Fujifilm GFX 50S "Mirrorless" Medium Format Camera

October 01, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I'm a little behind the groove on this announcement from Fujifilm about the planned medium format offering. The entire splash took place while I was away in September but from what I've read and watched from Photokina 2016...it made a splash. In fact many of my colleagues are telling me that it stole the show.

Personally, I'm long off the medium format train. I divested myself of my PhaseOne kit years ago and never looked back. Anything larger than my daily driver Fuji XT-1 is just too big/heavy to mesh with my active lifestyle. More often than not it works well enough for my portraiture and travel photography work. Occasionally when I'm in-studio doing a commercial assignment I acquiesce to the clients wishes and use their choice of camera platform.... I.E. the perceived quality difference from an APSC sensor. Our industry "appears" to move fast but in truth, people get stuck in decades old rut of "this camera or that camera is better".

The GFX does have my very curious though. The planned system will include a 63, 32-64, 120 Macro, 23, and 45mm lens catalogue. Right off the bat they are wasting no time in developing native lenses (hear that Sony?). The new standard will be termed "GF" as in GF63mm F2.8 R WR. I...of course, will be most interested in the GF120mm F4 Macro R LM OIS WR and the GF45mm F2.8 R WR lenses.

At the heart will be a 51.4 Megapixel "X-Processor Pro" sensor mated to a mirrorless foundation.  As regular readers know, RAW converters tend to have a tougher time with X-Trans sensors in the more mainstream cameras such as the XT-1/2, X-Pro2. I still struggle daily with Adobe Lightroom on that issue. The new sensor will be based on the more traditional Bayer tech which should in theory alleviate workflow for those used to Hasselblad, Mamiya etc.

When one of the lenses are mounted the entire unit becomes weather and dust resistant...good looking out. I spend a lot of time cleaning my gear do to "travel" dust. A key design feature that I like is the DSLR styled controls on the body instead of a menu-driven system which can be daunting for new users to get used to. Also the lenses are smaller than a typical medium format equivalent because the system will not be based on a "leaf shutter". If using flash at high shutter speeds are important to you...well you might have something to consider before making an investment/switch.

So add that all together and picture this...a medium format, mirrorless camera with all those wonderful film simulations that Fujifilm is known for.  Tethering is also going to be front and centre, and the viewfinder is detachable.

It seems like a well thought out concept that hits all the right notes. Image quality is always subjective and in my humble opinion you can pretty much buy anything and make very good pictures these days. That's a point that will have you wondering just who this camera system is for...I'm gonna say Professionals and the real serious enthusiasts. 

I read an interesting article on the plane back to Toronto the other day...several large magazines are reporting a downturn in print revenues and will be cutting back production and increasing investment by appx. 30% in digital publishing. Web-Sized images rarely show off the ultimate image quality modern cameras are capable of. That's a spot I live in 95% of the time for my work, however I can't wait to see what a large print from this will look like :-)



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