With the 102-million-pixel GFX100, Fujifilm has made the most practical ultra-high-resolution camera yet. Andy Westlake explores what this means.
Fujifilm GFX100: At a glance:
- £9,999 body-only
- 102MP medium-format BSI-CMOS sensor
- ISO 100-12,800 standard, ISO 50-102,400 extended
- 5 frames per second shooting
- 5.76-million-dot EVF
- 2.36-million-dot tilting touchscreen
When Fujifilm decided to give full-frame a miss and instead develop a medium-format mirrorless system, it offered a perfectly rational explanation. Its APS-C X system would comfortably meet the needs of the vast majority of enthusiasts, especially given its comprehensive system of matched lenses. But for professionals requiring higher image quality, the larger 44x33mm sensor would provide a much more significant step up compared to full-frame. However, while the firm’s current 50MP GFX cameras are capable of producing truly stunning images, the problem is that high-resolution full-framers such as the Nikon Z 7, Panasonic Lumix S1R and Sony Alpha 7R III aren’t all that far behind, while offering faster and more polished operation.
With the GFX100, Fujifilm’s answer has been to boost the resolution to a spectacular 102 million pixels, comfortably surpassing any of those rivals. Its brand-new back-illuminated sensor also gains on-chip phase detection, promising much faster autofocus – arguably the biggest drawback of the firm’s existing models. To further increase its all-round appeal, the camera boasts in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) and 4K video recording. However, the cost of all this technology is a significantly higher price: the GFX100 will set you back twice as much as the SLR-shaped GFX 50S, and almost triple the more compact, flat-bodied GFX 50R. But in context, that’s still only a third of the price of its ultra-high-resolution rivals from the likes of Phase One and Hasselblad.
Of course, I doubt many of our readers are likely to buy a 102MP camera that costs £9,999 body-only. But for a one-off special occasion, it won’t necessarily be out of the question to hire one. And if nothing else, it’s a really interesting demonstration of what’s possible at the cutting edge of camera technology, perhaps giving some clues as to what we’ll see in more mainstream models in the not-too-distant future.