Still life

Studio time with the Fujifilm GFX 50S

It all started with a bunch of flowers and a little spare time.

During a work break over the holidays, I found myself with a little extra time and a beautiful bunch of flowers. This proved to be the perfect impetus for spending time in the studio with my GFX 50S. After the initial flower shots, I made a number of still life “sketches” until I finished with something of a self-portrait still life.

I use my GFX 50S in the studio on a weekly basis, making portraits at work. The 50S is a great portrait camera. No doubt about it. But I wanted to spend time shooting with some new Godox lights and modifiers, sans people, making images out of nothing.

From the bouquet of fresh flowers, I moved on to dried flowers, a moon shell, a rescued toy plane and my old Fujica 35mm rangefinder, before assembling a number of items to build a more complete still life.

Using a piece of black cloth, hung behind the scene and draped over a small table (except for the final still life), I shot with one key light and either a second light or a reflector to open up the shadow side of the composition. In all cases, the key light was a Godox AD200 modified by a large octa softbox with a grid.

After discovering what a great feature the Colour Chrome effect is on the GFX 50S, I had it turned on throughout these sessions. Reds are rendered better than I have ever seen on a digital camera with the Colour Chrome effect turned on. It takes a little extra processing power, so there is a slight delay for each image to process. If you don’t need it or want to shoot faster, don’t turn on the feature. You can apply the feature later, in camera, after you have shot an image and save it as a 16-bit TIFF. Apparently, this feature is also available on the new X-T3. Try it. You’ll like it.

I shot tethered to Lightroom for all of these photos. It worked flawlessly and couldn’t have been easier. I know that you can now shoot tethered to Capture One with Fujifilm cameras, so you have two great options for shooting in a studio. Shooting tethered gives you so much more control while in studio, that it is worth the hassle of buying a long-enough cable to connect the GFX to your laptop. The feedback of having a large image on screen, seconds after you take the photo is a big help in tweaking lights, positioning objects and adjusting framing.

Finally and most importantly, the image quality of the GFX 50S files is truly incredible. This makes working in the studio with the camera so worthwhile. The prints created from the files are… well, actually, there is nothing that I can write that does them justice. GFX files are meant to be printed, large, so that you can truly enjoy them. The final still life is hanging in our living room right now!

A few images follow (some detail shots are included).

f/11, ISO 200, GF32-64mmF4
f/11, ISO 200, GF32-64mmF4
f/11, ISO 400, Mamiya 120mmF4macro
f/11, ISO 100, Mamiya 120mmF4macro
f/11, ISO 400, GF32-64mmF4
f/16, ISO 800, GF110mmF2
f/16, ISO 800, GF110mmF2
f/11, ISO 400, Mamiya 120mmF4macro
f/11, ISO 320, GF63mmF2.8

NB: All images captured with the Fujifilm GFX 50S, fronted with Fujinon GF lenses and an adapted Mamiya 120mm f/4 macro lens. Images were created over a two week period, before I had to turn my studio back into an office.

4 responses to “Still life”

  1. I love the rendering of the shell with the 120mm f4 macro. Can you share the specifics of which f4 macro you used and also the adapter.

    • Gary, thanks for reading and your question. The lens is a Mamiya 645 120mm A f/4 Macro and I am using a Fotodiox ( adapter.
      The adapter works well, however both copies that I have owned have had the same issue. The tension spring that fixes the lens to the adapter is not secure and falls out easily. I still use the adapter, but with caution as the lens can rotate off of the adapter if I’m not careful.
      The 120 lens is quite good. It doesn’t quite have the same rendering and contrast as the GF lenses though. A little post processing in Lightroom really helps in that regard.

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