Photography News Issue 70

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and last, but certainly not least, portraiture and street photography. That variation in events is great, for which I use full-frame Nikon DSLRs with several lenses, adding off- camera speedlights or studio strobes whenever required. DSLR systems are very capable, well-rounded and will be available for some time to come, but mirrorless does offer several compelling advantages and I’m sure it’s the future. I’ll jump in that direction soon, but I’m not investing before some serious consideration. This opportunity to shoot with the GFX 50R and two GF lenses was very timely. The main criteria for any replacement system are, of course, fit for my own purposes but, with so much on the market, where to start? My first consideration is sensor size and, having already tried three brands covering Micro Four Thirds, APS-C and full-frame mirrorless cameras, testing a high-end medium format camera with some exceptional glass has completed that task, covering all the relevant options. Of the mirrorless cameras I’ve previously handled, I was happiest with the Fujifilm X-T3, so the obvious test drive of a digital medium format body was a FujifilmGFX. Of the three cameras in that range, 50 megapixels fits my needs better than 100 megapixels, and the 50R suits my budget better than the 50S, so that was a straightforward decision. Conversely, homing in on just two lenses proved trickier. My current comfort zone is my three f/2.8 zooms (14-24mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm)

plus a couple of fast primes, but this project was different and I eventually opted for the wide-angle GF23mmF4 R LMWR prime alongside the GF100- 200mm F5.6 R LMOIS WR zoom. I expected to spend most of the time with the zoom lens, but the 18mm equivalent prime was such a delight it was on the camera most of the time. I decided to shoot a series of cityscapes, architecture and some quite special machinery and, rather than random images, I tested the GFX 50R in deliberately challenging lighting conditions. The city scenes and architecture were taken in my home city of Winchester and in London, shot in a mix of daytime, nighttime, indoor and outdoor conditions at locations where I’ve previously shot successful images. The first thing I noticed about the GF23mm lens was the apparent lack of any lens distortion and, once the images were checked on a high-resolution monitor, that was fully confirmed. The 0.79x crop factor didn’t take long to sink in and although this camera/lens combination isn’t one for shallow depth-of-field shots, I did manage one! I feel the camera is built for high fidelity rather than high speed, and the bright viewfinder really helped compositions, particularly with my personal predilection for symmetry. That deliberate shooting routine was complemented by the live viewfinder histogram, allowing simple dialling-in compensation for ‘right first time’ exposure. I found this a big benefit over my usual DSLR technique of estimating compensation, shooting, checking, refining and reshooting. Other than for deliberate long exposures, I rarely use a tripod and am happy shooting handheld, dialling up the ISO as necessary. Having read that good technique is more important for high pixel count sensors, I was a little wary in low-light conditions, but after pixel peeping my initial captures, this wasn’t a problem. In fact, quite the opposite. The

32 Photography News | Issue 70

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