The Fujifilm GFX100, Medium format for the mass?
It's out now, you no longer have to wait weeks to get it. It is considered as one of the best cameras released last year, who is it for? Is it now the time to go medium format? I've talked about size sensors and how the term medium format could be confusing for some in my video about the GFX50s, If you haven't seen it, here is the link to the article.
The camera has a 43.8 x 32.9 millimeters sensor, which is about 1.7 times the area of the one on a full-frame camera but smaller than the medium-format sensors in Phase One and Hasselblad's high-end systems, which are roughly 54 x 40mm. We now have the 4th generation of the X-Processor for this camera, you can definitely feel that the system is generally faster than the GFX 50S. The camera body is a bit like the CANON 1DX in terms of overall size, or you can describe it as a big brick coming straight out from the 1980s. They got rid of the physical dials on top, which is a shame in my opinion.
The Fuji GFX 100 has now three screens. A small screen on the top plate a 3.2-inch 2.36million-dot touchscreen on its rear, plus a slim screen beneath it. At least now you can have a clean rear screen and still have your histogram or settings on the smaller screen underneath it. If you are looking for a lightweight, small system that will spare your soar back, pass your turn, this camera is not for you.
But yes, they made major improvements from the GFX50s, you can feel it right away. At last, we have phase detect and contrast autofocus, we jump from 3 to 5fps in continuous shooting and at first glance the new EVF is beautiful. The menus haven't changed much if you are a Fuji user, you will feel at home. I don't want to dig too much into the specs here, I don't want to go pixel peeking either... The best way to judge a camera is to actually use it. If you wish to know more about these specs, google is your friend, you will find all you need on Fujifilm's official website.
Before I go any further, I must thank Fujifilm for letting me borrow the GFX100 a couple of times for testing. I wish I had this camera in my hands a bit longer each time and for more ambitious projects but still, I have now an idea of its potential.
Alice Catonnet - Théatre National Chaillot (Paris - France) Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR Broncolor Siros L (800ws) 1/125sec f4 ISO100 at 50mm
Alice Catonnet - Théatre National Chaillot (Paris - France) Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR Broncolor Siros L (800ws) 1/125sec f2 ISO320 at 110mm
Alice Catonnet - Théatre National Chaillot (Paris - France) Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR Broncolor Siros L (800ws) 1/640sec f4 ISO50 at 110mm
Marso - Théatre National Chaillot (Paris - France) Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR Broncolor Siros L (800ws) 1/125sec f6.4 ISO1250 at 110mm
Shooting in difficult lighting situations lets you evaluate the performance of the autofocus, the camera never failed me even in really dark situations. I was able to pair it with my Broncolor light, I used the GFX100 as my main working camera during one of my stay in Paris.
To further test the camera in low light, I decided to make a night session outdoors using only street lamps to light my subject.
Marjorie Gollion (Paris - France) Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR 1/60sec f2 ISO2000 at 110mm
Marjorie Gollion (Paris - France) Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR 1/60sec f2 ISO2500 at 110mm
I love the images, the noise is visible at 800 ISO and above but it is not distracting at all. I would even say that it almost looks like film grains and gives an interesting texture to the image.
You have probably seen my previous BTS video where I used the GFX100 during a cold rainy day, no flash just the light available, and the raindrops didn't stop us, I can confirm that the camera is weather sealed.
Complete Gallery and behind the scenes video:
Jessica Prévalet (Paris - France) Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR 1/250sec f2 ISO200 at 110mm
I also took the camera with me for a portrait/ boudoir session in a tiny apartment using only the light from a huge window.
Camille Bernard (Paris - France) Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR 1/125sec f2 ISO640 at 110mm
Camille Bernard (Paris - France) Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR 1/125sec f2 ISO800 at 110mm
There are a few things I really don't like about this camera. I won't talk about the look but some buttons are too small for me. The joystick is tiny and painful to use in the long run especially when you are trying to select a focus point amongst the 425 available. The vertical Grip could have been better, it's slippery, and it doesn't feel great in the hand. I ended up not using it much after a few tries.
And on a personal note, why didn't they go for Cf express cards?
These sessions happen a few weeks ago and I am still editing some of the files taken with this camera, but I can already say that I love the cGFX100! The double battery will give you almost 800 frames. The IBIS (in-body image stabilization) is more than welcome, I've been able to shoot handheld with slow shutter speeds and most of my shots were tack sharp. This beast will give you 14 or 16bit raw images, that will give you plenty of room to play with in post. I love the colors, the dynamic range, I sometimes only do light edits on some images because they already look beautiful straight out of the camera. The GFX100 without a doubt a big step up from the gfx50S!
Mickael Marso Riviere️ (Paris - France) Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR 1/125sec f5 ISO640 at 110mm
Mickael Marso Riviere️ (Paris - France) Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR 1/100sec f5 ISO1250 at 110mm
For all those Hybrid shooters out there, let's not forget this camera shoots video DCI 4k, 30, 25, 24 images per second, 4:2:0 internal with Flog (and much more) and the images are also amazing.
During my stay in Paris, I visited my Friend Marso... A French dancer and choreographer, who was rehearsing with his company at the Chaillot Theatre.
I decided to film a few random clips to test the low light of this camera in video mode. The audio on these samples was recorded with the camera's internal mic and I added a few images ungraded in F-log. Of course, this was recorded in 4K downscaled and rendered in 1080p. This doesn't do justice to the camera.
Unfortunately, I only had enough time to film indoors so I really hope I will have other opportunities in the future to film with the GFX100.
So what about the price?
At around 10k, which is cheap compared to other medium format cameras, it is still a lot of money for a lot of us this is clearly aimed at a specific market. Not everybody can justify the acquisition of this camera unless you are filthy rich.
Will it get you more clients?
I can't answer, I haven't used it long enough. I've been working with the GFX50s for 8 months only and only had the GFX100 for a few sessions.
Do you need 102mega pixels?
Yes and no...
I am old school, I try my best to get it all in-camera onset, and every element you see in the frame is there for a reason. You may not like it, but it was my choice at that specific moment. I see a lot of photographers framing and composing loosely their shots, not really paying attention to details online. We now have wonderful tools that have powerful eye detect autofocus and with 30 + megapixels we can always crop and recompose in post edit. It's a choice, it is not mine, and I believe that this is where you draw the line between photographers that build, construct, make carefully crafted photographs to convey a message, to tell a story or just to make an impactful visually pleasing shot and the others who just don't care. They just want to please their audience on Instagram and as long as they are following the latest trends and get the likes they are satisfied.
But still, this happened to me a few times, now clients need files that can be used in various forms. Before I used to make several wide, medium, and tight shots of the same scene to give my client a wide variety of shots. They want to be able to use their images for different platforms. They will need different crops for different uses, for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and maybe for prints, for a blog, a magazine, or bigger campaigns.
The advantage of having 102 megapixels is to potentially have the option to use any image you have made and crop it any way you want and still not be worried about losing too many details. Do they want to use that wide shot and crop it for a tighter image? they can. Turn a full-body photograph into a portrait? It's possible too.
So let's wrap it up...
Is it worth the upgrade from the GFX50S? In my opinion yes, if you are a working pro landscape, architecture photographer, if you shoot fashion, or do commercial photography or even fine art. If you are not making money out of photography then you can definitely live without it. If action photography or sports are your bread and butter, this is not the right camera!
Despite all the improvements, this camera is still not up to speed for certain tasks, photographing a fast-moving subject will still be difficult with such a system.
Would I invest in this camera? I don't know, now may not be the time for me, and if you have been following me for some time you might have seen fewer action shots in my work the past year. This coincides with me using more and more Fujifilm's GF cameras. I would need this camera for probably less than 10% of my work today and that's not enough for me to invest in the system. I prefer renting it wherever and whenever it's available, because yes, although they've been selling a lot of them lately, it is still hard to find if you wish to rent it... at least here in France.
Maybe in a couple of months, if I do more advertising, commercial photography... we'll see!
The GF line is still young and looks very promising, to say the least. To be honest, I am waiting for the GFX50s upgrade if there will be any because with all the improvements they made with the GFX100 and the price of the GFX50s, Fuji has potentially another hit camera awaiting to be made... or is it already?