Today is a big day for Fuji because the company unveiled its first digital medium format mirrorless camera with a 51.4 MP sensor, the Fuji GFX 50S. And not only that, but also a total of 6 medium format “G” mount lenses specifically designed for the new GFX 50S: GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR, GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR, GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR, GF 110mm f/2, GF 120mm f/4 Macro, and GF 32-64mm f/4R LM WR zoom lens. Both the camera and the lenses are in development and they are not finalized yet, but we can expect the company to start shipping the camera with a couple of lenses in early 2017. Although the pricing has not been announced yet, the company promised that the GFX 50S will be well under $10K, which will put it in competition with the Hasselblad X1D-50c. Many would consider this announcement to be groundbreaking and I believe it really is – Fuji decided to skip full-frame mirrorless altogether, focusing heavily on APS-C cameras and now medium format. With Fuji’s ability to design superb lenses with impressive sharpness, color and contrast characteristics, I have no doubt that the GFX 50S will be in demand.
I am personally excited about this announcement, because Fuji knows how to build amazing camera systems. I have been a big fan of the Fuji X system and having owned and used the Fuji X-T1 ever since it was announced, I cannot think of a better APS-C mirrorless system on the market. This is mostly due to the fact that Fuji has been very active in not only the development of strong camera offerings but also because the company has been delivering exceptional lenses for the system. The same cannot be said about Sony’s APS-C cameras, for example, which feel abandoned in contrast and in favor of the full-frame camera system.
Digital medium format cameras have traditionally been very bulky and expensive, but with both Hasselblad and Fuji jumping in on the MF bandwagon this year and showcasing the power of dropping the mirror mechanism altogether and doing so at sub-$10K price shows that those of us who need the ultimate image quality will have some great options. With a physical size of 43.8×32.9mm, the medium format sensors on these cameras are 1.7x larger than full-frame.
And if we factor in the current resolution, the physical size of each pixel is roughly 5.29 microns, which is noticeably larger than the 4.87 micron pixels we see on the Nikon D810 or the 4.51 micron pixels we see on the Sony A7R II. So there is definitely a lot more room to grow in such a large sensor size when it comes to sheer megapixels. And with the sensor size 4x larger than APS-C, it is expected to see a huge difference in image quality between the Fuji X-series cameras and the GFX 50S.
One thing to note, the aspect ratio of the Fuji GFX 50S is 4:3, similar to what we had previously seen on the Hasselblad X1D-50c. This is quite a bit different when compared to the 3:2 aspect ratio we normally see on both APS-C and full-frame cameras. While you could certainly change the aspect ratio to something different like 3:2, 1:1, 4:5, 6:7 and 6:17, to get the most out of the sensor on this camera, one would have to get used to shooting in native 4:3 aspect ratio.
When it comes to ergonomics, Fuji does not disappoint – the GFX 50S looks beautiful, somewhat similar in its appearance compared to other Fuji X-series cameras. I personally like the ergonomics on this camera better than on the Hasselblad X1D-50c, because we have dedicated dials for both shutter speed and ISO, while the aperture ring is going to be available on all G-mount lenses, similar to what we see on most Fuji X-series lenses. And it looks like there will be an option to add a vertical grip to the camera as well:
It looks a bit bulkier compared to the X1D-50c, but not by a huge margin. In fact, many prefer to have a larger camera on their hands, especially with large lenses mounted on it. Here is the side view of the camera, with a 63mm f/2.8R W lens mounted on it:
The biggest difference between the Hasselblad X1D-50c and the GFX 50S in my opinion is the shutter mechanism – the Hasselblad has a leaf shutter integrated into each lens, whereas the Fuji has a focal plane shutter that sits right in front of the sensor. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both. Flash shooters love leaf shutters, because they allow using crazy high flash sync speeds. Sadly, the Fuji GFX 50S is quite a bit crippled in this regard, with its slow 1/125 sync speed. On the other hand, the focal plane shutter on the Fuji GFX 50S opens up huge opportunities to bring other medium format lenses to life. With adapters, one could mount pretty much any medium format lens out there, even some really old classic film lenses. If you own a few of those classic Contax MF lenses, you will be able to use them with the Fuji GFX 50S, but not with the Hasselblad X1D-50c.
Valhalla, N.Y., September 19, 2016 – In response to unprecedented interest from professional photographers, FUJIFILM North America Corporation today announces the development of the new medium format FUJIFILM GFX mirrorless digital camera system that will deliver unmatched and exceptional image quality. The innovative GFX system will reach a new Fujifilm photographic standard, and support its ongoing commitment to providing the total imaging solution for photographers.
Photographic Excellence and Innovation
Over the course of its proud history that extends over 80 years, Fujifilm has developed
and manufactured photographic films with advanced image resolution, outstanding
color reproduction and tonal qualities to meet the needs of professional photographers as well as photo enthusiasts. Fujifilm offers an extensive range of professional cameras under the consistent philosophy that “a camera is a tool for capturing your creative vision,” and high quality FUJINON lenses are an indispensable part of that commitment. All of the technologies and expertise of Fujifilm have been amassed to develop the new GFX, which uses a medium-format sensor to achieve the highest level of image quality and a completely new type of mirrorless system, and its companion FUJINON GF lenses.
FUJIFILM GFX 50S
The FUJIFILM GFX 50S mirrorless digital camera will feature the new FUJIFILM G Format 43.8 x 32.9mm sensor with an astonishing 51.4MP resolution and six FUJINON GF Lenses that will be introduced sequentially in early 2017.
Professional-use Mirrorless Camera System
As a long-term manufacturer of photographic films and medium-format film cameras,
Fujifilm was always aware of the impact that different formats have on photographic expressions. Using a larger format gives an ultimate enhancement to a camera’s ability to capture “texture,” “depth” and “dimension,” which cannot be attained even by substantially increasing the sensor’s pixel count.
Since the launch of the X Series, an increasing number of professional photographers
and photo enthusiasts expressed their desire to achieve the ultimate photographic expression with the X Series’ signature color reproduction. The GFX camera system with the G Format is Fujifilm’s response to their requests.
The FUJIFILM GFX 50S 51.4MP sensor can be adapted to various aspect
ratios, including 4:3 (default), 3:2, 1:1, 4:5, 6:7 and 6:17, which were available in large and medium format film cameras. The GFX 50S will use the high-performance “X-Processor Pro” imaging processor to provide Fujifilm’s outstanding color and tone reproduction at an extremely high level. The result is the ultimate capability in photographic expressions that only Fujifilm can deliver thanks to its extensive knowledge in film and medium-format cameras.
Revolutionary Design Concept
The FUJIFILM GFX 50S revolutionizes the concept of medium-format cameras, and compared to conventional medium-format digital SLR cameras, the GFX is lighter in weight, and achieves a far more compact form factor. With regards to functionality, the camera follows in the footsteps of the X Series by featuring numerous physical buttons and dials, and is designed with an ergonomic grip, shaped carefully and optimized for the camera body and lenses.
The FUJIFILM GFX 50S will feature a detachable electronic viewfinder, which users can remove when using an external monitor or wanting to make the system even lighter. In addition, an optional adapter makes it possible to fit the EVF at any angle, giving greater freedom in the
choice of shooting angle. Other optional accessories that will be available at launch include the Vertical Battery Grip, which enhances functionality when shooting in the portrait orientation. The camera also supports tethered shooting, which has become an essential part of the professional photographers’ workflow, and will be compatible with various RAW conversion application software.
Newly-developed FUJINON Lenses
The FUJIFILM GFX 50S will use newly-designed FUJINON lenses with a new lens mount for highest performance and image quality.
A new lineup of FUJINON GF lenses, designed specifically for the GFX, supports the new G Mount. Taking advantage of the mirrorless system’s structure, the G Mount has the short flange back distance of just 26.7mm to shorten the back focus distance as much as possible. This prevents vignetting to achieve edge-to-edge sharpness of the world’s highest level.
The initial lineup will include the following six FUJINON lenses:
- Standard prime “GF63mmF2.8 R WR” (equivalent to 50mm in the 35mm format)
- Wide-angle standard zoom “GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR” (equivalent to 25-51mm in 35mm format)
- Mid-telephoto macro 1:0.5 “GF120mmF4 Macro R LM OIS WR” (equivalent to 95mm in 35mm format)
- Fast aperture mid-telephoto “GF110mmF2 R LM WR” (equivalent to 87mm in 35mm format)
- Ultra-wide “GF23mmF4 R LM WR” (equivalent to 18mm in 35mm format)
- Wide “GF45mmF2.8 R WR” (equivalent to 35mm in 35mm format)
The new FUJINON lenses will feature an aperture ring, a popular feature in the X Series, and have a new C (Command) Position on the ring to enable aperture adjustments with the Command Dial on the camera body. Each lens will be dust and weather resistant, built to withstand operation at temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit \ -10 degrees Celsius allowing photographers to take them outdoors with confidence in challenging weather conditions.
FUJIFILM GFX 50S Key Features:
- 51.4MP Medium Format 43.8 x 32.9mm sensor for superior sharpness and image quality for all professional photographers
- Can be adapted to various aspect ratios, including 4:3 (default), 3:2, 1:1, 4:5, 6:7 and 6:17
- FUJIFILM “G Mount” with short flange back distance of just 26.7mm
- “X-Processor Pro” imaging processor
- Detachable electronic viewfinder
- Weather and dust resistant; operates as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit \ -10 degrees Celsius
Availability and Pricing
The new FUJIFILM GFX system will be available in early 2017 in the U.S. with pricing to be announced at a later date.
* Design and specifications may be subject to change without notice.
All this is very exciting. I cannot wait to get my hands on both the Hasselblad X1D-50c and the Fuji GFX 50S. I am planning to write comparison reviews between the two once they both become available.