Fujifilm X-Summit News (Medium Format Edition)

May 28, 2024 ·

Dan Wells

Fujifilm GFX 100SII: Familiar Yet Improved, Fujifilm GF 500mm 5.6 Lens: Compact Medium Format

Were it not for the handy “GFX 100SII” label on this Fujifilm press image, you might think you were looking at a GFX 100S. The body is VERY similar.

Fujifilm has unveiled the GFX 100SII, a camera that closely resembles its predecessor, the Fujifilm GFX 100S, but comes with several notable improvements:

  • Enhanced Viewfinder: Now features a 5.76-million dot OLED EVF, which is a significant upgrade, offering a bright and clear view for composing shots. This is especially useful for manual focus with tilt/shift lenses, which were challenging with the previous viewfinder.
  • Improved Dynamic Range: Inherits the enhanced dynamic range from the GFX 100 II, allowing for better detail in shadows and highlights.
  • Speed and Autofocus: Gains some speed enhancements and most of the autofocus improvements from the GFX 100 II. It now offers up to 7 fps in continuous shooting, which is impressive for a medium-format camera .
  • IBIS System: Features the GFX 100 II’s IBIS system, offering up to 8 stops of stabilization, significantly improving handheld shooting capabilities .
A Fujifilm promo image showcasing the GFX 100SII’s IBIS system, which offers up to 8 stops of stabilization, matching the best in the market.

  • Bishamon-Tex Skin: New texture that users have found appealing, adding a premium feel to the camera.
A close look at the Bishamon-Tex covering – people who’ve tried it on the GFX 100 II seem to like it a lot.

Upgrade Considerations

  • Current Users: While the GFX 100SII offers modest but significant changes, it might not be enough to justify replacing a working GFX 100S. However, for a second body or a replacement, the GFX 100SII is a top choice.
  • New Entrants: For those new to the GFX system, the GFX 100SII is highly recommended, especially for those with a similar shooting style. For those needing more speed, the GFX 100II might be a better fit.

Fujifilm’s Strategy: Iterating Excellence

Fujifilm is effectively refining both their flagship and high-resolution models. The GFX 100 and GFX 100II offer superior image quality compared to competitors like Sony’s A1, Nikon’s Z9, and Canon’s EOS-R1. Fujifilm’s cameras surpass these competitors by at least a stop in image quality, though they don’t match their speed, making them ideal for portraiture, fashion, and certain wildlife photography. They aren’t, however, the best choice for professional sports photography .

Market Positioning

  • Pricing: The GFX 100SII is priced at $5000, while the original GFX 100S debuted at $6000 and now sells for $4400. The upgrades justify the additional cost, but not necessarily enough to trade in a working GFX 100S ).
  • Comparison with Full-Frame: The Fujifilm GFX 100SII offers significant improvements over full-frame high-resolution cameras, or “pixel monsters,” which are increasingly squeezed by Fujifilm’s superior image quality and competitive pricing. The Nikon Z8 complicates the decision further with its high speed and excellent image quality at $4000, putting full-frame pixel monsters in a tough spot.
The new GF 500mm f5.6 R LM OIS

New GF 500mm f5.6 R LM OIS Lens

Fujifilm also announced the Fujifilm GF 500mm f5.6 R LM OIS, the longest autofocusing lens for any medium-format system. This groundbreaking lens is remarkably compact and lightweight:

  • Specifications: Measures just under 10 inches and weighs around 3 lbs, featuring 21 elements in 14 groups, including seven exotic-glass elements .
A cutaway view of the lens, showing 21 elements in 14 groups, including 5 ED elements (gold) and 2 Super ED elements (green). Notably, there’s no Fresnel or DO lens, making its compact design impressive.
  • Market Impact: This lens exemplifies the new breed of compact supertelephoto lenses, balancing performance, size, and price. Fujifilm’s offering is particularly impressive due to its medium-format design and cost-competitiveness with similar lenses.

Conclusion

Fujifilm continues to innovate and refine its medium-format offerings, balancing image quality and usability. The GFX 100SII and the new Fujifilm 500mm lens exemplify this approach, offering incremental but significant improvements that cater to serious photographers. As the market evolves, Fujifilm’s strategy of enhancing both its flagship and pixel monster lines keeps it competitive, particularly for those prioritizing image quality.

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Dan Wells, "Shuttterbug" on the trail, is a landscape photographer, long-distance hiker and student in the Master of Divinity program at Harvard Divinity School. He lives in Cambridge, MA when not in wild places photographing and contemplating our connection to the natural world. Dan's images try to capture the spirit he finds in places where, in the worlds of the Wilderness Act of 1964, "Man himself is but a visitor". He has hiked 230 miles of Vermont's Long Trail and 450 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail with his cameras, as well as photographing in numerous National Parks, Seashores and Forests over the years - often in the offseason when few people think to be there. In the summer of 2020, Dan plans to hike a stretch of hundreds of miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, focusing on his own and others' spiritual connection to these special places, and making images that document these connections. Over years of personal work and teaching photography, Dan has used a variety of equipment (presently Nikon Z7 and Fujifilm APS-C). He is looking for the perfect combination of light weight, ruggedness and superb image quality.

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