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Fujifilm GFX100 Focus Stacking in Tuolumne Grove, Yosemite

Tip on visiting any of the groves of Sequoiadendron giganteum in Yosemite: arrive at or before dawn for a cathedral-like experience among trees up to 3500 years old that grow very tall and stay very thick/wide to great height, unlike the coastal redwood Sequoiadendron sempervirens, which tapers-off much more quickly.

I arrived later than that on my way home, but I had 20 minutes or so for the experience before the first couple followed on in... after that it’s a babble of human voices which hugely alter the experience. If you’ve been in a cathedral when it’s quiet versus noisy talkative people... same thing.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

Human-scale perspective

I wanted to provide some sense of the size of these magnificent trees, a goal best achieved with human perspective, so I shot a selfie of this fallen giant which is huge but far from the largest specimen, with a feeling straight out of the time of the dinosaurs.

A living tree would have been interesting too, but there is a prohibition on treading the ground under the living specimens of the massive and lofty Sequoiadendron giganteum, lest the soil be impacted and cause a deterioration in the health of the trees.

As it turns out, this image gives a better sense of the sheer scale of these trees because the living/standing trees are so tall that a sense of the size is lost (and the camera would have to be tilted excessively and a much shorter focal length used). So in the end I think this image is more demonstrative of the dimensions.

Full resolution image in Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 Focus Stacking Examples.

Lloyd giving size scale to toppled giant Sequoiadendron giganteum
f7.1 @ 1/6 sec electronic shutter focus stack 8 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-22 09:19:28
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR @ 36mm equiv (45mm)
ENV: Tuolumne Grove, Yosemite, altitude 5800 ft / 1768 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected

[low-res image for bot]

Below, the hole cut through this dead Sequoiadendron giganteum is easily large enough for my Mercedes Sprinter to drive through—height and width. With no sense of scale, the massive size of this tree is hard to appreciate. I’d love to park my Sprinter in there and re-make the image but that’s impossible (the tunnel was originally cut for vehicles!).

Full resolution image in Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 Focus Stacking Examples.

“Tunnel Tree”, a dead Sequoiadendron giganteum.
A Mercedes Sprinter could easily drive through the tunnel.
f8 @ 1/40 sec electronic shutter focus stack 5 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-22 10:08:58
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R WR @ 18mm equiv (23mm)
ENV: Yosemite Tuolumne Grove, altitude 5800 ft / 1768 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

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Gigapixel Stitched Images and Panoramas with the Really Right Stuff PG-02 on the Really Right Stuff TFC-24L Tripod

I’m looking for the best panorama stitching software; Photoshop is choking on a gigapixel image. Auto Align Layers is single threaded (uses a single CPU) and churns interminably. It's not a memory issue as Photoshop uses less than half of the 90GB I’ve allotted it). It seems to have trouble with multi-row stitching, e.g., 7 across X 3 high. It does OK with single-row panos.

I use the 2019 iMac 5K (this particular model, with 128GB OWC memory)—its 8 CPU cores and faster clock speed and 12GB has been a huge improvement for all my work.

CLICK TO VIEW: 2019 iMac 5K Memory solves speed issues for big jobs

Best stitching software?

Previously, some readers have recommended other pano/stitching software such as from Gigapan, but what is the best software currently? Contact me.

My guess is that PTGui Pro is the best choice for the job, and I’ve contacted those folks about it. Update: PTGui looks to be 100 to 200 times faster, and to use at most 25% of the memory. I have not yet evaluated stitched quality.

Shooting panoramas and stitched images in the field

I shot a number of panoramas on my recent trip and also some multi-row stitches between 500MP and a gigapixel. But it’s just too slow to attempt them in Photoshop, so I’ve deferred showing them.

Shown below is the Really Right Stuff PG-02 FULL SIZE PANO-GIMBAL HEAD setup I use, along with the MPR CL-II LONG NODAL SLIDE WITH INTEGRAL CLAMP (mine is an older model). This larger rig is needed for the Fujifilm GFX100. Even so the camera is so large that the bubble level gets covered when the camera is centered about the axis of rotation—I’m discussing that with Really Right Stuff—it’s an issue because to level the tripod I need that bubble level visible, and I forgot to move the arm back to re-center the camera for shooting a number of times, which degrades the panoramas from parallax.

The lever release clamp is not my preferred one for this usage; I would like to switch to the B2-Pro-II 60mm Screw-Knob clamp—easier to move the slider with it because the tightness can be controlled more easily plus it is bulletproof and even more solid—a decade of use on my regular head proves that. Plus, stowing in my daypack any sharp end such as on the lever release gradually degrades the fabric of the pack. Actually, I wonder if the B2-FAB 38MM SCREW-KNOB CLAMP might save me some weight and work as well.

The pano gimbal head (PG-02) by Really Right Stuff is the culmination of countless research, testing, and input from professional photographers. The PG-02 gimbal tripod head allows users to pivot independently on both the vertical and horizontal axes. It's great for handling large lenses and allows the shooter to follow a subject smoothly by providing solid lens support. The PG-02 is the exemplar for shooting panoramas. The independently pivoting axes ensure that each frame of the panorama will be perfectly level and aligned. The PG-02 head is available with a variety of quick-release clamps.

As to the tripod, it is my much-loved about $1000 Really Right Stuff TFC-24L, an update to the Really Right Stuff TVC-24L which I used for nearly a decade—best tripod ever. The TFC-24L is even better for me because its top plate is smaller and this makes it much easier to stow in my pack when I need my hands when climbing or for longer slogs when I won’t be shooting (I normally carry the tripod in one hand). I would prefer to shoot panos with the TVC-34L or even the ultra-robust TVC-44L, but they exceed my comfort level for carrying in the field—my arm starts to hurt.

Lloyd at 12500 on the Dana Plateau, view towards Mono Lake
(Really Right Stuff PG-02 on the Really Right Stuff TFC-24L Tripod)
f1.8 @ 1/3500 sec, ISO 20; 2019-08-21 18:33:28
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)
ENV: Dana Plateau, altitude 12442 ft / 3792 m

[low-res image for bot]

Below, to see the full 826 megapixel pano, see:
Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 Examples: Panoramas in the Eastern Sierra (GFX100)

f5.6 @ 1/8 sec electronic shutter panorama 9 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-06 19:56:42
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR @ 87mm equiv (110mm) + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: Ridge above Tuolumne Meadows, altitude 9000 ft / 2743 m
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]
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Fujifilm GFX100 Sensor Stabilization (IBIS): Beware Destruction of Image Sharpness on a Tripod

Awesome quality from the Fujifilm GFX100 on my trip (I am now back home). But a number of bugs and operational issues with the Fujifilm GFX100 cost me a lot of time and frustration. I worked around most issues, but Fujifilm needs to get its act together.

You always remember to turn off image stabilization when shooting on a tripod after shooting handheld, don’t you? I mean, on a 14-hour daylong hike, you have perfect memory for setting it appropriately every time, right? Well, I don’t, which is why I prefer to leave IBIS off rather than risk it.

In this example, the GFX100 cost me images that are multi-day effort to redo, and only then if weather conditions cooperate, even if I had a GFX100 to re-try.

Fujifilm GFX100 image stabilization (IBIS) can work wonders.

But it also does bad things, like destroy images taken on a tripod.

Fujifilm GFX100: Image Stabilization (IBIS) Damages or Destroys Images on Tripod

Context: all cameras with image stabilization (IBIS or optical) that I have tested all damage images when shot on a tripod at slower shutter speeds (one second or slower). The solution is pretty simple: disable image stabilization at some cutoff shutter speed or at the least warn the user. No camera does this, which is baffling.

High up at 12600' with a hike down in the dark over unstable terrain awaiting me, I took this 8-minute exposure (plus 8-minute LENR) a few hundred feet lower on a wondrously windless and warm early night—truly rare up here; I felt lucky. But the GFX100 had other ideas.

Mt Dana and its glacier from Dana Plateau, early night
f7.1 @ 480.0 sec IBIS=on electronic first curtain shutter, ISO 100; 2019-08-21 20:31:24
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR @ 36mm equiv (45mm)
ENV: Dana Plateau, altitude 12400 ft / 3780 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected

[low-res image for bot]
Lloyd high on the Dana Plateau ridgeline
f1.8 @ 1/1000 sec panorama, ISO 32; 2019-08-21 19:34:22
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8
ENV: Dana Plateau, altitude 12500 ft / 3810 m

[low-res image for bot]
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Fujifilm GFX100 Focus Stacking Handheld with Sensor Stabilization (IBIS)

This page discusses focus stacking with handheld shooting with sensor stabilization (IBIS) enabled.

The Fujifilm GFX100 offers three key features that make handheld focus stacking more viable than any camera I have used before (through late 2019): fully electronic shutter + very fast exposure bracketing + highly effective image stabilization (IBIS). I wondered if I could generate credible focus-stacked images shooting handheld.

Fujifilm GFX100: Focus Stacking Handheld with IBIS

Includes images up to 100 megapixels including unretouched stack, retouched stack, and single frame.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

Lloyd at Summit of White Mountain Peak (elevation 14252' / 4344m)
f8 @ 1/250 sec handheld IBIS=on electronic shutter focus stack 8 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-17 18:15:51
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR @ 36mm equiv (45mm) + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: White Mountain Peak summit, altitude 14252 ft / 4344 m
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

 


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Fujifilm GFX100 Focus Stacking For Selfies, People

This page shows two focus stacking examples for selfies in landscapes using the FOCUS BKT feature of the Fujifilm GFX100—focus stacking for selfies and people! Can it be done... yes!

As used here, “selfies” refers to any pictures of oneself or friends or companions—people pictures*. In the outdoors, context adds a lot of interest and value, but all too often that context is mostly blurred because of relatively close range face(s) and too little depth of field. Classic portraiture is all well and good, but it gets old as a stylistic device, and it can blur away interesting details and context that bring back memories of where/when.

Three examples:

Fujifilm GFX100: Focus Stacking for Selfies, or People

Includes images up to 100 megapixels including stacked and single-frame comparisons.

* Selfies have gotten a bad rap from social media addicts (“second handers”) seeking accoladesBut all of use love pictures of ourselves most of all, and so that should be given due respect. I like taking selfies during my trips because they bring back details and memories of that trip: what vehicle I drove, clothes I wore, gear I carried, activities, where I camped, who I was with (especially family), etcetera. Such pictures sometimes have a practical benefit: it reminds me how to plan for that area at that time of year. And by selfies, it might also mean a relatively small presence when/if the picture is mostly about recording all the place/time/other details.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

Lloyd at Summit of White Mountain Peak (elevation 14252' / 4344m)
f11 @ 1/50 sec electronic shutter focus stack 21 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-17 17:42:07
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR @ 36mm equiv (45mm) + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: Summit of White Mountain Peak, altitude 14252 ft / 4344 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening, USM{5,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

James K writes:

The GFX has your soul. The selfie is proof. The camera has your DNA. The magic is there. What do you do now? I almost went to B&H to see the 100 in person. Reason prevailed but I was almost on the subway.

[later...]

I handled the GFX100 today at B&H. I felt the haptics were quite acceptable. Overall my experience was quite positive. An owner on the net mentioned that there were two different batches of the camera in circulation.. The latest batch is rumored to have updated firmware and mechanical changes to remedy some of the problems encountered by users. The camera remains above my $$$$ pain threshold. At a price of $6500 I might not be able to resist temptation. :)

DIGLLOYD: I put tremendous effort into shooting the GFX100, and made many many more images with it, but these take time to process (focus stacking mostly). I’ll have a lot more to say on the GFX100, but as of August 22nd my trip is done, and I feel bummed that it will go back soon (B&H loaner)—in spite of its issues, I will miss it—not in my price range either.

The buttons could be better, including placement. I’ll be commenting in my review on all sorts of things with the GFX100, most of which should be correctable with a firmware upate. If only Fujifim read this blog.

I used the lateset firmwas as of the time I shot, version 1.01 for camera and version 1.1 for lenses.


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How Good is Fujifilm GFX100 Sensor Stabilization? “Earth Shadow Rising Above Barcroft Research Station”, 1/10 Second Handheld

How good is Fujifilm GFX100 Sensor Stabilization (IBIS)? Well, I’m impressed.

I discuss the making of this two-frame 137 megapixel panorama shot handheld.

Fujifilm GFX100: Making of a Handheld Panorama with IBIS at 1/10 Second: Earth Shadow From Above Barcroft

Includes images up to 137 megapixels of both the assembled panorama and the two frames that compose it.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

This “road” looks easy, but only the most skilled mountain bikers with exceptional fitness and acclimatization to nearly 12500 feet can ascend it (much steeper than it looks, with loose gravel), and you had better have bike handling skills a cut well above to avoid dirt sampling when descending—it gets steeper and looser below. Dim light doesn't help. I was descending from the summit of White Mountain Peak (14252 ft / 4344m).

Earth Shadow Rising over Barcroft Research Facility
f4 @ 1/10 sec handheld IBIS=on electronic shutter panorama 2 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-17 19:54:18
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR @ 36mm equiv (45mm)
ENV: Above Barcroft, altitude 12500 ft / 3810 m
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected

[low-res image for bot]

Thomas H writes:

I was absolutely blown away by this image of yours - beautifully seen and executed. The colors and soft glow at sunset are rendered so naturally, it’s easy to believe (I’m) right there.

Viewing this (at 5112) and at 50% seems to work best on my iMac 5k.

I rented the GFX 50R twice (and the 50S once) before purchasing the 50R. The GFX 100 is out of my reach. I don’t regret the investment. I consistently see superior image quality over my A7R II, and I really love the focus stacking feature (I too snap a few additional frames at infinity). Thanks again for your wonderful coverage of today’s best equipment options for landscape photographers.

DIGLLOYD: that earth shadow rises quite quickly, so one has to act fast; it’s about position and color and brightness relative to the landscape. I got the GFX100 out of my daypack and grabbed the shot quick as I could. If I had taken the time to setup up my ultralight tripod, I probably would have lost the effect; it’s just right I think.

Yes, when clicking on an image on a Mac running at 2:1 display scaling, using 50% scaling means put N pixels into a box N/2 wide, which means actual pixels on an iMac 5K, assuming it is using 2:1 display scaling.

Image Quality: Fujifilm GFX100 vs Fujifilm GFX 50S/R

If anyone wonders whether a Fujifilm GFX100 is better than a Fujifilm GFX 50RS, just take a look at the pixels—freedom from moiré, color aliasing, etc. I have not seen any of these ugly 'digital' problems in any of my field shots, whereas the 50S/R are plagued by them. Oversampling is critical to best image quality, and it appears that 100 megapixels via 3.7 micron pixels gets the job done on the 44 X 33mm sensor.

Fujifilm GFX100

Then take a look at the per pixel acuity at 50 megapixels downsampled from 100MP—there is just no comparison, game, set and match in favor of the GFX100. If you want an ultra-clean totally non-digital 50MP image, shoot the GFX100 and downsample to 50MP (no need to downsample, but doing so demonstrates the point visually vs natively-shot 50MP).

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

Jason W writes:

I've been looking at and comparing GFX 50 shots against the GFX100 for two weeks and it's exactly as you say. No comparison. It also brings up a controversial point you may or may not agree with, which is even when using a stitch, the per-pixel quality of each original frame still propagates down into the final full stitch.

The GFX 50R/S per pixel quality is a mess, and even comparing stitches, the GFX 100 cohesion is superior. Resolution is better on the stitches of course, but it still feels muddled and crunchy with the GFX 50S. The GFX50 artifacts are so glaring that they often come through even when the images are viewed at smaller sizes. The GFX100 is free of these at any level and this makes them feel more cohesive and complete.

... Comments apply to without Enhance Details, but even with ED, the fine articulation of texture isn't there with the GFX 50S. Looking at brick work and fine lines of ripples on water in different RAW files off the GFX 50, even with ED, it still doesn't draw me in. It's still blocky.

DIGLLOYD: I didn’t express it that way but “crunchy” in particular with the Fujifilm GFX 50S is spot-on. This stems from color aliasing*, color moiré, corruption of actual color due to those two factors, staircasing, plus false detail, all of which accrue from too low a sampling frequency (on a Bayer matrix sensor) relative to most of the subjects I shoot (but also applies to product photography and portraiture). It was a constant pain in the ass to use f/5.6 with the GFX 50S for this reason—sharp and digital looking all too often. It also screws with the quality of stitches since all those effects create “detail” that gets stitched together and combine. Note that the foregoing issues are slightly to significantly reduced by using Adobe Camera Raw Enhance Details—not a cure, but it helps.

The Fujifilm GFX100 makes all that go away and is more natural-looking than any digital camera I have used—period. That is, with the glaring exception of the unnecessary and sad flaw of PDAF striping, when it occurs. There was no damned reason to ruin the image quality (blue sky) of a camera better suited to landscape than any camera in history (so far) with PDAF pixels—Fujifilm trying too hard to make a multi-purpose tool—and worse, it cannot autofocus worth a damn in 100% Live View—when I focus manually in 100% Live View, I can always make it sharper than what AF delivers, which is strange—while soem other cameras get it wrong sometimes by a teeny bit, I’ve never seen this consistently bad behavior. Ironically it is accurate when not zoomed in in Live View.

Yes, the per-pixel quality propagates into a stitch and/or focus stack with a slight loss of micro contrast—unavoidable since pixels must be stretched to mesh properly. This effect is small if excellent shot discipline is used for the best possible match between captures. Or it can be large for quick and dirty work. A light touch of diffraction mitigating sharpening cures it: GIGO (goodness-in = goodness-out or garbage-in = garbage-out).

* I have yet to notice any color aliasing or color moiré issues with the Fujifilm GFX100. Of course I know it can and must occur at the right aperture and frequency of subject detail, and I could presumably produce examples, but the point is that it has not troubled me with any of my field shots, which is what counts. OTOH, check out the amazing freedom from color aliasing in the Siemens chart—quite unusual. So something might be helping at the sensor level.

Dr. S writes:

With all the digital flaws of the GFX 50 seemingly fading away with the new GFx100 when downsampling to 50mp do you think Sony has found a way to apply the new sensor tech/per-pixel quality into their new 61MP sensors for the Sony A7R IV and more-than-likely Nikon Z-whatever? If so, this bodes well for some future cams.

DIGLLOYD: downsampling is not presumed for the discussion above—the GFX100 is better on a per-pixel basis. But when downsampled to 50MP, the GFX100 blows away the 50MP 50S—oversampling cures digital ills. As I understand it, the GFX100 sensor and Sony A7R IV sensor share the same technology, though Fujifilm might have made further efforts with their particular sensor that Sony does not. AFAIK, Nikon Z7 does not use a Sony chip, but maybe a Z8 might.


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Some Fujifilm GFX100 Behaviors also Apply to the coming Sony 7R IV

Image quality is all about the sensor and the electronics. While the Fujifilm GFX100 and the Sony A7R IV differ in electronics, they share the same sensor technology and have exactly the same pixel pitch (pixel size).

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony A7R IV + Highly Recommended Lenses

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

In other words, there is a lot to learn about the Sony A7R IV from my reporting on the Fujifilm GFX100.

Sony A7R IV

In terms of sharpness, you lose depth of field (per pixel) and lose micro contrast at the same aperture—a double-whammy since you need to stop down more for the same per pixel depth of field, but doing so degrades the image more!

  • Depth of field on a per pixel basis shrinks. The hard requirement for focus stacking for landscape photographers. Which makes it immensely frustrating that the Sony A7R IV appears to lack a focus stepping feature for focus stacking support. Some crappy Sony Play Memories half-assed app won’t do, nor an iPhone app.
  • The effects of diffraction on per-pixel micro contrast: on the Sony A7R IV, f/5.6 is subtly affected for high-grade lenses, but f/8 is significantly affected similar to f/10 on the 42MP Sony A7R III. Stopping down is less of a cure than ever before—thing focus stacking when it is feasible.

Other issues might also be similar.

  • PDAF banding/striping. Sony had this in the Sony A9 and that was life. The Sony A7R III never gave me trouble, but the Sony A7R IV might. Many cameras (e.g. Nikon Z7) use noise reduction to deal with the striping, generally not a plus for image sharpness.
  • Focus accuracy must be 1.2X more accurate to preclude sharpness losses. Fujifilm GFX100 has autofocus issues. I expect Sony to do better however so this point is probably not of concern.

You’ll want things for the Sony A7R IV. Big files mean that a pair of fast SDXC cards for the Sony A7R IV is a must.

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony SF-G Tough Series UHS-II SDXC Memory Cards

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony A7R IV + Highly Recommended Lenses

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Good Morning From 11700' near Patriarch Grove + Fujifilm GFX100 vs Fujifilm GFX 50S/R

High Above Patriarch Grove, Westering Moon

I woke up at 03:30 AM today, and started shooting by 4 AM. At 11700' ~= 3566m, there is a very long glow that starts dim and builds. It’s a great way to start the day once in a while as few things compare for beauty with seeing dawn slowly approach as it can never be seen at lower elevation.

I’ll be adding more examples over the next week or two (it will take a lot of time to go through what is now nearly a terabyte of images shot with the GFX100). Examples are of course up to the full 100MP camera resolution.

Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 Examples: White Mountains and Eastern Sierra

Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 Examples: White Mountains and Eastern Sierra

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

Road Down to Patriarch Grove by Moonlight
f4 @ 240.0 sec electronic first curtain shutter LENR, ISO 100; 2019-08-17 04:49:23
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR @ 87mm equiv (110mm)
ENV: Outcrop above Patriarch Grove, altitude 11700 ft / 3566 m
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]
Pre-Dawn view of Patriarch Grove, Westering Moon
f8 @ 60.0 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2019-08-17 05:32:14
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R WR @ 18mm equiv (23mm)
ENV: Rocky outcrop above Patriarch Grove, altitude 11700 ft / 3566 m
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

I should have shot a proper panorama here, but I did not; this is two frames shot separately and shoehorned into a panorama with defects. Still, it captures the essence.

Panoramic Pre-Dawn view of Patriarch Grove, Westering Moon
f8 @ 20.0 sec electronic shutter panorama 2 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-17 05:33:38
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R WR @ 18mm equiv (23mm)
ENV: Rocky outcrop above Patriarch Grove, altitude 11700 ft / 3566 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected

[low-res image for bot]

This panorama has some flaws, but worked out pretty well at 193 megapixels finished (available for viewing in Panoramas: White Mountains).

Panoramic Pre-Dawn view of Patriarch Grove, Westering Moon
f8 @ 25.0 sec electronic shutter panorama 5 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-17 05:25:00
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R WR @ 18mm equiv (23mm)
ENV: Outcrop above Patriarch Grove, altitude 11700 ft / 3566 m
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{10,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Bean Thai Massage Therapy writes:

Very very beautiful series of images .

Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R WR Focus Stacking Examples

I’ve published another focus stacking example with the Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R WR. This particular image is spectacular in its 3D feel near-to-far. It just comes alive when viewed on a Retina display as on an iMac 5K, and would print very large beautifully.

Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 Macro R WR Focus Stacking Examples, Various (GFX100)

Images presented at up to 100 megapixels resolution.

For comparison purposes, I include the single frame versus stacked frame for all the stacking examples so far. In this case, the detail rendition of the stacked image is spectacular! The GF 23/4 does not lack for sharpness, but there are some things that need to be understood about how to get that sharpness; I comment on that for this image.

The resolution from the GFX100 finally captures the beautiful wood grain as I have wanted to for years—nothing short of 100MP will do, and now I want 200MP of course!

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

I am disappointed that for nearly all gear I’ll be reviewing going forward, the reward-to-effort ratio is much reduced: for the same effort (shooting, then stacking and retouching), my reward versus 100MP on even the highest-res cameras like the 61MP of the Sony A7R IV is an inferior 'deal'. I don’t know if Sony has finally implemented focus stacking support in the A7R IV—seemingly not, a major bummer since its pixel density is equal to the GFX100 and the same demands are there—which downgrades the A7R IV considerably for my favored type of photography.

As usual due to consistently buggy FOCUS BKT feature, I manually shot a far-distance frame, which proved to be critical even for the distant trees on the sunny hillside. I hope Fujifilm gets the bugs worked out of FOCUS BKT soon. It is such a hassle to always have to compensate for algorithmic failures, and this takes time, which can cause other issues, including losing the desired lighting when conditions are changing rapidly.

f8 @ 1/50 sec electronic shutter focus stack 8 frames DMAP, ISO 100; 2019-08-14 19:19:20
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R WR @ 18mm equiv (23mm)
ENV: White Mountains, altitude 11800 ft / 3597 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening

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Reader Comment on Fujifilm GFX100: “High Praise Indeed”

Dr S writes:

I read this yesterday in your blog post:

DIGLLOYD: The Fujifilm GFX100 is the first camera (ever) where I feel that my time and efforts are well utilized; the reward-to-effort ratio is very high. I’ve long felt that 35mm cameras, no matter how good, just don’t get me where I want to be on detail and image quality for that detail. And cameras like the Hasselblad H6D-100C are too limiting in too many ways.

With all the issues you have had with the new Fuji that is one helluva statement! The IQ must be off the charts for you to make such a statement unless you did so while taking CBD w/THC! -:)

Fujifilm has been very good in the past addressing issues with their cams via firmware updates and hopefully they will solve the issues.

What I am curious about is the pixel density on the 100mp MF sensor and the relative density if one pared the MF sensor to the size of a FF sensor. Would the pixel density then be about 61mp? I don't know any of this so I am just blowing smoke with questions. Could Sony have developed the tech for the Fuji that facilitated 61mp on a FF?

Time will tell unless some of the info is available. The bottom line is the combination of 100mp w/Fuji glass is at the top. We'll see when you get the Sony A7R IV whether or not you can squeeze the best 61mp has to offer.

Amazing the tech advances in just 10 to 15 years.

DIGLLOYD: first, since I quoted the whole email: while I use non psychoactive CBD, the smell and taste of THC make me want to vomit, so Dr S can rule that idea out. I don’t like getting high, and never have understood the appeal. The real “high” is the tranquility and beauty of the outdoors, where I am writing this right now at 11700' (unfortunately inside my van, but later today I will go shoot).

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

In a nutshell: the Fujifilm GFX100 is the first and only camera that rewards my efforts with the results I have been longing for all my life. No other camera today meets that metric*. Regrettably, there does not look to be a GFX100 in my near-term future, as I cannot afford even the camera body. OTOH, maybe next year we will see a smaller and lighter and much less expensive model with 100MP.

The Fujifilm GFX100 has bugs and operational problems that have ruined or lost images for me (!) and its PDAF banding is a huge strike against it for anyone who likes black and white conversions. Fujifilm can fix some of the issues with a firmware update but given a 7-year record of not fixing focus instability in either Fujifilm X or Fujifilm GFX cameras and what seems to me to be so many failures in usability and imagination (I refer to the menu options, arrangement, and functionality offered), I don’t hold out a lot of hope for that. Buy the GFX100 ONLY after understanding all the issues I discuss (more coming).

* The metric includes being able to carry and use the camera, lens selection, automated focus stepping, etc.
I rule out the PhaseONE IQ4 150-megapixel camera for bulk/weight, lens selection, etcetera. It may be superior on image quality but is NOT capable of making the images I want because of size/weight/lens selection—a camera not carried does not make any pictures! Still, if PhaseOne wants to loan me one, I will do my very best to prove it out—but only if it supports automated focus stepping for focus stacking, because it’s a joke to not do focus stacking with such cameras.

f8 @ 1/4 sec electronic shutter focus stack 75 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-15 19:13:52
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR @ 95mm equiv (120mm)
ENV: Barcroft, altitude 12400 ft / 3780 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening

[low-res image for bot]

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Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR Focus Stacking Examples

I’ve been shooting a lot which has not left much time for publishing, and some of these stacks take a while. Just organizing the day’s shoot takes an hour or two each day. I’m writing this before bedtime at 11700 ft ~=3566 meters in the White Mountains.

I’ve published another focus stacking example with the Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR, this time one at near macro range, and quite ambitious: 75 frames.

Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR Focus Stacking Examples, Various (GFX100)

Images presented at up to 100 megapixels resolution.

For comparison purposes, I include the single frame versus stacked frame for all the stacking examples so far. In this case, the detail rendition of the stacked image is spectacular! The GF 120/4 does not lack for sharpness.

While the Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 just does not work with the FOCUS BKT feature for distance shots (nor does the GF 110/2), it does work at closer range. Even when FOCUS BKT works most of the way to the distance, I almost always have to shoot an infinity frame manually, and that’s true of the 23/4, 45/2.8, 32-64/4, 110/2 and 120/4 (though the latter two usually just don’t work at all to infinity). This is just ridiculous—obviously buggy and therefore poorly-tested code for FOCUS BKT got shipped with the GFX100. I hope Fujifilm gets the bugs worked out of FOCUS BKT soon.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

f8 @ 1/4 sec electronic shutter focus stack 75 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-15 19:13:52
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR @ 95mm equiv (120mm)
ENV: Barcroft, altitude 12400 ft / 3780 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening

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f8 @ 1/13 sec electronic shutter focus stack 15 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-15 06:12:52
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR @ 95mm equiv (120mm)
ENV: PatriarchGrove, altitude 11400 ft / 3475 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening

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Fujifilm GFX100: Best Ever Reward-to-Effort Ratio

The Fujifilm GFX100 is the first camera (ever) where I feel that my time and efforts are well utilized; the reward-to-effort ratio is very high. I’ve long felt that 35mm cameras, no matter how good, just don’t get me where I want to be on detail and image quality for that detail. And cameras like the Hasselblad H6D-100C are too limiting in too many ways.

So the Fujifilm GFX100 has nailed it in terms of what feels rewarding to me, which is a very high bar. But will we see the price come down to Fujifilm GFX 50S levels in the next year? Right now, I’m not looking forward to returning the camera (loaner).

The flip side is the unacceptable number of usability problems. The GFX100 feels to me like a rushed-out-the-door system. My efforts are hampered by design that waste my time and sometimes cause me to lose the shot when shooting at the edge of light. I’ll be detailing all the issues soon.

For example, the FOCUS BKT feature can never be relied upon to get to infinity focus (hit and miss). I often take 3X more time to verify that the sequence is OK than it takes to shoot it! And if it is not OK, the light may have changed by that time, in effect damaging the entire effort.

Coupled with outright bugs such as failure of the FOCUS BKT feature to work properly with the GF 110/2 and GF 120/4 (and frequent failures to reach infinity with all lenses), the firmware needs work in a lot of areas.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

f1.8 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 25; 2019-08-02 20:09:49
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)
ENV: Pothole Dome, altitude 8746 ft / 2666 m

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Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 R WR Focus Stacking Examples

The Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lends itself to focus stacking: as a zoom it allows tight framing of the subject matter for maximum detail, very helpful in rough terrain where camera position may be limited by uneven or steep terrain. And while its f/4 lens speed is not so great for many types of photography, it is of no import for focus stacking where f/8 is the de-facto best aperture most of the time in terms of depth of field and not too many frames.

I’ve published two focus stacking examples from the Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 R WR.

Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 R WR Focus Stacking Examples, Various (GFX100)

Images presented at up to 100 megapixels resolution. For comparison purposes, I include the single frame versus stacked frame for all the stacking examples so far.

Below, this is the point to cross the creek on the way to Upper Boy Scout Lake, after having ascended the Ebersbacher Ledges and then Lower Boy Scout Lake and the boulder field near it. Here I was descending on the way back.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

f8 @ 1/30 sec electronic shutter focus stack 15 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-11 18:40:51
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR @ 29mm equiv (36.9mm) + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: near Upper Boy Scout Lake, altitude 11100 ft / 3383 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening, USM{8,50,0}

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Below, with daylight fading, I had not yet descended the Ebersbacher Ledge, still a few hundred vertical feet lowers, where a false turn means a cliff. I made such a false turn (lot of false trails that confuse, especially at dusk), but found the right point of descent and descended without incident. The town of Lone Pine can be seen below, along with the Alabama Hills above the town.

f8 @ 1/6 sec electronic shutter focus stack 17 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-11 19:28:38
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR @ 34mm equiv (42.5mm)
ENV: above Ebersbacher Ledges, altitude 9600 ft / 2926 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening

[low-res image for bot]

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Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR: Seems About Perfect for Many Landscape Scenes and Stacks Well

It’s hard to travel and shoot and publish every day and for a few more days I’ll be focusing on shooting only.

This 15-frame focus stack needs a bit more retouching work, as the stacking process turned out to be perfect on detail and troublesome with the sky in a few places. But the defects are subtle.

While it has a few subtle stacking artifacts, this image really shows well what a single frame can do; I think the near and far detail adds a lot to the image.

It is impossible to achieve this detailed capture with any other technique—f/11 or f/16 won’t do it (and would degrade the image overall) and a tilt lens would have serious problems with depth of field out of plane. I’m considering offering one-on-one photo tours for teaching both field use and computer processing aspects—contact me if interested.

Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2 .8 Focus Stacking Examples, Various (GFX100)

Images presented at up to 100 megapixels resolution. For comparison purposes, I include the single frame versus stacked frame for all the stacking examples so far.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

f8 @ 1.5 sec electronic shutter focus stack 15 frames PMAX, ISO 100; 2019-08-10 05:49:15
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR @ 36mm equiv (45mm)
ENV: White Mountains, altitude 10700 ft / 3261 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening

[low-res image for bot]

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