Fuji GFX 50S medium format digital camera first impressions

Bryan Gateb from thebroketographers.com posted his first impressions on the new Fuji GFX 50S medium format digital camera ($6,499) at the Fujifilm GFX Owners Facebook group (check his blog post for additional information and pictures):

  • It's super light. Lighter than an FF DSLR. A bit bigger than I expected, but still very small. The vertical grip is great, and unlike other cameras, and because the battery door is on the side of the camera, there are contacts right on the bottom of the camera, so you don't have to remove battery doors when adding the grip. You can quickly and easily just add or remove it whenever you want.
  • The lenses are large, but also impossibly light, too. I don't know what kind of sorcery this is. Even the zoom and the 120 macro were way lighter than I expected them to be.
  • Because of the above, it kind of feels like a toy, which was a bit of disappointment. Sans grip and with the 63 f/2.8, it'd be a good (albeit expensive) "walkaround camera" with an amazing sensor because of its size and light weight, provided you can deal with the slow, deliberate, method of MF shooting.
  • The Contrast-Detect Focusing is faster than I expected it to be, but it does hunt quite a bit, racking focus back and forth two or three times before it acquires focus – even in a relatively well-lit indoor space (like a camera shop). When it does lock on, using the smallest focusing area, focus is accurate and the results are sharp. The joystick is awesome to quickly navigate the 425 focus points.
  • Viewfinder blackout seemed incredibly long. It got a little annoying. VF does not blackout during continuous shooting.
  • Coming from using and owning a few Fujis, I was able to pick it up and manipulate everything without really having to wonder "how" to do something.
  • Both screens are awesome. The e-ink display for the top of the camera is awesome and easy to read. The tilt-screen is the same as the XT2, so it can tilt to the right as well, Kind of cool to be able to use it as a pseudo waist-level finder. Touch screen works well for selecting focus points, as well as swiping through and pinch/tap to zoom in.
  • I still don't really like EVFs. It's good on this camera, but not any noticeably better than my XPro2 or an XT2 (I still use the OVF on my Xpro, mostly). The EVF seemed to be laggy, but it was a "pre production" model.
  • It's comfortable-ish. I wish the grip was deeper to get a better grip on the camera.
  • It's well balanced – with the 63mm f/2.8 only. Put the 32-64 f/4 on it or the 120 f/4 macro, and it becomes fairly front-heavy. This is sort of alleviated a bit with the grip in place.
  • I didn't get to take any photos home on my own card, but going off of the rear screen during review, it's really clean through ISO1600, and 3200 is usable.
  • I was teetering (if I did buy one) between the 63 and the 32-64 zoom – The 63 is very sharp, and super light. I think the body (without grip), and a 63 would be the the best combo available at launch. I think the 45/63/110 would be the direction I'd go, if I decide to get one later on.
  • Overall, I was hoping it'd sell me completely on the GFX, but I'm not quite there yet. The 1/125 X-sync is still something that concerns me, as well as the (lack of) weight and my lukewarm feelings about about EVFs.

We already started seeing the first adapters for the new Fuji G mount. Check out also this GFX case. The GFX is expected to start shipping on March 1st. Louis from our sister site FujiAddict.com is getting one with all three GF lenses and will have detailed reports and reviews in the next few weeks. Follow also the Fujifilm GFX Owners Facebook group for additional coverage.

More Fuji GFX stories:

Fujifilm GFX 50S and Canon 5DS R Compared

Fujifilm GFX 50S: Workshop and First Looks

The Fujifilm GFX 50S Events in NYC and Nice France

Fujifilm GFX Lens Adapters/Field Test/First Impressions

Zack Arias GFX Launch Night GPP 2017, Confirming Capture One Support

Markus Klinko on The Fujifilm GFX

The Fujifilm GFX 50S Goes to Mongolia and More AF Videos

Premature Fujinon GF 110mm f2 R LM Launch Date Rumor

Via TheBroketographers.com, FujiAddict.comFujifilm GFX Owners Facebook group

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  • Duncan Dimanche

    “The vertical grip is great, and unlike other cameras, and because the battery door is on the side of the camera, there are contacts right on the bottom of the camera, so you don’t have to remove battery doors when adding the grip.”

    I’m pretty sure that my d800 is the same…. 😉

    Very good read. I like his view point on it

    • Chaitanya

      on the camera body itself the battery door is on side instead of bottom of body. Thats what the OP was pointing towards.

  • CHD

    ‘…it kind of feels like a toy, which was a bit of disappointment.’
    This is what I hated about my X-Pro1…it looked the part but when you picked it up it felt hollow and cheap. Personally I would prefer the extra weight and the feel of it being solid like my Leica. The additional weight helps with keeping the camera steady when you shoot too.

    • paige4o4

      I’d say f*** that! Lighter weight sounds like an amazing advantage for someone who needs to carry all that stuff around. I’m frankly relieved to hear that the 120mm macro looks heavier than it is.

      • Too right. I understand why people equate weight and quality, but the two really aren’t interchangeable. In my mind a device that’s feature comparable and just as durable, but much lighter than another device, is the “higher quality” one. Weight that confers no structural or functional advantage is dead weight.

        • CHD

          To each their own. To me the Fuji cameras have a cheap tactile feeling to them. Either you care about stuff like that or you don’t. Regardless, I’m super interested in the GFX and plan to buy one someday on the used market.

        • MB

          Good point … digital cameras are disposable commodity these days anyways 🙂 …

  • Mike

    I tried it the other day at the Dubai launch at Gulf Photo Plus (on vacation). It’s slower than a DSLR. It’s on par with other mirrorless cameras. But faster than all other medium format cameras. The lenses are very sharp of course and the level of detail of 50mp is astounding. I shot at 12,800 and there was seemingly no noise. EVF comes down to personal preference. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8054be5af484da458a02e39cfeaba1b82e3014cb4f8e40e8353736b4cc290981.jpg

  • waterengineer

    Interesting how the camera top display looks a lot like the Phase One FX display. Gee, I wonder if that was by design.

  • WillWeaverRVA

    For a medium format camera, I would think less weight would be an advantage. Most MF cameras are quite heavy…even the relatively compact Pentax 645Z weighs 1550g. The GFX is much lighter, though the Hasselblad X1D is lighter still (although this is offset by the fact that Hasselblad’s lenses are extremely heavy). If the GFX’s lens lineup is as light as the reviewer says it is, especially compared to other MF lenses, then you have a very mobile medium format setup here.

  • Mike

    Admin, here is some crude video on using it. I’m working on another one. I had my phone in one hand and using the camera in the other but at least you get a sense of the sounds. https://youtu.be/9cfa_n2Ndoc

    • Thanks, I will forward this to Louis who runs FujiAddict.

    • Chaitanya

      Compared to Canon’s DPAF or Panasonic’s DFD the AF doesnt seem fast or confident.

      • Mike

        And compared to Fuji, Canon and Panasonic’s image quality won’t be in the same category. Lol. It’s all whats important to you I suppose and what you need a camera to do. The comparisons should be against other medium format AF systems not FF or smaller. The Fuji is definitely not action oriented. I wouldn’t want to be doing 50mp at 3fps anyway. It’s a different need of shooting. Most other MF systems have 1 or 3 AF points. So the Fuji is remarkable in that regard.

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