NEW! Fujifilm GFX 100 Medium Format

Fujifilm recently announced details about their upcoming GFX 100 body, offering a 102 megapixel sensor with in-body image stabilization (IBIS), a first for a medium format digital camera. I suspect the GFX100 is going to really shake up the industry since it will allow you to get a 100MP medium format digital camera for tens of thousands less than from any of its current competitors. Yes, that’s right, tens of thousands less! The GFX100 will sell for a mere $13,299 here in Canada, and while that might still sound expensive to you, if you’re used to normal 35mm DSLR prices, keep in mind that the competition sells for $35,000 to $42,000, as far as their medium format 100 megapixel bodies, albeit with physically slightly larger, full-frame 645 sensors. Also keep in mind that Fujifilm’s lenses are not only superb, but are priced far lower than most equivalent offerings from other companies. I’m sure the competition won’t sit still, but for now, the GFX 100 should be by far the best value if you need a truly top-end digital camera at a relatively affordable price.

The actual pixel dimensions of an image on the new GFX 100 will be 11,648 x 8,736, resulting in a 16-bit (per channel) TIFF file size of 582.3 megabytes. This is big enough to easily make a 73 x 97 inch print without any upsizing, given a printing ppi of 120, which is plenty in my experience when outputting such a large print. Anyway, plenty of resolution for most needs I would think!

There are truly a few astounding specifications for a camera with such a large image size. For example, you will be able to shoot at 5 frames-per-second with a buffer size of 13 frames when shooting 14-bit raws (2.5fps for 16-bit raws), or 41 JPEGs. That is amazing performance for cranking through 100 MP raw files where each is going to be somewhere around 200 MB is size, given that only 70 images will fit on a 16 GB memory card. My guess is that the camera might have an internal high speed RAM buffer on the order of 4 or more GB in size to support that kind of throughput. It also sports Fujifilm’s latest X Processor 4, which gives the GFX 100 the horsepower it needs for shuffling all those megapixels about quickly.

The next amazing specification is that, as touched on above, the camera has 5-axis sensor-based image stabilization, a first for a medium format camera. At times, it can be a challenge to handhold such a high resolution capture device, so to have IBIS available at all times, when light levels drop and shutter speeds slow, is potentially a huge advantage when you want to remain agile with your framing and not be hindered by a tripod. For such a relatively large and probably heavy sensor to be effectively stabilized is quite a feat in my view.

Achieving accurate focus is also very important with such a demanding system and the GFX 100 steps up with virtually 100% coverage of the entire sensor and a single-point AF grid of up to 425 selectable focus points. The AF system has been tuned for improved performance during subject tracking and in low-contrast situations, as well as featuring face-detect and eye-detect AF for those times when you just want the camera to handle everything.

Video specifications are impressive too, with 4K recording at 29.97p over the full, medium format sensor size, at a rate of 400 Mbps. If you are using an external recorder, you can capture 10-bit 4:2:2 footage via the HDMI port, and you have access to all of Fujifilm’s highly regarded film simulations, as well as F-Log Rec 2020 capture.You can even capture 1080p at 59.94 fps, for some mild slow-motion capability. Remember that this is a much bigger sensor size that 35mm DSLRs or mirrorless cameras have, and some of those even crop in when doing 4K, so the GFX 100 would likely give dramatically different looking footage than anything you are used to using. The unknown so far is how bad the rolling shutter might be for video? However some preliminary reports online, seem to indicate that the rolling shutter isn’t too bad actually. The sensor used in the previous GFX models had a very slow readout speed (not Fujifilm’s fault) and thus had major rolling shutter distortion when doing video or electronic- shutter still photos. I suspect that this new camera will be a lot better, but how it compares to superb video capture cameras, like Fujifilm’s own X-T3, remains to be seen.

To help when framing those 100 MP stills, or shooting that 4K video, the GFX 100 has a massive OLED electronic- viewfinder, with a whopping 5.76 million dots and a magnification of 0.86x, which should offer an immersive experience. The rear touchscreen LCD is solid, but a fairly conventional 3.2”, 4:3 aspect ratio unit with 2.36 million dots. It does tilt up/down/sideways, like Fujifilm’s other top end camera bodies. Also, the EVF is removable and the camera can either be used without, or you can attach a tilt- adapter in between, just like on the GFX 50S, to allow for very flexible EVF viewing in awkward situations.

Most of Fujifilm’s other key features, like all the various bracketing modes, time-lapse capability, flexible focus modes, Bluetooth and Wifi with auto image transfer and geotagging, various manual focus assist modes (peaking, digital split, digital microprism), in-viewfinder manual focus scale with a dynamic depth-of-field bar-graph, and more, are all present on this new medium format camera. This means it will feel like a very well sorted and mature product, right out of the gate, not always something that can be said about a brand new medium format camera.

Look at a release date of June 27th for the new GFX 100. We are taking pre-orders now (deposit required) and are planning on having a demo unit available for testing. In addition, if you are a pro photographer and would like an advance preview of what this camera can do, please contact me at digital@ beauphoto.com. There will be a limited number of slots open for a private demo and Q&A session with Fujifilm reps, so you can try and determine whether or not this impressive new camera is one you should add to your arsenal. I have not personally seen or handled one as yet, but look for an update in a future posting once I have.

Lastly, for various reasons Fujifilm will start officially calling their GFX bodies “55mm Large Format” digital cameras, a decision which I am completely puzzled by. I won’t go into the gory details, but personally, I am going to keep calling them “medium format” digital cameras, so there. Yes, the sensor diagonal is 55mm, so that part is accurate, but the “large format” designation makes no sense to me whatsoever… but regardless of what you end up calling it, I’m guessing the GFX 100 will prove to be a seriously impressive camera!

For all the details on this new camera, visit Fujifilm Canada’s site here: Fujifilm GFX 100

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