 1. camera's are usually not produced in short production runs, it's generally 100.000's or millions (except for some Leica or Phase One camera's maybe) 2. Camera companies usually don't cast their own aluminum, they buy blocks and get at best 20 to 30% of the purchase price back for scraps. Thats why I say that it is not necessarily cheaper to mill aluminum. \$\endgroup\$
    – Orbit
    Feb 7, 2020 at 12:27
11
\$\begingroup\$

The main advantage of aluminum over magnesium alloy:

It's cheaper for the manufacturer to buy.

\$\endgroup\$
9
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Also, less flammable :) Not good, though, if you want to scrape a bit of camera corner off to make emergency flash powder :) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6, 2020 at 23:20
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ If your camera catching fire is a normal problem for you, I'd suggest blaming shooting habits, and not the camera... ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – vidarlo
    Feb 7, 2020 at 0:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rackandboneman That's probably why they use magnesium alloy instead of elemental magnesium (which, as we all should know, would not survive the time it took to ship from the parts plant to the camera factory if unprotected from the moisture in the air). \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Feb 7, 2020 at 0:21
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ >Actually, it is much more difficult to ignite magnesium chips and dust than is usually supposed, and for that reason they do not present great machining difficulties. The special techniques that must be used in fabricating magnesium (working, casting, and joining) add considerably to the manufacturing cost. In selecting between aluminium and magnesium or a given part, the base cost of the metal may not give much advantage to either, but usually the manufacturing operations make magnesium more expensive. – Magnesium alloy, Machining \$\endgroup\$
    – Mazura
    Feb 7, 2020 at 1:56
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It costs more per kg to buy. Although magnesium is about twice as expensive as aluminium, its hot-chamber die-casting process is easier, more economical, and 40% to 50% faster than cold-chamber process required for aluminium. "Considered better" by Fuji's ad copy. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Feb 7, 2020 at 6:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.