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Saturday, 30 January 2021


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I think the term "game-changer" is abused a lot these days. I prefer to think of new camera releases as incremental steps on a ladder towards more technical competency in the photographic craft. Usually, a new model brings refined features that we can all agree represent one next rung up the ladder. But every now and then, a manufacturer surprises by jumping a model 2 or 3 steps up the ladder. I felt it when Nikon released the Nikon D800/800E in 2012. I get that feeling with Sony's latest alpha 1 (although I don't need its high frame rate feature set). I really feel it now with Fuji's GFX 100s. Maybe not a game-changer, but a definite two or more steps up the latter. Price/performance accounts for my judgement if it lives up to it's specs. I'm all in! Well, OK, just as soon as I win the lottery!

Anyway, Mike, the 100s, combined with a single prime lens like the 50 f3.5 or the 32-64mm zoom, is the medium format camera you should review for your readers...because you will give us insight, not just a rehash of the new and improved specs ;-)


I think it's kinda funny that if it's a 100mp camera that you can't afford (PhaseOne) then 100mp is complete overkill. "No photographer has a need for this. We have reached the point where the specifications on this thing are well past what anyone can actually use for, well, for anything." - Photos and Stuff blog. But... if it's a 100mp that you can afford, then all sorts of rationalization occurs. I have a "full frame" medium format back for my V-series Hasselblads and I like it very much, which has everything to do with the camera and the lenses and almost nothing to do with the mega megapixels. If you want a GFX, get one, but your long term satisfaction or dissatisfaction will come from the camera, the lenses, and the format, not the pixels.

The new Fuji GFX100S is an extremely impressive camera as is the Sony Alpha 1. But both are far in excess of what I need and are far too expensive for me. Maybe I'll pick one up in ten years time.

Hmmmmm....I actually don't think this ad is that creative or cute. Most of the talent seems to be struggling. This falls under the category I, and most of my pals that have been in advertising related industries for years, refer to as: "...not our world anymore..."; along with the humor of people like Whitney Cummings. Meh...

A major error? Trying to make $5,900 seems like 3 bucks. Might be "cheap" as medium format cameras go, but more than 1/3rd the cost of my new Kia Soul. This and three decent primes will be more than 2/3rds the cost. Not cheap in relation to anything else... And, if it's like everything else digital I own, probably not more than a 5 year professional life.

Is this targeted to professional photographers, or the upper 10%?

It's just what I've been waiting for!

But... when is the 200 megapixel version coming?

The GFX100s is a terrific replacement for the 50s. Slightly smaller, increased resolution, slightly lower intro price. It's not a GFX100 upgrade, no matter how many folks have their knickers in a twist. I won't replace my GFX100, but if I didn't have that, I'd want the 100s.

A long-predicted-but-still-astonishing product development accomplishment at such a relatively low price point. Fujifilm continues to hit 3-pointers as well as lay-ups. And to more persistently support owners with true-value firmware updates than any other manufacturer.

And let’s also not ignore the remarkable newly announced Sony A1.

How much future can PhaseOne or Hassy H have at their price ranges now? Their value propositions as professional commercial tools hang by, what, a leaf shutter?

(I’ve no plans to sell my XF/IQ160. It’s a unique full-645-frame CCD beast. But I’ve no intentions on ever upgrading it, either.)

I’m sure all my hobbyist friends are clamoring for a $6k camera.
John E

The GFX 100S is the $1,000.00 pair of jeans of the camera world.

I don't need 100 megapixels, no. I rarely print as large as 17x22, and I have prints bigger than that that look brilliant (in the technical sense; sharp and snappy and so forth :-) ) from an old 10 megapixel camera (made in entirely adequate light, and it was a pretty good 10 MP camera, a Nikon D200).

I have a friend, though, who prints to 4x6 feet fairly regularly (for commercial clients to use at trade shows; so people actually can walk right up to the prints, too). He needs more megapixels than I do! But his income is entirely from photography, so he hasn't felt he can seriously consider a camera like this (and the required lenses; and I don't think tilt lenses are available for this, which have remained his choice for product photography despite extensive experimentation with focus stacking and such).

There really are people who need more resolution than most of the cameras provide, for strictly commercial, or sometimes for artistic, reasons.

Photography has been funny the whole time I've been in it, though, in that the top professional tools are widely used by amateurs who don't really need the top-end features (as well as by some who can take advantage of those features but aren't doing photographs society finds of any significance). Back when it was Nikon Fs and even Hasselblads it didn't seem so strange, because they had a longer life-span and cost less. People made somewhat nasty jokes about dentists with Leicas or Hasselblads (nobody much likes going to the dentist, but they perform a really important service and the ones I've known are perfectly fine people).

But the shift of income distribution has produced more people who can spare the occasional 10 grand, and the usual percentage of those people are photo hobbyists, and so people are still doing it. In my better years I've had a spare $10k easily enough, and quite a few people in my field and related areas made 25% or 50% or 100% more than I did—I worked with and for many of them, could at least see salary ranges for job titles. You don't need to be a millionaire to buy things like this; top 1% (2018 figures) puts you a hair below $750,000/year, way far above anything I ever saw. Which is good for Fuji, since there are a LOT more top 10% people than there are top 1% people (more than 10x; it ain't linear).

'We don't negotiate with hobbyists' sounds more like it was stolen from Canikon!

Oh oh, medium format digital. I remember how the "photographers" decried that any size smaller than "full frame" (by which they meant 24•36mm) was totally unsuitable for professional work. Those smaller sizes had the wrong pixels, equivalence, ISO cheating, whatever. But all of a sudden, any size larger than full frame was for poseurs and rich dentists, had no practical use for real photographers, could be completely duplicated with full frame cameras, etc., etc. Sigh.

What Ken Tanaka said. I'll just add Fujifilm is going to sell the cr*p out of this camera. Personally, I don't see it as competing with FF, but rather continuing to take significant market share from Phase and Hassy. The X100S can extend the functionality and image quality of MF into commercial use-cases that weren't practical or acheivable with MF before.

And, I see pro commercial photographers like Wayne Johns, Damien Lovegrove and architectural photographers like Jeff Totaro all over it.

I'll add what Fujifilm has done with their mirrorless camera product portfolio has been an effective product portfolio strategy. They've clearly read the book Blue Ocean Strategy. By staying out of the "red ocean" of full-frame, where the water is red with blood of shark species named Canon, Nikon, Sony, Leica, & Panasonic, Fujifilm's "blue ocean strategy" has them as the dominant incumbent with very little competition in in the two "blue oceans" market segments of mirrorless APS-C and medium format. Very clever, very effective, and very profitable.

$5,999.00 will buy me a boatload of Velvia 50.

The ad's OK, but proclaiming how a $6,000 camera is such a bargain, is not unlike boasting how the X-E4 is even smaller than the X-E3.

How nice to be in a position where it doesn't affect me, not one way nor the other. I don't even have the slightest of slight desires for it.

I had a passing desire for the Q2 Mono, but really, what I'd like would be a Nikon Mono - at around a grand or so - that allowed me to use my existing arsenal of non-Z Nikkors. They should make one; why leave the game to Leica? There's enough broad interest out there in mono cameras; they do not have to remain a fat cat's niche. Lower the price for those who might now like to have a second body with which to explore wider horizons.

For me, it would be as devoid of tricks as possible; pretty much no more than a digital back.

I recently bought the best guitar I will ever own, made in Michigan in small numbers (maybe, actually, 1), for a bit more than 1/4 the price of this. It was not new and it needs accessory like amp (maybe my very nice borrowed amp made by hand also in America would make total cost 1/2 of this?). In 50 years when I am 85 this guitar will still be not new, still be beautiful. Probably also the amp will still work.

(By the way I am not American. Good American guitars still are good however.)

There's another thing that comes to mind regarding this topic, and it's illustrated by the various references to price and affordability

What does "I can't afford it" actually mean? Certainly, in my own lexicon, it implies that something is too expensive to make purchasing sense. That's quite a different thing than simply not having the funds to complete the transaction, though of course, in many instances that interpretation is also the realistic one. I think that much of the time we tend to use that remark to denote the perceived value of something at least as much as we mean to refer to the size of our wallet.

If that's true, then a serious reading of stuff in camera forums could lead camera manufacturers to make equally serious mistakes regarding the quality of the pond out there where they dip their fishing lines. I really wouldn't like to be selling anything to the general public; such a strange collection of individuals with so many different ideas about what is what and why.

[When I was young I met several pros who would not deal with the public. One said, "I'm a professional and I want to deal with professionals." He dealt with art directors, PR and advertising agencies, media buyers at companies, editors, etc. but he thought it was too much of a hassle to deal with consumers directly. --Mike]

DD-B, I've been a professional photographer all my life, had my own studio for a while in the '80's, until the drop out of the advertising market in the mid-west, then took on professional management work in corporate advertising departments, and I NEVER had a spare 10K, ever!

I made most of my income shooting with sheet film, but when I thought I'd develop more "people photography" assignments, I bought my Hasselblad and a few lenses from the local pro shop, but had to finance it with a "lease-to-own" package from a local lease company that set up leases for professionals in all businesses. It took me 5 years to pay it off. It was the only way I could afford it, and unlike today, I could absolutely rely on the idea that the equipment would last for years! Bought it in '85, and still have it today (35 years).

I certainly have known professional photographers to who 10K wouldn't have been much, but again, probably much less than 10% of all working photographers I knew!

In order to buy something like this, as a pro, it would have to meet the "years it will still be working vs. volume and pricing of work produced with it" ratio!

Not all working pros can afford these. As a matter of fact, I know of NONE who can after not working much for the past year. Well paid execs, wall street traders, dentists, tech millionaires, trust funders, photographers with rich spouses, lottery winners, the top 5% of working photogs, and people who just have to have the newest toys will probably get it. Hell, I can't even afford full frame gear. Thankfully I can do everything I need with micro 4/3 gear, from the internet, to magazine covers, double truck spreads, fine art prints, and heck even wall size prints and billboards. Pixel peeping is fun, but it doesn't pay the bills, or necessarily make clients happy or happier than the already are.

Waiting for the GFX100R.

Short take? I want it even though I shoot MFT quite happily. Would allow me to shoot square format and still have resolution to spare. But don’t need it all, just like that new Sony. It’s a solution looking for a problem.

I detect a lot of Leica sour grapes here. What one wants or needs is relative. And actually the lenses are not that expensive considering what you are getting. Whether one can afford it or not is irrelevant to its actual value. This camera is an amazing development. I have had the opportunity to shoot the GFX 100. The overall look of the photos is just different in a very good way from Full Frame or APSC sensors. The resolution is staggering. I seriously doubt Fuji thinks this is going to replace the Canon Rebel, but for someone who can afford or wants this they will be getting what appears to be an amazing camera. One reviewer who I trust was getting incredibly sharp hand held images on a 100 megapixel sensor at 1/30. WOW.

Will Fuji sell a lot of these- you betcha! In fact I would be willing to be they have already sold out of their initial production run.

I want it. Seriously! And I don't care about those who don't.

The GFX 100S will fly out of the warehouse.

If you need resolution for large prints or cropping in, or just because you need to compete commercially with the highly detailed images that are now becoming normal, this resolution at this price point is a deal-maker. Plus IBIS with all lenses means that in many cases you can shoot without a tripod that you may have needed before. For many, that combination will be irresistible.

Going by the number of new enquiries on the Fujifilm GFX group on Facebook since the launch, it seems that the GFX 100S will pull plenty of photographers across from 'full-frame' 24x36mm format.

I paid about A$6k in early 2008 when I moved seriously to digital with a Nikon D3, which I still use - so I can just about justify ("afford" being a different matter entirely) about A$9.5k a dozen years later for some 8 1/3rd x the resolution with about a 1/3rd x larger sensor - and importantly for me, which is both nearly a pound lighter and capable of being used hand-held. As the only prints I sell these days seem to be required in two sizes - large and larger (and for which 12 mp just doesn't cut it often enough, at least for my skills) - I'm seriously tempted.

I've been waiting fifteen years for this camera.

I understand the sentiment lashing out against the significant expense of such a piece of kit. Ownership for the vast majority is clearly unattainable. But I celebrate that this sort of gear exists and pushes the boundaries of the gear in our industry. More over, I think the possibility of renting this sort of gear for special projects is a remarkable opportunity and when it is commonly available on the market I look forward to that possibility.

"[When I was young I met several pros who would not deal with the public. One said, "I'm a professional and I want to deal with professionals." He dealt with art directors, PR and advertising agencies, media buyers at companies, editors, etc. but he thought it was too much of a hassle to deal with consumers directly. --Mike] "

When I first hung up my shingle I did everything I could grab just to remain afloat. That first year I shot passports, weddings, babies and all the other public rubbish that you find at the bottom of little ponds. (Not to say that some people did not make pots of money dredging this way: one I met even ran a brand new Jaguar E-Type that, at the time, cost an arm and a leg.)

Back in the 60s, passport shots were to be had out of booths for half-a-crown (an eighth part of a pound sterling; an average wage was around twenty pounds a week.). One day, my dentist came up to the studio to get a pic for his new passport. He asked how much, and when I told him he gave me a pound and refused to accept the change. I was humiliated, both because of the obvious sense of pity that he felt my earning situation represented, and even more because I knew that I was not about to argue: to remain competitive on that slide to the bottom I could not charge more than the competition was advertising. I remember shooting one baby and the parents never returning with the proofs, never answering mail, nor their door when I tried to get them at home.

I've told the story before, but I've owed my upwards change of life to David Bailey - twice. The first time was at photography college in Glasgow, where I had to attend evening classes because that was part of the deal when I got my first job in the photo unit of the engineering company where I'd been working as an apprentice engineer; getting that change of direction allowed was quite an achievement of itself. Anyway, at night school, I showed the lecturer a Vogue with some Bailey images in it, and asked the guy what he thought of it. Expecting some constructive criticism, I was shocked to hear this cat say that if he took fashion pictures the way that Bailey did, he'd give up being a photographer. I never retuned to those classes for there was nothing going down there that would have been of the slightest use to me where I wanted to go.

The second time Bailey came to the rescue was early on after I went solo: I was standing on the wet steps of a dismal Glaswegian church awaiting the arrival of some poor bride. To my mind came a vision of Bailey driving along in his Rolls-Royce, slowing down to look at me, smiling sadly and driving away. I swore to myself that I would never do any work for the public again, put all my efforts back into the original dream, and that if I couldn't make it in fashion and advertising, them I'd go back to the workshops. God was on my side.

When I finally began to raise a profile, I used to put fashion pix into the two large showcases that adorned the wall of the building. I turned up one morning to find broken glass on the pavement, and some of the pictures gone. I never replaced the broken showcase and though angry at the vandalism, I couldn't help feeling a little smug about the fact somebody took that risk just to get the photos.

But the problems were not confined to the public domain, I was to discover. One gig that I got from a chemical company (Ciba-Geigy) required that I make black/white slides of documents for a conference of some kind. I quoted the guy a per slide price and the documents kept coming in as the shoot went along, and I ended up billing him for eighty. He went ballistic. What did he expect? A discount on an already low rate?

Another little thing I was to discover as I got further along my trajectory was that dealing with people down the chain of command's not happy hunting: these people are afraid all of the time. The best working relationships I ever had was with the calendar clients, where I worked directly for the Marketing Directors or even the Vice-Chairman in one case. The beauty there lay in the fact that these guys made decisions without having to refer upstairs. Also, I was never asked to show a detailed costing breakdown for my quotations: all they really wanted was the bottom line, which told them at once if it was or was not for their company. I am certain that all of the price limit decisions had already been made long before I hit the office with my quotations.

Golden years, Mike; so glad and grateful that I had the opportunities at the time that I did, when such things were still possible.

I do not understand why people expect a MF digital camera to be cheap. After all, MF has always been dearer than smaller format ones.

A product needs to be analyzed within its context. The GXF100S is a cheap MF digital camera. Whether only 100 or 100,000,000 people have the money to buy it is irrelevant.

And we all know that the balance will swing to the higher number of people. Why? Because it is cheap.

I love the camera, but not because of any single feature (even though the specs are impressive). Instead, I see this as having a combination of features important to me, that no other brand has „in one box”:
1. 4:3 aspect ratio (not a fan of Micro 4/3)
2. Very well corrected lenses (easier to correct than for smaller formats) that do not have to be heavier or larger than direct FF/APS-C equivalents (case in point: Fuji’s own XF 50 f/1 vs GF 80 f/1.7)
2. Great image quality, dynamic range, high ISO performance AND easily hand-holdable (not a fan of lugging tripods)
3. With a GF 30mm lens and in the 65:24 aspect ratio, I can get close to a digital Hasselblad X-Pan, while maintaining very high resolution and with a preview of the panoramic composition (not a fan of cropping in post)
4. Richness and color accuracy out of the box (not a fan of tinkering in post too much)
5. Reportedly quiet shutter (my GFX 50s’ shutter is too „in your face’...)
6. Good autofocus and battery life (not a fan of slow / battery hungry cameras)
7. LIve view (not a fan of DSLR style OVFs)
8. Tilting (dual axis) rear LCD (not a fan of fully swivelling „selfie” screens)

I think the ad is dumb myself, but at least they are trying to make a different type of video. Although I have no use for the camera really, nor can I afford it, it is quite attractive as an idea. I think on balance if I was going that way I'd rather get a Canon R5/Sony MkIV with a couple of ridiculously expensive primes (35/85 f1.4s or the 28-70 f2).

Nice try, but doesn't address the reason I decided against any mirrorless camera when purchasing a D810 four year ago. Namely, banding due to on-sensor phase detection autofocus pixels. That deficiency is all the more unacceptable to me when one enters the realm of otherwise ultra-high-quality digital photography.

If and when Fuji or another manufacturer offers something that hits the 100+ megapixel threshold but relies solely on contrast detection autofocus, while staying within Fuji's GFX-100S price point, I'll give it serious consideration. Not before. Autofocus speed is irrelevant to me with a tool like this, which serves as a view camera replacement, not something needed for dynamic subjects.

My question about this is, who actually *needs* this camera to accomplish something functional? I can understand wanting it, sort of like wanting the new three-pedal, manual shift 911, for which Porsche apparently can't keep up with the demand. *Need* is a whole different thing. (By the way, I just ordered a Lensbaby "Velvet.")

I'll give you three words: "I want it!"

It's not going to happen, but that's how I feel.

Controversially, I'd go for the Hasselblad X1D IIc, in gunmetal, because at the point where I own a camera that expensive it needs to be a Thing Of Beauty.

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