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Fujifilm GFX Dynamic Range Under Real Field Conditions: “Lundy Canyon Boulders and High Clouds”

Fujifilm GFX

I chose this scene for its drama, but it presents a severe dynamic range challenge for any camera, from dark shadows under the shrubs and boulders to the brilliant backlit clouds—very difficult to capture. This example looks at achievable and usable dynamic range:

  • The ability of the 32-64mm f/4 zoom to hold dynamic range by avoiding veiling and ghosting flares into an extremely high contrast lighting situation.
  • The ability of the Fujifilm GFX sensor to deliver high quality foreground detail free of noise even when exposed for the intensely bright backlit clouds in the sky.
  • Overall image quality with aggressive contrast control given the extreme dynamic range of the scene: how does pixel quality hold up in total?

There was no way to stop down for acceptable near-to-far depth of field: f/11 falls well short of needed depth of field, and f/16 would have degraded the image via diffraction beyond what I consider acceptable. Accordingly, the image as presented is a 2-frame focus stack.

This image is stunning on an iMac 5K, particularly the black and white rendition.

Fujifilm GFX Real World Dynamic Range: Lundy Canyon Boulders and High Clouds

Presented in both color and black and white. Includes images up to full resolution, ACR processing settings and RawDigger histograms.

This image could not have been made with color reversal film; it would have consisted of a pure black foreground and properly exposed sky, or a blown-out sky and properly exposed foreground. Only an expert processing approach (e.g. Ansel Adams’ Mt Williamson) with black and white negative film could have delivered the dynamic range seen here! Such are the wonders of modern digital cameras. MOMA has an excellent rendition of Mt Williamson. Sometime I hope to be in the Manzanar/Mt Williamson area during weather like this, and shoot for the effects seen in this image.

f11 @ 1/500 sec, ISO 100; 2017-03-30 16:19:24 [focus stack 2 frames]
GFX 50S + GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR @ 25mm equiv (32mm)

[low-res image for bot]

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