Pre-Production GFX100

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Chris Dodkin
MOD Chris Dodkin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,033
Pre-Production GFX100

Usual caveats: The GFX100 I shot with today was pre-production, the IQ may not be final, features and functions may not be final, fit and finish may not be final. Fuji are still restricting RAW file distro, so the answer is probably no at this point.

That being said - I spent a few hours with the Fujifilm GFX100 today, so wanted to share some thoughts, answer some questions, and raise some of my own.

I'm not going to post much in the way of camera-porn, you've all seen it already!

Briefing first, so that the features of the new model could be pointed out and clearly understood.


The design was streamlined based on cost, function, and weatherproofing.

The new EVF can be throttled back to divert more power to other features in the camera - kind of like Scotty diverting the dilithium crystals to give you extra warp speed. There were at least 3 options from full power to the EVF with highest FPS and smoothest performance, to a lower FPS option which gave more processing power to AF/Tracking etc.

Fuji are proud of their increased processor speed, AF, tracking, face recognition, FPS etc - more on this later.

Lenses will all require new firmware to be uploaded to allow them to fully utilize the faster AF features.

The EVF works with the tilt adapter, with NO ISSUES - the BS online about this was either a misunderstanding, or the usual troll fodder. - More on this later.

Fujifilm expect 50% of the users to use this camera tethered, so dials would be a problem, and no dials is seen as more in line with a tethered shooting environment.

Top plate display can be flipped black/white or white/black, and also back lit.

You can have virtual dials if you miss your old Fuji dials - I think this will be a gimmick, but hey if you like it then you have it.

Buffer will hold 14 RAW files before it's full, with a high speed card. Buffer 'never fills up' if shooting just JPEG.

16 bit RAW files are HUGE, like ENORMOUS, and are real 16 bit, not faux 16 bit like some other MF manufacturers we could mention. If you're shooting 16 bit, you'll want very fast, very large SD cards, a large SSD drive in your main machine for processing, plenty of RAM, and a scalable storage system for long term archiving.

Fujifilm believe that 100MP MF without IBIS is a non starter - 'you can so clearly see if the camera was not stable', that it made IBIS a 'necessity'.

IBIS works in concert with OIS when available - the camera decides which system is best for stabilization based on focal length, shutter speed, etc

The Fujifilm rep suggested leaving IBIS on at all times, even on a tripod. Only switch it off if you bolt the camera to a helicopter or car he said - too much vibration to compensate for.

AF tracking is fast and smooth - smooth enough for video.

Video is a HUGE driver for this camera - Fujifilm want to disrupt the FF video market and eat into the current 'large format' pro movie camera market. That drives the design of the body, and the UI, and the firmware and feature set.

The PDAF is a game changer, increasing speed of focus, accuracy, ability to use advanced tracking and recognition features for stills and video. No one brought up PD 'banding' - more on this later.

No dual charger available. Fujifilm asked their charger supplier about doing one, and they said the market wasn't big enough for them to do one! So buy 3rd party if you want to charge two batteries at the same time. Or charge in camera.

Delivery starts June 27th in the US.

If you're thinking you'll place a late order now, you'll be way down a waiting list and you will probably be waiting a while.

I've missed some things I'm sure - ask questions and maybe that will re-fire my neurons!

On to the fun part!

GFX100 Shooting:

BTS - model, GFX100, and Profoto lighting

The camera is very similar in physical size to my 50S with grip

It is heavier, I went back and forth and it's definitely noticeable - like there's a block of metal in the GFX100 somewhere. Balanced but heavier.

Build is solid, feels extremely well made, no more creaking screw-on grip.

Grip material is different, more rubberized, more modern looking.

Shutter release is new - very much lighter operation - nice feel.

Vertical grip works, and is not the problem some have feared. The surface is not slippery, and it feels fine in the hand shooting portrait orientation.

The controls in portrait orientation have moved up the camera from the 50S - So they are no longer balanced with the lens axis. This is understandable when you see the design, but maybe be less comfortable long term.

Vertical grip has a nice thumb grip bump.

The on/off switch on the vertical shutter release seemed very easy to knock to off on the camera I used, hope this was an anomaly.

I fitted my tilt EVF unit and tested it - it works just fine!

EVF is supper smooth, definitely an upgrade - but the contrast didn't look as good as the 50S on mine - may be due to set-up as I had little time to check/customize. Will require further investigation.

LCD looked like a nice upgrade.

The dioptic on the EVF has the same 'watch crown' operation as the 50R - pull out, adjust, push in to lock.

Menus all very familiar for the previous GFX models, no issues driving the new camera. Adjusting to the lack of dials was a non issue - the new UI makes sense, although personally I prefer physical dials.

AF is fast, really a kick-up from the 50 models. I tested single AF point - my usual, and face detect - both seemed lighting fast and very smooth.

Even the slowest lens, the 63mm, focussed faster.

1/90 63mm

It felt like shooting a faster, smoother GFX50S, with a super light shutter release, and a quieter shutter sound.

I shot my usual Aperture Priority, and used base ISO to ensure I used slower shutter speeds than my usual 1/2 x FL minimum.

IBIS is beguiling - you don't realize how much it's doing. You just seem to be super stable all of a sudden, like you gave up coffee 6 months ago and are on beta-blockers.

I don't think I really thought about testing it sufficiently - I shot slower shutter speeds and got better results than I'd get without IBIS. But I didn't really try a repeated pattern with slower and slower shutter speed to see how it faired - maybe next time.

1/60 63mm

When you zoom in and pixel peep, it looks really good

Zoomed in in ACR

110mm at 1/110

Looking at underexposure and noise

Shot 4 stops under

+4 stop in post

I decided to push it a bit further, and shot another image 4 1/3 stops under exposed

This is where we might be getting into some questions - pushing 4 1/3 stops on this image produced banding in the pushed image in shaded areas

Visible horizontal banding, or line pattern noise.

Is this the PDAF?

Is it even significant when you pushed a file this hard and zoomed in so far to see it?

Is it just my pre-production model?

I'm sure this theme will be picked up and blown up, as the camera gets delivered, and the testers do their testing. It'll be a fun ride I'm sure

As some level of PDAF image degradation has been present on other Sony PDAF sensors, I'm not surprised, and I went looking for something, and found something.

I'm going to bet it ends up being a 'common feature' - and that people will range in reaction from WGAF, to OMG the GFX100 is a FAIL.

Would I be concerned?

No, I don't push my RAW files that hard - that to me is excessive, and getting into territory that's outside of acceptable use. YMMV.

I've included full sized, full res JPEGs in this post, so you can review at will.


Looks and feels like a step up, and definitely a flagship camera. The speed bump is very evident, and makes things more fluid.

100MP files are huge and have lots of detail. They take longer to load and work with, and upload to the cloud etc.

Looking at the model's own makeup job and skin, I can see that 100MP would mean many more hours of retouching in post - there is more detail than many jobs/tasks will ever need, and more is not always better - ask a bride who just saw exactly how her skin really looks blown up to wall size!

The ergo is great - the fuss over the grip is just something to discuss online - I think it's a non issue in real life.

The UI makes sense - it works - not sure I really like it yet, but maybe it's just a case of having time with it.

AF is a big improvement.

IBIS looks very promising - I'd need to test more to see how far I could push it, but it's definitely working nicely and is seamless.

The weight is what it is - you're ok shooting in the studio, but in the field or street you need a strap, and you're going to have to go back to big DSLR days weight and bulk wise. I don't see myself carrying this for fun - in the same way I don't carry the 50S for fun. That's what the 50R is for.

Potential PDAF line noise - non issue for me.

I spent some considerable time talking to Paul Von Rieter, who is a wedding photog who's been shooting a GFX100 prototype for a few months now. He likes the UI, the ergo, the files. He's a 50S and 50R shooter and found the transition easy and smooth. I will meet him again to talk further as he's local to me. I'll report back.

Will I buy one now? - nope, not yet. If I didn't have the 50S then yes, but having the 50S meets the need for magazine shooting (and some), and whilst IBIS and other upgrades would be nice, they aren't essential or pressing.

Also $10k is a lot to spend when your existing $30k spend on the system is mostly under 2 yrs old.

Will I get one eventually? - Probably. This will be the flagship MF camera in the market for some time I expect, so it'll always be tempting me to upgrade.

So, tell me what I missed commenting on? Happy to try an answer any questions.

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Your time is limited, so don't waste it arguing about camera features - go out and capture memories - Oh, and size does matter - shoot MF

 Chris Dodkin's gear list:Chris Dodkin's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Fujifilm X100F Canon EOS-1D Canon EOS-1D Mark II Fujifilm X-Pro1 +41 more
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