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A Simple Review of the Fujifilm GFX

04 August 2018


This is a long overdue review of  Fujifilm's GFX camera, but recently I have been photographing a lot with the Fujifilm GFX on trips and outings and loving it! The medium format space has greatly expanded over the past couple of years. This is exciting to see because honestly I have not been terribly impressed with high megapixel 35mm cameras. I don't think they are the right solution for added resolution and IQ. I believe larger sensors are needed if you want bigger files, better IQ. In recent times the price and democratization of medium format photography have come to where it was in the days of film.  We are seeing cameras like the Hasselblad X1D, Pentax 645z and the Fujifilm GFX on the market at price points that are much more affordable than their predecessors and premium counterparts. I also enjoy the look larger format sensors give over a 35mm camera, so this is an added bonus when considering a high megapixel 35mm or Medium format camera.

This Summer, my wife and I did a hike from about 7000 feet in the San Bernardino Mountains to just shy of 10000 feet. The GFX went with me on this hike along with the 63mm, and 32-64mm zoom lens. 



The Ergonomics

At first, I thought the ergonomics of the GFX were clunky at best after a couple times taking it out I found that it actually worked really well. All of the dials and buttons were in the right spots for easy use. Compared to the Leica S 007 or the Hasselblad X1D the GFX definitely has a lot busier user experience, but for some reason, it works extremely well. I did not find the excessive amount of buttons and dials confusing or busy at all. This might be due to the fact that I am a regular X user and the layouts resemble one another. 

A bit of a note, although I did not use the EVF Tilt adapter on this specific trip I have greatly enjoyed using it while on a tripod. It helps with the ergonomics of the camera so much since there is not a waste level finder with this camera at all. The X1D, to my knowledge, does not have a right angle adapter or anything of this nature, and I have used the right angle adapter with the Leica S a bit. The full range of motion found in the EVF Tilter adapter for the GFX is really a neat and useful feature. 

While hiking I found myself using the camera as I would a Leica M or smaller camera rather than using the camera as it is more intended to be used. Point and shoot photography while scaling 3k feet up the edge of a mountain worked out really well with the GFX. The autofocus and overall snappiness of the camera were great! Getting it up the mountain was no chore either since the two lenses along with the body. Small tripod and bits of snacks, survival supplies and water all fit neatly into my Atlas Athlete daypack. 



The Optics

Fujifilm knows how to build optics, and the GFX optics are fantastic. I am used to medium format lenses being much heavier than I found with the GFX lenses. This scared me at first, but the performance of these optics is fantastic! In reality, they aren't that much bigger than a Canon L series lens. 

My normal lens of choice is actually the zoom lens (32-64mm f4 R LM WR) This covers the majority of the situations I find myself using the GFX for, and it packs all the focal lengths I need into one lens without sacrificing massive amounts of image quality. I also greatly enjoy using the 120mm Macro. This incredibly sharp lens is great for portraits, and close up photography. For hiking the 32-64mm lens really shined, and I don't even think the 63mm f2.8 WR ever left my pack, although I wish I would have grabbed the 120mm lens.

 


The Image

Begining with the original X100 and the X-T1 I have loved the look Fujifilm files give me. I am a huge fan of Fuji's film simulations and the way the x-trans sensors render. The GFX is just a bigger version of Fuji's x series line of cameras. The color, and rendering is very similar. I love the dynamic range these files give me. It is something I don't see on 35mm cameras. Tonality is smooth and consistent without choppiness in gradual gradients. 



Conclusion 

The GFX is full capable medium format camera. If you are considering a high megapixel DSLR and do not necessarily need some of the faster AF features you would find in the D850, A7R III or 5DS cameras then the GFX is going to be the perfect ticket for you. The GFX is going to outperform a 35mm digital camera every day, but its not just about performance. The Fujifilm GFX is really a joy to use.