Fuji GFX Field Test Part II

Taking a closer look at the GFX for video and portraiture

by Jeremy Gray | Posted 06/06/2017

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 39mm (31mm equiv.), f/4.0, 1/600s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.
Introduction

I have been shooting with the Fuji GFX 50S since early March, and it has continued to impress me. In my first Field Test, I discussed the GFX with the GF 32-64mm f/4 lens, mostly in the context of shooting landscape images. I covered the camera's ergonomics, autofocus and overall performance as well.

In this second Field Test, I will be discussing using the GFX 50S with the GF 63mm f/2.8 lens, expanding the prior discussion in a few ways and covering new topics, including the GFX 50S's video recording features and quality and its wireless functionality. I will also be discussing using the GFX as a portrait camera, primarily in the context of fast-paced environmental portraiture, and evaluate the camera's face detect and eye autofocus capabilities.

Recap of Field Test Part I

You should read my first Field Test if you haven't yet. But as a general recap and to ensure I won't be retreading too much in this second Field Test, here are the strengths and weaknesses of the GFX 50S so far.

What has impressed me so far

  • Familiar Fujifilm ergonomics and design proved fast and comfortable in real-world use
  • Battery and memory card slots are easily accessible, even when using the camera on a tripod
  • Camera's weather sealing has held up to extreme conditions
  • Detachable OLED electronic viewfinder is large and very sharp
  • Tilt adapter for the EVF is useful in the field, although expensive
  • The vertical battery grip is great
  • Tilting touchscreen display works well in many situations
  • Top e-Ink information display is customizable and helpful
  • Medium format sensor delivers fantastic image quality across wide range of ISO speeds
  • Autofocus points cover a big portion of the large image area
Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 47mm (37mm equiv.), f/16, 30s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.

What has not impressed me

  • A few buttons are oddly-placed and small
  • The neck strap attachment mechanism is odd and the strap becomes easily twisted
  • Continuous shooting performance is slow and buffer depth is very shallow
  • Accessories are good, but overpriced

Overall, the Fuji GFX 50S has been very impressive, particularly as a landscape camera. It's clearly not the right camera for everyone, nor is it meant to be a jack of all trades, but when it comes to delivering high-resolution images, you'll be very hard-pressed to do better than the GFX at its price point.

Now let's dig into the Fuji GFX 50S a bit further and see how it does in other situations while looking at more of its features.

Fujifilm's Film Simulations and other picture settings

The Fuji GFX 50S, like other digital Fuji cameras, includes Film Simulations. I briefly discussed them in my first Field Test and wanted to expand upon the options further. You can also see all the Film Simulations in action in the video below.

The standard Film Simulation is, unsurprisingly, dubbed "Standard" and is based on Fuji's Provia film. The Velvia, or "vivid," film simulation is well-suited for nature or landscape scenes as it is a higher contrast, more saturated palette. I'm a big fan of Vivid, although it can at times add a bit of an unappealing tint to white areas of a scene, such as making snow appear unnaturally blue. In my case, this is also due in part to the occasionally inconsistent automatic white balance metering. For outdoor portraiture, Fuji recommends their Astia-based "soft" film simulation, which enhances the typical range of hues for skin tones while maintaining bright blues of daylight skies. Another simulation Fuji recommends for outdoor portraiture is the "PRO Neg. Hi," which offers higher contrast than the indoor-portrait oriented "PRO Neg. Std" film simulation. A relative newcomer to the color film simulation suite is Classic Chrome, which has soft, less saturated color and higher shadow detail.

Moving to the monochrome options, there's a standard Monochrome option and a new Acros film simulation. In addition to a standard mode, Monochrome and Acros are available with yellow, red and green filters, which deepen the gray tones corresponding to the complementary hues of the selected color. For example, if you have selected the red filter, blues and greens will appear darker. I like both the yellow and red filters for shooting black and white landscapes whereas the green option is a solid choice for portraiture given that it darkens red and brown tones. Finally, there is a sepia Film Simulation available.

Fuji GFX 50S Film Simulation
1920 x 1080 video showing resized still images shot with every Film Simulation setting the GFX offers. Further, the video shows the Color Chrome Effect and the Grain Effect. There will be more on Color Chrome in the final GFX 50S Field Test. For full-size images, see the Fuji GFX 50S Gallery.
Download Original (130.1MB .MP4 File)

In addition to Film Simulation, there are additional ways to augment the look of your images in-camera. First up is Dynamic Range to help reduce overall contrast in a scene by reducing the brightness of highlight areas and increasing it in shadow areas. When using Auto Dynamic Range, the camera uses either 100 percent (standard) or 200 percent. Regarding the 200 percent option, it is available only at ISO 200 and above. There's also a further 400 percent Dynamic Range option, which is available at ISO 400 and above.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
The GFX's Dynamic Range 200% and 400% settings are grayed out unless the camera is set to at least ISO 200 or 400 respectively.

In the same vein as Dynamic Range, there are also separate highlight and shadow tone adjustments, available from -2 to +4 in whole number intervals. Additional image settings are color, sharpness and noise reduction, which can be set in whole number intervals from -4 through +4.

Fuji GFX 50S Noise Reduction Comparison
100% center crops from highest-quality JPEG images shot with the GF 63mm f/2.8 lens at f/8 with an ISO setting of 12800. Noise reduction setting noted in caption. (Click images for full-size JPEG files)
Fuji GFX Review: Field Test -- Noise Reduction Test Image Fuji GFX Review: Field Test -- Noise Reduction Test Image Fuji GFX Review: Field Test -- Noise Reduction Test Image
NR: -4 (min)
NR: 0 (default)
NR: +4 (max)

Dog hair may be generally annoying, but it does make a great test of noise reduction. In these shots, captured at ISO 12800, you can see the effect of the built-in noise reduction on these 100 percent crops of straight-from-the-camera JPEG images. Personally, I think that the default noise reduction strikes a good balance.

There is a "Lens Modulation Optimizer" option available, which is designed to "improve definition by adjusting for diffraction and the slight loss of focus at the periphery of the lens." You can see a 100 percent corner crop at f/32 with the optimizer disabled versus enabled to see the difference. With the GF63mm f/2.8, the effect is not dramatic, but it is noticeable in JPEG images. Granted, if you're shooting at apertures which introduce diffraction, you're really not taking good advantage of the GFX's sensor.

Fuji GFX 50S Lens Modulation Comparison
100% top right corner crops from highest-quality JPEG images shot with the GF 63mm f/2.8 lens at f/32. (Click images for full-size JPEG files)

Fuji GFX Review: Field Test -- Lens Modulation Test Image Fuji GFX Review: Field Test -- Lens Modulation Test Image
Lens Modulation ON
Lens Modulation OFF

If you find that you shoot with adjusted settings frequently for different situations, you can save dynamic range, film simulation, grain effect, color chrome effect, white balance, highlight tone, shadow tone, color, sharpness and noise reduction settings in seven different Custom Setting banks.

A closer look at autofocus

Face and Eye Detect AF

The GFX offers Face Detect and Eye Detect autofocus modes. Standard face detection AF generally worked well during my testing, proving capable of keeping a face in focus as the subject moved both side to side and toward the camera. Even though the camera could track the face continuously, it is worth considering that with a medium-format camera like the GFX, even a slight miss in focus can make a very big difference. Errors, be it user or camera, are magnified. For this reason, I don't foresee employing face detect AF in many cases. I'd treat it more like a last resort than a viable method for reliable autofocus.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR at 64mm (51mm equiv.), f/4, 1/450s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100 percent crop from the unedited JPEG of the above image. Face Detect AF tracked the subject very well as she walked toward the camera, but as you can see, the focus was not nailed perfectly. It's close enough for many purposes, and I'm still satisfied with the image, but I would not rely on Face Detect AF if you want excellent autofocus accuracy.

The Eye Detect AF feature is rather interesting. You can select if you want the camera to prioritize one eye over the other. Like Face Detection autofocus, it does work, but it can be a bit slow and occasionally misses its mark.

Continuous autofocus

While we are on the topic of underwhelming autofocus performance, the GFX 50S's continuous autofocus performance in general is disappointing. It is very slow, especially compared to recent full-frame cameras I've used, such as the Nikon D5, Sony A7R II and Sony A99 II. This isn't terribly surprising given the GFX 50S's reliance on a contrast detect autofocus system and its larger sensor. With that said, when focus is acquired, it is very accurate. Unlike a DSLR, there is no need to worry about autofocus fine-tuning and calibrating specific lenses in to specific camera bodies. When the GFX is in focus, it is truly in focus. The issue is that when using continuous autofocus, it can take a while to acquire focus.

Low light autofocus

It's the same story regarding low-light autofocus performance. Simply put, the GFX 50S is slow in low light. In some cases, the camera refuses to acquire focus even when the light levels aren't that low. Anecdotally, the GFX struggled in conditions that many other cameras I've used, including every recent enthusiast or pro-level camera, did not. With that said, there are instances when the camera indicates that it cannot focus, but if you ignore it and capture the image anyways, it can manage to acquire focus despite the focus area remaining red. Generally though, the GFX comes up short in low light.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR at 42mm (33mm equiv.), f/4, 1/125s, ISO 1250.
The GFX was slow to focus in these low light conditions and with a subject who is moving slightly and me handholding the camera, the slow speeds contributed to the focus just missing. There is very little room for error with the GFX and it really tests my own technique and the speed of its autofocus system. This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.
Manually focusing with the GFX

I used manual focus more with the GFX than I typically would with other cameras, and it was mostly a positive experience but not without its issues. The native GF lenses are focus-by-wire. What this basically means is that the focus ring does not physically move the elements of the lens to achieve focus, but instead acts as an input device to tell the camera how to move the lens elements. Compared to a mechanically-coupled focus ring, the focus rings on GF lenses feel a bit loose and don't have the same feeling of resistance.

Fuji GFX Review: Field Test -- Manual Focus
The full frame when manually focusing. Notice how much of the frame has focus peaking even though it cannot possibly all be in focus at f/2.8 from such a close distance.

An aspect of the GF focus rings I do like is that by rotating it faster, you can move through a larger focus distance range. When you slow down, a larger rotation distance, all else equal, can make more precise, much smaller focus adjustments. It takes a little while to get used to the rotation speed affecting how the focus ring interacts with the focus distance, but once you're used to it, it feels natural and intuitive.

Fuji GFX Review: Field Test -- Manual Focus
This is the same frame as above showing the maximum live view magnification that the GFX offers. When you zoom in, focus peaking performance does improve.

How easy is it to get a sharp, manually focused image with the GFX? That's a more complicated question to answer than you might expect. Let's first consider what sorts of magnification the GFX offers. By pressing in on the rear command dial, you can zoom in on the selected focus area. Rotating the dial switches between three different zoom amounts. I found the most zoomed-in option to be sufficient for most purposes, but I would like an option to zoom in even further for particularly challenging or small subjects.

Fuji GFX Review: Field Test -- Manual Focus
Focus peaking options include "low" and "high" in three different colors.

On top of zooming in on the subject, the GFX also has focus peaking options. There are "low" and "high" settings available in white, red and blue colors. There's a fundamental issue with focus peaking, however, both low and high settings severely overstate the area that is in focus. For example, at f/2.8, the camera may tell me that a large amount of area is in focus when it is not. There needs to be an option for less sensitive focus peaking if it is to be a very useful tool for GFX users. As it stands now, focus peaking is a tool best used with experience. You cannot trust the dots themselves, but rather the intensity of the dots. An in-focus subject will show a lot of focus peaking (I liked the red color the best) whereas an out of focus subject will show less dots. Further, the more intense the color -- and the reason why choosing white is a bad idea -- the closer you are to having your subject in focus.

GF 63mm f/2.8 lens: An optically impressive standard prime lens

Fuji GFX Review -- Product Image - GF 63mm Lens

Launched alongside the GFX 50S, the GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR is a standard 50mm-equivalent prime lens. The GF 63mm has 10 elements in 8 groups, including a fluorine-coated front element to help repel moisture; the lens itself is dust and weather-resistant and has a rubber gasket around the mount. The lens has a 9-bladed aperture diaphragm for nice out of focus blur characteristics. The focus ring rotates smoothly with a bit of resistance, allowing precise focus adjustments (although I am not a huge fan of the digital focus scale on the GFX).

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR at 63mm (50mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/70s, ISO 800.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR at 63mm (50mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/950s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.

An interesting aspect of the lens, especially in contrast to the GF 32-64mm lens, is that the 63mm lens is not an internally focusing lens. Instead, when you power on the camera, the end of the lens extends slightly and continues to move in and out as the lens focuses. This does keep the lens more compact when not in use, which is nice, but it is a bit jarring to be shooting and have the lens moving so frequently -- and loudly.

Fuji GFX Review -- Product Image - GF 63mm versus GF 32-64mm Comparison
Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 (left) versus GF 32-64mm f/4 at 64mm (right)
As you can see, there is quite a size difference between the two lenses, particularly when the zoom is set to 64mm.

Unsurprisingly, given Fuji's pedigree of making great glass, the GF 63mm f/2.8 is very sharp. But how much sharper is it than the GF 32-64mm lens at 64mm? While not in a laboratory environment, I did want to test the two lenses against each other at default picture settings and Provia Film Simulation. Below, you can see 100 percent crops from manually-focused JPEG images. Click on the links in the captions for accompanying RAW files.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR at 63mm (50mm equiv.), f/2.8
100 percent crop. Click for full-size JPEG image. Click here for RAW file.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR at 63mm (50mm equiv.), f/4.0
100 percent crop. Click for full-size JPEG image. Click here for RAW file.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR at 64mm (51mm equiv.), f/4.0
100 percent crop. Click for full-size JPEG image. Click here for RAW file.

Optically, the GF 63mm and GF 32-64mm at 64mm are remarkably similar, even when shot wide open. Both lenses offer fantastic sharpness when paired with the GFX 50S's excellent sensor. I think the zoom lens at 64mm might even be slightly better wide open, but stopping either lens down a single stop results in better performance, meaning the GF 63mm at f/4 is perhaps slightly better than the 32-64mm at f/4. Both lenses show some signs of diffraction beyond f/8, but remain sharp through f/16. Sharpness falls off more dramatically through f/32.

An aspect of the GFX 50S sensor that's important to keep in mind is that given its high resolution, any issue with optics will be magnified. Fortunately, I have not observed either lens exhibiting optical issues such as chromatic aberration or fringing. Regarding the GF 63mm f/2.8, it displays only minor vignetting when shooting wide open. Stopping down resolves vignette quickly, and it is essentially gone by f/5.6 and barely noticeable at f/4. In real world images, it was not noticeable at all.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR at 63mm (50mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/150s, ISO 100.
This is about as close as the GF 63mm f/2.8 lens can focus, which is not bad, but it is certainly not a macro lens. Click for full size image. Click here for RAW file.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR lens at 63mm (50mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO 160.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.

Shooting portraiture with the GFX highlights its strengths & weaknesses

I have taken the Fuji GFX 50S out for a couple of natural light portrait sessions. Portraiture is not my specialty, but I wanted to see how the GFX handled the situation as portraiture can be challenging to a camera in several ways. Getting accurate and pleasing skin tones can be difficult and can challenge a camera's exposure and white balance metering, for example. For the sessions I did, I was working handheld, and the model was regularly moving and mixing up poses, putting the GFX's focus to the test.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 34mm (27mm equiv.), f/4.0, 1/480s, ISO 200.
Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW file.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 64mm (51mm equiv.), f/4.0, 1/400s, ISO 400.
Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW file.

Regarding white balance and exposure metering, I found that the GFX routinely did a great job reflecting the ambient lighting conditions while not giving my subject poor skin tones. Melissa, here, has a naturally warm skin tone, and the GFX did a good job of maintaining that rather than trying to neutralize it. The exposure was often handled very well in the camera, too, using multi metering without the need for exposure compensation.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 64mm (51mm equiv.), f/4.0, 1/150s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.

I tried back button autofocus some when shooting portraits. It's my preferred method for autofocus with most cameras as it allows me to easily focus and recompose, but I found that the contrast detect autofocus system was too slow to use back button autofocus reliably. It was easier to just use the shutter release for autofocus with "focus priority" turned on (even in single-shot drive mode, the default is "release priority" -- meaning the camera will capture a shot even if you don't fully achieve crisp focus).

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 64mm (51mm equiv.), f/4.0, 1/170s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.

I don't want to continue to drone on about how continuous autofocus is problematic with the GFX, so I will instead mention that its "store AF area by orientation feature" is awesome when shooting portraits. I regularly like to switch up between landscape and portrait orientation, and the GFX, with that feature is enabled (which it is not by default), allowed me to work faster by not forcing me to constantly readjust the focus area every time I switched back and forth between orientations. It's a great feature.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR lens at 63mm (50mm equiv.), f/5.6, 1/240s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.

During the second portrait session in particular, I did some burst shooting to see how the GFX's rather small RAW buffer handled a faster-paced scenario than my typical landscape and nature work. The GFX, as we saw in the first Field Test and in our Performance results, does not shoot continuously very fast nor have a large buffer depth. However, it cycles quickly and clears its small buffer rapidly. In the real-world, I never had to wait for the camera to capture a shot; shooting speeds were plenty fast for portraiture.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR lens at 63mm (50mm equiv.), f/8.0, 1/250s, ISO 800.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.

An aspect of medium format photography that became readily apparent as the sun began setting is that without in-body image stabilization or optical image stabilization in either of the two lenses I used, shutter speed selection is very important. I think that I have good hand-holding technique -- it is something I have thought a lot about and work hard at in the field -- but the GFX's large sensor has excellent resolution and that means it captures and even emphasizes camera shake and motion blur. The camera routinely selected shutter speeds that were a bit too slow to capture sharp portraits, so I had to override it and go into shutter speed priority. Alternatively, you can select a minimum shutter speed in the Auto ISO customization menu. Ultimately, I elected to choose the shutter speed and aperture and then let the camera adjust ISO accordingly. This worked well, but other photographers might want different levels of control, which is done easily enough with the GFX.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 32mm (25mm equiv.), f/4.0, 1/250s, ISO 800.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.

On the topic of lenses, the GF 63mm f/2.8 is incredible optically. Its bokeh is beautiful, and the lens is tack sharp. It really is a great portrait lens. However, its focus speeds are slower than the 32-64mm zoom lens, and there were occasional issues with focus accuracy when stopped down. The GF 32-64, on the other hand, was fast and accurate with greater consistency.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR lens at 63mm (50mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO 250.
I love the depth that images captured with the GFX and GF 63mm lens have. This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR lens at 63mm (50mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR lens at 63mm (50mm equiv.), f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO 100.
100 percent crop of the image above. On top of having nice bokeh, the GF 63mm f/2.8 is incredibly sharp when everything comes together. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW file.

Overall, the GFX 50S is an awesome camera for capturing highly-detailed portraits. The medium format sensor renders colors beautifully and creates images with a sort of depth that I find both difficult to quantify and hard to replicate with smaller sensors. That's subjective, of course, but the sharpness of the sensor is not.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR lens at 63mm (50mm equiv.), f/4.0, 1/125s, ISO 1250.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file.

Video: 1080/30p is a frustrating limit, but the quality is not bad

It seems like every big new camera has impressive video quality and features such as 4K or at least something high speed, but the Fuji GFX 50S is an exception to the trend. Its video resolution tops out at 1920 x 1080. Further, the fastest frame rate is a mere 30 fps. Despite the specs being nothing to write home about, the video quality itself is decent. Plus, the GFX even has microphone and headphone jacks, which is somewhat surprising given its lack of emphasis on video.

Fuji GFX Review: Field Test -- Video Frame
Still image frame

Fuji GFX Review: Field Test -- Video Frame
Full HD video frame

To record video with the GFX 50S, you first must enter the "Drive Mode" menu and select video, which will immediately cut the frame to a 16:9 ratio (if the image area wasn't already set to that). Then, use shutter release button to start and stop video recording.

Fuji GFX 50S Video Compilation
1920 x 1080 video made with various 1920 x 1080 clips at 30 frames per second. Shot using the Fuji GF 32-64mm f/4 lens in aperture priority mode. ISO speeds noted as they change in the bottom left corner of the frame.
Download Original (425.2MB .MP4 File)

Fuji GFX 50S Video ISO Test
1920 x 1080 video showing clips throughout the ISO range (200 to 6400). Clips shot in aperture priority mode. ISO settings marked in the frame.
Download Original (277.1MB .MP4 File)

While recording video, the lowest ISO you can use is 200, which is a bit odd and could potentially be an issue when shooting in bright conditions with a fast lens, perhaps requiring the use of a neutral density filter. The maximum usable ISO is 6400. When recording, Auto ISO is available as is exposure compensation, which are nice features to have. The camera does a pretty good job automatically selecting exposure and adjusting to a changing scene.

Autofocus is not nearly as impressive, though, thanks to the GFX utilizing a contrast detect autofocus system. In fact, continuous autofocus hunts so frequently, even in high contrast situations, that I wouldn't use AF-C when recording video unless it is absolutely necessary. Further, only the largest autofocus area is available when using AF-C.

Fuji GFX 50S Video Continuous Autofocus Test
1920 x 1080 video showing continuous autofocus performance when switching subjects, shooting a static subject and shooting a moving subject.
Download Original (149.9MB .MP4 File)

Overall, the GFX 50S' Full HD video quality is quite nice. Across a wide range of ISO sensitivities, the camera records good-looking video. Granted, the frame rate is capped at 30 frames per second, which is a low ceiling for Full HD video recording these days.

Fujifilm GFX Field Test Part II Summary
Fuji GFX 50S continues to impress, but its performance comes with trade-offs
Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 35mm (28mm equiv.), f/13, 2.1s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file. This is a focus stack of three separate images. The linked image is roughly the middle image in the series.

What I like:

  • Fuji's Film Simulations are as excellent as they are varied
  • GF63mm f/2.8 lens is very sharp
  • Generally excellent user interface

What I dislike:

  • Video features are sparse
  • Continuous autofocus is slow and hunts a lot
  • Low light autofocus is not great
  • Face Detect and Eye Detect AF is interesting but flawed
  • Native lens selection is lacking, although new glass is coming soon

I have now had the chance to test the Fuji GFX -- and its vertical grip and EVF tilt adapter -- over a period of nearly three months with two of its three native lenses. I have shot images of varied subjects in many different situations. Heck, I've even shot with the GFX in a pair of severe winter storms. I can confidently say this about the Fuji GFX 50S: It's a special camera. The autofocus is generally very accurate, although it can be slow in low light and its continuous autofocus performance is poor. The camera can't shoot fast bursts either -- it is not a sports camera. However, its sensor is incredible, and the camera body itself is well-designed, easy to use and surprisingly compact for a medium format camera.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 32mm (25mm equiv.), f/11, 10s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file. This is a focus stack of eight separate images. The linked image is the middle image in the series.

I want to take a quick stroll down memory lane. I shot for a long time with 12-megapixel cameras; first a Nikon D300 and then a Nikon D3. The jump from the DX sensor to the FX sensor at the time blew my mind, and I thought we were reaching a pinnacle of sorts for digital imaging. Of course, my naiveté was made apparent a few years later when I bought a D800E. Landscape photography is my passion, it's what I enjoy the most, so I wanted more resolution, and I was willing to sacrifice speed to get it. Like the first time I used the D3, my first images captured with the D800E took me aback. In terms of resolution, I thought that this was probably as far as it really needed to go. And for a while that was true -- it may still be true for most photographers. Higher-resolution sensors came along, and I've shot with some of them, pixel-peeped lab images from others, but no camera ever made me look at my D800E and think that I could do all that much better with another camera body.

Enter the Fuji GFX 50S, another instance of trading speed for resolution, like moving from the D3 to the D800E. For the first time since shooting with the D800E, a camera surprised me. The level of detail that I can capture -- easily, no less -- with the GFX is staggering, and it filled me with a sense of excitement out in the field I don't often experience. For me, that's what photography is all about, it's about being deliberate in the field, experiencing nature first-hand and sharing my vision of it with others. I want my images and large prints to jump off the screen and wall and transport viewers to a special place or moment. To that end, I believe that the Fuji GFX 50S is an excellent photographic tool.

But is the GFX the right tool for you? You need to ask yourself a series of questions and determine how much you value different aspects of a camera and the overall camera system. You must consider the relative importance of characteristics such as image quality, shooting speed, autofocus performance, camera body size, native lens selection and much more. If you ultimately decide that image quality is of utmost importance to you, then you will be hard-pressed to top the Fuji GFX 50S.

Fujifilm GFX Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 32mm (25mm equiv.), f/8.0, 60s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for original image. Click here for RAW file. This is a focus stack of three separate images. The linked image is the middle image in the series.

 



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