Last week, we reviewed the new, and exciting medium format mirrorless camera packing 100Mp in a BSI sensor equipped with IBIS – the Fujifilm GFX 100S. Today, we show some sample images of photographs taken with the camera and discuss image quality.
Important reading on the background before we begin discussion on image quality:
The lenses we had on loan by Fujifilm Singapore were the GF23mmF4 R LM WR, GF50mmF3.5 R LM WR, GF120mmF4 R LM OIS WR Macro, GF250mmF4 R LM OIS WR. We also had both the MCEX18 and MCEX45 extension tubes. Most of the photographs were taken in Fuji raw mode, in a lossless compression 16 bit file yielding about 120Mb per image. These were processed with Adobe Camera Raw, and resized in Photoshop. Some images were taken before ACR was able to process the raw files, and thus were shot with the in-camera jpeg mode yielding images about 20Mb each.
Fujifilm GFX 100S – image quality and sample images
As noted in the earlier articles, the image quality is outstanding. Images have excellent dynamic range with an incredible amount of detail. Colour rendition is also superb, though the colour science used is different from that used by Hasselblad, Leica, Canon, Nikon or Panasonic.
High ISO performance is also excellent, with the Back Side Illuminated sensor providing the tech. At 3200 and lower, the images are very clean and essentially noise free. Images shot at ISO 6400 are excellent, with only a very small amount of noise visible at full resolution. In smaller print sizes, say up to full double page magazine spreads, up to ISO 12800 is highly usable. Above ISO 12800 colour detail and gradation is the first to go, and the noise start to be visible. However, definition and image detail is retained till at least one stop above. Higher than ISO 25600, the images become more muddy, and depending on artistic choices or the photo/no photo dichotomy is still usable till 51200. The camera goes to ISO 102400 which is quite incredible. At this ISO, the images are understandably very noisy and colour detail is muddled. For our use case, this image is not usable, but is no worse than many other cameras at ISO 25600. This is an image of a scene which the naked human eye will find almost completely dark.
We did some watch photographs using our usual techniques, and have published some of the reviews:
For web sized images used in these pages, the 100Mp sensor is overkill. Our images are sized at 1200 pixels across, just a bit larger than 1/10th of the native resolution of the sensor which outputs images which are 11648 pixels wide. Even our Watchscape images are only 2560 pixels across. The 11648 pixels will print to about 39 inches at 300dpi without any uprezzing the image.
For portraiture, the lens which is normally recommended is either the new GF80mmF1.7 R WR or the GF110mmF2 R LM WR. We did not have access to either these lenses. We found the GF 120 works very well as it is very sharp.
First a street style, impromptu portrait I took when walkaround the neighbourhood. This gentleman in his 80s, was chatting with his friends, and struck this pose for me when I walked by. Shot hand held in jpeg, and cropped.
This next shot is a portrait of my friend Json, taken in a rather dark coffee shop when it was about to rain. Natural lighting, but to get a high shutter speed of 1/3000s, I cranked the ISO up to 10000. At smaller image sizes the print looks very clean and sharp.
Zooming in 100%, the image is noticeably noisier. Remember this is at ISO 10000, where many cameras will have destructed the image to a mess of noise, and patchy colour with poor detail. But here, the image is tact sharp, note his eyelashes. And still with good colour detail.
The noise is mainly chroma noise, and converted to black and white by using the Acros film simulation in ACR, the image is very clean.
Another image taken in a dark cafe of Bobby shooting at me with the Panasonic S1R. This one at ISO 3200 f/3.5 at 1/60s. I like the bokeh rendition of this rather inexpensive and very small (physical size and weight) lens.
Blue hour, just minutes after the sun set. Hand held photograph of high rise flats in Singapore. At ISO 3200, the shutter speed is still a rather slow 1/7s, but the image is sharp, clean and free from noise. Detail is outstanding. The IBIS is working well to enable this image to be taken at this shutter speed. One can almost look into the flats at the distance in the full resolution image. Also noteworthy is colour handling in a scene of mix lighting.
Interior of Marina Bay Sands Shoppes. Taken with the ultra wide GF23mm lens, full frame equivalent of 18mm, this lens is sharp, and rectilinear to the corners.
Black and White
I do some of my personal work in urban photography, and most of the images are in black and white. I find that the GFX 100S is an excellent camera for this. Small, light, so easy to carry around, and unobtrusive. And with its incredible image quality. In film, I am particularly endeared to the Fuji Acros film stock, and this simulation is available for the GFX in ACR as well as in Capture One.
This first image is one taken in Clark Quay area in the evening. A dark bar sits in one corner makes a statement of the state of the pandemic struck city.
Pulling in 100%, the image retains such detail that the labels on the bottles on the shelf is easily read.
This next image is a wide panorama using the 6524 mode. The image has a similar aspect ratio to the film Fuji TX1/TX2 and the Hasselblad X-PAN cameras which use 35mm film exposed double fame wide to create an image measuring 65mm x 24mm.
They say that a medium format camera is too slow to capture sports. Mostly this is true. But in certain conditions, it is possible. I went to a local motorcross track, and managed to get quite a few usable shots. At 100Mp per image, the shooting style is not set to high speed drive mode. But the GFX 100S was set in continuous autofocus, with autofocus boost. Technique used is mainly panning with a steady hand. The motorcycles are zooming by at quite a high speed, and are often very close to me as I was taking the photographs. Here is a selection of two images.
This next shot shows my inexperience in this type of photography, as I was panning the camera and maintaining a horizontal line, the rider stood up as he passed, and the image is cropped at his helmet. Still, I think the impression of speed, and of the atmosphere is captured.
Of course, these images are an amateur attempt at sports photography, a genre which I am not familiar with. And though I wouldn’t recommend using the GFX 100S as the primary camera for sports photography, but it certainly can be done.
The Fujifilm GFX 100S is a fabulous camera. Is it for you? The image quality is outstanding. Well, if you treasure image quality, need to print very large photographs, and want a small package at a relatively affordable price, this is the perfect camera. As said many times, this is a game changer in the medium format world.
If you don’t need large prints, or need to crop heavily, the GFX 100S is mostly overkill. For me and my work on Deployant and personal work, I would prefer a lower Mp sensor, as files will be far easier to manage and process. My current thinking is that the sweet spot is perhaps 50Mp with the 44mm x 33mm sensor, like those found on the Fujifilm GFX 50S and GFX 50R and the soon to be released GFX 50S mkII. Or on the Leica S Type 007, Leica S3 (30mm x 45mm) or Hasselblad X1D 50C (both iterations) and 907X.