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Author Topic: reflections on a rented GFX50S and 32-64mm f/4  (Read 439 times)

Eric Brody

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reflections on a rented GFX50S and 32-64mm f/4
« on: September 09, 2017, 11:43:05 AM »

I rented a Fuji GFX50S with the 32-64 f/4 for the Labor Day weekend and went to a number of my favorite haunts to photograph with it and my trusty Fuji X T-2 with the 16-55 f/2.8. I knew the GFX would have superior image quality, duh, 50MP, huge sensor. However, I wanted to know if it was worth it to me to spend the money and deal with the hassles of larger camera and larger files. My conclusions are relevant only to me.

I photographed at our local rail heritage museum with incredible detail of hammer marks and engraving on the train wheels, at Hug Point on the Oregon Coast with it's justifiably famous rocks, at our vacation home in the Columbia Gorge, great trees (despite the wildfire smoke), and at the Portland Japanese Garden, all places I've photographed for 30+ years.

I worked up the GFX50S files as I usually do with the X T-2 files, developing the lossless compressed raw files in Iridient developer, Lightroom, and Photoshop, and made prints, 12x16 inches. I made images as similar as I could with the X T-2, trading places on the tripod, a sturdy Gitzo 3 series with Arca B1 head. When I printed the X T-2 images on my Epson 3880 on Epson Premium Luster, I cropped them to the same 4:3 (a very pleasing ratio) so I could look at them with as little bias as possible. I compared files on the two cameras one f-stop apart, e.g., f/5.6 on the X T-2 with f/8 on the GFX to minimize depth of field differences. I'm certain my techniques could be criticized but it seemed pretty comparable to me.

I do not usually print larger than 20 inches on the long side and most often print 9x13 so the 12x16 seemed reasonable.

I reached the following conclusions in no particular order and have the following questions for medium format digital users:

1. At my print sizes, the images are close, photographers who stick their noses in the images can easily see the difference in detail but no one else will. On screen at 100% or 200% the differences are impressive.

2. The GFX sensor has superior detail, smoothness, and dynamic range.

3. The 4:3 aspect ratio is wonderful, makes me miss the old 4x5 ratio of my view camera even more.

4. The camera and lens combination work well on a tripod. I cannot imagine using it hand held, just too heavy, but then I like to put the diminutive X T-2 on a tripod as well for compositional rather than weight reasons. I gave up the Nikon and big zooms for size and weight reasons but do want the best quality I can get and choose to afford.

5. As a Fuji X user, the controls are intuitively similar to the X T-2. I really like the three color histogram on the GFX (hint to Fuji for a firmware improvement)

6. It's expensive, really expensive for a full kit, well over US$10k. Yes, compared to the Hasselblad and Phase One it's a bargain, but I'm a retired bum and an amateur. And yes, I remember the 24MP Nikon D3X cost US$8K.

7. I've been spoiled by my combo of excellent Fuji X and Nikon zooms, allowing me to go from super wide to decent tele with three lenses, both with the Nikon D800E and Fuji. I see nothing of the sort for the GFX even with the just released roadmap.

My questions for medium format digital photographers are:

1. The files become large relatively quickly exceeding the 4GB limit for a TIFF. How do you deal with PSB files in Lightroom, (I saw a workaround on LULA from, Wayne Fox, thanks Wayne) but it's a hassle.

2. I use a Mac Pro (trashcan) with 64GB of RAM and it still takes some extra time to process.

In conclusion, with some irony, the last time I wanted to go up in megapixels and quality, I was using a 12MP D700 and was on a workshop with Charlie Cramer. He suggested a used Phase back for my V Hasselblad. I hemmed and hawed for a bit and all of a sudden the Nikon D800/E was released, I purchased one and was quite happy for some time.

Now, again, I'm looking at a 50MP medium format camera and what appears on the scene but the Nikon D850 with its 45MP. I full well realize that the larger sensor is important but one can purchase (when they're really available and if they are as good as they look on paper) almost TWO D850's for the price of a GFX.

What's a fellow to do?

For the forseeable future, (at least until I can rent an 850 and probably decide against it that since it is not mirrorless and is heavy), Im happily sticking with my Fuji X T-2 and its wonderful lenses.

Comments would be greatly appreciated.
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jamgolf

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Re: reflections on a rented GFX50S and 32-64mm f/4
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2017, 12:38:56 PM »

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You had the right approach in forming an informed opinion based on your own usage instead of reviews or forum opinions, which are valuable but can't substitute personal due diligence.
As you stated "I do not usually print larger than 20 inches on the long side", that and the convenience of the smaller XT clearly validates your conclusion.
There are many worthy options available to us today and as you said "My conclusions are relevant only to me" - has to be the mindset, instead of broad blanket conclusions.
Cheers!
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: reflections on a rented GFX50S and 32-64mm f/4
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2017, 02:48:23 PM »

Hi,

I have been shooting MFD for a couple of years, but that was Phase One P45+ on Hasselblad 555/ELD, that is a film era system. On the DSLR side I was shooting Sony Alpha 99.

Resolution way the P45+ has shown advantage, but I don't feel it was visible at 16"x23" which is my normal print size. Going larger the P45+ had a resolution advantage, but I did not make any large prints from that P45+.

When the A7rII arrived the P45+ went into retirement.

Regarding the GFX50S, I would think that camera makes a lot of sense. But, if your Fuji X T-2 is good enough for your print sizes, there may be little benefit with the GFX50s.

Making use of 50 MP takes careful work.

Best regards
Erik

I rented a Fuji GFX50S with the 32-64 f/4 for the Labor Day weekend and went to a number of my favorite haunts to photograph with it and my trusty Fuji X T-2 with the 16-55 f/2.8. I knew the GFX would have superior image quality, duh, 50MP, huge sensor. However, I wanted to know if it was worth it to me to spend the money and deal with the hassles of larger camera and larger files. My conclusions are relevant only to me.

I photographed at our local rail heritage museum with incredible detail of hammer marks and engraving on the train wheels, at Hug Point on the Oregon Coast with it's justifiably famous rocks, at our vacation home in the Columbia Gorge, great trees (despite the wildfire smoke), and at the Portland Japanese Garden, all places I've photographed for 30+ years.

I worked up the GFX50S files as I usually do with the X T-2 files, developing the lossless compressed raw files in Iridient developer, Lightroom, and Photoshop, and made prints, 12x16 inches. I made images as similar as I could with the X T-2, trading places on the tripod, a sturdy Gitzo 3 series with Arca B1 head. When I printed the X T-2 images on my Epson 3880 on Epson Premium Luster, I cropped them to the same 4:3 (a very pleasing ratio) so I could look at them with as little bias as possible. I compared files on the two cameras one f-stop apart, e.g., f/5.6 on the X T-2 with f/8 on the GFX to minimize depth of field differences. I'm certain my techniques could be criticized but it seemed pretty comparable to me.

I do not usually print larger than 20 inches on the long side and most often print 9x13 so the 12x16 seemed reasonable.

I reached the following conclusions in no particular order and have the following questions for medium format digital users:

1. At my print sizes, the images are close, photographers who stick their noses in the images can easily see the difference in detail but no one else will. On screen at 100% or 200% the differences are impressive.

2. The GFX sensor has superior detail, smoothness, and dynamic range.

3. The 4:3 aspect ratio is wonderful, makes me miss the old 4x5 ratio of my view camera even more.

4. The camera and lens combination work well on a tripod. I cannot imagine using it hand held, just too heavy, but then I like to put the diminutive X T-2 on a tripod as well for compositional rather than weight reasons. I gave up the Nikon and big zooms for size and weight reasons but do want the best quality I can get and choose to afford.

5. As a Fuji X user, the controls are intuitively similar to the X T-2. I really like the three color histogram on the GFX (hint to Fuji for a firmware improvement)

6. It's expensive, really expensive for a full kit, well over US$10k. Yes, compared to the Hasselblad and Phase One it's a bargain, but I'm a retired bum and an amateur. And yes, I remember the 24MP Nikon D3X cost US$8K.

7. I've been spoiled by my combo of excellent Fuji X and Nikon zooms, allowing me to go from super wide to decent tele with three lenses, both with the Nikon D800E and Fuji. I see nothing of the sort for the GFX even with the just released roadmap.

My questions for medium format digital photographers are:

1. The files become large relatively quickly exceeding the 4GB limit for a TIFF. How do you deal with PSB files in Lightroom, (I saw a workaround on LULA from, Wayne Fox, thanks Wayne) but it's a hassle.

2. I use a Mac Pro (trashcan) with 64GB of RAM and it still takes some extra time to process.

In conclusion, with some irony, the last time I wanted to go up in megapixels and quality, I was using a 12MP D700 and was on a workshop with Charlie Cramer. He suggested a used Phase back for my V Hasselblad. I hemmed and hawed for a bit and all of a sudden the Nikon D800/E was released, I purchased one and was quite happy for some time.

Now, again, I'm looking at a 50MP medium format camera and what appears on the scene but the Nikon D850 with its 45MP. I full well realize that the larger sensor is important but one can purchase (when they're really available and if they are as good as they look on paper) almost TWO D850's for the price of a GFX.

What's a fellow to do?

For the forseeable future, (at least until I can rent an 850 and probably decide against it that since it is not mirrorless and is heavy), Im happily sticking with my Fuji X T-2 and its wonderful lenses.

Comments would be greatly appreciated.
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