Body and handling

Key takeaways

  • Dual grip design but 'portrait grip' is shallow and control points are not consistently duplicated between grip positions.
  • Exposure control based primarily on non-dedicated dials, increasing scope for personalization but creating unusual method for choosing exposure mode.
  • Highly customizable secondary settings displays

Dual Grip Design

Unlike previous GFX models, the GFX 100 has a dual-grip design, making portrait-orientation shooting easier.

The built-in portrait orientation grip duplicates several key control points but, rather unusually, is a very different shape from the standard grip and doesn't replicate the position of these controls, relative to the grip. So, if you regularly shoot in both landscape and portrait orientation, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the two different exposure comp button locations, for instance.

Despite its size, the GFX 100 walks a delicate tightrope of feeling impressively solid without feeling unbearably heavy. At 1400g (49oz) it's no featherweight but, tellingly, it weighs-in slightly lighter than the smaller-sensor Nikon D5 or Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, meaning it's similarly easy to wield. As you'd expect, it promises 'weather-resistant' construction but, despite the inclusion of 95 seals around the body and finder, Fujifilm doesn't make any specific ingress protection claims.

Flexible dial-based operation

Another major departure for Fujifilm is the reliance on pairs of clickable dials for setting most exposure parameters, rather than a series of dedicated, single-function controls.

Dials themselves are made of metal but because they turn so readily and their 'press' function is so easy to inadvertently operate, they end up feeling unexpectedly cheap and flimsy. This isn't a problem if you're shooting tethered, of course, but isn't consistent with the rest of the camera's impressive build quality.

Most control of the GFX's exposure settings is done through front and rear command dials, rather than the dedicated dial approach taken on the other GF and X-series models. A button (the unmarked one behind Exp Comp, by default) is then needed to switch exposure modes.

Depending on how you want to work, these dials can be used to control shutter speed, aperture value and ISO. You can also decide which of the dials operates exposure compensation when you hold the exposure comp button down (though you can also set the exp. comp button to act as a toggle, at which point that too is essentially assigned to a dial).

The whole thing creates an odd situation in which the camera needs an exposure mode button to switch between P and S modes and between A and M modes, depending on what position the aperture ring is set to.

Aperture ring position: Exposure Modes:
A (Auto) Program / Shutter Priority
C or Specific F-number Aperture Priority / Manual

The benefit of this setup is that the camera is able to retain different exposure settings for stills and video mode, meaning you don't have to scroll to and from 1/50 or 1/60 sec shutter speed every time you move to or from movie mode.

Two-axis tilting LCD

The GFX 100 has the same up, down and out tilting LCD as previous high-end Fujifilms

The GFX 100 has the same two-way tilting rear LCD that we've seen on the GFX 50 and X-T2/X-T3 models. This tilts up and down, then has another hinge along its right-hand edge, allowing it to tilt away from the camera for portrait shooting.

The LCD panel itself is a 3.2" 4:3 screen with 2.36M-dots.

Top Panel display

The GFX 100 has a top-plate monochrome LCD panel, which Fujifilm calls the 'Sub Monitor'. By default it shows a series of camera settings, with the option to customize which bits of information are shown, with different settings for stills and video modes. It can also be used to display a large histogram or an animated graphic representing the current settings being controlled by the front and rear dials of the camera.

The top-plate LCD can be used to show a variety of information

The 303 x 230 dot screen has an impressive level of contrast, making it easy to read even in bright daylight. The display can be inverted if you find this clearer. An illumination button turns on the screen's backlight and uses a black-on-white display for viewing in the dark.

The Sub Monitor continues to display the last-used settings when the camera is powered off (meaning they're wrong if the aperture ring is then moved).

Rear sub monitor

In addition, the GFX 100 has a rather retro-looking mono LCD panel below the main rear LCD. This 'Rear sub monitor' can also be extensively customized, showing exposure settings, processing settings, an exposure comp. scale, or histogram. Like the top-plate monitor, these displays can be customized and can be configured differently for stills and video shooting.

There's no option to invert the rear sub monitor and it's always backlit, so doesn't have its own illumination button. The use of such different displays gives a slightly odd first impression.

Ports

The GFX 100 has a wide selection of ports, as you'd expect from a camera that may well end up shooting tethered in a studio. Other connectors are targeted more at video use, though there's a degree of crossover between them.

Top-to-bottom there are mic and headphone sockets, a USB-C connector and HDMI port (with mounts for a cable retainer), and a 15V DC-in power source. Ahead of these is a standard X-Sync socket.

As you'd expect of a studio camera, there's a dedicated power-in and flash sync sockets. USB-C can be used for tethering or recharging the batteries, while an HDMI port allows connection to an external display or video recorder. Headphone and mic sockets are also provided.

On the other side of the camera is a 2.5mm socket for connecting a cable release.

Twin batteries

The use of two huge NP-T125 batteries gives the GFX 100 an impressive degree of endurance, as 28Wh of capacity probably should. Despite the large amounts of processing going on, the camera boasts a battery life rating of 800 shots per charge (using the unstabilized 63mm lens). The camera will also work with just a single battery installed, in which case you get half the battery life.

As with all standard battery ratings, it's quite normal to get more than the rated figure, depending on your usage and shooting style (we regularly find ourselves getting twice the rated figure). The ratings are broadly comparable to one another, though. A figure of 800 shots per charge should mean you get battery life comparable to a high-end DSLR, to the point that you rarely need worry about recharging the camera, even with intensive use. This is way beyond the sort of figure you're expect from most medium format cameras.