As it Turns Out, No GFX for Me
I am sorry to report that after examining the Fuji GFX 50s system in some detail, for my work mind you, it is not quite ready for prime time. I am sure many will be happy to have it, but for the particular type of close-up work I do, it just does not quite make it. I can mention a few things, but keep in mind most of these are probably particular to me.
Although it was not that important to me, the GFX is boxy and unattractive physically. I could not have cared less, as long as it was a workhorse for the particular kind of photo work I do. Sadly, I remain unimpressed by the GFX as a workhorse, and this after putting it through its paces as to what most concerns me.
The two lenses that I purchased with it (63mm and 120mm) did not cut the mustard. The 63mm lens simply is not what I was led to expect in Fuji lenses. There was nothing I could find to recommend it, and I would have returned it if I had kept the system.
The 120mm Macro is a different story. It actually is sharp and generally OK. However it is big as all get-out and extends so far out (with its hood) from the body of the GFX that in magnified mode I picked up vibrations of the tiniest floor movement in the studio. That and the fact that its widest aperture is f/4 made it not something I would actually find myself using. And the results did not compare to many of the lenses I have for FF, like the Zeiss Otus series, and others. I had hoped it would sweep me off my feet, but here I stand.
After that, I told myself that the GFX is the least expensive 50 Mpx digital back on the market, and I have dozens of lenses (non-Fuji) that I am waiting to use on the camera. And so I did. I found out, for instance that all of the Zeiss Otus APO lenses (plus the 135mm APO Zeiss) all work well on the GFX. No vignetting, aside from the Otus 28mm, which has a slight corner darkening, but still (for my interests) very usable. That was all good, but there was bad news after that.
While your use may vary, I soon found out that mounting these non-Fuji lenses on the Fotodiox Nikon adapter (which does both “G” and older F-mount lenses) worked, but a price was paid for doing so in terms of IQ. Wanting to keep the GFX, I did my best to give the GFX the benefit of the doubt with these alternative lenses, but common sense overtook me and instead I began to doubt the benefit of doing all this. And hanging heavy glass off the end of the GFX led me to go looking around the studio for some rails I have to support the larger lenses.
And lastly, and perhaps most important for me was that (at least I found) in post-processing the raw files (using ACR) did not have the bandwidth I am used to in the Nikon D810. In particular the blacks, which on the Nikon D810 seem to stretch out forever, on the GFX were there and blown in a flash. What is this? It is almost like their files are not true raw. Perhaps they are some pre-processed form of raw, and I will await the techsperts to tell me what is happening there. As for me, I REALLY didn’t like it. If there is one thing that sealed the deal for returning the system, that was it. I need raw files with at least as much bandwidth as the Nikon raw files.
I had no trouble using the menus, and while the EVF (and LiveView) screens were not totally as nice as I had imagined, they were nicer than the ones on my Nikon D810. Still, when they get dark and grainy, they get dark and grainy. After waiting seven months for the X1D and since January for the GFX, I was loathe not to have a MF mirrorless camera, but as it turns out, I don’t have one.
Again, don’t mind me. I have a very narrow range of what I appear to need to be happy with photo gear. I wouldn’t even bother to post this report, except that I made so much noise about the advent of the GFX, that I feel I owe a report to someone, if only to myself. So, there we have it.
I will wait for the MF scene to continue to develop and perhaps Nikon might actually come across with a 50 Mpx D820 and I would be happy with that. Certainly the Nikon D810 is the finest (all around) camera I have ever used and I will continue to use it. I might even purchase a second copy!