FUJIFILM GFX 100S OVERVIEW
We aren't sure why Fujifilm is teasing the full-frame manufacturers with their new motto "more than Full-frame", especially when their medium format angle is extremely clear. They should even tease more on Hasselblad and the other big names with something like "proving that medium format is accessible" or something like that. Either way, we are extremely excited about this new GFX 100S camera, which made us think about it like a Mark II of the GFX 100, but boy, we were wrong.
In simple words, the GFX 100S is a 2021 upgrade of the original GFX 100, but in a way more compact size. Because, we have to be honest about it, the GFX 100 was a behemoth camera for several shooters. Especially those closely related and emotionally attached to Fujifilm. You know, agile content creators that love traveling and street photographers worldwide. But of course, at $5,999.00, there are some good stuff that deserve a further reading. So let's get down with them.
Similarly to the GFX 100, the GFX 100S comes with a huge 102 Mp (43.8mm x 32.9mm) medium format sensor with a 100% phase detection autofocus coverage area. But, beyond being 40% cheaper, it is also half a kilogram lighter too than the original GFX 100. Actually, both cameras are quite different, and the only reason they share almost the exact name is because of the massive sensor inside them.
Some of the main things that Fuji got rid off while skimming down the fat on the GFX 100 are these. First, the electronic view-finder (EVF) is no longer interchangeable. And secondly, the vertical battery grip is not only absent but also not an option for this camera either. But, there is an optional hand grip called the "MHG-GFX S", which is a metal plate grip that makes the camera substantially more comfortable to hold, even when mounted with a large zoom lens; thereby reducing camera shake. The bottom part may be used as an Arca-Swiss plate, allowing use as a quick shoe mount when using a compatible tripod. It looks like some extra protection, but we're not that sure about it yet.
Although, the in-body imaging stabilization system is both smaller and lighter, without sacrificing performance or quality. According to the Fuji folks, the OIS system should outperform (at least slightly) the GFX 100's at up to six stops of stabilization (for most lenses). And this is all possible thanks to the upgraded gyro sensor and tweaked algorithms too.
30% smaller, the brand-new GFX 100S feels like a compact DSLR, with the benefits of having a massive medium format sensor built inside of it. But hold your horses, it won't be available until March 2021, and if you are planning on getting a nice GF lens combo, Fujifilm is also releasing a new medium format lens. This is an 80mm ƒ/1.7, which is the normal equivalent (like saying a 50mm on a full-frame) when talking about medium format cameras, and at $2,299.95, you can finally have a brand-new medium format set-up for under $10K. Perfect for those dreaming about upgrading from full-frame to medium format. The wait ends here folks!
So, it is the Same Sensor?
Yup, it is. The GFX 100S comes with a sweet high resolution 102 mega-pixel 43.8 x 32.9mm BSI CMOS sensor coped with an X-Processor 4. Meaning that this particular camera is well suited for giving us 16-bit photographs with a huge dynamic range and a generous sensitivity range of ISO 100-12,800, same which can be extended down to ISO 50 and up to ISO 102,400.
Remember those deeper pixels from Apple? Well, these are real deep pixels! The large size on them allows a more efficient light gathering for a better tonal and color rendition, perfect for achieving mighty realistic results, especially for commercial and editorial purposes.
But wait, there's more! There's a huge variety of traditional medium and large format aspect ratios that can be used in addition to the standard 4:3, including 1:1, 65:24, 5:4, 7:6, 3:2, and 16:9. And that massive image processing power copes with the sensor to deliver some decent motion results of 5 fps when recording DCI and UHD 4K30 video. Remember, it is a $6K medium format camera capable of shooting video, so don't get picky about this last part.
Internal UHD and DCI 4K30p video recording at up 4:2:0 10-bit, as well as 4K30p 4:2:2 10-bit via HDMI output, both at up to 400 Mb/s-and simultaneous external and internal recording is possible. And when working with an Atomos Ninja V, then the UHD 4K30p raw 12-bit output is also possible when using the Apple ProRes RAW format. Also, HLG recording is supported, for HDR applications, and F-Log, HLG, and Film Simulations can all be used simultaneously with raw external output.
Beyond that, the overall video performance gets benefited from the speed of the quad-CPU X- Processor 4, enabling fast read speeds when recording 4K video. This last part helps to reduce rolling shutter distortion when filming moving elements and subjects.
In addition to the supported 10-bit color depth, the GFX 100 also includes the F-Log gamma setting, which provides a flat picture for using in advanced color grading software during post production. This maximizes the potential dynamic range in complex lighting situations and scene adjustments can be made, as to highlight tone, shadow tone, color, and sharpness.
And last but not least, the GFX 100S comes with a standard 3.5mm microphone jack and 3.5mm headphone jack for advanced audio solutions.
Let's Talk About the Obvious Part
And by that, we mean that sweet design! This beautiful camera looks like the slender lovechild of the GFX 100 and the GFX 50S, and by slender, we are not exaggerating nor being fanatic about it.
That extreme weight-down makes the GFX 100S very well suited for handheld shooting in both studio and the outdoors. And we can't help to insert our bias here, this camera will be awesome for street photography too.
Internally, the camera comes with a magnesium alloy body construction, which is both lightweight and durable. The entire camera system is weather sealed, meaning that it is moisture and dust resistant; and of course, freeze proof too (down to -10°C or 14°F) for harsh weather conditions.
For high resolution viewing, the GFX 100S features a fixed 3.69m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 0.77x magnification eye-level viewing. And screenwise, it comes with a generous 3.2" 2.36m- dot touchscreen LCD, also available for image playback, menu navigation, and live view shooting.
The LCD screen comes with a unique 3-way tilting design that moves both downward and upward for shooting from high and low angles. It also tilts to the side, delivering a better shooting experience when shooting vertically through the live view mode. And we hope that the NP-W235 rechargeable lithium-ion battery behaves well, because we do know that battery consumption is the weak spot on Fuji's cameras. According to them, this battery can give us approximately 460 shots per charge, so we think that they are trying harder this time.
Almost a standard now, Dual UHS-II SD memory card slots are featured, and allow saving imagery in a sequential manner, backup/duplicate manner, or in a sorted manner to segregate JPEG and raw files. Each is perfect for the most sophisticated imaging workflows. Also, The Fujifilm G lens mount has a short focal flange distance of just 26.7mm, excellent for adapting lenses and allowing reduced back focusing distances to prevent vignetting and promote edge-to-edge image quality.
The Mode dial on the top panel of the GFX 100S' body offers up to 6 customizable positions. Users can register these functions to each of the positions so that these can be swiftly activated for a smoother shooting experience. Also important to note here, the newly designed Focus Lever has adopted a flat shape so as not to cause physical discomfort even after many hours of use. It responds with enhanced sensitivity when moving the focus point, allowing users to autofocus quickly for the intended area in the frame. There is a selector to instantly switch between the still and movie modes for added convenience in camera operation.
And last but not least, the sweet status LCD-monitor on top of the camera. Same which happens to be quite huge at 1.8". This is extremely helpful for several shooting applications, but especially to quickly access valuable information on the field regarding shooting settings and exposure data.
Crunching it Down
The GFX 100S is a mirrorless digital camera that comes with a state of the art high resolution large (the distinction between medium and large is debatable, but we all have to agree that it is larger than a full-frame 35mm one) format sensor.
According to Fujifilm, the camera features a unique color reproduction technology, capable of delivering superior image quality on a whole new level. Its compact and light weight body weighs just 900g, and packs up to 6.0-stops of five-axis image stabilization mechanism as an AF function with a high level of accuracy and speed. The GFX 100S delivers unprecedented portability for any digital camera with such a large sensor, broadening the scope of photographic situations of course. Hence the insistence on medium format street photography, just like in the days of film!
Oh, and speaking of which, we stumbled into this video on someone shooting the last roll of Fujifilm Pro 400H 120 film.
Taken from Fuji's official press release, the GFX 100S is:
"an innovative mirrorless digital camera that offers superior image quality easier than ever before. Rich tonal reproducibility and shallow depth-of-field unique to the large format sensor realizes three-dimensional definitions. It is a perfect choice not only for professional photographers who want to take advantage of the large sensor for added photographic expressions but also photography enthusiasts who wish to enjoy the world of 100MP images while hand-holding the camera."
What About that GF 80mm ƒ/1.7 R WR Lens
Fujifilm is one of those brands making things right on the both dimensions of the optical scope. And their Fujinon optics are very impressive too. Therefore, a mention on this lens is well founded. In a nutshell, this is a short telephoto prime portrait, 63mm (35mm Equivalent) lens especially designed for the G-mount GFX mirrorless medium format system.
The fast ƒ/1.7 maximum aperture excels in low light situations, and is also beneficial for powerful depth of field control, perfect for precise selective focus applications. Optically, this lens uses a pair of low dispersion elements and one aspherical element included to correct a variety of aberrations, helping to achieve high sharpness and clarity. Additionally, this lens is relatively compact (94.7 x 99.2 mm) and lightweight (795 g) for hand held uses in several shooting applications. And if you think that those numbers are not near compact and light, remember that we are talking about medium format here. And yes, we know, it is hard to remember that when looking at the GFX 100S' body.
Oh, and it's dust & weather sealed construction enables the lens to work in harsh weather conditions with temperatures as low as -10°C (14°F). And the front element features a fluorine coating, perfect for repelling dust, dirt, and moisture particles. And for the bokeh lovers, the rounded nine-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing result too. The 2 Super ED elements help reduce chromatic aberrations and color fringing throughout the aperture and focusing ranges for better clarity and color fidelity.
Imagining such a comfortable to use medium format digital camera was unthinkable a couple of years ago. And just like Sony made a huge breakthrough in their imaging innovations, Fujifilm also took the high-road of the mirrorless camera system universe. As photography and video lovers, we can surely say that this is a great time to be alive.