Fujifilm GFX 50S | Preview

May 21, 2017  •  1 Comment

GFX 50S W/Fujinon GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR Macro lens and EVF Tilt Adapter


Demystifying Medium Format: A real-world review of the new Fujifilm GFX 50S.

When I'm done this will likely be the longest, most image laden review I've done to date. I say "when I'm done" because it's an on-going process as I shoot with it under different situations in my daily work.

If you want to save some time I'll just tell you now who this camera is for.

The Fujifilm GFX 50S is for the most discerning consumer, the quality focused photographer who needs to deliver the absolute best image quality for client or personal work. A medium format camera of this calibre offers a very large dynamic range because of the large sensor, which in turns allows for a smoother tonal transitions, tonal and colour accuracy. That large sensor requires large lenses. It's the image quality that matters above all else and it's user will allow compromises for the size, weight and yes...costs.

The GFX 50S's sensor is a Bayer design so I'm using a combination of Adobe Lightroom CC and Fujifilm's proprietary RAW FILE Converter 2.0 software in my post-processing workflow. Thanks to Fujifilm North America I also have an array of lenses: GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR Macro, GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR and the GF63mm F2.8 R WR.


It's big and heavy...far bigger and much heavier than my daily driver, the Fujifilm X-T1. Yes...I'm still using the X-T1 despite the recently introduced X-T2. I find it hard to outlay the cash to upgrade when the X-T1 is hanging tough. In the 3+ years I've been shooting with it there has been ZERO downtime. With frequent firmware updates it's even better today. It suits the kind of work I'm known for...get in, get out and get the client their images within 24 hours. When I travel, it's carry-on only for my gear. My compliment of equipment has to move with me on whatever get's me there, and wherever I need to go upon arrival. Light, Strong and fast.

Fuji X-T1 VS Fuji GFX 50SFuji X-T1 VS Fuji GFX 50SLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca By comparison the GFX 50S and it's lenses are massive. It's possibly the world's first "mirrorless" medium format camera (I haven't checked that out yet), employing a focal-plane shutter in front of the sensor...which in turn allows more flexibility in the design of compatible lenses. By that I mean...leaf shutters built into lenses requires the lens design to be much larger. the GF-mount lenses are smaller/lighter by comparison. Despite these design choices, you really feel the heft from the moment you hold one. As regular readers know...I've previously owned a PhaseOne system and decided after 2012 to really divest myself of medium format and DSLR's for the mirrorless world. I'm not changing back but honestly...I've had an insane amount of fun shooting with the GFX 50S. Far more of a good time than expected and I brought it everywhere with me. Down-time, work-time  and in-between, I left the X-T1 at home and took the GFX 50S.

Equally massive are the RAW files...at an average of 110 MB your going to need larger SD Memory Cards, larger permanent storage capacity and more robust computer system. I tried editing some of these files on an older MacBook Air...nope. It choked along when rendering them in Adobe Lightroom CC. At home was a very different experience on the desktop workstation but I can still see the gears grinding at times. Edit one of them in Adobe Photoshop CC with a few layers and that file can easily reach 200-400 MB. This camera is  no joke...if you are in, be in all the way.

As I mentioned above (Who is this camera for), the only reason to buy a medium format camera is the image quality. It's far beyond the quality you can derive from the X-Series, DSLR and Micro-Four Thirds sensors. My images from this camera required LITTLE TO NO EDITING except for the RAW conversion and selection of the Film Simulation type. The colour and sharpness really surprised me and the dynamic range seems to stretch forever.

Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

The original Image (ISO 1600) boosted 3 Stops

This was incredibly useful for landscape work where I was able to fit the entire range from light to dark in a single capture. Normally I would bracket my shots or use a Neutral Density Filter to balance things out. I will still continue to do that of course but it's nice to know I can get close in-camera. All of these factors result in a much shorter workflow when post-processing...I might even just shoot JPEG more often.

Storm WatchStorm WatchLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

Fujifilm X70 Sample

The first thing that struck me when looking at the initial shots was how completely natural they felt...and I can't believe I'm typing these words, the files are very "organic". Shoot with any late model mirrorless camera for a significant amount of time and you get used to a "hyper" look of...everything, colour, contrast, sharpness etc.

The best word that I can think of is "digital" and that's not a bad thing. Some subjects really benefit from that kind of rendering. The GFX 50S by comparison feels/looks real to life and it was a shock to my system after using my X-T1 for so long. 

Fujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroFujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

Walnuts Straight Out Of The Camera

Even the most mundane shots seem like much more. Some might call it the "medium Format" look...I'm sure now that Fujifilm has created an incredible product with the GFX 50S. Not that it's a "new" concept...Pentax has done it, Hasselblad has done it. By "IT" I mean they have brought Medium Format photography within reach of the more "average" consumer. Back in the day, you couldn't get into medium format systems for less than $20,000 American Dollars. In some markets you wouldn't have even been considered a serious photographer without a Hasselblad in the not too distant past. In a perfect world I would have this on the shelf to compliment the X-T1. 

With all that out of the way I'll set the tone for the review...

First, I've read/heard from others that shooting with the GFX 50S is similar to the X-T1/X-T2. Umm...nope, it's nothing like any camera Fujifilm has manufactured lately. The button design and overall aesthetics of the cameras have a similar vibe but that's where it ends. The GFX 50S demands a more purpose-focused approach to making images. As with other medium format cameras I've used recently, it requires a deliberate way of shooting because of the massive resolution and physical weight/size. In fact the latter over-powered my light "mirrorless-camera" tripod very easily. I had to tighten the living daylights out of it to make it work. Even then, I was never assured it would stay put. So, when you make your purchase be sure to budget for a sturdy tripod and quality ball-head. You certainly can shoot with it handheld as I  am doing but it will require very good shot discipline and zero coffee in your system.

Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

GFX 50S Setup Menus

It took about 20 minutes and a glass of smooth Whiskey to set up the camera via it's menus. Regular readers of my BLOG will follow my lead here. It's very similar to other Fujifilm cameras with a few extras specific to the GFX 50S. It's really simple for the most part and the perplexing bits are easily worked through with occasional glances at the manual. For the purposes of this review I left the camera set to Standard or "Provia Film Simulation". The native Aspect Ratio is 4:3 and that's what I've set it up to use. It offers additional ratios but why throw away any information by choosing them...just crop in post editing. You can choose a different Film Simulation in editing as well.

Fujifilm EVF-TL1 Tilt AdapterFujifilm EVF-TL1 Tilt AdapterLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to handle this camera and the EVF Tilting Adapter really comes in handy for low angle shots. Speaking of the EVF...sublime. Large, bright and sharp. In the past, really good EVF's have tricked me into thinking an image is sharp upon review...only to get home and find things didn't match up. Not so here, images on the LCD and EVF are extremely accurate. You can safely shoot with this camera without tethering and be assured that What You See Is What You Get. The couple of medium format cameras I've used really did need to be tethered to a laptop or desktop owing to the fact that LCD's were not as heavily engineered.

Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WRFujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WRLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca Someone who saw me shooting with it asked if it was a 14 Bit design but I didn't know off-hand at the time but I can now confirm that it is. What that means in practical application is that images can store very high amounts of information in your image files. At typical WEB sizes the difference from lower Bit rates my not be apparent. However, for pros who do extensive post-process/editing the advantage can't be stated strongly enough. Think...large scale printing. Not the 20X30 stuff I regularly do...double/triple that size. The image above is a single capture!...No bracketing, no Graduated Neutral Density Filter, no HDR. One file pushed and pulled with the Curve Tool in Adobe Photoshop CC and masked in on layers to specific areas of the image. NO clipping in the highlights and plenty of detail in the darkest areas.

Fujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroFujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

ISO 400 at F4

I do love the way this camera renders colours. I might even prefer it to my X-Series cameras...I have to kick Adobe Lightroom CC quite hard to realize an image like this from my X-T1 unless I just shoot JPEG. However, right out of the camera the GFX 50S RAW file looks excellent on import. Of course it's a bit flat as all RAW files are, but once you apply your preferred film simulations it's pretty much ready to go. I didn't add any sharpening or colour editing. You can certainly push and pull your images if you miss exposure, the RAW files have a lot of latitude and the noise penalty is minimal. Another thing, unless you miss focus slightly there is no need to sharpen these files in post production. They are SHARP!

Fujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroFujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

ISO 400 at F4

The area of focus however small will have crisp, sharp detail while the rest falls out of focus smoothly. If you must sharpen, I would do it selectively for areas that you really want to emphasize.

My contacts tell me that Fujifilm ran away with the show at Photokina 2016. Everyone wanted to see this updated entry into the medium format world from the company that has become famous "Again" for mirrorless cameras. I thought the industry had moved on from large form factor cameras with huge sensors...I was definitely wrong. The interest in the GFX 50S tells me that there is still a big market for monster megapixels. Now that we have the 24 megapixel X-Pro2 and X-T2, the next logical step was a full-frame camera...but why bother when you can leap-frog that and offer this...

Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WRFujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WRLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

GF63mm F2.8 R WR - ISO 100 - F11 - 30 seconds exposure

My experience after a week is that everything works well together...sensor, imaging engine, lenses. It operated very fast and I didn't have to wait for the screens to come up when it was turned on. File writing and display after capture were fast and the camera never gave me a moment of trouble. Focusing is pretty good (Contrast Based) and for the subject matter this camera is designed for I had absolutely no trouble locking on. Like most cameras it struggled a bit with direct light in the frame. The only thing of note here is to buy the Fastest SD Memory Cards you can afford, and preferably 32GB at a minimum.  At times I forgot that I wasn't holding a DSLR. The GFX 50S is noticeable but not prohibitive in use.

Fujifilm GFX 50S Top LCDFujifilm GFX 50S Top LCDLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

GFX 50S Top Info Display

ISO performance was a pleasant surprise. Back in the day ISO 400 was just "good enough" on older medium format cameras. The GFX 50S is more than happy to kick that up to ISO 12,800. With some creative post processing you can end up with a very printable image.

From ISO 100 to 800 there is absolutely nothing to worry about. At ISO 1600 where most cameras start to show the effects of noise, the GFX 50S retains an immense amount of detail and bite in the areas of focus. You need to do a 100% zoom to really see it and it will appear film-like, even better than my X-SERIES cameras.

Fujifilm GFX 50S ISO 1600Fujifilm GFX 50S ISO 1600Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca The images below were shot on a tripod with a 10 second timer. I imported them into Adobe Lightroom CC at DEFAULT settings and no Noise Reduction or White Balancing was done. I edited a copy of the final image (ISO 12,800) for White Balance & Noise Reduction. At these WEB sizes none of those files are terrible and I would eve feel very comfortable printing them at 11X14"...maybe larger.

GFX 50S ISO 1600GFX 50S ISO 1600Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

ISO 1600 - F2.8

GFX 50S ISO 3200GFX 50S ISO 3200Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

ISO 3200 - F2.8

GFX 50S ISO 6400GFX 50S ISO 6400Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

ISO 6400 - F2.8

GFX 50S ISO 12,800GFX 50S ISO 12,800Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

ISO 12,800 - F2.8

GFX 50S ISO 12,800GFX 50S ISO 12,800Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

ISO 12,800 edited for White Balance and moderate Noise Reduction

The colours...tones and smooth transitions in and out of focus areas had me hooked. I'm not at all ashamed to say that after a few days I've already decided on my favourite lens...the GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR Macro! It's the equivalent of a 95mm focal length on a Full-Frame camera and to my knowledge..only the second medium format macro stabilized lens. I think Pentax makes one with an image stabilization system. 

Fujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR Macro & EVF Tilt AdaptFujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR Macro & EVF Tilt AdaptLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca I love the build but it's a big, big lens, even more imposing with the hood attached. It's typical Fujifilm, well built with tight tolerances. Nothing wiggles, squeaks or scratches. The focusing ring is huge and smooth...the aperture ring can be twitchy until you get used to it though. There is also a focus-limiter to prevent excessive hunting at close ranges.

Fuji GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroFuji GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca I've used some amazing Macro lenses over the past decade but I can say unreservedly that the Fujinon GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR Macro is the very best in my opinion. While you can't get super close to small subjects like this Dragonfly, the massive resolution enables deep cropping where upon inspection you will see that there is detail, detail, detail all the way down to a 100% magnification. Note the fine hairs and details on the wings. These images are at the DEFAULT sharpening settings for Adobe Lightroom CC.

Mottled Darner MacroMottled Darner MacroLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

Nearly a 100% crop...I left room for composition

The CONTRAST-BASED auto-focus system was more than fast enough to keep up with the erratic nature of the insects and flowers moving gently with the wind, but will require patience and good technique... This camera is no speed demon but it's not a slouch either. As I mentioned before, a deliberate manner of shooting get's you the best results every time.

Fuji GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroFuji GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca Stationary subjects are much easier and depending on light levels...use a sturdy Tripod to guarantee critically sharp captures and just about any shutter speed. This old candle lamp is a "GO-TO" subject of mine for testing a lenses ability to capture fine detail (micro-contrast) and always at the maximum aperture. If it doesn't impress me wide-open, it goes back to the store.

Fuji GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroFuji GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

ISO 640 at 1/60

However, skilled/practiced hands are required to maintain a high level of in-focus captures when chasing larger animals like our favourite Chipmunk...Marvin. These little guys don't sit in one spot for long.

Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

Crop at around 75% for composition

Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

The Pullback

Don't be afraid to crank up the ISO to maintain fast shutter speeds either, the imaging system can handle it.

Fujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroFujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca ISO 2000 at F/5.6

I shoot Food & Drink projects every now and then but it's definitely something I will be doing in greater frequency in the years to come. Essential to that is a sharp lens with great colour and contrast...this lens can handle it.

Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca One of my favourite food shots is the standard "sharp focal point of interest and smooth roll-off to blurry goodness". This particular image was staged with a set of speedlites on either side of the composition and fired at 1/128th power through Perspex panels. Other than cropping and whatever DEFAULT rendering is done by Adobe Lightroom CC, it's straight out of the camera. I made no adjustments to anything else. I could have easily shot JPEG...but I like to have options for future edits.

Fujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroFujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca Ditto for this image of the Wasabi Green Peas...except I only used one light coming in from the right hand side of the composition. Sharpening, colour and contrast are all Adobe Lightroom CC defaults. I should mention that I sometimes sharpen at EXPORT based on Screen or Print display. Regardless, this is a very sharp lens with little to no imaging faults.

Fujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroFujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca This image of the antique pocket watch was shot at F16...handheld with a single Speedlite through a Perspex panel. The full screen magnification shows an immense amount of details...all the good grit and scratches that illustrates how old this timepiece is. The colour was spot on, while I adjusted the contrast a bit.

I couldn't find a single thing wrong outside of the size and while some may take issue with the F4 maximum aperture, I won't. The Image Stabilization system makes this lens usable at exposures I would never try it on before. The sample below of three images were shot at F4, F8 and F11 respectively. All handheld at ISO 100 (1/15, 1/8 ad 1/4 shutter speeds).

Despite closing down the aperture I was still able to maintain a descent amount of foreground/background separation...the magic of Medium Format. Note...I gave up my usual cups of coffee prior to shooting these and I got plenty of rest the night before so I had very, very steady hands.

With the Fujinon GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR......elegant sufficiency.

FUJINON LENS GF32-64mmF4 R LM WRFUJINON LENS GF32-64mmF4 R LM WRLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

Fujinon GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR

In DSLR language...a 25-51mm lens that's useful for just about anything. Some landscape folks might want something a bit wider and a very good option is available(FUJINON LENS GF23mmF4 R LM WR), though I didn't have a chance to check it out for myself. Most standard zoom lenses (DSLR) are really good at the wide end and less so at the long end. I didn't find that with the Fujinon GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR...regardless of which zoom setting I used it, the image was always sharply detailed.

Fuji GF32-64mm F4 R LM WRFuji GF32-64mm F4 R LM WRLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

32mm/F5.6

Fuji GF32-64mm F4 R LM WRFuji GF32-64mm F4 R LM WRLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca 64mm/F5.6

If you are going to invest in this system and your budget allows for only one piece of glass, get this lens. It's not inexpensive..by my standards, but it will get you into the medium format game in a big way. The applications are endless and while there are some things other lenses are better at, you can make it work anywhere. I like 85mm and longer for portraits and other subject matter where I want/need close crops. I made 70mm (DSLR) work for a long time until I saved enough money for a longer prime lens. No clients complained so it's doable. Get close and you tend to exaggerate your subject matter a bit..below 70mm. Fuji GF32-64mm F4 R LM WRFuji GF32-64mm F4 R LM WRLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

at 64mm/F4

Sometimes that's not a bad thing....in this image of a dog, it was his kind/gentle eyes that drew me in. Shooting close at F4 really brings them close and forward. You will note that everything comes with a cost...his nose is slightly out of focus. It's not hard to blur anything at F4...backed with a medium format sensor!

Fuji GF32-64mm F4 R LM WRFuji GF32-64mm F4 R LM WRLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca The colour and contrast are excellent. I shot the above image against the sun...not a hint of flare or chromatic aberration. I boosted the shadows in post-editing to bring a little more balance into the picture. I can assure you, it's sharp at F4...but the sweet spot is F5.6. Assuming you don't need a greater depth of field shoot there when possible. It's devastatingly crisp at F5.6.

Fuji GF32-64mm F4 R LM WRFuji GF32-64mm F4 R LM WRLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

at F/11 - 1/100 (64mm)

In fact, I shot it well into F/22 and it behaved very well. Conventional wisdom says that diffraction tends to set in around F/11 but I found it to be of minor effect. Images shot beyond F/11 sharpen up nicely without going overboard in post-editing. At any rate, these files hold up well to sharpening, even heavy-handed techniques when necessary.

Fuji GF32-64mm F4 R LM WRFuji GF32-64mm F4 R LM WRLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca For me, the real measure of a general purpose zoom are captures like the image above...lot's going on. I shot it off my balcony overlooking downtown Toronto. Uniform surfaces such as buildings/sky, combined with erratic textures/foliage. The lens/sensor combo is really doing a fantastic job. In the upper right hand corner you can see a plane circling around to Pearson International Airport. At 100% it's as crisp/sharp as the buildings and trees below.

Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

Portrait with the GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR at F8

On the Fujinon GF63mm F2.8 R WR....Ol' Dependable.

Fujifilm GFX 50S W/Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WRFujifilm GFX 50S W/Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WRLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

Fujifilm GFX 50S W/Fujinon GF63mm F2.8 R WR

10-20 Years ago the "Kit" lens that came with your new camera was very likely a 50mm in varying speeds...F/1.2, F/1.4, F/1.8, F/2 and F/2.8. They were small, light and inexpensive but pretty much dependable for most shooting situations. Consider the GF63mm F2.8 R WR in that same vein. It might get confusing at times but in Medium Format language, 63mm is 50mm in full-frame DSLR terms.

Aside from the "Weather Resistance" this lens is as basic as they come...It doesn't share the Linear Motor technology and the front element moves in/out during focusing. Locking unto your subject is quite as fast as the more expensive lenses in the lineup, but it's snappy enough. If you can't swing the GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR in your budget...get this one.

Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WRFujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WRLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

Fujinon GF63mm F2.8 R WR - F8

The applications are varied...landscape, street photography etc..portraits if you don't need a tight crop. Think half, three-quarter and full-length portraits. Also it's handy for lifestyle/environmental style photography. By the way...I love the way this system renders skin tones...

GF63mm F2.8 R WR VS GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroGF63mm F2.8 R WR VS GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca

GF63mm F2.8 R WR & GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR Macro Comparison

Isolating subjects from the background is super easy with a medium format camera...even a relatively wide 50mm focal length. I took both shots from the exact same position for completely different styles of shots. Pull-Back BTS after the jump...

Pull-Back ShotPull-Back ShotLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca The above image is my living room facing the kitchen. The subject was sitting on the white California chair about midway on the floor. Give your subject a little space from the background chaos and you can keep her the focus of the image with ease.

 

GF63mm F2.8 R WR at F/8 - ISO 100

Get your distance from the subject (portrait) just right and this lens is perfectly behaved and very sharp.  Combine all that detail and tonal range and you get very large images which can be cropped various ways to produce completely unique compositions...but with the ability to make very decent sized prints afterwards with little to no loss of quality.

Fujifilm GFX 50S W/GF63mm F2.8 R WRFujifilm GFX 50S W/GF63mm F2.8 R WRLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca My copy isn't fast-focusing as say the 32-64mm/120mm Macro but it's more than good enough. It's also not silent, during focusing you will hear some shuffling as the lens moves in and out as it searches for a confirmation lock. Depending on where you are shooting this might be intrusive...then again if you are shooting with this camera being anonymous isn't something you're too worried about.

Fujifilm GFX 50SFujifilm GFX 50SLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca 63mm F/2.8 - 1/320

I'm enjoying the clarity of this lens. It really wrings out an incredible amount of detail even wide open and if depth of field isn't an issue I would shoot it there all the time. From F4 to F8 I'm hard pressed to find anything sharper except the GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR Macro. I've got a 50mm equivalent for every camera brand in my employ going back ten years. In all this time it's been my favourite focal length for general purpose shooting.

Summary

If you are getting the impression that I like this new system, it's because I do. Oddly though I find myself in a completely different spot with it than expected. From the outset I shot with it in pretty much the same manner as I have with previous medium format cameras. The super high resolution and sheer size of those systems really makes it a "production" to take into the field and use comfortably. That resolution...it really shows up at 100% when you are sloppy and as a result I always fell on using a heavy tripod. The problem with that of course is that a tripod isn't always convenient...or desired. Where I live in Canada, the instant a tripod makes it's appearance security guards and/or law enforcement start asking you about permits etc. The GFX 50S doesn't necessarily need that same amount of care. I shot the majority of these images handheld...sometimes at ridiculous shutter speeds (for medium format) and they were pin-sharp 80% of the time. Mind you, I've been shooting for quite awhile and experience and technique helps a lot. Adding smaller (again...for medium format) lenses and weather sealing enables the GFX 50S to be used quite similarly to a full-sized DSLR in a variety of environments.

In daily use I fill two (2) 32 GB SD CARDS long before the battery even hints of running out. I've read/heard averages of 400 shots per battery but I'm getting better than that which I'll attribute to my habit of setting up my cameras to EVF/LCD (Eye-Detection) and turning off the camera after 2 minutes of inactivity. For lenses such as the GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR Macro which uses image stabilization, I set the camera to only engage the OIS when the shutter is being pressed..I also set Pre-Focusing to OFF.

Image Quality

The only reason to spend this kind of money on a camera...and I've got zero to complain about from ISO 100 to 12,800. This isn't a studio camera (strictly) and it can be pressed into service for fashion & beauty, products, portraits, travel etc. That entire ISO range is completely usable regardless of RAW/JPEG output.

Fujifilm GFX 50S ISO 12,800 SampleFujifilm GFX 50S ISO 12,800 SampleLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca The Fire Pit | ISO 12,800 at 1/10

Images are rich in detail and colour. WEB-SIZED images don't do these files enough justice. At some point in the future I might make a few full-resolution images available for download.

Snail BokehSnail Bokeh Snail Bokeh 120mm F8 - 1/400

The dynamic range is wide enough to fit a typical scene into the confines of the sensor without too much compromise. I was very impressed at the latitude in the highlight and shadow areas...the tonal transitions are simply incredible.

Leigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca Sharp wide open (F4) at ISO 2500

I had little to no need of additional sharpening in post production editing as the files (in focus areas) are sharp enough and I found myself in many cases "zero'ing" out the Adobe Lightroom CC default setting.

Fujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroFujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR Macro

All of these characteristics produces an image that is malleable for the advanced editor. I haven't had a chance to really investigate the video capabilities of the camera..maybe down the road.

One thing I do need to get used to again is the depth of field...I've been shooting with APSc and Micro Four Thirds cameras for so long now that I've gotten used to getting more of a subject in-focus with less effort. On a medium format system you have to pay attention. The caterpillar above is a good example..she crept forward a slight distance and the face/tail went right of the focus area.

I had to try about 10 times...handheld before I got one suitable. The slightest movement of the camera or animal would shift the area of focus in a far more unforgiving way as compared with smaller sensors.

Fujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroFujifilm GFX 50S W/GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR MacroLeigh Miller | www.leighmiller.ca ISO 200 - 120mm - F8 - 1/160

Build & Operation

Strictly a matter of taste here but I like it. The styling is clearly in keeping with the Fujifilm aesthetic and it works for me to the extent that it's neither strictly retro or modern industrial design. A happy medium. I appreciate the extra abilities of the flip-out LCD rear screen and all the button and dial placements which will be familiar to Fuji fans. Nothing rattles, squeaks, flexes or wobbles. It's tight as a drum, exactly what I expect for a camera costing this kind of money. The lenses were equally of high quality though some might take exception to the GF63mm F2.8 R WR which does squeak a little during focusing.

[DIGITAL] Medium Format cameras were typically slow and cumbersome, though I have seen efforts recently to remedy that. Not so here, everything is reasonably fast from the moment you turn it on or flipping through screens in the Menus. Files write to memory cards very fast, fast enough to clear the buffers with rapid shooting. Of course this isn't a sports camera so the "chain-gun" shooting style isn't an option but when you think of the massive files it produces, operation speed is very important. I never have to wait for an image to appear on the LCD or EVF for review. I also have not experienced any lock-ups or crashes during shooting. One other thing...it doesn't seem to get as "warm" as my old Phase One with continuous use.

Menus

I do see some organizational improvements over my X-T1, I found just about everything I was looking for in a nice A to Z kind of workflow. I've written three articles on "How To Setup Your Camera Like a Boss" which have been wildly popular with my readers. The good news is that you can generally apply those same settings to this camera, allowing for additional features you may not have on your X-Series camera. Like the X-Series cameras, the GFX 50S features a "Q" button which takes you right into a quick menu of sorts where you can access the most common features. The rest can be essentially set and forget if you make yourself some custom "presets" I have two...Studio Friendly and Everything Else settings.

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So back to where I ended up...

Traditionally most people think of medium format cameras as strictly studio or location gear. Take it out, set it on a tripod and connect it to a computer and lock down the focus. After that you setup everything else around it...lighting etc. You wouldn't think of taking it hiking, shooting sports etc. I thought exactly that way initially, with the GFX 50S. After a few days though, I naturally started taking it everywhere. It required a bit more of a roomy bag and the weight was noticeable but I adapted fairly quickly but not everyone will. If you can handle a current model full-frame DSLR, the GFX 50S won't be far off. If you can get over those two things then the GFX 50S will become a very versatile (general purpose) tool. You may also have the advantage of turning just about any lens attached into a telephoto. The big resolution allows deep cropping with enough left over to make very decent prints, let alone WEB displayed images.



Comments

1.Abdullah Allamin(non-registered)
Thanks for sharing this great launching news update.
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