Fuji GFX Gallery Images Deep-Dive

A closer look at real-world image quality from Fuji's medium format camera

by | Posted 02/25/2017

With its huge 50-megapixel medium format sensor, there's no doubt that with the Fuji GFX, high image quality, as well as top-notch fine detail resolving power, are some of its key attributes. After posting an initial batch of real-world gallery images shortly after receiving the camera during the CP+ trade show in Japan, it made sense to take another look, this time with a fine-toothed comb, and dive into the GFX's image quality performance. Here, we'll take a closer look at a variety of topics such as resolving power and sharpness, as well as a few "gotchas" like moiré and dealing with the shallower depth of field that comes with a larger sensor size.

Please note that this is just an initial look at the camera's image quality based on real-world images. We'll have much more definitive image quality comparisons and detailed analysis, once we get the camera back to the States and into our lab.

Fuji GFX Image Quality and Fine Detail

Fuji 63mm f/2.8 R WR: 63mm, f/2.8, 1/850s, ISO 100

In the image above, which was shot at f/2.8, shows that despite the very shallow depth of field, the 63mm f/2.8 lens is very sharp and the GFX is capable resolving lots of fine detail with this lens, even wide open. As you can see in the 100% crop example, you make out single strands of hair as well as various subtle textures like the felt-like fabric and the herringbone pattern on the hatband of this man's hat.

Fuji 63mm f/2.8 R WR: 63mm, f/5.6, 1/90s, ISO 100

In this next example, the resolving power of the Fuji GFX is perhaps even more apparent and definitely extremely impressive. In this fairly wide shot, you can zoom all the way in and not only make out people inside this building, but you can also discern incredibly small details such as the distinctive Adidas logo on the woman's hat and even a subtle pattern on the back wall inside the building through the glass window!

While I've only just begun shooting the GFX, and so far, most of the gallery images have been shot at low ISOs, there are a few shots at relatively higher ISOs, such as ISO 1600. Fear not, though, as we plan to add more low-light and higher ISO shots to our review as we test the camera further. For now, let's look at a few example of ISO 1600 shots up close:

Fuji 63mm f/2.8 R WR: 63mm, f/2.8, 1/2000s, ISO 1600

In this ISO 1600 image, although I perhaps didn't completely nail focus on this player's face, the image still displays a lot of fine detail, such as individual hairs and beads of sweat. The in-camera noise reduction, set to its default level, does appear to be softening the image somewhat, but overall, the quality is very good. In the second crop of the player's jersey, you can see that even lower-contrast detail like the mesh texture of the jersey comes through despite the higher ISO and NR processing. The characteristic of the noise itself at this ISO level is quite pleasant and not distracting nor overly detrimental to the overall image quality (at least in my opinion).

Fuji 63mm f/2.8 R WR: 63mm, f/4, 1/60s, ISO 1600

In this ISO 1600 image, shot under more pleasing lighting conditions, again showcases the level of fine detail the GFX is able to capture despite the raised ISO sensitivity.

The weather here in Yokohama has been rather varied, but the majority of the conditions has been party cloudy or straight overcast. It's also winter, so there's not a lot of plants or foliage in bloom yet (I also have to be in a major city), but I was able to capture a few shot of colorful flowers to provide an example of the GFX's color rendition capabilities. With the default Provia film simulation preset, the images below display nice contrast and bright, vibrant colors that aren't overly saturated. This behavior feels similar to our experience with other Fuji cameras, such as the X-T2.

Fuji 63mm f/2.8 R WR: 63mm, f/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 100
Fuji 63mm f/2.8 R WR: 63mm, f/2.8, 1/250s, ISO 100
Watch out for moiré due to the lack of an optical low-pass filter

Like a growing number of cameras these days, the Fuji GFX's Bayer-type sensor does not utilize an optical low-pass filter. While this is excellent for capturing more per-pixel sharpness -- the GFX's forte -- it raises the risk of capturing unsightly and difficult-to-remove moiré and other aliasing artifacts. In my time shooting with the camera so far, I have managed to capture a few images with visible moiré, but overall, the occurrence of these artifacts has been fairly minimal. However, depending on a number of factors, such as focal length, distance to your subject as well as the type and size of objects in the frame like meshes, fabrics and other fine, repeating patterns, your experience might be different, so bear that in mind.

Fuji 63mm f/2.8 R WR: 63mm, f/5.6, 1/280s, ISO 100

Fuji 63mm f/2.8 R WR: 63mm, f/5.6, 1/180s, ISO 100

Keeping things sharp: GFX's large, high-res sensor can be tricky

The last thing I want to discuss is the potential difficulty in shooting a camera with such a large, high-resolution sensor. Given the GFX's high-resolution and large sensor size, it can be very tricky to capture and crisp, sharp image with focus where you want it. Like I experienced and discuss in my Canon 5DSR Field Test, the high-megapixel count of the GFX makes precise focusing all the more critical. Viewing photos at 100%, the resolution is so high that you can really tell even if your focus is off ever so slightly. The depth of field physically does not change as the megapixel count increases, but close-up, the perceived depth of field is much more noticeable.

As with the 5DSR, using the rule-of-thumb for shutter speeds of "1/focal length" may not be sufficient to get super-crisp shots. The high megapixel count makes for small pixels, and therefore much smaller amounts of movement pose a risk for per-pixel blurring. Thus, you'll need to account for this with a faster shutter speed; "1/2x focal length" is a good zone for the 5DSR, while around "1/4x focal length" was recommended to us for the 100MP Phase One XF camera. On the plus side, the GFX's sensor has a pixel-pitch of 5.3 microns, which is larger than those in the 5DSR's sensor, so this shutter speed warning might not be as critical, but it's worth mentioning and something to consider while shooting this camera. Opting for a faster shutter speed, if you can, is my recommendation.

Fuji 63mm f/2.8 R WR: 63mm, f/2.8, 1/320s, ISO 100

Now, combined with the high resolution, the GFX's larger sensor can create shallower depths of field than a full-frame camera, all things being equal. This adds to the complexity to get sharp, accurately focused images. Although, I've only had the opportunity to shoot with the 63mm f/2.8 lens, which offers a 50mm-equivalent field of view in 35mm terms. It isn't the most telephoto lens, which would shorten up that DOF even further, but you can still get very shallow DOF images with this 63mm lens. If you're shooting with Single-Shot AF mode, and you subject moves slightly (or you do), you definitely run the risk of having your shot come out slightly soft. Given the GFX's large sensor, the impact of stopping down with regards to diffraction-related softening is much less of an issue -- the 63mm lens, in fact, lets you stop down all the way to f/32. So, unless you're going for that ultra-shallow DOF look for creative reasons, don't be afraid to dial down that aperture to insure sharp photos!

Fuji 63mm f/2.8 R WR: 63mm, f/2.8, 1/640s, ISO 100
Fuji 63mm f/2.8 R WR: 63mm, f/5.0, 1/640s, ISO 100
Notice how difference in the depth of field is here in these shots, going from f/2.8 to just f/5.

That's all for now, but keep an eye on this space as we continue with our Fuji GFX review. We'll be updating the Gallery page with more shots from Japan and beyond, too. If there are particular questions or features you'd like us to explore, please let us know in the comments below!

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