As expected, today’s Fujifilm ‘X-Summit’ in Stockholm was a GFX (medium format) led event. The new GFX100 II was sort of expected, but I was surprised to see the announcement of a GF500mm f/4 lens in development. If I were a betting man, I’d have placed my wager on seeing this sort of lens being announced for the X-Mount before the GFX. Anyway, I thought I’d blog some of my initial thoughts on today’s news.
I’ve enjoyed using GFX cameras for wildlife photography with the GF250mm f/4 lens and GF1.4x teleconverter in Kenya’s Maasai Mara. It’s not an ideal combination for wildlife photography in the UK, but amongst the mega-fauna of sub-Saharan Africa, it’s absolutely viable. I’ve discussed this in a previous blog post, here.
With the GFX100 II improvements increasing the frames per second rate, in-body stabilisation efficiency, expanded buffer, refined autofocus and faster processing specifications, plus the GF500mm lens (and 1.4x teleconverter), medium format wildlife photography has been elevated from being viable to becoming a very credible and realistic option which opens up a range of possibilities, especially for huge format prints.
Yes, of course there are still a lot of unanswered questions. How much of an issue will rolling shutter be when using the electronic shutter? Will pre-shot be included and effective and just how efficient will the improvements in autofocus be when moving those big GF lens elements? Speaking of big lens elements, the actual physical proportions of the GF500mm will also be scrutinised. Perhaps we’ll see some size reducing optical technology similar to PF (Phase Fresnel) lenses used by Nikon. Time will tell.
Overall, It’s unrealistic to expect X-H2S standards, but the X-H2S has set high standards and no matter how unrealistic, it will be inevitable that performance comparisons will be made, especially in use in the field.
Since I wrote this Medium Format Wildlife Photography blog post, I’ve also used the GFX100S in the Maasai Mara and just like the GFX50s, it was very productive and I appreciated some of the improvements over the 50s. So, it seems apt to post a few photographs here too. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to hopefully giving the GFX100 II and GF500mm a trial. Maybe next year!