Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Fuji GFX 100s

The museum where I work may be updating the camera equipment in its photo studio, so Fujifilm USA sent me a GFX 100s and three lenses (GF 24mm f/4, GF 45-100mm f/4, and GF 120mm f/4 Macro) to test out for a week. I’ve been shooting Fuji’s X series for several years now, and I consider it a very competent, versatile system. However, there is “capable” and there is “CAPABLE”. This camera fits easily into the latter, as you will soon see.


If you’ve read any of my past reviews, you already know that I don’t bother with scientific testing. Not only am I not interested in those findings, I believe that, for the most part, in today’s world of photography, they are ultimately pointless. Any current camera (by Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax/Ricoh, Fuji, Panasonic, or Leica) that you might buy will take great photos; it’s really as simple as that. When a “test” determines one current camera to be better than another current camera, it’s usually only a marginal gain, and never miles. This is why I encourage folks to buy a camera with the features they need (and will actually use), rather than buy into the “it slices, it dices” marketing. If you are already working in photography, then you know what those features are. If you are new to photography, join a camera club or head on down to your local camera store, and put a few models from different manufacturers in your hand–go with what feels good ergonomically, and I’m certain that you won’t be disappointed.

I don’t only offer this advice to others. I follow it myself, which is why I chose Fuji’s crop sensors for my personal work. That said, there are quantifiable differences between sensor sizes, some positive and some negative, which gets us to the point of this practical review of the Fuji GFX 100s.

The black OLED display on the top of the camera shows your settings even when the camera is turned off.

So what are some of the differences between sensors of different sizes, and do we really need medium format or is full frame good enough?

To put it simply, larger sensors have larger pixels which gather more light. This has a trade off that affects several aspects of image quality, including dynamic range, high ISO noise, depth of field at given focal lengths and apertures, and more. Many would say that all of these trade offs favor larger sensors, but I would argue that some, such as an expanded depth of field, actually benefit the smaller sensors. In general, a full frame sensor is about as much larger than an APS-C crop sensor as the Fuji GFX sensor is larger than full frame.



This was probably an easy one to guess, but let me just say, “Holy cow!” The GFX 100s is a 100 megapixel beast, and the resolution (and dynamic range) it delivers just smokes anything else that I’ve ever used, including some older PhaseOne backs. When viewing my images on a computer, the ability to just keep zooming in is nothing short of incredible, and for museum collection photography or other types of studio commercial work, this camera does not have many equals (none at its value point).

This letter-sized image is a crop from the one below.
The GFX 100s comes equipped with screens that tilts both horizontally and vertically.


The Fuji GFX 100s merges some of the UI from the retro-oriented Fuji X series (great menu system, aperture ring on the lenses, button layout, etc.) with the ergonomics of most full frame systems (PASM dial, front/back scroll wheels, large grip, etc.). At first glance, this may seem problematic, but Fuji has done this masterfully with this camera. Everything is where you’d expect it to be, and you will feel quickly comfortable with the camera, no matter what system you are moving from. Back in the DSLR days, Fujis earliest APS-C cameras shared the chassis of several Nikon bodies, which they had to design their way around. I think this history of clever engineering shows in this medium format body.

Despite the sensor being so much larger than full frame or APS-C, I was surprised by how diminutive the body actually is (it is comparable in size to a full frame DSLR–the Canon 5D Mark IV is actually a bit wider and taller!). It is not a light system, especially once you add a lens, but certainly something that is easy to handhold. I even went for a hike with it.

If this were my camera, I’d add an Arca-Swiss style plate to make switching between vertical and horizontal shooting easier on a tripod (I noticed that the weight and length of the lenses made it a bit tricky to shoot in a vertical format–a strong tripod and head are recommended).


The colors from the Fuji GFX 100s are beautiful and very accurate. Of course, you can utilize a wide assortment of Fuji’s latest film simulations, but most working folks are probably going to be shooting in RAW.

RAW files on the GFX 100s are very large and data rich. Color bit depth is an incredible 16-bit, which is beyond the needs of most users, but a great asset for cultural heritage and collections photographers. Both highlights and shadows have elasticity well beyond what I am used to, and even specular highlights have a pleasing character vs. what my crop sensor bodies can manage.

The specular reflections on the water have more of a “film feel” to me, than the harsh fall off of most digital cameras.
I was able to recover an amazing amount of shadow info in this image.


My main criticisms with this camera are tethered to its assets as a system, and just go to show that I don’t need this level of camera for my personal work (though, I am eyeballing that GFX 50s MkII).

First, I have a 2019 MacBook Pro and my system definitely took noticeable time to render and process files from this camera. It was enough that I would never use this camera to shoot an event with my current computer system. Even going through the handful of images that I shot on my hike felt like a chore. That said, my computer does not have the newer M1 chip either, which might change things a bit.

Second, though the Fuji GFX system is the affordable option for digital medium format, it is still pricey, and a body and lens set are well beyond what I can invest currently. In fact, my entire X system, consisting of three bodies, nine lenses, flashes, video LEDs, and more cost less than this camera body alone. That said, if you are one of the photographers that works in a field that requires what this camera can do, then you just need it, and that’s that.


The Fuji GFX 100s has entirely lived up to my expectations for a camera of this pedigree. It is a remarkably powerful tool that delivers exceptional images and with dependable precision. If you are a fine artist, or a product, landscape, or portrait photographer, you should 100% look into this system.

Compared to other medium format lines, the GFX cameras are undeniably more flexible (with weather sealing!), faster, and more enjoyable to shoot than the likes of PhaseOne, Hasselblad and Pentax. A huge thanks to Fujifilm for sending one out for me to try (and asking for nothing in return)!

Camera images shot with Fuji X-E3 with Fuji 50mm f/2 WR lens.


4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] Fuji GFX 100s […]

  2. matneym said, on December 18, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    One of the perks of where you work.

  3. Jason Gray said, on December 18, 2021 at 4:59 pm


  4. […] whether or not I will need something more in my next camera is a relevant one. I’ve used the Fuji GFX 100s, so I feel familiar with what gains can be expected from more resolution (as well as from a larger […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: