Saturday, May 22, 2021

Fujifilm 102-megapixel GFX 100s


I’ve gotten questions of why I like the GFX format.  One of the most common question concerns my feelings coming from a full frame/larger sensor system. 

I began using medium format around 2007 using a 645 Mamiya film camera. I quickly added a used Kodak DCS Pro Back. While I no longer have the DCS I am still good friends with the person who sold it; Ken Doo. The Kodak DCS Pro worked well with my Mamiya 645AF and (if memory is correct) had a sensor size of 4080x4080 producing a whopping 16 megapixels.

My second digital back was a newly released Phase One P30+ that I compare all others to. The P30+ produced 31.6 megapixels and like the DCS a crop sensor of 1.25. The main reason I stopped using the P30+ was to begin using a Cambo technical camera system.

My third digital was a gently used 49-megapixel Phase One P45+ with a slightly larger sensor than the P30+ however still not a “full-frame” medium format. I used this back very successfully with a Cambo WRS technical camera as well as a variety of Mamiya and later Phase One 645 camera bodies.

I held off getting the fourth back until I could pick up a gently used Phase One P65. The P65+ is the first full frame digital medium format producing 60.5 megapixels. The sensor is 53.9mm x 40.4mm. I used this much like the P45+ on a combination of Cambo and Phase camera bodies.

The next big step was getting a Phase One IQ-180 digital back; full-frame sensor producing 81.13 megapixels. While I was upgrading the digital backs, I kept using the original Cambo WRS technical camera. I also kept upgrading the Phase One 645 cameras as I needed to have a full communication between the back and camera.

My sixth and last Phase One was the 101-megapixel full frame IQ1-100. The the world was turned upside down with the introduction a a mirrorless medium format camera.

I preordered the Hasselblad X1d only to cancel after it became clear to me that there was a production issue causing a major delay in shipping. The Fujifilm GFX 50s was introduced shortly after the X1d and released within a matter of months which was much faster than that of the X1d. I had wanted a smaller lightweight medium format for a trip to Hawaii and had hoped to use the X1d. Sadly that didn’t happen. On the bright side Fuji introduced and released the GFX 50s while we were in Hawaii. I didn’t get to use it there but did use the GFX on a later trip to Scotland.

I ordered the GFX 50s along with the 23mm and 32-64mm lenses shortly after returning from Hawaii. I kept using my Phase One system and sold my Cambo. My thought was to keep the Phase One system until I was certain abought the GFX. It took me less than a month; I sold my Phase One system and began using the GFX50s as my only camera system.

The GFX 50s is a much lighter smaller camera as are the GFX lenses.  I bought up the GFX50s April 2017 using it until I ordered the GFX100 in November 2019. I won’t go into my thoughts about the GFX100 as I’ve already written about them.  I also owned a GFX 50r for a brief period and simply didn’t like it as much as the GFX50s.

It’s now summer 2021; Fujifilm released the new improved GFX 100s and I am using it. The 100s is much smaller than the original 100 yet offers the same sensor and 102-megapixels. The 100s is lightweight and easy to use. The controls are different from the 100 and using a smaller single battery vs the dual battery drawer of the 100.


I like Fuji GFX lenses as they offer stunning image quality yet are smaller and lightweight (they also cost much less that those from Phase One). 

The following is a list of lenses I’ve used along with the body:

GF23mm - GFX50s, GFX100 and GFX100s – just recently sold the lens.

GF45mm – GFX50s, GFX100 and GFX100s – great lens for capturing the Milky Way.

GF50mm – GFX50r – recently sold the lens.

GF32-64 – first lens ordered and have used it with every GFX I’ve owned. Great lens.

GF63mm – Used this in Alaska on the GFX50s capturing norther lights Sold it shortly afterwards.

GF120mm – great lens for capturing macro. Lens used for waterdrops. Used with GFX50s, GFX100 and GFX100s

GF100-200 and 250 and extender. These are great lenses and serve me well with the GFX50s and GFX100 and GFX100s. Great combination for both landscape and wildlife.

Non-GFX lens:

Canon 300mm. Used this lens until the 250 was released. Large enough crop circle to make the files usable when I used it on the GFX50s in Scotland. Sold after the GF250 was released.

Laowa 17mm. Great manual focus wide angle lens with a GF mount so no adaptor needed. Recently sold.

Canon 24mm TSE. My current wide-angle lens and the reason behind selling the GF23 and Laowa 17mm. I’m using a Kipon smart adaptor and have written about it before.

Back to the question:

I’ve shot medium format with film and digital. I’ve used crop sensors and full frame sensors and returned to crop. I’ve used 16-megapixels all the way up to 102-megapixels. The sensors have been CCD and CMOS. I’ve used technical cameras, 645-mirror cameras and now mirrorless.

While I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done or used; if I were just starting out I’d opt for the Fujifilm GFX system of cameras. Easier to use, less weight, smaller footprint and won’t cost an arm and a leg; this also goes for the lenses.



Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Fuji GFX 100s

It has been almost 12-months since our last blog on May 22, 2020 and what a year it has been. The bright spot for me is good health for my family and friends and the announcement by Fujifilm of the new and highly improved GFX100s.  

One of the first test images
March 29, 2021
GF 23mm 1/250 ISO 50

I adopted the GFX50s early April 2017 and first wrote about it here. I soon found that there was very much to like about the system and within a matter of months sold my Phase One system. Fast forward to 2019 when Fuji released the GFX100-100 megapixel camera. I wrote my first impression on the GFX100 here. While I was disappointed in the size of the body I was never disappointed in the files.

Taken the same day as above same settings.

I had been planning a trip to Petra Jordan and since I had sold the GFX50s shortly after getting the GFX100 I felt the need for a lighter/smaller camera and picked up the GFX 50r. I thought the 50r was a good compromise in physical size. Sadly, that trip never took place and the 50r sat on the shelf using it only once before selling it.

March 29, 2021
23mm f/8 1/250 ISO 400

Fuji announced the GFX100s and that announcement instantly caught my attention.  All the great attributes of the GFX100 in a much smaller package. One of the reasons I made the choice of leaving Phase One was the sheer weight of the system. The GFX50 series counters that and the GFX100 while lighter was nevertheless large and weighty. The GFX100s is much smaller than the GFX100 while keeping all the great attributes that I liked so much.  I was originally going to wait before placing an order however a hike in frozen mud in early February persuaded me to place the order (thinking I would not receive one until mid-summer).  Boy was I surprised when I got it in March!

There’s been much written about both the GFX100 and 100s and I won’t do it here. Suffice it to say that both are simply great cameras and offer stunning files. Both have a place and since I hope to travel again the lighter/smaller formfactor of the 100s suites me better. All the lenses I’ve used since the GFX50s work just as well on the 100 and 100s and I’ve actually added a new one.

I had the chance to try a Canon 17mm TSE using a Cambo adaptor on the GFX50s shortly after I got the camera in 2017. While I liked the lens I did not like the adaptor and decided not to adopt either. I’ve thought about using a Canon TSE since; feeling the weak link was the adaptor. I began researching adaptors recently and found several to my liking. Since the Canon TSE is a manual lens I didn’t need to worry about autofocus. I did however need a “smart adaptor” to communicate between the 100s and lens to set aperture control.  I found several on the market and decided to try a Kipon autofocus lens mount found here

April 28, 2021
2-shot with Canon 24mm TSE f/8 1/160 ISO 50
Top images centered bottom image raised to limits.

I’ve been testing the GFX100s as well as a Canon 24mm TSE using the Kipon as an adaptor with great success. I came across something else while researching adaptors; a company called ROGETI, ROGETI offers among other equipment a frame that fits around the Canon 24mm TSE allowing you to use the camera body to flat stitch a 4-shot panorama.  It doesn’t add that much weight or bulk and can be easily removed to use the tilt function of the lens. They offer a frame that fits both the 17 and 24mm TSE and another for the 50mm. I’ve written the company asking about the possibility of the 90mm TSE and haven’t heard back as yet.

End result of the images...

I’m testing the ability to do a 4-shot panorama.

May 3, 2021
Canon 24mm TSE no movements
f/3.5 1/8 ISO 500
Upper Right

Lower Left

Upper Left

Lower Right

Each frame was at f/3.5 1/8 ISO 500 and measure 11648x8736 pixels at 300 dpi.

Finished pano converted to black and white.

The finished stitched image measures 15541x12643 pixels at 300 dpi. I kept the image as is showing the slight imperfection on the lower left side, upper left side and lower right bottom. Not too bad for an initial test.

Just in case you wanted to see what the camera looks like here it is...

Let me sum this up. The camera is just as good if not better than the GFX100. I have all the things I liked about the GFX100 in a much smaller package.

The Canon 24mm TSE is stunning. It has a large enough image circle that I can use it with movements and if I'm careful get minimal vignette.

The Kipon lens adaptor works well with no issues. The adaptor has communicated flawlessly with the lens and 100s supplying the metadata in the files and allowing me to shoot as if I were using a GF lens.

Finally the ROGETI does exactly what I wanted it to do - allow me to flat stitch multiple files.

In short I highly recommend everything. 

More to come...


On a side note: Please consider clicking the link to B&H found on the right as this helps in a very small way.