GFX 50S, a couple of weeks in...

April 02, 2017  •  3 Comments

I thought it might be time to record my thoughts now that I have used the GFX almost every day for the last couple of weeks as well as taking it on a couple of shoots, there's a lot to like and a couple of minor frustrations but how does it deal with my day to day photographic life? This post follows on from my previous, found here 

Part 1

Fujifilm GFX 50S, 63mm, Hensel strobes, my neighbour.

I have had some opportunity to use the camera with my strobes in the studio on a couple of occasions now, minor frustrations with AF performance initially as the Nikon's Phase One and Leica all focussed happily without modelling lights, the GFX will not lock on, completely fine with modelling lights on, not an issue now I know. The quality of the file is fantastic, as good as any I have handled and very easy to get the look I want.

Fujifilm GFX 50S, 63mm, Hensel strobes, Eli.

Both these portraits shot at f8 but very easy to get the feel I want, the detail on the focus plain is spectacular, really beautiful skin texture fading beautifully as the focus drops, I can't get this graduation with the Nikon, regardless of aperture, very pleased with this. In the studio the camera feels really nice in my hand, quick to make adjustments, the only negative for me is the evf, I know some swear by them but I swear at mine, it's distracting but necessary for the design and size of the package overall, I will have to live with it but I much prefer looking at the subject rather than a screen.

Fujifilm GFX 50S, 63mm, World Snowcross Championships

Ok so the GFX could hardly be called a sports camera in the popular sense of the term, I have a D500 which shoots 11 frames a second with AF that locks on like a laser and doesn't let go, it's the right tool for high speed action and I used it to great effect this weekend at the Snowcross World Championships. There is something a little dull about the way the Nikon works though, I think I could give this camera to anyone and they'd get shot after shot in focus, it feels like you can't miss and that makes it a little boring to use. After getting a load of shots I decided to play around with the GFX, obviously I am restricted by only having a 63mm lens but I do have resolution and I was surprised at just how responsive the camera is. Shooting is instantaneous, no perceptible delay at all, shooting snowmobiles absolutely flying, you need to be quick to capture anything. It fires immediately and took me a couple of shots to realise I was firing the shutter before I needed to, expecting a delay.

The shot above was an experiment with 1/50th of a second and tracking the subject as it flew past, I really like this as an alternative to the traditional sports action type shots.

Fujifilm GFX 50S, 63mm, oops, I broke it!

The big benefit to the GFX is how it feels to walk around shooting with it, it's not bulky and intimidating, you can swing it around, take candid shots and not bother anyone. I am getting shots I wouldn't have got with the Phase One for sure and with the benefit of lovely files to play around with, shooting this in snowy weather, bump up the ISO, take the shot and move on, love it, helps that it is very quiet in use too.

Nikon D500, 300mm, action! The right tool for the job.

So I can shoot portraits happily with the GFX, sports is not ideal but possible to get decent shots with a little practice, focal length is the restriction, if I had a 300mm I'd use it for this type of thing, landscapes look fantastic, overall I'm very happy. So what's wrong with it?? There are a few things, I have mentioned the EVF, I am not a fan, how could a little screen ever give me what I can get looking through a lens, my eye can pick up far more detail and tone than the screen can display, I am often thinking, please don't look like this when I'm taking a shot with the evf. Everything is a trade off though, if I want this size and responsiveness then I need to live with it.

The only other issues should be solvable with firmware updates, disable the Q button which isn't in a good place and doesn't hold any menu items I need to use, hopefully with an update I can just disable it. The second issue is annoying, when reviewing an image in portrait orientation, you need to use your left hand to zoom in and move the image about on the screen but the eye sensor detects your hand and switches the display off, a real pain, the evf eye detect should just be disabled when you hit the playback button, that would solve it. Third issue is that when in image playback and you see a shot, pressing the shutter button only returns you to a state ready for taking a picture, it doesn't immediately fire the camera, this caught me out a few times as I press thinking the camera will fire only to find it hasn't and I have to press again to take the shot, doesn't matter what you are doing, looking at an image or in the menu system, when you press the shutter button right down it should fire!

One last thing I don't particularly like or rather am not used to, is that moving the focus point around is great, very easy to use but when it gets to the edge of the frame, it keeps going and appears on the other side! This is very odd to me, I'm used to the point stopping at the edge of the frame, I would certainly prefer the GFX to work this way.

Fujifilm GFX 50S, 63mm, aurora in the village.

I have had the opportunity to shoot a couple of nights of aurora with the GFX, the 63mm is far from ideal as a focal length but it gave me an idea of how the real world, high ISO shots hold up and I'm impressed! It's very easy to focus at night on the rear screen, which tilts and saves my old knees which is great! It is better than the Nikon D810 in this situation, much less noise in the files and it's possible to really push them if needed, the above shot was just 1.5 seconds and apart from a tweak to white balance, as it came from the camera, the Nikon would have needed work to get it looking like this, I am surprised at how well it does. I will wait for the wide primes before taking any serious aurora shots, they just benefit from a  wider field of view.

Fujifilm GFX 50S, 63mm, birch trees at the Kalix river.

Another real positive with this camera is the weather sealing, it is snowing a lot at the moment and I have had no issue with the performance, even covered in snow. The Snowcross championship, I shot for 8 hours in steady snow and didn't have to worry about the camera at all, perfect for my use and a big plus.

Iphone 7s

Overall then I'm really happy, great ergonomics, easy to handle, very quick to change shooting parameters and files are superb, I'm really growing to like this camera!


Comments

4.Raphael de Kadt(non-registered)
I own both the XT-I and XT-2 and 12 Fujinon XF lenses. I switched to Fujifilm two years ago and haven't looked back! The switch reignited my deep passion for photography! Image quality is absolutely awesome even with the 1.53 X-Trans sensor. Fujinon glass is frankly phenomena. Backup and support here in South Africa is in a league of its own. Put simply, as a brand, Fujifilm have completely revolutionized the high-end photography market here. They dominate the mirrorless market. Conversions from Nikon and Canon have been substantial. Now comes the GFX: it's blown the local high end market away! Obviously we'll need to see how it fares over time. But from the time of the launch of the XT-1, the evidence is that the company is on a roll. So expectations are high. Big plusses so far have been the punctual roll out of exquisite glass and - and here the company are way ahead of the competition- the regular roll out of firmware updates which are NOT just bug fixes, but which in effect give you a completely new camera every year or two! So if this pattern is followed with the GFX, it will be an absolute winner! Recall; the XT-1 girst came with a handful of lenses. Now the lenses Cover almost every imaginable need. Finally, if the GFX (and successor models) enjoys the same quality of backup and support, the GFX might evolve into (almost) that elusive, unobtainable 'perfect camera' - a manageable, cost-effective medium format gem!
2.Mat Richardson Photography
Thanks Andrew, interesting to read your thoughts, actually I haven't had an issue at all with the viewfinder delay, I don't know if it's because I'm using a super fast card, shooting raw only and not got the rear lcd on, but there isn't really much of a delay at all, certainly not enough for me to notice. EVF quality though, that's something that bothers me, it's just such a weird thing to look at knowing how nice looking through a lens is with a decent OVF is, I'd buy an S again just for the viewfinder!

I've got used to the processing now, I am using Capture One, having to open the files in LR, I do my initial pick of shots I want to process and then without doing any editing, export them as full size 16bit tiff's with assigned ProPhotoRGB profile but with camera info removed which is just a menu option on export. C1 then opens these tiffs with no problem at all and uses the assigned ProPhotoRGB profile so no need to try different camera profiles, then you can just process as normal. I much much prefer the C1 editing and resulting file, but then I'm not a fan of LR so others may find it the other way round.

Cheers

Mat
1.Andrew Roman(non-registered)
Mat, great photos as usual. I only tested the GFX50 for a couple of days. I had the 120 lens to compare with my Leica S 120. I had the same frustrations as yours (evf delay after taking a photo, the evf quality - I feel that my Olympus. EM1 evf is better -, and the Q button; in that order).
For now I have only one question: what Raw processor are you using?
Looking forward to your next shared experiences. Andrew
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