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Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR Examples: Lundy Canyon Just Before the Winter Solstice

See my Fujifilm medium format wish list and get Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR at B&H Photo.

Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR

Most of these examples are focus stacked. Some have to be seen on an iMac 5K to be believed—more real than real and unlike any conventional images made by simply stopping down.

In diglloyd Medium Format:

Examples: Lundy Canyon Just Before the Winter Solstice

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

The real usable dynamic range of the Fujifilm GFX is impressive. I really enjoy shooting it in spite of its irritations because I know the resulting images will be superlative.

Trout Holding in Current Under Log
f10 @ 1/125 sec focus stack 4 frames, ISO 100; 2017-12-16 14:03:10
GFX 50S + Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR @ 37mm equiv (45mm)

[low-res image for bot]

Dr S writes:

Your Lundy Canyon scenes with the Fuji GFX + GF 45mm f/2.8 are, indeed outstanding. The "Trout Holding in Current Under Log" image is as exquisite as I could imagine.

Though I have not been to Lundy Canyon I have been to areas similar and I wish my eyes were able to see the detail as well as the photo. What impresses me more and more about the GFX and your skill with focus stacking is the degree to which the sharpness is not harsh or brittle. The tones grade well and contribute to an overall naturalness that defies artificiality. Your post processing acumen along with the MF marvel are well-suited for each other. It is sure giving your D850 a run for its money!

DIGLLOYD: seen properly on an iMac 5K, the images are jaw-droppingly beautiful with a contrast and color that anyone who is not using an iMac 5K is really badly missing out—no exaggeration. Get a 5K display with free computer included and see for yourself—if you enjoy images, I can’t say it strongly enough that viewing at standard resolution or even 4K is simply a cut below.

See also the week-earlier Early Winter Examples in Eastern Sierra images.

It is my view that properly done focus stacking at 45-50megapixels is a new genre: more detail than the eye can see standing right there. It is why I have expended so much effort on it recently. The detail and lifelike 3D appearance appeals to me at some gut level that makes me want to shoot all my images stacked, and enjoy them on an 10K display (59 megapixels) when they arrive (but the 2017 iMac 5K is already superb, just only 14.7 megapixels).

Focus stacking lends a 3D reality never before seen (at least by me) for this kind of photography. See Getting Started with Focus Stacking. I can’t say it strongly enough without coming across the wrong way, so I’ll say it this way: if you aren’t beavering away at learning focus stacking, you’re missing out. But do not expect instantly excellent results; I’ve got 100+ hours into it now, and I feel like it will take much longer to achieve what I consider true skill. That said, started simply as discussed the thrill might take hold and excellent results can be had with very little effort under the right conditions. See also my focus stacking section of Making Sharp Images.

Some of the best images I’ve ever made this fall came from the Nikon D850 + Zeiss Milvus 18/2.8, 25/1.4, /35/1.4 (which I consider the best lenses ever produced for 35mm format, see my Zeiss wish list page), and the Fujifilm GFX, whose lenses (if good samples are obtained) are excellent, though I wish the build quality were up to Zeiss levels.

In Trout Holding in Current Under Log, I had to deal with an apparently blown-out log at left, hit directly by sunlight. Amazingly, it was not blown out excepting a tiny area, but extracting an image using Adobe Camera Raw was tricky—this image could look even better if I had more skill at it, with a brilliance and range of highlights and shadows that pops beautifully when I let that log blow out—the trick is processing so that detail is retained in the log.

The Fujifilm GFX dynamic range IMO is the best on the market of anything I have used, and why it would be my landscape camera of choice. If it is not enough, then usually it is user error in exposure. Those lab tests on dynamic range are pure BS in my opinion—what I see from real shots that can be brutally yanked around (pushed, shadows opened, etc) is that few cameras can match the GFX, with the Nikon D850 being next best (sorry, I’m not going to include the Sony A7R III as it still has that awful orange peel noise and goes brittle when one actually needs to work an image hard). The Nikon D850 might be preferred for lens selection seen in my Nov/Dec 2017 examples with the Zeiss Milvus 18/2.8 and Zeiss Milvus 25/1.4 and Zeiss Milvus 35/1.4.

Dan M writes:

I have an essay in my head on this, one which I don’t have time to write and you don’t have time to read. It would be about a page, at least.

No.... I couldn’t write it anyway because it’s two thirds intuition and one third evidence. I’m glad I never took a photography course. If I had, I would have been soiled by some sort of fad thinking timed to when the instructor began his or her career.

To me, those stacked landscape images are one of the biggest eye catcher advances I’ve seen. The first really good VR, the first really good face or eye tracking.

Bokeh loses a lot of its punch in a real world print, so I’m thinking those landscapes would make fantastic prints.

DIGLLOYD: thanks Dan, you've captured my feeling exactly—they look 3D, they have a realism not achieved any other way, and would make stunning prints, no question about it. But I want to see them on 8K/10K displays within a few years. But Dan, you need to get an iMac 5K and then you would be even more delighted.

Walter B writes:

With regard to the GFX image quality, I gather that its image quality is very high, larger pixels, medium format; you say “… what I see from real shots that can be brutally yanked around (pushed, shadows opened, etc) is that few cameras can match the GFX, with the Nikon D850 being next best…

However, the comparison, to me, should be between apples and apples, Hasselblad, Pentax, Fujifilm GFX, Leica, etc. Anytime short of that seems to lack a touch of validity. I would expect the medium format to excel when compared to the 35mm full format . Is the Hasselblad image inferior to the D850? By your logic it would appear so.

If I decide to go medium format, is there only the GFX? Your comments do not discuss other possibilities. I am terribly interested in real time alternatives

DIGLLOYD: 50% larger pixels inherently give an edge. However, it is not the only factor; electronics and lens quality play a large role, as do continuous sensor improvements, raw converter support, tethering, lens quality, focusing accuracy, etc.

Update: Walter is actually using the Pentax 645Z, which is already medium format. The 645Z delivers outstanding quality and I liked that quality a lot when I shot it. Any argument to switch would be based on factors like lens options and size/weight, EVF, etc . I would not argue for a switch for image quality reasons; the GFX would be different and maybe a little better in some ways with the GFX, but not compelling on an image quality basis at low ISO. Factors like lenses and the EVF and focusing accuracy and size/weight would be the things that I’d be looking at.

For those seeking the highest image quality, the choice is now between 35mm and medium format; that's the point. How could speaking directly to the #1 starting thought of a buyer/photographer be invalid?

No one says to themselves "I cannot compare 35mm to medium format, because they are different formats". They say "gee, should I move to medium format instead of 35mm for superior image quality?". Thus while the question is posed in terms of sensor size, the real question is “how can I obtain the best of what I want?”. Thus the comparison of 35mm to medium format is not just valid, it is the most valid question that can be posed: ignore the format size and look at the sum total experience versus one’s personal requirements.

The only valid factors are those that matter: image quality, size/weight considerations, cost/value, lens line, etc. Partitioning the decision process by sensor size is a self-defeating approach that conflicts directly with most or all of those questions. What counts is the weighted sum total of image quality along with usability/portability/cost/value/lens line/etc—which is a personal one, not Consumer Reports or some DxO rating.

Similarly, it is eminently valid to compare, say, a true-color sensor of APS-C or APS-H size to a 35mm sensor or even medium format. Hard to do, but very useful. My favorite print hanging on my wall is from an APS-C sensor that has mediocre image quality by most people’s favorite by-the-numbers lab metrics.

Sensor size is a substantial factor*, but not the only one: electronics have a great deal to do with image quality, which speaks directly to what I see with the Fujifilm GFX and Nikon D850 (superb electronic processing) to the Sony A7R II/III series (something that too often disappoints, a Costco frozen pizza versus hand-made—they look and smell similar, but taste different). Ditto for CCD vs CMOS. As Hubert Nasse once said to me when I was pestering him about lens aberrations: “it is the sum of everything”.

* Sensors also have various grades (levels of defects). It is not a given that a high grade sensor is used—high volume products are likely to use sensors with many more defects, mostly masked out by Bayer matrix demosaicing and masking out of bad pixels.

The Hasselblad X1D image quality is first rate, but can be inferior to 35mm as I’ve shown, but I would not care to say that as a rule nor to ever claim that it is inferior to to 35mm in general as that would be false and foolish; see Shootout vs Nikon D810: 4-stop Underexposure + Push (Flowers). There are many factors to consider in image quality. That page just shows that some assumptions are invalid based on sensor + electronics.

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