04.23.2021 David Airob

GFX100S: "More than Full Frame" x David Airob

David Airob

David Airob is a photojournalist with an extensive career in the world of documentary photography. Since his beginnings at the end of the 80s, he has focused his professional career working for the newspaper La Vanguardia de Barcelona from 1989 to 2017, being its Editor-in-Chief Photographer for three years. Parallel to his work in this newspaper, he has developed personal works that have been awarded in international competitions such as: World Press Photo, Sony World Photographic Awards, PoyLatam, etc. Agustí Centelles” Award for photojournalism, he has published in international magazines such as: TIME, Paris-Match, Der Spiegel, etc. In 2013 he started in the world of video filming and directing his first short documentary “Calcio Storico” and his feature film “La Caja de Cerillas”.

His relationship with Fujifilm began with the appearance of the first Fujifilm X-100 and since then he has been linked to this manufacturer as an X-Photographer. He considers himself a fan of the X-100 series for its design, performance and light weight. He was attracted to the medium format GFX system after many years of photographing with analogue 6×6 and 6×7 format cameras. He finds the new Fujifilm GFX100s the ideal camera for the type of documentary photography he does, allowing him to use it as if it were a full frame camera but with much higher resolution. His favourite lenses of this system are: the 45mm, 80mm and the 110mm. Although he considers the latter more interesting for portraits than for documentary photography.

He currently combines his work as a freelance photographer and videographer in different journalistic projects.

The possibility of acquiring a medium-format digital camera has always meant a considerable expenditure. Joining together in a single body a larger sensor, an AF system offering sufficient guarantees and / or a stabilizer requires a high-tech and design solution so that the compilation of everything does not result in a huge camera.

When Fujifilm presented its first medium-format model with a resolution of 50 MP, it surprised everyone by offering a camera with a very frugal size and some very interesting features. The FUJIFILM GFX 50S paved the way and was soon joined by the GFX 50R and the big sister of the family, the impressive GFX100, with its 102 MP resolution, phase detection AF and 5-stop mechanical stabilizer.

Now we’re celebrating with the presentation of the new GFX100S, which include most of the features of the GFX100, but a much smaller size and weight. It’s ideal for outdoor work. Its ergonomics feel balanced with most of the GFX system lenses, as long as we stay away from the large-sized lenses, such as the GF120mmF4 Macro or the GF250mmF4, for example. We can highlight the projection on the back top right where we can rest our thumb for a better grip on the camera; while it might seem small, it more than serves its purpose. Its body design is clean, with just one dial to select the operating mode located on the top left of the camera and a screen on the right that displays all the necessary information. On the back we find a new joystick and four buttons beside the screen, which can rotate up and down.

It’s a camera that feels light, thanks to its 900 g (almost half a kilo less than the GFX100). Unlike the rest of the GFX range, it is powered by the new NP-W235 battery, which is smaller, but more powerful.

Its sensor does a brilliant job, with amazing recovery in shaded areas and with a performance at high sensitivities that enables us to reach surprising ISO levels. The results make us forget that the images are generated by a 102 MP sensor, with 580 MP documents open at 16 bits.

The GFX100S is the first to include the new “Nostalgic Negative” color profile characterized by warmer tones in the shadows. Altogether, with this new color profile, we can choose from among 19 different profiles.

The way I work, I almost always use ambient light and rarely do I use the flash, so it’s important for the camera I use to let me reach high sensitivity levels, although I always try not to exceed 4000 ISO and in very special cases, 6400 ISO. That’s why the luminosity is something that I have always prioritized when it comes to purchasing a lens. I usually use the FUJINON GF45mmF2.8 and Fujinon GF110mmF2, although I have currently replaced the latter with the new GF80mm/1.7, which was recently presented along with the GFX100S. These are focal distances at which I feel very comfortable and focusing on just two helps me develop a more coherent visual narrative, setting aside the GF110mm for portraits. Thanks to the size of the new GFX100S, I can transport all of the medium-format equipment in a very small bag, something that is appreciated when we’re spending long days taking pictures, without the weight being a handicap.

Unlike the GFX 50S and R, the GFX100S have inherited the same phase detection AF system as the GFX100, thanks to which we have more focus speed and greater precision with dim light, letting me focus with -5,5 EV and 80 mmF1.7. In the field, it is a quick AF system, and as compared to the one on the GFX 50S and R, which only focus by contrast; it is much more precise and accurate. If we combine this with the face and eye detection feature, ideal for portrait sessions, its performance is surprising for a medium-format camera, especially if we compare it to the one on other models on the market with the same sensor size.

As far as video goes, the new GFX100S can record 4K in MOV and MP4 format, with an All-Intra or Long Gop compression and a bit rate of as much as 400 Mbps. Internally, it can film at 4:2:0, with a color depth of 10 bits, which can be more than sufficient for many jobs, but for those that require more information for better post-production results, we can send the signal by HDMI to an external recorder and achieve a RAW 4:2:2 at 12 bits of color.

In addition to the “Eterna” color profile, which is ideal for video recording, the camera also includes its “F-log” logarithmic profile with a high dynamic range for color post-production.

With the GFX100S, Fujifilm opens a door to medium format that was unthinkable a few short years ago, and at a truly attractive price. Its design, weight and high performance let us forget that we’re using a camera with this sensor, ideal for outdoor work, where size and weight matter. This makes it possible to integrate it into many areas of photography, such as nature, street, social reporting and documentary photography, etc. If we add the great color work, the low digital noise generated by its sensor and the great definition, the GFX lenses take us to a place where any photographer would undoubtedly want to go.