Without a doubt, the release of medium format cameras by both Fujifilm and Hasselblad have shaken up the photography industry and have sparked interest from many enthusiast and professional photographers, who are interested in moving up to medium format. While Hasselblad delivered the smallest and the lightest medium format camera ever made in the shape of the X1D-50c, Fuji definitely surprised many of us with the low (for medium format) price of the GFX 50S. With both cameras featuring similar Sony-made sensors with the same size and resolution, one might think that the two cameras compete directly with each other. However, once we look at some details and understand the real differences between the GFX 50S and X1D-50c, it becomes more apparent that the two cameras might have been created for completely different purposes and uses. I have been fortunate to have had my hands on these two cameras for the past few weeks and although I am planning to put the two cameras to real use very soon, I have already gathered some thoughts that I would like to share with our readers. Let’s take a look at the two medium format cameras in more detail and compare them side by side.
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.
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.
Back in September of last year, Fuji teased us with an announcement of the Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format mirrorless camera. While we got a taste of what the camera would look like, Fuji did not reveal the full specifications of the camera, along with the price. All we knew back then was that the camera was supposed to be under $10K with a lens, which was already good news, as the competing Hasselblad X1D-50c was announced with a price tag of $9K for just the camera body. Today, Fuji finally revealed the price of the GFX 50S and it is $2,500 cheaper compared to the Hasslelblad! Considering the price of the X1D-50c, along with the much larger, bulkier and heavier Pentax 645Z that still retails for $7K, the price of the Fuji GFX 50S is shockingly low. And based on the final specifications, the GFX 50S is going to be a beast of a camera for landscape, architecture, studio and product photography.
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.