• Kaisern Chen

Fujifilm GFX100S

Updated: 4 days ago

Carry over from my blog Fujifilm GFX100

March 2021

March 5, 2021 My GFX100S delivered!

Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR

It is what it is, and as expected! It is not a small camera, but it is, by comparison, very compact to GFX100. I have been using the GFX100 since July 2019 and was not bothered by its weight and size, but I welcome the camera of similar specification in a smaller package. The weight is not what I concern much; size is; for being travel-friendly. However, it is not something I would complain although I don't mind that the GFX100S is a couple of hundred grams heavier, so it may balance better with the larger lens.

The battery is one of the factors to allows the GFX100S to be able to shrink in size. The in-camera battery capacity was reduced from two on GFX100 to single in GFX100S. It is not an unreasonable approach as GFX100 runs on one battery even when you can place two inside or just one, and the most camera runs on single battery anyway. The switch made possible from Fujifilm re-engineered the electronics, so it runs on 7.2 V than 12.6 V on GFX100. The new battery NP-W235 is about the weight and size of the older NP-T125 but has a higher capacity of 16 Wh/2,200 mAh to just 14 Wh/1,230 mAh, which means the GFX100S run on lower consumption on a higher-capacity battery so that it may outrun the GFX100 with two cells.

The GFX100S is the fourth member of the Fujifilm GFX camera line. My prediction from the introduction of Fujifilm GFX 50S still holds today - I predicted that Fujifilm would struggle to settle on the final camera design for at least 3-4 models.

Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 110mm f/2 R WR & Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR

My take on the 50S was a new mirrorless system camera built on a decades-old camera concept; 50R mimicking rangefinder but in the wrong size; GFX100 rushed to market with design half-finished!

The GFX100S appears modeled from Fujifilm's popular APS-C cameras with re-arrangements; on the other hand, it is almost like a sister camera to Panasonic S1R, a great FF camera much better built. However, the GFX100S is by no means a poorly made camera; it is decent enough, and I am without a doubt it will deliver exceptional image quality, as does the GFX100, and it is what mattered the most.

On paper, Fujifilm filled the specification sheet with most features essential for photography and much more. My perspective on the camera as an industrial designer will not make my appreciation of new photographic tools such as GFX100S any less as a photographer. The photographer's job is to learn the camera, be acquainted with the camera, and be the master.

"It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument."

~ Ansel Adams

Do I miss anything on the GFX100? The EVF - probably at the cost of more power consumption, but it is more desirable, although it is not a deciding factor for picture quality. The rest very much inherited from the GFX100, except the integrated vertical grip with convenient controls, but I take the size reduction. The GFX100 has a nice weight that makes low shutter speed shooting with more confidence; I need to find out with GFX100S. The handle feels a bit short that can be improved with an after-market "L" plate, which will also add some weight and structural strength to the camera, something I do to all my cameras, except Leica M and Q, since the founding of RRS.

Fujifilm did what the company needed to do to try to break new marketing grounds. It is a straightforward strategy: a good quality product at a bargain. It will work to some extent but will it result in what Fujifilm hopes for? I have a reservation. The old marketing tactic is again at play to use low initial volume to drive market anxiety. Better safe than risking.

It is an excellent time with technology developments available for camera makers to make great products; it is a dangerous time when only a few things are certain, camera business not among them.

Go out and shoot!

March 6 Shalika Chitkosolsuk "Screened" Samut Prakan, Thailand

Shalika Chitkosolsuk "Screened" Samut Prakan, Thailand March 6, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 32-64/4 LM WR f/11 1/80 ISO 160 Profoto A1

Shalika Chitkosolsuk, Samut Prakan, Thailand March 6, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 45/2.8 R WR f/11 1/60 ISO 160 Profoto A1

Kwankamol Jitprasert, Samut Prakan, Thailand March 6, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 45/2.8 R WR f/11 1/60 ISO 160 Profoto A1

Shalika and her cats, Samut Prakan, Thailand March 6, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 32-64/4 R LM WR f/7.1 1/60 ISO 160 Profoto A1

March 12

Red Carpet vs. Street

Photography has changed a lot and without a doubt has become one of the most popular activities involved by most people after drink and eat. The camera also becomes an object for the user to identify oneself, particularly among non-professional users. Such a trend also let rise to the accessorizing camera as a widespread photography discussion with absolutely nothing or very little to do with photography.

Likewise, the swarm of camera reviews goes as far as analyzing rumors, un-boxing, all the comical characters of initial camera review, serious, funny, crazy field review, all the way to finding ways to break the camera by putting it to laundry machine or blender. Where is authentic photography is not a concern; identification is what most are after.

The rise of digital media also helped diversify the use of images, still and animated; the content creation targets various audiences that quality of image often not the most critical concern, popularity probably is.

Here we have two good examples, the Hasselblad 907X and the newest Fujifilm GFX100S, one from a company trying to keep its head above water and one juggernaut that has probably more resources than the management capable of manage effectively.

Hasselblad 907X CFV-II 50C + XCD 45/4 P & Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 45/2.8 R WR

On the specification sheet, the Fujifilm wins in a sweep. The GFX100S with its IBIS can potentially shoot at ISO 100 when the 907X needs to push to ISO 1,600 with all other things equal. The 100MP can allow larger and higher quality print than 907X's 50MP if the user makes prints. And the system cost - camera plus several lenses. There is a logical choice to make, and the logic shows in sales.

The reality is that camera is a tool; the best tool today will be replaced by the following tool, usually better, sooner or later. Usually sooner! The old tools do not become useless; in fact, I would comfortably assume that the best 10% of pictures from a decade ago are still better than most of the images taken by the most advanced cameras today by average users. And a decade-old camera can still service what most people do with their pictures today, except instant post. We can pick one camera over another base on logic; however, logic does not rule everyone's life.

March 13 Continue working on my project Cycle of Life

Cycle of Life #21-5122 Bangkok, Thailand March 13, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 45/2.8 R WR f/11 1/100s ISO 500

March 15 My GF 80mm F1.7 R WR arrived!

Fujifilm GF 80 F1.7 R WR

The GF 80/1.7 R WR could eventually be a more practical lens for me than my GF 110/2 R LM WR because I plan to use GFX100S more outdoors than inside the studio. I am not crazy about the F/1.7 specification; what interests me is the focal length equivalence of 63mm in FF term aligns the most often use focal lengths I use with my Leica M cameras and SONY A7R III/A7R IV cameras for portraiture. Otherwise, my GF 45-100/4 R LM OIS WR is my preferred choice for general use.

Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 80mm F1.7 R WR

The lens description indicated it is not an "LM" - linear motor lens - and it does exhibit somewhat slower focusing speed and agility, which may not make the lens less functional; however, it may require more acquaintance with the lens to avoid hiccups in demanding shoots. The decision behind using a DC motor instead of a linear motor raises questions as the DC motor is noisier and reacts slower. Fujifilm must know what they are doing, but as an industrial designer, I am not sure why abandoned the linear motor, although I do believe it is a judged decision than a wrong one.

Fujifilm aims for a claim of a super-fast lens for bragging right; the lens could be a faster-focusing and more efficient one if it is an f/2-2.2. I don't usually shoot wide open, and those who did may evaluate it otherwise. Anyway, the lens is in my hand, and I need to learn to use it and make it work!

The GF 80/1.7 is not a large lens nor a small one, and it sizes well with the GFX100S, making the combination around the size and weight of a premium FF camera with 85/1.4 primes.

Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 80mm F1.7 R WR

Fujifilm's obsession with implementing the "Q" button on the back of the handgrip is a terrible one; it compromises the handgrip ergonomics and forces the hand position lower than it is necessary, which makes the handgrip feels smaller than it is! I got annoyed with the "Q" button on my GFX50R; it is forgivable on my GFX100, and I hate it is there on the GFX100S. Fujifilm now allows the user to disable the "Q" button, indicating that they knew there are complaints. It is time to remove it from the handgrip area and place it somewhere else, and it should be no bigger than other functional buttons.

Fujifilm GFX100S - the "Q" button is not a necessary design, certain not such size, and force the handgrip becomes less comfortable for handling.

For outdoor portraiture works, I can see myself using the 80/1.7 and 110/2 alternatively, and probably use the lens hood from 80/1.7 also on 110/2 to help manage the camera bag space. The GF 80/1.7 allows the closest focusing at 70cm and 0.15X max. magnification compares to GF 110/2 at 90cm and 0.16X, so if I were to limit to just one within the two lenses, then more likely, the 80/1.7 would be my pick.

Fujinon GF 110/2 R LM WR next to GF 80/1.7 R WR mounted on GFX100S

Images from 80/1.7 are coming soon!

March 17 with Katarina Gartell

Katarina Gartell, Emporio Place Bangkok, Thailand March 17, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 110/2 R LM WR f/4 1/58s ISO 100 Aperture Priority

Katarina Gartell, Emporio Place Bangkok, Thailand March 17, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 32-64/4 R LM WR f/8 1/14s ISO 100 Aperture Priority

Katarina Gartell "Screened" Emporio Place Bangkok, Thailand March 17, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 32-64/4 R LM WR f/7.1 1/8s ISO 125 Aperture Priority

Katarina Gartell, Emporio Place Bangkok, Thailand March 17, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 80/1.7 R WR f/8 1/80s ISO 200 Aperture Priority

Last frame, keep the tradition going..

Katarina Gartell behind my Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 110/2 R LM WR - shot with my SONY A7R IV + FE 35/1.4 G Master

March 20 Makkasan Community

Taking the Fujifilm GFX100S to the streets!

It is probably a debate if one needs a 102MP camera for street photographs? And such debate may never end as higher resolution, and faster cameras continue to launch. There is no answer to everything, so I don't seek a definitive answer here; instead, I let my curiosity took charge.

I want to know how Fujifilm GFX100S works, if any differently, from my SONY A7R IV, my Leica M10-D and M10 Monochrom, or the Hasselblad X1D II and 907X. And I might as well having fun.

Boonme and his beer, Makkasan Community, Bangkok, Thailand March 20, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 45/2.8 R WR f/4 1/105s ISO 200 Aperture Priority

Radda, 75-years-old Makkasan resident, Makkasan Community, Bangkok, Thailand March 20, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 45/2.8 R WR f/7.1 1/100s ISO 1,250 Aperture Priority

Yuth, Makkasan resident, Makkasan Community, Bangkok, Thailand March 20, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 45/2.8 R WR f/7.1 1/100s ISO 640 Aperture Priority

The GF 32-64/4 R LM WR was my more often used travel lens on GFX50R and GFX100 for street and portraits since it has more coverage for the sense of location and can get closer to the subject for more intimate shots. With the first street shot using GFX100S, I paired it with the GF 45/2.8 R WR to keep the size to the minimum, and it worked out well.

It has no comparison of speed in autofocus and operation to my SONY A7R IV + FE 35/1.4 GM that I shoot at this exact location a week earlier; as I expected, I probably miss a couple of shots, but overall, the result is satisfactory. The GFX100S is not my first choice nor even second choice for street shooting, but if I travel to a location where I like to shoot landscape and the environmental portrait that I could have more control, with limited luggage space and weight, I will take the GFX100S.

March 30 Chon Buri, Thailand

Trip to Rajamangala University of Technology Tawan-Ok Waterlily Institute, Chon Buri, Thailand to work on my "Cycle of Life" project.

Cycle of Life #21-5344 Chon Buri, Thailand March 30, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + Canon TS-E 90/2.8L Macro f/13 1/100s ISO 200 Aperture Priority

April 2021

April 4 Long 1919 Bangkok, Thailand

Visit the Mango International Art Fair at Lhong 1919 and stumble upon Anastasia in one of the showcases helping her artist friend for presentation. Seeing her just got a beer that is a good match to her skin and hair color while dressing in black with a black Mickey Mouse purse, I asked her to stand in front of a black wall for a quick snapshot.

It was about 6 pm when I took the shot; the outdoor natural light still plenty and soft, which helps to have an image of a smooth transition.

Anastasia Maslova with her beer and Micky Mouse, Lhong 1919 Bangkok, Thailand April 4, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 80/1.7 R WR f/3.2 1/80s ISO 400 Aperture Priority

Elena, another friend, dancer, was also there preparing for a performance with her body painted in sync with the artist's painting. I captured this shot at almost 7 pm; ambient light is low and street lamps up; I positioned her in a spot where she can get some available light with a dark steel background to get better isolation.

Elena Shargina "Body paint" Lhong 1919 Bangkok, Thailand April 4, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 80/1.7 R WR f/2.8 1/80s ISO 2,500 Aperture Priority

April 9 Izem Yilmaz

Izem Yılmaz "Always Summer" The Issara Ladprao, Bangkok, Thailand April 9, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 80/1.7 R WR f/4.5 1/800s ISO 200 Aperture Priority

The water festival "Songkran" was Thai's official New Year until 1888, when Thailand adapted the western new year during its modernization campaign. One significant Songkran tradition is paying respect to elders. For this, Thai children gently pour, not splash, scented water over parents and grandparents' palms as an act of gratitude and devotion. As Thailand promotes itself as a tourist destination, the once beautiful tradition evolved into public water fights, fueled by international visitors' added imagination; and the water bowl replaced by water pistols of all sizes and design. During the pandemic and requirement of social distancing, water pistol for once, not a poor solution!

Izem Yılmaz "Always Summer" The Issara Ladprao, Bangkok, Thailand April 9, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 80/1.7 R WR f/4 1/450s ISO 200 Aperture Priority

Izem Yilmaz "Private Moment" April 9, 2021 Fujifilm GFX100S + GF 80/1.7 R WR f/7.1 1/50s ISO 200 Manual Exposure + Profoto B10

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