We know you want to know the answer. Highly debatable. Arguably the best full-frame camera on the market, the Sony A7RIV, against the medium format game-changer, the Fujifilm GFX100. Is full-frame enough? Or is going medium format that much better? Let’s take a look.
It’s not a scientific comparison by any means, but we tested both cameras out with some different lenses to show you what they both can do.
First up, portraits. We took an image with the A7RIV and the 24-70mm f/2.8 GM lens. The lens needs to be updated, it’s not the sharpest lens and doesn’t show the resolving power of the A7RIV but it still produces relatively sharp images. Eyelashes, facial hair, pores, skin markings, it’s all there. But one thing about the image is that the colours don’t really come alive. It could be because of the lens, but it is what it is.
With the GFX100, there’s far more detail because it’s 102MP versus 61MP. If it’s just for social media, it doesn’t matter because of compression, but if you’re going to print a photo, every bit matters. One thing we noticed about the GFX100 is the graduation of colours, the depth, tonality and dynamic range. The A7RIV is great for a full-frame, but photos out of the medium format GFX100 just have that pop to them.
Of course, all that detail doesn’t come without a cost. The RAW files out of the GFX100 are huge, with some even going up to over 500MB per photo. If you’re planning on plenty of photos in RAW, invest in a large external drive to store those images.
Moving on to some shots of animals, we used what we think is Sony’s best lens, the 135mm f/1.8. It produces incredibly sharp images, and while the focal plane is very shallow, you see so much detail in what’s in focus. This lens really shows the power of the A7RIV.
With the GFX100, the detail is incredible as well. You see exceptional detail in the hairs of the dog, which is quite close to what you get with the A7RIV, but the graduation, shadows and highlights make the image pop, and that’s what people talk about with medium format, that 3D pop.
And thanks to how much information is captured and stored, you have a lot of leeway when editing photos due to being able to really play with the shadows and highlights. You always want to nail your exposure the first time around, but if you don’t, there’s enough information retained to make it easy to edit.
When you want to shoot low-light images, the GFX100 does stunningly, and it’s not even in RAW. Plenty of detail is retained even in JPEGs. Even for JPEGs though, they’re plenty big at 80-ish MBs.
There’s also a lot of latitude in low light photos shot with the A7RIV, and while there’s some noise, there’s a lot of information that allows for easier editing.
That’s about it for this comparison. Both cameras are formidable, and while the medium format GFX100 will give you better tonality, dynamic range and such, if you’re only shooting for social media, you’ll be able to get away with the A7RIV.