Saturday, February 13, 2021

Fujifilm's New GFX 100S

Fujifilm's New GFX 100S
February 2021, Carl Garrard 

I've been sort of out of the camera news loop lately, so I didn't see the press release of the new GFX 100S until the day it was announced. Life has been busy, in a good way. In a way I'm kind of glad I didn't catch all the "rumors" or sneak peaks of this camera before it was announced. I'm probably in the minority when I say that I prefer a good surprise to all the leaks and rumors that are so prevalent today. My reaction to the GFX 100S announcement thus was pure excitement and wonder. This wasn't the typical reaction to cameras news, I was genuinely excited and very, very curious. After reading up on the GFX 100S, going over its design with a fine tooth comb, I have to say that this camera is a very special one. I think it has true potential to radically alter the course of professional camera products in the future. In a way, it already has.
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Whilst Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Leica, and Sony battle in the crowded full frame sensor mirrorless arena, Fujifilm has very little real competition in the "affordable" medium format realm. Pentax is the only other manufacturer with a truly affordable medium format system, and they have been very quiet in the last few years. Nearly counting out Hassleblad here, because their system is still too expensive, even with a relatively affordable camera body. Plus, Hassy just don't have the lens lineup Fujifilm or Pentax do. Not as appealing to me at least.

Everything about the GFX 100S is clean, well apportioned, well placed. The paint finish is durable but classy, the port doors hinged and hiding all the right kind of ports you need for stills and video. Love the big prominent command dial on the rear, and the flat comfy AF joystick.

But what truly separates the GFX 100S from ALL of the competition is the combination of its DSLR like design, its small size, great price, and jaw dropping image quality and autofocus performance. This is without a doubt the most alluring medium format digital camera to come to market yet, and the pre-orders are through the roof (so my friends at retailers tell me). There are several reasons why the GFX 100S is so appealing, which I will list.

  • Price for performance ratio is unbeatable in MFD ($5,999.00 body only, wow)
  • Handles like a DSLR, very comfortable
  • Ergonomics and control placement are stellar
  • Compact for its sensor size, think Canon 5D or Nikon D800 series cameras
  • Weather sealed to professional levels
  • Fast, accurate, and sensitive PDAF autofocus
  • Truly amazing 100mp sensor and overall resolution (time for a computer upgrade)
  • A massive improvement over full frame, immediately noticable
  • Sensible design decisions on its specifications, controls/and placement
Love the movie/still switch so clean, mode dial with all the custom settings, and that giant beautiful OLED sub-panel on top that is configurable. The lack of excess silkscreen text on the camera is another excellent decision. Keeping "adverts" and such to a bare minimum makes the camera look simpler and beautiful. Pretty close to how Leica are doing it. SMART.
Fujifilm have checked off many important boxes for high level enthusiasts and professionals hesitant to jump to medium format to date. Like seriously checked off the right boxes. I know many of us have been watching Fujifilm, even tempted slightly to get a medium format camera, but just weren't there yet. Not so much anymore. I know quite a few people that have pre-ordered this camera who said they would never invest into medium format. And rest assured if many in my circle are doing that, then many others are as well. 
Being able to configure the sub-monitor on top like this, is a real classy and practical move. Having a full histogram on the top panel will be a first for me, and I know I'll use it immensely!

In short, this is the first medium format digital camera that we've all been waiting for. Pentax are to be given credit for being the first to offer an "affordable" medium format, they saw the opportunity long before others did. I remember being tempted by Pentax's first medium format DSLR. It's still tempting, and its successor has very dedicated fans. But I think Fujifilm's medium format system is more appealing, and will reach more customers because it is more modern and it has more financial support and system activity. 
Basically, people are more confident to buy into Fujifilms system because of all these factors.

The massive sensor size difference is even more apparent when you view images. The difference between full frame and Medium format is much greater than the difference between APS-C and full frame. My X-H1 performs nearly as good as my 24mp full frame DSLRs in the ISO range that is used most. But it cannot hold a candle to the GFX sensor performance. If you upgrade to MF, you will definitely experience the returns for your money. Not so much with full frame I have to say.

There are those that think that high resolution full frame cameras are just as good as medium format. Make no mistake, that's not true at all. I don't  blame those who are heavily invested into full frame for creating this falsehood, it's difficult to admit that your gear is no longer the top of the hill. But for those who have shot with a Fujifilm medium format camera know exactly what I'm talking about. I was blown away at the difference, and others reactions were just as honest and humbled as mine.
Compared to the GFX 100, it's a dwarf. Keep in mind the GFX 100 is very similar to the size of the Canon 1D and Nikon D pro DSLRS.


When you factor in the jaw dropping performance of GFX lenses for this system, you realize very quickly this is a whole new professional ball game. And you can be assured that Fujfilm are only getting started with GFX. There is so much untapped potential, and performance enough to set it apart from full frame systems for decades to come.
Exceptional build quality like this excites me, plus it holds its value. This is yet another benefit of your investment to consider, as a GFX system be the much slower to depreciate than an investment into to all other systems (bar Leica M/S systems).

You can be assured I will eventually get my own GFX 100S and a few choice lenses, I've already started the process. Silly me, I thought I was set for the future with my pro landscape gear. And I could still settle on it if I wanted. Yet in one announcement, Fujifilm made me reconsider my well thought out gear choices for serious landscape and astrophotography work. The appeal of the GFX 100S is that it is the most well rounded, versatile, and high value medium format camera out there. More specifically, it's one that I can definitely enjoy using on a day to day basis as well.

Fujifilm has hit a grand slam with this camera. It's not often in this industry that manufacturers do.

Lastly I want to say that for as long as I can remember, I've stated unabashedly and clearly that the Leica S medium format camera is the most beautifully designed camera of all time. I still think so, but the GFX 100S is also beautiful, albeit in a more practical and realistically appealing way. I have always longed of owning a Leica S medium format camera, but now that longing has been replaced with a desire to own the GFX 100S instead. This is how impactful this camera is upon me.

Be prepared for some serious cat pictures in the future on Photographic Central. I can't wait to own one.

Stay focused,

p.s. Email me at if you want to purchase some top notch camera gear (cameras and lenses) through paypal. I have a lot of gear I'm ready to unload from multiple manufacturers, and I have a stellar Ebay rating as a seller (100%).

(I have removed all ads off my site to make for a more pleasurable visitation experience. I am now only relying solely on donations for any income generated on this site. If for whatever reason you feel compelled to donate, you can do so here (And much appreciated in advance!):

GFX 100S shown with optional MHG-GFX S metal hand grip, a nice accessory to have when using very large lenses.

Moving the AF switch to the back, two thumbs up. Mostly good choices on button placement. However the playback button should be where the delete button currently is, the Q button relocated to the playback button spot, and drive button where the Q button is (at least how I see it).

Such clean engineering. In this case, the silkscreened GFX logo is touch of class. Hinged port doors are clean, no floppy fiddly rubber gasket types, easy to open and close.


  1. Thanks for sharing your valuable post about Fujifilm's New GFX 100S that is really convincing for buying. Another thing is, despite offering most of the capability of the twin-grip GFX 100, the smaller camera is significantly less expensive. It should be available around March with a recommended price of $5,999.
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  2. You share here about the Fujifilm's New GFX 100S this is really convincing for buying.

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  3. Fujifilm's New GFX 100S is looking really fantastic! I thought the cannon 200D model is the most compact DSLR among others camera brands. But, it looks like GFX 100S is more compact than 200D!