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.