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Fujifilm GFX-100 Announced, Review Planned (updated with comments)

Busy day, and so I am behind, but I have a new crown for the disintegrated molar.

Fujifilm has announced the Fujifilm GFX-100. That’s exciting—100 megapixels in a single shot “reasonably” priced camera.

But where is pixel shift and Multi-Shot High-Res mode? Bummer.

I’ll keep a hopeful outlook but traditionally “more pixels” means ”more hassles”, and Fujifilm looks to be upholding that principle: the ergonomics/haptics look really awful on the new brick-with-buttons. I see design by engineers here, not design for photography. It looks like the Fujifilm GFX-50R, whose ergonomics and haptics became quite irritating in the cold last winter. Anyone use a left hand for operating a camera? I do, a lot on Nikon cameras. Fujifilm should get a clue that people have two hands (usually). Ditto for other brands, not just picking on Fujifilm.

As I discussed in my four-part series Maximize Image Quality with Shot Discipline articles at Medium Format Magazine, perfect shot execution and outstanding lenses are going to be needed for the extremely high pixel density of a 100 megapixel 44 X 33mm sensor. Along with focus stacking.

The one Fujifilm sample landscape shot with the GF 23/4 is laughably bad— it is very blurry and would not hold up at 50 megapixels and could be done with far superior results using a 35mm camera. Indeed my December shooting with the Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 shows poor results at 50 megapixels in the outer zones. Fujifilm also has no clue how to make a good image from raw (technically speaking), judging by the image quality on its web site for the climbing photo. If that’s an out-of-camera JPEG, I want no part of it.

Manufacturers try very hard to make themselves look bad at product intro. So I am looking past that—I am looking forward to shooting the Fujifilm GFX-100 in raw to see what it can do. My concern is that some of the Fujifilm GF lenses are scarcely up to the task of 50 megapixels (23/4 and the 32-64mm zoom). Not in the central areas, but edges and corners are a serious letdown. Try harder, Fujifilm. I don’t want a $1200 lens on a $10K camera giving me 1/3 resolution at the edges. And I worry about the focus shift I have already documented, and any camera glitches that alter focus.

Bottom line though is image quality. Carrying a big brick can be worth it if the images are the reward as the Hasselblad H6D-100C showed me, and the GFX-100 is much more manageable. It is primarily on the basis of image quality that I will be evaluating it. Then again, the Panasonic S1R with the right lens and appropriate subject can work wonders beyond 100 megapixels.

Fujifilm GFX-100
Fujifilm GFX-100

James K writes:

The Fuji GFX-100 looks like a brick. With pixel shift or Multi-Shot High-Res mode they could have had a more appealing camera.

The smell of a Sony with a Global Shutter is in the wind. This Fall and Winter will tell the tale. The Sony Bear might leave the others like picked clean bones in Yellowstone with no meat for the wolves.

DIGLLOYD: no one should count Sony out, and it makes me hesitate to buy anything right now. Still, if I were just shooting landscape, the appeal of high-grade Zeiss or other lenses on the Panasonic S1R with Multi-Shot High-Res mode is compelling.

Jason W writes:

Enhance Details might not be killer app for the GFX 100S the way it was for the 50R/S. As you point out, many of the GF lenses will fail to out-resolve the sensor which means there just won't be much for Enhance Details to do in terms of recovering aliased detail. The difference may end up truly being nothing.

DIGLLOYD: some of the Fujifilm GF lenses are very sharp and all are sharp in the center, and thus color moiré and spurious detail issues might remain in the strong areas. But for several of the lenses, weak outer zones coupled with the damaging effects of distortion correction means capture of “higher resolution blur”.

However, I saw little benefit when processing Hasselblad H6D-100C and probably because of what Jason mentions: the lenses not being good enough to cause the usual optical issues—and the Fujifilm GFX-100 has far smaller pixels which means its lenses have to be better than the Hasselblad HCD lenses to incur isseus.


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