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GFX 50S: An Evolution by Omar Z Robles

GFX 50S & GF63mmF2.8 R WR

I have been a photographer for around 10 years now. Writing it definitely makes it feel like a significant chunk of my life. Within the larger scope of things however, especially if I compare myself to many others in the industry, I am still a baby.  Nevertheless, 10 years is a good amount of time to live, learn and grow.  One thing I can say I have learned through my career as a photographer so far is this: photography is largely about the experience. The experience you have with your subjects. The experience you have with your equipment. You live for the experience and you enjoy it.

GFX 50S & GF63mmF2.8 R WR

The first time I picked up a FUJIFILM X Series camera, the X100S, after working with a DSLR body for 6 years, I realized I have stumbled around a camera that was all about that, the experience. I know it sounds somewhat abstract, but it is just one of those things that are hard to explain. During a recent trip to Puerto Rico, my homeland, I had the chance of meeting up with a group of veteran photojournalists. Folks I grew up admiring as a novice photographer. Little by little they have all been to switching to the Fujifilm system. One conversation after another, they all seemed to agree. The FUJIFILM X Series system gave them a satisfying experience they never found with their previous gear.

That is what makes me proud about being part of the Fujifilm X family. To be working side by side with a company that understands that about photography. They strive to cater to their consumers based on the experience.

GFX 50S & GF63mmF2.8 R WR

The recently released GFX 50S medium format camera is thus no different from its X Series predecessors. It excels in providing that same satisfying user experience. Handling the GFX 50S is extremely similar to handling an X-T2. It sports the same 3 way tilting screen and excellent ergonomics. The most important dials, like ISO and Shutter Speed (as well as Aperture Ring on the lenses), are present just like we have been pampered with on the X Series cameras for easy and intuitive controls. Also similarly to the X-T2, the GFX 50S is weather sealed. A welcomed improvement over the current X Series flagship cameras is the addition of a touch screen. 

GFX 50S & GF63mmF2.8 R WR

It is easy to forget you are working with a medium format camera when you hold the GFX 50S in your hand. A little in disbelief, I had to remind myself several times "dude, there is actually a medium format sensor inside of this little body". But it is not only its weight and size that make you forget this is a medium format body. The GFX 50S performs above many cameras in this category.

Autofocus speed is much faster than what I was expecting from a medium format sensor. In spite fact that the GFX 50S offers only contrast detect points, I was rather pleased with how fast and precise it focused. On top of that it features 117 selective focus points, a first for a medium format sensor. Shooting with the dancers, it kept with my pace and style of shooting in most situations.

GFX 50S & GF63mmF2.8 R WR

Now the real reason I am excited to work with this camera is the image quality. For starters, the quality and feel of the FUJIFILM X Series colors shines thru with the GFX 50S.  When I am shooting with the dancers within urban environments, I am looking to create a narrative thru the backdrops I choose. The dynamic range of the GFX 50S enhances my narrative significantly. At the same time the dancers stand almost three dimensionally out of the frame.

GFX 50S & GF63mmF2.8 R WR

My images are also about capturing the magic of a fleeting movement. For this reason I often need to crank up the ISO in order attain the proper shutter speed (1/500+) so to freeze the dancers at the right moment. I found the high ISO performance quite outstanding. My images came out looking cleaner than those of the X-T2, which I liked as they were. This is due to the larger sensor size but also the proprietary technology implemented.

Being able to capture such vivid imagery with such a portable and compact camera is the stuff that photographer's dreams are made off. The GFX 50S definitely carries over the X Series DNA and it feels like a strong evolution, built upon a solid foundation. A foundation of image quality, portability and user experience.

GFX 50S & GF63mmF2.8 R WR
About the Author

Omar Z Robles’s interest in story telling began with one man: Marcel Marceau. The legendary mime actor taught him how to interpret the world through subtle but riveting movements. Those movements that he acquired as a student in Paris, he employs today in his photo series of ballet dancers.

But before juxtaposing the clean lines of dancers against rugged city landscapes, Robles was shooting celebrities, athletes, artists, politicians and city dwellers for The Chicago Tribune’s Hoy, Metro San Juan, Latino Leaders and for his own street photography portfolio.  

In New York City, he transformed the aesthetic of his street photography by substituting the New Yorker with the New York dancer. Robles directed the dancers to tell stories with their bodies as he had learned from Marceau. The results were an army of miniature stories as told by the gentle flow of the dancers’ bodies.  These stories were later passed on by local and international media. (Mashable, Instagram’s Blog, The Phoblographer, The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, Design Taxi and Harpers Bazaar).

He is grateful to the dance community and to his supporters – 128,000 Instagram followers and counting. His social media acumen has made him an influencer for Fujifilm, Gap, Esprit, The Guatemala Tourism Board, Esquire Magazine and other fantastic brands.

When he’s not spelunking the city, he’s at home with his wife, enjoying a steaming espresso cup – and editing his photos.

Since 2014 Robles exclusively photographs with FUJIFILM X Series cameras and lenses.  After his transition to FUJIFILM X Series cameras, he finds himself more connected to his subjects than ever before. The cameras' intuitive and revolutionary design along with their excellent image quality have propelled his artistry to new heights by facilitating complete, unobtrusive creative control over his photography.

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