Hei hei everyone! Here's our February update chock-full o' fantastic news.
- The global chip shortage nearly caught up with us, but we've found a solution (though it costs us an extra $30,000) - so we remain on track for May/June shipping.
- You'll find an in-depth look at the remaining manufacturing timeline below.
- We've received the first production samples - they're amazing. The quality far surpasses our expectations for the EP1 (Engineering Prototype 1) stage.
- The extra work we've put into waterproofing has paid off: We've officially achieved an IP54 rating, exceeding class-leading weather-sealed cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M1X (rated IPX1) and Leica Q2 (rated IP52).
- Thanks to an update in iOS 15.4, you'll be able to open Fjorden from the lockscreen! This will make shooting with Fjorden even faster and more natural.
- We're close to releasing the Fjorden iOS App to the App Store - keep your eyes peeled.
- Reminder: Please complete your BackerKit survey!
Read on for more details.
Global chip shortage threatened a massive delay, but crisis averted
Towards the end of January, it seemed like the global chip shortage had finally caught up with us. We received some terrifying news: The lead time for our Bluetooth chip (made by fellow Norwegian company Nordic Semiconductor) had jumped up to 52 weeks - and our order, which was supposed to arrive at our factory in March, was delayed until January 2023. Needless to say, there was no way we could stomach such a massive delay.
For the next three weeks, we ran around with our hair on fire until our manufacturing team, some of whom were working through the Chinese New Year (thank you Nicko & team!), was able to source sufficient quantities of the Nordic Semi chip on the spot-buy market. Spot-buying is much more expensive than pre-ordering, and this move is adding more than $30,000 to our manufacturing bill - painful, but not as painful as a massive delay.
We're not entirely out of the woods yet: The chips we have spot-bought need to make their way to a Bluetooth module assembly in Taiwan, and then back to our factory. This should all fit into our existing manufacturing schedule, but COVID-related border closures remain a risk.
If you'd like to help us out, please feel free to leave a dollar or two in our BackerKit tip jar - or even better: please spread the word about Fjorden! You can use our new referral system to give your friends $10 off on pre-orders: https://fjorden.referralcandy.com. We'd be grateful!
A detailed look at our remaining manufacturing steps
Some of our backers have requested more details on the steps between here and shipping. Here goes:
- Engineering Prototype 1 - Jan. '22: We received the EP1 at the end of January. It surpassed our expectations - more details below. Total build quantity: 25 units.
- Engineering Prototype 2 - Feb. '22: The EP2 build will be finished this week. The focus will be on discovering any engineering issues after implementing the tweaks on the EP1 - though, after the stellar EP1, we don't expect to see anything major. These units will also be submitted for acquiring the necessary certifications. Total build quantity: 80 units.
- Final Engineering Prototype - Mar. '22: The FEP is scheduled to be completed in the last week of March. Textures and polish will be applied, so these units will resemble the finished product. Total build quantity: 100 units.
- Pilot Production - April/May '22: The PP kicks off in April and ends in the first week of May. This is where the factory is ramping up to mass production and fine-tuning the quality control procedures. Total build quantity: 500 units.
- Mass Production - May '22: Production moves into high gear. Your Fjorden units will start shipping to you by airmail from Hong Kong in the last week of May. Total build quantity: 4500 units.
Engineering Prototype 1 is awesome
As we shared in a little behind-the-scenes update in the Fjorden Community, we've received the first production samples (EP1 = Engineering Prototype 1) and are extremely happy with how they've turned out!
Please note: No matte/leather textures have been applied yet (that's one of the final production steps), that's why the samples look shiny and the Grip surface is smooth.
The build quality is fantastic. The haptics of the controls are close to perfect, much better than we had expected at this stage - only minor tweaks are needed to reduce button & zoom lever travel. The friction hinge tolerances are a bit large; we need to tighten that up to have a more consistent feel to the hinge. Other than that, we can mostly focus on polishing the aesthetics.
Usually, the EP1 stage still uncovers major flaws or unexpected engineering issues - but we're happy to say that's not the case!
The waterproofing results are in!
The hard work we've put into the additional waterproofing for Fjorden - which was also the main reason for the shipping being delayed from Feb '22 to May/June '22 - has also paid off. Fjorden has officially achieved a dust & waterproofing rating of IP54, exceeding the performance of class-leading cameras! This means that you'll be able to shoot with Fjorden in the harshest weather conditions without worry.
To put it into context:
- The flagship of the famously weather-resistant Olympus OM-D lineup, the E-M1X, is rated IPX1 (i.e., no dust proofing, and waterproofing three levels below Fjorden):
- The Leica Q2 is rated at IP52 (i.e., the same dust protection, and waterproofing two levels below Fjorden), which makes it "the only camera in its class with this feature".
Here is a video of Fjorden's waterproofing testing:
And here is Fjorden in the dust test chamber:
What our industrial design & manufacturing team have pulled off here is truly special - thank you Karin, Kjartan, Nicko, and Lobo!
Launch Fjorden from the iOS lock screen for even faster shooting
During testing of the iOS 15.4 Beta 1, our CTO Florian discovered a small change that will have a big impact on how you can use Fjorden. It is now possible to (more-or-less) instantly launch Fjorden from the lock screen! The discovery led to Fjorden's first appearance in The Verge 🤩
Here is a video of it in action:
The way this works is by leveraging “Personal Automations” you set up in Shortcuts. You can create an automation to do something when a specific app is launched. So, for example, you can make it launch Fjorden every time you launch the default camera app, even from the lock screen. Instructions are here in the Fjorden Community!
Fjorden iOS App: Release coming soon
We're also closing in on releasing the Fjorden Camera App in the iOS App Store. The goal is to launch next week or the week after. A big THANK YOU to our hundreds of beta testers who have helped us get there!
The app will not be fully-featured yet; for example, Portrait Mode, Burst Mode, Film Simulations, and Customizable Layouts are still missing. We'll be releasing regular updates. You can see our development roadmap and upvote/suggest your favourite features.
Meanwhile, there is already a steady stream of #ShotOnFjorden in our community - here a few examples:
Reminder: Please complete your BackerKit survey!
A gentle reminder to please complete your BackerKit survey - that's where you enter/confirm your address, choose add-ons (e.g. Moment lenses), and pay for shipping. 20% of backers have not yet completed their survey; if you didn't receive yours, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That's all for now!