Bold claims for a title indeed, but as photographers, we've all had the opportunity to try different brands to see which one best meets our individual needs. So, when it comes to forking out your hard-earned cash for something like this, you want to be sure you are making the right decision. I would also like to say at the start, although this is a very positive review of the camera, I wasn't expecting it to be just as good as it is.
With exceptionally rich, detailed images in a compact and lightweight body, the Fujifilm GFX100S is a remarkable camera and addition to the world of medium format. With an impressive 102-megapixel sensor, this camera sets new standards for high-resolution photography. If you are seeking highly detailed images in an enticing blend of portability, performance, and user-friendly features, you certainly won't go wrong with this camera.
Smaller, lighter, and more affordable than the GFX100, this camera still packs some high-end specs:
- 102 MP BSI-CMOS 44 x 33mm medium format sensor
- Image stabilization system with up to 6 stops compensation
- Continuous shooting at up to 5 fps with C-AF
- 4K video at up to 30p with HDMI output of 10-bit 4:2:2 or 12-bit Raw footage
- Two-axis tilt rear touchscreen with 2.36M-dot resolution
- Fixed 3.69M-dot OLED EVF
- Lossy, lossless, or uncompressed raw in 16- or 14-bit
- Multi-shot 400 MP mode for static subjects
- Twin SD card slots
The camera is a solid magnesium alloy construction weighing in at 900 g, with a deep grip and a smaller DSLR-styled body, unlike its big brother, the GFX100. Weather-sealed in 60 different places, the camera can operate in challenging conditions and in temperatures as low as -10 °C. Admittedly and thankfully, I didn't get the opportunity to test it in colder climates, but I did in heavy downpours with no issues whatsoever.
Measuring 150 x 104 x 87 mm, the camera is remarkably compact for a medium format camera and feels very similar in size and ergonomics to that of a DSLR. In fact, the new Nikon Z8 has very similar dimensions, being 144 x 119 x 83 mm, yet weighs 10g more.
With its 3.69M-dot OLED EVF, the view is clear and crisp. With a good depth of handgrip, you don't feel as if you could drop the camera at any point. The battery life is good, although I did always carry two with me, as after about 5-6 hours of shooting, not constantly mind you, the battery was nearly depleted. Considering the specs of the camera, I was honestly surprised it didn't deplete sooner.
The camera itself performs impeccably well in all it does. The back LCD screen is sharp and has a tilt function as you would expect, which is useful for low shots, The top function screen is bright in its projection of the settings, which incidentally is an always-on display - very useful when picking up your camera for a quick shot. The top1.8-inch LCD display is also programmable, allowing you to have different information at hand, whatever your preference. There are minimal buttons and dials on the camera body to set everything up and not leave you messing around to get the photograph.
Like other Fuji menus, the system is clean and easily navigated, and like most cameras these days, you are able to save your favorite settings to your own menu.
The Fuji color science is very apparent in the GFX100S, as the camera produces stunning, vibrant images with excellent tonal range and rich colors. Also included is the range of film simulations, including the popular Acros and Classic Chrome, and a whole host of aspect ratios, including my personal favorite, 65:24. With more powerful image stabilization and the 102 MP BSI CMOS sensor borrowed from the GFX 100 you can expect the image quality to be great and you wouldn't be wrong; the images are highly detailed.
The autofocus is fast, but I can't say that it's the fastest, though that's not to the detriment of the camera, as I was testing it out on the subject matter that I shoot most, landscapes. Here, it worked exactly as I expected it to and never once lost focus or jumped to another subject in the scene. I did try a few other subjects, and again, the resulting images were most impressive in terms of image quality and captured detail. So, although as the title suggests the best landscape camera, it's actually a very versatile camera, and I now wish I had tried some portraits with it also.
- 102 MP sensor
- 60 points of weather sealing
- Smaller DSLR-styled body
- Deep handgrip
- Richly detailed images
Perhaps for most, the price is the biggest thing, but considering a medium format camera around 7 years ago would cost the best part of $10,000, this is a great deal. The weight of the camera and lenses combined on longer hikes may also put some off, but considering the image reward you get from the Fujifilm GFX100S, I think it's worth it.
I was fortunate enough to spend a month using the camera along with three lenses, the GF 23mm f/4 R LM WRs, the GF 20-35mm f/4 R WR, and the GF 45-100mm f/4 R LM OIS WR, each of which I'll cover in other reviews. Did I carry all three lenses on any long treks? No, but I did carry two at a time quite frequently and did notice the weight after a while, but it was nothing unmanageable considering the image returns. Is a month long enough to make the claim the title of the article suggests? Perhaps you would say no, and to that all I can say is you just know if something feels right.
I cannot fault something that I didn't find fault with, so I am not even going to try. It was a complete pleasure to use, and knowing that it would return great, detailed images each time was very reassuring. Certainly, with a 102 MP sensor, you know it's going to do that, but just how well it did that was, well, unbelievable. If you are a landscape photographer, I am 100% positive that you will be impressed by the images that the camera produces. Try one for yourself.
This has been an unapologetically positive review of the Fujifilm GFX100S and yes, I am a massive Fuji fan, but I did take an unbiased review approach to the camera, even though I was secretly excited to try it. But I honestly was not expecting the build quality, the ease of use, the performance, and the so sweetly detailed images the camera and all the lenses I used with it returned. The camera system, for me anyway, has nothing to even remotely think negatively about. Sure, you may say the weight, but at 900 g, it's actually not that heavy and can be carried around for daily use. On longer hikes, you will perhaps have to consider what you take with you, but the results are worth the weight. In fact, the Nikon D850 is 15 grams heavier. However, add in the GF lenses and it's a different ball game, as this quality of glass comes at a price in both weight and cost. If you currently shoot with this camera system, you'll know that the results are worth it.
As I write this conclusion, I have indeed found a negative about the system, an overwhelmingly selfish negative, in that I can't afford it just now.