Photokina 2016 kicked off with something rather special. We held a press conference to tell the world about a little project we’ve been working on for a few years now.
The world’s press gathered in the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany in eager anticipation to see what we were planning to bring to the world of photography.
Toru Takahashi, Senior Vice President of Fujifilm Corporation, was welcomed to the stage to talk about our long history of launching amazing products at Photokina.
Although Photokina started in 1950, Fujifilm’s first appearance was in 1966 and has attended the show, which runs every two years, for every show since.
- 1968 saw us launch the FUJICA 690 medium format rangefinder.
- 1978 was the launch of the “FUJINON W Series” of large format lenses.
- 1988 saw the world’s first digital camera, the DS-1P.
- 2010 saw the announcement of the X100 – the launch that combined our analogue legacy expertise with our digital future.
We hope that 2016 will be another historical landmark in our Photokina announcement history, as this was the year that we announced our new format – GFX – which will be available from early 2017.
The FUJIFILM X Series is focused on the perfect balance of size, mobility and image quality and has brought back the joy of photography to many people.
GFX, with its large sized sensor, will provide the ultimate image quality, whilst also inheriting a lot of “X DNA”.
These two systems will complement each other perfectly. They are the two answers from Fujifilm for this era of photographic creativity.
Once the video finished playing, Toshi Iida, General Manager for Sales & Marketing was welcomed up onto the stage to explain more about this new camera format.
“G Format” – the name comes from Fujifilm’s heritage of Medium Format cameras – the G690, GS645, GX680 etc…
The sensor that will be in the first G Format camera will be a huge 43.8 x 32.9mm in size. It’s 1.7x bigger than a standard 35mm sensor and the first generation sensor will record 51.4 million pixels. This means that if you compare it to a 35mm sensor of the same pixel count, each pixel is 70% larger which allows them to capture a larger amount of light.
Toshi went on to explain that the sensor is completely brand new. It has been designed and customised for the G Format. It has specially shaped micro lenses that will collect light very effectively and the silicon process has also been optimised to maximise resolution and widen dynamic range.
This new sensor will sit behind a newly designed mount called the “G Mount”. This mount will have a 4mm thick plate to ensure it is strong and stiff, and will be equipped with a 12-pin terminal to supply power to support the AF speed.
There is no mirror in the G Format system. One reason for this is mirror shock which affects image quality. Additionally, the mirror constrains lens design. The typical flange-back distance on a Medium Format SLR is about 70mm. This will be approximately 26.7mm which will give us more flexibility to design high quality, small lenses.
The back focus can be as short as 10mm so there is less drop-off on the light’s final part of the journey onto the sensor’s surface.
Toshi then spoke about the shutter. The mount is equipped with a focal plane shutter so the maximum shutter speed will be 1/4000th to allow capture of fast moving subjects or shooting in bright scenes with wide aperture settings.
Moving onto lenses, Toshi introduced our new range – “GF Lenses”. This large sensor is going to need high quality lenses as without excellent glass, there is no point having such a large sensor.
The lenses should last many decades after launch. To ensure they are future proof they have been designed to confidently operate with sensors of up to 100 megapixels in the future.
We set ourselves new standards that the lenses must meet. Normally, MTF of 35mm lenses is measured at 30 and 10 lines per mm. When converted to 33×44 sensor, this would be the equivalent of measuring at 20 and 7 lines per mm. However, the MTF of GF Lenses will be measured at 40 and 20 lines per mm. All GF Lenses will have to exceed this standard.
All lenses will be designed to be sharp regardless of the aperture setting and thanks to a large sized sensor, the image will hardly be affected by diffraction at all..
Our philosophy for lens design has always been to minimise correction of signal processing. Our XF Lenses for X Series are a good example. This philosophy will be applied to the GF Lenses.
The system will ideally be launched with the following lenses available:
- GF63mm F2.8 Prime Standard
- GF32-64mm F4 Zoom Standard
- GF120mm F4 Macro
And the following lenses will hopefully be available before the end of 2017:
- GF45mm F2.8
- GF23mm F4
- GF110mm F2
G – Fujifilm’s Medium Format heritage
F – Film-look image quality
X – Design and operability of X Series
The first GFX camera body will be the GFX 50S. With the weight of around 800g, it’s incredibly small and light compared to existing Medium Format cameras and even lighter and smaller than most 35mm DSLR cameras. With it’s tilting LCD you will be able to shoot at waist level.
You can attach the Electronic Viewfinder that is included with the camera to shoot in an SLR style.
You can even add a tilting adaptor between the EVF and the camera and can shoot in any angle with your eye on the viewfinder which helps with low-angle shooting.
To allow you to precisely control focusing you can also use an optional external screen.
Toshi finished his presentation by saying that GFX is here to re-invent Medium Format.
“We will look back on Photokina 2016 in the future and I believe we will say it was a game changing event.” – Toshi Iida, General Manager for Sales & Marketing
Photokina 2016 is on until 25th September 2016 and the GFX camera and GF lenses can be seen behind a glass show case on our booth in Hall 4.2.