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12.02.2021 Gianluca Colla

GFX100S: "More than Full Frame" x Gianluca Colla

Gianluca Colla

Gianluca Colla is a photographer and videographer, dedicating his life telling meaningful stories in images. He captures a changing and evolving world, giving emphasis to smaller, unknown stories, trough a colorful, strong and vibrant imagery. His artistic journey has led him to some the most beautiful and desolate areas of the world, joining expeditions in the Amazon, the Arctic and the Antarctic Circle, India, Costa Rica and Iceland to name but a few. He’s member of National Geographic Creative agency and his work has been published, among others, in the National Geographic Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Bloomberg News. His clients list include ad agencies, non-profit organizations and magazines such as Apple, Canon, Fujifilm, Estée Lauder, Zegna, National Geographic Magazine, Condè Nast, An international speaker and teacher, Gianluca is a Photography Expert for National Geographic Expeditions, holds reportage classes at European Institute of Design and has lectured to major international photography events (Photokina in Germany, CP+ in Japan, Toscana Photographic Workshop in Italy). He never leaves home without his Fujifilm cameras, and when not on the field, Gianluca can be found around the Swiss Alps hiking with his wife and his two (objectively) beautiful boys, or eating foundue and raclette in a local chalet.

I’ve always looked at the GFX System with some envy.
I fell in love with it since the beginning due to the quality of the files, but I have always had some qualms about the size.

The kind of photography I do requires a lot of travel that is quite often complicated geographically (like going to the other side of the world) and logistically (like walking many hours with gear on my back) and that’s why the more compact X Series cameras are my beloved work mules.

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

Unbeatable in all respects: small, compact, reliable, lightweight, great quality: in a small space I can cram a considerable amount of material.
I won’t hide the fact that I’ve always had the desire to use the GFX System more intensively. And It’s not just my famous GAS (Gadget Acquisition Syndrome) talking… I swear!

Because Fujifilm’s Large Format actually has something special about it. The colors, the texture of the pixels, the depth of the images… looking at the photos, you have the same feeling you get at 3D cinema with colored glasses!

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

Then, all of a sudden, a bolt in the sky: a camera with a 102 Mega Pixel sensor, in a body a little larger than the X Series. Is that possible? Really?

I’ve had the GFX100S in my hands for a few weeks now, so I can confirm that not only it’s possible, it’s also real… and it almost seems incredible.

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

Let’s put it another way: practically all the things that make me (and here I’m pretty sure I can use a more collective “us”) want in the flagship GFX100, are condensed in a body the size of a classic full frame DSLR, with one of those spells that only Fujifilm seems to know how to do.
What fascinates me the most about this GFX100S is the fact that it is “a lot”, in all regards (except wight and size)!

GFX100S & GF45-100mmF4 R LM OIS WR

Let’s start from the sensor: have you ever shot with 102 Mega Pixels?
Have you ever tried to enlarge an image of this size on a practical and effective touch screen to check its sharpness? Imagine never ending pinching with your fingers … every time you think you are at the end, you manage to zoom in a little more and continue to see incredible definition! Personally, I find that these 11000 (and even more) pixels of resolution seem to never end!

Next, the autofocus. It is “a lot” as well.
Taking advantage of phase detection, here I can say with certainty that we are light years from everything the market offers in this category. Fujifilm has once again redefined and changed the industry benchmarks, because until now the medium format with this speed of autofocus remained only a dream.

GFX100S & GF45-100mmF4 R LM OIS WR

We continue with the responsiveness, which is, again “a lot” and very high, if we think that every time we press the shutter button we are sending 200Mb to the card … it is amazing how the camera remains fast and snappy.

There would still be “a lot” of other things to list, but it is always and only by shooting that you really test your equipment: we can read all the technical sheets in the world but if
we don’t take pictures we will never really know how a given camera or lens works.

So, with this body and a few lenses on my shoulders, I embarked in a little motor-home to discover the Po River Delta, a part of Italy that has always fascinated me.
Born and raised not too far from this area, I then moved to the highest mountains in Europe, and I won’t deny that the endless horizons continue to exert a considerable fascination on me.
For this adventure, given the additional logistical difficulties due to the worldwide pandemic, in order to be “self-sufficient” I have rent a small motor-home and wandered through levees,

lagoons, and water pockets. I traveled and photographed that strip of land that hides between water and sky: a sort of road-trip, using what Fujifilm calls its Large Format.
Impossible not to hide my amazement at using this GFX100S.

GFX100S & GF23mmF4 R LM WR

It really handles the same way as an X-T4 or an X-H1. Indeed, given the small upper display, the most fitting comparison could be with the new X-S10.
Whatever the resemblance, the substance remains the same: for those who knows how to use any X Series camera, taking pictures with the “big sister” will require no effort to adapt. 

GFX100S & GF45-100mmF4 R LM OIS WR

Then when I think that other systems need to be connected to a computer to record a similar number of MegaBytes, and I’ve been in the water up to my neck (literally) photographing clam fishermen, with the water splashing all over the camera… and nothing, not a crease, fast, precise, autofocus that doesn’t miss a beat…

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

Between embankments and water channels, I’ve taken a lot of pictures… and this “little monster” has surprised me across the board: a huge sensor, photos of a quality and detail that have no equal, super extended dynamic range, internal stabiliser, phase detection autofocus very precise even in low light, touch screen, wi-fi… I could continue much longer with the list, (and I have not even begun the video features list…) but the only thing I can suggest is… try it!

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

The “materiality” of the sensor is perfectly suited to these places that sometimes seem almost evanescent. Whether it’s because of the mists, the thicker fogs, or the horizontal extension, whatever the reason, certain details of the river’s Delta sometimes seem to escape the human eye. Certainly not to the eye of the GFX100S, which is capable of rendering every fine detail.

On more than one occasion I found myself, after taking a photo, discovering inside that image a series of elements that I had absolutely not seen with my own eyes.

And in the end, this “small” Large Format leaves you with the feeling of looking at your images as if it were always the first time.

GFX100S & GF100-200mmF5.6 R LM OIS WR