GFX100s for a weekend - My Thoughts



I recently had the chance to try out the new GFX100s for a few days.


It's an upgrade/change that still intrigues me and after reading so much about the next logical step was a hands-on test, the only real way to see if it would work for me. If you have read any of my other blog entries you may already know that I believe that how a camera feels in your hand and how it feels to use, is as, if not more important than the specs. There are some things about the GFX50s that annoy me, but after using it for so long I've found ways to work around these things, and more importantly, there are things about the GFX50s that I absolutely love.


The GFX100s is a wonderful camera, but it's not for me yet. I feel that although Fuji has made some improvements from the GFX50s, they have also removed some of the good things from the camera.

These are my thoughts, from my perspective and the way I use a camera, it is in no way a general review. There are people much more qualified than me to be able to review this camera.


Sensor

The effects of this were less than I was hoping for. The one thing that would be a reason for change would be the increase from 50mp to 100mp, but only for the increased ability to crop further into the image. I was hoping that an increase in pixels would make up for the lack of a native lens, longer than the GF250. It doesn't at least not as much as I was expecting.


Auto-focus

There has also been an incredible improvement here too. The auto-focus is leaps and bounds ahead of the GFX50s when it hits its target. I would have liked more time to try this further, but I had times when I felt that it was ever so slightly off and I had more consistent although slower results with the GFX50s.


Viewfinder / EVF - Pros and cons here too, although the cons outway the pros.

The EVF in the GFX100s is incredible, I thought that the GFX50s was good but it is not comparable, they are worlds apart. The EVF is a joy to look at, but I missed the tilt so much, too much. It was an innovative idea and one that allowed the camera to stand out from the pack, it is such a shame that they decided to remove it. I avoided getting it at first, I would even say refused to get it as I found it too expensive and even though it now never leaves my camera and I find it difficult to imagine using the camera without it, I still believe that it is seriously overpriced for what is essentially a hinge. I also believe that the price is the reason why it was discontinued, it was priced too high to be popular.


Shutter release

I didn't like the lack of tactile response from the shutter button. I like the positive click when fully pressing the shutter button on the GFX50s, this was lacking on the GFX100s.


The Drive and Playback buttons - In short, they should be swapped over.

One thing that annoys me about the GFX50s is the position of the focus switch. When I'm taking pictures my eye is on the viewfinder, I have one hand on the grip and the other on the lens. I like to be able to reach everything that I need while in this position. On the GFX50s I have to take my hand off the lens and my eye away from the viewfinder to be able to change it. This has been fixed on the GFX100s (well near enough) but has been replaced with another problem.

There are two buttons on the camera that are not used when taking pictures and these are playback and delete buttons. Two buttons that have relatable functions, two buttons that could have been grouped together in a place on the camera where there are two buttons that are not accessible while taking pictures, yet they have been placed at different ends of the camera. I can't think of a single scenario in which I would need either of these functions while trying to capture an image, yet the playback button has been given a prime position on the rear of the camera. The delete button has been grouped together with the drive button in a position that is comparable to the focus switch on the GFX50s, in a place that is inaccessible while taking pictures. The moment when I need to change from single shot to continuous / burst mode is generally not the time when I want to take my eye away from the viewfinder.

In addition to this, the drive button is a fixed use button and although it is possible to change the function of most buttons on the camera and to duplicate those that are fixed onto another button, as far as I could see, the drive button is the only one that this is not possible for.


Joystick

I don't like this change, but not because of the use of the joystick, I've used other cameras with joysticks and have not had a problem with them, but this one needs some work. It is uncomfortable to use, there is something about the design that felt as if it was cutting into my thumb. It stopped functioning several times while navigating down the menu. I could only proceed by moving up the menu and then back down.

The joystick on the GFX50s is a better design, and as there is still more than enough space for more buttons on the back I can't see a reason to remove the d-pad.


Design materials

You can really see an improvement in the general look and feel of the body. It looks sleek and somehow more professional. The material that is used on the grip feels nicer in the hand and is of better quality than the GFX50s.

The general ergonomics between the two bodies was very similar for me. The rear bulge on the GFX50s has never bothered me, and I think that this is the reason that I didn't notice the lack of it on the GFX100s.


Tripod plate

This is one that would not be a concern for me as I would use a third-party l-plate, but it still has to be mentioned. There are three points that bother me

  1. If you design a new camera, and on the very same day that it is released, you also release a Hand Grip/base plate for it, then in my personal opinion, there is something wrong with the design. If you then design that Hand Grip with, and again, in my opinion, three errors, then it only reinforces this feeling. One of the problems with the GFX50s is that an l-plate blocks the battery compartment and has to be removed either in part or completely to be able to change the battery. The new design of the GFX100s solves this issue by having the battery in the grip. Unfortunately, the design of this Hand Grip blocks the battery compartment and would have to be removed each time the battery needed replacing.

  2. The second issue I have with this Hand Grip is that it would have been so easy to design it as an l-plate, or even just with an option for a vertical extension.

  3. The third is the position of the screw for the tripod plate, it has been placed off centre. This means that only around three-quarters of a standard tripod plate is actually on the base of the camera, the other quarter sticks out towards the back and blocks full use of the articulated screen.

For me, the handgrip feels like an incomplete afterthought. As if someone suddenly thought, "A standard tripod plate blocks the screen and the body may be too short for some hands, what are we going to do?" "I know, we'll make a metal plate for the base." "But doesn't that design block the battery and give us the same problem we had with the GFX50x?" "Yes it does, but it's too late to change it, let's hope that no one notices"


Luckily there are very good third party companies like Smallrig and ReallyRightStuff that have well-designed l-plates for the GFX100s that work past these flaws and give the ability to change the battery without having to remove it.


IBIS

I like the addition of this but I question whether it is something that I would need. The lenses that I generally shoot with all have OIS, and I tend to shoot mostly with a tripod.


Pixel shift

Wow, simply wow. The detail that can be pulled out of these images is astounding. It can only be used for landscape and still-life but it certainly has its appeal. I tried it in a few situations, the one with the most movement was waterfalls, which it handled beautifully.


I've decided to not change for now. Although there are things I disliked about the GFX100s there were also some very good changes. This will always be the case with any camera, they are not designed specifically for one person, and certainly not specifically designed for me. Although if someone from FUJI is reading this and you want any assistance with your UAT, I would be more than happy to help.

For now, I'm going to wait for the release of the rumoured GFX50s mkII, as after using the 100mp sensor, I don't think I need it as much as I thought and I would be happy with improved autofocus on a 50mp sensor.

I also hope that as Fujifilm is pushing towards the full-frame market, it may trigger the release of a longer lens.