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Fuji GFX Camera Landscape Photography in Challenging High Dynamic Range Light

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I have to celebrate my new Fuji GFX with its 32 to 64mm zoom with the baby size Medium Format sensor. I had to visit Holmby Park in the late morning to see how it handled with the enormous dynamic range of the shade and brightness.

I stitched 32 overlapping shots, handheld in Autopano Giga and the stitching went easilly. This could print at 300 dpi about 54" x 36".

Asher Kelman: Holmby Park Tranquility
January 2018
Fuji GFX 32-64 f4.0
Handheld 32 overlapping shots
Stitched in Autopnao Giga

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Does one need such an elite expensive camera for this scene? Well not unless one is planning to print larger that 16x20" or 20x24"!

This challenging scene with dark shade, detailed bark of the trees and bright light in the b.g. could be done with almost any other modern camera from the Olympus and Panasonic 4/3 darlings upward! Most prints selling on the web are less than 16 x 20 so these less costly cameras make sense in more cases than not.

Theoretically, for giant prints and wide dynamic range, (examined up close),one could also use the Sony A7RIII. This is especially true with the Canon 17mm or 24mmT/S lenses. (Or else the Nikon D850). Then one would, I believe, just about approach this Fuji GFX MF quality, for even a very large 6-12 ft high print. I am not sure we could detect the difference!

I will try to do a comparison down the road when I can get my hands on the Sony A7RIII

The Pentax 645Z likely will ace this as it edges out the Fuji GFX by a tad in the dynamic range, but the Fuji lenses appear to be sharper!

If one has a Pentax, there is no more photographer-centric user experience and I can't imagine folk who shoot a Pentax 645Z swopping to Fuji unless they want the ability, as with the Sony A7 series, to be able to use, practically any favorite lenses, (by any manufacturer), they own! Furthermore, Pentax MF users are due for an upgrade as their fabulous system is already several years old.

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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Where the Sony A7RII would be better, perhaps:

The differences might be boiled down to the Sony perhaps having an advantage in cleaner deep shadows when recovered about 5 stops, whereas the Fuji has likely the sharpest standard lenses (and that Sony MF sensor seems to possess more ability for highlight recovery).

If you wanted to show what was in the shadows, Sony's A7RIII would likely do a cleaner job! But here we are looking at printable detail and the Fuji's GF lenses are remarkable.

Canon 5DS would do well to, especially if it had the T/S lenses. But Fuji would still win in dynamic range controlling the highlights.

So why get the Fuji? Well it weighs only 1.7Lb, is built like a tank and can take any lens you throw at it!


Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
What about weight of one of these fine cameras with a single zoom lens to walk around the streets and parks and for studio photography?

A7RIII 24-70 54.32 oz

GFX 32-64 58.00 oz

Canon 5DS 24-70. 69.00 oz

Nikon D850. 24-70. 69.60 oz

Pentax 645Z. 48-85 83.34 oz

So in practice, for an older gentleman, like myself, weight matters for a camera one will hold for hours. (My own weight is another matter!)

Suprisingly, the Fuji GFX. is pretty much the same weight as an A7RIII, is sharp as one can ask for and is a pleasure to use!

In addition, like the A7RII, if you have a fine Sigma Art or Canon EF mount lens, you can use it with a wonderful Techart or the like AF, IS adapter! I will be using it with the Canon 24mm T/S II, 50 1.2L, the 70-200 2.8 L IS II and a 2 X converer for birds until I aquire something longer.

So this is a good camera for my needs, mostly studio, street and landscape!


Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Wild Animal Safari Photography and High Dynamic Range Lighting Conditions

This is a challenge, like no other in lighting, as the extremes cannot be modified by flash or other tricks. One needs a camera that can recover precious detail from the deepst shadows, as that's where the predators hide and leap from!

I would like to add a comment on where the Sony cameras might be superior. If one is going on Safari and spend time watching a water hole with lions or hyenas crouched in tall grass under the shadow of a large tree, then one's key subject is in the dark shadows.

The wilderbeast, zebra and antelope are all in the bright blazing unforgiving sunlight. If you move your stare from the thirsty animals, drinking by the water hole, your eyes may not immediatley see the two lions, hidden in the shadows. You have to wait precious seconds for your eyes to accomodate. So it's pretty difficult even for the human eye to take in an entire scene of hunter and hunted! For your camera, it's no less of a challenge!

When you take a picture with a wide enough lens, pehaps you will auto bracket and use the lion from one shot with the ptential prey from the next one.

But in any case, you will need to open up the darkness under the tree and you can do that for 5 stops with the Sony A7RII or III and have a pretty clean image.

The same with the A9 which at 24 frames per second, is perfect for such wild life challenge!

The Nikon D850 uses a similar Sony sensor so I guess it could also be just as useful in this situation.

The aged Canon 5Ds while great for resolution, is not as capable of rescuing the shadows as the Sony sensors.

Here I would not use the MF cameras as action is too fast. But for a bucolic scene, yes the MF cameras would be magical.


Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
The Ability to pull back on blinding Light!

Here, (in a picture posted previously), the value of the GFX is both the high resolution and high shutter speed for capturing detail rich structure from a fast moving car, but also to be able to pull back the highlights which would otherwise ruin the picture.

The amount of shadow recovery needed here was very minor and in any case, there were nothing important, certainly neither lions nor yellow Lamborghinis to reveal!

Asher Kelman: Power Lines

Fuji GFX 32-64 mm
64mm, 1/4,000 sec, F 11.0, ISO 1600
Processed from RAW in Photoshop CC
Nik Filter for Output Sharpening

charlotte thompson

Active member
Pretty good sewing on the first photo...I adore the shadows of the trees...what would it look like in b and white ?
Also the crispness of the second is excellent!


Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

Bump to remind me to add more shortly!
As you know, the domain in which I agonize over which camera to buy is different than the domain to which tour series of essays in this thread pertain, but nevertheless I wanted to applaud these essays. They can very much help lubricate the thinking of those wrestling with the question of what camera to buy for use in such domains.

As you know from our private correspondence, I have been wrestling with a camera to be used in a different domain: shooting moving subjects (people) in a very low light context when the resulting images are only to be used in fairly low-resolution form (in an Internet blog, mostly). A further criterion is that the camera, equipped with the suitable lens, should be able to be carried in my pants pocket (there are "dock pants", so the pockets are relatively capacious). And the cost needed to be not over, say, $600.00.

Again as you know, we finally got a slightly used Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II. When It arrives, I will report on how it does.

Best regards,