Without a doubt, the announcement of the medium format Fujifilm GFX 50S and its revealed price of $6,500 has sent a shockwave across many different photography communities across the world, sparking many discussions and debates about the future of the camera industry. We now have a medium format mirrorless camera that is lighter and more compact than a typical full-frame DSLR, with a price point of a top-of-the-line DSLR like the Nikon D5. Significantly cheaper than any other digital medium format camera on the market today and less expensive than the recently-announced Hasselblad X1D-50c, or even the discounted Pentax 645Z. This is a groundbreaking and brave move on behalf of Fuji, which jumped directly to medium format from its current APS-C X-series cameras, completely skipping over full-frame. In this article, I would like to go over some information on why it may or may not make sense to invest in the Fuji GFX 50S for photographers who have been shooting with Fuji X-series or other full-frame cameras.
It is a big day today for Fuji, since the company finally revealed the price of the GFX 50S, which, at $6500, happens to be lower than any other medium format camera on the market, including the Pentax 645Z. In addition, the company announced a brand new lens for its Fuji X-series cameras, the Fuji XF 50mm f/2 R WR, along with two updated cameras, the Fuji X-T20 and the X100F. While the X100F seems to be an incremental update with few changes, it is exciting to see both the XF 50mm f/2 WR and the “mini X-T2” in the form of the X-T20.
Fuji so far has only released a total of 3 full resolution sample images to demonstrate the capabilities of its new Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format camera, one from each lens. While the images were shot at relatively low ISOs, the provided sample images give us a glimpse of what to expect from both the camera and the lenses in terms of image quality. As expected, the amount of detail in the images is exceptionally high, with all three lenses capable of resolving a lot of detail. Of particular interest is the GF 32-64mm f/4 WR, which shows exceptional performance in terms of sharpness from the center all the way to the extreme corners.
At Photo Plus NY, we also had a brief conversation with Mr Makoto Oishi of Fujifilm Corporation, who has been involved in the design and planning of the new Fuji GFX 50S medium format mirrorless camera. As you may already know, Fuji was the second to introduce the medium format mirrorless camera, after Hasselblad made the headlines a few months ago by introducing the Hasselblad X1D-50c. Both feature similar 50 MP medium format CMOS sensors and compete directly with each other in this new market segment. Previously, Pentax was the only company to offer a medium format camera in a similar price range of under $10K (see our Pentax 645Z review), but it cannot be really considered a competitor, since it is a medium format DSLR, which differs vastly in terms of size, weight and ergonomics. The new Hasselblad and Fuji mirrorless cameras are certainly game-changers in that regard, being so compact and lightweight. While full-frame mirrorless cameras can be comparable in size and weight to smaller full-frame DSLRs, the same cannot be said about what Hasselblad and Fuji have done with their mirrorless offerings – the difference between them and something like the Pentax 645Z is just too drastic.
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 (18mm equiv), GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR (32mm equiv), GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR (50mm equiv), GF 110mm f/2 (87mm equiv), GF 120mm f/4 Macro (95mm equiv) and GF 32-64mm f/4R LM WR (25-51mm equiv) 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.
Valerie Jardin is not only an accomplished street photographer, but also a podcaster, teacher, speaker and writer. Originally from France, Valerie currently lives in the United States. Valerie’s international workshops and speaking engagements often sell out over a year in advance. This is why I feel so lucky to have been able to attend one of her workshops this August in Vancouver, Canada.
The past few months I have fallen victim to a creative slump, a rut, a lack of enthusiasm around my photography. Call it what you want, I felt uninspired. Although I love nature and bird photography, I found myself struggling to make time to get out and shoot. We live on the gulf coast of southern Mississippi. There is an abundance of wonderful birdlife, beautiful sunsets and unique cypress swamps full of wildlife begging to be photographed. When I did get out, I found I was not very motivated to download my images, let alone take the time to process them. I needed a change. What I really needed was a challenge. I decided to try something I had heard of, but have never tried before, in the hopes that it would relight my photographic passion.
While it was pretty sad to see Nikon recall its last round of rebates due to earthquakes in Japan, other manufacturers like Fuji are continuing to push pretty aggressive sales on both cameras and lenses to lure in more customers and increase their market share. I am a big fan of the Fuji X system (I own the Fuji X-T1 and a couple of X-series lenses – see my detailed Fuji X-T1 review), so when I saw all the available deals on lenses and cameras, I wanted to let our readers know about these deals. Although these deals are supposed to last until the end of June, if you have plans to purchase Fuji gear, I would suggest doing it sooner than later, since many of the lenses are already out of stock and it might take a while for your order to arrive if it is backed up too deeply in the order queue.