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Confusticating Choice: Sony A7R V with Pixel Shift vs Fujifilm GFX100S

re: Sony pixel shift

Claude Fiddler is author of the remarkable book Inside the High Sierra. He currently photographs with a Fujifilm GFX100S and Fujifilm GF 35-70mm. I’ve spoken with him on the phone a few times, and he is now actively considering the Sony A7R V with pixel shift, based on what I’ve shown in comparisons recently.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm GFX100S System

CLICK TO VIEW: Basic Sony A7R V System

Claude F writes:

Good review. Quite possibly looking at the most important advancement in a long time.

Considering the GFX versus the Sony V the lens selection from wide to telephoto is clearly in favor of the Sony. Why Fujifilm did not implement a standard wide to telephoto progression is a head shaker. Actually pisses me off that the Fuji options are not a standard affair. Where’s the f4 70-150.

Also, the primes in the Sony lineup are superb. Fujifilm primes don’t have a clear and simple 24, 35, 50, 65, progression. It could be argued that they do but the primes have crappy ie not flat, designs.

Other than the 4-5 aspect ratio and 35-70 zoom, I can’t see why someone would buy the Fujifilm. Fuji could up it’s game with a four shot pixel shift with focus bracket. Better do that quick.

...

Let me go through them again, but yes, what I see is a brilliance showing up. I’m not a fan of high micro contrast [diglloyd: see clarification below]. Although seductive at first look, it looks too good to be true to me. But again, yes I see the difference straight away.

In my view, Fujifilm’s, what I will call, radial loss of sharpness with a single exposure is disappointing but overcome with a focus bracket. A Fujifilm focus bracket seems to equal a Sony pixel shift. Of course, I have not done the comparison.

At this point, if I will try to improve the performance of the Fujifilm with the 35-70. Meaning making damn sure that a focus bracket works. I just did one at f8 that did NOT work. I had to settle for the best of one frame. Highlights in one part of the sky had unacceptable chromatic problems that could not be solved.

Lots to think about but back to your question. Yes, pixel shift makes a Fujifilm 100s not a solid recommendation. The Sony is way more versatile and pixel shift is a winner.

DIGLLOYD: focus stacking does not make for sharpness in outer zones that matches the center. I am much more satisisfied with the edge-to-edge sharpeness of the Sony lenses than with Fujifilm. Whereas a Voigtlander APO lens (or Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 GM and others) deliver edge sharpness as good as (or very close to) the center, this is generally not the case with the Fujifilm lenses where sharpness is obviously lower. Focus stacking does nothing about it.

As for high micro contrast, I favor it, but you can lower it by opening a Sony A7R V ARQ file directly to 100MP resolution without increasing sharpening. But I spoke with Claude on the phone, and what he was referring to (in my words, paraphrasing) was the harsh looks of cameras like the Sony A7R II, or the oversharpened look of some images in too-aggressive processing, not the lens micro contrast.

Sony A7R V with pixel shift is the new 3rd choice for medium format, the other two being the Hasselblad X2D and the Fujifilm GFX100S.

Observation Basin Sunset, ©1988 by Claude Fiddler
Captured with Gowland 4x5-inch view camera + 150mm Fujinon lens on Gitzo Studex tripod, Kodak VPL film.

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