Sunday, November 17, 2019

Fujifilm GFX 100 – 100 megapixels

John Moulton Barn, Jackson Hole WY
GFX100 GF100-200
109mm f/10 1/200 ISO 50

I bought into the original Fujifilm GFX50s primarily due to the size. Finally, a lightweight medium format camera system that I could carry all day without breaking my back. Then Fujifilm introduced their new and much improved GFX100. People had a choice between a lightweight 50 megapixel or not so lightweight 100 megapixels.
Cunningham Cabin, Jackson Hole WY
GFX100 GF100-200
100mm f/8 1/320 ISO 50

I was truthfully excited about the new release hoping that Fujifilm would keep with the same design as the GFX50. I was so excited I put a preorder before the full specifications were released. My enthusiasm weaken when I saw the full specifications to the point I cancelled my order.
Signal Mountain Pier, Grand Teton National Park
GFX100 GF23mm
f/11 1/50 ISO 50

Fast forward to October 2019. I arrived in Jackson Hole WY and almost instantly began thinking about the GFX100 and how doubling the resolution would fit into what I would be doing for the next 5-weeks. I wrote my dealer saying how I was interested again and that I might be picking a 100 up next year. To my surprise, my dealer happened to have a brand new GFX100 that had been on order and cancelled; would I like to have it?   It took less than 30-seconds to decide to buy it having it shipped to Jackson WY.
Kelly, WY
GFX100 GF250 &1.4 TC
350mm f/5.6 1/100 ISO 50
Shane's Cabin Jackson Hole WY
GFX100 GF23mm
f/11 1/100 ISO 50

I’ll admit I stopped looking at the specifications after seeing the size and weight. Had I continued to read I would have been impressed to the point I might not have cancelled my original order.

John D Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway
GFX100 GF250mm &1.4 TC
350mm f/5.6 1/320 ISO 100
Yes, the physical size of the body is large. Think in the neighborhood of a Canon 1Ds. Added to the size is the weight at close to 3 pounds. Once you get over these two things everything gets better. This camera just feels good in your hands.
Oxbow Bend, Grand Tetons National Park
GFX100 GF45mm
f/8 1/125 ISO 160

There’s a lot to like about the GFX100. The grip fits my hands nicely. The dual batteries are great when shooting in sub-zero temperatures.  The system is weather sealed and offered protection while I was shooting with snow falling.
Moose Huddle, Kelly WY
GFX100 GF250 & 1.4 TC
350mm f/5.6 1/125 ISO 1000
Grand Tetons National Park
GFX100 GF250 &1.4 TC
350mm f/5.6 1/125 ISO 200
Grand Tetons National Park
GFX100 GF250 &1.4 TC
350mm f/6.4 1/125 ISO 160

I didn’t get much of a chance to shoot much landscape due to the conditions; however I was able to shoot wildlife. Capturing wildlife with a medium format system has always been a little iffy. The auto focus was always an issue; likewise being able to capture multiple shots quickly.

Emerald Pool, Yellowstone National Park
GFX100 GF23mm
f/11 1/125 ISO 50
 Yellowstone Pond (by Old Faithful turnout)
GFX100 GF 23mm
f/11 1/125 ISO 50
This Old House ID
GFX100 GF100-200
158mm f/11 1/125 ISO 50

Let me address auto focus. I shot elk, moose, buffalo, big horn sheep, swans, eagles and owls and never once had an issue with auto focus.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
GFX100 GF250 &1.4 TC
350mm f/8 1/500 ISO 320
There are a total of 9-image files to this series with the next one the very first.
GFX100 GF250 &1.4 TC
350mm f/8 1/500 ISO 320

Continuous shooting. I was able to track the movements of the wildlife while keeping the animal in focus.
Grand Tetons National Park
GFX100 GF 250 &1.4 TC
350mm f/5.6 1/80 ISO 125
Kelly WY 
GFX100 GF 250 &1.4 TC
350mm f/11 1/125 ISO 100
National Elk Refuge, Jackson WY
GFX100 GF250 &1.4 TC
350mm f/6.4 1/125 ISO 180
GFX100 GF250 &1.4 TC
GFX100 GF250 &1.4 TC
T.A. Houlton Barn Jackson Hole WY
GFX100 GF23mm
f/8 1/160 ISO 200
In the end I fell in love with the GFX100.
GFX100 GF250 & 1.4TC
f/8 1/160 ISO 200
I’ll share a secret with you since you’ve lasted this long. All the images included here were captured hand-held!

I have one request of Fujifilm - Please release a 2xTC for the GF100-200 and GF250 lenses. You offer a 1.4 and x2 for your FX lens lineup.

More to come so stay tuned.











Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Astrophotography with medium format

Fujifilm GFX 50s
GF23mm f/4 ISO 6400 180-seconds

I’m blessed to live in a part of the country that offers dark skies. Every month for several days we can walk out at night and, if the clouds are not too heavy see the heavens. Dark skies, bright stars, the passing of satellites, and if conditions are good the International Space Station. Of course, there’s meteorites and falling stars.
I never realized that you could actually see the Milky Way until I began looking for it.

Fujifilm GFX 50s
GF23mm f/4 ISO 6400 130-seconds

We've spent many sleepless nights in pursuit of capturing the Milk Way, finding along the way that the days leading to and following the monthly new moon are when our sleep cycles are disrupted. We also found the optimum time to see and capture the Milky Way is generally between 2 and 3:30 a.m.
We’ve photographed the Milky Way with both a 35mm Sony as well as the medium format Fuji. Both systems are mirrorless and offer excellent high ISO images. Our normal method of capturing the Milky Way use to be taking single images with the lens wide open (ranging from f/2.8 to f/4) at high ISO’s between 4000 and 8000 and shutter speeds ranging between 5 and 15-seconds.
We recently began a slightly different method of capturing dark skies.
Fujifilm GFX 50s
GF45mm f/2.8 ISO 4000 105-seconds

We spent the past week losing sleep capturing beautiful images of the Milky Way near our home in Tucson AZ.  We've been using a Fujifilm GFX 50s medium format camera with a choice of 23 f/4 and 45 f/2.8 lenses. Instead of a single capture, we’ve begun taking multiple captures ranging from 10 to 24. I found a great program for our PC to stack the images called Sequator. I highly recommend Sequator if you use a PC.
Fujifilm GFX 50s
GF23mm f/4.0 ISO 5000 190-seconds
The workflow of the images is a little complicated. The files are opened first in C1-Pro and saved from the RAW file to a Tiff. I then open Sequator to stack the files. Once the files are stacked and saved as a single TIFF file, I then open that file in Adobe RAW and begin the initial processing and from there on to Photoshop. I don’t use Lightroom however if you do then use it. The final processing is done in Photoshop and saved. I’ve included files to compare as shot in camera, stacked and the final image.
Fujifilm GFX 50s

GF23mm f/4.0 ISO 5000 5-seconds


Shooting the milky way is not a simple thing yet it was easy to master. Figure this as a two-part process with the first being the setup and capture, and the second-part the harder more time consuming processing.
Not satisfied with “just” the milky way we decided to add more drama and try deep space images.

Fujifilm GFX 50s

GF23mm f/4.0 ISO 5000 135-seconds


I picked up an iOptron Skyguider Pro with the new iPolar alignment scope. Once I have a proper polar alignment, I can then take long shutter images of the sky. The shutter length has been set to a max of 10-seconds and high ISO (5000). Using the Skyguider I’ll be able to track the sky and take much longer shutter images in the neighborhood of 5-minutes at lower ISO. With a medium format camera! 

Fujifilm GFX 50s with a GF 250mm lens attached.

The plan is to shoot deep space using the Skyguider and the GFX50s and a GF250mm lens. If this works as well as I think/hope the next step is combining the 250mm with a 1.4 extender.
Fujifilm GFX 50s

GF45mm f/2.8 ISO 4000 50-seconds


The boat image needs a little explanation. This was shot on Bombay Beach, Salton Sea California at 2:49 am with no supplemental light as the light pollution from the rear facing the boat was enough. This is the only image included which needs to be redone as it was a test processing off our 15” Surface Book II. I wanted to see if I could process the image using just the available screen. The short answer is yes however I plan to re-process this on a larger screen to see what if any difference there is.
 The next 2-images are from a parking lot north of the Salton Sea North Beach Yacht Club. I use the term “parking lot” loosely as we were in a dark wide area covered in dirt. Again, no supplemental lighting was used due to the amount of light that was directly behind us. While not close, approximately 100 yards and not overly bright the lighting was nevertheless bright enough to light up the foreground.


Fujifilm GFX 50s
GF23mm f/2.8 ISO 3200 55-seconds
Fujifilm GFX 50s
GF23mm f/2.8 ISO 3200 120-seconds
Let me sum this up in a few words. Can the Fujifilm GFX 50s be used successfully to capture the Milky Way?  Yes. Are the GF 23 and 45mm Fuji lenses appropriate? Yes. Given the right conditions (dark with almost no moon) and very little light pollution can you see the Milky Way enough with the naked eye to set your camera up and capture it? The short answer is yes. Will you lose sleep doing this? Yes. Is it worthwhile? Oh yes!


I thought I has finished writing this and was about to publish when I remembered I wanted to add a little more information.
I am now shooting between 10 and 20-plus files as well as at least 2-black or noise files (taken with lens cap on at time of shooting). The noise capture must be taken at the time you shoot in order to maintain the same temperatures of both the location and sensor; I’ll normally capture one at the beginning and one at the end.  

I’ve included 3-samples of the same image.
The first image is one-of eleven taken near 3:56 am. While we could see the Milky Way both with our eyes and in camera the files looks dark,
The next sample is the result of stacking 11-star images and 2-noise images in Sequator.

The final sample is the finished result of processing in Photoshop.

Thank you for visiting and as always your questions and comments are welcome.
















Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Using a MIOPS with a Fuji GFX50s

We’ve been photographing lightning for several years using different triggers; most worked but were bulky. We were about to replace our current trigger after Don had inadvertently fried the battery and decided to check the current assortment of triggers on the market.
MIOPS came on our radar recently due to water drop photography we've been doing and decided to dig into them a little to see what they have to offer. We started looking at just a replacement for the lightning trigger and liked what we saw with the MIOPS Smart. The Smart allows one to capture lightning as well as other things either as a stand-alone device or using a smartphone. Using the smartphone also opens up broader applications.
One of the first test images done shortly after setting up the MIOPS Splash. Using plain water in a dimly lighted kitchen.

f/11 ISO 200
We now have the MIOPS Smart and have tested it using light to trigger the camera as well as sound and laser. The cool factor is that we can connect the Fuji GFX50s medium format camera without any issues. We’ve also found the operation either as a stand-alone or via the smartphone one of the easiest we’ve encountered.
We were so impressed with the Smart that we decided to order the MIOPS Splash. We felt we were testing our luck on this as we were very pleased with the system we had been using however we felt this might be slightly better. And we were correct. We found the setup easy and the footprint much smaller. We set up the Splash using a ground tripod in the kitchen. The kitchen while convenient is not the best place to capture water drops due to the light in the room. Knowing the drawbacks of the location we decided to go ahead with the testing. In short, we were impressed.
Like the Smart, the Splash talks to the smartphone via WIFI. Don installed the battery in the Splash, turned it on and the phone instantly recognized the connection. We found this the same as when we first connected to the Smart.

Pleased with the initial test images we decided to add a little color.
f/11 ISO 100
f/11 ISO 100
Now the slightly bad news. We use 3-Nissin Digital Di700A flash units to capture water drops. No big deal. The Splash like the Smart has one 3.5mm connection port for the flash. The units came with a 3.5 mm to PC Sync cable. The issue is the sync connection is too loose to give a proper connection to any of the flashes which meant we needed to use a combination of tape and rubber bands to keep the connection. All isn’t lost as we've ordered a new set of cables to try; we’ll also be trying a 3.5mm cable to the 3.5mm port on the flash. 
This is a shot of the setup taken the second day inside the garage; notice the fancy tape and rubber band...

We found that connecting a flash to the Splash worked (with the tape and rubber bands) and setting that flash as the master and the other 2-flashes as slaves. We shot around 150 files during  testing and found the flashes worked well.
 There is little to no information found on the web as to settings or height of the drop. Most of this is trial and error. We decided on dropping at a height of between 8 and 9 inches into a device about 5 inches deep. We were immediately pleased with results. We kept the drop size at 50ms and experimented with the delay in between the drops as well as the flash delay.  In all the cases We kept the camera on bulb, triggering the camera then the Splash using a combination of remote shutter release and smartphone.
More samples from the first day of shooting...
f/11 ISO 100
f/11 ISO 100
We began writing this shortly after receiving the Splash and began testing it. Since then we took it to our garage where we normally shoot water drops. The reason to relocate is that the garage is much darker and we are use to shooting there.  We also used a slightly smaller tabletop tripod to set the Splash on. The bowl is a straight wall glass 10” diameter approximately 5.25” tall. We set the distance of the drop to the water level at approximately 9”.
Typical setup in our garage using 3-flashes and the large bowl.
Another view

And one more...
Make certain everything is level. We try to have the table level as well as the arm off the tripod. Then there’s the MIOPS itself; which we believe is the most important to have level. If the MIOPS valve isn’t level the drops coming out will fall at an angle causing problems. We have a cheap 2-bubble level that we put on top of the water tube to check the plum.
The following are samples from the second day of testing. All were captured using the GFX 50s, GF120mm lens and 45 WR extension tube.
3-blue drops
f/11 ISO 400
Don's finger slipped and activated the trigger a second time while the shutter was opened for a total of 6-drops.
f/11 ISO 400
We also wanted to test the results of using a Singh Ray Color Intensifier filter on a couple of shots.
f/22 ISO 800
                                                  f/22 ISO 800
We’ve now used the MIOPS Splash twice while writing this. This might not seem like much however we’ve been shooting water drops for several months and am not entirely new to it. There are several things we like and enjoy about this system. Ease of setting up, size of set up, no need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. 
We changed the background to capture this sample.
f/22 ISO 2000

We had been wanting to experiment using photographs as back drops and decided to test it out. The images in the background are 8x10 ceramic tiles.
Lake Jackson in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
f/22 ISO 2000
Buffalo in Jackson Hole Wyoming
f/22 ISO 2500
House on Fire ruins in southeast Utah
f/22 ISO 2500
Infrared image of ruins in Taos New Mexico
 f/22 ISO 2500
We'd like to suggest that MIOPS include information on purging the system once done. If not, it’s a simple method of rinsing the tube and valve out with warm water and setting the first drop to 999 ms in order for the water to purge out. Watch the water as it comes out and once you have clear water the system is clean. The last thing you want is to be using a dark color one day and light the next and get left over coloring as it cleans itself. Do it right and you won’t have an issue.
Taken years ago in Tubac Arizona we titled "Blue Pot"
f/22 ISO 2500
And don't be afraid to be a little whimsical
Received the 3.5mm cable for the Di700A flash and tried it out and it works. No more need to use a combination of tape and rubber bands to keep the Sync cable in place.

We’re busy testing, experimenting and learning and hope to add more later so stay tuned.
Sandy & Don