I had been looking forward to reviewing the Fuji GFX 50s. It seemed like a logical step up from the a7RII, and the Sony 50MP sensor, although lacking the Aptina DR-pix technology, was well proven and respected, having been used for a couple of years in Phase One, Hasselblad, and Pentax cameras. I was a bit worried about what Fuji’s new microlens system, which reduces the effective fill factor, would do to aliasing, but I was willing to keep an open mind on that. I was also concerned that moving the sensor cover plate well away from the senor surface would adversely affect off-axis imaging with adapted lenses, but people who understand optics a lot better than I do said that the first-order parameter was the thickness, and that a shift in position should not have a great effect.
So, on January 19, the first day that B&H started accepting orders, I was there with my figurative nose pressed up against the glass. I ordered a body, EVF tilt adapter, charger, extra batteries, AC power unit, 120mm macro lens, and the 63mm normal lens. Delivery was quoted as 2/28.
On 2/28, B&H shipped me the EVF tilt adapter. After a week of backing and forthing, they said that nothing else would ship before 4/7. I was willing to be patient.
Then I started reading about the experiences of some of the lucky folks who had received GFXs from the first tranche. The images looked nice. The 120mm lens got good reviews for sharpness, but most thought it huge. The 63mm lens was more of a mixed bag. Both lenses apparently suffer from focus shift. But that’s not unusual. It’s more unusual to find a lens that doesn’t exhibit focus shift.
Then I discovered a serious problem: there is no way to do magnified manual focusing with native lenses stopped down to taking aperture. You push on the DOF preview lever, and the finder switches out of magnified view. That’s a show stopper for me.
With the Sony a7x cameras, Setting Effect On means that you can stop down the lens and use it in magnified focusing mode at taking aperture. On my Nikons, live view stops the lens down to taking aperture — it’s kinda strange at first to hear the lens aperture move when you change the f-stop in live view. I can’t give that up.
Last night, I cancelled my order. I’ll try to send the EVF tilt adapter back.
Maybe Fuji will fix this in the future with a firmware release, but maybe they won’t.
I was really looking forward to testing that camera. Maybe I’ll rent one when the availability improves, but until I can focus at taking aperture, I’m not going to be using the camera for real photography.
[A few hours later] Well, I lost my place in line for nothing. I just read this on LuLa:
Ok, thanks to some help from the FujiGFX forum, you can have Live View Zoomed in and DOF preview.
I was in S mode on the camera when I checked before and note, this is very poorly discussed if at in the camera manual.
In in M mode, pick any aperture, hit DOF preview, the aperture blades close down (verified by looking at lens) you also see the DOF preview emblem in the viewfinder. Hit zoom, THE DOF INDICATOR GOES OUT, but the aperture blades STAY CLOSED DOWN (verified by looked at front of lens). I have checked the multiple times and it works as I have stated.
Oops! I feel terrible about this.
Max Berlin says
I find it hard not to shoot Otii almost 100% of the time anymore. Even though my hit rate is off, the 20-40% (live, moving subjects) that are in focus make it all worthwhile.
For static scenes – 100% are spot on when using a loupe and/or tripod.
The 28mm especially needs this discipline to be used effectively below 2.8.
Vincent Wan says
I don’t know what B&H is like mail order but at the store Ihave never had a return problem.
David Braddon-Mitchell says
Oh, Jim, how annoying for you!
Makes me feel pretty stupid, too. There’s a silver lining, though. Since, with all the delays, I wasn’t going to be one of the first to do a technical review of the camera, this gives me a chance to sit back and let the smoke clear and decide if I would really like to use it for may work. Maybe I’ll rent one for a while.
Max Berlin says
You’re quoted over at DPReview as saying that the Oti can create an image circle sufficient for medium format.
I don’t recall reading this and searches don’t pull up a source.
What Rishi said in the article was a triply-distilled version of what I said to him in a telephone conversation, and some of the subtleties got lost in translation. First off, I have not tested the GFX at all. There is some progress on that front, but what I said to Rishi was based on reading posts by others. Also, my hope that many FF lenses will work on the GFX is mostly in the context of making square photos, which has long been a format I favor. When the GFX is used to make square photos, the image circle required is only slightly larger than that needed for FF. The resultant images are 38 MP. Word on the web is that the 55 and 85 Otus lenses cover the whole 33×44 format even at infinity. I’ll want to test that for myself. The 28mm, not so much; you should probably cross that off your list unless you run across someone who’s made it work. Of course, even with the 55 and 85 at 33×44, the corners are going to be softer than they are on FF, but that’s OK in many circumstances.
Max Berlin says
That sounds about right. I follow you pretty closely and it didn’t sound right from the gitgo.