Shooting Weddings with the Fuji GFX 50S

North West-based photographer David Stanbury reckons he has the best job in the world. For the last 20+ years, alongside his wife Jane, he has run an award-winning wedding & portrait photography business that grew out of a simple passion for photography & creating images that he loved.


In 2013 David was given the highest honour of being awarded a fellowship in the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) and the Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers (SWPP) – the highest qualification a photographer can receive and to date has received over 200 International, national & regional awards for his photography.

Earlier this year, David was approached by Fuji, who were looking for professional photographers to test their GFX 50S. A longtime Hasselblad user, David already knew the benefits of medium format for his work and jumped at the chance to road test the then unreleased camera.

We recently caught up with David to talk photography and to hear his views on Fuji’s latest medium format camera.

David-Stanbury-Fujifilm-GFX50s-Profile-001-compressor© David Stanbury

This must be a busy time of year for you, so thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into photography?

I think it’s more a case that photography found me. My parents bought me a camera for my birthday and my Dad said “now go to college & learn how to use it” at the time my reply was why? But that push really sowed the seeds for a passion that is still as strong nearly 25 years later. My break into wedding photography was just as chaotic. Whilst at college I had really fallen in love with the darkroom and hand printing B & W images. A friend of a friend was looking for a wedding photographer but at the time the Pros would only shoot colour and the couple wanted B & W only, so we were introduced and my first wedding I shot, processed and printed the images. As no ‘pro’ photographers seemed to be shooting in B & W I received a steady infux of enquiries and bookings; it seems crazy now but my USP was that I shot B & W photographs. My move into Professional photography was again just as chaotic. I worked for a company and they went bust overnight and with a new home and young family, I found myself out of work. So with £500 of my redundancy money we struck a deal with a local landlord giving me 3 months free rent on a studio, bought a couch, a desk and with 4 16 x 20 prints, opened our first studio…. Yes I still have the couch 😉

David-Stanbury-Fujifilm-GFX50s-Profile-004-compressor© David Stanbury

[gdlr_quote align=”center” ]We both are the luckiest people in the world, not only do we have the best job in the world travelling all over the world photographing gorgeous people happy & in love, but also being at the beginning of their new journey & documenting with our images two peoples lives change forever.[/gdlr_quote]

What equipment do you use?

In my bag at the moment is my Hasselblad H3D-31 II and a Canon 5D Mk III. Lens-wise I have an 80mm ƒ/2.8 & 28mm ƒ/4 for my Hasselblad (I love the 28mm and use this the most). On the Canon it’s a 16-35mm ƒ/2.8, 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 & 70-200mm ƒ/2.8.  I use the 70-200mm the most as I shoot my main images on the Hasselblad and candid on the Canon.

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Did you always want to be a wedding photographer?

I have always been the sort of person that if I did something I had to do it ‘properly’, so from the start I wanted to pay for new kit and pretty much from day one, was shooting portraits and then asked to shoot weddings and this then grew. I pretty much fell in love with weddings from my first one – I just loved the adrenalin rush that you get from working under the most intense pressure and then seeing the couples faces when you showed them their images. I’m also very much a people person, I love to socialise and as a wedding photographer you get to meet so many people who are always happy and its just such an addictive career.

STANBURY-003-compressor© David Stanbury

You’ve used Hasselblad alongside your Canon gear for many years. How did you find the GFX compared to the Hasselblad?

For me its unfair to compare the two as I’m shooting with an H3D and the jump from that to the GFX is immense. What I can say is that I’ve always wanted a medium format camera that has high ISO, low noise and is light enough so I can carry all day and the GFX certainly ticks these boxes. The GFX has so many features that I feel makes it the perfect medium format camera for wedding photographers, the touch screen is sharp, fast and the ability to tilt makes it easy to get those high and low angles. I really fell in love with the EVF and the lenses I found fast & incredibly sharp. I’ve pretty much used them all but the GF32-64mm ƒ/4 & GF110mm ƒ/2 are my favourites and could pretty much shoot a full wedding with just these 2 lenses.

David-Stanbury-Fujifilm-GFX50s-Profile-003-compressor© David Stanbury

Do you get involved in video with your wedding work?

I’ve just recently resurrected my YouTube channel (David Stanbury) to show Behind the Scenes footage from our personal shoots, weddings & workshops and am just as excited about getting ‘moving images’ into my workflow and think this is going to become a much bigger part of our shooting style.

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Do you shoot any personal projects or do the weddings keep you busy?

We are always busy with weddings, but I’m very much an advocate of ‘practice makes perfect’ and personal shoots are a perfect way to keep my brain ticking and my photography creative – It’s my testing ground for new ideas, styles and approaches to our photography. One thing I’m very mindful of is I NEVER want photography to become a job, so stepping out of my comfort zone, trying different things and creating new images is my hobby and what I do to relax.

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You offer 1-2-1 training for wedding photographers. Is it rewarding to give something back to a business you obviously enjoy?

Yes,YES,YES!!!! I have seriously the best job in the world, people pay me to be part of the biggest day of their life, they pay me to travel the world to photograph their day, photography companies have asked me to be a part of their future plans and new products, photography has given me so many amazing memories but mostly amazing friends and I feel its my duty to give back to an industry that has given me so much. One thing I’m most proud of is that I hope people now see wedding photographers with the respect they deserve. We have the hardest job in photography, we have only one chance to get it right whilst working in the most demanding of situations, we don’t have the luxury of reshoots or 8 hours for 1 image, we HAVE to deliver the goods fast and consistently week in week out, and this is what I want to get across to new photographers on our workshops who come to learn how to create their signature images in this demanding world.

David was speaking to Tim Stavrinou

David Stanbury FSWPP, FBIPP

About David

David Stanbury FBIPP, FSWPP is a Multi Award Winning Wedding Photographer based in the North West of England with a career spanning over 20 years & shooting weddings in the UK & Worldwide.

David’s accolades include over 200 National & Regional awards including UK Wedding Photographer of the Year, UK Wedding Album of the Year and a Finalist in the Prestigious Hasselblad Masters. David is proud to have received a Fellowship in Wedding Photography from the SWPP & the BIPP.

David has presented sell out workshops & seminars on all aspects of wedding photography throughout the UK, Europe and America. David is a photography consultant, mentor & Judge and has judged national & International photography competitions.

David’s style is described as stylish & timeless and is very much in demand by couples who require the very best in wedding photography. He has a passion for photography and creating the perfect image combining all the aspects of the Wedding but also understands that being a people person is just as important.


The Fuji GFX 50S is available to hire from our rental department, or for demonstration in our South London store. Call us on 020 7582 3294 or email for more info


Hasselblad X1D: Hands-on review


Hasselblad X1D

Swedish manufacturer Hasselblad has introduced the the X1D – the world’s first medium-format camera based on a mirrorless design.

The camera weighs half that of conventional medium-format systems and as Hasselblad reaches its 75th birthday it marks somewhat of a change in direction after spending the past few years focusing on developing its H5 and H6 medium-format lines for professional users.

The camera inserts itself at the top of the Mirrorless Camera range and will have definite consumer appeal, but the X1D has a lot to offer professional users too – handcrafted with a high quality metal chassis, weather sealing and of course premium image quality.  More portable than other formats, Hasselblad claims its arrival, “makes medium format photography available to a new generation of Hasselblad users”.

The X1D is based around a 50MP medium-format CMOS sensor measuring approx 44×33mm with enhanced detail enabled by a lack of anti-aliasing filter. Any fans of the Nikon D810 and Canon 5DsR will be at home with this technology only recently adopted by DSLR makers.  Images can be captured as RAW files (lossless compression), JPEGS or both; and with 16-bit colour depth, a 14-stop dynamic range and an ISO scope of 100-25,600, users can expect images with smooth tonal graduation and great clarity in all lighting conditions.

Hasselblad X1D

The camera is also capable of capturing videos although, in contrast to the many 4K-enabled cameras now available, its maximum resolution here is Full HD (1920×1080). A port is also provided both external microphones, as is a headphone socket for the purpose of audio monitoring.

The camera offers an extremely responsive 3″, 920k-dot touchscreen, plus a clear OLED electronic viewfinder.  Physical buttons are kept to a minimum resulting in a very attractive and ergonomic style.

Hasselblad X1D

The X1D’s top plate features a conventional mode dial to select exposure mode, the custom setting bank or video. The camera’s hotshoe is compatible with Nikon flashes.

Hasselblad X1D

The X1D weighs just 725g with its battery included, which is lighter than most full-frame DSLRs currently on the market, and measures 150x98x71mm. It features dual SD-card slots, alongside a Type-C USB 3.0 port.

The camera can be tethered to a computer through its USB port, although Wi-Fi has also been included for cable-free control. The further addition of a GPS system will please those wanting to travel with it, although the maximum burst rate of 2.3fps may discourage action photographers.

Users can choose from spot, centre-weighted and CentreSpot patterns for metering, while the autofocus system employs a contrast-detect AF system with a manual override.

Hasselblad X1D

An accompanying XCD line of autofocus lenses has been launched alongside the camera, and two of these – the 45mm f/3.5 XCD and a 90mm f/4.5 XCD – should be available in time for the X1D’s late-August release. A further 30mm lens is expected to arrive before Photokina comes around. These lenses integrate leaf shutters and allow for shutter speeds as fast as 1ƒ/2000sec to be used, with flash sync at all speeds.  Hasselblad’s HC and HCD lenses will also be compatible via an adapter.

Hasselblad X1D: Hands-on review

We were given the opportunity to get our hands on one of the few pre-production samples of the X1D currently available, along with one of the new 45mm f/3.5 XCD lenses. As final firmware has not been made available yet, all comments refer to this pre-production sample.

Hasselblad X1D

With the 45mm f/3.5 XCD lens and hood mounted, the X1D might appear about the same size as other medium format cameras in the hands, but the difference in weight is noticeable; it’s certainly light enough to be held for extended periods of time without encountering any fatigue. The grip may not be as sculpted as those on similarly sized DSLRs or CSCs, but it still provides ample room to get good purchase and fits well in the hand.

Hasselblad X1D

It’s a welcome find that the power switch is as accessible as it is – right in front of the rear command dial on the top plate. Another nice touch here is the design of the mode dial (pictured below); the whole dial pops up from the top plate for changing mode and recedes into the top plate when pressed down. This prevents any inadvertent change to a different setting – a common bugbear on cameras with similarly placed dials – and also helps to keep the top plate smart and streamlined.

Hasselblad X1D

This mode dial also provides quick access to three custom options, as well as the camera’s Full HD video recording function. Hasselblad has elaborated on the the camera’s video-recording abilities, stating that the reason the camera does not record 4K video was not a choice made by Hasselblad as such, but simply a limitation of the 50MP Sony sensor inside the camera. The Phocus 3.1 program that will ship with the software as standard will also provide support for video files from the camera in addition to still images.

Hasselblad X1D

Two controls next to the mode dial each have dual functions, one accessing ISO and White Balance and the other to change between auto and manual focus options. These controls work in conjunction with the command dials at the front and back of the camera, with this setup mirroring that of many DSLRs with dual command dials.

Those coming from DSLRs or Compact System Cameras are likely to get something of a surprise upon using the X1D for the first time. Like the recently launched Leica SL, Hasselblad has chosen to keep physical controls to a minimum on the rear, with control largely coming through the five buttons that line the display’s right-hand-side. Their basic functions are explained by icons, but these are paired with additional controls on screen so that they serve further purposes.

Hasselblad X1D

The GUI is, without question, one of the clearest on any camera currently available. Although there are differences, much of this appears very similar to the interface on the Hasselblad H6D that was announced earlier in the year. The Main Menu bears clearly labelled functions and graphics – no cryptic markings or abbreviations as on some other models – and everything appears to be logically segregated.

Hasselblad X1D

The display’s size also allows for key exposure information, such as aperture and shutter speed, to be much larger than expected, while a handful of icons that show things like focusing mode, white balance and battery life, sit alongside these. Unlike the H6D the X1D lacks a top-plate LCD, so it’s good to have all this information as clear and visible as possible.

Hassleblad X1D

The display also offers touch control and the way this has been integrated deserves special mention. You can, for example, simply swipe your finger across the display to change things like aperture or sensitivity, and checkboxes feature elsewhere to allow for simple, one-touch selection.

Hasselblad X1D

Hasselblad has also sought to make the camera behave much like a tablet or smartphone, with the screen responding to double-tap motions (particularly useful when scrutinising fine details when playing back images). The screen’s 920k-dot resolution may not appear to be as high as those on many current DSLRs and Compact System Cameras on paper, although it proves to be clear enough to allow for fine detail and focus to be checked with accuracy. Not only that, but in the conditions under which we were able to test the camera its viewing angle appeared to be excellent.

Hasselblad X1D

The camera’s viewfinder is backed by an eyecup, with a proximity sensor integrated in one side to alternate between showing the feed inside the viewfinder and on the main rear display. The depth of this eyecup means that the user’s face is set further away from the LCD than on other models, and this is particularly useful here as it prevents the screen from being smudged faster than would otherwise be the case through touch-operation alone.

Hasselblad X1D

The viewfinder boasts a contrast ratio of 230:1 and 24 bit colour reproduction, and its 2,36million-dot resolution means that the scene can be viewed with great clarity. One thing we noticed was a temporary drop in sharpness as the camera acquires focus, although this may only be specific to pre-production samples.

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