Saturday, 18 January 2020

Why I exchanged all my Fuji gear for a GFX50R

I've started with the Fuji X100 in 2012 and this was the begin of a long love story with the Fuji brand. After using bulky Nikon cameras for a long time (don't get me wrong, they were great) I had enough and needed a change. I found out that I am more of a street shooter who needs smaller gear that travels with me and the X-series came at the right time to start over with a new smaller mirrorless form factor.

And now after more than six years of using Fuji cameras I sold my X100F, X-PRO2 and five lenses to trade them for a GFX50R and the GF 63mm 2.8 via a great camera store in Hamburg that is specialized in selling new and used gear. I was in the lucky position to get an almost unused GFX50R with lens coming back from a professional photo studio because they stepped up to a GFX100.

But why did I sold my whole gear for a medium format camera? After being satisfied with my X-PRO2 I decided to challenge myself with a new experience. Medium format is different in terms of physics and handling. It has a different crop and pixel density. I was just curious in terms of the look of the resulting images, but I am not a pixel peeper. It is more about the overall esthetics of the medium format look.

A philosophical change

I think it has to do with a new way of thinking I've adapted some years ago. If you look at the jesuit monks you learn that every jesuit is forced to do something new in a new role after a period of six years. They even have to move to a new place somewhere else in the world. This is because the tunnel vision you gain from working in the same role and place for more than six years.

That concept resonated with me and I did following it by quitting a long term job and becoming an entrepreneur in digitalization business making it the best decision of my life. Why not also changing the way I take photos? This also meant for me to change my gear to get out of my comfort zone, and here I am with my new medium format camera.

street photography - gfx style
I've decided to start with the 63mm lens, because fifty degrees of viewing angle are always a perfect start. The lens is small and light and the image quality just blew me away. It is a versatile companion that delivers outstanding images. I love taking portraits with it, because it has a smooth bokeh and is tack sharp wide open. Fuji again did a good job in delivering excellent quality.

The body

The body reminds me of my first X-E1, but a bit pumped up in size. There is no phase autofocus and it doesn't deliver in all situations and is a bit slow. With this constrain you have to be creative to get around some of flaws that comes with this first model. The AF is slow, but when it is locked, it is spot on (even with face detection).

I was surprised how light the body is (about 700 grams). The lens is also lightweight so the whole combo doesn't feel like a wolfram-brick. My tiny hands love the grip, but this should not be the case for everybody.

What I love about Fuji are the consistent controls. If you're coming from a X-PRO2 you need just a couple of minutes to get used to this camera. The dials are at the right place and you want to turn of the ring around the shutter release button. It is set to control the ISO and can be easily set by accident. Nice idea Fuji, but useless for me. Maybe this will work in studio conditions or for landscape photographers, but not in the streets.

Stay tuned

The first fifty photos are on my hard-disk and I am trying to learn how to operate this new gear to get the best results. The image quality and colors are superb even with high ISO up to 6400. If you're a fine art photographer you have plenty of headroom for large prints and crops.

From now on I will post some more photos here and share my experiences with this little medium format tool. Don't expect to find too much technical nerdy pixel peeping stuff here. Photography, for me, lives with the resulting images, the workflow and the experiences I make! I want to share the joy of using this gear with my fellow readers. I don't buy a camera to rant about it.

I had a great time with my Fuji X gear over the last six years and I never regret the great time I've had with this gear, but now it is time to step into a slightly different direction.

If you have any questions regarding this camera system, feel free to write a comment or reach me at twitter.

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