Fuji GFX 100 Assessment After Utilizing It Professionally for Three Months, Half Two: Autofocus, File Dimension, and Blackout

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That is half two of my three-part, unreasonably in-depth actual world taking pictures assessment of the GFX 100 after having shot with it as my major digital camera professionally for the final three months. 

As we speak, we’ll focus on autofocus efficiency, viewfinder blackout, file measurement, and the way these will have an effect on the way you determine to shoot with the GFX 100 system.

Autofocus

Since I ended half one evaluating the GFX 100 to utilizing the X-T3, I really feel like that is the suitable place to introduce the subject of autofocus. And once more, as we mentioned within the first article about this digital camera being exhausting to match to different cameras, the autofocus within the GFX 100 has been each a blessing and a curse, however your response might be extremely depending on what and the way you shoot.

As a result of the efficiency of autofocus is so depending on what it’s that you’re specializing in, I’ll take a quick second to remind you what I shoot personally. That is essential, as a result of for those who don’t shoot related issues, my reactions could also be roughly of a difficulty for you.

I shoot promoting for activewear trend and health campaigns. I’m not a sports activities photographer, within the sense that I’m not on the sideline capturing any dwell sport motion. I shoot fashions or athletes in studio or on location whereas sustaining some stage of management over their actions. I say “some,” as a result of when you get an incredible athlete transferring, it’s greatest to easily sustain reasonably than over-direct them. Due to this, I want a digital camera that may shortly seize and keep deal with a topic that may at occasions be transferring erratically and very often, be transferring at a seemingly inhuman tempo.

I’ve been doing this for years with my Nikon D850 (or equal) our bodies. I can typically shoot freely at tempo with nearly any transferring topic with out actually having any fear about not with the ability to focus in time. Even when utilizing single shot autofocus and focusing and recomposing a number of occasions on a transferring topic, I don’t have many issues retaining topics acceptably sharp. The one actual pace concern I’ve is whether or not or not my strobes can fireplace quickly sufficient to maintain up with the burst pace.

That focus capability has continued with my X-T3. Whereas it took a second to determine the entire new steady focus modes, as soon as I bought the grasp of it, I used to be in a position to preserve virtually any shot in focus with that digital camera as properly.

The GFX 100 has the identical super-fast focusing system because the X-T3. Not less than, in concept. The sensor is ready to transfer round these focus factors as shortly as a topic can transfer. However, in precise follow, the scale and weight of the lenses signifies that retaining focus in steady mode generally is a problem. The continual autofocus on the GFX 100 is way superior to something accessible on its medium format competitors just like the Hasselblad or the Phase One. However, I’ve discovered that it’s not practically quick sufficient for me to really feel like I can actually rely upon it.

With the opposite medium format techniques, I exploit single level autofocus, then focus and recompose, taking pictures at a excessive sufficient aperture to supply adequate depth of subject to maintain the topic in focus. Regardless of the supply of steady autofocus on the GFX 100, I discover I want to easily ignore that and replicate the only level focus and recompose technique. Or, if the topic is transferring particularly quick and I wish to fireplace off a number of photographs, I’ve resorted to manually zone focusing, then simply spraying and praying (extra on this in a second).

However once more, it is a results of the themes I shoot personally having to maneuver at tremendous excessive charges of pace. When taking portraits, landscapes, or usually paced avenue photographs, I’ve had no downside with focus in any respect. So, relying on what you shoot, this will or might not be an issue for you.

Additionally, as a fast observe about utilizing autofocus on the GFX 100 almost about video. Don’t do it. Really, I jest. Kind of. In case you are vlogging or wish to set the digital camera as much as document an interview or one thing related the place the topic gained’t be transferring via the body, autofocus will work nice. And, like stills, autofocus can sustain with a transferring topic fairly adequately offered the topic isn’t transferring too shortly.

The issue is that the GF lenses, whereas amazingly sharp, are actually solely constructed for stills. They breathe when focusing, that means that they barely zoom out and in when buying focus. This isn’t an issue with stills. However, for those who’re utilizing autofocus throughout video and the digital camera wants to vary focus factors, the digital camera will zoom out and in in a really noticeable manner, altering the body measurement within the course of. It’s not ultimate.  

Observe: I’ve the 45mm, 63mm, and 110mm primes. So, my expertise relies on these three lenses primarily.

The video the digital camera captures when already targeted is terrific. It’s simply that proper this instantaneous, in 2019, the lens choices for autofocus in movement aren’t there but. It’s a younger system, and Fuji will get there. However proper now, if I do shoot video with the GFX 100, I’ll greater than seemingly simply manually focus, which is made considerably simpler with the main focus peaking instruments included with the digital camera. 

More than likely, nonetheless, I’ll simply decide to shoot video with the X-T3 as a substitute, which has a wider choice of lenses and produces video with none noticeable drop-off in a smaller kind issue.

Blackout

Now onto the spraying and praying. I hate spraying and praying. One of many abilities I satisfaction myself on as a photographer is with the ability to click on the shutter at precisely the suitable second throughout a motion (or not less than what I really feel is correct on the time). So, if a mannequin is working, leaping, dancing, or doing something in-between, I don’t make a behavior of simply urgent down the high-speed shutter and hoping the digital camera captures the suitable second. I solely wish to press the shutter intentionally a couple of times to get what I would like. There’s nothing fallacious with doing it the opposite manner. I simply personally don’t wish to.

So, the most important frustration I’ve had with the GFX 100 is the blackout interval between once I press the shutter and once I get a transparent picture within the viewfinder to have the ability to recompose for a rapid-fire second or third shot in succession.

Now, earlier than I am going into extra element, it suppose it’s essential to level out that the GFX 100 just isn’t designed as a sports activities digital camera. In reality, when making an attempt out the system within the early weeks on portraits, journey, avenue taking pictures, and different much less speed-dependent functions, I didn’t discover this downside in any respect. It was solely once I tried to use it to my very own skilled work and magnificence of taking pictures that it occurred to me this could possibly be an issue.

And to be clear, Fujifilm doesn’t declare that this digital camera is admittedly optimized to be taking pictures fast-moving motion. However, as I discussed earlier, I dwell in a world someplace between sports activities pictures and trend pictures, and in the actual world, usually must make a digital camera do what it’s not supposed to do. So, for those who do end up needing to make use of medium format to shoot fast-moving topics, this specific part may apply to you.

The Fujifilm GFX 100 has three taking pictures speeds: Single shot, Low Velocity Burst, and Excessive Velocity Burst. You’ll be able to shoot in 16-bit colour for single shot solely. In any other case, it drops to the nonetheless very respectable 14-bit.  

I’ve discovered Low Velocity Burst to be probably the most helpful. The 16-bit colour accessible in single shot does make a small distinction, however not sufficient for me to justify the longer processing time related to it. In my very own, very unscientific check, I discovered that, when taking pictures in 16-bit mode, it takes longer between photographs so that you can be able to shoot once more. Once more, that is high-quality for those who aren’t taking pictures a fast-moving topic or aren’t taking pictures a mannequin who’s supplying you with 28 appears to be like per second who you wish to sustain with. So, if I’m simply taking pictures for enjoyable with out a mannequin in tow (or taking pictures nonetheless life or panorama professionally), I could use single shot 16-bit mode, however in any other case, I keep in Low Velocity Burst.

Why not Excessive Velocity Burst? Nicely, once you shift into Excessive Velocity Burst, the digital camera does shoot extra frames per second. However, when it’s doing so, it routinely shifts the EVF into preview mode, so it reveals you an image of the final image you took whereas it’s processing the earlier one. So, not like a standard DSLR, for instance, the place you might be seeing the scene constantly and are free to press the shutter at any time, with Excessive Velocity Burst on the GFX 100, once you press the shutter, you might be pressured to linger on a preview of the earlier shot earlier than a clear view of the scene is on the market once more. So, the method of taking pictures a high-speed burst just isn’t one fluid movement, however as a substitute a uneven expertise of seeing solely fragments of the scene in entrance of you.

In case you’re spraying and praying, that is high-quality. However, for those who’re like me and making an attempt to select particular moments the place a runner’s knee hits a precise peak in relation to the remainder of their physique, you’re going to seek out it very troublesome to get off multiple intentional shot per take, since you fairly actually gained’t see the following few actions, both as a result of Excessive Velocity Burst is forcing you to see previews or due to the blackout required to course of the 102 MP information.  

This poses an enormous downside for those who’re taking pictures somebody working or leaping throughout the body. In case you take one shot of them on the way in which up, they are going to have already landed once more by the point you’re in a position to get a transparent viewfinder and begin searching for the following excellent second. This successfully limits you to at least one intentional body per motion.

I don’t know that there’s any technical technique to repair that. I feel each this blackout and the slower autofocus are merely the tradeoff of with the ability to generate such detailed information. 102 MP takes longer to course of than 45.7MP (of the Nikon). The GF lenses are simply bodily larger than different lenses, like these on the X collection cameras, to allow them to’t actually autofocus any sooner than they do. And mirrorless cameras from most producers have blackout of their EVF, whereas it’s barely noticeable in most optical viewfinders. Not less than, it is not an issue I personally ever thought-about earlier than taking pictures with mirrorless cameras in earnest (it is also not tremendous noticeable in my X-T3).  

As a facet observe, sure, I do know that the Sony’s promise blackout free taking pictures with the A9 line. However, as I perceive it, it is just blackout free when utilizing an digital shutter versus a mechanical shutter. And since I’m utilizing strobes a superb little bit of the time, digital shutters will not be an possibility.  

However, again to speaking concerning the GFX 100.

File Dimension

When discussing my expertise taking pictures with the GFX 100 with considered one of my digitechs just lately, he requested me a logical query: “Do the big information clog up the pc?” 

He wasn’t referring to archiving, which could be addressed just by being extra prudent with what number of of your rejects you retain and what number of you progress to the trash bin. He was referring to tethering. 

About 90% of the time, I’m taking pictures tethered. In different phrases, there’s a wire working from my digital camera on to a pc and into Capture One in order that my purchasers can see what I’m taking pictures in real-time. Being on the identical web page as your purchasers throughout (not after) a shoot is completely important as a business photographer.

In case you shoot tethered, then you recognize that relying on its pace, you may outrun your pc even with 24 MP information for those who shoot too quick. That is often not an issue. And when it’s, it’s often a sign to me that I have to decelerate and have ceased to be “seeing the second” and am as a substitute simply pushing the button and hoping for the perfect.

I answered my digitech’s query with a fast “no,” as I had, as of but, not skilled any vital issues tethering. That features each tethering to computer systems with lightning-quick processors in addition to tethering to my very own six-year-old MacBook that was low-cost (by Apple requirements) even once I purchased it.

Nonetheless, as I’ve owned the digital camera for longer, I’ve seen a couple of conditions the place the file measurement can develop into a difficulty. Once more, these points are largely solely going to be an issue if you end up needing to shoot in speedy succession.

As I talked about, in all probability in an excessive amount of depth, within the final part, in an effort to get the GFX 100 to maintain up with fast-moving topics, I’ve to chop a couple of corners in opposition to my will. Particularly, to illustrate I’m taking pictures a topic sprinting throughout the body and I’m making an attempt to seize the proper second. This can be a pretty common shot that I’m requested to take. As a result of the continual autofocus is unlikely to have the ability to sustain with the motion, I’m in all probability going to be in guide focus. I’ll pre-focus on a selected space the place I feel the motion goes to occur, then press the shutter when the topic enters that space.

Now, in an effort to reduce down on the variety of takes the mannequin has to carry out, I typically wish to get off not less than two or three frames in a single take, much less as a consequence of productiveness issues and extra as a result of it’s essential to not tire your mannequin out with pointless takes. As an illustration, I’ll seize the peak of three consecutive strides one after one other and get three choices per take, simply for instance.

Due to the blackout/auto preview I discussed earlier, I’ve little alternative however to spray and pray if I wish to get off any multiple shot in that situation. This implies, in follow, that usually, I’ll wait to press the button till the primary second, however then simply maintain it down till the mannequin clears body. I completely hate taking pictures like this. However, for sure photographs when utilizing this digital camera, it may be the one manner. And it does work. However, there’s all the time a “however”: taking pictures in Excessive Velocity Burst shortly fills up the buffer each in my laptop computer (and even within the digital camera on these occasions I’m taking pictures untethered.) What this implies in precise follow is that instantly following the primary take, I’ve to make the mannequin wait till the buffer clears earlier than executing take two.

Getting the suitable second out of a mannequin is 99% human interplay and placing the mannequin in the suitable headspace and just one% what I’m doing with the digital camera. If I desire a mannequin to look “within the second,” I’ve to maintain them, properly, within the second. Continuously telling them to attend between takes can kill the momentum of the shoot and result in stiffer-looking photos. Human beings usually are much better when they’re allowed to easily circulation. Your mannequin’s power ought to by no means be dissipated for a technical cause. And whereas I recognize the ultimate extremely tack sharp and detailed picture the digital camera offers and even recognize it slowing me down in different circumstances, these misplaced seconds in-between photographs can actually intrude with you getting the proper second out of one other dwelling, respiration human being. You’ll get “a” second for positive. However having the liberty to seize that one particular second can typically be a problem in case you are pressured to delay as a consequence of buffering.

As soon as once more, I feel that is the third time I’ve talked about this: none of it is a downside for those who don’t shoot fast-moving topics or for those who don’t shoot shortly. In case you are organising a extremely art-directed portrait, for instance, and you might be planning to spend hours meticulously organising a shot, lighting it to a tee, placing a mannequin within the body, and telling them to not transfer an inch, then you aren’t going to have any hassle with it in any respect.  

I used the GFX 100 to do a current movie star portrait shoot of an NFL participant, and the photographs turned out brilliantly. Nicely, good relative to my talent set, not by way of the historical past of the photographic artwork kind. The considerably slower technique of taking pictures mandated by virtually all medium format cameras actually inspired me to give you distinct compositions, and the end result was photos that basically challenged me creatively. In a great way.

I additionally used the digital camera for a pure gentle run-and-gun shoot with a mannequin in an area industrial complicated. We weren’t technically alleged to be taking pictures there so I needed to transfer shortly. Not tethering, clearly, simply the GFX 100 and a few primes. We did each portraits and a few impromptu health photos. We even ended up taking pictures into the night time, utilizing solely avenue lights and no matter gentle was given off by the neon indicators of closed shops to finish the shoot. I actually wished to push the boundaries of the digital camera and see how it might carry out. And the collection turned out properly, even at increased ISOs.

So, regardless of being thrown into conditions it’s not optimized for, the GFX 100 can carry out in areas the place most different medium format cameras would come up properly brief.  However, is it the suitable digital camera for me? I’ll get to that within the closing phase of my in-depth, warts and all, assessment of the final three months utilizing the GFX 100 as my major skilled digital camera.