Why I Switched From Canon to the Fujifilm GFX System

I've been a proud Canon user for over a decade, but the time game to finally make a change. Here's why I left my loyal decade with Canon to switch to Fujifilm.

Moment Fuji GFX 50s II 5814 webres

I've been a proud Canon user for over a decade.

There was a time, not far from home, when I bought my first 'big girl camera' using money saved from my role as a server's assistant at a local wine bar. The long nights and generous tips helped turn my dream of owning a camera into reality, amassing enough to afford a Canon Rebel T3I. I excitedly headed to the nearest Best Buy, and upon returning home with it, I was overcome with joy. It was finally mine.

Choosing the right camera wasn't a lengthy process for me. The Canon Rebel was a favorite among the trendy, sunset-loving Tumblr crowd, who flaunted their sleek Rebels in mirror selfies and under various hashtags. This heavily influenced the most significant purchase of my teenage years. Back then, Canon cameras were the talk of the town. They were known for their durability, comfort during all-day shoots, attractive design, and exceptional quality.

As my lifestyle and editorial photography career flourished post-college, the need for a more advanced tool became apparent. Soon after the well-received launch of the formidable 5DMIV, I was sure it would be my subsequent significant acquisition. Upon purchasing it, emotions overwhelmed me again, and this remarkable camera became my global companion.

The 5DMIV is the original DSLR powerhouse. It sports a 30 MP CMOS sensor, DIGIC 6+ processor, Dual Pixel AF system, and 4K video capture.

The Mark IV stands out as the pinnacle of the 5D series, maintaining an esteemed legacy. It's so reliable that even after nearly six years, I reach for it numerous times. This camera has been my constant companion, from the Himalayas in India to jeep adventures through Zambian grasslands, travels across Europe and Japan, and even a river cruise in the Amazon Jungle. Remarkably, it hasn't seen the inside of a repair shop to this day (touch wood).

I've always believed in making purchases that last a lifetime, and should this writing career extend into automotive reviews, my trusty Subaru Outback deserves a shoutout next.

My camera wasn't just a tool but an extension of myself, performing reliably in every light condition, setting, journey, and scenario imaginable. A decade-long relationship with Canon has left me with nothing but praise for the brand that both kickstarted and helped cultivate my career in professional photography.

However, as with all good things, personal evolution and expanding skills have nurtured a desire for change. Despite my deep affection for my Canon 5DMIV, I realized it was time to move on. I had surpassed its once-novel features, and its sensor seemed to lag, showing signs of fatigue. Accepting this change was challenging, given my steadfast nature. However, the decision wasn't immediate, as finding a new digital camera worthy of investment proved difficult in this rapidly advancing technological landscape.

That is until the GFX 50S II was released.

Photo By @natalieallenco.

Photo By @natalieallenco.

Why Fujifilm GFX Is Such a Big Deal

Simply put, the GFX lines of Fujifilm cameras are large-format mirrorless powerhouses offering the highest level of image quality in a digital camera system.

The 50SII breaks barriers by capturing images of over 50 megapixels, a remarkable milestone in digital photography. As a passionate analog enthusiast focused on medium-format portraits and lifestyle imagery, I found my creativity constrained by the DSLR's limitations. It became clear that my journey with full-frame cameras was nearing an end, paving the way for my transition to large-format photography.

But it's not just the enhanced image quality that sets a medium format camera apart from its full-frame brethren. The visual experience of models like those in the GFX series is almost beyond words. The larger sensor brings forth more dramatic bokeh and an expanded field of view, facilitating a shallower depth of field and more noticeable background compression, especially when shooting with a wide lens. These characteristics are highly prized in portrait photography, particularly among those who cherish a quality reminiscent of traditional film.

These cameras possess an extraordinary allure — a distinctive, editorial-like visual appeal yet to be replicated by others. They are prized possessions within the artistic community and wield considerable influence in the competitive arena. These devices are dynamic and stylish and represent a fresh face in the world of photography.

The Switch From Canon To Fujifilm

Writing this isn't easy for me. I almost do so reluctantly because of my deep affection for Canon. I haven't parted with my 5DMIV; letting go of it would be too difficult. It remains an invaluable asset, especially regarding rapid shooting scenarios that the GFX can't match due to its slower sensor.

However, change was inevitable.

To put it simply — Fujifilm feels more modern. They demonstrate a keen understanding of their diverse consumer base — those seeking to enhance or change their photography equipment. Fujifilm addresses the needs of today's photographers without clinging to the outdated trends of the early 2000s. Their adaptability is both seamless and understated. With Fujifilm, there's never a sense of overexerting to win over younger demographics; they excel at identifying genuine consumer demands.

Setting aside my sentimental biases, it became apparent that Canon's technological progress wasn't meeting my expectations. DSLRs appeared to lag behind the innovations introduced by competitors, fueling my growing sense of missing out while using my camera. Even as Canon launched new models with updated specifications, their recent offerings no longer ignited the excitement I craved.

The debate often veers from DSLRs to mirrorless models. While DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have similar sensors, image quality, technologies, and numerous features, they diverge significantly in their structure and aesthetics. The distinctions are not just in their physical appearance — how they're shaped, how they feel in your hand, and how they operate — but also in technical aspects like 4K, 6K, or even 8K video recording capabilities and autofocus systems. Mirrorless models have added benefits like eye autofocus, a more compact size, and the ability to preview exposure in real-time without shifting to a live view mode. But truthfully? The specific type of digital photography experience wasn't my main concern. I was yearning for a breath of fresh air.

It had to be a complete departure from the familiar if I was going to make a change.

The concept of a mirrorless camera caught my attention, yet the charm of the medium format truly captivated me. One of the perks of working for Moment is the privilege of early access to the latest equipment. Taylor, a fellow filmmaker at Sunny Sixteen, had the chance to experiment with the camera, an experience documented in a popular video on Moment's YouTube channel. Her feedback? Stellar. Our artistic sensibilities align, so her endorsement was all the persuasion I needed, especially when she expressed her willingness to transition from her own Canon 5MDIV.

General Specs on the Fujifilm GFX 50SII

The 14-bit RAW files preserve a good amount of shadow detail, though I wouldn't say it has the night-vision level recovery other modern solutions provide. It may not offer the dynamic range of the GFX 100s, but it isn't a slouch. I could comfortably shoot up to ISO 6400 without hesitation concerning noise performance. The noise is perfectly manageable, and the sharpness doesn't suffer significantly. In extreme situations, you can go to 12,800 ISO and still get usable results, which may vary based on your threshold. While the sensor may be older, the results feel anything but old. These files are very robust and give you much room to direct your creativity.

The GFX50S II brings a dependable autofocus, thanks to Fujifilm's robust X-Processor 4. The sensor's readout speeds have leaped from 130fps in the previous GFX50S to a swift 250fps, ensuring ultra-quick reactions, perfect for tracking subjects or identifying a face in a bustling scene. The enhanced autofocusing algorithm, borrowed from the newest Fujifilm X-Series and GFX system cameras, elevates the focus capabilities across all modes, face and eye detection included. Working in harmony with the in-body image stabilization (IBIS), the AF system offers an impressive 6.5 stops of stability for shooting by hand. So, when inspiration strikes, you can trust the camera's autofocus to keep pace with your creativity.

Features:

  • 51.4 Megapixel Large Format CMOS Image Sensor

  • X-Processor 4 Image Processor

  • 3.0 Frames per second

  • Updated Autofocus (AF) algorithm for optimized performance with G Mount lenses

  • Up to 6.5 stops of Internal Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)

  • Compact, weather-resistant body

Conclusion:

I'm in love with my GFX, and admittedly, I'm still adapting to it after a year of use. My artistic vision and style preferences have always inclined me towards film photography for personal and professional projects. However, when a campaign's creative direction calls for digital, my go-to is the GFX 50S II. Its performance is flawless, and the quality of the images is so striking that it's hard not to be impressed. But, for scenarios demanding quick captures, like my sister's track events or assisting at a friend's wedding shoot, my Canon 5DMIV remains the trusted choice for quicker capture speed. Still, I'm thrilled with my decision to make the change, and it's reassuring to know my reliable Canon camera is still at hand when needed.

Captured on a 70-200mm. It brings the subject much closer, I couldn't have captured his facial expression on a wide angle otherwise.

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