Fujifilm continues its push into medium format with the third flagship camera GFX100
With the announcement of the GFX100, it has become clear that Fujifilm is fully committed to medium and large format challenging the entire industry including the overcrowded high-end full frame market.
In the October 2019 edition of the Medium Format Magazine, Billy Luong of Fujifilm said:
“We feel that for someone who wants the ultimate image quality as well as high resolution, this 102-megapixel sensor is a breakthrough in technology. It’s the IBIS sensor, the same technology that’s found on the most recent announcement of our XT-3 camera but in a medium format size or a G format size.”
In addition to that sensor it’s also going to use the latest X processor 4 which again is found on the XT3 and it’s really going to expand the performance of the system both on AF as well as the accuracy and speed.
Consequently, we’ll see unique things that we haven’t done on a medium format, which is video. This is going to showcase medium format as a potential video system. The system is going to offer 4K at 30 frames per second and the unique thing is that it’s going to offer that 10 bit. It’s a dream to have that greater depth of field control, the increased dynamic range and the Fujifilm colour that we bring to all our cameras. To me that’s very promising and, of course, IBIS that you mentioned earlier. Again, I think it’s one of the first medium format lenses/sensors to be stabilized. Using longer lenses, prime lenses, we can shoot in much more difficult scenarios in lower light and lower ISOs and still get nice sharp images.”
Today, Fujifilm revealed the final version of the highly anticipated GFX100.
Here are the highlights (from the official release):
World’s First 100 MP BSI CMOS Sensor in a Mirrorless Camera
The GFX100 pairs a newly-developed back-illuminated 102MP CMOS imaging sensor with Fujifilm’s blazingly fast X-Processor 4 processing engine to create a combination capable of outputting 16-bit images with amazing color fidelity, rich shadow detail, and incredible dynamic range.
World’s First Five-axis IBIS in a Camera Featuring an Image Sensor Bigger than the 35mm Format
High-resolution image sensors require high-level stability to ensure image sharpness. With built-in 5-axis image stabilization, GFX100 users are reassured that vibrations won’t interrupt the capture process. The function offers up to 5.5-stop image stabilization (when using the GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens). The entire shutter unit is suspended with four springs to minimize the effect of shutter shock. This dramatically broadens the scope of situations where a user can hand-hold the camera and still enjoy the world of 100MP+ ultra-high resolution, pushing the boundaries of photographic expression.
World’s First On-Board Phase Detection Hybrid AF with approximately 100% Coverage
With 3.76 million phase detection pixels, at approximately 100% coverage, near perfect auto-focus performance with speed and accuracy is now a reality for photographers needing optimum performance in subject tracking, face/eye detection and low-contrast environments. The effect is particularly notable when using fast prime lenses, achieving speed improvement of up to 210% over the conventional contrast AF system used in GFX 50R.
Large Format Camera with 4K video at 30p
The new sensor and processor combination support 4K video recording at 30p with a unique cinematic look. It’s now a breeze to explore shallow depth-of-field, wide tonal reproducibility and extra high ISO sensitivity, producing high-quality video footage with detailed textures while reproducing three-dimensional definitions and even capturing the atmosphere of the scene. With the ability to apply Fujifilm’s highly respected Film Simulations (including ETERNA cinema film simulation mode), record in F-Log Rec 2020, and capture 4:2:2 10-bit uncompressed footage through the HDMI port, GFX100 should certainly be coming soon to a screen near you.
Dust-resistant, Weather-resistant, Lightweight and Highly Robust Magnesium Alloy Body with Integrated Vertical Grip
Maximizing its use for even the toughest conditions, the GFX100 has weather sealing in 95 locations across the camera body and detachable EVF to ensure an exceptionally high level of dust and moisture resistance. Photographers will have the opportunity to capture moments in even the most remote locations as the GFX100 can maintain reliable operation even under tough natural conditions.
Although it sports a large image sensor, the GFX100’s body is equivalent to that of a flagship 35mm full-frame DSLR camera in terms of dimensions (6.15” (W) x 6.44” (H) x 4.05” (D), measuring 1.93” at the thinnest part) and weight (approx. 3 lbs. including two batteries, memory card and EVF).
Designed for protection, the GFX100’s core imaging unit, consisting of the lens mount, image stabilization mechanism and image sensor, has been structured completely separate from the main body panels. This “double-structure” is designed to ensure a high level of precision and robustness while minimizing resolution degradation caused by external stress to the body. To maximize usability, the GFX100 incorporates a vertical grip, enabling effective use of in-body space.
Advanced Color Reproduction Technology, Delivering Astonishing Quality in Stills
The combination of the newly-developed image sensor and the fourth-generation X-Processor 4 processing engine means the camera supports the 16-bit RAW capture requested by many professional photographers seeking files that tolerate heavy post-processing. The GFX100 also features the newly-developed “Smooth Skin Effect” function, which automatically smooths the skin tone of the subjects, as is often performed in portraiture. It allows the photographer to skip a portion of post-processing work so that images captured with this function can be finished at an extremely high level of perfection, faster.
The GFX100 digital camera body will be available on June 27, 2019 at a suggested retail price of USD $9,999.95 and CAD $13,299.99.
The Medium Format Magazine will have extensive and exclusive coverage of the camera from every possible angle by our contributors. We will share our findings and provide you with analysis of the medium format market, following this important release.
For those of you who are already shooting medium format or considering buying your first medium format camera, we invite you to subscribe and get immediate access to the latest and all past issues of the Medium Format Magazine and highly regarded PDF Exclusive publications.
The May issue of the Medium Format Magazine is here!
Peter Delaney opens the issue with his deep, personal and thought-provoking piece, “In love with landscape” in which he shares his journey to landscape photography. The accompanying imagery will not only surprise you but will certainly WOW you. What a great piece!
Then Ming Thein, one of the most prominent voices in the photographic industry, shares with us a bold and provocative but honest and eye-opening essay, “Asking Difficult Questions.” He asks, “Why are all cameras, and more importantly, shooting experiences, pretty much the same?” The piece will certainly steer a very important discussion about camera design and the future of the industry. A must-read!
In this month’s column, “Beyond Medium Format” Ibarionex Perello writes about “Breaking free of trends.” In his usually witty and thought-provoking style, Ibarionex shows us the lure and fallacy of photographic trends. I am confident that you will find this article informative and engaging. It’s a much-needed mirror into our state of seeing. Priceless!
In this month’s interview, I had the pleasure of talking to Swee Oh, a brilliant architectural photographer and someone with whom I immediately made a personal connection. The way Swee sees and crafts her imagery is very special. When architectural photography could be cold and impersonal, this is certainly not the case with Swee’s work. She does something not many photographers are able to do. She captures the soul of the subject and makes those stunning constructions come alive. A fascinating interview, with a unique personal story.
You would think that a piece created in transit would be somehow compromised and dull. Not from Patrick La Roque! Not “Frailties.” In his usual sharp-witted and poetic style Patrick shares his thoughts about photography literally “on the fly” but with such finesse and depth that I couldn’t stop reading and re-reading every sentence. When photographing a random person in the airport he writes, “To get close enough. I might steal her soul, unnoticed” – watch out. This piece may indeed do just that.
J.D. Floyd follows with his insightful piece, “The story behind creating the image.” You will learn about the photo shoot in a beautiful and visually striking location. J.D. Floyd shares his personal story and fascinating tale of one photo shoot. What a location! What imagery!
In the next piece, Ian Howorth takes us into the world of medium format film photography. And what a rich world it is! It is such a pleasure to soak up and enjoy those cinematic, brilliantly crafted images along with the story of the photographer himself. I am glad we are getting to know Ian better because I am thrilled to say that you will find his pieces and imagery in the next issue of the Medium Format Magazine as well.
This month, Alex Burke is “Exploring the intimate landscape with large format.” As he wanders through forest and wilderness, he shares pieces of his seeing captured so beautifully and shows us the world we often miss by chasing yet another beautiful grand landscape. Large format is the perfect medium to capture the beauty and intimacy of small-scale nature. Indeed, reading Alex’s piece and looking at the details only large format can capture, I am in awe and you will be too!
The last article is a very important piece by Ian Ross Pettigrew, “The living heroes project.” We usually stay away from displaying or promoting personal projects, but we feel this one is special. In the buzz and excitement of daily life we often forget that some projects cannot wait, that some stories must be told – not tomorrow but now. This is one of those important projects. Ian is already off to a great start and you can see the first images from this important project. We at the Medium Format Magazine will do our best to support this project and we hope you will do the same.
I trust you enjoy the articles and imagery presented in the May issue. Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas. We are always looking for your feedback.
NOT A MEMBER YET? SUBSCRIBE TO THE ONLY MAGAZINE DEDICATED TO DIGITAL AND FILM MEDIUM FORMAT!
Join now and get access not only to the newest edition, but also to all available previous issues of the magazine and the PDF Exclusives. JOIN US NOW!
For those of you who missed it, the April edition of the Medium Format Magazine is out!
This month we start off with a fascinating interview with Jonas Rask. I have had the privilege of knowing and interacting with Jonas on a regular basis. When you look at his publishing and writing schedule you would think he must be a full-time professional with an army of people working for him. But it is passion and a zest for seeing that drives this full-time doctor and allows him to produce so many great images, articles, gear shots and more. Did I mention his passion for old cameras and involvement in development of some camera products? How does he have the time? Make sure to read our fascinating interview with this photographic tour-de-force and read his “prescription” for finding joy in photography.
In this month’s column “In Pursuit of Transparency,” Ming Thein revisits one of the most important questions: “What is Medium Format?” If you think you are going to find trivial, overdone definitions, think again. Ming, in his witty and fact-based style, invites us to think about the subject from a slightly different perspective. Whether you are a gear lover or not, you will enjoy this informative and thought-provoking piece.
On the following pages, you will find Ioannis Tsouloulis’ article, “How I Connect with the People I Photograph for my Intimate Portraits.” This appears to be simple but somehow, we all struggle with it – how do we connect, interact and photograph people in front of our lens? Ioannis provides us with specific, real-life cases and shares his methods and techniques of working with his subjects. A fascinating and educating read!
Next, Lloyd Chambers shares the results and his personal conclusions following his in-depth testing of the 100-megapixel Hasselblad H6D-100c camera. With a new generation of medium format cameras with 100-megapixel sensors coming to the market this year, does this magical 100 really make a difference in comparison to 50-megapixel devices? You must read Lloyd’s piece and his conclusions to find out!
Next, yours truly will share some thoughts about “taking visual risks” and why it really pays off to go beyond your own specialization, to try ideas and types of photography you are not familiar with or maybe not fond of at this time. I am sharing my personal thoughts about why I think an occasional detour could be beneficial for you and your business. I hope you enjoy my piece and the accompanying imagery.
The next piece by Ibarionex Perello tackles very important ideas of style and talent. Ibarionex, in his usual articulate and thoughtful way, shares his thoughts about technical proficiency, personal development, satisfaction and building a body of work which would be uniquely yours. Ibarionex’s personal experience and years of interactions with the best photographers in the world though his iconic “Candid Frame” podcast allow him to present a perspective which is unique and grounded in an unprecedented body of knowledge. What a fascinating read!
The next article by David Szweduik is the first in what it will become a new section dedicated to medium format filmphotography. While this month we decided to leave the current fluid form of the magazine intact, you will soon see a clear separation – or in other words a more prominent section of the magazine dedicated to medium format film. David’s article is an important one because he shares his story of starting in medium format film as it happened. What a great start for the upcoming film section of the Medium Format Magazine.
Alex Burke continues to explore film photography with his case for large format film photography. Indeed, when looking at Alex’s work it is difficult to argue otherwise. The amount of detail, tonal transitions and the general beauty of the files is jaw-dropping. Warning! After reading this you may want to hit some used-equipment camera stores for some gear shopping.
Last but not least, Mac Sokulski has been shooting film for only a year. As someone who has previously worked with both digital and film, his account of limiting himself to medium format film photography brought many unexpected and fascinating discoveries. Mac shares this experience in great detail along with imagery taken during the year of “no digital allowed.”
I trust you enjoy the articles and imagery presented in the April issue. Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas. We are always looking for your feedback.
One way to support this publication is to spread the word about it. I would be grateful if you shared news about this issue along with the link to MediumFormat.com with your medium format friends and followers.
NOT A MEMBER YET? SUBSCRIBE TO THE ONLY MAGAZINE DEDICATED TO DIGITAL AND FILM MEDIUM FORMAT!
Join now and get access not only to the newest edition, but also to all available previous issues of the magazine and the PDF Exclusives. JOIN US NOW!
I remember well the days following the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl. I was at school and each of us received a dose of iodine…three days after the disaster. Back then in the communist area, the news about the disaster was kept secret in the first crucial hours and days of this cataclysm. Only when some Scandinavian countries started to register unusually high readings of radiation in the atmosphere, the news started to spread.
Even today 33 years later, the impact of this largest nuclear disaster in the history is unprecedented. The site of the disaster and the surrounding area, called the Chernobyl exclusion area, is now closed to the public. The city of Pripyat, which is located just 3km from the nuclear reactor is now mostly a ghost town, as the entire population was evacuated leaving everything behind.
Michael Zahra visited Pripyat with his medium format Pentax 645z and captured truly stunning imagery. You will find his entire story from this remarkable trip, including preparations, in the February edition of the Medium Format Magazine. Here is an excerpt from this article.
We decided on August. After finding an appropriate guide and completing the government paperwork, my flights were booked – Toronto to Warsaw to Kiev. Gear preparation was next on the agenda.
My local guide, Nikolai Fomin (gamma-travel.com), would have a Geiger counter, but I thought it would be interesting to bring my own. I’m an engineer, we’re like that. I found a nice, small, inexpensive one on Amazon. The background radiation in the general area is quite moderate, lower than what you experience on an airplane flight or an MRI, and the so-called “hot spots” are well documented, hence the need to have an experienced guide. I decided on a disposable 3M hazmat suit and disposable booties and medical gloves. The beta radiation would penetrate those materials, but it made cleaning off dust at day’s end a non-issue. A medical-grade face mask was an absolute must. Dusting off mildly radioactive beta particle dust from one’s clothes wasn’t going to be a problem but inhaling radioactive dust and having that radiation in your lungs permanently was a no-no. I decided I wouldn’t protect my 645z and would just use compressed air and disposable cloths at the end of each day for clean-up, a true test of how the hardware would hold up!
I brought my Pentax 645z, an abundance of Lexar SD 64GB memory cards, a Hyperdrive backup drive, and my Pentax 28-45mm, 80-160mm and 90mm macro lenses. My favourite is the 90mm and it turned out I would use it a lot. I would bring my carbon fibre Really Right Stuff tripod and ball head. There was going to be a lot of heavy gear to manage. I didn’t need a flash. I wouldn’t need any grad filters, but I brought my assortment of Lee Filter ND filters and a polarizer. And of course, my iPhone for those mandatory Instagram and Facebook selfies.
The plan was for a full four days of shooting in Chernobyl and Pripyat while staying in a very utilitarian, Soviet-era hotel within the controlled perimeter. Belarus, not far from Chernobyl, had some interesting abandoned sites related to the incident, but the focus was Chernobyl: the epitome of urbex photography, in my mind.
There were a few key things to shoot in Pripyat / Chernobyl: the amusement park, hospital and nursery, vehicle graveyard, Duga radar array and related buildings, the Jupiter Factory, school and kindergarten, music school, community sports center and pool, cooling towers and various other buildings and equipment sites. We left the sequence to Nikolai to decide. He was very experienced with the sites and what photographers want. One can’t actually go inside the damaged reactors. They are major radiation hot-spots and crews were working on the replacement metal sarcophagus. You could see the action as we drove by each day. The hospital was a major radiation hot-spot with residue left over from first-responders being treated there some thirty years ago. We would leave that until the end as we would have to suit-up for that site. Most things were indoors, so any rain wouldn’t be a major factor.
NOT A MEMBER YET?SUBSCRIBETO THE ONLY MAGAZINE DEDICATED TO THE MEDIUM FORMAT PHOTOGRAPHY!
Go ahead and join thousands of medium format users enjoying our publication. Get access not only to the newest edition, but also to all available previous issues of the magazine and the PDF Exclusives. JOIN US NOW!
When I was booking my trip to Australia, other than planning my Visual Poet Experience Workshop in Melbourne, I knew I would like to rent a car and drive along the Great Ocean Road. That is when I started to ponder my gear choices for this trip. After all, my swimming shorts were already in the bag and I had acquired my own Akubra.
First, I thought about the GF 110mm F2. There is no question that this fast lens has quickly became the favourite of many, including me, for good reason. It’s fast with beautiful rendering, the right dose of micro-contrast and magical bokeh (nice eyes – sorry, can’t see the eyebrows). Indeed, it’s one of the best lenses I have ever used.
Then I thought about the GF 120mm F4 OIS Macro lens. I really like this original offering from Fujifilm. I think this lens has been getting a bad rap and it deserves more love. It’s bitingly sharp, if not the sharpest of all GFX lenses, with some even arguing it could be too sharp (can you believe it!?). I found it great for landscape, travel and some portraiture, especially because it comes with an excellent OIS system. When I find an image stabilization, lens or in-camera important, such a mechanism takes on another meaning in medium format where the slightest movement affects the quality of the image in a big way.
So, as I was scrutinizing my choices, Fujifilm came out with the GF 100-200mm F5.6 OIS lens. Yes, I thought, that is exactly what I would like to take to Australia other than the GF 32-64mm F4 zoom. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Koalas and kangaroos watch out!
BUILD AND MECHANICS
The first thing that struck me when I opened the white box and held the lens in my hands was its size and weight. For the medium format telephoto zoom lens it appeared to be very light and quite small, especially after shooting with a brilliant but enormous GF 250mm F4 OIS a few weeks earlier. In fact, the lens weighs almost the same as the GF 110mm F2 (around 1 kilogram) – not bad for a medium format zoom. When inspecting the lens more closely, I found it feels as solid as other GF lenses with no apparent shortcuts in its build.
The lens has the WR label, which means weather-resistant – sealing that I tested quite extensively with other XF and GF lenses during my R-A-I-N project, never experiencing any problems other than uncontrolled sneezing and coughing. Of course, I wouldn’t submerge either the lens or a photographer, but even heavy rain should not cause problems. Given the main purpose of this lens, there is no need to panic if a sudden storm catches a lost soul by surprise.
For technical devotees, the lens consists of 20 elements in 13 groups including two super Extra-Low Dispersion Glass lenses and one aspherical lens to reduce chromatic and field curvature aberrations. The lens has been designed to use with the 1.4x teleconverter (GF1.4 TC WR) for those who want to extend the range to 140-280 (that makes it a 111-221mm range in 35mm terms).
There is no question that the F5.6 ruffled some feathers to say the least. When the lens was announced, the online forums went berserk crying “wolf.” How could Fujifilm produce such a slow lens? Was I taken by surprise? Certainly not.
First, the F5.6 on the medium format system is not the same as the F5.6 on full frame or APS-C. Second, many people who cannot live without a high-speed glass and spend hair-raising amounts of money acquiring one (F2 or faster, I guess), usually go out and then shoot at…F5.6 or F8, rarely if ever going wide-open. I have seen this over and over again. Keep in mind that at F2, there is already a challenge getting just the eyes in focus. There is certainly a trend in claiming to own the fastest lens ever. Third, we have to be realistic. A super-fast medium format telephoto zoom lens would be huge – I mean gigantic and super heavy. I won’t even mention the cost of such a beast. As much as we all like to be exhilarated, few of us could afford it or use it in real-life situations. It reminds me of a friend who owns a super car but almost never drives it because it is so unbearably uncomfortable.
So let’s get back to the GF 100-200mm lens. With the F5.6 aperture, Fujifilm managed to keep the lens very affordable and relativity light and small, which clearly suggests that Fujifilm has been aiming at landscape and travel photographers, leaving them the change for a plane ticket or two. How considerate!
Indeed, I became a travel photographer when I packed my gear for the 16-hour flight to Australia. No, I wasn’t flying 737 Max – I wouldn’t risk my lens!
After shooting for a while with the GF 110mm F2, it was such a relief to put the image-stabilized lens on my GFX 50S, especially because I am not the most stable person out there in terms of posture or visual interests! When shooting I get easily excited when I find the first piece of a visual puzzle that fits the narrative I am trying to convey. As you can imagine in situations like this, my shooting discipline goes out of the window. Fortunately, the OIS on the GF 100-200mm came to the rescue again and again, providing at least 4-5 of stops of correction.
It works really well. I haven’t experienced any problems with the lens not being able to lock focus. Having said that, I am a very slow photographer, so most lenses are much faster than I am.
After shooting hundreds of images and reviewing them carefully, I concluded that the GF 100-200 F5.6 is not as razor sharp as the GF 120mm F4 or GF 250mm F4 and it doesn’t render as gently as the GF 110mm F2 (for obvious reasons). Wait a minute! No need for an internet meltdown! The GF 100-200mm has its own unique look, which is a good thing. It is even-tempered and calmer than the GF 120mm F4 and it works really beautifully with landscape vistas. This is quite apparent in images shot along the Great Ocean Road. The Twelve Apostles (I know it is now seven for those who insist on accuracy) show this lens’s gentle temperament quite well. As such, it works marvellously for what was intended – landscape and travel.
When I was photographing people, I clearly missed the magic of the 110mm F2. Having said that, it doesn’t take away from the GF 100-200mm but rather reconfirms the brilliance of the GF 110mm F2 for portraiture work. Yes, even portraiture can be done using this lens during your travels. Don’t believe me? Check out these images taken by Damien Lovegrove.
In recent years, gear review sites went crazy over A to B and C to D comparisons regardless of the price of the product or the intended audience. So medium format is being compared to APS-C and Porsche to Toyota. Remarkably, some people find no difference whatsoever. Well, if I was looking for a car with four wheels as my only criteria, such comparisons would work for sure. After all, those comparisons, regardless of how insane they can be, are a magnet for internet eyes – many of them, and this brings in advertising revenue. What’s wrong with me then? With the US$1,995 price tag for the telephoto medium format zoom, this lens becomes a no-brainer and I am certain it will find its way into the bag of many travel and landscape photographers. It’s a medium format lens at the price of a full frame zoom.
Those who are waiting for the elusive $10,000 F2 zoom lens in medium format will never be satisfied with this offering, regardless of its intended use. For those who want to have in focus a little more than the top of the nose of their beloved pet, this lens is a true workhorse. Next time when I head out to photograph Australia’s outback, the hills of Palouse or details of Paris architecture, it’s exactly what I would like to pack with me, other than sunscreen.
For those who want to travel light (in MF terms) the GF 100-20mm F5.6 lens completes the package. Now as the GF 100-200mm F5.6 lens joined the GF 32-64 F4 zoom, there are no more excuses for travel and landscape photographers but to go out and capture the vistas and cities of the world without any limitations.
HOW I SHOT WITH THIS LENS
Winter in Vancouver
Before I left for Australia, I had the chance to photograph a very unusual snowstorm here in Vancouver. I drove to the top of Burnaby Mountain and took the following imagery.
Here is an example of the urban exploration I did with the GF 100-200mm. I could reduce my minimum shutter speed to 1/125 sec (I could easily go even further) and hand-hold my camera, allowing OIS to police my shortcomings.
12 Apostles (7 to be exact)
The 12 Apostles is clearly the number one attraction on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. While I usually try to avoid this sort of tourist spot, I found the view simply spectacular. We only had one chance to photograph the site and we were incredibly lucky. When we drove from Melbourne to the coast the sky was cloudy and dull. The moment we arrived at the viewing platform, the clouds opened and the sun hit the rocks. The stormy blue skies completed the show for us. The viewing platform was quite limited in terms of position so the 100-200 zoom turned out to be very handy. We were standing there for about an hour admiring the ever-changing light and experimenting with different focal lengths. Magic! I shot from F5.6 all the way to F16 without any problems. Here are some images from the Twelve Apostles.
AROUND THE HOUSE
One afternoon when vising a friend in Adelaide, I decided to shoot some imagery around the house. It was a great visual exercise walking around his backyard and finding these pieces of seeing. All images were handheld and due to excellent image stabilization, they all turned out to be sharp.
Finally, here is the promised photo of a kangaroo 🙂
Are you shooting with medium format film or digital? Become a member and receive the only magazine dedicated to Medium Format Photography including PDF Exclusives.