This week Fujifilm announced their newest camera in the “medium format” digital market, the GFX100 II. I am very excited by this camera, for several reasons.
- Fujifilm has always been a favorite brand for me. My first single lens reflex (SLR) camera was a Fujifilm ST-605n, which I bought in the summer of 1978.
- Fujifilm has been developing one of the most interesting lines of camera and lenses on the market today.
- Fujifilm understands that the idea of “full frame” for digital imaging has always been a compromise, as in, “full frame” is a full frame of what? 35mm film, a format that was the most popular film size in history, but which was never the film format that resulted in the best image quality.
- As a result, Fujifilm has developed two successful lines, one smaller-format, APS-C sensors, the other a larger format, in this case a 43.8mm×32.9mm sensor, about the size of a Post-It note.
The specs on this new camera include the ability to shoot 8K video, but in a world of 100-million-dollar action movies, more video resolution might be a selling point, but as it increases by leaps, my interest plunges by leaps. Imagine, for example, how much better your videos might be if you went to filmmaking school with the money you’d use to buy all the cameras you think you need to make films.
Of course new, this camera’s price is high, though not as high as cameras in this class once were. If I were constructing a camera system from the bottom up, and image quality, especially in terms of maximum resolution for high-end photographic applications like portraiture, advertising, product and food, or fine art are concerned, this camera might be the cornerstone of that system.
But honestly, how many pictures made with incredibly powerful digital cameras end up on social media and nowhere else? Does it make sense to make images at resolutions like 12,000 x 9000 pixels, only to have it instantly reduced to 2048 × 1371 by Facebook? And does it make sense to spend $7000 so your friends will ooo and ahh at you on Instagram?
In a way, this feels like a call to photographic artists to resolve to do more – much more – with their images. Think about how much more satisfying, and long-lasting, it would be to have some of these super-resolution images printed really big and displayed in our homes, in galleries, or for sale to the public? How great would it be to spread out a dozen of your best images, all printed the size of posters, for sale on the Plaza in Santa Fe?