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Is this the killer of expensive medium format cameras – Review of the Fujifilm GFX 50s

Hi guys, I am back with my promised review of the Fujifilm GFX 50s medium format camera. I will start summing it up with this:

“Medium format gorgeousness for almost the price of a Canon 1D.”

After I had the chance to shoot medium format for the first time with the Hasselblad X1D (click here for the review) – the medium format game really got my attention. And since the camera companies started to produce medium format cameras for a quite reasonable price (yes I know that sound weird because they are still 10K), it has become fun to think about getting one of them. I will (spoiler alert!!!) not switch to medium format anytime soon because I just love my Canon 5D Mark IV too much – still the Fujifilm GFX 50s made it quite hard not to. Please also find some RAW pictures of the GFX here.

I hope you have fun with the review in my usual style. And as always: big thanks to Foto Kücher for providing the possibility to test it.

Quick review:
Fujifilm just stepped in the medium format game quite recently – but one thing is true for sure – they did an amazing job with the GFX 50s. It offers a beautiful retro design with a great medium format feel and true picture brilliance.
What I love most about the GFX 50s is the overall feel, it gives you the medium format feeling like with big medium format cameras like Hasselblad HD6 or Phase One IQ series. The body is very much a cube and you feel like a true studio pro walking around with it.
And if you ask me honestly – I think it is the best medium format entry camera there is out there.

Design:
As mentioned above, I love the cubic format of the GFX, it is the true medium format feeling. The GFX 50s comes in the Fuji style black like we know it from f.i. the XT-2 and offers all the daily and wheels like on a retro camera. One amazing thing is the flippable screen which truly gives outdoor medium format photography a new feel. It is just a damn beautiful camera.

Kit and price:
Body: Fujifilm GFX 50s – 6.999€
Lenses: Fujifilm GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR (which is a 50mm equivalent on a full frame sensor – crop factor 0.8) – 1.599€
Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 Macro LM O.I.S. ( which is a 96mm equivalent on a full frame sensor – crop factor 0.8 – 2.899€
Total Kit: 11.497€

Sensor:
The medium format CMOS sensor with a dimension of 43.8mm x 32.9mm and 51,4 megapixels is slightly larger than the one from the X1D. The auto focus on the GFX is alot better than the X1D and most likely because of its 425 focus points (that is truely insane!). But what I found is that the size of the spot focus I usually work with was too large. Meaning that I had a harder time of focusing on the eyes when shooting portraits. The ratio is obviously 4:3 which I now love to use as my overall ratio even when shooting with the Mark IV.

Handling:
The cube like body of the GFX 50s is beautiful and lies just perfectly in your hand (still not as great as the X1D) – even taking into acocunt that it is a medium format camera. One critical point with cameras is usually the auto focus, which the GFX tackles a lot better than the X1D but still not comparable to my DSLR. You adjust the camera setting through beautiful dials on the top (ISO and shutter speed) and a front wheel operated with your index finger. I found that to be a bit annoying when it comes to fast changes of the settings. The aperture is changed directly on the lens – which is always great. The electric viewfinder on the top can be detached from the body when shooting tethered or directly via the LCD screen on the back. Knowing how I usually struggle with the electric viewfinder, it still was a good way to shoot with the GFX and you can pop-up it up if you shoot at a more direct angle. The LCD also pops out and is foldable in two axis – a very nice feature. What I hate is that the “play button” to review pictures is on the top of the LCD screen and really irritating to reach with one finger. The UI of Fuji’s menu is one I really don’t care for, but that is just a minor set back.

I took the GFX out for various types of shoots: portraits, landscape, low light, harsh light and product shoots – the GFX manages everything greatly. The feel of the pictures already when you review it on the camera is fantastic – the depth and details of colors and sharpness are wonderful. Shooting with the insanely big 120mm macro lens is a bit challanging – AF lacks a lot more than on the 63mm (obviously).

Battery life on the GFX is a little better than on the X1D but still not great – you should get 1 or two spare batteries for sure. Gladly two SD-Card slots are integrated and I took a 280 mbit/s San Disk 64GB SD card to save the pics and it worked perfectly. You can definitely shoot “quite” fast with the GFX – 1/400o of shutter speed max. and 3 frames per second.

Post-Production
The Fujifilm delivers a RAF Raw format with a file size of about 115 MB and is lovely to work with. What I found the Hasselblad X1D’s picture style more beautiful as it gaves you a more distinct and recognizable look. But the GFX delivers a fantastic quality. Depth, shadows, highlights, sharpness – you name it, it is all there and in a lovely way. Using Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and Color Effects Pro as my programs, you can bend and press the RAW file in every way you like.

My summary and who should get it:
All-in-all, the GFX is a superb camera and giving the price point, it is a true rebel in the medium format camera business. I love how it is built, love the image quality and depth, the outstanding retro design and on-the-go capabilities. If anyone wants to get into the medium format business, I think this is the camera to go for. For under 9.500€ you have a great camera setup that gives you many opportunities.

And to answer this post’s topic – I would say that it is not the killer but definitely the new small hero in the medium format game.

Thanks again to Foto Kücher for the possibility to try the Fujifilm GFX 50s.

Please enjoy some product shots of the GFX I took with my Canon 5D Marki IV and some shots I took with the GFX – and again, here are the RAWs you can try for yourself.

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