Fujifilm GFX-50S + Kodak Vision3 250D

In the video above I photographed the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve using a Fujifilm GFX-50S programmed with the Kodak Vision3 250D film simulation recipe. Take a look!

Sometimes film simulation recipes can be used with sensors that they weren’t intended for, but the results can still be good. For example, X-Trans I & II recipes can be used with Bayer sensor cameras, like the X-T200; while the results won’t be identical, you might appreciate the aesthetic anyway. I’ve used Bayer recipes an my X-T1, which is X-Trans II, with good results. The recipe that I used in the video is intended for the X-T3 and X-T30 cameras, but it worked well on the GFX-50S.

Review: Fujifilm GFX-50S + Fujinon GF 23mm F/4

Fujifilm recently sent me a GFX-50S and Fujinon 23mm f/4 lens to borrow for a few weeks. I’ve been wanting to try GFX ever since it came out, but it’s expensive and well outside of my budget, so I never had the chance. Now, thanks to Fujifilm North America, I was able to give the GFX-50S a try—a dream come true! It was very difficult to mail the camera and lens back because I really wanted to keep it.

The Fujifilm GFX-50S is not a new camera. In fact, it’s four-years-old now. The model sent to me has been circulated to many other photographers and countless reviewers, and you’ve likely seen this exact camera before. So much has already been said about it. I want this review to be different than all the others, which will be a difficult accomplishment; I won’t go into all the technical details that are easily found online. Also, with the release of the GFX100S, I believe that the GFX-50S will likely be discontinued soon.

My perspective for this review is that I’m a JPEG-shooter who uses Fujifilm’s APS-C X-series cameras, something regular readers of this blog are well aware of. Shooting JPEGs on GFX might seem strange, but you might be surprised by the number of people who are doing just that. I’m quite happy by the image quality produced by Fujifilm’s smaller sensors, but I’ve been fascinated by Fujifilm’s medium-format line since this camera was announced. I was curious what the differences are between Fujifilm X and GFX, and whether the advantages are worth the significantly steeper sticker price that comes with the larger sensor.

In this review I want to cover are some myths regarding medium-format photography. There are some things circulating around the internet that are not true or are only partially true, so I think it’s important to discuss these and set the record straight.

Myth #1: You get a much more shallow depth-of-field with medium-format than APS-C. There actually is some truth to this myth, but it’s not completely correct. It’s a mathematical calculation related to crop factor, but essentially, all things being, um, equivalently equal, medium-format will have a more shallow depth-of-field than APS-C with the same aperture. But things aren’t always equal. Lets look at a couple examples. The GF 80mm f/1.7, which is full-frame equivalent to 63mm, cannot produce quite as small of a depth-of-field as the XF 50mm f/1, which is full-frame equivalent to 75mm; but if you compare that same GF 80mm lens to the XF 35mm f/1.4, which is full-frame equivalent to 52mm, the GF lens is capable of a smaller depth-of-field. So, yes, it is possible to achieve a more shallow depth-of-field with GFX, and, yes, it is possible to achieve a more shallow depth-of-field with X-Trans, just depending on the lenses being used; however, most GF lenses have a maximum aperture of f/2.8, f/3.5 or f/4, so if you’re trying to take advantage of the potential shallow depth-of-field advantage of medium-format, your lens choices are the GF 80mm f/1.7 or the GF 110mm f/2. I think, otherwise, the advantage disappears because there are number of XF lenses that have larger maximum apertures than their GFX counterparts, and can produce a similar or even sometimes smaller depth-of-field.

Myth #2: GFX is better for low-light photography. There definitely is a clear high-ISO advantage that the GFX-50S has over X-Trans. It’s at least one stop, probably more. But, as was discussed in Myth #1, GF lenses often have smaller maximum apertures than XF lenses, which means that you’re often going to be using higher ISOs with GFX cameras than X-Trans cameras in the same situation. In other words, it’s a good thing that high-ISO is better, because you’re going to need it.

Myth #3: The resolution advantage of GFX over X-Trans is massive. I’ve never used either of the 100MP cameras; however, the 50MP sensor on the GFX-50S is fantastic—full of fine, crisp details—and is basically double the resolution of X-Trans III and IV. It’s a pixel-peeper’s dream! But is there a practical advantage to all that resolution? I printed some pictures captured with the GFX-50S and some identical pictures captured with an X-T30 to see what differences there might be. What I discovered is that you need to print 24” x 36” to really notice, and even then it’s not a night-and-day difference, and without closely comparing the prints side-by-side it’s not obvious, as the X-T30 images held up pretty well. If you aren’t printing at least that big, or cropping deeply, the resolution advantage is essentially meaningless. Those who need 50MP know who they are, so if you’re not sure, it most likely means that you don’t.

This isn’t a myth, but worth noting nonetheless: the GFX-50S isn’t quick. There’s a pause, similar to using Clarity on newer X-Trans IV cameras, after capturing an exposure. It takes a moment for the camera to write an image to the card. The GFX-50S is a camera to take your time with. Despite the pause similar to using Clarity, the JPEG options on this camera are more similar to the X-T3 and X-T30, except that it does have the Classic Negative film simulation.

Something that I did really appreciate about the GFX-50S is the dynamic range. Highlights don’t look much different than X-Trans, but there’s a noticeable difference in the shadows. Shadows in X-Trans JPEGs are a little more like slide film, while shadows in GFX-50S JPEGs are a little more like print film. I very much enjoyed how the GFX camera renders pictures, even though it’s only subtly different than X-Trans.

I did mention that this was a review of both the GFX-50S camera and the GF 23mm F/4 R LM WR lens. This lens is ultra-wide, with a full-frame equivalent focal-length of 18mm. There’s some distortion, so don’t expect straight lines to be straight, especially toward the edges of the frame. It’s super sharp, as you’d expect it to be, and a great option for dramatic landscapes. I don’t imagine that this would be very many people’s choice for a first lens, but it definitely would be an excellent addition to the landscape photographer’s bag.

The GFX-50S is an excellent camera that I would love to own. The body retails for $5,500, and the 23mm lens retails for $2,600, bringing the total for this kit to $8,100, which is a lot. That’s well outside of my budget. If I often made large prints and my income came from those prints, this would likely be money well spent. Otherwise, my opinion is that the GFX-50S is overkill for most people and most purposes. Those who would benefit from this camera already know who they are. If I had thousands of dollars in my pocket to spend on gear and affording the GFX-50S was no problem, I still wouldn’t buy it, because I’d rather use that money on experiences than cameras. But if I did own the GFX-50S, I’d be very happy with it, because the images that it produces are so nice. I’m grateful that Fujifilm loaned me the camera and lens, and, while it was difficult to send back because I enjoyed it so much, it did make me appreciate even more just how good X-Trans cameras are. GFX is capable of better image quality, no doubt, but Fujifilm X is still quite excellent—almost as good as the GFX-50S—which is nothing short of amazing.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm GFX-50S  Amazon  B&H
Fujinon GF 23mm f/4  Amazon  B&H

Example photographs, captured with the Fujifilm GFX-50S and Fujinon GF 23mm F/4 R LM WR lens:

Lake Ripples – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Uncertain Road – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
The Causeway Road – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Tiny Niagara – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Reeds & Birds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Brown Among Green – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
January Forest – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Forest Creek – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Creekside Trail – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Backlit – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Flasher – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Tunnel Silhouette – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Frozen Marsh Water – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Ice Tracks in the Reeds – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Marsh Ice Tracks – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Lookout Tower – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Marsh Boardwalk – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Reeds & Grass – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Winter Marsh – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Twisted – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Sky Railing – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm
Big Sky Over Yellow House – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S & Fujinon 23mm

See also: GFX Film Simulation Recipes

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Fujifilm GFX-50S Film Simulation Recipe: Provia 400

Big Sky Over Yellow House – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S – “Provia 400”

This film simulation recipe was a failed attempt to create a certain look, but I liked the results anyway. It reminds me of Fujichrome Provia 400, but it isn’t intended to mimic that film, it just looks a little similar by chance. As Lefty Gomez said, “I’d rather be lucky than good.” This Provia 400 recipe was indeed a lucky discovery.

Provia 400 is a color reversal (slide) film that actually dates back to 1980. It was originally called Fujichrome 400 Professional D, and had a couple emulsion updates before Fujifilm renamed it Fujichrome Provia 400 in 1994, Fujichrome Provia 400F in 2000, and Provia 400X in 2006. With each emulsion change the aesthetic of the film evolved slightly, which isn’t uncommon. This recipe might be closest to the 400X version. Fujifilm discontinued ISO 400 Provia in 2013.

Tiny Niagara – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S – “Provia 400”

This film simulation recipe is intended for GFX-50S and GFX-50R cameras. I assume that it will also work on the GFX100 and GFX100S, but I’m not certain of that. Additionally, it is compatible with X-Trans IV; I tried it on my Fujifilm X-T30 and it looked pretty close, only ever-so-slightly different. On newer X-Trans IV cameras, which have some different JPEG options, consider setting Grain size to Small, Color Chrome FX Blue to Weak, and Clarity to -2.

Provia/STD
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +1
Shadow: +2
Color: +4
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Sharpening: -2
Noise Reduction: -4
Grain Effect: Strong
White Balance: Fluorescent 2, -2 Red & -2 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)

Sample photographs, all camera-made JPEGs, captured with a Fujifilm GFX-50S using this Provia 400 recipe:

Reeds & Birds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Three Wood Poles – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Cattails & Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Fallen Down – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Boat Ramps Are Built – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Muddy Shore – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Bridge Over Shallow Water – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Closed Red Door – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Red Can Topper – Weber Canyon, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Tree & Cold River – Weber Canyon, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Hastings Cutoff – Weber Canyon, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Reflection on the Cold Wet Road – Weber Canyon, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm GFX-50S  Amazon  B&H
Fujinon GF 23mm f/4  Amazon  B&H

Help Fuji X Weekly

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Fujifilm GFX100S

Fujifilm recently announced the 102-megapixel medium-format GFX100S. This camera is already making big waves because of the the high-resolution sensor and because of the “small” price-tag of “only” $6,000 (body only). A lot of people are talking about this upcoming camera—in fact, I visited a local camera store, and the GFX100S was a hot topic that was being discussed by those in the store.

Back in June I published an article, Shrinking Camera Market: What Fujifilm Should Do In 2021 & Beyond, and I suggested that Fujifilm should make a camera like the GFX100S (although I said it should be rangefinder-styled). I think it’s a good move for Fujifilm, and this camera will be highly successful. Already preorders have apparently exceeded expectations, and you might have to exercise some patience if you want to get your hands on one and you didn’t preorder on the day it was announced.

I don’t have a lot of experience with GFX cameras. Fujifilm recently loaned me a GFX-50S, which is four-years-old now and surely about to be discontinued. I’m grateful to have been give the opportunity to briefly try a GFX camera—a dream come true, really! For the most part the benefit of medium format is only truly realized if you crop really deeply or print very large. Still, I hope to one day try the GFX100S myself, although it won’t likely be anytime soon, and will likely only happen if Fujifilm lets me borrow one for a few weeks. The GFX100S, even though priced very low for what it is, is still significantly outside of my budget. I’m sure many of you can relate.

The GFX-50S that Fujifilm sent me has been used by so many other photographers. If you’ve read reviews of this camera or watched YouTube videos about it, you’ve probably seen this exact camera before. It’s difficult to know precisely who has used it—there are a lot of people who have reviewed it and probably a couple different bodies floating around—but I know for certain that Julien Jarry is one because he put a sticker on the bottom. Well played!

Julien is a talented photographer and videographer, and a friend of mine. I had the pleasure to photograph with him this last summer out at Antelope Island State Park, and you’ll notice him in a couple of pictures in the Kodak Portra 400 v2 film simulation recipe. It’s an honor to use the same gear that Julien used.

If someday Fujifilm loans me a GFX100S, you know that I’ll publish several articles about it on the Fuji X Weekly blog, and create some film simulation recipes, too! It might be a long time before that happens, if it ever happens. I hope it does, and I will be grateful for the opportunity, because I’m certain that the GFX100S is an amazing camera.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm GFX100S B&H

Fujifilm GFX-50S Film Simulation Recipe: Ektachrome

Lookout Tower – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S

Ektachrome is a brand of Kodak color transparency film that’s been around (off and on) since the 1940’s. There have been several eras of the film, and even more variations; the name Ektachrome has been given to many different emulsions. While Kodachrome was more iconic, Ektachrome was more widely used, thanks in part to its easier development process and (typically) faster ISOs. While Ektachrome was more popular, it was much more prone to color fading. Kodachrome was a tad warmer, while Ektachrome was a tad more vibrant, depending on the version, of course. I shot plenty of rolls, and several different versions, of Ektachrome back in the day.

The Classic Chrome film simulation is, I believe, largely based on Ektachrome; set to defaults, Classic Chrome has a similar aesthetic to the film. I tweaked the settings so that Classic Chrome would more closely resemble Ektachrome, but I used my memory of the film and didn’t study actual examples of it. Fujifilm has a term for this: memory color. It basically means that it’s more important to have the right feel than to be perfectly accurate. I’m not exactly sure how accurate this recipe is to the film, or which exact emulsion it would be closest to (maybe 100G? 100GX?), but it feels right to me.

Winter Tree – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S – “Ektachrome”

This Ektachrome film simulation is intended for GFX cameras. I know that it’s compatible the GFX-50S and GFX-50R, and I believe that it’s compatible with the GFX100, but I’m not 100% certain. You can also use it on the Fujifilm X-T3 and X-T30, and it will produce nearly identical results; on the X100V, X-T4, X-Pro3 and X-S10, set Clarity to 0 (or -2 if you prefer), Color Chrome FX Blue Off, and Grain to Weak Small.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +1
Shadow: +1
Color: +3
Color Chrome Effect: Weak
Sharpening: +1
Noise Reduction: -4
Grain Effect: Weak
White Balance: 7100K, -6 Red & +5 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)

Sample photographs, all camera-made JPEGs, captured with a Fujifilm GFX-50S using this Ektachrome recipe:

Forest Creek – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Log Chair Boy – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Three Poles – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Pole Twists – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
End Post – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Boardwalk in the Marsh – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S – “Ektachrome”
The Roundabout – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Signs Along the Boardwalk – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Ice Tracks in the Reeds – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Marsh Ice Tracks – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Hairpin Curve – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Birdseye View – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Rural Boardwalk – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Fence in the Grass – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Tiny Islands in a Frozen Pond – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Winter Grass – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Frozen March Water – Layton, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Cold Marsh – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Reed & Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Snow Day Girl – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Sled Hill Photography – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Needle Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Winter Pine – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm GFX-50S  Amazon  B&H
Fujinon GF 23mm f/4  Amazon  B&H

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There’s a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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Fujifilm GFX-50S Film Simulation Recipe: Classic Negative Industrial

January Forest – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S – “Classic Negative Industrial”

One of my favorite film simulation recipes is Fujicolor 100 Industrial, which is intended for Fujifilm X-T30 and X-T3 cameras. X-Trans IV recipes for the X-T30 and X-T3 plus X-Trans III recipes are compatible with the GFX-50S, but the results seem to be very slightly different. I programmed the Fujicolor 100 Industrial recipe into the GFX-50S. Later I updated the firmware, which added the Classic Negative film simulation; it just so happened that the Fujicolor 100 Industrial recipe was selected, and I changed the film simulation from PRO Neg. Std to Classic Negative with this recipe still programmed. I immediately loved the results!

This film simulation recipe, with Classic Negative instead of PRO Neg. Std, doesn’t mimic real Fujicolor 100 Industrial film as well as the original recipe, I don’t think, but the results are pretty nice nonetheless. It can be magical! It’s not a recipe for every situation, but it is indeed beautiful in the right situations. It’s a very happy accident!

Forest Creek – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S – “Classic Negative Industrial”

I believe that this film simulation recipe is compatible with all GFX cameras, although I’m not completely sure about the GFX100 (it should be). It cannot be used on the X-T30 and X-T3 because those cameras don’t have Classic Negative, but it can be used on other X-Trans IV cameras (X100V, X-Pro3, X-T4 and X-S10) by selecting Color Chrome FX Blue Off, Clarity 0 (or maybe -2), and Grain Weak + Small; however, results will be slightly different. I tried it on my Fujifilm X100V and it did, in fact, look good, but it’s really intended for GFX cameras.

Classic Negative
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +1
Shadow: +2
Color: +1
Color Chrome Effect: Weak
Sharpening: +1
Noise Reduction: -4
Grain Effect: Weak
White Balance: 3200K, +8 Red & -8 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)

Sample photographs, all camera-made JPEGs, captured with a Fujifilm GFX-50S using this Classic Negative Industrial recipe:

Tunnel Silhouette – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Pedestrian Tunnel – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Manhole Cover – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
No Parking Any Time – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Flasher – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Fallen Tree on Frozen Lake – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Smiling Jo – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
January Sun in the Forest – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Backlit – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Creekside Trail – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Vines on Trees – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Spiky Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Sunlight Trail – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S
Brown Among Green – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujifilm GFX-50S Amazon B&H
Fujinon GF 23mm f/4 Amazon B&H

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Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There’s a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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Medium Format vs Crop Sensor: How Much Better is Fujifilm GFX than Fujifilm X?

Fujifilm North America sent me a GFX-50S medium-format camera and Fujinon 23mm lens to go with it. The camera and lens aren’t mine; I get to use them for a few weeks, then return them to Fujifilm. The camera is $5,500 (it was $6,500 when it came out four years ago), and the lens is $2,600, so just over $8,000 altogether. This is the most expensive camera and lens that I’ve ever put my hands on!

There are two questions that I want to answer: how much better is medium-format GFX over the APS-C X cameras, and which film simulation recipes, if any, are compatible with GFX. By the way, this isn’t my review of the camera. I’ll write that after I’ve had it for longer. This article is the first step towards a review. I’m simply trying to answer a couple of questions about the GFX-50S camera.

Yesterday I did a little survey on my Instagram account: can you tell the difference between pictures captured on my Fujifilm X-T30 with a Rokinon 12mm lens (a $1,200 combo) and those captured on a GFX-50S with a Fujinon 23mm lens? By far, most photographs are viewed on social media. People post their pictures on Instagram and Facebook and other platforms, and that’s how we see them. Printed photographs are far less common. That’s just the way it is. I wanted to know: on social media, is it even possible to tell the difference between pictures captured using $1,200 gear and $8,000 gear?

Before I get into the responses to that survey, I want to briefly talk about the technical stuff—the why. The reason that I chose the X-T30 is because its JPEG settings are very similar to the GFX-50S’ JPEG settings. I used the same film simulation recipes, Kodak Ultramax for color and Kodak Tri-X 400 for black-and-white, on both cameras (this also allowed me to see how similar or dissimilar recipes are rendered on these cameras). I chose the Rokinon 12mm lens because it has the same 18mm full-frame-equivalent focal length as the 23mm lens on the GFX camera. I used f/8 on the Rokinon and f/16 on the Fujinon (to better match the depth-of-field) and adjusted the shutter speed to compensate; otherwise, the settings on both cameras were identical.

Here are the pictures that I posted to Instagram, in the same order:

Fujifilm X-T30
Fujifilm GFX-50S
Fujifilm X-T30
Fujifilm GFX-50S
Fujifilm X-T30
GFX-50S
Fujifilm X-T30
Fujifilm GFX-50S

Now to that survey! The majority of the comments were something to the effect of, “I can’t tell which camera took which pictures.” There were 10 people who took a guess, and five got it right and five wrong. I was actually surprised that five people figured it out—some of you have very keen eyes! There were three sets of two pictures to allow for direct comparisons, but the final two pictures weren’t a set, and those two pictures tripped up a few people who otherwise figured out the rest. Even a couple of those who guessed correctly said that they weren’t certain on those last two. The takeaway is that, on social media, if you study the pictures carefully and can side-by-side compare, there is a barely noticeable difference between images captured on GFX cameras and those captured on X cameras, but otherwise you can’t tell.

Of course, you’re not spending $8,000 for good-looking social media pictures, but for good-looking prints. So I printed the pictures! All of the prints were 8″ x 12″, but I made some crops that would be about 16″ x 24″, 24″ x 36″, and 40″ x 60″ if the rest of the picture was there. Here are a few of those crops:

Fujifilm X-T30
Fujifilm GFX-50S
Fujifilm X-T30
Fujifilm GFX-50S
Fujifilm X-T30
Fujifilm GFX-50S
The prints!

I studied the prints, then I had my wife, Amanda, look at them. We both came to the same conclusion: printed at 8″ x 12″ it’s really difficult to tell which camera captured which picture; at 16″ x 24″ it’s a little easier to tell but still very tough; at 24″ x 36″ it’s more obvious, but the X-T30 still looks pretty good; and at 40″ x 60″ the GFX is the clear winner, but the X-T30 image isn’t awful.

The Fujifilm GFX-50S costs six times as much as the Fujifilm X-T30. Does it produce six times better image quality? No. Does it produce twice as good image quality? No. Is it a pixel-peeper’s dream? Yes! If you like to zoom into your images and admire the fine details that can only be noticed when you look closely, the GFX-50S is a great option. If you need to crop deeply and still have good-looking pictures, the GFX-50S will deliver. If you print really, really big, the GFX-50S is indeed a fine photographic tool. Outside of that, there’s not a big advantage to the medium-format camera. In fact, there might be as many disadvantages as there are advantages, but that’s a discussion for another time. Did I mention that those files look really nice when you look really close?

Forest Creek – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm GFX-50S – Classic Negative

I have seven different film simulation recipes programmed into the GFX-50S right now, and here’s my probably-too-soon opinion: X-Trans III recipes and X-Trans IV recipes that are compatible with the X-T3 and X-T30 are usable on the GFX-50S… but they don’t look exactly the same. One difference is that the JPEGs from the GFX-50S are slightly less saturated and a hair less warm; it’s very minor but noticeable when side-by-side comparing. The GFX-50S has a larger dynamic range, which not only gives you more latitude for highlight and shadow recovery, but also produces a more flat picture; that’s not necessarily bad, just different. The GFX-50S has Classic Negative—yea!—but not the other JPEG options, such as Clarity and Color Chrome FX Blue, that the newer X-Trans IV cameras have.

I look forward to shooting more with the GFX-50S, and I know it will be difficult to send back. Using it reaffirms that X series cameras are fantastic and that the gap between APS-C and medium-format isn’t as big as what one might think. There are people who would benefit from the larger sensor and higher resolution that the GFX-50S offers, and those people likely know who they are. If I could, I would definitely own this camera, but it’s not a big deal that I don’t because my other Fujifilm cameras are pretty darn good, too.

New: Fujifilm GFX100

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Fujifilm just officially announced the highly anticipated 100-megapixel medium-format GFX100. This camera is most certainly a beast designed for professional photographers who need a beast camera. It has it all, including ridiculous resolution that’s far beyond what the majority of people need. It’s an all-around amazing camera, as it should be for the $10,000 price tag. While that price might seem high, it’s actually not when you consider that a 100-megapixel Hasselblad costs nearly 50 thousand dollars and a 100-megapixel Phase One costs around 30 thousand. The Fujifilm GFX100 undercuts those by a significant amount, an understatement if there ever was one. Heck, I remember when the 40-megapixel Pentax 645D was introduced, and it was celebrated as the cheapest medium-format digital camera ever made, with an MSRP of “only” $10,000. While the GFX100 is by far the most expensive camera in Fujifilm’s lineup, it’s actually quite a bargain for those who can afford it.

This new camera is clearly intended for a small number of photographers. For the vast majority of people, the GFX100 is extreme overkill. There are people that do need this tool, and those people know who they are. Fujifilm hopes to entice them to buy into their system. My guess is that Fujifilm won’t make much, if any, money from this camera, but they’re hoping to sell some lenses, which is where the real profit margin is. The question is whether or not this camera is worth the extra price over the GFX50R or GFX50S, which can be had for much less and are nearly as good. I personally would love to have any one of them, but they’re well outside of my budget.

Something interesting that I wanted to share (that’s remotely relating to all this) is this last weekend I saw some beautiful large prints of amazing landscapes, such as the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier. Many of these prints were 2′ x 3′, some were a little larger. They looked great! When I stepped close to examine the pictures, say within 18″ of the prints, they were noticeably soft. From three feet away they looked amazing. Most people wouldn’t take the close look that I did and they’d never notice the softness. I have no idea what gear was used to capture those pictures. What I do know is that images captured from cameras like the Fujifilm X-T30 wouldn’t even be soft at those print sizes, unless I used a lesser lens or poor techniques. It makes me wonder how many people really need 50-megapixels of resolution, let alone 100-megapixels. Surely there are some who make wall-sized prints that will be viewed closely and they need a camera like the GFX100, but by far most do not. Most photographers would get pretty much the same exact results from the Fujifilm X-H1, since they’ll never print large enough to take advantage of the extremely high resolution sensor. Still, different people have different wants and needs, and this camera will fulfill that nicely for that small group. If you are one of those in that group, June 27th, which is when the GFX100 will be released, will be a great day for you.

Pre-order the Fujifilm GFX100 from Amazon here.