The day chosen for Fujifilm’s presentation this year was far from being the most successful: news from the world of photography is already less and less likely to make it to the front pages, and the announcement of new iPhones on the same day completely buried all other news events on September 12th. And there is something to talk about.
Introduced in 2019, the Fujifilm GFX 100 was the first large-format camera to feature sensor stabilization and phase detection autofocus. It was a huge camera with an integrated battery grip and an impressive starting price of $10,000. A little later, the GFX 100S was released, which had the same 102 MP sensor, almost all the same functions, even more effective stabilization and, at the same time, much more compact sizes with a more attractive price of $6,000.
But since the cost and size of the GFX line have already become comparable to full-frame flagships, new scenarios for their use have appeared, where the main complaint about the line was usually autofocus. It’s worth making a reservation here: that in comparison with large-format cameras from Hasselblad and Leica, the GFX 100 and 100S didn’t have any problems with autofocus, and still don’t have them, but tracking AF frankly didn’t reach the level of full-frame Sony and Canon cameras.
GFX 100II: what’s changed?
And here on the market appears GFX 100II, which included a new 102 MP sensor with twice the reading speed and X-Processor 5 from Fujifilm X-H2S. Now this monster has in its arsenal a neural network tracking autofocus on objects and continuous shooting up to 8 fps, which is an absolute record for cameras with such matrices.
Stabilization has also been improved: up to 8 stops versus 5.5 for the GFX 100 and 6 for the GFX 100S. And if, from personal experience, the GFX 100 and 100S could even be used to shoot street photos quite comfortably, Fujifilm is already seriously promoting the GFX 100II as a camera prepared for sporting events.
Base ISO has been lowered from the standard 100 to 80. This means that an even wider dynamic range will now be available with less digital noise. The viewfinder has become even better: it is now 9.44 MP / 120 fps. As in the original GFX 100, here it is also removable and, using a special adapter, can be installed vertically.
If the 50-megapixel GFX has video functions just for show, and the GFX 100S simply shoots well, then the GFX 100II is perhaps the first hybrid large-format camera on the market. Firstly, thanks to the new matrix, the rolling shutter has decreased; secondly, we added support for 8K 30 fps and 4K 60 fps; thirdly, they finally added a function for decompressing images from anamorphic lenses – we are now waiting for crop cameras.
Like the Hasselblad X2D, the camera received a slot for CFexpress Type B cards, but the slot for standard SD UHS-II remained in place. The GFX 100II still has no built-in memory other than a buffer, but now supports shooting on an external SSD drive. It’s convenient when 5 RAW files weigh nearly a gigabyte: the space on the cards disappears instantly.
The main question is: will the whole thing heat up when recording in 8K? There will be, so there is a connector for connecting an external cooling unit, which was presented along with the X-H2S last summer.
I’m really excited about Fujifilm’s new design code, and despite my particular love for the retro rangefinder X100V and X-Pro 3, I think I have a new favorite. Our Ilya Kichaev was especially lucky, who couldn’t decide what he liked better: the GFX 100s or the Leica SL2, because the GFX 100 II looks like a neural network was asked to mix these two cameras.
The camera received a dark graphite body color and a new coating with a Y-shaped pattern. Looks stylish and modern. The upper plane has a pronounced slope towards the photographer, so it will be more convenient to work with the second black-and-white LCD display. By the way, its interface has also been updated.
For once, there are more buttons! We added two programmable ones between the grip and the bayonet, and also redesigned the layout of the function buttons next to the release.
There are no analogues. No joke, even at the astronomical price of $7500. The Hasselblad X2D is $1,000 more expensive, and the only advantages it can offer are a built-in 1 TB SSD and a potentially faster leaf shutter speed. The Leica SL is generally stuck somewhere in the 2010s, and it’s rare that a person takes the Phase One outside the studio.
It turns out that Fujifilm has again made, without exaggeration, the best camera on the market. But… Not even all professionals need such a thermonuclear set of characteristics. I have been shooting with the GFX 100s almost since the day of the official announcement and it suits me in every way, and the model has not yet been discontinued. But car photographers will be happy – autofocus speed was definitely not always enough there.