Digital SLR Photography

REVIEW: Fujifilm GFX 100

By Daniel Lezano. Posted

While most major camera brands offer a range of APS-C and full-frame models, Fujifilm has taken an alternative route. Rather than look at adding a range of full-frame cameras to its popular APS-C X-Series mirrorless line-up, it instead opted to develop the GFX medium-format range. Its first two cameras, the 50-megapixel GFX 50S and 50R, were both excellent, but this latest launch raises the bar significantly, not just in terms of image resolution but in other key areas, notably its AF system.

GFX 100 LeftObl EVF GF63mm

BUILD QUALITY

With mirrorless cameras generally offering a smaller and more compact alternative to DSLRs, the large sensor within the GFX 100 means the opposite is true. The design and size of the GFX 100's body is similar to that of a pro-DSLR, which is impressive considering the large sensor it houses, along with a body-integral image stabilisation system.

Build quality is excellent, with rubberised panels around much of the body providing a firm hold. While the handgrip is pronounced and textured to give a firm grip, the same can't be said for the large vertical grip (housing two batteries and additional controls) that aids using it in portrait format. It is thinner and lacks a textured panel, and the smooth finish doesn't feel as secure to hold.

FUNCTIONALITY

There are a good number of secondary controls, including a shutter release and input dials, although the lack of markings on some of the buttons makes remembering what they're used for a potential issue.

The control layout as a whole takes some getting used to, with lots of buttons and dials located around the body. Even as an experienced photographer, I found it took some time acclimatising myself with the set-up, especially as a number of buttons have no markings as they offer customisable options. Fast access to key functions is possible via the Q (Quick) button, neatly located on the thumbrest.

The top-plate LCD panel provides a wealth of information, with neat secondary screens such as a histogram accessed by the button alongside it. On the rear is a large 3.2in touchscreen LCD monitor that sits on a hinged platform that can be tilted up or down, with a locking switch allowing it to be angled to the right, too, so that the screen is effectively facing upwards when the camera is used in portrait format.

GFX 100 RightObl EVF MonitorUP

FEATURES

The menu system is similar to that used in X-Series models, so settings are comprehensive and easy to use. Below the main LCD monitor is a slim LCD panel, providing another way of checking key exposure information.

The GFX 100 features a similar detachable electronic viewfinder (EVF) to the GFX 50s, giving 100% coverage and a magnification of 0.86x. Its boasts a 5.76-million-dot OEL panel and features five optical glass elements (including aspherical elements) to ensure focusing accuracy. It's a superb finder that is among the best I've ever used.
At the heart of the camera is a 102-million pixel CMOS sensor that is around 1.7x larger than a 35mm-based full-frame sensor. It is capable of delivering Raw files over 200MB in size, so you'd best stock up on fast, high-capacity memory cards! Despite the enormous file sizes, the X-Processor 4 allows for continuous shooting at five frames-per-second, which is very impressive, while 4K video is captured from across the full width of the sensor. The sensitivity range is excellent too, with an extended range of ISO 50-102400.

The camera sports a strong range of ports to connect accessories. Along with a microphone and headphone sockets, there is a power socket, HDMI and USB-C (in-camera charging is possible) on the left-side. On the right are a remote socket and dual SD card slot. As you'd expect, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is available. Other useful features include the excellent Film Simulation modes, multiple exposures and a hotshoe on the EVF for dedicated flash.

PERFORMANCE

This is the first model in Fuji's GFX range to introduce phase-detection within its AF system and it offers a significant advantage in terms of speed and accuracy compared to earlier models. The default setting of 117 AF points can be increased to 425 points and along with single-point, multi-point and zone options, Face and Eye AF is available too. While not as quick as APS-C/full-frame models, the AF on the GFX 100 is still fast and responsive and quicker than the other two GFX models. Continuous AF is improved too and while it's not suitable for serious sports use, it can track subjects that aren't moving too quickly or erratically. While the Eye/Face AF works well at times, there are occasions where it focuses on the wrong spot, so needs to be used with case, in particular when shooting at very wide apertures.

The GFX 100's multi-zone metering and White Balance systems both prove to be consistently good, so exposures and colour balance are rarely off. The sensor's excellent dynamic range means poor exposures can be pulled back when editing, especially from Raw files. Image quality, as you'd expect, is far better than you'll find on smaller sensors, with incredibly high levels of detail recorded and super-smooth tonal gradation. Noise is extremely well controlled too, with shots at ISO 6400 proving more than usable. When it comes to image quality, it delivers to a different level compared to the best that the likes of Canon, Nikon and Sony have to offer.

CONCLUSION

Not many photographers need a camera with such a high resolution, but for those who do, the Fujifilm GFX 100 hits the spot. It has some handling niggles, mainly centred around the vertical grip, but is a camera that delivers incredible image quality. With a good line-up of lenses boasting excellent optics, it represents a fantastic option for use in the studio and outdoors.

Specifications

Guide Price: £9,999 (body only)
Image sensor: BSI-CMOS 43.8x32.9mm Bayer array sensor
Image processor: X-Processor 4
Resolution: 102-megapixels
Maximum image resolution: 11648x8736 pixels
AF system: Intelligent Hybrid AF (TTL contrast AF /
TTL phase-detection AF) system
Metering: 256-zone metering. Metering patterns:
Multi, spot, average and centre-weighted metering.
ISO range: ISO 100-12800 plus Auto (Auto 1, 2 and 3).
Extendable to ISO 50-102400).
Shutter speeds: 1/4000sec-30 seconds & Bulb.
S/M mode: 1/4000sec-60 minutes & Bulb
LCD monitor: 3.2in 2.36-million-dot tilting
(three-direction) touchscreen LCD monitor
Frame rate: Five frames-per-second
Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (v4.2)
Storage: SD (SDHC/SDXC)
Size (WHD): 140.7x104.8x76.8mm
Weight: Approx 1,400g (including electronic finder,
two batteries & card)
Website: www.fujifilm.co.uk

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