FUJIFILM GFX 50S
Fujifilm’s GFX 50S is the first camera in its new medium- format system, promising image quality surpassing what's on offer from smaller sensors
Fuji’s foray into the world of medium- format has shaken up the industry. How good is this 51.4- megapixel beast?
SPECIFICATIONS Guide Price: £ 6,000 ( body- only) Image sensor: G- format ( 4: 3) CMOS ( 43.8x32.9mm) Resolution: 51.4- megapixels Maximum image resolution: 8256x6192 pixels Contrast AF system: 9x13 ( 117 points) / 17x25 ( 425 points) single focus points and six sizes of focus area Metering patterns: Multi- zone ( 256 zones), spot, average & centre- weighted ISO range: ISO 100- 12800 plus Auto. Expandable to 50- 102400. Shutter speeds: 1/ 4000sec- four seconds & Bulb. ( Electronic shutter: 1/ 6000sec- 60 minutes) LCD monitor: 3.2in 2,360,000- dot tilting touchscreen Frame rate: Three frames- per- second Storage: Dual SD ( SDHC/ XC) Size ( WHD): 147.5x94.2x91.4mm Weight: 825g including battery & card / 920g with EVF Website: www. fujifilm. co. uk
FUJIFILM’S X- SERIES of APS- C mirrorless cameras have proven incredibly popular, thanks to their combination of small size, high specification and excellent image quality.
The GFX 50S is a totally different type of camera and the first in Fujifilm's G- system. At its heart is a medium- format sensor that's 1.7x bigger than full- frame yet smaller than other medium- format digital sensors. Photographers as old as me will know that Fujifilm has a heritage in medium- format cameras, with models like the GA645, GX680 and GX617 offering a diverse range of options for enthusiasts and professionals. So while the GFX system is new, the brand is well versed in medium- format cameras and optics that are capable of meeting the needs of the discerning professional photographer.
The GFX 50S is the first model in the range, and having used it for a couple of weeks I'm very impressed with it. While the bigger sensor requires the camera body to be larger to accommodate it, the GFX 50S is similar in size to pro- spec DSLRS from the likes of Canon and Nikon. However, the outfit does become bulkier with a lens fitted, as optics need to be larger due to the larger sensor. That said, it's still a relatively compact and lightweight offering bearing in mind the format size – I took the body and two lenses on a short overseas trip and didn't find it much different to carrying around a pro DSLR and set of lenses.
As you'd expect, the magnesium alloy body feels very robust and well put together and is sealed in 58 locations to ensure excellent dust- and weather- proofing. A prominent handgrip affords a solid hold, so much so that one- handed shooting- from- thehip is possible. Two large dials on the top- plate handle ISO and shutter speeds, with both offering a central lock button to prevent accidental rotation. Control buttons are located on the top, front and rear of the body and while some are labelled, others ( chiefly the customisable buttons) are unmarked, which is unusual. Customisation – an important facility for pros – is extensive on the GFX 50S, with ten options, including a Q ( Quick) button near the thumbrest and a four- way control, allowing fast access to important functions.
The 3.2in LCD monitor is excellent, providing a very sharp and bright display when using Liveview or reviewing images. An up/ down ( no side- to- side) tilting facility allows it to be used high or low and, best of all, it sports a touchscreen facility too.
The electronic viewfinder ( EVF) provides 100% coverage and uses a 3.69- million- dot screen, which gives a sharp and colourful electronic image, along with extensive information and the option to have a histogram or electronic level on the screen. A sensor can be activated to switch between using the LCD or EVF to compose or review images. The EVF is detachable, allowing an optional tilting adapter to be fitted.
All these features ensure users feel at home with the GFX 50S relatively quickly, with the majority of the camera's operability being very similar to that of a DSLR.
The Fuji's 51.4- million pixel CMOS sensor is larger than full- frame and much larger than APS- C, and the additional surface area means bigger pixels ( and larger optics), which both work at allowing the GFX 50S to capture images with far more detail and sharpness than smaller sensors with a similar pixel count. It boasts an excellent dynamic range of 14 stops and, as well as the native format, can be set to shoot in six other formats including 1: 1, 3: 2 and 16: 9.
The X- Processor Pro is the imaging engine tasked with handling these large
files and ensuring processing extracts maximum image quality and minimal noise. The ISO range can be expanded as low as ISO 50 and as high as 102400, so there is plenty of scope for low light handheld photography. Exposure modes are limited to the core four: program, manual, apertureand shutter- priority. There are four metering modes, with the default being a 256- zone pattern. Spot takes a reading from a 2% area and can be linked to the active AF point.
The AF system is based on contrast AF and offers a wide range of modes and options. Along with single and multi- point AF, zones using 3x3, 5x5 or 7x7 points is available, with a focus lever on the rear allowing quick adjustments of their position. Face and eye detection options are also available.
Other notable features are a wide range of Film Simulation modes based on classic Fujifilm emulsions, a 1.28in LCD info panel behind the shutter button, Full HD video, an interval timer, multiple exposures, a hotshoe for dedicated flash and Wi- Fi connectivity.
Bar the odd obvious thing that separates mirrorless to DSLR ( such as the EVF), using the GFX 50S is effectively no different to using a large DSLR. AF is responsive and accurate, and in terms of speed is close to matching that of current DSLRS. The multi- zone pattern was consistently good too, with only strong backlighting throwing it off. Image quality is exceptional, with the huge files recording an incredible level of detail. Dynamic range proved excellent too, while noise was handled far better than I expected – night shots at very high ISO ratings are more than usable. In terms of image quality, no other digital camera I've used can match the Fujifilm GFX 50S. My only concern in terms of usage is battery life – a spare or two is recommended.
Above & below: Despite housing a medium- format sensor, the Fujifilm GFX 50S is a similar size to pro- DSLRS and has a control layout that's easy to get used to.
Exposure: 1/ 160sec at f/ 10 ( ISO 500)