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Fujifilm GFX 100 Test: The 100 Megapixels Camera


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The Fujifilm GFX100 excels in the test in particular with its previously unattained image quality. The medium format sensor with a resolution of 100 megapixels scores with extreme sharpness, an impressive level of detail and astonishingly low image noise. The equipment is also tough: robust magnesium housing, cinema 4K video mode and much more underpin the professional ambitions of the camera of Fujifilm GFX100.

The only weak point in the test is the speed, which could be a little faster with both autofocus and continuous shooting. In view of the sensor format and lens size, however, these deficits are hardly surprising. In sum, the professional system camera marks the current leader in our list of the best. But also with the price.


Fujifilm GFX100: In review with the highest resolution
With the Fujifilm GFX100, the name says it all: With around 100 megapixels, the professional DSLM has a higher resolution than any other model in the test. Every single shot measures an incredible 11,648 x 8,736 pixels. What would be very daring in the field of APS-C or 35mm image sensors is less crazy here: the Fujifilm GFX100 uses a medium format sensor that has around 70 percent more area than 35mm chips like a Sony Alpha 7R IV with its 61 megapixels. Projected, the pixel pitch is even the same as that of the Sony. However, the Fujifilm should still have a decisive advantage: the lenses.
 
A total of eight lenses, including six fixed focal lengths and two zooms, are available for the Fujifilm GFX100. A ninth lens, the GF 50 mm f / 3.5, is already on the way. That doesn't sound like much at first. However, the GFX system has only been on the market for a little over two years, making it one of the youngest camera series. With focal lengths between 23 and 250 mm and a 1.4x teleconverter, important areas are already covered. The GFX only lacks a 1: 1 macro. The closest to this is the 120 mm f / 4 with its 1: 0.5-fold imaging performance. In connection with the 100 megapixels of the Fujifilm GFX100, this should therefore represent a temporary solution.
 
By the way: The larger image sensor results in a negative focal length extension when converting to a small image; Or, to put it nicely, a reduction in the focal length by a factor of 0.79. For example, the fixed focal length of 63 mm on the GFX corresponds to about 50 mm on 35mm images, 23 mm therefore 18 mm.


Fujifilm GFX100: awesome photos to record
But what is the previously mentioned advantage? In their size. The optics of the Fujifilm GFX100 are certainly anything but compact, sometimes even several kilos without being particularly bright. The brightest models only achieve f / 2. However, the extraordinarily high imaging performance of the GFX optics compensates for price, weight and the moderately high light intensity. Even on the Fujifilm GFX100 with its 100 megapixels, the optics are impressive. In the 100 percent view on the screen, even the finest details such as animal hair and fabric structures shine clearly.
 
In the laboratory, the Fujifilm GFX100 achieves up to 4,358 line pairs per image height, a new record and a good 70 percent more than the Sony Alpha 7R III served. In addition, there is an astonishingly high lens quality. Even in the 1: 1 view, chromatic aberrations, alias color fringes, can hardly or not at all. Only a slight vignetting occurs with some lenses such as the 63 mm f / 2.8. But that's not something that cannot be quickly corrected in Lightroom or Capture One.


Fujifilm GFX100: High ISO? No problem!
Another no less impressive achievement of the Fujifilm GFX100 or its image sensor: the noise processing. In view of the resolution of 100 megapixels, anyone who suspects that from ISO 800 more interfering pixels appear than details can breathe a sigh of relief: Image noise is only an issue from ISO 3,200. Of course, this applies to the 100 percent view. When printing out in A3 size, even ISO 12,800 can be used without noticeable compromises in terms of details, sharpness or color reproduction. Even in the screen view, recordings appear reasonable with this high light sensitivity:

 

Fujifilm GFX100: data battle
Because the biggest downside of such a gigantic resolution is the enormous amount of data. Even a 128 GByte memory card only holds 650 images of uncompressed RAWs. Compressed RAWs can save space. However, compression artifacts occur, especially in dark areas, when subsequently brightening, so we tend to advise against compressed RAWs. Also in the context of being able to use the full 15 light values dynamic range of the sensor. For JPEGs, we recommend the best possible level "Super Fine", which delivers comparatively opulent but reasonable file sizes. The following table shows the differences:

 

FUJIFILM GFX100: FILE SIZE COMPARISON

Container 16 bit 14 bit 8 bit

RAW (uncompressed)

208.1 Mbytes

208.1 Mbytes

-

RAW (lossless compressed)

109.6 Mbytes

84.2 Mbytes

-

JPEG (Super Fine)

-

-

30.0 Mbytes

 

In view of the amount of data, not only very large SD cards with at least 32, or better 64 GByte, prove to be very advisable, but also fast models with the UHS-II standard. Since the Fujifilm GFX100 also has two card slots with UHS-II support, we recommend splitting JPEG and RAW over both slots to speed up data storage a little. A little joke on the side: With a 256 MB Card that we still had in the drawer, we crashed the camera after it was triggered. The writing process took the camera a little too long.
 
But sponge about it, after all, no one should seriously consider using such an old SD card. A reduced resolution and different aspect ratios for RAWs do, however. For JPEGs, in addition to the sensor aspect ratio of 4: 3, there are also other sizes and formats to choose from, including 3: 2 (90 Mpixel), 1: 1 (76 MPixel) and 16: 9 (76 MPixel). We would like something like that for RAWs, similar to what Canon and Nikon offer.

 

Fujifilm GFX100: Professional video mode
In addition to the excellent image quality for single shots, the image quality of the video mode, which is anything but self-evident for a medium format camera, is convincing. Cinema-4K (DCI, 17: 9) with 400 Mbit, all-intra-compression and 30 frames per second marks the best possible setting. Since the entire sensor is read out, there is no additional crop factor. Meanwhile, moving images appear wonderfully sharp and rich in detail via supersampling. Full HD resolution is also available and accelerates the frame rate to a maximum of 60 frames per second. Slow motion, however, is missing.
 
There is the flat color profile V-Log, HLG profile for HDR videos, connections for microphone and headphones as well as h.265 container with internal 4: 2: 0 10 bit or via mini-HDMI external 4: 2: 2 10 bit recording. If you prefer a cinematic look without subsequent processing on the computer, you can switch to one of the ten film simulations such as Acros and Eterna, as in photo mode. It is also practical that the tri-axial foldable, 3.2-inch, high-resolution screen has a touch function.

This means that filmmakers can easily move the focus point by pointing a finger while the recording is in progress. It works surprisingly well and quickly. However, an external microphone is advisable, especially since the integrated microphone records the audible noises of the autofocus motor.

Fujifilm GFX100: Fast!
Speaking of autofocus: In the laboratory and mostly in practice, the 425 well-distributed phase autofocus fields impress with their quick and accurate focusing. The Fujifilm GFX100 is only suitable to a limited extent for action and sports shots. On the one hand, due to the sluggish series image rate of only 4.3 images per second and a series length of only 80 images for JPEG and 16 for RAW which is still a solid performance in relation to the sensor resolution. On the other hand, the focus motor does not seem to keep up with the optics.
 
The tracking remains visible on the subject as indicated by the green squares on the screen. When viewing the photos afterwards, however, the mare does not always seem ideally focused. The assumption is that the large focus lens in GFX optics is simply too heavy for such extremely dynamic subjects to move quickly enough. With less hectic subjects, however, the focus almost always hits the spot, which is why most of the photos achieve the level of detail and sharpness that was initially praised. And that even up to an astonishingly long shutter speed: With the GFX 63 mm f / 2.8, images can be shake-free even at 1/8 seconds.

This is made possible on the one hand by the dampened mechanical shutter to minimize shutter shock. On the other hand, a world first: The Fujifilm GFX100 is the first medium format camera to have a movable sensor; or in short, a mechanical image stabilizer. According to the manufacturer, this enables longer exposures of up to 5.5 f-stops. Given the extreme resolution, the shutter speed should be at least 1 / (double the focal length) second, 1/8 of a second at 63 mm proves to be an impressive performance of the stabilizer. Although the compensation of around four light values in our case does not quite match the promised value.

 

Fujifilm GFX100: double-edged housing
Another highlight is the case itself. The 1.4 kilogram case not only weighs almost as much as a tank, but also feels correspondingly robust. Rain and dust shouldn't affect this racing car any more than a few rough bumps. Of course, we didn't want to test it for insurance reasons. However, we would trust the GFX100. The fact that the professional DSLM is as heavy and as large as a Nikon D5 is due to its integrated portrait handle, as is the case with the sports DSLR. In contrast to the Nikon, Fujifilm did not exactly clone the handle.

When held horizontally, the curve lies comfortably in the hand, but less when held vertically due to the smaller and more angular curvature. After all, the shutter release, focus joystick, six direct buttons and the quick menu button as well as the two knurled wheels are duplicated and easy to use. We especially love the mode switch button under the shutter release button, which switches between A and M exposure modes at the touch of a button.

The two monochrome OLED displays, on the other hand, appear a bit attached; once a large one on the right shoulder, once a small one under the folding display. What makes perfect sense with a DSLR due to the optical viewfinder, plays a less important role with a DSLM. After all, a display always flickers anyway, which also shows the information displayed on the OLEDs, such as exposure settings, remaining storage space and histogram. And no, the display on the back cannot be deactivated to save power. At least we couldn't find a corresponding setting, but would be a sensible option given the two OLEDs.
 
As is to be expected from a medium format camera with such a high resolution, the Fujifilm GFX100 is not exactly one of the energy-saving models. A maximum of 188 Ultra HD video minutes and 910 releases sound quite decent for a mirrorless. However, the GFX100 only achieves this value if the two battery compartments are filled with NP-T125 batteries. If you use the included viewfinder, you only get around 470 pictures and that should be the more likely value. Because working with the extremely high-resolution OLED viewfinder and its around 5.7 million subpixels as well as a huge 0.87-fold display is simply fun. The rear display is only intended to be used for image control.
 
The camera can be charged via a USB Type-C cable and a power bank. However, this is happening so slowly that it seems to be more of a stopgap solution. With around 1.5 hours for a full charge, the included charging cradle charges significantly faster. In addition, Fujifilm has the AC-15V power adapter in its range for around 120 euros, which is ideal for studio shoots, for example. Apropos: The DSLM offers tethered shooting via USB and ac-WLAN as well as the connection of studio flashes via mini sync cable.

 

Fujifilm GFX100: Tool for professionals
The Fujifilm GFX100 is likely to be used most often in the studio. Sure, the image stabilizer, the astonishingly good image quality at high ISO and the sealed body set the course for outdoor shootings. But the beefy size as well as the high weight, including the lens, averages three kilograms, do not make the GFX100 a handy everyday companion. Last but not least, each shot weighs 100 megapixels and, in the case of RAWs, cannot even be saved in a smaller format. For outdoor photographers, the sister models GFX 50S and GFX 50R are much more attractive - not to mention the price.
 
With around 11,000 euros without a lens, the GFX100 is currently the most expensive camera in our list of the best - but it still proves to be a bargain. Comparable models such as the Phase One XF IQ3 100 Trichromatic cost over 40,000 euros, the Fujifilm costs just a quarter and also has exciting video functions and all kinds of useful extras. So if you get involved with the GFX100, you simply get one thing: the best overall camera that CHIP has tested so far.

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