Fuji GFX 50S Prints:  OK, so after I posted some images of the kids in the garden shot with the GFX 50S I got quite a few questions via my Instagram and messages on this site.

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.

Whilst I believe the images when displayed on the web still show the sheer greatness of the files from the GFX 50S, I knew that in order for me to really appreciate this camera…..and I mean really appreciate it, I had to get some GFX 50S Prints.

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:fuji gfx 50s prints

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.

fuji gfx 50s printsfuji gfx 50s prints

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.

Interestingly, I also received some of my wedding images from my X-Pro2 printed by Jeff and his team at 60 inches wide.

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):

fuji gfx50s samples Fujifilm GFX 50S fujifilm gfx 50s sample images fujifilm gfx 50s candid fujifilm gfx 50s sample images fujifilm-GFX-50S-portrait

  • Happy Snapping – Kevin (in my Studio in Malmesbury, watching CControl- the Joy Division story))
  • Thank you for the post, Mr. Mullins! A thoughtful explanation as to the capabilities, quality and even necessity of printing GFX images. Of course, if one invests in such a system, how could you not bring the images to print!? Looking forward to more of your work, Sir. Blessings to you and your family!

  • Kevin – absolutely love your mono tones. Those prints look amazing but very interested as a brand-new convert to XT-2’s to see how images from your X-Pro 2 stood up to the print process 🙂

    Can you share any details on your post-process or presets?

    • Hi, Tim – dig around on this site and you’ll find quite a bit about the PP stuff.

      Cheers,

      Kevin

  • Stephen Hocking

    It’s rare that I bother to get prints. Your post is a timely reminder that we aren’t making the most of our images unless we print them. I will give Digilabs a try.

    I’d be interested to hear about the x100F too in your planned post on the Xpro 2

    Great work as ever.

  • Thanks for sharing this Kevin. It’s amazing how everything goes in cycles. When mobile phones first came out you’d pay top dollar for the smallest model. Now we want more screen size and are happy to pay a premium for a hunk of a device that won’t even fit in your pocket. When digital cameras first appeared it was all about the miracle of seeing that image magically appear on our monitors without having to scan film. Printing these memories became a rarity and instead we were happy to clog up hard-drives with our memories for them only to accidentally surface once in a while.

    Now, it’s definitely changing. Tangible, not virtual is the name of the game. Vinyl record sales up – now we can study the artwork on an album cover again, carefully slip out the record, blow off the dust and slowly position on a deck and enjoy. Such a different experience form headphones and a playlist.

    Same for photography. Prints, framed prints and albums are all making a comeback and it’s great to see. Yes, we still have web galleries and USB’s containing thousands of images but a printed image is such a different experience. Selected from hundreds of virtual images and pride of place in an album or on a wall.

    As you say, the X-series and GFX are beautifully complimentary. Seeing the likes of the GFX may make photographers think again about their systems; a response to the desire to now hold a quality physical incarnation of a special memory. The introduction of the X-series made wedding photographers question sensor size; Fuji are helping to take some of us in a different direction, again. Happy times ahead!

    • Thanks, Graham and yes, full circle it seems…..though I’ve always been a habitual printer. You should see my studio!!! 🙂

  • Awesome work as usual and some very useful info to along with it.
    Thank you Kevin.
    I look forward to having two of these beauties hanging from my holster whilst shooting weddings next year! (not).
    Maybe just one for the portrait work?

    • I think the portrait/editorial guys & girls will really love the output and versatility.

  • Beautiful work as always. I would love to shoot with that GFX, but I could never justify spending that amount of money unless I won the lottery or was working full time as a professional photographer.

    • Yup, I absolutely agree. I AM a full time professional and am spending a long time building a business case for the camera. It’s certainly not a casual purchase and has to make itself work for its keep.

  • Stephen

    Great photographs Kevin and loved your points about prints, books and the tactile way of keeping the memories. Your kids will thank you for it as they grow and it’s a lovely way of retaining the memories that you and your wife have…..now I just better go and get mine off the computer and onto print!😎😎

  • Incredible work Kevin, as always.Love the kids with the water! Our one day of British Summer?;-) Im curious about this camera, may have to hire one for a wedding and see how it fits in for the portrait part of the day, maybe even slower moments/bride prep, although it seems quite a load of cash for short sections out of a 10 hour day its got me intrigued.The Prints look outstanding!! Thanks again for another top review..

  • Waiting for your post about x series prints!