Lightweight yet powerful, the FUJIFILM GFX 50S is a medium format mirrorless digital camera that boasts 51.4 megapixels and a 43.8×32.9mm CMOS sensor. It’s compatible with a series of high-performance FUJINON GF lenses. The GFX 50S is also dust- and weatherresistant, making it ideal for both studio and outdoor shooting situations.
The GFX 50S is geared for professional photographers who require top-quality images that are made possible with medium format cameras. I discussed the attributes of this camera with Claire Rosen, a fine-art photographer who brings painterly, story-telling capabilities to her commercial work. Her current book IMAGINARIUM: The Process Behind the Pictures (Rocky Nook, 2017) covers the artistic aspects of photography. Rosen has recently made the switch to Fujifilm cameras and was a beta tester for the GFX. At the time of this writing, she was preparing for a solo show of her work, shooting pictures for a book commission on orchids, and continuing her many series of images, including The Travelling Mouse (an anthropomorphic mouse that travels with her around the world) on Instagram. With a body made of magnesium alloy, the GFX 50S is smaller and more lightweight than most traditional medium format or 35mm cameras. “But the megapixel size is double what you would get on a standard digital camera,”
Rosen says. “Also, the rendering of color is incredible. I think that the camera is elevating the work that I’m creating.” She credits the tonality and rich colors of her digital files to Fujifilm’s long legacy with film. “The images are more painterly and narrative in their quality,” Rosen observes. “The color rendition is excellent, along with image files that don’t feel digital and technology-driven. The images are more organic and poetic.” Rosen attests to the image quality when photos are enlarged, especially after making 30×40-inch prints taken with the FUJIFILM GFX for her solo photography show in December 2017. “It’s important to be able to print to that scale so that people can see all the detail in the images.” She says that she was thrilled with the digital files from this camera and to see the quality of the images that came out of the printer.
She also appreciates the portability and lighter weight of the GFX. “It makes a big difference when you’re traveling,” she remarks, adding that she doesn’t like to work with a lot of heavy camera gear. She can hand-hold the GFX, as well as use it on a tripod. Rosen uses just one lens currently with her GFX ”” the GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR (25-51mm in a 35mm equivalent). “I prefer to use one camera and one lens,” she explains. “I load up on the props, and not a lot of equipment.” For her work, she says, this lens is very versatile. “I needed a lens with a broad scope in order to photograph a lot of different still-life scenes, animals and different subjects.”
Rosen photographs both still and moving subjects on location outdoors, as well as in the studio. “Shooting in the studio is more meditative and controlled,” she says, “while being on location is very exhilarating, with a lot of moving parts.” In either case, a reliable camera that responds quickly is very important to her. “One thing that I really appreciate about the GFX is that it works very seamlessly,” she says. “I get so distracted by everything that’s happening at a photo shoot, and I don’t want to worry about the camera not working.” She’s impressed by the speed and portability of the GFX compared to other medium format cameras. “I can work with animals that are running around, and I don’t miss a shot.”
Rosen praises the functionality of the camera’s large touchscreen panel, which tilts in three directions for easy framing and enables shooting from various angles. The touchscreen display also makes it easy to choose an autofocus area, access an RGB histogram, display the 3D electronic level and utilize Live View. “It helps with focusing points and adjusting levels,” she says. “I can actually see what I’m getting and visualize what my image is going to look like.” She can zoom in and get accurate focus, even when her subjects are in motion. When shooting in the studio, she says that it’s convenient to plug the GFX into the wall. “You can shoot all day and not have to change your battery,” she points out.
Another feature that she utilizes is Focus Peak Highlight, which allows her to see which parts of her image are in focus and which aren’t. “It’s very helpful, especially when subjects are moving around.” Rosen also likes the ability to shoot and print at various aspect ratios. “It’s cool that you can customize the features of this camera,” she says. “The entire back of the camera can be programmed to utilize the features that you use.” Photography is versatile, she adds, and the features that she needs are not necessarily what someone else will need. “You can make it your own workhorse in a practical, functional way.”
Rosen says that one of the best things about the GFX 50S is how easy it is to use. “I think that when you’re not worried about the technical aspects, that’s when your camera is really doing its job,” she states. “Then you’re using it as a tool to communicate or to create something that’s meaningful to you.”
See more of Claire Rosen’s work at www.claire-rosen.com and Instagram at @claire__rosen. Learn more about the GFX 50S at www.FujifilmGFXUSA.com and other Fujifilm imaging products at www. fujifilmUSA.com.