When we test cameras we aim to use them in a wide range of situations and use our experience of shooting with many models to assess their performance. However, it’s interesting to hear from photographers who have bought a camera with their own money to find out what they think of it, whether they’re happy with their purchase and how they are using it.
In the first of a new series of posts about the photographer’s experience, we speak to UK based international portrait and fine art photographer, Tom Lee, about the new Fuji GFX 50s.
Tom is widely recognised for his expertise in digital image capture and has accumulated multiple international awards during his career. He’s also used a wide range of cameras including film medium format models like the Pentax 645 and Bronica 645 as well as some Hasselblad cameras. On the digital front he’s used Canon and Nikon SLRs but traded-in the last of his Nikon D4s for a line-up of Fuji X-T1s, which he’s updated with Fuji X-T2s.
What are your first impressions of the Fuji GFX?
I think it’s absolutely stunning. It’s taking me a little while to work out what I need from it and exactly how I’ll use it, but comparing the results I get from it from my current line-up of Fuji X-series cameras confirms that they are very different beasts.
The level of information in the files from the GFX is outstanding. For example, I’ve shot a waist-up portrait and I can see the ribs of the umbrella that I used on the light in the model’s eyes. It’s almost too good for some situations. It will be great for getting shots of craggy-faced men, but some people may prefer a more sympathetic approach.
How do you plan to use the Fuji GFX 50S?
I’ll mainly use it in the studio for high-end portraiture and commercial work, but I’m planning to take it on a landscape shoot to compare it to my X-T2. I might use it for some city shoots for commercial work, but I think I will continue to use my X-T2s for landscape.
How are you getting on with the Fuji GFX 50S?
I’m still finding my way around it a little, but much of it is very familiar. The menu is similar to my X-T2 but some of the buttons are in different places. I set it to bracket exposures, shooting them continuously, and I need to remember how to turn that off again.
However, I’m already feeling very confident with it and I’ve done a complete portrait shoot with it.
One interesting point to note is that although the GFX is a medium format camera, with the 120mm lens mounted, it’s actually lighter than a Nikon D4 with a 24-70mm lens on it.
At the moment I only have the 120mm lens but I plan on buying the other lenses.
What about the image quality?
Well as I said, I’ve been blown away by the detail and you can see the difference on the back of the camera without having to look on the computer screen.
Will the Fuji GFX 50S change how you shoot?
I don’t think it will change how I shoot, but it may have an impact upon some of my marketing. In the film days, a medium format camera was a statement of quality and I think the GFX is too, it’s an investment that will enable me to produce larger, higher quality images.
I doubt that I will produce larger prints of portrait images, I already produce 30x20inch prints with my X-T2, but I may make larger prints for commercial work.
I tend to shoot tethered quite a bit and I will do that with the GFX, but I haven’t done so yet.