FUJIFILM GFX100S: The World’s Smallest Large Format Camera

I think this is going to be an extraordinary year for cameras. We’re only one month into 2021 and the jaw-dropping releases seem to be piling in already. We haven’t heard much from Canon and Nikon yet either, who both have big plans for 2021. 

Sony kicked off the party with the Alpha a1 last week and Fujifilm followed shortly after. 

Fujifilm proudly announced their new GFX100s medium format mirrorless camera last week. The GFX100s will surely make a splash in the camera market, as it’s a special camera. There isn’t really another camera out there that’s like it. 

The GFX100 came onto the scene in 2019 as a mirrorless, medium format option for photographers, but priced at $10,000, it wasn’t in the realistic realm of possibilities for many. 

Fast forward and Fujifilm introduces the GFX100s, which is eerily similar to the GFX100 aside from a few specs, however, the GFX100s is $6,000. That’s a reasonable price for medium format packed into a ~ 2lb package. 


FUJIFILM GFX100S – $5,999
Key Specifications

  • 102MP 43.8 x 32.9mm BSI CMOS Sensor
  • X-Processor 4 Image Processor
  • 4K30 Video; F-Log Gamma, 12-Bit Raw Out
  • 3.69m-Dot OLED EVF
  • 3.2″ 2.36m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • 5-Axis Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization
  • 425-Point Phase-Detection Autofocus
  • ISO 100-12800, Up to 5 fps Shooting
  • 400MP Pixel Shift Multi-Shot
  • 19 Film Simulation Modes

The GFX100S features a 102MP sensor that’s 1.7 times the size of a traditional 35mm full-frame sensor at 43.8mm x 32.9mm. It’s a medium format camera packed into a very small package. The camera is nothing short of awesome – it delivers a 102MP large format sensor in a portable package similar to many full-frame cameras on the market. It also sports an incredible 6.0-stops of 5-axis image stabilization! It will be available for order in late February 2021 for $5,999.

Performance
The 102 MP medium format sensor is the star of the show. For any work that requires high-resolution, and most relative to us – fine art printing – this sensor is going to get you the best printing results out of anything out there. If you sell gallery-quality prints or are interested in the best possible print quality for yourself, this camera should jump off the page for you – and it’s a value for what it offers.

The camera has an X-Processor 4 that allows the output of 16-bit raw imagery with excellent dynamic range and low noise. 

The sensor is capable of great video features too, even at its super high resolution. DCI and UHD 4K video recording are possible at 4:2:0 10-bit internally, 4:2:2 10-bit via HDMI, or RAW 12-bit external recording externally, and an F-log gamma setting for advanced color grading. 

The X-Processor 4 enables some incredible focus capabilities for the GFX100S. The camera uses a phase detection system, like most mirrorless cameras, that has 3.76 million pixels across the sensor for approximately 100% coverage – that’s the most important thing to look for. Algorithms have been improved for the Face/Eye AF detect system 

The GFX100S delivers fast and high-precision AF thanks to the high-speed image processing engine “X-Processor 4” and the image sensor that has 3.76 million phase detection pixels across the surface (approx. 100% coverage). The algorithm for movement prediction and face/eye detection has been updated to track a moving subject and people within the frame accurately, but we will see how it performs for wildlife. It is also able to focus efficiently even in near-darkness conditions down to -5.5EV.

Size
With a few slight changes from its predecessor, the GFX100, the new model is 1.1 lbs. lighter at 1.9lbs and is packed into a package with smaller dimensions as well. The portability and size of the GFX100s is impressive for what the camera offers from a technology standpoint.

Changes that allowed for this size reduction with no loss in image quality are a smaller EVF than the GFX100, no battery grip, and an improved and reduced IBIS system. I think this is a huge step forward for the GFX line – medium format quality and resolution at the size of DSLR or larger mirrorless camera?! Amazing. 

Stabilization
Fujifilm introduced a new IBIS system with the GFX100s. It is smaller and marks an improvement in stabilization over the GFX100. The new system is capable of 6.0-stops of 5-axis stabilization.

Because of innovative design, the new system is 20% smaller and 10% lighter than the GFX100 IBIS system, aiding in the reduction in the size of the GFX100S v. the 100. Fujifilm says the new system, ‘uses a high-performance gyro sensor and acceleration sensor as well as an updated algorithm for detecting vibrations for better image stabilization than the GFX100. The ability to control camera shake during hand-held shooting for both stills and video brings an enhanced comfort to users.’

I think this is a big deal. A 102 MP sensor requires the utmost attention to field technique to maximize its capability. An IBIS system with 6.0-stops will definitely help towards achieving ultra-high quality stills. 

Price
The GFX100S will release at $5,999. That’s an awesome price, in my opinion. The GFX100, which is a similar spec’d camera released at $9,999. With the GFX100S, we’re getting a camera that has the same image capabilities, but it’s smaller and lighter! If you are serious about printing, in any form, I think this is a camera that you should consider. Really, there’s nothing like it right now. Hasselblad has medium format cameras, but none at 102 MP or at the incredible size of the GFX100S.

Thoughts
The GFX100S should be applauded as an incredible innovation, a medium format sensor packed into such a small, and ergonomic package is no joke. But, is this camera for you? I think it’s for a niche market. Like I said earlier if you print professionally in any form (studios, galleries, books, etc.) this camera could make a huge difference. If you’re not printing or doing some extreme cropping, I think full-frame mirrorless cameras are just more feature full right now. Take the new a1 for instance, it’s tough to beat that stills/video capability, along with incredible AF AND smaller body. The same can be said for the R5. The GFX100S definitely has its place though and will interest many. It’s already a #1 seller on B&H and Adorama so I think that signals how sought after this camera could be.

Matt Meisenheimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special.  Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image. Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world. As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals. You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com

 


Don’t Miss the Next Session of BCJ “Live”

Image Review: Landscape Edition

with Matt Meisenheimer & Kenton Krueger
Tuesday, Feb 23rd, 2021 at 11 am (Mountain)

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