In our Fujifilm GFX 50S overview, we check out what might essentially the most promising medium format digital camera to return alongside in a while. It’s the second mirrorless medium format digital camera, arriving simply behind Hasselblad’s fashionable however sluggish X1D-50c. Fujifilm’s purpose with the GFX is easy: Take medium format and make it extra approachable. In that, it has definitely succeeded. The GFX has almost each main user-friendly characteristic discovered in additional consumer-oriented cameras, together with a quick start-up time, an articulating touchscreen, a well-recognized management structure, full-resolution JPEGs in-camera, and a self-cleaning sensor — all issues the X1D lacks.
Perhaps the value, at $6,500, isn’t what we’d name approachable, however even that’s friendlier than the $9,000 price ticket of the X1D.
All of this results in a product that mixes the enchantment of exclusivity inherent of medium format with the benefit of use of a shopper digital camera. Does that make it the right digital camera for dentists to toss within the passenger seats of their base mannequin Porsche 911s after they head out to shoot landscapes throughout the weekend? Or is that this a machine for actual skilled photographers? Perhaps it’s one thing in between.
Design and specs
Fujifilm took what it discovered from creating its X-series cameras and utilized these classes to the GFX. Whereas fairly a bit bigger, it resembles the X-series flagship X-T2 in quite a few methods. Devoted dials for ISO and shutter pace are proper up prime, whereas aperture is managed through a hoop on the lens. Considerably oddly, there’s no publicity compensation dial. As an alternative, a big secondary show on the highest of the digital camera serves up your whole pertinent capturing info. It is a actually nice show that makes use of the additional actual property atop the GFX’x giant grip.
The rear LCD display screen tilts up and down and might flip out to the best about 45-degrees, similar to the X-T2. As a mirrorless digital camera, there’s no optical viewfinder. As an alternative, there’s a detachable digital viewfinder (EVF). Leaving it off saves a little bit weight, however you’ll in all probability need to preserve it on more often than not. It’s giant and cozy to make use of, and whereas its three.7-million-dot decision is definitely sharp, it does endure from moiré, which is a bit annoying. Fujifilm additionally sells an non-compulsory tilt and pivot adapter for it — for those who don’t thoughts shelling out an extra $570.
The GFX actually shines as a panorama digital camera.
The physique does appear moderately giant total, particularly contemplating the shortness of its flange back distance, which is simply a couple of 1/Four-inch longer than Hasselblad’s XCD mount on the X1D, whereas the physique is almost an inch deeper. That is because of the battery compartment being situated between the sensor and the LCD, moderately than within the grip as is widespread on different cameras. This undoubtedly provides bulk, but it surely additionally retains the battery accessible when the digital camera is on a tripod or utilizing the optional vertical grip ($600).
With the viewfinder connected, the GFX weighs in at 2 kilos with no lens, almost half a pound heavier than the Hasselblad X1D. Whereas Fujifilm makes some comparatively compact primes, the 2 lenses we examined — the 32-64mm f/Four and the 110mm f/2 — are each undoubtedly not small. Total, Hasselblad seems to be rather more targeted on producing a conveyable system with the X1D, whereas Fujifilm is type of bridging the hole between that and a conventional medium format DSLR.
On the within, you’ll discover a 50-megapixel CMOS sensor measuring 43.eight x 32.9 millimeters, the identical one utilized in many different medium format cameras, together with the X1D, Pentax 645Z, and Section One IQ250. Strictly, that is “cropped” medium format, simply 70-percent bigger than 35mm, a.okay.a. full-frame. That is sufficient for an inherent benefit over full-frame with regards to mild receptivity, however even because the GFX boasts the very best ISO vary of any digital camera but to make use of this sensor — expandable as much as 102,400 — some full-frame cameras can go increased (though noise ranges received’t essentially be higher on the identical ISO).
Extremely-low-light capturing is just not actually what this digital camera about, nonetheless. Autofocus is carried out on-chip through a 117-point contrast-detection system that, notably, covers the whole body — but it surely actually likes to have numerous mild to operate shortly. In good situations, it’s sooner than what we skilled with the X1D, at the very least when utilizing linear motor (LM) lenses like the 2 we examined. These 117 factors will also be break up up into smaller sizes, rising the quantity to 425.
With a most steady pace of simply three frames per second (fps), a sports activities digital camera this isn’t. Nonetheless, due to a focal-plane shutter, it does attain a most shutter pace of 1/Four,000 of a second, appropriate for stopping all however the quickest movement. (We’ll cowl the downsides of a focal aircraft shutter in a while.)
Apparently, the GFX options each microphone and headphone ports. It even has HDMI output. All of this to help a 1080p video mode that we wager will see little or no use. Higher to have it than not, we suppose, however no person goes to purchase this digital camera for video.
Consumer expertise: Within the area
The GFX actually shines as a panorama digital camera. That is the place all the things comes collectively in a method that performs to its strengths whereas avoiding its weaknesses. As we noticed with the Hasselblad X1D, this sensor produces attractive landscapes due to some fairly excessive dynamic vary and loads of element. Right here, the distinction detection autofocus is completely quick sufficient, or focus manually utilizing the punch-in characteristic on the display screen or viewfinder to actually dial it in. The digital camera’s bigger dimension and weight can come into play if you must carry your gear on foot for a good way, but it surely received’t have an effect on the way you truly use the digital camera when you’re arrange on a tripod.
For stationary topics, like posed portraits, the single-shot AF works completely high quality.
The GFX can also be absolutely climate sealed, as are the entire lenses, so that you don’t have to fret about a little bit rain, mud, or snow slowing you down. With a CIPA ranking of 400 photographs, you’ll be capable to preserve capturing longer, too. What’s extra, primarily based on our expertise, real-world use will in all probability offer you extra within the vary 600 photographs.
What we didn’t like a lot was the quantity of distortion produced by the 32-64mm f/Four lens. Distortion is widespread in wide-angles, however understanding how properly Fujifilm can handle it on lenses just like the XF 16mm f/1.4 for its X-series cameras, it was a little bit disappointing to see it right here.
As a road digital camera, which is outwardly one thing the GFX is meant to be “good” at, it doesn’t add up. The AF is just too sluggish, however largely the digital camera is simply too dang huge. There isn’t any method anybody would really feel comfy capturing this digital camera for discreet road portraits; you’ll draw far an excessive amount of consideration to your self. Persist with the X-series if road images is your sport.
Whereas we definitely suggest utilizing this digital camera on a tripod, it’s not unhealthy handheld. The burden is manageable, though we do favor the ergonomics of the X1D.
The place the GFX merely begins to disintegrate is when capturing transferring topics. Steady AF efficiency is so unhealthy as to make monitoring a transferring topic just about not possible. For stationary topics, like posed portraits, the single-shot AF works completely high quality. It falls behind the part detection techniques present in full-frame and APS-C DSLRs and mirrorless cameras (together with Fujifilm’s personal X-series fashions), but it surely nonetheless feels responsive. Let’s hope a future firmware replace can enhance the continual AF efficiency.
Consumer expertise: Within the studio
In a studio setting, the additional bulk of the GFX doesn’t maintain it again (it’s nonetheless smaller than most different medium format cameras, in spite of everything). We shot a sequence of portraits utilizing the 110mm f/2 lens, which is now up there with the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art as considered one of our favourite portrait lenses. Our lighting setups had been fairly easy, consisting of 1 or two Profoto D1 monolights, and we had been fairly happy with the outcomes. However the GFX has one nagging concern with regards to capturing with flash: the focal aircraft shutter.
That is the place it behaves extra like a full-frame DSLR or mirrorless digital camera than different medium format cameras, most of which use leaf shutters. We talked about this a bit in our Hasselblad X1D review, however principally a leaf shutter can sync with a flash at any obtainable shutter pace, whereas focal aircraft shutters have a most, past which the whole sensor is just not uncovered on the identical time, and due to this fact utilizing a flash would result in a partial publicity.
Amongst full-frame (and APS-C) cameras, that most flash sync pace is normally 1/200 or 1/250 of a second, however on the GFX (presumably because of the bigger sensor) it’s only 1/125. Now, in our particular location, this wasn’t a problem — ambient mild was low sufficient that we might minimize it out at base ISO and 1/125, even when capturing at f/2.eight. Nonetheless, this might trigger issues in different eventualities, notably when capturing open air and utilizing flash as a fill mild or to overpower the solar. It’s not the top of the world, although, as you may all the time put a impartial density filter on the lens — however this can successfully decrease the ability of the flash along with ambient mild, so it’s possible you’ll want a stronger strobe than what you could possibly get away with on different medium format techniques.
So with regards to working within the studio (or open air with flash), the GFX is nice for lovers and a few skilled use, however high-end industrial shooters might wrestle with it. This isn’t simply due to the shutter. The GFX is a succesful digital camera, notably given its value in comparison with different medium format choices, however the digital camera is only one a part of the equation in skilled studio images. Fujifilm merely doesn’t provide an entire workflow answer like Hasselblad or Section One do, and the choke level turns into the software program.
You’ll be able to shoot tethered into a pc with the GFX, however solely with Fujifilm’s feature-limited X Purchase software program or into Adobe Lightroom via a $29 plug-in. And if you wish to truly management the digital camera from inside Lightroom, you’ll have to shell out $79 for the Professional model of mentioned plug-in.
Daven Mathies/Digital Tendencies
Tethering or not, you principally have to depend on Lightroom to your RAW processing. Now, Lightroom has its benefits — we use it day by day — however with regards to pure picture high quality, you will get higher outcomes through the use of first-party software program, and industrial medium format shooters are usually fairly specific about this. Hasselblad has Phocus and Section One has the superb Capture One, however Fujifilm solely has its awkward RAW File Converter EX powered by Silkypix, which feels prefer it was constructed for Home windows 95 (which, we suppose, is according to Fujifilm’s ethos of retro design).
Now, we received’t get too deep into this, as a result of truthfully Lightroom might be high quality for the common consumer, however there’s a option to hack the Fuji RAW files in order that they are often opened in Seize One, by tricking the software program into considering the photographs had been shot on a Section One IQ250 digital again (which makes use of a model of the identical sensor). We did this, in contrast the outcomes to Lightroom, and located it did make a noticeable distinction. Seize One had a punchier look total, with higher coloration and midrange distinction, whereas nonetheless sustaining all of the spotlight and shadow element. In Lightroom, shadows tended to dam up sooner regardless of a default tone curve that was very, very flat.
That isn’t to say you may’t work inside Lightroom to get to an analogous finish level, but it surely does take work. There may be undoubtedly a distinction between a program constructed for each digital camera below the solar and one designed particularly to reap the benefits of medium format sensors. Once more, this in all probability isn’t an enormous difficulty for many customers, however high-end studio professionals might need to assume twice.
Is medium format actually higher than full-frame?
Properly, the technical reply is sure. Picture sensor benchmarking agency DxOMark lately launched its scores for the Hasselblad X1D-50c (102) and the Pentax 645Z (101), placing them in first and second place within the total rankings. These cameras each use the identical primary sensor because the Fujifilm GFX. Nonetheless, the full-frame Nikon D850 is just not far behind, with a rating of 100. Dig a little bit deeper, and also you’ll see the D850 solely falls behind with regard to ISO sensitivity — at its base ISO of 64, it’s primarily on par with medium format.
You’ll be able to spend half the cash and get 95-percent of what the GFX gives with a Nikon D850.
That is the results of full-frame sensor improvement continuing at a sooner tempo than medium format (Hasselblad launched the primary digital camera constructed on the identical 50MP medium format sensor nearly four years ago). In designing its large-format digital digital camera (Fujifilm has made medium format movie cameras up to now), with the GFX, Fujifilm has principally leapfrogged over full-frame, and one might marvel why. Trying on the market, the choice is comprehensible: Going up in opposition to Sony within the full-frame mirrorless area can be a wrestle, to say the least. Fujifilm carved out a pleasant area of interest for itself with its APS-C X-series, and the GFX appears to be an try and create one other area of interest, this time in a higher-end section.
It additionally provides X-series homeowners one thing to aspire to that’s totally different sufficient to not devalue their present cameras. Any Fujifilm X-T2 proprietor would doubtless be fairly smitten with a GFX added to his arsenal (this reviewer included), however one digital camera definitely wouldn’t substitute the opposite.
Fujifilm GFX 50s In contrast To
However so long as you’re investing in a completely new system, does spending $6,500 on the GFX make sense? Is that additional one or two factors on the scoreboard value it? Take into accout, even for present X-series customers, there isn’t a lot to be gained by staying within the Fuji camp (the GFX and X-series share a sizzling shoe design and a menu system, but it surely’s not like you need to use the identical lenses). If it’s decision, dynamic vary, and ISO sensitivity you’re after, you could possibly spend simply over half that cash and get 95-percent of the best way there with a Nikon D850 or Sony A7R Mark III. And with both of these cameras, you’d get higher autofocus, sooner burst capturing, increased most shutter speeds, a lot better video modes, and a smaller total package deal (notably with the Sony). Oh, and also you’ll have a a lot wider lens choice to select from (though, Fujifilm is doing a pleasant job of building out its lens ecosystem comparatively shortly).
The GFX carries a one-year restricted guarantee, however Fujifilm does provide an non-compulsory three-year extension for $299. The GFX Service Pack, which offers discounted repairs, loaner gear, and different companies, could be added to the prolonged guarantee for a complete of $599, or bought individually for $499.
It’s laborious to make the rational case for a digital camera just like the GFX. It’s a implausible machine that may produce some really great images, however with how good full-frame cameras and lenses have gotten lately, medium format simply doesn’t make sense for almost all of shooters, notably the “cropped” medium format used right here. With out sooner lenses, even the subjective benefit of a shallower depth of area isn’t actually current.
Nonetheless, even when it doesn’t win your thoughts, the GFX might but win your coronary heart. It received’t work for each tier , neither is it simply an unique toy for amateurs with wealthy style. It appeals to actual photographers by offering an emotional expertise that’s second to none and delivers on that have with wonderful picture high quality (even when it’s not all that a lot better than full-frame). If you happen to actually benefit from the strategy of images, you’ll fall in love with this digital camera. It invitations you to strategy your topic methodically and mindfully, and proves that going sluggish isn’t all the time a nasty factor.
We get to shoot numerous cameras right here, and when it comes time to ship them again, we will typically allow them to go together with little greater than a “properly, that was enjoyable.” However the GFX was totally different; because it left our fingers, we haven’t stopped interested by it. We actually loved capturing it, even when we will’t offer you a scientific cause for why.
Is there a greater different?
We should concede that most individuals are higher off with a full-frame digital camera; that’s simply the best way it’s. Armed with a Nikon D850 and a few Sigma Artwork glass, you’ll don’t have any hassle creating pictures that examine to these from the GFX — and also you’ll do it for much much less cash. Some will even argue that APS-C cameras are additionally simply high quality for many photographers, whereas a digital camera just like the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II employs sensor-shifting to shoot a 40-megapixel picture from a small Micro 4 Thirds sensor.
If you happen to’re set on medium format, and a mirrorless one at that, the Hasselblad X1D offers some good competitors. It isn’t essentially higher, however its give attention to compactness — in each the physique and the lenses — is a plus for some customers. It’s additionally a part of a extra established medium format system (which incorporates higher processing software program). Nonetheless, we will’t ignore that it prices $2,500 greater than the GFX, nor does it have any creature comforts like computerized sensor cleansing or in-camera full-resolution JPEGs.
If you happen to don’t thoughts upsizing, you may also decide up the Pentax 645Z for just below $5,500 now, due to a $1,500 immediate rebate that doesn’t appear to be going anyplace anytime quickly. As a DSLR, it comes with an optical viewfinder, however suffers from much less AF space protection in comparison with the GFX.
How lengthy will it final?
It is a very properly made machine that ought to final for years to return. The lenses do really feel a bit much less substantial, in all probability on account of making an attempt to save lots of weight, however we didn’t encounter any issues all through our overview interval.
It’s unclear when the digital camera can be changed with a brand new model, however we might count on it to have a comparatively lengthy product cycle, in all probability three-plus years. It started promoting in February 2017.
Do you have to purchase it?
Simply as we mentioned relating to the Hasselblad X1D, most of us shouldn’t. Your cash might be higher spent on a high-end full-frame system and a few good lenses. However we have now to confess, we beloved capturing with the GFX, and for those who’ve bought the cash to burn, you’ll find it irresistible, too. It’s simply necessary to comprehend that the shopping for choice is extra of an emotional one, and the rewards are largely emotional rewards.