Fujifilm GFX 100 review
|What we like||What we don't|
From the point of view of image quality alone, the GFX 100 is the best camera we've ever reviewed (though its larger sensor 150MP peers should out-perform it). The new BSI sensor and higher pixel count of the GFX 100 puts clear water between it and even the best smaller sensor cameras, and if you need the kind of detail that the GFX 100 offers, there's no more affordable way to get it. On top of this, its in-body stabilization, autofocus performance and well-designed user interface make it significantly more flexible (and usable) than other medium format competitors.
Adapted Olympus OM 90mm F2 Macro | ISO 100 | 1/125 sec | F9
Photo courtesy Neil Buckland
The GFX 100 is larger than its 50MP predecessors, in part due to the inclusion of a portrait-orientation grip. The portrait grip itself is disappointing, apparently designed for hands a different shape from those of people who use the camera in landscape format. The advantage, though, it that it provides space for a second battery. This further expands the camera's 'beyond the studio' credentials.
And it's certainly true that the GFX 100 is much more adaptable than most cameras with sensors of the same size or larger. This doesn't suddenly mean that the GFX is going to be seen on the sidelines of major sporting events or even become the camera of choice for the majority of wedding photographers. But its ability to support you when you find yourself shooting outside the familiar surroundings of the studio and off a tripod reduces the need for a second camera. In turn, this could extend the range of jobs you can practically undertake, which could help see the camera pay for itself.
|The GFX 100's responsiveness and feature set allow you to get the most out of 100 megapixels even when you leave the studio behind you. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw 11.
Fujifilm GF 63mm F2.8 | ISO 100 | 1/2000 sec | F4
Photo by Carey Rose
Handling-wise, the GFX 100 is something of a mixed bag. Its interface has a level of mass-market polish that its medium format rivals simply don't have. But, conversely, its dual-function pressable dials feel cheap and can make it difficult to find a simple, direct way of controlling exposure. It's a similar story with autofocus: its quicker and more flexible than any other medium format camera but you shouldn't expect the speed and responsiveness of full-frame systems. With that taken into account, it does a good job of delivering the shot you need in lots of circumstances. However, 100MP of detail gives an unflattering insight into how difficult it is to achieve perfect focus consistently.
Its ability to support you outside the studio and off a tripod reduces the need for a second camera
Also making a big impression as we reviewed the camera are the GF lenses. Fujifilm said it had developed the system with 100MP in mind and that statement appears to be confirmed by the results we've seen. They don't appear to be as fast to focus as the best full frame lenses but they're generally responsive enough to let the GFX 100 look very good compared with its medium format peers.
|Out of camera JPEG, shot using the DR400 mode to incorporate more highlight information. It's unusual to find such a feature (or such attractive JPEGs) in a camera of this type.
Fujifilm GF 45mm F2.8 | ISO 400 | 1/320 sec | F7.1
Photo by Richard Butler
Do you need a 100MP camera? That's probably a question for you, your business' accountant and some carefully-considered cost/benefit analysis. But if you conclude that you do, then nothing else offers so much image quality, so readily, in so many situations as the Fujifilm GFX 100.
What we think
Compared to its high-resolution peers
There are 44 x 33mm-sensor medium format cameras from Fujifilm, Ricoh and Hasselblad on the market, of which we think the Fujifilm GFX 50 models are the most capable all-round. Lenses aside, though, we didn't find these offered a huge benefit over the best full frame cameras, whereas the GFX 100 clearly does. It soundly sees off its 50MP peers in terms of detail capture and sensor performance. Add to this the greater battery life, faster autofocus and the benefits of image stabilization and the advantages of the bigger camera are clear. And that's without even considering the 100's video capabilities.
The Phase One IQ4 150MP is a medium format camera and back built around what is essentially a larger version of the sensor in the GFX 100. The Phase One's 645-format sensor produces the resolution, tonal quality and DR improvements you might therefore expect. However, it does so in a camera that's slower to operate, with significantly less usable autofocus and in a format that is less comfortable when not tethered to a computer. If you need the quality it brings, the Phase One will outperform the Fujifilm, but if you can put up with the (sensational) image quality of the Fujifilm, then its smaller size, image stabilization, increased battery life, attractive JPEGs and video capabilities make it a much more flexible tool for considerably less money.
Having said that the GFX 100 significantly outperforms full frame cameras, we should still consider the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R, since it's able to shoot and combine multiple shots in order to offer resolution and light capture (and hence tonal quality) comparable to a larger sensor. But, while it does so in a smaller, lighter body and doesn't have any phase detection elements to limit its usable dynamic range, its multi-shot mode only gets its best results when tripod-mounted, and applied to static subjects (and its use of electronic shutter limits its use with strobes). For most high-res applications, the GFX is the simpler, stronger, and yes, more expensive option.
Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category. Click here to learn more about what these numbers mean.
Fujifilm GFX 100
Category: Professional Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
The GFX 100 is a highly specialized tool, and yet one that Fujifilm has worked on to make as flexible and capable as possible. It offers very high resolution, supported by good glass and image stabilization to let you exploit that resolution far beyond the studio. It's not an all-rounder like some of the high-res full-frame mirrorless cameras can be, but it does things you wouldn't expect of a 100MP medium format camera.
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