Fujifilm GFX 100S II

the evolution of the species

April 2012 Fujifilm once again enters the interchangeable lens camera market by announcing a new professional mirrorless system.
Mirrorless cameras were nothing new at the time. most of the time however (with rare exceptions) they were rather sparse systems of lenses and accessories. Systems, moreover, chosen by brands that until then had not been able to find the way to undermine the photographic dominance of the Nikon and Canon duopoly. A top-selling duopoly, which was careful not to market products that could cannibalize the heritage of optics and accessories created over the years for their reflex cameras.
Few trusted Fujifilm's choice, mainly for having chosen to give up the mirror prematurely and for having chosen the APSC format of the sensor.
It's been 12 years and we all know how things went.

September 2016, while digital SLRs desperately try to prolong their agony, Fujifilm announces the GFX 50S, the first mirrorless medium format designed to break away from the usage patterns into which these types of cameras were confined.
I immediately fell in love with the GFX. For many it was slow and cumbersome but it was clear that they didn't have the slightest experience with this format enough to be able to make a considered judgement.

Photokina 2016 - presentation of the GFX 50S

A judgment which, more often than not, led to comparing the overall performance of the GFX with that of more "traditional" format digital cameras. This highlighted a limitation of experience in the specific use that, until then, characterized medium format.

FUJIFILM GFX 50S - Fujifilm GF 250mm F4 R LM OIS WR (demo test photo of the lens created together with Riccardo Scotti - Fujifilm Italia

The GFX completely changed my way of approaching professional photography, offering me new creative opportunities that were previously unthinkable. Unthinkable especially outside the studio or the sets on which you can shoot with all the calm possible.
From this moment on, thanks also to Hasselblad, digital medium format was finally cleared through customs.
In 2018, when all brands finally abandon the "mirror", Fujifilm announces the GFX 50R and, above all, reveals a demo of the GFX 100 which will only be marketed the following year.

FUJIFILM GFX 50R - Fujifilm GF 23mm F4 R LM WR

Already the GFX 100, an evolution of the 50s not only for the achievement of 100MP and the image stabilizer but also for the autofocus update thanks to the phase detection which makes the GFX 100 the first medium format camera that takes advantage of this technology.
The GFX 100 is probably the camera I loved most in my life.
I have used it for many photographic situations, often even those in which a faster or lighter photographic medium would have been more suitable. But once you've seen even one GFX 100 file, a sort of physical addiction is created within you.
It's like a good plate of Carbonara, once you put the first forkful in your mouth you can no longer be satisfied with plain pasta.
Certainly the X100VI and the XH2s always find a place in my camera bag especially when discretion and operational speed are the priority aspects of the photographic work to be carried out. And therefore I continue to use them with great satisfaction. But the GFX 100 is the GFX 100.

FUJIFILM GFX 100 - Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7 R WR

In 2021 the GFX series takes a further step towards the "normalization" of medium format. The GFX 50S II and the GFX 100S are essentially two more compact versions of the previous models. In terms of performance and image quality there are no differences. Compared to the GFX 100, the new model has a less refined electronic viewfinder and loses the possibility of having a battery grip. For many, the smaller body and certainly more accessible price represents a valid reason to take the step towards the larger sensor.

FUJIFILM GFX 1OOS  - Fujifilm GF 110mm F2 R LM WR

In 2023 the GFX 100II comes to life. New sensor and new image processor. In reality the image quality remains fundamentally very similar to previous GFX. The real novelty is the new autofocus system which allows the GFX to get ever closer to the speeds of other cameras with smaller sensors on the market. Now you shouldn't expect the exuberance of the X-H2s (to stay at Fujifilm) or other sports cameras offered by other brands. But the gap between medium format and the rest of the world has narrowed further in this respect.
Video performance also reaches heights that were unthinkable until recently.
But the GFX 100II, like the original GFX 100, is an extremely complete professional machine intended for a specific user.

FUJIFILM GFX 1OO II  - Fujifilm GF 30mm F5.6 T/S

The new GFX 100S II sits in the middle between those who want very high image quality but want more mobility. Users who deal mainly with photography and less with videos. Photographers who, at the same price as a medium-high range full frame, can purchase a highly performing medium format.
The GFX 100S II is not a detuned GFX 100 II. The GFX 100S II is rather a photographic device stripped of all those options that are of secondary importance for many users.
I've always said this. The GFX 100 and GFX 100S travel on two distinct but parallel roads. The 100S did not replace the original 100, just as the 100 SII does not replace the 100 II. These are two options that Fujifilm offers to meet the different needs of its users.

FUJIFILM GFX 100S II - Fujifilm GF 23mm F4 R LM WR

GFX 100S II, first contact.
If it weren't for the new BISHAMON-TEX coating, already seen with the GFX 100II, it would be difficult to distinguish the new camera from the previous model (GFX 100s).
But once it is turned on we realize that, if the body has remained fundamentally unchanged, the soul is completely new.
First of all the new X-Processor 5 image processor guarantees most of the new functions introduced with the GFX 100 II and some improvements compared to the GFX 100S.
Base ISO 80, the new Reale Ace simulation, the 5,760,000 dot viewfinder, further optimization of the sensor to improve the image especially on the peripheral areas and new intelligent autofocus functions for subject recognition and tracking.
The image stabilizer also reaches 8 stops.
Many will now be wondering what the real differences are between the GFX 100II and the GFX 100s II given that at first glance the performances seem almost comparable.
As previously mentioned, the GFX 100II, at an operational level, is proposed to a type of user for whom photography and video have the same importance. Furthermore, size and price are not a problem.

FUJIFILM GFX 100S II - Fujifilm GF 55mm f/1.7 R WR

The GFX 100S II on the other hand, precisely to be more oriented towards photography, adopts the new image processor like the GFX 100 II but a new and different image sensor .
Now, what does all this translate into?
In reality we will not perceive anything in the photograph.
In fact, the GFX 102MP CMOS II HS that equips the GFX 100II offers a reading speed approximately twice faster than the previous one.
But it is a solution adopted mainly to maintain a very high standard of video performance.

The of deep learning and advanced tracking and AF detection, not only on human faces and eyes, but also on animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes and trains.
So if you mainly deal with photography I would say there is nothing to worry about.

FUJIFILM GFX 100S II - Fujifilm 500mm F5.6 R LM OIS WR

That's enough for now, it's difficult to add anything for the moment. For those who know me well, they know perfectly well that I consider it impossible to create an accurate review only after a couple of weeks of using a photographic medium.
The web is already full of "copy and paste" reviews and summary judgments written in a hasty and superficial manner. I am of the old school, that of sector magazines so to speak when you had all the time to thoroughly squeeze a camera or a lens to really understand its characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. But now I belong to another photographic era.

FUJIFILM GFX 100S II - Fujifilm GF 55mm f/1.7 R WR

Let me just add something about the AF's performance since I already foresee the flood of hasty judgments that we will read on the internet from today onwards. AF performance is determined by two things: camera and lens used. Now that the new GFX implement high-performance solutions, suitable lenses will be released to fully exploit these characteristics. Obviously, even old lenses will be able to fully benefit from the new solutions adopted by the new models. But if you expect miracles from lenses like the GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR or the Fujifilm GF 55mm f/1.7 R WR you are on the wrong track. They are spectacular lenses for portraying people, not for photographic hunting or chasing a Ferrari launched at full speed on the Imola straight.
I say it like this, just for future reference.

I decided to also publish some shots taken during a walk around Rome. By now we all know the image quality of Fujifilm's 100MP. The thing I was most interested in understanding were the operating margins that this model can offer in photographic genres where medium format has never been the "recommended" system.
So, having activated the AF with human or animal subject detection, mounted the optimal reportage lens (Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR), I start photographing and think: "How long has it been since medium format was just a object linked to the photographic room”.

And finally, something fantastic that had never happened to me. With all the cameras I tested in preview I was forced to shoot only in JPG due to the obvious absence of software capable of managing raw files. Well, this time Adobe LR (latest version) was able to correctly develop the GFX 100SII raws already three weeks before the launch of the new Fujifilm. Just coincidence?