Bearing in mind that I haven’t bought the GFX. I had it on loan once. Then again. And I still need to build a business case for investing in such a system.
However, the question that came up the most was:
Can you justify the GFX?
And this was my dilemma. Could I? Really?
I could see in Lightroom the incredible detail and dynamic range in the images I’d shot. But, as we all know, compress to JPEG, upload to web and boom, you lose detail.
Here’s the thing. I believe strongly in prints. I hope that all my wedding clients will have a book or prints, and my family documentary photography clients always have prints. There is no compromise on that.
I sent some of my GFX images off to my print lab, Digitalab, who, over the last week alone, I’ve had around fifty print items created for both myself and my clients both GFX 50S Prints and X-Pro2 ones.
Of course, there is irony in that I’m trying to show you print quality, via lower resolution web images…..but what can I say? You’ll just have to take my word for it (again).
Digitalab produced for me some incredible wall art including several images three feet wide.
I was excited when they turned up in the post yesterday:
You can get some idea of the size of these images in comparison to some other prints that are leaning against the wall in my studio.
Reference shot idea stolen from my friend Jonas 🙂
I spoke to Jeff Heads, who is the lab manager at Digitalab and he kindly provided me with some technical details that might explain how they manage to get the incredible detail from the GFX to print at these large format sizes:
The prints are known as Digital C-type prints and are printed on Digitalab’s Lightjet 5000 photographic printer. The Lightjet 5000, which can print up to 2.44m x 1.22m (8ft x 4ft), combines the best of digital photography with the best of traditional darkroom printing.
The light-sensitive photographic emulsion of silver halide paper is exposed to light using the Lightjet’s Red, Green and Blue lasers as they travel along a drum.
This produces a print that is sharp and clear from edge to edge with no density or focus fall off associated with conventional darkroom prints made through a lens.
Because the exposure is made with light, it is a continuous tone process, unlike an inkjet or dye sublimation printer, which use dots to print the image.
As a result digital C-type prints have better tonal gradation and better highlight and shadow detail than can be achieved using an inkjet printer.
There is also the added bonus that there isn’t any ink on the surface of the print so they are much more durable.
Again, these images don’t do it justice, of course, but I really do think that if I invest in the GFX 50s I will be printing. A lot.
How is the GFX different to the X-Series?
It is a different system. It’s an entirely different ecosystem to my mind and simply comparing the X-Series and the GFX is not really a reasonable exercise.
As it stands, I’m excited by the GFX roadmap, specifically the 45mm lens which may even mean I can consider it for some of my wedding work. Of course, it’s a bigger system but it’s also a very different system.
I’ve been downsizing my camera gear for years and firmly believe in that paradigm for the work I mostly do. However, where the GFX sits is a question to ponder for both you and me.
As Patrick Laroque points out in his GFX first impressions the GFX is not a replacement of the X-Series (for me), it’s (potentially) an addition.
They are different, but complimentary camera formats and really…..honestly…..making GFX 50S Prints and wall art for my clients fills me with excitement and is the gateway to making the camera work for its keep.
I’ll do another blog post on that further down the line as another question I’m often asked is: Can you print large with an APS-C sensor camera?
GFX 50S Prints: Why does printing matter in this digital age?
For some, it doesn’t. I get that. I’m not going to eulogise or get pompous over the need to print every image but I do think good prints, such as the ones from Digitalab and books can become heirlooms.
I love printing books for my wedding clients and love printing books even more for my own family:
And here are a few of the Fuji GFX 50S images I have had Digitalab produce already, and a few that I will be getting printed soon (all shot with the GFX & 63mm F2.8 lens):
- Happy Snapping – Kevin (in my Studio in Malmesbury, watching CControl- the Joy Division story))