Sony A7r4 or Fuji GFX 100S for Landscape?

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    Topic: Sony A7r4 or Fuji GFX 100S for Landscape? Read 1866 Times
  • John Hollenberg
    John Hollenberg
    Participant
    Posts: 55
    Cameras, Lenses and Shooting Gear
    on: January 30, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    I will be retiring in a couple of months and with more time for photography plan to upgrade from my Sony A7r2 (also have a Canon 5DSr with 100-400 f4.5-5.6 L IS II that I prefer for wildlife).  Trying to decide between the two cameras in the title.  Price is not a significant concern.  This is strictly a hobby that I have enjoyed for almost 20 years.  Currently I have a Canon ipf 6300 printer but will likely upgrade to a 44 inch printer as I love to make large prints.  I am using Canon lenses with a metabones adapter but plan to get E-mount lenses if I stick with Sony and may switch to prime lenses along the lines of the article by Harvey Stearn.  I often use a tripod but not always especially if light is changing fast and not already set up.

    Sony advantages – familiar with system, smaller and lighter, longer lenses available, I tend to prefer 3:2 aspect ratio although do fairly often crop some of the image which makes it closer to 4:3.

    GFX 100S advantages – much higher megapixel count, 90 megapixel files even if cropped to 3:2 aspect ratio, higher quality images (Jim Kasson testing), auto focus bracketing, presumed slightly higher dynamic range, ability to crop significantly and still have > 50 megapixel file

    GFX 100S disadvantages – larger and heavier, fewer lens options and heavier lenses

    For GFX 100S I would start with 32-64 mm zoom

    My questions for anyone who has shot with GFX 100:

    1) Do you use focus bracketing often?  Is it fairly quick and easy to use?  I have Helicon Focus Pro so no problem blending images.

    2) How much practical difference in image quality if printing 30X40?

    3) Other usability issues I haven’t considered?

    All thoughts welcome.

    Kevin Raber
    Kevin Raber
    Silver Member
    Posts: 1037
    Re: Sony A7r4 or Fuji GFX 100S for Landscape?
    Reply #1 on: January 31, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    I have used the GFX100 and own the Sony a7riv.  I am also a big medium format user.  I worked as VP for Phase One for 13 years so I am somewhat biased to medium format.

    First, I think you need to ask yourself some questions.  What do you typically photograph? More than anything else, what size prints are you going to make? How do you photograph?  Are you a contemplative shooter or do you move fast?  Are you shooting moving things?   Are you concerned by weight?  What kind of lenses do you need?

    In short, I selected the a7riv.  It’s an amazing camera with a good frame rate.  Dead nuts on AF, especially on the eyes of subjects.  I like to shoot long lenses when I am traveling.   Sony has a great lens line up, especially with the G-Master line.

    I shot the GFX 100 and the Sony a7riv side by side matching focal lengths.  I then made 30×40 inch prints from each.  I could not detect a difference between either print.  I asked a number of photographers and artists in my building to take a look at the prints.  They came to the same conclusion.  I typically make 44×70 inch prints and the Sony a7riv files did great with these prints.  These are prominently displayed outside of my studio.

    I should mention the IBIS for the Fuji is amazing.  I did 1/8th of a second exposure handheld and they are perfectly sharp (63mm lens).  That means I could go to and shoot handheld 100mp files.  That was very impressive

    I really want the Fuji GFX100s and maybe when we are out of the pandemic and I can come with 22K as that is what a kit the way I want it would cost.  But for now, I’ll be shooting with the Sony a7riv.  I also as mention in an article have ordered the Sony a1, which will replace my a9.  This will allow me a good kit of lenses and a camera for big landscapes and a camera for wildlife shots.  I typically visit the polar regions every year a few times and there are a ton of wildlife opportunities that the a1 should be perfect for.  Plus I can crop in n the files t get even more reach out of my 100-400mm lens.  I am looking forward to trying out that camera.

    I hope that helped a bit.  Both are great systems.  BTW, I am currently doing some long-term testing on the Phase One 150mp camera systems, both the XT and XF.  Those files are out of this world.  More about that in the near future.

     

    Kevin Raber
    CEO & Publisher of PhotoPXL.com and Rockhopperworkshops.com

    Jeremy Roussak
    Jeremy Roussak
    Gold Member
    Posts: 737
    Re: Sony A7r4 or Fuji GFX 100S for Landscape?
    Reply #2 on: January 31, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    Kevin, it’s not quite on topic, but why do you say the A1 will replace only the A9? Doesn’t it (subject to the loss of 10MP) combine the best features of both the A9 and the A7Riv?

    What does the A7Riv do that the A1 won’t?

    As I’m (still) teetering on the brink of a switch to Sony, I’m curious.

    Jeremy

    Eric Brody
    Eric Brody
    Participant
    Posts: 35
    Re: Sony A7r4 or Fuji GFX 100S for Landscape?
    Reply #3 on: January 31, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    I certainly do not have Kevin’s wealth and breadth of experience but do have the Sony A7RIV and have been photographing for over 50 years with everything from a Minox to 4×5. I flirted with the Fuji GFX and made many spreadsheets comparing costs and weight over the last few years. I rented a GFX50S and loved it and the files. What most reinforces my decision to stick with the Sony even in the face of the “bargain” GFX100S is the absence of IQ difference even in large prints (referencing Kevin’s comments above, not personal experience). Is not that what’s all about, print quality?

    If I were infinitely wealthy and if I had a sherpa to carry my gear into the field, the GFX might be desirable. A friend had the original GFX100 and while he loved the files, it was just too big and heavy and not compatible with hiking or travel. The Sony with its incredible eye focus and impressive collection of lenses from super wide to super long (and I’m not even thinking of the 400 & 600mm monsters) allows me to do everything from hiking in the landscape with primes, to travel with zooms, to wonderful portraits with eye focus (did I mention eye focus?). The two things I would really like on the Sony are lossless compressed files and automated stacking. Fortunately storage is relatively cheap, I have a fast computer, and I do fine with focus stacking manually.

    I hope those fortunate to have the GFX100S enjoy making images but I’m sticking with my Sony A7RIV.

    Javier Santa
    Javier Santa
    Silver Member
    Posts: 10
    Re: Sony A7r4 or Fuji GFX 100S for Landscape?
    Reply #4 on: January 31, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    Hi, besides all that was said above, you might consider waiting a bit as canon is preparing a new camera around 80 or 90 Mpx and, if you plan to stay with Sony, most probably there will be a response, probably an A7RV, by the end of the year. Just imagine if it keeps most of the capabilities of the A-1 but on 90 Mpx. It might fit all your needs in one body.

    John Hollenberg
    John Hollenberg
    Participant
    Posts: 55
    Re: Sony A7r4 or Fuji GFX 100S for Landscape?
    Reply #5 on: February 5, 2021 at 7:09 pm

    Is the LCD screen on GFX 100 (and presumably 100S) bright enough to see adequately in bright sunlight?  How does it compare with the Sony A7r4?  I often have difficulty with the lack of sufficient brightness of the LCD on my Sony A7r2 when used in full sun.  Is the LCD on the A7r4 improved any in this regard?

    Rand Scott Adams
    Rand Scott Adams
    Silver Member
    Posts: 247
    Re: Sony A7r4 or Fuji GFX 100S for Landscape?
    Reply #6 on: February 9, 2021 at 10:52 am

    I have been shooting GFX cameras for the past several years.  The GFX 50s, and now the GFX 100.  I previously shot 24×36 size sensors.  Here are some reasons the medium format camera is superior in my view, based on the GFX 100:

    • Aspect ratio 4:3 (you either love it or you don’t).  IF you genuinely prefer 2:3 aspect ratio you’ll be bothered by the GFX and find yourself cropping to 2:3 as a matter of course.
    • One thing that gets lost in the GFX 100”s” buzz is the lack of removable EVF and the tilt-adapter.  The tilt-adapter is a game changer for me in shooting.  It’s hard to describe how nice this is (as an older person who is less in love with being a contortionist) for both tripod mounted and off-hand shooting.  The “s” model also has a much lower resolution EVF with slower refresh rate.
    • The “medium format look.”  Yeah, there’s no way to quantify this one – but it is there.  In my case it is meaningful.
    • Image quality.  There’s no doubt that the a7r4 is a great sensor but I can tell you that own a small boutique fine art print studio and will disagree with Kevin here.  I make lots of prints, all the time, from many different cameras owned by my clients.  The only cameras that equal my GFX 100 files “in print” are the Phase One backs.  It’s quite easy to see the differences in fine detail, dynamic range, and tonal transitions compared to 24×36 sensors.  Especially in subtle images.  Rabereyes may be the great leveling equation here for Kevin.  LOL

    One of the major considerations, I think, is whether you plan to do any serious hiking in your pursuit of photographs.  If so, that would tilt the decision toward the 24×36 immediately.  While the GFX 100”s” will be smaller and lighter than the GFX 100, the lenses won’t be any smaller and they are LARGE and HEAVY for the most part.  The exceptions being the short to normal length primes.

    Either system will do you well, and if you have a good arsenal of Sony glass – that could make a significant difference as well.  I think if I were in your position, I’d have a hands on with the new Sony a1 body before deciding.

    Rand

     

    Rand Scott Adams Rand47

    John Hollenberg
    John Hollenberg
    Participant
    Posts: 55
    Re: Sony A7r4 or Fuji GFX 100S for Landscape?
    Reply #7 on: February 10, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    Rand,

    Thanks for your thoughtful input.  I went back and looked at about 185 photos that I have printed, excluding panoramic (> 1.5 aspect ratio).  I checked to see which format (3:2 or 4:3)  would require the least amount of cropping to get the aspect ratio of the image as printed:

    53% did better with 3:2

    47% did better with 4:3

    Some of the images that were closer to 4:3 were of wildlife or taken at the zoo and those need a long zoom so probably should be classified as better 3:2 but I didn’t try to separate them out.

    Do you use focus stacking with the GFX 100 often?

    Rand Scott Adams
    Rand Scott Adams
    Silver Member
    Posts: 247
    Re: Sony A7r4 or Fuji GFX 100S for Landscape?
    Reply #8 on: February 10, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    John,

    Sound like you could easily go “either way” based on your print aspect ratio evaluation.

    I do use focus stacking.  The recently added “auto’ function works very well.  I stack in Helicon Focus and it does a very good job w/ very little need for clean up.

    Rand

    Rand Scott Adams Rand47

    Oliver Ritter-Wolff
    Oliver Ritter-Wolff
    Silver Member
    Posts: 116
    Re: Sony A7r4 or Fuji GFX 100S for Landscape?
    Reply #9 on: July 26, 2021 at 3:03 am

    Now I don’t know the GFX 100 from personal experience, but I’ve been shooting with the GFX 50s, the Panasonic Lumix S1R, and the Canon EOS R5 in parallel for a year and a half (R5).

    In terms of image quality, the three systems are so close that I couldn’t see any significant differences even with 90 x 60cm prints. However, that may be different with a GFX 100.

    Based on this knowledge, however, I finally chose the system with the greatest overall benefit and the greatest flexibility, the Canon R system.

    It offered the widest range of lenses and focal lengths and gives me everything I need from motorsports photography to landscape photography. Additively, I then purchased the R6 alongside the R5, as often 20MP is quite sufficient for the particular output.

    Had I not already had the Canon R system, the Sony a1 would also have been very interesting, it is in many ways similar to the Canon R5.

    Oliver

    http://www.riwodot.de/vorsitzender.html

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