My GFX-100S: A little over a year later

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Jim Cassatt Veteran Member • Posts: 4,995
My GFX-100S: A little over a year later
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My Digital Photography History: I bought my serious camera, an Argus C3, around 1960. A few years later I bought my first SLR, an Exakta. Several years after that I bought my first MF camera, a Yashicamat TLR. I was an early converter to digital and bought the first DSLR with lens that sold for under $1,000, the Canon 300D, in the fall of 2003. In January 2006, I bought my first FF DSLR, the Canon 5D, Subsequently I purchased the 5D MKII and 5D MKIII. Getting too old to carry all that heavy Canon equipment around (not so much the cameras but the heavy FF lenses that go with them) I moved gradually over to Fuji with the X-E1 initially and sold all of my Canon equipment.

Intrigued by the GXX-100S, the “reasonable price”, the fact that three lenses had rebates associated with them, an acute case of GAS and a much larger than expected tax refund, I took the plunge and bought the camera and three lenses, the 110 f2, 32-64 f4 and 45 – 100 f4 a little over a year ago.

What I like to shoot: I do a lot of landscapes, but landscapes are not my passion. I am just too lazy to get up early in the morning, slosh through mud in miserable conditions to get that perfect shot. I travel a lot, and of course take a lot of pictures to document my travels and like to put these in photobooks. I find myself drawn more and more to street photography as I enjoy watching the world unfold around me. Finally, I enjoy portraits, especially working with models as all levels of experience.

My experience with the GFX-100S: Detailed reviews have been done elsewhere, so I would like to concentrate on how this camera has affected the areas in which I am interested. Some general comments:

  • The camera with attached lenses is heavy, the exception being the camera with 63 mm f2.8 attached.
  • Image quality is superb.
  • High ISO capabilities outstanding.
  • Dynamic range is out of the world.

Ergonomics: When I first received the camera, I thought I would miss the usual Fuji dials. With a bit of use, I actually love the way the camera operates. The two dials plus the lens ring gives me complete control over the camera at my finger tips.

Although the image quality is superb, for me the real question is will one see differences in any sort of reasonable sized print. I like to print my best pictures and hang them on the wall. My printer only accepts 17 x 22 inch paper, so that defines reasonable sized for me. To answer this question, I photographed a mannequin head with a lot of space around it. The idea was to crop the space out so the cropped part would equate to a portion of a 16 x 20 print. To do the test I used a 56mm f1.2 lens at f4 on my X-T4 and the 110 mm f2 at f8 on my GFX-100S. I exposed both at ISO 100. I made 8x10 inch prints of each. I could see no difference between the two images. It is only when I raised the ISO to 1600 that I could see a slight difference. Also, if I cropped the picture much more severely, I could see differences. This little experiment leads me to the following conclusions about the utility of the GFX-100S FOR ME.

Landscapes: Although occasionally the better dynamic range of the GFX-100S may be important, it is not worth it to me to lug all of that heavy equipment around to get the perfect picture. Properly framed in the first place, I doubt that I would see any difference when printed. Additionally, I like good depth of field in my landscapes, and here a cropped frame camera has advantages. If I include wildlife photography in this category, then my X-T4 is much better suited for this.

Travel Photography: Sometimes I even find that my X-T4 with my 16-80 f4 is too bulky to carry with me. My Sony RX100 VI and Fuji X30 have yielded excellent images.

Street Photography: I have used the GFX-100S with 63 mm attached. However, I am not an in-your-face street photographer. For that I prefer my X-T4 or X-Pro2 with my 16 – 80 f4 attached.

Portrait Photography: For me this is where the GFX-100S shines. My condo is blessed with lots of indirect light. Plus it has a lot of architectural features that lend themselves as settings. Although the light is beautiful, there is not a lot of it. Hence, I generally am shooting at ISO 1600. No problem, the images are beautiful. Sometimes I have a nice shot taken from the waist up and want a close-cropped head shot. No problem, even at ISO 1600. Yesterday, I was tasked with taking pictures of a 14 month old baby in the library of my condo building. I elected to bounce on-camera flash off the ceiling with a card pushing some light forward. The setup require me to use landscape orientation. I had to use ISO 1600 and do some pretty severe crops. No problem.

Conclusion: If I could only afford one camera system, this would not be it. However, I am in a fortunate position where I can afford more than one, and the GFX-100S is probably the best camera on the market for an important part of my photography. There is something very satisfying in owning the best.

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 Jim Cassatt's gear list:Jim Cassatt's gear list
Panasonic FZ1000 Sony RX100 VI Canon EOS 300D Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm X-E2 +19 more
Canon EOS 300D (EOS Digital Rebel / EOS Kiss Digital) Fujifilm X30 Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm X-Pro2 Sony RX100 VI
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