New: Reala Ace Film Simulation

Now that the X Summit is over and the GFX100 II has been officially announced, we have a little bit better idea of what exactly Fujifilm’s new film simulation is. First, the name is not Reala like was previously rumored, but Reala Ace. Not a huge difference, but different nonetheless.

Fujifilm has sometimes named certain film stocks differently in Japan than the rest of the world, and several film stocks were only made available in Japan. Fujicolor Reala Ace 100 was a color negative film sold only in Japan. Some speculated that it was the exact same thing as Fujicolor Superia Reala 100 (initially, Superia wasn’t in the emulsion name, but was added later) just sold under a slightly different name, while others said that Fujicolor Reala Ace 100 was a unique film similar to the Reala sold worldwide except fine-tuned for Japanese skin tones. For whatever reason, Fujifilm went with the name Reala Ace for their new film sim.

Prior to today’s announcement, I had speculated that “…the new film simulation will [not] be an accurate replication of Reala film, since Classic Negative is so close already; instead, I think Fujifilm is simply going to use the brand name for a film sim that has a neutral and natural rendering (true-to-life or real-like, yet leaning towards soft tonality and muted colors).” I also said, “I’m crossing my fingers that the Reala film simulation will be a tweak of Classic Negative that will more closely mimic Reala emulsions.”

I was half right and half wrong, but I’m quite happy to be half wrong. I was right that the film sim would lean towards soft tonality and have a true-to-life rendering. I was wrong that it wouldn’t look like Reala film or Classic Negative, because it does. You could call the new film sim Classic Negative v2, but Fujifilm named it Reala Ace.

Leaving the Water – Laguna Beach, CA – Fujifilm X-T5 – Fujicolor Reala 100 Recipe

How accurate is the Reala Ace film simulation to Reala film? It definitely has the right vibe, from the small number of samples I’ve found online. It isn’t all that dissimilar to my Fujicolor Reala 100 Film Simulation Recipe, either—in fact, I think just a few small adjustments to my Recipe brings the results closer to the new film simulation. Of course, I have no idea if those Reala Ace examples are unedited, and what parameter adjustments the photographer might have done, or if they’re all factory defaults.

Fujifilm has a graph demonstrating how the different film simulations fit on a tonality and saturation scale. It should be taken with a grain of salt. For example, there’s no way that Nostalgic Neg. is the second most vibrant film sim, because it’s not. PRO Neg. Hi has a little more saturation than PRO Neg. Std, yet they’re the same on the chart. Still, we can extrapolate that Reala Ace has softer tonality yet a tad higher vibrancy than Classic Negative.

Even though Reala Ace is essentially Classic Negative, I’m quite thrilled that this new film sim has an obvious analog aesthetic. Classic Negative is one of my favorite film simulations, and I’m sure Reala Ace will be, too, once I get a chance to use it someday in the future. My guess is that the upcoming Fujifilm X100Z (or whatever Fujifilm calls it… maybe they’ll name it X100Ace?) will be the first X-series camera to get Reala Ace. I won’t buy the GFX100 II (it’s way outside of my budget), so it might be awhile before I get to try it. From what I can tell, the new film sim will be found right below Classic Chrome and right above PRO Neg. Hi in the camera’s film simulation list.

Interestingly enough, there seems to be a lot of interest in this new film sim, but not necessarily by folks who will buy the GFX camera. The ones most excited seem to be those who anticipate that it will trickle to the X-series. Most of those who have reviewed the camera (who received a pre-production model from Fujifilm) barely mentioned it, and mainly as a passing thought. One did talk a little more about it (and right at the beginning), but otherwise the enthusiasm for Reala Ace seems to be much stronger from the X crowd than the GFX, despite it only found (for now) on GFX. This makes a lot of sense to me because most of those who shoot GFX cameras don’t use Film Simulation Recipes (yet there are some); however, many who have X-Trans cameras do use Recipes. Fujifilm should introduce new film sims on X-series models where they can better capitalize on that excitement, and not on GFX where it’s unimportant (generally speaking) to those buyers, essentially wasting the opportunity (hey, maybe Fujifilm should consult with me??!!).

I modified the Fujicolor Reala 100 Film Simulation Recipe on my Fujifilm X-T5, reprocessing in-camera some recent pictures on the SD Card, to more closely resemble the Reala Ace film simulation. You can find the Reala Recipe on this website (here) and on the Fuji X Weekly App. The modifications I made to the Fujicolor Reala 100 Recipe are: White Balance Shift set to 0 Red & +1 Blue (using Daylight WB… I also tried Auto White Balance with that same shift), Color Chrome FX Blue Strong, Color +1, Highlight -1.5, Sharpness 0, and Clarity -2. There are only a small number of examples of the new film sim, and it’s impossible to know if they’re 100% default Reala Ace or if they have been modified or edited in some way, but I think I’m in the ballpark with these settings. It’s pretty close. Below are some examples.

Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5
Faux Reala Ace on my X-T5

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

Fujifilm X-T5 in black:  Amazon  B&H  Moment
Fujifilm X-T5 in silver:  Amazon  B&H  Moment
Fujifilm GFX100 II:  B&H

Fujifilm GFX 4:3 Aspect Ratio

Shot with the 4:3 aspect ratio

The native aspect ratio of Fujifilm GFX cameras is 4:3. An aspect ratio is simply a mathematical expression of the shape of a sensor, film, picture, or screen. I’ve mostly shot with the 3:2 aspect ratio, which is the shape of 35mm film and many digital camera sensors, including Fujifilm X cameras, so the native GFX ratio isn’t something I’m used to.

The 4:3 aspect ratio has been around for a long time, and was the original shape of motion picture film beginning in the 1890’s. It would later become the standard shape of television screens and computer monitors for many decades, and today is the aspect ratio of most tablets, such as the iPad. It’s also the standard aspect ratio of Micro-Four-Thirds and digital medium-format cameras, and most old digicams and cellphone cameras use this ratio. 120 medium-format film can be (but isn’t always) shot in this aspect ratio, too.

While 4:3 is more square-like than 3:2, it is still a rectangle, yet I find it more challenging to compose within its shape. I personally like 3:2 and I’m quite comfortable with it. I even prefer to shoot 1:1 square instead of 4:3. The GFX aspect ratio just isn’t natural to me. It doesn’t seem like this should be a big deal, but for some reason it is for me. Over the last year I’ve challenged myself to use 4:3 more, so that I can be better at it.

Shot on an iPhone using my RitchieCam App in the 4:3 aspect ratio

Mainly I’ve used the 4:3 aspect ratio on my iPhone, which is the native shape of most cellphone cameras. My RitchieCam iPhone camera app does have many other ratios to choose from, and I don’t always use 4:3, but I’ve forced myself to use it more than ever before. This has certainly helped me not only refine my compositions within that shape, but become more accustomed to using it and seeing it. It has been becoming a bit more normalized for me. If you’ve used this ratio for years, that might seem like an odd statement, but I haven’t used it much ever (especially when compared to 3:2), so it has been outside of my comfort zone.

Fujifilm should add 4:3 as an aspect ratio choice on their X-series cameras. The current options are 3:2, 1:1, and 16:9. Why not add 4:3, 5:4, and 65:24? It doesn’t seem like it would take much programming effort to do so. Instead, if you want 4:3, you have to shoot GFX.

What about that top picture? What about the five pictures below? Which camera did I use for those to get a 4:3 aspect ratio? I didn’t crop them. They’re straight out of a Fujifilm camera—captured over the last two days and completely unedited—and they are all 4:3. Did I just buy a GFX camera, and, if so, which one? You’ll have to keep scrolling down to find out!

I did not buy a GFX camera, which you probably already guessed based on the photographs’ image quality. While I would certainly love to own one, it’s just not something that it’s in my budget. If Fujifilm ever wanted to give me one, I’d certainly accept the offer, but I’m definitely not holding my breath on that one!

So which Fujifilm camera did I shoot those images with? It couldn’t have been an X-series, right? Actually, the 2/3″ sensor X cameras—X10, X20, X30, XQ1, XQ2—do shoot naively in the 4:3 aspect ratio. But it wasn’t any of those models. And it wasn’t GFX. So what was it?

I used a lowly Fujifilm AX350 point-and-shoot digicam. This camera was number one in my The 5 Worst Fujifilm Cameras That You Should Never Own list, which was a tongue-in-cheek look at Fujifilm’s lesser appreciated models. Of course, any camera is “good enough” in the hands of a skilled photographer, including the AX350.

Interestingly, these old pocket point-and-shoot digicams are all the rage right now, particularly among Gen-Z. Why? There is a nostalgic aesthetic to their image quality. If you existed between 2000 and 2012, there’s a good chance that some of your most important or favorite life moments were captured on one of those cameras. These types of cameras were around before 2000, but film was still king by far. These types of cameras existed well after 2012, too, but more and more they were replaced by cellphones. If you were young between 2000 and 2012, you’re childhood memories are in part viewed through the aesthetic of cheap point-and-shoot digicams, so it makes sense that there would be some nostalgic feelings about it.

You can pick up these old digicams for next to nothing. If you don’t have one sitting in an old box or drawer somewhere, they commonly show up at thrift stores or yard sales for just a few dollars. I got mine from Goodwill about three-and-a-half years ago. It was in a box of various film and digital models, which I paid $40 for. I sold the two film cameras on eBay, and that paid for the lot. There were two kids cameras, which I kept—my youngest two children still play with them. There were two other point-and-shoot digital cameras that didn’t work, so they got tossed in the trash. The AX350 is the only thing that I kept for myself. I don’t use it often at all, but it’s fun to dust off every once in awhile. Although simple to operate, it’s a challenge to get quality results, so I find it to be a good photographic exercise.

Fujifilm GFX is 5 Years Old

Fujifilm GFX 50S

Five years ago today Fujifilm announced the GFX 50S camera, which launched the GFX medium-format line. The camera’s initial MSRP was $6,500, which was an insanely low price for medium-format, so it is no surprise that Fujifilm quickly became top-dog of the medium-format market.

I remember when Pentax released the 645D in 2010 with a price tag of “only” $10,000. People were shocked that you could get into medium-format so cheaply. Four years later the much improved 645Z was released with an even cheaper cost of $8,500, and people went nuts. Three years later Fujifilm undercut Pentax by $2,000 while delivering a superior camera. Finally, medium-format was affordable!

Of course, Fujifilm didn’t stop there. A year later they released the even cheaper (and much more cool) GFX 50R, with an MSRP of only $4,500! The GFX100 came next, which was the world’s first 100-megapixel mirrorless camera, at a whopping $10,000 price tag (remember when that was shockingly cheap?). Then came the GFX100S, a 100-megapixel model for only $6,000. A few months back Fujifilm released the GFX 50S II, an upgrade to the original GFX camera, with a retail price of only $4,000. Fujifilm has brought medium-format down to the price point of top-tier full-frame. It’s really quite amazing!

Despite the relatively low cost of GFX, it’s still out of my budget. The only time that I was able to shoot with one was last year when Fujifilm kindly loaned me a GFX 50S for a few weeks (read about it here). Maybe someday I’ll own one—that would be a dream come true. In the short time that I had my hands on it, I made three film simulation recipes for GFX: Classic Negative Industrial, Ektachrome, and Provia 400. GFX owners can use X-Trans IV recipes, as the X-T3 and X-T30 recipes are compatible with the “older” GFX models while the recipes for newer X-Trans IV cameras are compatible with newer GFX models. For example, in the video below, I used the Kodak Vision3 250D recipe on the GFX 50S with much success.

A lot of people have questioned Fujifilm’s decision to skip full-frame. When they launched their APS-C X-Trans line, crop sensors were generally regarded as for amateurs and not professionals. That mindset, of course, has changed significantly over the last 10 years as the quality of APS-C cameras has closed the gap on lower-end full-frame cameras, and in some aspects surpassed it. More and more professional and advanced enthusiasts are ditching their bulky full-frame gear for light and nimble APS-C models, like the Fujifilm X-T4. And some cameras, like the X100 and X-Pro series, are just more fun. So sticking with the smaller sensor wasn’t such a mistake after all.

As for GFX, not only has Fujifilm dominated the medium-format market since introducing the GFX 50S five years ago, but they’ve also been able to compete against the high-end full-frame market. People are asking, “Should I spend $6,500 on a Sony Alpha 1 or $6,000 on a GFX100S?” And, “Should I buy the Canon EOS R5 for $3,900 or the GFX 50S II for only $100 more?” So Fujifilm is able to attack the full-frame market from both the bottom and top, while not investing any R&D into launching a new system. Where Fujifilm cannot compete is with mid-range full-frame cameras. I think Fujifilm could do a 40-ish megapixel X100-like full-frame fixed-lens camera, which would be absolutely wonderful, and wouldn’t require investments into a new system—that’s the most practical way for Fujifilm to get into the mid-range full-frame market, and otherwise it’s just not in their cards, which I’m completely alright with.

It’s quite an accomplishment to enter and completely dominate a market segment within such a short period of time, yet that’s exactly what Fujifilm has done with GFX. It all began with the launch of the GFX 50S five years ago today.

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

GFX 50S B&H Amazon
GFX 50R B&H Amazon (currently only $3,000!)
GFX100 B&H Amazon
GFX100S B&H Amazon

New GFX-50S II Coming Soon

Original GFX-50S

According to Fujirumors, Fujifilm will be releasing a new GFX-50S II medium-format camera in the second half of 2021 (most likely, sometime in the fall). Fujifilm loaned me the original GFX-50S camera earlier this year, and at that time I said Fujifilm would likely be replacing the GFX-50S with a new model soon. Sure enough, they are!

What Fujirumors has so far reported on the new version is that it will be in the same body as the GFX100S, which means that it will also have IBIS, it will have the same sensor as the GFX-50S and GFX-50R, and it will cost only $4,000 (and $4,500 when bundled with the upcoming GF35-70mm lens). That’s stunning!

Even though it’s an older sensor, I really appreciate how the GFX-50S renders pictures, particularly in shadows. I don’t mind that the camera won’t include a brand-new sensor. What I hope is that it includes a new processor, preferably the one inside the GFX100S. If the GFX-50S is a GFX100S, except with an “old” 50-megapixel sensor instead of a new 100-megapixel sensor, for only four thousand dollars, that’s unbelievable! It will be a hit, I have no doubts about it. I might have to get one myself.

It should be mentioned that, for most people, there’s not a big advantage of GFX over Fujifilm X. Yes, GFX produces lovely pictures that are a pixel-peeper’s dream, but unless you print very large, crop really deeply, and/or need that extra dynamic range in the shadows, Fujifilm X cameras will serve you very well for a whole lot less money.

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 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: 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

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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
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.