Pre-Production GFX100

Started 8 months ago | Discussions
Chris Dodkin
MOD Chris Dodkin Forum Pro • Posts: 12,023
Pre-Production GFX100
21

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.

Highlights:

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.

Conclusions:

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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Greg7579
Greg7579 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,267
Re: Pre-Production GFX100
2

Fantastic report.

Greg Johnson, San Antonio, Texas
https://www.flickr.com/photos/139148982@N02/albums

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moimoi
moimoi Veteran Member • Posts: 5,288
Re: Pre-Production GFX100
1

Chris Dodkin wrote:

Hi Chris,

Thanks A LOT for your feedback. This is very much appreciated. Time for me to wrap up for the night, but a few things. Please see below.

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

That's excellent news. I expected to be a big step up from the 50R/S, and it looks like Fuji nailed it.

GFX100 Shooting:

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 by heavier.

This is what I feared, sadly. In contrast with the 50R, the GFX100 must feel significantly heavier.

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.

That's great to know. The focus of the 63 mm can be a bit finicky at times. Optically, I really like it.

1/90 63mm

This shot looks quite soft (even for f/2.8). But ooc jpg, and no final firmware, so hard to say.

1/60 63mm

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

Zoomed in in ACR

Yes, this looks sharp, unlike the other sample posted above.

Alright I need to quit for the night, but I will check later tomorrow.

Thanks again,

Max

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MikeB_2018 Regular Member • Posts: 182
Re: Pre-Production GFX100

Chris,

Thank you for the more thorough review than I was able to get into today at the Samy's Camera event.  Not sure if you were there at the same time, but unfortunately I could only stay about 30 min and had to get back to work.

I agree with everything you said from the little time I had with the camera.

1. AF seemed very fast and snappy compared to the 50s.  Not as fast as I am used to with Canon 5D III/IV and EOS R but I was pleasantly surprised.

2.  I was concerned about the vertical grip not having the nice rubberized material on it like the regular grip.  But I felt that the thumb-rest on the back actually was nicely large and gave me a good grip and leverage.  So my fears about that were abated.  Since I shoot a lot of portraits and other work vertically that was a concern, but not an issue.

3.  The EVF was really nice and bright and not laggy like many I have seen.

4.  Not being used to the layout, I fumbled a bit, but didn't miss dials and found the top display nice and clean and bright both in modes Black on White and White on Black.

5.  I just tested it out a bit with Fouad from Samy's over at the still life area and he had set up a black-faced watch.  We had the 120 Macro on the camera.  We were tethered via Capture One and I have to say the level of detail and the complete lack of pixelation on the screen at 400% magnification was AWESOME!

I'm not really a pixel peeper but looking at a MF camera from FF DSLR you can't help but want to see what the difference is? And again I was not disappointed. The level of detail was phenomenal. Maybe I was just excited seeing my hopefully next new camera, but it didn't disappoint at all.

That's about all I had time for, other than asking, Chris, one of the Fujifilm reps.  Some explanation about the real difference between 14 bit and 16 bit captures.  Didn't really clarify things for me as it does seem a bit relative until you can really see it for yourself.  But overall, at least to my eyes, what I saw was very impressive.  Excited to see more about the new sensor - hopefully that banding issue won't be excessive.  But I agree with you, I don't generally push my RAW files that hard.  At a certain point I find a file that needed so much pushing unusable to my standards.

I'm getting my quote to see if I can grab one body, a 23, 45, 110 and perhaps the 250 for a good price (relatively speaking of course).  So if anyone knows a place that pays well for a kidney, let me know!

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khaw
khaw Senior Member • Posts: 1,200
Re: Pre-Production GFX100

Many thanks Chris for the detailed feedback.  Much appreciated.

I think I'll wait a bit before ordering the GFX100.

Having a lot of fun with my 50S with battery grip and tilting adapter.  

K-H.

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kristian1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,492
Re: Pre-Production GFX100

Thank you for all the information.

About grip (not vertical) , from pictures it looks like it is long and thin (narrow) not sure how to describe it...

On Canon / Nikon cameras it looks like it is fatter and easier to hold (as narrow grip can be uncomfortable with a bit heavier lenses when shooting for longer period).

edit: see here comparation how grip on d3x looks way fatter (btw great handling camera)

https://camerasize.com/compare/#169,824

Thank you again and sorry for my english.

Kristian

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Rick Knepper
Rick Knepper Forum Pro • Posts: 17,584
Re: Pre-Production GFX100

Chris Dodkin wrote:

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.

Thanks For the write up.

This could be a problem for landscape shooters where the light can be quite contrasty.

I totally do not understand the PDAF striping (as JK refers to it as). It is only visible when lifting shadows? Can you switch to CDAF? This looks like the pattern noise of my old Canon 5D2 albeit not as severe. The 5D2 had no PDAF.

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KlasG New Member • Posts: 21
Re: Pre-Production GFX100

Chris Dodkin wrote:

LCD looked like a nice upgrade.

It has the same specs as the 50S one. Is it really changed?

pepsijunior
pepsijunior Senior Member • Posts: 1,042
Re: Pre-Production GFX100

Beautiful report, thanks Chris! I definitely need one of these. The only problem when I use the GFX is I don’t like using my other cameras anymore

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Chris Dodkin
OP MOD Chris Dodkin Forum Pro • Posts: 12,023
Re: Pre-Production GFX100

the soft shot is me playing with face detection at f/2.8

probably operator error

I do have the RAW files, just can't share them

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Chris Dodkin
OP MOD Chris Dodkin Forum Pro • Posts: 12,023
Re: Pre-Production GFX100

it's not an ergo molded grip, but it does have a moulded thumb grip piece which makes it easy/comfortable to hold.

I suspect the styling may have been driven by the expected use for the camera in the video market, and by over-all size concerns.

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Chris Dodkin
OP MOD Chris Dodkin Forum Pro • Posts: 12,023
Re: Pre-Production GFX100
1

Rick Knepper wrote:

Thanks For the write up.

This could be a problem for landscape shooters where the light can be quite contrasty.

I totally do not understand the PDAF striping (as JK refers to it as). It is only visible when lifting shadows? Can you switch to CDAF? This looks like the pattern noise of my old Canon 5D2 albeit not as severe. The 5D2 had no PDAF.

Sony have been releasing sensors with dedicated PDAF sites built into the sensor

This has historically been something that as been shown to introduce image artifacts under extreme conditions.

Fujifilm showed that GFX100 has 7,776 PDAF pixels every 1/18 lines - totaling 3.78M PDAF pixels across the sensor.

These provide the data the camera needs for faster Phase Detect Auto Focus.

But they also take up pixel real estate, and can show up in images under extreme circumstances.

This maybe 4-5 stops of pushed exposure, or on some cameras, even bright backlit scenes.

So it's a compromise - do you want a clean image that has not degraded features even at +5 stops push? Do you want faster AF?

Camera manufacturers and RAW converter software companies can look to mitigate the effect with software 'masking', because it's 'predictable' based on location - but now you're into manipulating the image. so that's another whole can of worms.

My take is, PDAF is the current state of the art. It's been engineered to be invisible under normal use conditions.

However, Internet law dictates that you take something, push it to an extreme, then generate a lot of traffic from it (iPhone antenna gate for example) - so it's something that if you're a Sony shooter, or a Nikon Z shooter, you're probably sick to death of reading about.

If your use case means that you're going to push shadows past 4 stops, then you need to evaluate if this is going to be a problem for you, if indeed this is PDAF causing the effect.

If it is, you can select to shoot the 50MP sensor which has no PDAF on it.

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Chris Dodkin
OP MOD Chris Dodkin Forum Pro • Posts: 12,023
Re: Pre-Production GFX100

KlasG wrote:

Chris Dodkin wrote:

LCD looked like a nice upgrade.

It has the same specs as the 50S one. Is it really changed?

everything looks much more fluid, probably due to the 4 core processor in the GFX100

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khaw
khaw Senior Member • Posts: 1,200
Re: Pre-Production GFX100

Chris Dodkin wrote:

Rick Knepper wrote:

Thanks For the write up.

This could be a problem for landscape shooters where the light can be quite contrasty.

I totally do not understand the PDAF striping (as JK refers to it as). It is only visible when lifting shadows? Can you switch to CDAF? This looks like the pattern noise of my old Canon 5D2 albeit not as severe. The 5D2 had no PDAF.

Sony have been releasing sensors with dedicated PDAF sites built into the sensor

This has historically been something that as been shown to introduce image artifacts under extreme conditions.

Fujifilm showed that GFX100 has 7,776 PDAF pixels every 1/18 lines - totaling 3.78M PDAF pixels across the sensor.

These provide the data the camera needs for faster Phase Detect Auto Focus.

But they also take up pixel real estate, and can show up in images under extreme circumstances.

This maybe 4-5 stops of pushed exposure, or on some cameras, even bright backlit scenes.

So it's a compromise - do you want a clean image that has not degraded features even at +5 stops push? Do you want faster AF?

Camera manufacturers and RAW converter software companies can look to mitigate the effect with software 'masking', because it's 'predictable' based on location - but now you're into manipulating the image. so that's another whole can of worms.

My take is, PDAF is the current state of the art. It's been engineered to be invisible under normal use conditions.

However, Internet law dictates that you take something, push it to an extreme, then generate a lot of traffic from it (iPhone antenna gate for example) - so it's something that if you're a Sony shooter, or a Nikon Z shooter, you're probably sick to death of reading about.

If your use case means that you're going to push shadows past 4 stops, then you need to evaluate if this is going to be a problem for you, if indeed this is PDAF causing the effect.

If it is, you can select to shoot the 50MP sensor which has no PDAF on it.

Thanks Chris.  It’s not an issue on my Sony cameras.  I don’t expect it here to be an issue either, provided the exposure is not too far off.

K- H.

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Chris Dodkin
OP MOD Chris Dodkin Forum Pro • Posts: 12,023
More Joy of IBIS
2

Here's an IBIS test with the 110mm lens at f/4

100% at point of focus

IBIS 1/30 f/4 110mm - full sized JPEG post RAW conversion

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moimoi
moimoi Veteran Member • Posts: 5,288
Re: More Joy of IBIS

It works very well

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Greg7579
Greg7579 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,267
Re: More Joy of IBIS

Man that is one good looking dude.  And I like his shirt.  Roman nose and regal stare.

I can just see him saying, "Look, you want to get wacked?  Keep on shooting my profile without my permission."

IBIS IBIS IBIS.  Man would I love it if the 50r somehow had IBIS.  But I'm getting accustomed to the monopod, and the monopod gets you a couple of stops back.  Maybe three?  But IBIS gives you 5 and it is always there.

I love me some IBIS.  Thank Goodness for OIS on the 100-200.

Would someone send me a picture of the 100-200 next to the 250 please?

Greg Johnson, San Antonio, Texas
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SrMi
SrMi Senior Member • Posts: 1,012
Re: Pre-Production GFX100
1

khaw wrote:

Chris Dodkin wrote:

Rick Knepper wrote:

Thanks For the write up.

This could be a problem for landscape shooters where the light can be quite contrasty.

I totally do not understand the PDAF striping (as JK refers to it as). It is only visible when lifting shadows? Can you switch to CDAF? This looks like the pattern noise of my old Canon 5D2 albeit not as severe. The 5D2 had no PDAF.

Sony have been releasing sensors with dedicated PDAF sites built into the sensor

This has historically been something that as been shown to introduce image artifacts under extreme conditions.

Fujifilm showed that GFX100 has 7,776 PDAF pixels every 1/18 lines - totaling 3.78M PDAF pixels across the sensor.

These provide the data the camera needs for faster Phase Detect Auto Focus.

But they also take up pixel real estate, and can show up in images under extreme circumstances.

This maybe 4-5 stops of pushed exposure, or on some cameras, even bright backlit scenes.

So it's a compromise - do you want a clean image that has not degraded features even at +5 stops push? Do you want faster AF?

Camera manufacturers and RAW converter software companies can look to mitigate the effect with software 'masking', because it's 'predictable' based on location - but now you're into manipulating the image. so that's another whole can of worms.

My take is, PDAF is the current state of the art. It's been engineered to be invisible under normal use conditions.

However, Internet law dictates that you take something, push it to an extreme, then generate a lot of traffic from it (iPhone antenna gate for example) - so it's something that if you're a Sony shooter, or a Nikon Z shooter, you're probably sick to death of reading about.

If your use case means that you're going to push shadows past 4 stops, then you need to evaluate if this is going to be a problem for you, if indeed this is PDAF causing the effect.

If it is, you can select to shoot the 50MP sensor which has no PDAF on it.

Thanks Chris. It’s not an issue on my Sony cameras. I don’t expect it here to be an issue either, provided the exposure is not too far off.

K- H.

For me, it is not an issue neither on my Sony, nor on my Nikon Z, but there are sites/individuals that make a big issue of it and they probably will complain about GFX100S as well.

Personally, I would have preferred a camera without PDAF and IBIS. PDAF is nice but is apparently not that important since Chris is not switching to GFX100S immediately :-). I wish Fuji would have used Panasonic's DFD instead.

IBIS is nice too, but it made the camera much bigger and heavier, apparently. For handheld work, many people would still prefer lighter 50R.

pepsijunior
pepsijunior Senior Member • Posts: 1,042
Re: More Joy of IBIS
1

Greg7579 wrote:

Man that is one good looking dude. And I like his shirt. Roman nose and regal stare.

I can just see him saying, "Look, you want to get wacked? Keep on shooting my profile without my permission."

IBIS IBIS IBIS. Man would I love it if the 50r somehow had IBIS. But I'm getting accustomed to the monopod, and the monopod gets you a couple of stops back. Maybe three? But IBIS gives you 5 and it is always there.

I love me some IBIS. Thank Goodness for OIS on the 100-200.

Would someone send me a picture of the 100-200 next to the 250 please?

i only have the 250, but if you take a photo of yours and put it next to mine....

Greg Johnson, San Antonio, Texas
https://www.flickr.com/photos/139148982@N02/albums

 pepsijunior's gear list:pepsijunior's gear list
Fujifilm GFX 100 Sony a7R IV Sony a9 II Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GM Fujifilm GF 110mm F2 +4 more
Greg7579
Greg7579 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,267
Re: More Joy of IBIS

OMG i hope your hand is very small. That lens is huge. I'm getting it anyway.  Do you love it?

Greg Johnson, San Antonio, Texas
https://www.flickr.com/photos/139148982@N02/albums

 Greg7579's gear list:Greg7579's gear list
Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4 R WR XF 90mm Leica Q2 Fujifilm X100F Fujifilm X-H1 +16 more
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