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Friday, 27 January 2017


Most camera users intent to get only the iPhone type of pictures, not large, perfectly composed, formal images. They do not call themselves photographers. It is that need for personal visual memories that sustains the sale of camera phones and to some extend small cameras.

I hope and expect the GFX will be as wonderful as people seem to think it will be. I hope Fuji sells zillions of them. They'll then have the money for more R&D for "ordinary" X mount lenses, of which no one can have too many. I recall desperately wanting to spend $8K on a Nikon D3X body and being unable to justify it to myself or my significant other. Maybe there are more rich people than there used to be but $8K is a lot of money to sink into any camera. I've always just laughed at the Phase One crowd while secretly being jealous. The files I get now with my Fuji X T-2 are so good with such detail I wonder if anyone who does not print 20x30 or more (lots talk about it, I suspect few do it, and who has the wall space anyway) could justify the GFX. These are interesting times for photographers.

I may have mentioned this before, but when I have been using a view camera a lot, I waste fewer shots on photos that I look at later and wonder why I made them. My "wasted" photo rate has improved markedly since I started using large format cameras, even if I have not taken one out for a spin for a while.

A GF-X, or the Hasselblad X1D, seems like a perfect compliment to my current system of choice, Micro Four Thirds. And vice versa.

"I'm off to work on me book". Is that a typo or have you been mixing it with the Irish ?

[Just playin'. --Mike]

It doesn't matter, but the grasping attachment, as the Buddhists call it, is very present in most of us. Cameras as jewelry? Zone VI was mine, lately Olympus Pen F and the older Nikons.
Best tool? any of them.

Taking a sabbatical away from your chosen daily pursuit can refine your abilities and provide an avenue to know yourself better. Initially a nature/travel photog, shooting a few years of weddings helped refine my technique and vision. I was somewhat reluctantly dragged into it, but realize now the overwhelmingly positive effect it has had on my photography.
Aren't our choices wonderful? First the Leica S, then Hasselblad X1D, and now the Fuji GF-X! All very expensive, I don't know if I will make the jump (only the price of a used car!), but for an ex-LF/MF shooter just having more options is great!

I like excellent tools. I assume the GFX is excellent.

At some point, I'll see a scene where a GFX (or equivalent) will be desirable, and I won't hesitate to rent one.

Even if I had the funds, the GFX is not necessary for my style of shooting. I'm been cured of GAS.


Also carved into the temple at Delphi was, "Nothing in excess". I'd say a $500,000 car is excessive. So, even if you know yourself, don't piss off Apollo!

50 is not enough of a bump over the 36 in my D800E, and I have a nice set of lenses for Nikon.

That's where I am, sort of. The phone has taken over the snaps role mostly (still hate a phone's hap tics, though...), the 645Z is the "serious slow work/art work" camera, and the K1 is the becoming my "serious business" camera. Using it this fall alongside the Z, and right now for gallery and installation documentation shooting.

I know you would enjoy shooting DMF today.

Thus, X-trans self-dissolved with the GFX.

Indicates a deadlock.

With all due respect, Mike, I think your use of the term "FF+" is misleading and only serves to muddy the waters for folks. It's not consistent with the camera manufacturer engineering and marketing standards which is that any digital sensor format larger than 35mm "full-frame" is classified as "medium format" (MF). This includes cameras or digital backs from Pentax, Hasselblad, Fuji, and Phase One that use the "4433" or larger sensor, and they all market their cameras as MF. For example, the Phase One IQ250 also uses the 4430 sensor, and it is marketed by Phase One as MF. Morever, the "decision point" that Phase One uses to determine if it will support MF camera RAW files with Capture One is simply based on sensor size. Their current policy is that they do not support any non-Phase One MF RAW file format that is larger than "FF". Even the digital backs touted as "645" aren't 60X45 mm, they're ~54X40. I know that the current MF sensor sizes don't correlate "dimensionally" with the classifications we used to use in "the film days" for distinguishing MF from 35mm, but in reality, it doesn't matter anymore. Why? Because with the resolution we have nowadays, these old categories that we used to use as surrogates for resolution, i.e., film format size, just don't apply any more (and, It hasn't applied since 2002 when the 11 megapixel Canon 1Ds demonstrated more resolution than 4X5 sheet film). Also, it's not just the sensor size that provides the advantages MF has over FF, it's the superior way that larger MF lenses instrinsically render images on their larger sensors that provides the superiority in resolution, tonality, (color or B&W) gradation, dimensionality, noise performance, separation of planes of focus, etc. etc. that are the real-world, practical advantages and reasons MF is superior to FF when it comes to that elusive thing we call "image quality".

My neighbour recently gave me an old camera he had kept in a cupboard for years because he found it too difficult to use - it's an Olympus C1-Zoom.

Because it has all of 1.3 MP, when I tried it out, I found it improved my framing of pictures, due to the low pixel count and resulting lack of cropability (is that a word?). Still not great pictures, but now I tend to think more when using the E-M10, rather than just shooting away and relying on cropping to get a decent image.

And unlikely to make me go broke. ;-)

I've gone from lukewarm towards this camera to dangerously hot. I know I should defer to those who are more knowledgeable than I about this, but from what I can tell the GFX-50S meets the definition of medium format (as opposed to small and smaller format): greater resolution and dynamic range, shallower depth of field at a given aperture, smoother transition from in focus to out of focus, larger than 35mm and smaller than large format. And yet, it's smaller and lighter than a D800, if we equip both cameras with lenses that are roughly comparable in angle of view and speed: http://j.mp/2jRnpDu.

Phase One backs and the Hasselblad X1D are touted as "true 16-bit", but if what I've been reading lately is true, only the Phase One IQ3 100MP is truly 16-bit. The rest have a 16-bit data pipeline, but the data coming through the pipeline is 14-bit. In which case Fujifilm is distinguishing itself by being honest.

But then we come to price. The GFX-50S with a 63mm f/2.8 R WR lens is about $8000. Whereas I can buy two X-T2s equipped with battery grips, plus XF 56mm f/1.2 R and 18mm f/2.0 XF R lenses, for a total of $4996. And with this option I'll get much faster autofocus, and a more versatile system all around.

Basically, then, the same dilemma we faced in film days. I guess if you want and need medium format you know it, and then price and focus speed and so on are immaterial. If I didn't need to upgrade to the X-T2, or if I were made out of money, I'd definitely go for it. As it is, though, I guess I'll stick with the smaller cameras. But not without a few pangs of envy.

That's an interesting subject, the way using some equipment can change or improve our photography. In my case I can clearly divide my photography by before and after Fuji X100.


I think I'll just skip to the head of the queue and book time on the giant Polaroid view camera.

All your base belong to us!

Long ago I figured out that the secret to a long and happy life is to not want what you can't have. Still, I might like to borrow one if I had a wealthy friend...

I'm always lusting for medium and large format cameras. I used to own a Phase One back for my Contax 645. I just never ended up using it. It was just too big and heavy, so I never had it with me when I needed it.It had to be a planned outing with this setup, and then still I had to pack extra batteries and lenses and all this stuff, and everything felt like a big chore. So now whenever I lust after a Leica S or a Fuji GFX, I go out and shoot a roll of medium format film. It takes a long time to consciously fill up a roll of 120 film with meaningful photographs. Know thyself, or get to now thyself before you buy a boat anchor.

I can relate to this. I bought a Lumia 950 mainly for its camera module (which is fantastic: 20MP, RAW, 4:3 sensor aspect ratio, 28/1.9 lens ), and up against my Leica during the day... I don't miss much at all.

I guess this just validates the thinking to "go extreme" because the very cheapest cameras we can buy now are very, very, good.


Mike, this is not actually a comment or the the place for it, but I just wanted to pass on this link (posted on the DPR m43 forum!) in respect of Fuji vs other sensors. I am not sure it is of any importance and I have no dog in the fight being a Panssonic user right now and perfectly happy to see everyone else enjoying whatever (inferior) camera they like. Say, what? Where did that feral "inferior" come from? LOL. Seems to be an interesting discussion generating considerable heat in the comments. Just what you (and I) don't want, if course. https://petapixel.com/2017/01/27/x-trans-promise-problem/

Speaking of m43 users hanging out here -- you might check the DPReview m43 forum and you will see one reason why. In a bunch of gearhead forums, ours is notable for lots of people posting lots of pictures. Most m43 users like to use their cameras for the purpose they were made for, taking pictures and trying to do better. This is where their interests and your blog intersect, I would suggest.

Cheers, Geoff

Mike, I hate to be the self righteous sod to point this out, but when you write:
"...how would I feel if wealth inequality worked in my favor?"
My response would be "but it does, unless you earn less than $1.25 a day."

BTW I spend far more on camera gear and photography trips than I give to the poor and I covet the GFX-50S too, even though it's still out of my price bracket! ;-)

Andrew Lamb wrote: "Moving to large format just made me broke."

Not in my experience. A brand new field 4x5 camera is $1000, a Fujinon 150mm is $250, film is $5 a sheet (color) including $1 for DIY processing and $3 for B&W. A V700 scanner that allows you to print up to 24x30" comfortably is $500. A single good image will look better than any $5000 full frame camera can produce.

Now to be fair, my 4x5 is more expensive than above, but that's my choice.

It seems a race now between this camera and Hasselblad's recent one. It also seems that with all the issues the latter is having in fulfilling orders, the former may win the race?

It takes a lot of effort to realize the extra value that MF digital with more bits per pixel and many more pixels per 44x33 mm of sensor will provide. And I've still not quite finished paying for the lovely, even larger CCD-based P45+ digital back that sits on a perfectly nice eBay Hasselblad for when I want a picture with limitless detail. So the GFD and X1-D are, well, interesting, but strictly first-world problems. There are many other ways to take meaningful and sometimes striking pictures. As for my wheels -- strictly a battered 160,000 km+ Mazda 5! There is absolutely no place to use a fancier car over here.


There's a middle ground because that's where most people's needs lie.

I was out shooting landscape in the Napa/Berryessa countryside with one of my racing photographer buddies yesterday, who was using both his Canon 1Dx along with my X-T1. I handed him my X-T2 with the booster grip to shoot with for a bit. "Holy smokes, this thing is like a mini-1Dx!!!" "Yup", I drawled in reply, "see why I like it? Its as fast and responsive as a 1Dx but....it doesn't break your back."

What I'm alluding to here is that from a real-world perspective, its tough to get a lot work done with just the "extremes", an iPhone or a GFX. I wouldn't want to use either for photograping racing or war photography. While I would like, and may find a use for a GFX, it won't supplant the need for my X-T2.

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