I love the Fujifilm GFX 50S and 50R, but they’re not without their issues. The new Fujifilm GFX 100 builds on these cameras with more processing power, a 100Mp backside-illuminated (BSI) sensor and 5-axis in-body image stabilisation (IBIS).
The Fujifilm GFX 100 is a medium format mirrorless camera with the Fujifilm G mount.
Naturally, the prospect of a medium format camera with a sensor that measures 43.8×32.9mm and has 100million effective pixels is exciting for anyone interested in capturing a lot of detail. However, the camera’s processing power is also a significant factor. And there’s good news on that front too. Fujifilm has given the GFX 100 its fourth generation X-Processor, the X-Processor 4. This has a positive impact on the camera, making it generally faster than the GFX 50 S. However, Fujifilm still recommends that the electronic shutter isn’t used with moving subjects or when panning.
This increase in processing power enables the GFX 100 to shoot at up to 5fps (frame per second). Which is very good for a medium format camera with such a high resolution.
That extra processing power also enables a step-up in the GFX 100’s video capability in comparison with the GFX 50S. Whereas the GFX 50S maxes out at Full HD (1920×1080) video at 29.97/25/24/23.98p and 36Mbps, the GFX can shoot 4K 30p video. When recording to a card this is with up to 10bit 4:2:0 colour, but when recording to an external device it’s 10bit 4:2:2.
There’s a range of frame rates available, and the bit rate tops out at 400Mbps.
Although the sensor has a Bayer pattern colour filter array, it otherwise uses the same technology as the sensor in the Fujifilm X-T3. That means it has phase detection autofocusing. What’s more, the phase detection covers the whole frame.
There’s also improved Face & Eye detection and tracking. Plus, it’s possible to switch between the detected faces to ensure the right target is used for focusing.
Thanks to the new sensor design and processor, Fujifilm is claiming a 500% improvement in the AF performance in comparison with the GFX 50S.
Build and Handling
I’ve been able to spend a couple of hours shooting with a final production sample of the Fujifilm GFX 100. And while there are elements that are the same as the GFX 50S and Fujifilm’s X-series cameras like the X-T3, there’s a lot that’s different. For example, the exposure control is very different because the traditional shutter speed and sensitivity dials are absent.
This change to the exposure control, coupled with the lack of an exposure mode dial, initially left me a little stumped about how to set the exposure mode. Virtual shutter speed and sensitivity dials are displayed in the top LDC screen along with P, A, S or M to indicate the exposure mode, but it’s not immediately obvious how to change the mode.
After fiddling about pressing buttons and rotating dials for a couple of minutes, I checked the customisation options in the menu and spotted that by default, the larger unmarked button next to the top screen changes the exposure mode. And you don’t use it in conjunction with a dial, you just press it repeatedly to toggle through the options.
While this doesn’t seem especially slick, I expect that the majority of potential GFX 100 photographers probably have a favourite mode that they use for the majority of the time.
As the GFX 100 uses Fujifilm’s G lenses, which have an aperture ring, the aperture is still set in the traditional way. When the virtual dials are visible in the top screen, you use the front or rear dial to adjust the settings.
Including the IBIS unit in the GFX 100 necessitates a few changes in the cameras’ build in comparison with the GFX 50S. One of these sees the battery moved to the bottom of the camera and the logical step was to add a second alongside it to create a vertical grip.
Although the two grips have the same controls on them, they feel very different. The horizontal grip is ergonomically shaped and covered with a textured coating. Meanwhile, the vertical grip is much more angular and lacks a grippy covering.
The vertical grip is also thinner than the horizontal grip. I find I have to stretch my hand to wrap my fingers around the horizontal grip. The vertical grip is easier in this respect, but it doesn’t feel nearly so secure or comfortable in my grasp.
I carried the GFX 100 around for a couple of hours without a strap, and my hand was feeling it by the end. Given the weight of the camera (1.4Kg with the EVF and two batteries but no lens), and the fact that I’m not used holding it, that may not be a major issue. After all, a long-term user is likely to use a strap and will build up some muscle memory. It’s something I’ll look at in more detail when I get the camera in for in-depth testing.
A couple of hours shooting with the GFX 100 is enough to know that it’s very capable and well-worth checking out if you’re contemplating purchasing a medium format camera.
There’s lots more testing to be done, but I am impressed by the AF performance. Firstly, the camera gets subjects sharp quickly. It’s not quite as fast as the X-T3 – but that’s dealing with smaller, lighter lens elements, but I think it’s the fastest medium format AF system I’ve used to date.
It also copes well with quite low light and low contrast. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the subjects that the GFX 100 was able to focus on.
Adobe has updated Camera Raw and Lightroom so the GFX 100’s raw files are processable. I need to shoot in a much wider range of conditions than I’ve been able to so far, but the GFX 100 appears to produce some of the best results I’ve ever seen at ISO 102,400. There’s still lots of noise visible in the deeper shadows, but there’s a reasonable amount of detail visible.
That said, I’d aim to stick to ISO 51,200 or 25,600 if possible.
The results at ISO 6,400 are very impressive indeed. There’s just a fine texture of noise visible when images are at 100% on-screen. And let’s not forget we’re talking about huge files here!
Follow the link to browse and download full-resolution images
Fujifilm GFX 100 Image Gallery
The video below was shot on the Fujifilm GFX 100 set to 4K (3840×2160) 25p, 400Mbps, H.264 and Long GOP in the Standard Film Simulation mode. The audio was recorded using the onboard mic and it was quite windy so there’s some wind noise.
I’ve been able to use the Fujifilm GFX 100 just a few days after using the Hasselblad X1d II 50C and while in the process of testing the Phase One XF IQ4 150MP. They’re all medium format cameras, but they’re very different from one another.
Of the three, I think the GFX 100 has the fastest, most versatile and most reliable AF system. It’s a bit of a beast in comparison to the Hasselblad X1D II 50C, but it’s positively sylphlike compared to the Phase One DSLR. It’s also the camera that comes closest to handling like an APS-C or full-frame format camera. It’s reasonably fast and agile.
I’m not completely sold on Fuji’s switch away from traditional exposure controls. They have been a big selling point for its X-Series cameras. It would’ve been nice if the virtual dials could be adjusted by touch, but the top screen isn’t touch-sensitive. The dual dial control mechanism isn’t unusual, it’s the opposite, so it’s probably not a major problem for most people. But it feels like Fuji has moved a little away from what many photographers love about its cameras.
However, there’s no denying the quality of the images from the GFX 100. They’re superb. The level of detail is just outstanding and noise is controlled extremely well.
I can’t wait to get hold of the camera for longer to really put it through its paces.