This is one in a series of posts on the Fujifilm GFX 50S and 50R. You should be able to find all the posts about that camera in the Category List on the right sidebar, below the Articles widget. There’s a drop-down menu there that you can use to get to all the posts in this series; just look for “GFX 50S”. It’s also in the Z6/7 category.
I received a request to do a head-to-head test of the Nikon 200/2 vs the Fuji 250/4. I had always thought them both to be excellent lenses, but had never tried a cross-format comparison. Here is an informal one.
The Z7 and the GFX 50R have the same resolution horizontally, but I’m a fan of 4:3 pictures, so I equalized for image height. If you like wide aspect ratios, you may consider that to be stacking the deck. Here’s the scene with both cameras of some trees 47 meters from the camera:
There’s a hair more off-axis illumination falloff for the Nikon, but they are both excellent.
Making three shots for each variation and picking the sharpest, I exposed at base ISO of 100 for the GFX, and 64 for the Z7. I used pinpoint AF on the Z7 with the zoom, which means that both cameras were using CDAF. The CDAF on both of them is so good that there was far more variation between the sets of shots than there was within each series of three at the same settings. I could almost have flipped a coin to pick the sharpest. I used AF-S and a small spot, focusing on the target grove of trees. For the Apo-Sonnar, I focused at maximum magnification with peaking turned on.
Images developed in Lightroom, with default settings except:
- WB set to daylight
- Exposure to equalize brightness
- Adobe Color Profile
- Sharpening 20, radius 1
I did not try to defeat Lightroom’s silent distortion correction.
We’ll look at some very tight crops.
If you’ve seen these here before, just jump to the images. If not, I need to spend some time telling you how to interpret them. They’re at roughly 250% magnification, enlarged to 700 pixels high on export from Lightroom. If you just want a rough idea of the differences, just look at the images as displayed in-line in the posts. However, if you wish to compare these images in detail, you should view these images by clicking on them to see the source files, then set your browser for 100% zooming. Even better, download them and make Photoshop stacks.
No matter what you do, these crops are all going to look horrible. I’m blowing them up so much so that they will represent the original file after JPEG’s discrete cosine transform has had its way with them. If you want to get a good idea of what the images would look like printed, get far away from your monitor. No, farther than that. Put a bunch of the images up on the screen and back up until the best one starts to look good. Then look at the others. There’s another reason why these images won’t look like the best thing the camera/lens combination can deliver. They’re demosaiced with Lightroom. Lightroom is not awful, but for a particular image, there are usually better raw processors. I use Lr because it’s a de facto standard, because I know it well, and because it’s got good tools for dealing with groups of images.
Here’s how to use these highly-magnified crops. The dimensions of the GFX sensor is 8256×6192 pixels. If we make a full-frame print from the GFX on a printer with 360 pixels per inch native driver-level resolution, like the Epson inkjet printers, we’ll end up with a 23×17.2 inch print. The 317×246 pixel crop you’re looking at will end up 0.8×0.68 inches (2.12×1.74 cm). Let’s imagine that you or your viewers are critical, and will look at the 23×17.2 inch print from about 18 inches (conventional wisdom is that the distance would be a little greater than that, or 29 inches (the diagonal), but you did buy a high-resolution camera for a reason, didn’t you?). The Z7 crops are 282×219, so they are blown up a bit more to make the picture height the same. As I said earlier, that stacks the deck against the Z7.
The next step is dependent on your monitor pitch, which you may or may not know. Turns out, you don’t have to know it. Just take the 250% crops and view then at 1:1. How high are they? Get out your ruler and measure, or just guess. Let’s say they are 6 inches high. 6 inches is about 7 times 0.8, so in order to view the crops the way they’d look from 18 inches on the print is to view them from 7 times as far away, or 10.5 feet.
In the center of the frame:
The color balance is quite different. Fuji GFX color balance in Lr is often too magenta, but this is going in the other direction.
Hard to call a winner here. Maybe the Nikon is a hair softer — it’s blown up more because the Z7 sensor is not as tall in pixels as the GFX one.
Now that diffraction has equalized the lenses, the long pole in the tent is the reduced resolution of the Z7 when compared to the GFX.
In the upper right corner of the GFX 50R frame, and the upper right corner of a 4:3 crop in the Z7 frame:
I’d give the nod to the Fuji, but these lenses are very close.
Gosh, these results are good. The fact that the Fuji lens can stay in the game with the vaunted Nikkor is a testimony to the skill of the Fuji designers and the larger size of the GFX sensor.