Fuji GFX Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Fuji GFX's image quality to the highest resolution challengers we have tested to date: The 50-megapixel full-frame Canon 5DS R, the 51-megapixel medium format Pentax 645Z, the 101-megapixel medium format Phase One XF 100MP, and the 42-megapixel full-frame Sony A7R II Mark II. We've also decided to change up our typical IQ Comparison layout to accommodate larger crops -- the 250 x 250-pixel square crops normally seen in our IQ tables just don't show much from very high resolution images like these when viewed at 100%. And we've included one stop higher in terms of ISO sensitivity.

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera (except for the Phase One XF 100MP which cannot produce in-camera JPEGs), at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved: click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Fuji GFX, Canon 5DS R, Pentax 645Z, Phase One XF 100MP and Sony A7R II Mark II -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Fuji GFX to any camera we've ever tested!

Fuji GFX versus Canon 5DS R at Base ISO

Fuji GFX at ISO 100
Canon 5DS R at ISO 100
Fuji GFX at ISO 100
Canon 5DS R at ISO 100
Fuji GFX at ISO 100
Canon 5DS R at ISO 100

Here we compare the medium format Fuji GFX 50S with the full-frame Canon 5DS R at base ISO. Although on paper the Fuji has just a slightly higher resolution (51.1MP with a 8256 x 6192 pixel image versus 50.3MP with a 8688 x 5702 image for the Canon), when framed vertically the 4:3 Fuji has a larger advantage over the 3:2 Canon in terms of resolving power than their relative pixel counts would imply. As a result, the Fuji does resolve a bit more detail in this comparison, but it also applies stronger default sharpening and contrast producing a crisper image with more "pop," though with slightly more noticeable sharpening halos as well. (Note that the Canon was shot with Fine Detail Picture Style which does a better job rendering fine detail without visible sharpening artifacts than Canon's Standard Picture Style, but images also have lower contrast.) The Fuji does however show slightly lower noise levels here at ISO 100, particularly chroma noise in the shadows, but it also doesn't reproduce the subtle offset printing coloration in the mosaic crop. Both cameras show some aliasing artifacts but that is to be expected from cameras without optical low-pass filters. Interestingly, the Canon produces higher contrast in our tricky red-leaf swatch. Both cameras produce very pleasing colors as we've come to expect from Canon and Fuji.


Fuji GFX versus Pentax 645Z at Base ISO

Fuji GFX at ISO 100
Pentax 645Z at ISO 100
Fuji GFX at ISO 100
Pentax 645Z at ISO 100
Fuji GFX at ISO 100
Pentax 645Z at ISO 100

The Fuji GFX and Pentax 645Z use very similar if not identical sensors, so it's no surprise they both resolve very similar levels of detail. The Fuji's image appears crisper due to more sophisticated default processing and perhaps a slightly better lens, and it has more pleasing, accurate colors as well. The Pentax on the other hand produces much better contrast in our red-leaf swatch but it renders the pink fabric much too magenta. As expected, both show some aliasing artifacts.


Fuji GFX versus Phase One XF 100MP at Base ISO

Fuji GFX at ISO 100
Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 50
Fuji GFX at ISO 100
Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 50
Fuji GFX at ISO 100
Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 50

Although not a fair comparison, here we compare the Fuji GFX to the highest resolution camera we have ever tested at IR, the 101-megapixel Phase One XF 100MP, which has an even larger medium format sensor and sells for approximately 7.5x the price as the GFX 50S. The XF easily out-resolves the 51-megapixel GFX 50S as expected, reproducing the finest of details the Fuji simply cannot. The Phase One XF 100 MP also renders a much sharper image, while at the same time producing fewer sharpening halos around high-contrast edges. The Phase One also produces much better contrast in our tricky red-leaf swatch. Noise in flatter areas is more visible from the Phase One already here at base ISO though, even at its lower base sensitivity of 50. Be aware the Phase One camera does not produce in-camera JPEGs, requiring the use of computer software (in this case we used Phase One's Capture One at default settings), so this is another reason this comparison is unfair but still interesting.


Fuji GFX versus Sony A7R II at Base ISO

Fuji GFX at ISO 100
Sony A7R II at ISO 100
Fuji GFX at ISO 100
Sony A7R II at ISO 100
Fuji GFX at ISO 100
Sony A7R II at ISO 100

The 51-megapixel GFX easily out-resolves Sony's 42-megapixel full-frame A7R II mirrorless, as expected. Once again, the Fuji shows lower chroma noise in the shadows, but the Sony does a better job at reproducing the offset printing coloration in the mosaic crop. Sharpening halos are practically nonexistent from the Sony, but they aren't very obtrusive from the GFX. Both cameras show some aliasing artifacts but the difference in resolution happens to make moiré patterns more visible from the Sony in our red-leaf swatch. Similar to what we saw with the other cameras, the Sony A7R II produces much better contrast in our red-leaf swatch, however overall color is warmer and more accurate from the Fuji.


Fuji GFX versus Canon 5DS R at ISO 1600

Fuji GFX at ISO 1600
Canon 5DS R at ISO 1600
Fuji GFX at ISO 1600
Canon 5DS R at ISO 1600
Fuji GFX at ISO 1600
Canon 5DS R at ISO 1600

The Fuji GFX's image quality advantage over the Canon 5DS R increases here a ISO 1600, with the Canon producing much higher luminance noise as can be readily seen in flatter areas, and as a consequence, its default noise reduction begins to blur fine detail more than the Fuji's does. This is particularly evident in the red-leaf swatch which has become noticeably softer with much of the fine thread pattern blurred away. The Fuji has also lost some subtle detail in the red-leaf fabric, though not to the same extent. Contrast in the red-leaf swatch does however remain better from the Canon.


Fuji GFX versus Pentax 645Z at ISO 1600

Fuji GFX at ISO 1600
Pentax 645Z at ISO 1600
Fuji GFX at ISO 1600
Pentax 645Z at ISO 1600
Fuji GFX at ISO 1600
Pentax 645Z at ISO 1600

Here at ISO 1600, the Fuji produces a noticeably cleaner, crisper and brighter image even though amount of detail preserved is still comparable. However most of the difference is due to better JPEG processing from the Fuji, as noise levels in RAW files appear very similar. Subtle detail in our tricky red-leaf swatch has been degraded more by the Pentax, however contrast is still a bit better. The Fuji continues to produce better colors.


Fuji GFX versus Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 1600

Fuji GFX at ISO 1600
Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 1600
Fuji GFX at ISO 1600
Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 1600
Fuji GFX at ISO 1600
Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 1600

While the Phase One XF continues to readily out-resolve the GFX here at ISO 1600, its resolution advantage isn't nearly as great as at base ISO. The Phase One's image is much grainier and default noise reduction distorts fine detail and edges more than the GFX. The Phase One image is crisper and contrast remains higher in the red-leaf swatch, though, however color is better from the Fuji. In case you're wondering, resampling the Phase One down to the GFX's image size of 51 megapixels reduces the appearance of noise, but the GFX's image is still significantly cleaner.


Fuji GFX versus Sony A7R II at ISO 1600

Fuji GFX at ISO 1600
Sony A7R II at ISO 1600
Fuji GFX at ISO 1600
Sony A7R II at ISO 1600
Fuji GFX at ISO 1600
Sony A7R II at ISO 1600

Here at ISO 1600, the Fuji GFX continues to out-resolve the Sony A7R II. Both show similar levels of noise, however the Fuji's grain pattern is a bit more regular and film-like. The Sony shows much higher contrast in our red-leaf swatch and still shows more moiré patterns, however most of the fine thread pattern has been blurred away by noise reduction.


Fuji GFX versus Canon 5DS R at ISO 3200

Fuji GFX at ISO 3200
Canon 5DS R at ISO 3200
Fuji GFX at ISO 3200
Canon 5DS R at ISO 3200
Fuji GFX at ISO 3200
Canon 5DS R at ISO 3200

The Fuji GFX's image quality continues to pull away from the Canon 5DS R's at ISO 3200, with a much cleaner, crisper, more detailed image all around. The Canon's default noise reduction is working pretty hard at this point, which unfortunately blurs and distorts fine detail while still leaving behind a lot of noise "grain".

Fuji GFX versus Pentax 645Z at ISO 3200

Fuji GFX at ISO 3200
Pentax 645Z at ISO 3200
Fuji GFX at ISO 3200
Pentax 645Z at ISO 3200
Fuji GFX at ISO 3200
Pentax 645Z at ISO 3200

Here at ISO 3200, the GFX continues to produce a noticeably cleaner, crisper and punchier JPEG image with better color than the 645Z. And again, the leaf pattern in our tricky red-leaf swatch has been blurred more by the Pentax's default noise reduction.


Fuji GFX versus Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 3200

Fuji GFX at ISO 3200
Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 3200
Fuji GFX at ISO 3200
Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 3200
Fuji GFX at ISO 3200
Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 3200

The Fuji GFX image is dramatically cleaner than the Phase One image here at ISO 3200, with fewer noise reduction artifacts. The XF 100MP continues to be a little crisper with better contrast, but overall the Fuji comes out ahead here with lower noise, fewer noise reduction artifacts and better color. Keep in mind this is with default settings, so it's possible with some careful processing the added resolution provided by the 100MP will allow you to apply stronger noise reduction while still retaining better detail, but the Fuji still comes out ahead in terms of noise when you simply resample the Phase One image down to the same 51 megapixel size.


Fuji GFX versus Sony A7R II at ISO 3200

Fuji GFX at ISO 3200
Sony A7R II at ISO 3200
Fuji GFX at ISO 3200
Sony A7R II at ISO 3200
Fuji GFX at ISO 3200
Sony A7R II at ISO 3200

Again, the Fuji GFX bests the Sony A7R II in this comparison at ISO 3200, producing a cleaner, crisper, more detailed image with better color and fewer noise reduction artifacts. The Sony continues to produce better contrast in our troublesome red-leaf swatch, however fine detail is more distorted than the Fuji's.


Fuji GFX versus Canon 5DS R at ISO 6400

Fuji GFX at ISO 6400
Canon 5DS R at ISO 6400
Fuji GFX at ISO 6400
Canon 5DS R at ISO 6400
Fuji GFX at ISO 6400
Canon 5DS R at ISO 6400

At ISO 6400, the Fuji GFX's image quality is so much better than the Canon 5DS R's, that it can barely see the Canon in its rear-view mirror! The GFX appears more than a stop better in terms of noise, and still produces a much sharper (even though sharpening tends to exacerbate noise) and clearer image with far fewer noise reduction artifacts.

Fuji GFX versus Pentax 645Z at ISO 6400

Fuji GFX at ISO 6400
Pentax 645Z at ISO 6400
Fuji GFX at ISO 6400
Pentax 645Z at ISO 6400
Fuji GFX at ISO 6400
Pentax 645Z at ISO 6400

Here at ISO 6400, the Fuji continues to produce a noticeably cleaner, crisper and more detailed JPEG than the Pentax with a tighter noise grain and better color as well, but again that's mostly due to better processing from the Fuji as RAW files contain similar noise characteristics. Both cameras blur our troublesome red-lead swatch, but the GFX holds on to a bit more detail.


Fuji GFX versus Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 6400

Fuji GFX at ISO 6400
Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 6400
Fuji GFX at ISO 6400
Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 6400
Fuji GFX at ISO 6400
Phase One XF 100MP at ISO 6400

The Fuji image is again dramatically cleaner than the Phase One here at ISO 6400, with far fewer noise reduction artifacts. The XF 100MP continues to be a little crisper with better contrast, but overall the Fuji comes out ahead here with lower noise, better detail retention, fewer noise reduction artifacts and better color.


Fuji GFX versus Sony A7R II at ISO 6400

Fuji GFX at ISO 6400
Sony A7R II at ISO 6400
Fuji GFX at ISO 6400
Sony A7R II at ISO 6400
Fuji GFX at ISO 6400
Sony A7R II at ISO 6400

Once again, the Fuji GFX easily wins this comparison, producing a cleaner, crisper, more detailed image with better color and fewer noise reduction artifacts than the Sony A7R II.


High-Contrast Detail: Fuji GFX versus Canon 5DS R, Pentax 645Z, Phase One XF 100MP, and Sony A7R II

 
Base ISO
ISO 6400
ISO 12,800
Fuji GFX
Base ISO: 100
Canon 5DS R
Base ISO: 100
Pentax 645Z
Base ISO: 100
Phase One
Base ISO: 50
Sony A7R II
Base ISO: 100
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing the camera in different ways, so we like to look at it too. Here, the Fuji GFX does very well, producing better contrast and lower noise than the Canon 5DS R and Sony A7R II, and fewer false colors than the Pentax 645Z. Unsurprisingly, the Phase One performs the best in terms of detail and contrast at base ISO, however noise is quite noticeable at ISO 6400 and 12,800.

 

Fuji GFX Print Quality Analysis

Stunningly detailed 30 x 40 inch prints up to ISO 3200; Usable 11 x 14 inch prints up to ISO 25,600; Nice 8 x 10 inch prints all the way until ISO 51,200!

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageISO 50 through 1600 images are stunningly detailed with amazingly clean noise characteristics as ISO rises, making the medium-format GFX capable of producing crisp, clear prints all the way up to 30 x 40 inches. Up to ISO 400, images are pretty much identical, and we only start to see a hint of shadow noise -- that appears more like a fine grain -- at ISO 800, which doesn't negatively affect print quality size. Throughout this ISO range, prints are super crisp with tons of resolution, and colors are pleasing and nicely saturated. A stunning print quality performance from the GFX!

ISO 3200 prints begin to display a bit more shadow noise, but the level of sharp, fine detail is still excellent all the way up to 30 x 40 inches. At lower ISOs, you could probably get away with printing even larger sizes, however 30 x 40 in. prints are the largest we test. Here at ISO 3200, we'd recommend stopping right at 30 x 40 inches; any larger and noise might become an issue.

ISO 6400 images display slightly stronger noise, but they maintain a film-like graininess, which isn't overly detrimental to print quality. At this ISO, the Fuji GFX still manages to produce an impressively-large 24 x 36 inch print. Detail is excellent, and despite the increase in shadow/background noise, it's not likely to have a negative effect given the typical viewing distance for a print of this size.

ISO 12,800 prints top-out at 16 x 20 inches; an amazingly large print for this ISO sensitivity. Color is still rich, and the prints still have nice contrast, but noise reduces fine detail in some lower-contrast areas, such as our notoriously tricky red fabric swatches. In other places, fine detail is still visible and quite sharp and clear.

ISO 25,600 images still manage to have very well-controlled noise, despite now hitting the GFX's expanded ISO range, but noise is stronger now and it's taking its toll on subtler, finer detail. An 11 x 14 inch print just passes muster, which is still quite remarkable.

ISO 51,200 prints reach a new benchmark: 8 x 10 inches. Never before have we had a camera capable of a usable 8 x 10 inch print at this ISO setting. At this print size, noise is surprisingly well-controlled and the print has lots of detail throughout. In the shadows, a combination of noise and noise reduction processing reduces fine detail to a degree as well as displays a somewhat mottled appearance in some areas. Colors are also slightly less vibrant. Overall, feel free to print 8 x 10's all the way up to this ISO!

ISO 102,400 images, alas, finally hit a point of too much noise and too little detail for us to consider acceptable. Perhaps a 5 x 7 inch print would work for less critical applications, but we'd avoid this ISO if printmaking is your end goal.

Wow! Talk about an absolutely stunning performance in our print quality analysis. The new 50MP medium-format Fuji GFX packs an incredible amount of resolving power and sophisticated image processing, making it capable of impressive prints at up to 30 x 40 inches (at least) all the way up to ISO 3200! Below ISO 3200, you could make even larger prints, but we hit the limit of our testing size. As ISO rises, the GFX displays excellent noise control, with a very gradual increase in noise; and the noise that we can see is very finely-grained, almost film-like. As such, the camera is capable of shockingly large prints, such as a 24 x 36 at ISO 6400 and even just hitting the mark for a quality 11 x 14 inch print at ISO 25,600. At ISO 51,200, the Fuji GFX takes the crown as king of the 8 x 10 inch print! Besting high ISO heavyweights from Nikon, such as the D810, which topped-out at ISO 25,600 for that print size, the GFX manages an impressively clean 8 x 10 at this super-high ISO level. At the maximum expanded ISO of 102,400, however, images are a bit too noisy for our taste, and this ISO should be avoided for quality prints.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageTesting hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)

 



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