The Classic Headshot: Fuji GFX 50R vs Fuji X-E3

Morgan, Classic Headshot - Austin, Texas (GFX 50R)

Morgan, Classic Headshot – Austin, Texas (GFX 50R)

I’ve been talking recently about the Fujifilm Studio Event that I attended last month and have been showcasing photos made with the Fuji GFX 50R and the Fuji X-E3. Obviously, both are from the same manufacturer, though they are very different cameras. Amusingly, the X-E3 looks like a shrunken down GFX 50R in physical design.

While I conveniently make this a camera comparison, in reality, the differences are due to the way I made these headshots. Meaning, I could’ve gotten very similar results if I reversed the techniques I used with both cameras. The primary difference is the resolution and sharpness, though you don’t get to experience this in these small web sizes. The GFX 50R has a 51MP sensor, while the X-E3 is half that at 24MP. Crop-wise, natively, the GFX is 3×4 versus the 2×3 of the X-E3. I generally prefer the 3×4 crop, particularly for portraits.

The headshot at the top, with the GFX 50R, is a classic studio setup with a big strobe and backdrop. Shot at f8, at this size, all of Morgan’s face appears in sharp focus. At 100%, however, there are areas of sharper focus. Luckily, Morgan is blessed with healthy skin.

Morgan, Classic Headshot - Austin, Texas (X-E3)

Morgan, Classic Headshot – Austin, Texas (X-E3)

In this second headshot, I used available window light and used the new Fujifilm 50mm f1.0 lens at f1.0. I was going for maximum shallow depth of field. Why not — it’s fun. Focus is sharply locked on Morgan’s right eye. Everything else becomes a bit more blurry. With the softer light and shallow depth of field, it’s a very different, dreamier look.

I suppose the first photograph is more textbook and conventional. I prefer the dreaminess. I could have also made a similar photo with the GFX, though with a bit more depth of field.

Operationally, the X-E3 is a lot quicker and more nimble. It focuses faster, shoots faster, and the smaller size is easier to move around. The GFX is slower and more deliberate. Neither is better or worse, just different.

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