My day with the Fujifilm GFX 100s II and Canon EOS R5

 In Fujifilm, Fujifilm GFX, News

With the price points changing, the size of medium format bodies getting smaller, and the new focus enhancements of the new Fuji GFX 100s II, I thought that I should really revisit the shooting experience of both these systems again. I have been critical of Canon T/S lenses in the past, and justifiably so. But I have not been critical of the Canon bodies, L glass, or user experience. As a matter of fact, in what seems like another lifetime ago, my wife was a wedding photographer for 18 years. We used Canon exclusively and loved it. So I rented a Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L for our Canon R5 and I spent an afternoon with these two systems.

Also let me preface this blog, this will not be a tech article discussing the features bit by bit. This is the owner of Capture Integration just having fun with two systems in his backyard…. 😉

BodyEOS R5 – 45mp GFX 100s II -100mp
LensRF 50mm f/1.2 LGF 63mm f/2.8 R WR

Size and Weight

I wanted to use both systems with their “normal” focal length lenses. Secondly, I wanted to put Canon in the best light by using their highest rated lens possible. By doing so, it actually made the Canon much heavier and unbalanced as you can see in the above image. The RF lens weighs more than double that of the GF lens (14 vs 32 oz). If Fujifilm made a faster normal lens, I would have used it but their fast lenses are longer than normal (80mm and 110mm). So any realistic weight and size comparisons here is a moot point. The weight of the two bodies are almost identical at 26oz and 31oz respectfully. In use these two bodies were so similar that the easiest way to tell them apart was the feel of the material in the grip. That is how close they are.

Feature Sets and User Experience

Both of these cameras feature high frame rates. 7 and 12 frames per second respectfully. The EVF are exactly the same in resolution, 5.7m pixels. They both have subject and eye tracking options. Both offer sensor/pixel shifting and very high Image stabilization rates that are almost impossible to prove. Frankly, for my needs we were splitting hairs on “marketing” features……. that is until I started to shoot the product.

I shot two subjects. I shot Millie our rental duck, hand held with eye tracking. And I shot an outdoor scene on a tripod.

Immediately I was shocked at the improvement in AF speed and the 1053 focus points in the Canon R5. It was exceptional. While it was double the focus points on the Fujifilm’s 425 points, it actually felt like more. The experience of the Canon AF brought me back to shooting weddings with my wife. That kind of AF speed was necessary to nail expressions and emotions. And if that is what I did today for a career, then it would be hard to look at moving away from the Canon.

As a user experience shooting the Canon was superior. The menu system is more logical. And maybe it was years of muscle memory, but I was able to switch between functions and set features easily on the go. Add that to the amazing focusing and after shooting the first moving image, Canon was my preference.


Focus and Quality

Let’s pull these images into Capture One and take a look! Of course, the Fujifilm would not load because the body is not even released yet. So It was off to Exif Editor to change the camera’s metadata to mimic a GFX 100s. All the images that you see here are shot with the new body but processed with Capture One’s GFX 100s profiles and not any new ones that will be supplied with the camera or with Capture One.

Fuji on left – Canon on right
Fuji on left – Canon on right

I pulled the images up and was perplexed. The Canon images had a beautiful feel due to the f/1.2 lens. It is a beautiful bokeh that I can get with my Leica and Noctilux but not with Phase One or Fujifilm. But I expected the Canon to be superior in focus and they were not. While the shooting experience was superior, the results in auto focus were very similar.

With the Canon, I was able to shoot twice as many images in the same amount of time as the Fuji Body. So I had a lot more to choose from. However, the images that the GFX captured, were perfect. So the end results for when it come to actual focus were negligible. This was not the feeling I had in the field. So I was happily surprised when the Fuji files nailed the eye on Millie each time. It was a “not so fast to judge” moment for me. Both systems focused accurately with the Canon winning on speed and feel of the image.

The next area to jump out at me was chromatic aberration and color gradation.

I immediately recognized the chromatic aberration of out of focus subjects with the Canon files. When you look at areas of over exposed white feathers against the background there is a “build up” of color that does not feel normal. Sometimes this CA rears its ugly head against a blue sky. When you shoot have shot the Canon’s a lot you see it right away. I would have guessed that it was Capture One algorithms if we didn’t have another system to compare it to. Here, the Fujifilm bodies didn’t show it at all. Yes, I had forgotten about this issue because I moved away from Canon a long time ago. But there it is in its latest system with its newest lenses. And at the same exposures with the same subject, Fujifilm files were clean.

Fuji on left – Canon on right

Dynamic Range

Medium format quality has always been superior to any other digital capture systems. And this test illustrated it again. The number one aspect of Medium Format quality has always been and still is DYNAMIC RANGE.

Lets quickly look at the duck shots, I did not alter these images other than the same amount of highlight recovery on both. Millie in the sun warranted that! In every single Canon image, Millie’s eyes were solid black. It was spooky weird. And every single Fuji image, the full definition of the pupil can be seen. The Fujifilm files show that DR quality separation in the shadows. Secondly, the downy feathers have color gradation with the Fujifilm that is far superior. This is not due to resolution. This is MF DR.

Now let’s look at the outdoor scene. Two bodies placed on the same tripod at the same location moved as quickly as I could to keep the same lighting scenario. Focus was set at the bush in front of the Gazebo on both. ISO 100 and f/9 at aperture priority on both. Both systems were sharpened equally. The only tweak was a minor exposure change to balance density in both images.

Very typical Fujifilm vs. Canon color profiling. Fujifilm green and blues vs Canon reds and warmth. I did’t change any color settings other than a normal white balance to keep them accurate to each other.

Now let’s really look at the details. And try not to look at resolution. These systems do not have the same resolving power in sharpness and is it fair to ask them to? I don’t think so. But is it fair to ask for the same DR and color gradation? Absolutely.

And that is where Canon fails. The first image has simple leaves against a tree. Look at the difference. Very typical dynamic range and color gradation between medium format and mirrorless. Smooth leaves with no overexposure. And just a more natural feel to the subject. We have been discussing this for years and this image shows it perfectly.

With the rest of the comparisons, you can see the exposure being very similar with both systems, until you get to the highlights. I can hear all the arguments now, “its your curve setting”, “change your profile”, “it can be fixed”. And I don’t care. I want to be a photographer not a retoucher. I want the camera to get as much right on location as possible and not have to “fix” everything in post. And if I can shoot a system that saves me time, then my time is money, and that money is well spent.

Fuji on left – Canon on right
Fuji on left – Canon on right
Fuji on left – Canon on right


Honestly, this day had me going back and forth. It brought back great memories of shooting the Canon in the field with my wife. I truly enjoyed the user experience of shooting the Canon with my farm animals. I also liked many of the feature updates that Canon has added to their system since I stopped shooting the 5DmIV. And if I shot weddings with her today, I would still grab the Canon due to its speed and ease of changing features quickly on the fly.

However, those stressful days are long behind us. Thank God! Today I care about quality. My enjoyment comes from shooting fine art, landscapes, and a little bit of architecture here and there. And there is no way I am going to carry any system that won’t capture the quality of the amazing places I am traveling to. When I get back to my computer and see images that I know could have been better if I had brought the right camera system, I am very frustrated with myself. I think many of you who own multiple systems understand what I am saying.

There is a tool for every job. And there is a separation of digital capture quality in our market. Know where it is and know what you are looking for. And If we can help you along the way, then it would be an honor to do so.

Non technical, personal opinion with years and years of shooting digitally under my belt. Drop me a line if you would like to chat! – 770.846.5223

Dave Gallagher

Fujifilm GFX 100S II Camera Body

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