The field of medium format digital cameras, which is a niche yet highly specialized corner of the photography world, has seen substantial evolution over the past decade. Fujifilm, a key player in this market, continues to revolutionize the industry with its offerings. Their recent entry, the Fujifilm GFX 100S, is a testament to the continuous strides they’ve been making. In this review, we will take a comprehensive look at the GFX 100S’s specifications, performance, usability, and overall value.
Design and Build
The Fujifilm GFX 100S is a thoughtful evolution in the world of medium format cameras, building upon the foundation laid by its predecessor, the GFX 100. This camera showcases an impeccably compact body and lighter build, thereby addressing one of the major obstacles in medium format cameras – portability. While ensuring that the camera is more user-friendly, the designers have maintained a solid, weather-sealed structure, making it a robust gear suitable for diverse environments. Adding to its ergonomic charm is the well-integrated vertical grip which greatly enhances handling, particularly when using larger lenses. The GFX 100S, therefore, combines durability, compactness, and usability in a refreshing design.
Image Sensor and Processor
One of the major talking points of the GFX 100S is undoubtedly the large 102MP BSI CMOS sensor. Sized at 43.8mm x 32.9mm, this medium format sensor presents a substantial increase in surface area over full-frame sensors, leading to extraordinary detail capture and image quality. Backed by the powerhouse X-Processor 4, this camera ensures brilliant color fidelity and wide dynamic range, translating into images that are packed with detail and depth. Furthermore, with a native ISO range of 100-12,800, extendable to 50-102,400, the GFX 100S can adapt to varying lighting scenarios, retaining excellent image quality throughout.
Autofocus and Image Stabilization
The GFX 100S takes a leap forward in autofocus performance, deploying a swift and accurate phase-detection autofocus (AF) system that covers nearly the entire frame. The 3.76 million phase-detection pixels ensure the camera locks onto subjects quickly, even in less-than-ideal lighting conditions, ensuring every captured moment is sharp. But the GFX 100S’s advancements don’t stop at autofocus. It also boasts a 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system, offering up to 6.0-stop advantage. This feature is a godsend for handheld shooting, enabling clearer images at slower shutter speeds, and expanding the camera’s usability beyond studio to include street and landscape photography.
Although the GFX 100S is primarily a stills camera, it doesn’t compromise on video capabilities. With the ability to record 4K video at up to 30p, the GFX 100S makes a compelling argument for being a hybrid device. Not only does it offer full sensor width for video recording, but it also supports 10-bit 4:2:0 color internally and 10-bit 4:2:2 color externally over HDMI. Furthermore, the inclusion of F-log allows for significant dynamic range and offers broader post-production possibilities, making it a powerful tool for both cinematographers and photographers.
User Interface and Ergonomics
The GFX 100S features a pleasing mix of digital and analog controls. Its tactile manual dials for shutter speed, ISO, and exposure compensation are a treat for photographers who value hands-on control. The 3.2-inch rear touchscreen, capable of tilting in three directions, provides a seamless interface, and the high-resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF) delivers a clear and realistic representation of the scene. However, one notable drawback is the battery life; the GFX 100S uses the NP-W235 battery which offers roughly 460 shots per charge, making additional batteries a necessity for longer shooting sessions.
Price and Value
The Fujifilm GFX 100S breaks some barriers by coming at a price point lower than many other medium format cameras. Its exceptional image quality, swift and reliable autofocus, 5-axis IBIS, and robust 4K video capabilities put it in a class of its own, offering great value for photographers aspiring to venture into medium format photography. Despite the relatively hefty price tag compared to full-frame options, the unique offerings of the GFX 100S present a compelling case for making the leap.
The Fujifilm GFX 100S is a pioneering medium format camera that brings together an impressive list of features and stellar performance in a compact, user-friendly design. It’s a versatile tool that pushes the boundaries of what medium format cameras can do, catering to a broad spectrum of photographers and cinematographers. From its superb image quality and advanced autofocus system to its improved handling and competitive pricing, the GFX 100S is a standout offering that’s hard to ignore for anyone serious about their craft. Whether you’re a professional looking to upgrade or an enthusiast aspiring to the next level, the GFX 100S is worth considering.