03 Dec The Block of Flats
Well, that’s what the general shape of a the Fujifilm GFX 100 camera is – a block of flats. Stylish and a little Art Deco. And only very slightly heavier and more expensive than a block of flats…
Well, that’s not quite true…but there’s little chance that anything I can say in this column will make you rush down to the shop and demand an armload of the things over the counter. The people who need them know who they are and what these cameras do – the rest of us just want them, but cannot justify the cost. However, we can press our noses to the glass of the cabinet and desire.
The camera body you see here is set up as a studio rig with no reference to the eye-level finder. The tilting screen serves the same function as the waist-level finder in the old 6 x 6 SLR days. If you placed this on an Arca-Swiss block and then clamped it into your tripod or studio stand there would be little need to do anything more. The hand-held shooter has the decided advantage with this camera of an in-built vertical hand hold. It would be a necessity, considering the considerable size of the camera. Thankfully, it is provided with enough controls to keep you from having the continually juggle it once you have got it upright.
The complexities of the camera are well enough hidden – by now Fujifilm have struck a good balance in the number of external poke-it buttons and menu items. Sophistication can be held under simplicity and thankfully are labelled sensibly.
They have also been sensible in providing a number of areas where the essential shooting information is displayed: the top plate, the main LCD screen, and a small subsidiary screen under it. It enables the user to clear the viewfinder of distraction entirely while still showing the control positions.
And take a look at the admirable battery supply – those are big cells and two of them mean that you are not as anxious with this medium format camera as you might be with some of the smaller Fujifilm offerings. Note as well that you get a comprehensive battery report on the top LCD screen. So many makers neglect this, leaving you unsure of what they mean when the battery symbols change. Mind you, red and flashing is never a good sign with any battery. Neither are flames.
The joystick gives exactly that. And here I find that this same control on my X-T2 is getting more and more of a workout as I learn the camera. I still have a D-pad but use it far less.
A final picture of the camera with a standard lens mounted. That’s the price my car cost a few years back and I couldn’t get the lens alone for what my car is worth now…but that doesn’t stop this from being by far the best medium format digital camera you can buy. I am planning to get a black mask and either tunnel into the bank or the Murray Street shop after hours to get one…