Fujifilm GFX 100S Review11 June, 2021
The GFX 100S is the fourth medium-format mirrorless camera that Fujifilm have released in the last few years.
As its name suggests, it has a 100 megapixel image sensor that physically meaures 43.8x32.9mm, which is much larger than the 36x24mm sensor found in a 35mm full-frame camera - approximately 1.7x larger in fact.
The Fuji 100S actually uses exactly the same sensor as the flagship GFX 100 camera, despite costing almost half as much as its bigger sibling. This is a back illuminated CMOS sensor with 3.76 million phase detection autofocus points which cover almost 100% of the frame. It offers much improved autofocusing speed, claimed to be up to twice as fast as the 50-megapixel GFX 50S and 50R models, which use a different sensor entirely.
The GFX100S uses the most powerful X-Processor 4 image processor, a feature that is again shared with the higher-end camera. The native ISO range runs from ISO 100 to ISO 12,800, which is expandable to 50-102,400. Just like the GFX 100, the 100S features in-body image stabilization (IBIS), but this time the five-axis image stabilisation system provides an even better compensation rating of up to 6 stops. This is despite the fact that the 100S model is much smaller and lighter than the 100 model, so much so that Fujifilm had to completely redesign the IBIS unit from scratch to fit it into the smaller body.
The Fuji 100S also offers 4K 30p video recording with no crop at up to 400Mbps bitrate in 16:9 or 17:9 aspect ratios, again matching the GFX 100. This can be recorded in 4:2:0 10-bit F-log internally to an SD card or 4:2:2 12-bit ProRes RAW via the HDMI port to an Atomos Ninja V Recording Monitor.
Other key specifications include a weather-resistant magnesium alloy body, 3.69M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 100% coverage and a magnification of 0.77x, 2.36 million dot tilting 3.2-inch LCD display, Face and Eye Detection AF, 5fps continuous shooting speeds, and dual UHS-II SD memory card slots. The 100S also offers shutter speeds from 60 minutes to 1/4000th sec using the mechanical focal plane shutter or up to 1/16000 sec via the electronic shutter, interval shooting and multiple exposure modes, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a USB-C port. The Fujifilm GFX 100S is priced at £5499 / $5999 body only in the UK and USA respectively.
Ease of UseFujifilm GFX 100S
One line review - the new GFX 100S is half the size and half the price of the GFX 100, yet it offers the same 100 megapixel sensor, processor, AF system, and virtually all of the same features, even outperforming it in some ways. Wow. As well as rivalling its flagship sibling, the GFX 100S is also taking on the 35mm full-frame market by being similarly sized to some DSLR and mirrorless models, despite having a larger, medium format sensor.
With this new model, Fujifilm have clearly reduced the size and the price of the GFX 100S to take on the likes of the Sony Alpha 1, Canon EOS R5, Nikon Z7 II and Panasonic Lumix S1R, not to mention DSLRs like the Canon EOS 5D IV and Nikon D850. Fujifilm's new GFX marketing strapline is "More than full-frame", but crucially that doesn't mean more bulk or, compared to the Alpha 1, more cost (the 100S is actually cheaper than the Sony A1). We haven't even mentioned the GFX 100S' medium format rivals, which with the exception of the now ageing Pentax 645Z are invariably larger and much, much more expensive than this camera.Fujifilm GFX 100S
Despite having a medium format sensor, it's clear to us that Fujifilm believes the GFX 100S main rivals are 35mm sensor cameras, not the "traditional" medium-format market that mainly serves studio photographers. Fujifilm doesn't have a 35mm camera range - instead it has the very popular APS-C X-series and the relatively new GFX medium-format series. So it's attacking the trending full-frame market from two angles - smaller, lighter and cheaper cameras like the X-T4, and now a medium-format camera that is similar in size, weight and even cost to the latest flagship 35mm models. As ever with cameras, there's no one model that does it all, though, so don't expect the GFX 100S to rival smaller-sensor cameras for things like burst shooting speeds and auto-focus performance.
It is still very much a medium-format camera in theses areas, although Fuji have made great strides in improving them, especially compared to other medium-format models. The most obvious stride forwards that Fujifilm have taken for the GFX 100S is the size and weight of it.Fujifilm GFX 100S
The Fuji 100S weighs 900g and measures 150x104.2x87.2mm, making it some 6cm (2.3in) shorter and 500g (1.1lb) lighter than the GFX100, which weighs in at 1400g and measuring 156.2x163.6x102.9mm. This drastic reduction in size has mostly been achieved by removing the GFX100's built-in vertical grip. Indeed, Fujifilm aren't actually releasing an optional battery grip for the GFX 100S, and it doesn't even have the electrical contacts on the bottom of the camera body, so there will be no 3rd-party options available either. Instead there will be a metal hand grip accessory called the MHG-GFXS that enhances the in-hand feel of the camera, somewhat ironically by making it bigger.
So if you're a fan of either fitting an optional battery grip to your camera for better battery life and improved ergonomics when shooting in portrait mode, sadly the GFX 100S won't meet your needs, and you'll need to consider the GFX 100 instead. In terms of its size and weight, the GFX 100S is much closer to the very first GFX, the 50S. That camera measures 148x94x91 mm and weighs 920g, which is very similar to the new GFX 100S, but crucially it doesn't have IBIS, unlike the 100S. So Fuji's engineers have made the 100S the same size as the 50S, but with the addition of an IBIS unit, something that typically makes a camera bigger. The IBIS mechanism inside the GFX 100S is actually 20% smaller and 10% lighter than the one found in the GFX 100.
When you consider that the GFX 100S' IBIS is slightly more effective than the one on the GFX 100 (6 stops vs 5.5 stops) and it uses exactly the same 102 megapixel medium-format sensor, it's clear that you're getting the best of both worlds. This is the second GFX and second ever medium format camera to feature in-body image stabilization. The Fuji GFX 100S uses a familiar 5-axis system which provides up to 6 stops of image stabilization (when using the GF 63mm F2.8 R WR lens). The two 50 megapixel GFX cameras didn't have IBIS built-in, instead relying on the lens to provide it, which not all GFX lenses do. With the GFX 100S, any lens that you attach to it will automatically benefit from up to 6 stops of compensation. Furthermore, the same system is used to help suppress shutter shock, which given the incredible resolution on offer is a very welcome benefit. Pixel Shift is a special Multi-Shot function that uses the IBIS unit to enable the GFX 100S to create 400 megapixel images. The camera's IBIS unit is used to shift the image sensor by up to a pixel in various directions during a sequence of 16 shots, which can then be automatically combine into a single image using Fuji's Pixel Shift Combiner software. The resulting DNG file measures 23,296x17,472 pixels and is around 1.5Gb in size!
Fuji also claim that the GFX 100S weighs only 160g more than a typical 35mm full-frame camera. We're not quite sure which specific model they were comparing the 100S to, but having used it alongside the Panasonic Lumix S1R and Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, we can certainly vouch for the fact that the medium-format Fuji is in the same ball-park as at least some of its smaller-sensor rivals. Fuji also redesigned the focal plane shutter unit in order to reduce the size of the 100S, but it still offers the same fastest shutter speed of 1/4000th second and the longest exposure time of 60 minutes. There's also an electronic shutter which provides an even faster shutter speed of up to 1/16000 sec, which is useful for shooting in bright conditions at wide-open apertures, for example.