Alongside the launch of the GF30mm f/3.5R WR lens, Fujifilm also announced the immediate availability of new big firmware updates to the GFX100, the GFX50S and GFX50R.
I have had the firmware for the GFX50R installed for a week, so I thought I would give a brief run-through of the new features in this 2.00 update. Although I also had access to the firmware for GFX100 and GFX50s, I didn’t have any cameras to test it on. So for now this run-through will be regarding the GFX50R – The GFX50S v4.00 is however the exact same update as the GFX50R v2.00. So this run-through will be regarding both of these firmware updates.
Something that is VERY different for this run-through from my usual reviews/first looks is that I am only using unedited jpegs straight from the camera this time. Thats right, no post processing colors, no correcting horizons, no spot removing dust etc. Just pictures exactly like I captured them in camera! (Scary stuff. I feel naked!)
The reason for this is one reason, and one reason only….
THE CLASSIC NEG. FILM SIMULATION IS NOW IN THE GFX CAMERAS!!
That’s right. I just shouted that in pure joy and excitement. The absolute best film simulation to ever evolve from the geniuses at Fujifilm is now available with all the extra colorinformation and depth that the GFX medium format system has to offer.
And oh. my. dear. Lord. is. it. goooooooood!
So all the images in this run-through have been shot using the Classic Neg. film simulation on the GFX50R v2.00
First some usual disclaimers for good measure. Feel free to skip everything but number 3.
Disclaimer 1: I’m an X-photographer. That’s spelled brand ambassador for Fujifilm. I don’t get paid for doing these write ups (and I have been doing them even before getting involved with Fujifilm). This means that I’m just about as biased as I can get, and whether you choose to believe my views or not is entirely up to you. I expect you to be adults, capable of forming your own opinions based on presented information.
Disclaimer 2: All the images in this article has been shot using a beta version of the GFX50R v.2.00 firmware. Image quality might therefore not be final, although it looks pretty damn amazing to me.
Disclaimer 3: All shots with- and of products in this article has been shot by me for Fujifilm Corp, and is not to be used without my explicit permission.
The new GFX50R v.2.00 / GFX50S v.4.00 firmware features
I thought it would be fitting to list all the new features that has made it into version 2.00 of the GFX50R firmware.
- Film Simulation “Eterna”
- Film Simulation “Classic Neg.”
- Improved Focus Bracketing operation (select start/end point, set number of frames)
- PC tether shooting setting for ISO/Aperture/Shutter Speed/Exposure compensation
- In camera rating compatible with Capture One and Adobe Lightroom
- Increased number of images in one folder (up to 9,999 images)
- Addition of the ”Smooth Skin Effect”
- Improved low-light contrast AF (low-light priority mode)
- Improved Face & Eye detection (refresh rate, smoothness, widen area, sensitivity, continuous shooting)
Now, how’s that for a list of new features! That seems like almost a new camera when you look at it. And trust me, it actually feels that way.
The above list entails some features that I’m bound to be using all the time, and some features that I don’t care too much about. But make no mistake, those features up there is a direct result of Fujifilm listening to their core users and making changes to the cameras that will make a lot of us very very happy.
I’m not going to go through all of them, but I’m going to write about the ones that I find are the most important to me.
New film simulations – “Eterna” and “Classic Neg.”
As I mentioned above, I’m a huge fan of the Classic Neg. film simulation. Ever since I started shooting it on the X-Pro3 prototypes last summer, I knew this was the perfect film simulation for me. It has even made me think twice about shooting RAW, and more often than not, I now shoot my tweaked Classic Neg. jpegs and tweak them further in post processing. Simply because the starting point looks so good. To those of you that doesn’t know Classic Neg. I copy/pasted what I wrote in my initial review of the film-simulation in my X-Pro3 run-through (full article HERE.)
“I will try my very best to explain to you what Fujifilm has achieved with this. It is by a very very wide margin their best film-simulation to date. It will in most circumstances have you fooled that you’re actually shooting a digital camera, and not an old film camera loaded with Superia 100/400
Again, I remember my sketches from my Tokyo meetings back in October 2018. I remember specifically suggesting either Natura or Superia as the next filmsimulation for them. We discussed back and forth during the following months. And here we are. They didn’t end up calling it Superia, but it is 100% Superia 100 based. All the color science and all the resulting curves point to one thing. Superia.
Fujifilm decided to use a broader naming calling it CLASSIC NEG. referring back to a classic negative filmstock.
Classic Neg. has a harsher tonality than the Classic Chrome filmsimulation. It alters the main RGB parameters of the image, so the green is more yellow, the red is more orange and the blue is more teal. The whites have a slight magenta cast (just like superia)
Skintones are handled in such a beautiful way. Especially caucasian skintones is deprived of the often so destructive magenta colorcast. It looks so so good!
But what is most impressive is the way that the simulation actually changes character completely if you either over-/underexpose you image. Just like with old film stock, choosing a 2 stop exposure push or a 1 stop pull will get a totally different output in regards to color and tonality. This is a feature I have never even seen in a digital camera before!!!”
That above still holds true when applied to the GFX, but now you have even broader tonality and range to play with. The colors are even deeper and richer, and everything just looks amazingly well balanced. Just like with my X-Pro3 / X100V, I’m probably never switching to another film simulation again! 😀
This film simulation made its debut in the X-H1 and have been included in all the X-series models since. It’s made primarily for video use, as it is really flat off the bat, but a lot of stills photographers have taken it in, and now use it as their preferred film-simulation in many situations. It is already present in the GFX100, but now it has also found its way into the GFX50S/GFX50R. A very welcome addition, although I probably won’t end up using it that much.
Improved low-light contrast AF (low-light priority mode)
This new low-light feature makes the world of difference. Since the AF in the GFX50R/50S is only contrast based it isn’t as snappy and precise as the AF in the GFX100 which is phase detection based. But just like Fujifilm continuously improved on the CDAF on the original X-Pro1 they have also improved further on the CDAF within the GFX50.
This new low-light priority mode needs to be switched on in the menu, and afterwards you get a small “moon AF” icon on your screen showing that you’re in low-light focusing mode. I have no idea what the software doesn’t, but it is VERY pronounced how much quicker and precise the focus is during dark conditions when the function is engaged. It really makes a big difference! Thank you for this Fujifilm. Very very cool!
The ”Smooth Skin Effect”
Originally announced as a feature within the GFX100, the “smooth skin effect” is meant to soften up the extreme micro-contrast and sharpness which occurs on the GFX system with its accompanying lenses. It reduces the harshness and the details in the skin, and it’s meant for portraits.
Just like the film-simulations this effect only applies to jpeg files and not the RAW files.
Improved Face & Eye detection (refresh rate, smoothness, widen area, sensitivity, continuous shooting)
The above is not a feature that I use often, since I rely on normal AF in most situations, and when that fail I always switch to MF for ultra-precision focusing. But I have tried it out, and the feature went from near-useless to absolutely useful. It follows the face and eyes of my 6 year old quite well, and only dropped it couple of times. The old face detection mostly did catch the face at all! SO I see a definite improvement. I will have to test this further to make any clear conclusions on it, but so far so good.
Conclusion and samples
This free firmware update v2.00 for the GFX50R (v4.00 for GFX50S) is amazing. It sparks new life into a camera that was already pretty damn great to begin with. It gives you new a slew of new, very usable, features without having to even think of you wallet. Fujifilm calls it Kaizen… I call it badass!
As I wrote in the beginning, the samples are all, with no exceptions, unedited jpegs straight from the camera this time. No post processing of colors, no correcting horizons, no spot removing dust etc. Just pictures exactly like I captured them in camera! (Scary stuff. I feel naked!) All are shot using Classic Neg. film simulation.