Is the Fuji GFX 100s for me?

Is the Fuji GFX 100s for me?

On Saturday, August 31, 2021 I attended a camera demo hosted by Les Picker photographer extraordinaire, photography educator and general all around good guy. 

Les convinced Fuji to “show off” the GFX 100s camera at a location in Havre-de-Grace, MD.  There were two sessions – morning and afternoon.

I was delighted to see the equipment in the afternoon session.  Unfortunately, Fuji was not able to bring more than one unit of the GFX 100s.   My hands on time was limited to about 30 minutes, total.    I spent the time testing several features of the camera – IBS (in body stabilization), auto focus, weight, and the lenses Fuji supplied for the attendees use.

Here are my responses to the camera:

The 100s body:  Not too heavy. The Nik D850 seems heavier.  I don’t know the actual weights. The 100 s grip is phenomenal and makes the camera easy to carry around and use hand held., even with a 200mm long lens mounted.

The IBS is fantastic as you can see in the pool deck photo..  At 300% magnification the images are still usable. 100 megapixels makes cropping out easy to do without messing around with sharpening and enlarging files to obtain a good photo from a crop out.

No Halos: none of the lenses and body combinations I tested produced holos around the edges of sharp images ( I tested 3) ; but then again it was a bright day. The ISO was set at 250.  On this camera, it might as well have been 64 iso and on a tripod. Thumbs up to the Fuji IBS.

Fuji lenses:   Outrageously sharp with zero lens distortion.  I intentionally shot an “edge” of the building from about 50 yards away when shooting the pool deck to see if I would have some lens distortion and got none.

Film simulation:  I did not try it. However, all the reviews I have seen mentioned this as a positive capability.   With some fooling around with the menu, an owner of a GFX 100s could tweek the mood and feel of any image in the field.  The one thing Leica and Hasselblad cameras and lenses have is character, but it is a mechanical element.  And, not really easy to alter except in post processing.  With this feature, a user can configure and store the look she/he wants in the final image.    Think pre-post-processed raw in Photoshop.

For a pro shooter:   This camera is for a pro or very accomplished amateur. The price tag alone – body + 4 lenses is around $15K.  However: if I were selling big prints, which I sometimes do,  and had a following of customers for big images, then the 100s would be absolutely necessary. The Hasselblad line cannot hold a candle to this camera for commercial work.  However, the GFX 100s camera requires learning a new language.  Every new camera does.  However, the custom set-up controls solves some of this as it does on my Nikon Z7.  I don’t use it much and actually shoot in manual mode very often.  Nikon’s focus peaking is fantastic in manual mode; unfortunately, I did not remember to test this feature on the 100s.

The switches and control buttons on the GFX 100s are quality all the way and well placed.

For an amateur shooter: The 100s is brutal overkill. (A simple terms, noting how mankind could easily annihilate himself with one nuclear weapon.).  In this case, the 100s may be too heavy, and the lenses too large to carry on a river cruise and out on port excursions where in my experience, large cameras would easily be beat up.  However, it would be fun to test this camera on a specific photo tour  – as in one of Les Picker ‘s photo tours to Africa. shooting Mountain Gorillas,

So for me … I am not sure yet if the GFX 100s right for me. As I said to the Fuji rep yesterday, keep a lookout for the Nikon z8 II in your rear mirror.   This camera has been in running in the Nikon rumor mill for some time.  It will likely be at least 65mp in a lighter full frame Z body; however though, likely not priced for a lot less money.  Maybe even 90mp or so, with a medium format chip.   If you have already invested in Z lenses, they are very sharp, even in the  f4 “kit lens” models.  But you already know this if you own a z like I do. 

The higher the megapixels in the body, the sharper the lenses have to be and it’s not always about the f stop, it’s “lines of resolution.”  I will say my 27 inch iMac easily kept up with the large files the 100s produces.  There was some lag time loading the files into Photoshop, but not too bad.  The latest version of PS has a feature called -”enhance”.  Forget About It!  No enhancement needed with the  100s files.

Just to reinforce – I went up to Les Picker’s pasture specifically to see the Fuji GFX 100s.   I went, I saw and it conquered me.  A beautiful photographic machine, without a doubt.

RAL 6th Regional Juried Photography Exhibition – call for entries

RAL 6th Regional Juried Photography Exhibition – call for entries

Club Member Carol Ward has shared this Exhibit opportunity with fellow club members again this year.  Some TCC members exhibited here in the past and Carol wanted to make sure that notice went out before the entry deadline – which is DECEMBER 7 !!

February 12, 2021 through March 7, 2021

Registration Fee: $20.00 (Registration fee is non-refundable).
Call Deadline: Monday, December 7, 2020 (5pm).
Notification of Acceptance: by Monday, December 14, 2020.
Delivery of work shipped or dropped-off: Tuesday, January 5 through Sunday, February  7, 2021.
Pick-up of unsold work: March 9 through March 12, 2021.

Why Mastering Post Processing Is So Important

Why Mastering Post Processing Is So Important

Back in the days of negative film and transparencies (slides to some of you), actually shooting the image was just a part of the photographic equation, and typically the quickest part of the equation. I remember how excited we all got when the 35mm cameras started coming out with built-in motorized film advance. Shortly thereafter we could even buy a motorized film drive attachment for our medium format cameras. That would surely save our thumbs from future arthritis (or so we thought).

Aside from commercial work where setting-up was probably the longest part of the process, walking around taking scenic photos, or family photos, or even shooting a wedding, was primarily an exercise in clicking the shutter button, and then doing it again, and again, and again. Most likely in rapid succession.

Next we moved to the development process of the film, which most of you probably never did unless it was for a photography class and you were developing black and white negative film in your windowless basement bathroom, as so many of us had to do. Then again most of you just dropped your exposed canister of film at the drug store or the shopping club or that weird looking yellow and orange hut in the middle of the grocery store parking lot, or, you mailed it away and prayed like hell.

For those of you that did work in a darkroom, and did your own printing of enlargements, you know how much time and effort (and trial and error) went into developing those prints. It was no less than a very time-consuming process, dodging the shadows and burning the highlights and masking this area and exposing more for that area.

Without the development of the prints, there was just the negative, and it’s not like you could walk around bragging to your friends and family about your awesome photography skills by just showing them the negatives.

Fast forward to today; the digital age.

Now, if we so choose, we can just pretty much concentrate on shooting JPG format images and let the camera’s built-in software do the processing of those captures. We can go into our camera’s menu and even select a “shooting style” or “picture style” and have the camera process those JPG images in any number of flavors that suit our needs. Most people don’t even realize that they can do this, so their camera’s shooting style is just firmly planted on “standard” which is typically the camera’s default. What they shoot is what they get and they’re happy campers (how many campers do you know that are actually happy after a cold rainy weekend?) Of course, a JPG file can still be opened and altered in a photo editing software program, but with limitations.

Now for the photographer that wants more, or even full control over their captures, be it a novice, advanced, semi-professional, professional, or “I know it all” photographer, there is the RAW file format, which essentially is a file containing all of the information recorded by your camera’s sensor during exposure, as opposed to that JPEG file that has been compressed and altered by your camera, and does not contain all of the information recorded by your camera’s sensor during exposure because it has been conveniently discarded by your camera.

A RAW file format is a better way to go, but you need to use the right software programs to be able to open, convert, and edit RAW files, otherwise, that RAW data is worthless. Which bring us to why mastering post-processing in the digital age of photography is so important.

That uncompressed RAW information that your camera has captured contains minimally processed image data with lossless quality. It contains the direct image data from the camera sensors with no alterations or loss of quality. This RAW file format is used to store all of the details of the recorded image so that they can be edited with the photographer’s own spin and artistic vision.

In order to be able to correctly and accurately process, edit, and alter the RAW image, and with your vision in mind, you need to master at least some of the image post-processing software available to you as an artist. RAW images files are there waiting for you to, depending on your tastes and vision, add saturation, contrast, texture, clarity, leveling, denoise, sharpening, vibrance, color correction, lens correction, and a host of other image enhancements that help bring your vision into focus (oh what a great pun!).

Mastering post-processing is definitely a progression, and in the end, in my opinion, more important than composing and clicking that shutter button to make that capture.

David Blecman is an internationally recognized professional photographer, instructor, and judge, having photographed and instructed workshops in over a dozen countries to date. His website is where you can find his portfolios and training videos and events.
Photographing Fall Foliage

Photographing Fall Foliage

The weather is gradually cooling down this time of year, and depending on where you are located, the summer foliage is starting to transform into the beautiful palette of colors of autumn. Fall foliage is one of my favorite subjects to photograph. Around every turn are exciting colors and patterns. There are colors to the left, colors to the right, beautiful colorful leaves below your feet, and of course, above you.

Fall foliage photography can be extremely rewarding in almost any weather. On a beautifully sun-splashed day the colors are vibrant and electric. On a rainy day the colors are wet and saturated. Each droplet of rain on a leaf acts like a mini magnifying glass, magnifying the color and texture. A dusting of snow helps to highlight the fall colors against the whiteness of the snow. There is rarely a bad time to photography fall foliage.

There are no hard and fast rules as to which cameras and lenses are better than others. Just the mere fact that you are outside with any camera is a great start. Here are some tips that may help you accomplish more pleasing images:

  1. Using a tripod will ensure that you are not moving or shaking the camera. It will make for crisper photos.
  2. If the leaves are blowing in the wind, use a faster shutter speed.
  3. A circular polarizing filter will remove sun and other reflections off of the foliage and the colors will come out deeper and more saturated.
  4. Don’t forget to capture the beautiful hues of green.
  5. Don’t just look straight ahead. Look up, down, and especially…behind you.
  6. Wide angle lenses will capture more of a scene. Telephoto zoom lenses will allow you to create a tighter crop and zoom in tighter. Look for reflections of fall colors as well.
  7. Try to shoot in the RAW file format if you can, and then post process the images in your favorite computer imaging software. Do not over-saturate your colors however.

Off The Beaten Path

Off The Beaten Path

I love to travel, be it domestically or internationally. These days, and you can well imagine, most of my traveling is local and within the borders of the United States. Regardless of where I go, I love to travel off of the beaten path so to speak. Day trips, weekend trips, and longer trips affords me the opportunity to explore and to create some great landscapes.

On a recent week-long trip to the Bar Harbor, Maine region, I had several opportunities to travel unfamiliar territory (all of it was unfamiliar to me) and do some exploring. The weather was in the 70’s and the humidity was low as well. Quite a difference from the mid 90’s we have been experiencing in Maryland at the time.

What I will typically do is look at an online map of an area and then I look for water. Where there is water are usually bridges to shoot from or just great reflections of the surroundings.

If there are some great skies during the day, even better. A great sky to a photographer is one with stunning clouds against a great blue backdrop.

When I compose a landscape, I look for layers. Maybe there are some foreground grasses or a nearby tree, and then possibly a stream or lake or a meadow. Then another layer may be mountains or another line of trees, and then lastly a layer of the sky.

If you have not yet joined my free photography educational group, The Annapolis Photography Workshop Group, you may want to consider it. We do a lot of online training so your location will be irrelevant for the most part, but we also do in-person domestic and international workshops. Also don’t forget to visit my main website Positive Negatives , and be sure to check out all of the training videos I have produced and made available, typically for just $8

Art League of Ocean City Exhibit

Art League of Ocean City Exhibit

Just a reminder, the photos you have on exhibit at the Art League of Ocean City must be removed on Tuesday May 26 between 10am and 12noon.

The safe removal procedure at the gallery is:

1. Chris Jewett will be inside the gallery.

2. As you approach the gallery contact, Chris by text or phone 410.739.9990 so he knows to expect you.

3. When you arrive at the gallery, come up to the door. Remain outside.

4. When Chris sees you, he will bring your photographs outside to you.

If you cannot make it, please arrange for one of our other members to help you out and pick up your printsThanks. Neither the gallery nor Tidewater Camera Club will be held responsible for the safekeeping of any images that are left behind.