Wednesday, November 1, 2017

My Fujifilm GFX 50s update

It’s the first of November as I sit and write this and I’ve had the GFX 50s for 8-months.  During this period I’ve brought, used and still own the following lenses. The GF23, GF32-64, GF63, and the GF120 Macro.  I have also used and still own an older Mamiya 200 APO using a Fotodiox adaptor and a  Vivitar MC 2x tele converter I picked up off E-bay.

GF63mm f/2.8 1/200 ISO 100

GF63mm 1/10 ISO 100
GF63mm f/4 1/10 ISO 100
I’ve used the combination of lenses to capture small bugs, landscape, nature and wildlife.  The camera has been used in wet conditions with rain, snow and very cold as well as hot, humid, windy, blowing sand. I can’t forget that I’ve used this in dark environments such as interiors and shooting outside capturing lightning.  I haven't had any problems or concerns with the GFX or lenses the entire 8-month period. Except for the stupid strap design; no matter the strap I place on the GFX it always ends up in a knot. 
GF 120mm f/8 1/4000 ISO 1600
shot handheld
Mamiya APO 200mm with 2x converter
1/3200 ISO 1600 cropped to taste
shot handheld

Processing the files from the GFX can be challenging.  I have settled into making a choice of either processing in Adobe Bridge then Photoshop CC or taking the much longer way of converting the files using a combination of Adobe DNG Converter and Exif Pilot so I can open and process in Capture One 10.  I’ve found the circumstances of the shoot dictate which method of processing I use.  Normal landscape and some wildlife and I’ll use a straight Bridge, Photoshop method.  If I’m shooting in a darker environment I might be more apt to use a longer method of conversion to use Capture One.
GF 23mm f/8 1/640 ISO 100

The following image was captured by leaning into the rear window holding the camera in one hand and using the shutter button with the other hand.  Think of standing on your head while juggling and attempting to do anything else.  Not easy however the lightweight of the GFX helped.
GF23mm f/4 1/160 ISO 800
shot handheld
I’ve been doing this long enough to understand that there simply isn’t a 100% perfect system.  That said, if Fuji fixes the issue of the strap connection and somehow work out the differences between Phase One and themselves so that Capture One can be used (without the added steps) then we’d be seeing as close as possible to a perfect system.

Mamiya APO 200 with 2x converter
1/320 ISO 100
shot handheld
GF32-64 at 64mm
f/4.5 1/320 ISO 100

Auto focus as well as manual focus has been no problem using this system.  The ability to use the toggle switch to move focus points have proved to be a great tool shooting in either auto or manual focus..  The dynamic range of the GFX is outstanding and constantly surprises me.

The following are examples of how well the Mamiya APO 200mm works with the GFX.  These were captured using manual focus and a combination of with and without the 2x converter.

Mamiya APO 200mm with 2x converter
1/1250 ISO 125
Mamiya APO 200mm with 2x converter
1/1600 ISO 125
Mamiya APO 200mm
1/250 ISO 100
Mamiya APO 200mm
1/640 ISO 320
cropped to taste
Mamiya APO 200mm
1/320 ISO 1250
Mamiya APO 200mm
1/250 ISO 1600
Remember, the previous 6-images were all captured using manual focus.  The last 3-images were all also captured using a burst mode as the subject matter was not standing still.
My wish list for improvements is simple.  I want a longer lens and am eagerly awaiting the release of the 250 and converter next year. Change the strap attachment.  While I can continue to process files as I have been I’d like to see the ability to use Capture One as it is intended to be used; and yes I understand that Fuji may not have any say in the issue.   That’s my “instant” wish list.  I’d also welcome a full frame sensor and as nice as the 50s is I wouldn’t mind seeing a 100 megapixel.  
GF23mm f/8 1/125 ISO 200
cropped to taste
shot handheld
GF23mm f/8 1/400 ISO 100
used a wine country filter system for capture
How does the GFX 50s compare to my Phase One XF, 100-megapixel IQ1-100?  We’re talking a difference between a mirrorless (GFX) and DSLR (XF) type of systems.  There is also a difference between the full-sensor IQ1-100 and the crop-sensor of the GFX (80%).  The easiest way to interpret the difference is that if I were using a 200 mm lens on each, the lens would be a “true” 200mm on the XF and 160mm on the GFX.  
Shot the interior of this bar by holding the camera above my head while poking through a broken window.  The ability to move the rear LCD helped me knowing what I was shooting.
GF 23mm f/4 1/125 ISO 400
shot handheld
So how well do I like the Fujifilm GFX 50s?  If anyone had said I’d be doing this a year ago I’d laugh and walk away.  However, things change.  The Phase One system as good as it is comes with a huge weight difference.  Mount a 40-80 lens (same focal length as the GF32-64) on a Phase One XF and add the digital back and you reach very close to 8-pounds compared to 4.4 pounds of the GFX 50s and 32-64.
GF 23mm f/4 1/250 ISO 100
I recently shot the interior of Murphy’s Gun Shop in Tucson using the GFX and the GF23mm.  All images were shot on tripod and at an ISO of 125.
GF23mm f/8 0.8 ISO 125
GF23mm f/32 f/8 ISO 125
processed entirely in Capture One 10
Yes, there is a difference of having a full-frame 100-megapixel (or less depending on the digital back) versus the crop-sensor of the GFX.  There’s also the difference of being able to capture wildlife using a burst mode of the GFX compared to a much slower rate of capture with the XF.  You need to understand the tradeoffs of each system and make your own decision.   In the end I have.  As of this blog I have made the decision to sell my complete Phase One system and continue using just the Fujifilm GFX 50s.
While I’ve sold my Phase One I have no problem in recommending Phase One or my good friend Dave Gallagher at CaptureIntegration.  While sadly you can’t purchase a Fujifilm GFX 50s from Dave, you can however from another good friend, Anthony Festa at Fotocare.
Thank you as always for allowing me to share my experiences.