Thursday , 22 March 2018
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Field Test: Fujifilm GFX 50S

Switching camera systems is a outrageous step, and not one to be taken lightly. It costs a lot of income – distant some-more than simply upgrading a physique to use with existent lenses – and there’s a additional con of training a quirks of a new camera and building a suitable workflow.

I’m not an guileless person, and a final time we switched systems was when we went digital – a reason being that, during a time, conjunction Nikon nor Pentax, whose 35mm and middle format film cameras we was sharpened with, had a full-frame digital offering. we switched to Canon, and stayed with them.

Back in April, however, this changed, as we sole my Canon EOS 5DS and lenses and purchased a Fujifilm GFX 50S, a middle format mirrorless camera. So, because a switch? Well, we was already unequivocally informed with Fujifilm cameras; for a while I’d been regulating an X-E1 and afterwards an X-Pro2 as a second complement in situations where we indispensable to transport light, and we unequivocally enjoyed operative with both cameras. 

I felt that not usually were they unequivocally enchanting cameras to fire with – for me it was a genuine fun to be operative with normal orifice rings and shiver speed dials again – yet a formula were fantastic. The tone and tones were outstanding; it was rather like looking during some of my aged Fujifilm transparencies. However, fortitude is critical for landscape photographers, so for my categorical work I’d stranded with a 5DS.

A transparent advantage

So when Fujifilm announced a growth of a GFX, we was excited: a awaiting of Fujifilm pattern peculiarity on a 51.4MP middle format sensor was a unequivocally tantalizing prospect. When we shot film, my categorical complement was a 6 x 7cm middle format camera; there was clearly an advantage to sharpened a format that was extremely incomparable than 35mm, and we consider a aged adage, ‘bigger is better’ also relates to some border to digital sensors.

I’d looked during digital middle format before, yet had been put off by a distance and weight of a cameras – an critical care if we have to travel prolonged distances to locations – and also, to be honest, by a price. But a GFX was realistically priced, and weighed no some-more than my full support Canon, so it seemed to offer roughly all we was looking for. 

”I came to a complement with high expectations, and opportunely these have been met.”

I came to a complement with high expectations, and opportunely these have been met. The camera is utterly simply a fun to use, being unequivocally like a scaled-up X-T2. Although somewhat bulkier than, say, a Canon EOS 5DS or Nikon D810, a weight is about a same. It balances good and a control blueprint is good suspicion out, with a immeasurable infancy of buttons and dials being simply permitted with a right hand.

The exceptions to this are a examination and undo buttons, that lay on tip of a ‘shelf’ above a back LCD. This creates entrance somewhat awkward, nonetheless a examination duty can be re-assigned to one of a other buttons, that for me, solves a categorical problem, as we frequency if ever undo anything in a field. 

My usually other niggle with a controls is that Fujifilm has finished divided with a bearing remuneration dial, in a place of that is a rather surplus tip pattern LCD. Exposure remuneration is set by dire a small, fiddly symbol subsequent to a shiver and branch a back control dial. A new firmware refurbish has softened things, creation it probable to henceforth allot a back control dial to bearing remuneration in orifice priority mode, yet a dial such as a one on a X-series cameras would still be preferable.

The GFX is rarely customizable, and after a small chopping and changing I’ve now got it set adult to fit my character of shooting. In fact, this side of a camera is so good that doing has now turn roughly instinctive; this is a camera that allows we to get on with a charge of holding photos, yet removing in a way. 

In terms of features, there are many that I’ve come to rest on in daily use: a live histogram, live prominence alert, electronic level, being means to switch aspect ratios on a fly, concentration peaking, a two-way sloping shade and a touchscreen facilities. However, for me personally, a underline I’ve come to conclude a many is a fact that in ‘T’ mode we can dial in bearing times of adult to an hour. This creates prolonged exposures so most easier than locking a shiver open in Bulb mode and gripping an eye on a clock; a fact that a camera meters accurately and a viewfinder ‘sees’ good in unequivocally low light are an combined bonus.

Speaking of a viewfinder, this was a one reservation we had before committing to a system. I’ve always elite visual viewfinders, yet Fujifilm’s EVFs are among a best there are; a one on a GFX continues this trend, being large, splendid and clear. There have been reports of a EVF pattern pang from ‘shimmering’. While there is some shimmer, changing a liughtness and contrariety settings from their default levels and selecting a suitable (low-contrast) pattern character dramatically reduces this, and we find it’s not something that bothers me in real-world use.

At a impulse there’s a sincerely singular operation of lenses available, that was maybe a biggest regard we had about switching systems. we now have dual local lenses – a 32-64mm f/4 and a 23mm f/4. Both of these lenses are superb, with illusory sharpness opposite a frame, as good unequivocally good contrariety and tone characteristics. 

To make adult for a miss of local lenses, it is probable to adjust a far-reaching accumulation of third-party lenses. To cover a longer focal lengths we have dual blending Mamiya 645 lenses, a 55-110mm and a 105-210mm. These work unequivocally good on a Fuji and are unequivocally pointy – yet a best bit is they cost me reduction than £300 for a pair! Photographers on a bill could substantially pack themselves out with a full operation of focal lengths for not too most money, supposing they’re happy to accept a stipulations of primer concentration and stop-down metering.

What about pattern quality?

Of course, a doubt that everybody wants answered is: what about a pattern quality? Well, put simply, it’s class-leading. If you’ve always suspicion that 50 megapixels are 50 megapixels, afterwards consider again. The Fujifilm delivers indisputably improved pattern peculiarity than a Canon EOS 5DS. Sharpness and clarity are simply astonishing. This is partly due to a deficiency of an AA filter, and partly due to a new microlens design. The trade-off is a larger risk of moiré, yet I’ve usually seen this in a integrate of images so far, both of architectural subjects. It was simply corrected in post-production, yet if we were sharpened a lot of design and cityscapes it competence be something I’d have to consider about. 

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Dynamic operation is also considerable – I’m constantly vacant during how most purify fact we can puncture out of low shadows. To be honest, when we was sharpened with my 5DS, nonetheless we was generally happy with a pattern quality, we found myself spasmodic removing undone with a energetic operation when sharpened in formidable lighting, generally when compared to images shot with other makes. This is no longer a concern. Despite carrying shot in some sincerely contrasty conditions, I’ve not nonetheless had to joint and mix images, and I’m regulating graduated filters reduction mostly than we used to.

The large news, though, is color. Like many other landscape photographers, in my film days my elite film batch was Fujifilm Velvia; we only desired a vibrant, punchy, yet healthy colors. Ever given we stopped sharpened film, I’ve been acid for a digital equivalent. I’ve now found it – solely that it’s better, with a most wider energetic operation and a ability to be pushed sincerely tough in post-production if required.

Final thoughts

Switching from a complement with that I’d been earning a vital for over a decade was a large pierce for me. It was not something that we did on a humour – and in particular, switching from a DSLR to a mirrorless complement was something that we knew would engage a bit of a training curve. But a transition has been remarkably smooth, and as a outcome of a switch I’m enjoying my photography some-more than ever. 

Mark Bauer is one of a UK’s heading landscape photographers. Specializing in windy images of a South-west of England, he reserve batch images for editorial and promotion use, with his images published around a world. You can see some-more of his photography during

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