06.10.2021 Ferry Knijn

GFX50S II: Portrait x Ferry Knijn

Ferry Knijn

As a kid I was always daydreaming and making story’s but I am bad in drawing and writing. When I finished school a had a few jobs and when I was producing a band I got the question, could you make some photo’s, so I bought my first DSLR camera and that’s when the bug bit me. I got fascinated with photography and telling story with people and light.

As a musician myself I started shooting other musicians and also work with dancers. Now I work full time as a portrait and reportage photographer in the Netherlands. Beside photographing I also love to teach people how to get better with photography. And last few years I am also getting more in to video.

Impression on GFX50S II

In 2013 I bought my first FUJIFILM X series camera – the X100. The X-Pro1 and X-E1 followed shortly after that. I loved the compact size, weight and features of the mirrorless cameras.

FUJIFILM GFX50S II & GF23mmF4 R LM WR

But a Medium Format was always the holy grail dream camera for me. But they were always too expensive, loud, big and heavy. So when FUJIFILM introduced the GFX50S in 2017 I was really excited and bought one! This camera had all the advantages of a mirrorless camera but with a medium format sensor in a body size comparable with a 35mm DLSR.

So I was really excited when FUJIFILM asked me to test the new GFX50S II. This camera checks a lot of the boxes that I seek for in a camera. We went to Terschelling – a small island in the north side of the Netherlands. Making a portrait series about beach combing and the people who live there.

FUJIFILM GFX50S II & GF110mmF2 R LM WR

Something that has changed for me during the pandemic is that beside making just regular decent portraits of people, when doing personal work, like to tell a story with it and show the problems we have in this world, small or big. Like with most coastal places beach combing is important for the people who live there. In the past, beach combing was very important for the people on Terschelling because they lacked natural resources. Nowadays a lot of waste and plastic wash up on the beaches. Which in the past went to the waste furnace on the main land. But now plastics get collected and recycled into new products.

FUJIFILM GFX50S II & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

Why a Medium Format sensor

For me it’s always hard to explain what it is with Medium Format cameras in a non technical way. But I just like the look of the images. They have this little bit extra you can’t get with any other kind of camera. For me it is not about the amount of megapixels but the quality. And with Medium Format 50 megapixels is the sweet spot. This gives you all the pixels you need for making large prints, but also keep the files reasonable.

FUJIFILM GFX50S II & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

Ease of use

What I really love about the FUJIFILM camera’s is the ease of use. I don’t like to fumble around in menus. With the FUJIFILM cameras you can set them up the way you want. And change the settings using the buttons, while looking through the viewfinder, seeing the effect immediately. Which means you can work faster and more effectively.

 

FUJIFILM GFX50S II & GF23mmF4 R LM WR

Also being able to see the aspect ratio makes it easier to compose your image for the way you want to use it. I like 16:9 for landscape and web based work for a more cinematic look and composition. The 4×5 I like for my portraits because this fits great in a print and profile pictures for social media.

I want my camera to be easy to use, so that it represents the slightest obstacle between me and my subject. Every time your camera does something you don’t want or need to search for a setting it takes you out of the moment.

FUJIFILM GFX50S II & GF23mmF4 R LM WR

IBIS

The addition of IBIS is really nice. In the past I never dropped below 1/400, because with the high resolution images you could already see some motion blur. But now I could drop to 1/60 without using a tripod with ease with portraits. And even tried 1/4 with some landscape shots.

FUJIFILM GFX50S II & GF110mmF2 R LM WR

NEW AF-algorithm and processor

I loved the original GFX50S, but for the standard in 2021it was getting a little bit slow. Now with the new processor the GFX50S II is much faster, especially the AF of the camera. But also the buffering speed is improved. I can’t remember to have had any moment on which I had to wait before the camera had cleared his buffer

FUJIFILM GFX50S II & GF23mmF4 R LM WR

Body and WR

The new smaller body is really nice. But luckily it kept the old flip out screen, which is great for professional portrait and studio photography

The weather resistance is really important for me. The GFX cameras are really made to take the medium format camera out of the studio and into the field. We had some really challenging weather. From sunny morning to stormy afternoon with sand being blasted on it and we even took it into the sea for a shoot. But it handled everything with great ease.

FUJIFILM GFX50S II & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

GF lenses

I used three lenses on this project: the GF110mm, GF32-64mm and GF23mm. All lenses worked very well with the new camera and its new AF algorithm. The GF110mm is my big love for portrait photography, but also the GF23mm was really nice for environmental portraits.

FUJIFILM GFX50S II & GF23mmF4 R LM WR