Canon G1X Mark II vs. Fuji GFX 50R

Gumbo's North - Georgetown, Texas (Fuji)

Gumbo’s North – Georgetown, Texas (Fuji)

Gumbo's North - Georgetown, Texas (Fuji)

Gumbo’s North – Georgetown, Texas (Canon)

What am I doing comparing a Canon G1X Mark II, a 12MP 2014 compact camera, to a Fujifilm GFX 50R, a still current 51MP medium format camera released in 2018? Crazy right? Well maybe. But take a look at what I found during this quick test in Georgetown. I wasn’t planning a direct camera comparison. After all, the two cameras are very different. But, I just happen to have a set of photographs with nearly identical framing.

I like the Canon for its versatility in a small package. Despite being 6 years old and only 12MP, it does a fine job, especially with its 24-120mm built-in lens. All the pictures in yesterday’s Georgetown Photo Essay were made with the Canon.

The Fujifilm GFX 50R is a chunky camera. I had the smallest GF lens attached — a prime, non-zooming lens, with a 40mm equivalent. I like it for the ultimate in image quality and often shoot it on a tripod. I did, however, make these pictures handheld.

Obviously, the GFX has a far superior resolution. When viewed on my 27″ 5K iMac screen, the difference between the Fuji and Canon is like watching a 4K video vs. an HD video. Noticeable, certainly, but is it earth-shattering? Depending on how you view the images, the difference can be as stark as comparing 4K to DVD resolution. So it all depends on the size of the photographs and how they are being viewed. At these small web sizes, you barely notice a difference.

The big difference, however, is the automatic white balance and color from these two cameras. Each camera company has their own secret sauce when it comes to color. I shot both in RAW, so I can change the color afterward, as I did on the post-processed photos up top. If fact, I took the extra effort to make both as close to each other as possible.

Gumbo's North - Georgetown, Texas (Fuji)

Gumbo’s North – Georgetown, Texas (Fuji Original)

Gumbo's North - Georgetown, Texas (Fuji)

Gumbo’s North – Georgetown, Texas (Canon Original)

Here are the two photos with the color and saturation set to its defaults. Notice how much bluer the Fuji color is. I had the GFX set to its default PROVIA film simulation. But, the other (non-black and white) Fuji film simulations all had this bluish color. The Canon, by contrast, has a lot warmer rendition. This generally fits my impression of Fuji vs. Canon colors. I usually find Fuji’s to be cooler and Canon’s to be warmer.

With the risk of ruffling some Fuji fanboy feathers, I generally prefer Canon’s colors. I know that’s a very personal choice, and there is no correct setting. However, especially during the daytime, I like warmer. At night, however, I find the Canon colors to be too warm, and Fuji’s become more attractive.

Of course, when you shoot in RAW, you get to tweak colors, as I did above. I think you will agree that I closely matched the colors in the first set of pictures. But, overall, I was closer to Canon’s colors. It took me less effort to post-process the Canon pictures to get them the way I like them. After this little experiment, I’ve resorted to warming the Fuji colors considerably. It’s ironic that this 6-year-old Canon compact now guides my Fuji GFX post-processing formula.

The Fujifilm GFX 50R has other strengths. It has incredible dynamic range to lighten dark areas and recover highlights, as you can see from this photo. This little Canon can’t do that, and I even doubt the newest full-frame Canon R5 will match the Fuji GFX. And, if you want to have super sharp and detailed photos — to print large — the GFX 50R is your camera. But, in these ordinary, non-challenging conditions, this Canon G1X Mark II does a stellar job.

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3 thoughts on “Canon G1X Mark II vs. Fuji GFX 50R

  1. How do you feel about the Canon vs. 12 MP Olympus cameras of more-or-less the same era? I could assume you cast your vote with each click of the shutter, but when I took my elderly EPL1 along on my morning walk the other day I was amazed at what it produces.

    1. Hi Mike, that’s a great question. I think the Olympus Micro 4/3 camera really made a huge step up with the original OM-D E-M5 Mark I released in 2012. They used a new higher quality 16MP sensor and the focusing speed was sped up tremendously.

      Back then, my main camera was the Olympus PEN E-PM2. Probably still the smallest Micro 4/3 camera made by Olympus. That camera has superior focusing speed and arguably better controls. The image quality is equal or better.

      However, the Canon G1X Mark II is a compact camera with a 24-120mm built-in lens. The sensor is actually even a little larger than Micro 4/3. There was no Olympus camera that competed directly against it.

      I find the G1X Mark II controls frustrating, however. They don’t work the way I’m used to. And, the camera was quite expensive back when it was introduced. It made sense to sink my money into a versatile Olympus system instead.

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