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.
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.