Fujifilm GFX 100 review

Medium format, full throttle

Fujifilm GFX 100
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

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  • Superb viewfinder: big and clear
  • LCD screen responds very well to touch
  • Camera is very responsive overall

Bring the Fujifilm GFX 100 up to your eye and the size and clarity of the EVF immediately strikes you. Now that we have 5.76 million-dot viewfinders on far cheaper cameras – albeit only two, the Panasonic S1 and S1R – we expect them to be on cameras of this sort as standard. 

While its resolution makes those EVFs seem alike on the spec sheet, the GFX 100 has the upper hand for magnification, at 0.86x versus the 0.78x of the two Panasonic cameras (in 35mm terms). And the result is glorious: the image is large and bright, and really fills your view with a wonderfully clear reproduction of the scene. One small issue we found is minor color fringing across the edges of some details on occasion, but this affects many similar viewfinders too.

The primary LCD screen is a very good performer overall, being nice and clear outdoors, and responding well to the touch when used to set the focus point, with slightly less sensitivity than when swiping through captured images (which isn't unusual). The degree of movement is very good, but one issue is that the EVF's protrusion means the LCD can't be fully adjusted with the viewfinder in place, and it's also very much in the way when you're looking down on the camera from above, with the LCD adjusted upwards. You can slip the EVF out of the hot shoe, or opt for the EVF-TL1 tilting adapter, but this is an added expense (and quite the expense too).

The GFX 100's menu system is much the same as the one inside X-series models and the two previous GFX cameras, and it's among the best of its kind for clarity. Helpfully, the shooting UI rotates when you're photographing vertically, something we've seen on X-series models, although this doesn't extend to the menus or Q Menu. Perhaps it's difficult to rotate and squeeze this information in without it being tiny, but it does make changing options a little more tricky when shooting in portrait orientation.

When shooting at the maximum 5fps burst rate, Fujifilm promises 41 losslessly compressed raw frames and 14 uncompressed raw frames, but you'll need to forego 16-bit shooting if that's how you have your camera set – we only managed 7 raw frames, and 7 simultaneous raw+ PEG frames, on this setting, although you may not benefit from having your camera set to 16-bit in many environments anyway.

What's good to see is that the GFX 100 remains operational as images are being cleared to the card, so you can quickly make an adjustment and reshoot if you need to. When equipped with a Panasonic 64GB SDXC UHS-II (U3) 280MB/s SDXC memory card, we measured a clearing rate of around seven seconds on average for those seven files, which is pretty decent when you consider how large they are.

Image quality

  • Superb detail in images
  • Excellent noise control
  • Great video quality

A 100MP medium format sensor is enough to get many photographers excited, and the level of detail in images as standard is remarkable. We had the opportunity to use the camera with the GF 110mm F2 R LM WR and GF 32-64mm F4 R LM WR lenses, and both proved themselves to be mighty capable – and you can see the results below. 

Both the GFX 50R and GFX 50R have shown themselves to control noise very well, and the GFX 100 follows them in doing just that. Images captured indoors at sensitivities as high as ISO6400 or ISO8000 remain completely usable, with excellent details lurking behind very faint noise. Noise reduction also isn't too destructive in-camera, if you do choose to have this on for JPEGs.

One of the reasons people opt for a medium format camera over one with a smaller sensor is to achieve greater dynamic range. The main advantage for most people here is that they can underexpose images to protect highlights, lifting the shadows later on to regain a more appropriate exposure. 

So how well does this work in practice? We underexposed images to a range of degrees and rectified these raw files in post-processing, and found it impressive just how well these could be bought back to life without much penalty. Images underexposed by three of four stops could safely be adjusted, while, pushing the camera to extremes, images underexposed by a full five stops did end up with a fair bit of noise that would have to be processed out, but the level of detail still lurking there was superb.  

One thing to bear in mind is that you may see very faint banding in some areas if you push images this far, which is potentially down to the phase-detect AF pixels on the sensor. And the reality is that most photographers who need to work in this way may well find a modern full-frame DSLR or mirrorless camera is more than capable here. But the results are still impressive. 

Fujifilm's Film Simulation options help images to show very nice colors straight out of the camera, and this is helped by a generally unerring auto white balance system.

The camera has a five-axis, sensor-based image stabilization system, which negates this technology in the lens, and while Fujifilm claims a maximum 5.5-stop benefit, this is a CIPA rating that's specific to the GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR lens over only pitch and yaw axes. So how well does it do more generally?

With the 32-64mm lens mounted and extended to its 64mm position (51mm in 35mm terms), we found it possible to achieve acceptably sharp images as low as around 1/4 sec at the telephoto end, but with much better consistency in the 1/6 sec and 1/10 sec region. So, at least two stops, occasionally three and possibly even four if your technique is perfect and the conditions are favorable.

The GFX 100 can record videos in both DCI 4K and UHD 4K, and the quality of these overall is excellent. Footage shows great detail, and is generally untroubled by artifacts, and while a little rolling shutter can be seen when moving, this appears pleasingly low overall. The hybrid AF system also means that focus can be shifted between different areas in the scene without any hesitation, which is easily done by pressing the touchscreen.