The GFX 100S is Fujifilm’s most compelling digital medium format camera to date, taking the advances of the earlier 100 and squeezing them into a body that’s considerably more compact and less than two thirds the price. Like the model before it, the 100S delivers hugely detailed images with the easy out-of-camera quality we’ve come to expect from Fujifilm, coupled with modern autofocus and built-in stabilisation that makes the camera handle like a more nimble smaller format.
But unlike the hefty 100 with its built-in portrait grip, the 100S is physically more akin to a semi-pro DSLR in your hands, like a Canon EOS 5D or Nikon D800. Of course the GF lenses are typically larger and more expensive to accommodate the bigger sensor behind them, but fit the GF 50mm f3.5 and you have a surprisingly portable system that just happens to be capturing superior images to anything currently costing less than ten grand – and again the technology inside allows you to achieve the full potential in fairly casual use.
While the $6000 or 5500 pound body price clearly ranks it as an expensive camera, it’s a relative bargain in the medium format World, and crucially now crosses over into the territory of flagship full-framers like the Sony Alpha 1. They are of course very different cameras. The GFX 100S may be one of the fastest and most responsive medium format cameras to date, but if you’re into capturing fast sports or wildlife, it can’t hold a candle to the best of the smaller formats. And again in my tests the stabilisation and eye detection weren’t as consistently foolproof either. It’s also important to note the highest resolution full-frame bodies may not match the single frame resolution of the GFX 100S, but some come close, such as the Sony A7r IV.
Plus again there’s the lenses to consider. Fujifilm has steadily grown the GF catalogue to 12 lenses, including three zooms, a fast telephoto and a compact general-purpose, but the full-frame market has considerably more choice in focal lengths, apertures, physical sizes and crucially pricing. Putting together a GFX system is going to require some investment.
Ultimately the GFX 100S is ideal for those who demand the best image quality under five figures and who desire a different experience to full-frame. I’ve always loved how Fujifilm engages with my heart as well as my head, and like the X-series bodies, I simply enjoyed shooting with the GFX 100S a great deal. It couples the style of the X-series both in terms of physical design and out-of-camera quality, with the refreshingly different approach to shooting with a larger sensor and its correspondingly longer focal lengths. The result is one of the most inspirational and satisfying cameras I’ve used for a long time. If it suits your style of shooting, and you have the budget, the GFX 100S is a tremendous camera and I look forward to seeing how Fujifilm grows the system.Check prices on the Fujifilm GFX 100S at B&H, Adorama, WEX or Calumet.de! Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!