Photographing a Wedding With The Fuji GFX 50s
Photographing A Wedding With A Medium Format Camera
The thought of using a medium format digital camera on location, in usually less than ideal light, for a wedding with moving subjects, seems like an absolute disaster waiting to happen. Especially given there are no do overs in wedding photography. Alternatively, the high quality photos produced by the Fuji GFX 50s makes this concept extremely appealing.
Historically, medium format digital cameras are less than desirable for wedding photography.
- Focusing is super slow compared to other cameras designed for sports/events.
- They are large and heavy to carry all day.
- MF Cameras shoot a very low amount of frames per second again as compared to other high frames per second cameras.
- They typically do not do well in low light and higher ISOs.
- Clients don’t typically print the wedding images super large (an area the medium format excels at but isn’t needed here).
However, when Fuji introduced the Fuji GFX 50s the rules kind of changed, or did they? I recently had the opportunity shoot a wedding and figured it was a great opportunity to see what the GFX50s could do. As I did when I tested the camera out for an event shoot I did at Coachella Music Festival, I brought other cameras with me just in case. In the end, all the images I delivered to the client were shot with the Fuji.
The Wedding Itself
Given that the wedding was in Arkansas in December the weather wasn’t terrible, but this was definitely not a Spring day time wedding. There was a lot of cold weather, mist, and even light rain at times. This meant there was a lot of shifting light and many times tough lighting conditions that required cranking up the ISO on the camera.
Overall this was a great chance using the Fuji GFX 50s for wedding photography, and see how it would handle itself in tough situations.
How the Fuji GFX 50s Handled
Let’s just start with the fact that the Fuji GFX 50s is not your ordinary medium format camera. You can see some of my other blog posts about this camera here. Given that the Fuji is mirrorless, much smaller than other medium format cameras, and handles higher ISO’s, it becomes possible to carry this camera all day and take advantage of the amazing quality images it produces.
Let’s begin with the obvious here. The image quality produced by the Fuji GFX 50s matched with the GF Fuji lenses is just excellent. There is a ton of detail and the colors are amazing. There is nothing not to like about the image files. Using the Fuji GFX 50s for wedding photography was not a not a problem at all.
Positives I discovered while carrying the camera around for over 10 hours for a wedding –
- The images were stunning! At times, I was really worried due to the lighting and movement, but the Fuji handled it flawlessly.
- While his camera isn’t really light, carrying it around and shooting handheld all day isn’t a problem. The ergonomics of the camera with the GF lenses created a very balanced tool.
- The GFX 50s worked flawlessly with the Flashpoint eVolv 200’s as a great off camera portable strobe system.
- ISO 3200 produced totally usable, amazing images. This was always a knock on medium format in the past. Typically anything over ISO 400 for digital medium format had a lot of noise and was difficult to use. I know modern full frame cameras can push ISO’s much higher than 3200, but this is still a plus given the larger and color capability at this ISO.
- It was great to be able to walk around with the Fuji and know that if I needed to crop an image, I would have more than enough detail to do so. At times I needed to crop quite a bit, however it was not a problem at all.
- Battery life was great, but I did need a few batteries to get through each day. The battery life was on par with what I’m used to shooting any wedding or event.
- The Image stabilization of the GF120 F4 was excellent. This lens just keeps impressing me almost every time I use it.
There are always trade-offs with everything we do, and photography is no exception. Therefore, I do have to cover some things that I found challenging using the Fuji GFX 50s for wedding photography.
Negatives I discovered carrying the camera around for the wedding –
- When shooting weddings there are always times with dark light, and this wedding was no exception. When it gets dark, it gets difficult to keep up the shutter speed. As mentioned in the positives ISO 3200 was great. Once at ISO 6400, there was definitely noticeable drop-off in color and added noise. These images were still very usable, but mostly needed to be converted to black and white.
- Lenses!!! As good as the GF120 F4 is, it found myself really missing a 70-200 zoom mounted on a full frame camera. Having zoom capability at a wedding is surprisingly helpful. You can’t always get to the spot that you want to to get a shot. I have not shot with the GF100-200 yet, but I’m hopefully it would solve most of this problem.
- Auto focus was quick, but definitely not as quick as other more sports specific cameras. For a wedding I would definitely want a faster focusing system. Faster focusing would have made things much easier, but the Fuji got the job done.
- Data really adds up quick. Therefore, I shot over 100 gigs for the wedding. The larger file size of these images really put my setup to the test. This definitely slows down uploading the images, editing, and turnaround. These are all very important things when working with wedding clients, the added time isn’t much, but every bit counts.
Would I Use The Fuji Again For A Wedding Conclusion
Using the Fuji GFX 50s for wedding photography was a pleasant and rewarding experience. The images turned out amazing. I was very excited to see how well the Fuji handled in low light and in an active constantly moving shoot.
As long as I can use the strobes when the lights get dim, I would use the Fuji GFX 50s for future weddings and not even think twice about it. The camera handles so well and the image files are amazing to work with.
If I was photographing an event where most of the images were at night in low light, I would carry the Fuji, but would also carry a second camera for those times when I really needed to crank up the ISO. Clients really only care about the end product. If low light images are required without a strobe; consider carrying a low light specific camera and using the Fuji for everything else.
Overall, I was very happy to use the Fuji GFX 50s for event photography. It was very capable and produced amazing results. As a result, if you have a wedding to shoot I can say it is a great camera to think about using.
Don’t forget to look at the images on my site in the galleries starting at: https://mjvphoto.com/the-art/. Hopefully you find some of them inspirational for your own photography adventures, or maybe you find an image you want to call your own.