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.



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