Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fujifilm GFX 50S

I’ve gotten questions regarding my thoughts concerning the GFX and my Phase One IQ1-100 and while I’ve answered them as they came in I thought I’d do it here as well.

I really like the GFX however nothing beats 100-megapixels the Phase One IQ1-100 produces.  Am I going away from Phase One? The very short answer is no, then reread the previous sentence.  Granted, the more I use the GFX the more I like it however I don’t see it as a replacement; it is more of an additional tool.  Folks who use the Phase One XF with any digital back will readily admit to having a very heavy package.  Add a lens and you can quickly exceed 8 pounds.  Not so bad if you’re shooting off a tripod however there are times you need to have the XF around your neck.  Enter the Fuji GFX 50S which weighs considerably less.
Sunrise in Monument Valley
GF32-64 @64mm f/5.6 1/125 ISO 250
I’ve only had the GFX 50S since March 30th and hadn’t had the time to devote to using and learning the camera.  April brought us into the Monument Valley area for our annual anti-workshop workshop with Ken Doo Photography, Capture Integration, and Phase One.  While I had my complete Phase One kit I also had the GFX50S which was the camera I chose to shoot behind the scenes photos saving the Phase XF for more serious late on.  
Sand Dunes
GF32-64 33mm f/6.4 1/160 ISO 250
Monument Valley Overlook
GF32-64 @32mm f/16 1/125 ISO 400
I kept the 32-64 lens almost on the entire time wanting to have a lens offering a range of focal lengths.  I managed to sneak in a couple shots along the way showing the beauty of the area.  Thanks to Capture Integration, I was also able to give the Cambo CA-GFX a test run along with a Canon 17mm TS lens.
Cambo CA-GFX (cropped)
Canon 17mm TS
f/8 1/1000 ISO 200
Cambo CA-GFX 
Canon 17mm TS
f/8 1/1600 ISO 200
What I’ve learned so far:
Again, at the risk of sounding like a broken record; the more I use the GFX the more I like it.  I currently have three-lenses; 32-64, 64, and the 120 and have gotten a lot of use from all of them.  I’ve recently placed an order for the new 23mm lens.  
Cambo CA-GFX 
Canon 17mm TS
f/8 1/3200 ISO 200
The camera is very easy to use off tripod.  The viewfinder is bright and clear as is the rear LCD. I like the easy access to the ISO as well as shutter speeds and I’m currently have it set in such a way as to use the front wheel to quickly change the shutter speed and the rear wheel the f/stop.  I carried the camera around my neck for several hours without any strain.
What I don’t like is the stupid way the neck strap is connected to the body.  I’ve now gone through two-straps and each one suffer the same fate of twisting into a knot.  Once twisted you’ll need to spend a couple of minutes untwisting one end or the other until you have a usable neck strap.  While on the issue of the strap connector, they get in the way when changing the battery and when accessing the card slots.  The access problems are minor compared to the twisting of the strap.  Fuji, if you’re listening change the strap design.
Fence line
Near Shiprock Arizona
GF32-64 @ 32mm f/8 1/400 ISO 100
Wolf Annex near Winslow Arizona
GF32-64 f/8 1/250 ISO 100
It’s not all bad. I shot much more in one day than I normally would to the point I almost shot a compete 32GB card. I mention this to say I never ran out of battery.
Camp Ground
near Joseph City Arizona
GF 32-64 @ 32mm f/8 1/500 ISO 100
Cambo CA-GFX
The adaptor is small and light weight.  While connected to the GFX and Canon 17mm it added some weight however not overly so and remained well balanced. I like the idea of being able to attach the 17mm to a medium format camera and in doing so I got some stunning test shots.
However,  I have one issue with the adaptor I used.  The LCD is too dim. It’s so dim that I was unable to read the screen in bright day light. I tried to shield it with my body adding some shade and still could not read the screen. I had to walk back to my truck and either sit beside it in a darker shade or actually get in before I could see and read the screen. Unacceptable for landscape work. This is the main issue I returned the unit after only one-day deciding not to use it.  If Cambo fixes this fault then I’d highly recommend it for those who need/require super wide.
This is the result of 4-shots using a Canon 17mm shifting to the stops left, right, top and bottom. Near Mexican Hat Utah, f/8. 1/1250 ISO 100. Initial processing in Adobe ACR the Photoshop CC where it was stitched together and finally Nik Software before returning to Photoshop CC for final processing. The finished image measures 8192x9084 @300 for 74.4 MP.
Post Processing
I’d love to be able to process the GFX files directly in Capture One. Please, if anyone from Phase is listening do us all a huge favor. Since I can’t open the files in C1 I use Adobe instead.  All the images contained here were opened using Adobe ACR before sending then into Photoshop.  Some of the images also received a little help from either Nik Software or Topaz. I’d rather show images as a final product that I would use than the non-processed file.
GF120mm Macro
f/8 1/2000 ISO 2500
How well does the GFX 50S handle low light? The following is just an example.  The image was processed just to the point of showing the silhouettes.  
Where do I go from here?
I keep learning the camera. I’m still learning the manual focus function while using the 120 macro.  I’ve also started using a WACOM Mobile Studio which I’ll address soon.  The Phase One gear is resting until the end of the month when I’ll be back outside capturing the milky way over an abandoned ranch house.
Stay tuned for more and as your comments, questions and suggestions are always welcome.



  1. Hoped you would write about this. Great images. U and Sandy are the best. Thanks so much for teaching me so much and now this blog piece!

    1. You are very welcome and thank you for the very nice words

  2. Maybe I missed the point but when using the cambo setup checking your image through the viewfinder could work better than using the screen. Especially in broad daylight.



    1. Peter, you are correct to a point. The Cambo screen shows the f/stop you want to capture at and that information does not show up in the metadata nor through the camera screen (it shows f/1). Thus the problem. The Cambo screen must be able to read in bright daylight in order to accurately read what f/stop you want to change the setting to and the adaptor I was using failed to do so. I'm willing to try it again using a different adaptor just in case the one I was using was somehow defective. And yes, before someone asks I made certain the battery was fully charged. Don

  3. Hello Don, could you say something about the sharpness of the zoom compared to the prime lenses? Thank you.

    1. Very simply, I'm pleased with the sharpness of all my current lenses; the 120mm, 63mm and 32-64. I've always found or thought a prime lens would be sharper than a zoom and in most cases that's still true. However, the zoom lenses currently being made today are very close. So close in fact that it can be difficult to see any difference. This closeness comes at a price and that price is that you must be at the top of your game all the time and never allow yourself to become sloppy. I might write more about this later on. Don

  4. Maybe I missed the point but when using the cambo setup checking your image through the viewfinder could work better than using the screen. Especially in broad daylight. . .. . .
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    1. Sin, this isn't about checking the image before or after it is captured; it's more of a matter of settings. The Cambo adaptor has a small lcd screen that shows the f/stop for the lens used and always begins at the widest. There's a small wheel on top of the adaptor that changes the f/stop in in a dark environment you can see the changes being made on the lcd. The issue is when you are in bright daylight and the lcd screen washes out. There's also the issue of timing. If you don't shoot a capture in a set time the adaptor I used reverted to the original setting (f/4). In short, in order to adequately set the f/stop or change it afterwards and be able to see what you are doing - you need dark shadows. Again this has nothing to do with viewing the image rather than getting your settings to where you want them instead of doing it blindly if shooting in bright daylight. I hope this clears the issue. Don