10 days in Iceland with Fujifilm
These are my thoughts on the GFX 100s and the x100v cameras from my 10-day tour through Iceland in late April of 2022. Hopefully, this review can help you decide if this camera is for you. In addition, I’ll be talking about the four GF lenses that I brought along on the trip. I’ll probably be creating a future post on the GFX 100s for weddings review.
I have been a professional wedding and portrait photographer since 2007 and I have used cameras from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Leica, and now Fujifilm. This trip with my wife was celebrating my 40th Birthday. So, to best celebrate, before my trip, I purchased a GFX 100s with the GF 45mm F2.8 and GF 80mm F1.7. I rented the x100v and GF 23mm f4 from Borrow Lenses, and I also rented the GF 100-200 F5.6 from Lens Rentals. I have always been curious about Fujifilm cameras, but I left APS-C for full-frame cameras several years ago and really didn’t want to go back. So when these new larger Fujifilm sensors started to get a real Autofocus system they finally hit my radar.
GFX 100s Review
- Image Quality. The image quality out of this camera is simply the best I’ve ever used. From the colors to the tones it can capture it’s truly amazing.
- Medium Format. The largest notable difference that you will see with a medium format camera is the field of view you get when you photograph things/people up close. Portraits are where you see the number one advantage. Second, when you are trying to capture a large landscape up close with a wider lens, you will get way more in your field of view and see much less lens distortion. I also really like the 4/3 aspect ratio.
- 102 Megapixels. 102 megapixels is amazing for landscape images and very nice to have for portraits. I did face some problems in 2021 with the 13″ M1 mac. That particular computer was fast but it still had some issues keeping up in LR with these larger files. I currently have the Maxed out 16″ M1 Max and it does just fine. It renders 1.1 and smart previews 10 times faster than the 13″ M1. For landscapes, you can never have too many pixels. As for portraits, 102 megapixels is more than enough it does help when you want to create multiple crops. For example, You can take a horizontal image and turn it into a vertical one with no resolution issues. Also, you can create some fun 16:9 images as well, and still print very large.
- Dynamic Range. This camera demonstrates the best dynamic range I’ve ever seen. I was able to recover up to 4 stops when under-exposed and 2 stops when over-exposed. There is really no need to bracket your exposures unless you have a very intense sunset.
- High ISO. The high ISO image quality is the best I have seen yet. I use the Canon R6 for my day-to-day work, (and have taken over 400,000 images with that camera), and the GFX blows it out of the water. The GFX 50s II is also a great performer in high ISO, but the 100s still win against the 50s II.
- Autofocus. When you compare the GFX 100s autofocus to the Canon R6 or R5 it’s pretty darn slow. It falls in line more with a Sony a7 RII or a Canon EOS R. But when you compare it to the GFX 50s II it is amazing. The GFX 50s is solely contrast-detect and loves to hunt to find focus. While the GFX 100s has both contrast and phase detect, it will find focus and stop. the hunting on the GFX 50s II ended up getting pretty annoying.
- Ergonomics. This camera fits my hand like a glove.
- Handling. I feel like Fujifilm wins when it comes to button and dial settings. Every dial doubles as a push-button. This is a genius feature and gives you so much more customization. The rear directional button is a bit laggy, but still works great when you’re not in a hurry.
- EVF and Flip Screen. The EVF is fine and has great customization. As for the rear flip screen, it is hands down my favorite rear screen that I’ve used. It is thought robust and the three-away tilt is a photographer’s dream.
- Weight/Size. This camera is pretty darn light for what it is. It barely weighs more than my Canon R6 and it is just slightly larger. I was able to fit everything in the review in my Tenba Shoulder bag.
- Battery life. I was able to photograph a full day of travel with one battery and still have 25-50% left at the end of the day. I left my battery charger at home and just used a USB-C charger from Anker.
- Film Simulations. The film simulations are pretty fun. Although they are only applied to Jpeg and I never rely on a jpeg for work. The real benefit is that you can apply them to your RAW images directly in Lightroom Classic through the Camera Profile Settings. So I set my Jpeg preview to ASTIA/Soft so that I could preview what it would look like when my RAW files reached Lightroom. I was also able to match up the Fujifilm x100v by using the same film simulation. ASTIA/Soft is my favorite for colorful images and it treats skin tones very well.
- 16 Bit RAW Files. I pretty much only photographed on 16-bit. Note 16 bit will only work if you photograph on a single frame. If you switch to multiple frames the camera will bump down to 14 bit. I couldn’t tell you that I see a huge difference when editing 16-bit files unless you are pushing the colors in your image. On a 16-bit image, you can pretty much max out the color sliders and then zoom to see that the files hold up super well and still look natural. For reference here are how many levels of colors and tones there are for a (16-bit image 65,536)(14-bit image 16,384)(8-bit image 256) Most images will find their way to an 8-bit image but have a file that will allow you to get your colors where you want them before going 8-bit can make a world of difference.
- Price: Although this camera is a little pricy, there really is nothing like it on the market for under $10,000. At the current time, this camera is just under $6000 and you can see the current price on Amazon HERE. I always suggest watching the amazing used market to save a little.
- Summary. I LOVE this camera. Every time hear that shutter click it makes me smile. I know I’m taking one of the highest resolution images possible. Although the autofocus is a little slower it’s still plenty good if you know how you are going to use it. After 10 days with this camera, it’s going to be a little hard using my Canon R6.
GF 23mm F4 Review
- 18mm Feild of View Equivalent to a full-frame lens. I really enjoyed this field of view and saw very little noticeable distortion. Even when taking portraits of my wife.
- Autofocus. The autofocus on this lens is a bit slow. On continuous, it likes to jump around as if it was just using contrast-detect. I set it to S and used a custom button to set focus with shutter Autofocus turned off. This worked much better and was more consistent.
- Image Quality. This lens is sharp from edge to edge. I loved setting my crop to 16:9 so that I could see what a one image pano would look like.
- Weight. The 23mm has some weight but still feels great when paired with the GFX 100s.
- Price: As of now the GF 23mm is going for $2599. You can check the current price HERE on Amazon.
GF 45mm F2.8 Review
- 35mm Feild of View Equivalent to a full-frame lens.
- Autofocus. The autofocus on this lens is the best of the lenses I have used so far. It performs great on continuous AF as well as Single AF.
- Image Quality. This lens is exceptionally sharp at f2.8 and just get’s better. For landscape and panoramic photos, I stopped in town to f5.6.
- Weight. This is the lightest of the lenses and my favorite walk-around lens for the GFX system.
- Price. At $1699 I feel like this lens is one of the best value lenses on the system. Another cheaper option that I have played with is the Manual Focus Irix 45mm 1.4. I just found that having a good Autofocus system makes a world of difference for me. You can usually find great used options HERE on Amazon.
GF 80mm F1.7 Review
- 63mm Feild of View Equivalent to a full-frame lens. This is hands down my favorite focal length and lens for portraits. It also captures some incredible landscape images.
- Autofocus. The autofocus on this lens is decent. The lens is a little noisy but it definitely focuses well, a I prefer using Single AF for my accurate results when shooting at 1.7.
- Image Quality. I didn’t take this less off of 5.6 and it was as sharp as I could ever ask a lens to be.
- Weight. Thes lens is slightly lighter than most 70-200mm full-frame lenses.
- Price. The 80mm F1.7 is one of the more expensive lenses at $2299, but I feel like it is worth every penny. It is sharp from edge to edge and has very little vignetting. I purchased mine used on Amazon for $1899. So, if you have the time I recommend waiting for a good deal.
GF 100-200mm F5.6 Review
- 79-178mm Feild of View Equivalent to a full-frame lens. This is hands down my favorite focal length and lens for portraits. It also captures some incredible landscape images.
- Autofocus. The autofocus on this lens is decent.
- Image Quality. This lens is exceptionally sharp at f1.7 and just get’s better from f2 and up.
- Weight. This is the lightest of the lenses and my favorite walk-around lens for the GFX system.
- Price. Coming in at $1999 this seems to be a pretty good price to me. Pretty much every 70-200mm lens I’ve purchased has ranged from $2300-$2700. You can check out the Current Amazon Price HERE.
Fujifilm x100v Review
- Image Quality. The image quality out of the x100v is pretty darn good. I was pretty happy with how sharp this little 23mm f2 lens is.
- APS-C Crop. With a 35mm equivalent field of view, it was fun to compare this camera to the 45mm lens on the GFX system. There is definitely more distortion but it’s still a really fun and useful focal length.
- 26 Megapixels. 26 megapixels is plenty for a walk-around everyday camera. I have been very happy with the resolution of the images once on my computer. It’s also fun to note that if you use the built-in digital teleconverter that the camera will automatically up the resolution output to 26 megapixels when recorded to the card.
- Dynamic Range. I would say that this camera easily recovers 2-3 stops when under-exposed, which I consider to be pretty good. It’s much better when compared to the Leica Q and Leica Q2.
- ISO. The x100v does pretty well up into the 2000 ISO range. Then I would just consider adding in the built-in flash.
- Autofocus. The autofocus on this camera is very good and very reliable. The eye AF is very sticky and won’t let you down. When compared to the GFX 100s, it is definitely snappier, but it does fall behind when compared to the Canon R5 or Canon R6.
- Ergonomics/Handling. The only drawback to this camera being so small, it did take me a little bit to train my large hands not to press all the buttons. I found myself moving the front dial quite a bit. The x100v does have some fun retro dials, but I did rely mostly on the front and rear dials to make quick adjustments. The aperture ring is a little slim for my hands but works great once you spend more time with the camera.
- EVF and Flip Screen. The EVF is fun because it gives you the option of full digital or a mostly analog view with a lens overlay. Both settings are fun to use. The rear screen tilts two ways, which is plenty for such a small camera.
- Weight/Size. I still can’t believe how small this camera is. It fits in any of my pockets. I was able to keep it on my camera bag for the whole trip in a small accessory pocket. It makes a wonderful everyday camera and I took it out to breakfast and out to dinners when I wanted to leave my bag behind.
- Battery. The battery was always above 50% and I did charge it every night with a USB-C cable. It’s nice that you don’t need to bring along a charger, and one battery should be enough to get through any day of shooting.
- Film Simulations. The x100v shares enough film simulations with the GFX 100s, so you can match them up to make a synonymous editing workflow. It is always important for me to tell a story with the same style and tones and fuji makes that very easy.
- RAW files. These 14-Bit RAW files are great. I did photograph in Jpeg and RAW but found the RAW files to come out a lot sharper and cleaner in the realm of ISO noise.
- Price. For what this little camera can do, it seems to be a pretty reasonable price. Currently at $1399. You can see the updated price on Amazon HERE.
- Summary. This camera is fun and, although I rented it, I want one. At the time of my trip in April 2022, I couldn’t find any for sale. It has been back-ordered for quite a while, so I’ll have to wait a little while to get my own.
Other Gear I Used
- Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod. This is one of the best tripods I’ve used in the last 14 years. It is lightweight and quick and easy to use. I’ve always been a fan of clasp locks vs twist locks since I had a twist lock tripod not lock and fall over. Amazon Price.
- Peak Design Capture Clip. I attached this clip to my Tenba Messanger bag should strap. It was very helpful and shared the same tripod plate as the travel tripod. Amazon Price.
- Peak Design Leash Camera Strap. This is the slim version and it is my favorite strap I’ve used yet. It is strong, easy to adjust, and most times you don’t even notice it’s there. I use it for my wedding and portrait work as well. Amazon Price.
- Pixel Oppilas E3 Wireless Remote. This Remote was helpful for taking portraits of my wife and me. I bought the Fujifilm model but it also works with my Canon R6 through the generic remote port. It was a budget option and worked great. Amazon Price.
- Tenba DNA 15 Camera Bag. They no longer make the bag that I used, but there are some great new options. One of my favorite options on their bags is the side pockets that stretch to fit almost anything. I was able to fit all of the gear in this review (minus the tripod) in one bag, which was amazing. Their bags are also very durable and water-resistant. This is probably my next option for a replacement bag. Tenba DNA 16 Pro Messenger Bag