09.12.2023 Hendrik Osula

GFX100 II : Sports photography x Hendrik Osula

Hendrik Osula

Hendrik Osula is a professional photographer from Estonia. He started having interest in photography in 2007 while visiting Vilnius and playing around with his father’s old Canon Powershot on his spare time. In 2009 he won his first place in youth category at Nature Year Photo of Estonia. Since then he started having interest in photojournalism and has been doing part time jobs for different news sites and -papers. Currently he is a chief photo editor at the biggest news and media company in Estonia. Hendrik also won first price in Estonian Press Photography Contest 2013 in Sports category and was nominee for several times.
Hendrik’s favourite subjects are sports, portraits and street photography. His interest in street photography is the reason why Hendrik purchased his first Fujifilm camera – X100S – in 2014. That was the camera which made Hendrik lean more and more away from Canon and towards Fujifilm. Since 2015 he has been using his X-T1 as a daily camera for work and spare time. Even for sports, while using his Canon equipment, he always has Fujifilm with him.
For me, there is no perfect camera as there is no perfect shot. This is why I always try to find the best one, but it means that you have to make compromises time to time. I think Fujifilm has made perfect compromise, using smaller sensor, but that way making cameras and lenses smaller. That way you can get great quality out of your camera, while not thinking which gear or lenses you should take with you. I personally can fill all my equipment into my daily backpack. As a wise man once said – the best camera is the one you have with you. This is why I am exited to be part of Fujifilm family!

GFX100 II Impression

Two of my passions in photography are street and sports, with basketball being my favorite. The perfect blend of both these interests can be found in street basketball, a subject I have yet to capture. When I had the opportunity to test out the new FUJIFILM GFX100 II camera, I knew instantly that street basketball would be the ideal challenge to explore its new capabilities. This camera’s autofocus system intrigued me as it promises to handle unpredictable and fast-moving actions while allowing me to capture the artistic essence of this sport played on the streets.

GFX100 II & GF110mmF2 R LM WR

Having previously tested the GFX100S during the international sports game in Tokyo last year with regular basketball, I was aware of some of the shortcomings of the GFX line when it came to shooting fast-paced action. Thankfully, Fujifilm listened to feedback, resulting in the newly released GFX100 II featuring a significantly improved autofocus system and being capable of shooting 8fps with a mechanical shutter. Additionally, the blackout time has been greatly reduced, making it easier to track movement during erratic sports like basketball. These upgrades are a welcome improvement, and the ability to use CFexpress cards enables shooting longer burst sequences without waiting for the buffer to empty. The GFX100 II feels just as fast and reliable as the X-H2S or any other X Series camera, while offering the best image quality available.

GFX100 II & GF20-35mmF4 R WR

The main focus of my project was to showcase the diverse settings where people gather to play basketball. Indoor professional basketball arenas tend to have a standard look with stands, wooden courts, and artificial lights. In contrast, street basketball courts vary greatly. For instance, in Los Angeles, one of the most renowned basketball metropolises, I captured images of orange sunsets and palm trees, creating a laid-back backdrop for friendly games. On the other side of the country, in New York, the game takes on a more competitive and flashy nature, with courts exuding an urban vibe.

GFX100 II & GF80mmF1.7 R WR

Initially, I felt a bit apprehensive leaving behind my trusty X-H2S, which is my usual go-to camera for sports photography. However, I was eager to see the exceptional results that the GFX line offers. With the new GFX100 II, even older lenses like the GF45mmF2.8 focus much faster. My favorite feature of the autofocus system is the ability to define the autofocus zone size on both the X and Y axes. Furthermore, face detection, a feature I rarely used on my older GFX 50R and GFX100S, has been greatly improved and now matches the capabilities of the X-H2S. These enhancements quickly dispelled any concerns I had about not using the X-H2S for this project.

GFX100 II & GF110mmF2 R LM WR

Throughout this project and the months of testing the GFX100II, I came to appreciate the decision to have a separate body like the GFX100S with an additional battery grip. With the grip attached, the camera feels like a sturdy tank with ample buttons for customization. Removing the grip makes it more compact, which is perfect when using smaller lenses. The battery life also seems to be improved compared to previous models, and the viewfinder is by far the most impressive I have ever used.

The combination of the new, durable, and highly customizable body, the already fantastic image quality further improved, and an autofocus system that rivals the latest X Series cameras, along with the ability to shoot at 8 frames per second, makes the GFX100 II an excellent choice for fast-paced action photography. For sports-, action- and reportage photography there has always been a compromise to make between ultimate image quality and speed of autofocus and operation of the camera. From my personal experience, I can confidently say that the GFX100 II has eliminated the need for such compromises.

GFX100 II & GF20-35mmF4 R WR