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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


02/05/16 Somewhere new in Arkansas-White Oak Mountain in the wintertime

White Oak Mountain creeks

Some of the huge boulders along a small creek on White Oak Mountain

Some of the best spots for photography in Arkansas are working the smaller creeks up into their headwaters.  This tends to involve a lot of down hiking but the results can be well worth it.  White Oak Mountain, is actually a long ridge that runs east and west near Hector Arkansas.  To get there, you need to drive to Hector, through the town and as soon as cross a small bridge over a minor creek, you will see a dirt road heading up to the right.  Stay on this road for about 7 miles, there will be some turn offs but once you find the right spot, you can hike right down into a great creek valley.  This creek has a nice run which offers several nice smallish waterfalls in quick succession.  If you hike up the far hillside, you can find some much more dramatic waterfalls, but these will only be running after a locally heavy rain.

What I found most interesting on White Oak mountain was the number large boulders that were just laying in the creek.  This reminded me of Richland creek, however the terrain is a bit more open than on Richland.

Once you are done in the creek valley walking is very easy and you can make good headway.  There is a RV trail and a marked hiking trail that will take you down to the creek.  This creek outwardly appears to be about 1/5 the volume of Richland creek, but the unique geography surrounding the creek makes the hike worth a trip.  I would warn anyone that crossing this creek in high water could be a bit dangerous as the bottom is full of large mossy rocks easy to slip on.

I hope to make another trip here in the future to see what the area looks like in Spring with more water running.

To capture this photograph, I used a Phase One XF camera with a IQ260 Medium Format back and 55mm LS lens.  The photograph was taken with a nodal panorama setup and I used the captures to make the one horizontal shot.  To slow the water down I used ISO50 on my camera and a polarizer.  As you can see in the photograph, the light was already marching up the far side of the valley, so I did not need a ND filter.  The raw files were converted in Capture One software and then I used PtGui to stitch the 3 images together.  I then added a bit of Topaz clarity to my liking.