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03/27/17 Review of one of my shots from Calico Rock with the Fuji GFX–Great dynamic range

This is a repost from Photos of Arkansas, however I wanted to add it to my blog.  This shot is from my 03/10/17 trip to Calico Rock, and the details of how I took shot are below.



Sunset and moon rise at Calico Rock on the White River

Sunset and moon rise at Calico Rock on the White River

Taken with a FujiFilm GFX 50s and 32-64 lens, ISO 200 hand held 5 part horizontal panorama. 

Calico Rock has to be one of the best places in Arkansas to go and grab a panorama and feature both wonderful scenery and the White River.   Just down stream on the White River you will find the town of Calico Rock and in this photograph the town is visible just off in the distance.  You can spend the whole day here and the scene is always changing.  On this day, I was there around 5:00 p.m. and there were no clouds in the sky at all.  Many times I have been there and just had a huge blue sky with no clouds.  For such a shot, clouds to me make it much more interesting, period.  However on this day just as sun was starting to go down, a line of clouds rolled in and the moon rose over them.  I could not have asked for a better scene.

On this evening I was shooting the Fujifilm GFX 50S, which is Fuji’s new entry into the Medium Format range of cameras.  Fuji is using the same 50Mp sensor from Sony that has been used by Phase One, Pentax and Hasselblad.  But this is the first large format camera from Fuji ever, as before all of their cameras have been APS-C.  More about the camera in later reviews, but I have to say I am totally impressed with what can be done with this camera.  I knew that the sensor had a lot of range since I used the Phase One versions, but never hand held.  The Fuji GFX is both considerably lighter than the Phase One XF and the 120mm lens has image stabilization something that no Phase One lens has.  Normally I have taken this in 15 exposures, 3 for each segment but with the GFX, I just took an exposure for the middle of the exposure range and pushed up the shadows and pulled down the highlights.  Neither of the extremes were blown out.  In fact the shadow recovery rivals the Nikon D810 and in fact may be just 1/2 a stop better.  But the real amazing facet was just how sharp the 120mm lens was, outstanding optic.

This image has shadow push in several areas, the entire lower half of the left and right sides were pushed at least 2 stops and the middle of the image which was not in the sun was push at least 1 stop.  The sky on the far left was pulled down 1 1/2 stops and the sky on the far right was pulled down 1 stop.

I took these Fuji Raw files straight to a panorama in Lightroom first, and then worked on the image in both Lightroom and Photoshop with several Topaz tools.

Overall the color and clarity is excellent throughout, and I have attached a couple of full sized crops below to show this.  The first is the lower right side featuring the bluff and the trees along the river.  This part of the image was pushed as much as 2 stops and I still have a nice green color in the trees that are just starting to leaf out.  The other crop is from the center of the image where the sun was shinning and again you can see that the amount of fine details is very impressive.

Lower right side crop of Panorama

Lower right side crop of Panorama

Center crop showing details in the fine tree limbs

Center crop showing details in the fine tree limbs

03/15/17 Fujifilm GFX 50S–An example of excellent Dynamic Range

The FujiFilm GFX 50S uses the same 50MP chip that has been used by several camera companies over the years.  Phase One uses this chip in the IQ150,250 and 350, and Pentax used it in their 645Z.  Recently Hasselblad used the chip in the 50c Medium Format back and the new X1D mirrorless camera.

In tests I had made with the Phase One IQ250 and IQ150, I saw that the Phase One implementation provided some excellent dynamic range in the ISO 100 to 800 range, but still seemed to be a bit noisy past this.  Especially when shadows were pushed.  I was hoping to see the same amount of push with the Fuji implementation in the GFX.  I was able to test this on a recent shoot at Calico Rock.  I worked as series of 5 part panos all hand held.  My goal was to only shoot 1 shot for each segment and not have to bracket the exposures since I was hand holding the camera.  The last segment on the far right was a classic shot where half of the image was in shadow and the other half in full shade.  I was metering more to protect my highlights, so the shadows were exposed very dark.  This can be seen in the side by side shot below.

Fuji GFX testing Calico rock

In this side by side view you can see the original shot on the left and where I have pushed up the shadows on the right side.  From this view it’s a bit hard to really tell just how much room there is in the file taken at ISO 200.  So I have taken a few crops at a 100% view.  In this view notice the amount of details that are present in the rock bluff and trees along the bluff.  Also note how well the light green leaves show up.

Fujifilm GFX 50S dynamic range

Shadow push from the Fujifilm GFX 50S


In this shot, by far the most impressive, look at how much color and detail were still available.  Look for the green pine needles and the brown fall leaves on the oak.  Also you can see again a lot of finer branch details that were not visible before I pushed the image.  The key here is the image before is basically black, so the amount of push is close to 3 stops total, between exposure push and shadow adjustment.

Comparison for Fujifilm GFX 50s on shadow push.

Comparison for Fujifilm GFX 50s on shadow push.

Not bad!! In fact excellent for ISO 200.

This type of push would easily hold up in a large print.  So what I have learned so far:

  1. The Fujifilm GFX allows easy hand held work with the 120mm lens and 32-64mm lens
  2. There is a huge amount of room in the shadows for push from the base ISO of 100 up to around ISO 800
  3. You can get easily 1 to 1.5 stops of push up to ISO 1600
  4. The files hold up very well with no loss in color saturation, no smearing or excessive noise
  5. By far the best raw converter is Capture One on files where you are attempting to push shadows