Is The Fujifilm GFX100S The Ultimate Landscape Photography Camera?
Fujifilm has just announced the latest in their Medium Format Mirrorless camera lineup, the Fujifilm GXF100S. Normally I don’t get too excited for new camera announcements, but this camera could be a game changer for landscape and nature photographers that produce large format prints. Image quality is of the utmost importance in my work as a professional landscape photographer, as I produce fine art prints up to 120” in size. However, there is always a trade off with photography equipment; size and weight versus capabilities and image quality. With the Fujifilm GFX100S, this dilemma may be a thing of the past.
GFX 100S Camera Specifications
First and foremost, The GFX 100S uses the same image sensor as the 102MP BSI CMOS sensor found in the original GFX 100. The sensor size is 44x33mm, which is 1.7x the size of a full frame 35mm digital sensor. With native image file sizes of 11,648px x 8,736px, the GFX100S produces enormous files perfect for large, detailed prints. By utilizing quality enlargement software, these files can easily produce high quality 120” prints.
The second most important factor for consideration as a landscape photographer is the size and weight of the camera system. When you are carrying your gear in the wilderness for miles on end, you want a light camera. In the past, Medium Format cameras have been large, heavy and bulky compared to their full frame counterparts. The original GFX100 has dimensions of 6.15 x 6.44 x 4.05" and a weight of over 3lbs; this alone made it unrealistic for an active outdoor shooter like me. The new GFX100S is considerably smaller at 5.91 x 4.1 x 3.43" and weighs only 1.9lbs. For comparison, the Nikon Z7ii is 5.3 x 4.0 x 2.8" and 1.3lbs.
Size and resolution are two of the most important factors for active landscape photographers, but the GFX100S has several other features that make it highly capable:
- 6 stops of In Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)
- Weather sealed for durability
- Magnesium alloy body and casing
- 3.76 million phase detection pixels for fast autofocusing
- 1.8” sub LCD monitor on the top and a 3.2” tiltable touchscreen LCD on the back
- 4K/30P 4:2:0 10-bit video internally and 4K/30P 4:2:2 10-bit video via the HDMI port
- Multi-shot 400MP mode
- Dual UHS-II SD card slots
Is the GFX100S Camera Right For Me?
The GFX100S is a high-end professional camera with a price tag to match. At $6,000 USD for the body only, the camera is out of reach for many photographers. However, it is $4,000 cheaper than the original GFX100, and significantly cheaper than any other 100MP camera. For example, the Hasselblad H6D-100c is the next cheapest alternative at $33,000 USD, and the Hasselblad H6D-400c is $48,000 USD. Considering those options, the GFX100S is a very competitively priced Medium Format 102MP camera! Nonetheless, the more important question is: do you need a 102MP camera? If you aren’t actively selling large format prints or doing commercial studio work, the answer is most likely no, you don’t need it. Every major camera manufacturer including Sony, Panasonic, Nikon and Canon offer full frame sensor cameras with over 45MP at a much lower price point. If you usually just post your images online and occasionally print them, any of these full frame cameras (or crop sensor cameras) will be more than enough. The megapixel wars have been raging for many years now, mostly unnecessarily. I am an advocate of only buying what you need for your specific requirements; it doesn’t make sense to have a 50 or 100MP camera if you never print your images in large sizes.
If, however, you are a photographer that frequently produces large format prints, desires the ultimate in image quality and wants a light and compact camera system, then the GFX 100S is a very compelling solution. The price is still significant, but a far cry from the Medium Format Hasselblads that produce similar size images. I will be purchasing the GFX100S when the camera and lenses are released later this Spring 2021 and will update with a full review!
- Lowest price on the market for a 100MP camera ($6,000 vs. $33,000!)
- Small size for Medium Format, comparable to many mirrorless full frame cameras
- 102 megapixel files
- Light weight at only 1.9lbs
- Durable build and weather sealing
- Price is still significantly higher than most full frame cameras
- Limited lens selection. Fuji has several new lenses in the works, but only a handful available now
- Missing a few features from the original GFX100, such as the 5.76M dot OLED viewfinder
- MSRP: $5,999
- Sensor Size: 44x33mm
- Pixel Count: 102 MP
- Image Stabilization: 6 Stops EV
- Continuous Shooting: 5.0 fps
- Viewfinder Size/Res: 3.69M dot OLED
- Rear Screen: Two axis tilt 3.2" 2.36M-dot touchscreen
- Max Shutter Speed: 1/4000 sec
- Video: 4K/30p up to 400Mbps
- Battery Life (LCD): 460 shots
- Weight: 1.98 lbs
- Dimensions: 5.91 x 4.1 x 3.43"
2022 GFX100s Camera Update:
I've been asked when I'll have an update on GFX100s...so here it is! I did not move to the GFX100s. The primary reasons are due to two things:
1) Lack of native lens selection. This will improve over time, but I need better range coverage than what is currently offered.
2) Depth of field. The larger sensor size means that all things being equal, the depth of field is shallower than a comparable full frame. That requires stopping down to small apertures that can make low light images much tougher due to longer shutter speeds. This is a large part of my work, so I didn't want to make that more difficult.
Right now I am holding out for the rumored Canon R5s or Nikon Z8 (both rumored to be 80-100mp), which still will utilize the same size full frame sensor. This will keep depth of field the same as current full frame options, as well as having a much better lens selection.