The Best Digital Camera [for me :) ] The Fujifilm GFX50S ~ An owner's review having used it for over 18 months


So there are all kinds of photographers out there who do all kinds of photography. Wildlife and nature, landscape, cityscape, weddings and events, interiors, architect, drone/aerial, commercial (including product, fashion), fine art, dance, stock, portraits, lifestyle, video/vlogging too, etc etc etc

So for me, i love shooting people. Be it portraits, fashion, street, dance etc as long as there is person in the pic I'm up for it :) [Side note: I do want to expand more into other areas of photography but there is no rush as photography is a lifelong passion] and the camera that is the best for the types of photography I do right now and I am most happy with is the Fujifilm GFX50S. [FYI, I have owned and used a lot, a lot of different digital camera systems]


First thing to note is medium format (MF) cameras are of course not good for all types of photography. Fast action, and any type of photography where both fast autofocus (AF) and a high frames per second with autofocus between frames is needed, then this is not the camera for it. Photography requiring super long zooms would not be the best suited too so shooting wildlife and sports would not be the best noting this.

On AF, my hope is in future iterations it does become better and faster, so then it will be able to do more of what the high-res full frame cameras out there can do on this front and then better it in the image quality department. Also it may be about time a new sensor comes out as the base sensor is a bit long in the tooth now (first used in Pentax 645Z in 2014). So with a new sensor image quality (IQ) gets even better? OMG! (in a good way)

A bit more on IQ

A lot of folks talk of high-resolution (let's say those with greater than 40mp) full frame cameras and speak of the IQ being similar to the digital medium format mirrorless cameras and the statements that come up with is usually 'oh the sensor is not that much bigger' and 'it's not the same size as film medium formats in the past' and those statements are true to a degree.

They are not as big as the film 645 size [56 x 42mm] which is already a smaller size for the film MF cameras but they ARE bigger than FF and can capture more of everything good, generally speaking :) as you can tell, i am well versed in technical terms. [Signal to noise, micro lens array, backside illuminated, gobbledy goobledy geek]

To my eyes, the pictures produced by Fujifilm GFX50S are some of the best image files produced by a digital camera out there right now (native glass to native glass at equivalent settings) and folks who want the best IQ should spend time with these cameras and realise how impressive the image quality is from these MF beasts.

The 51.4MP 43.8 x 32.9mm CMOS sensor in the GFX has the base sensor from Sony which is also used in the Pentax 645Z, Hasselblad H6D and X1D, some Hasselblad and Phase One backs. The DIFFERENCE though is magical Fuji micro lenses on the sensors optimized for 'light gathering performance and image resolution to deliver images that precisely reproduce the subject’s texture, three-dimensional feel and even the atmosphere of each scene.' excerpt from Fujifilm literature and they speak the truth! :)






The GFX RAW files are amazing and gives the user a lot of latitude for cropping and adjusting highlights and shadows (i.e. YUGE dynamic range). These files are just that bit more future proof too e.g. what if you had to print an image wall sized one day or someone wants to buy your pic and needs it big for your art gallery showing right? [ok maybe significant what-ifs but you never know :) ]. Not only capturing a lot of info but the quality of the capture with the excellent native Fujinon lenses is there. These all come at a price of course but isn't that normally the case for the better/best things out there? ;)

Mirrorless benefits

The benefits of mirrorless are significant too for MF and because this sensor is not so much bigger than FF, some 35mm glass can be mounted onto adapters for use on this body with minimal to no vignetting. This opens up the possibility of mounting a lot of available 35mm glass. Right now, it's mostly dumb adapters out there but techart have a smart Canon adapter which autofocuses those lenses on this body and that is soooo good ;) I have been using dumb adapters with manual lenses so far but may consider going the Canon route for glass if I want to keep costs down. What is important of course is to get good Canon glass which would also be pricey but won't be near the GF lens prices for those lenses that I am eyeing.

Other benefits of mirrorless is EVF and solid manual focus magnification and peaking aids for manual focusing. You can also switch on exposure and white balance previews so WYSIWYG.

No shutter slap means better shutter speeds can be used as compared to the mirror/DSLR style MF cameras.

Price

Speaking about price... The GFX50R is coming out at an amazing steal of a price for medium format (especially the bundle deals. In Singapore it is S$6,999 for the body and add in the GF63mm f2.8 for S$499. That's S$7,500 only for digital medium format quality). So if I was on the fence in the past, I would dive in for the R if I am into the rangefinder style body.

Alternatively, GFX50S pricing on the first hand and second hand market has come down too. So folks who prefer the S style and grip and other differences could look to pick them up for less (than when it launched) too. Brand new now is S$8,499 (down from original $10,099 price) and that's with the tilt adapter and hot shoe. The second hand pricing will of course be even better and not ridiculously far off from the high end full frame cameras too. In the past other than the Pentax, the rest of the medium format offerings were asking crazy sums of money. What Fuji has done is make a very good (possibly one of the best in it's range) MF platform attainable to many vs the $20+k entry points of the past.

What would I want improved on it?

- Better AF - Better eye AF as the current one sometimes misses the closer eye. Better low light AF and better AF in challenging strong backlight situations and faster AF is always welcome too [Note: GFX100Mp will have Phase detect AF]
- Newer and better sensor (perhaps with BSI)
- IBIS (why not)
- 4K video
[Uhm most of the above may be offered on the GFX 100 megapixels camera but thats 100mp. hmm may have to start saving my pennies for upgrading PC, storage, if I decide to get that beast]
- Faster lens options eg. in a focal range between 50mm (the current 63mm f2.8) and 86mm (current 110mm f2) would be great eg 75mm f1.4 or f1.2 equivalent in 35mm terms

Naysayers be saying: Oh but it has a slow 1/125 flash sync speed
Answer: High speed sync baby. I've shot thousands of photos on HSS and the following are just 2 with shutter speeds above 1/125
To keep costs down, I've used Godox and have been happy with it




In the end

This review/writeup is not meant to say this camera is definitely the best out there for what it delivers and for it's price and it's not to tell you to go and buy one. What works for you may be something else entirely.

This writeup is just to share from an owner's perspective who has done A LOT of shoots with it for more than 18 months, what an absolute joy it has been to have this camera with me. With just the 63mm on mine, I use it for street photography too and take it out for casual outings without concern of it's weight and size in my small sling bag.

From all the great shoots I have done with it, all the way to winning prizes with images taken with it [Blessed with multiple-award wins LINK ~ All winning images shot with the GFX and 63mm, 110mm, 23mm lenses], it has been a great camera, a great tool companion and I look forward to many many more opportunities to shoot with it and enjoy it. Thanks for reading.

[P.S. Apologies I did not post new to CS pix for this review. If you have seen my posts on CS, you would have seen these pix in my ''Capturing Beauty" series here LINK
Appreciate your follow and likes on IG too LINK where you can check out a lot a lot of pix done on the GFX amongst other cameras]
 

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Comments

raphmeister

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
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Sharing some dynamic range results.

The GFX has an excellent sensor for recovering details in shadows and highlights. Overblown highlights being the tougher of the two. It is advisable therefore to shoot to the left i.e. underexposed a little, to the left just means the histogram peak(s) are on the left side of the histogram graph instead of the right side.


So this was shooting in a studio and the flash didn't fire so I got a shot that was almost all black in RAW. too much to the left
so recovery from close to black pic

and with a few more tweaks...

and zooming in for detail... I would say it's editable from here if i wanted to edit it further

so i swopped lens and was going from a much slower aperture to a sudden fast aperture and a few stops more light caused this.

and recovered it to this... not the best pic but it is definitely usable (editable from here). nose may be a little too hot though

 

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keithwee

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Aug 20, 2010
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LittleRedDot
Nice sharing of your personal experiences and beautiful images shared !
 

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raphmeister

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
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Did you say? S$8,499. quite cheaper than expected. Will this come down further?
Hi Stephanie, not sure about whether or when it will come down further. That was the promo late last year and there will be further promo prices down the road just not sure what they would be :) cheers
 

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Subbu

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Jan 23, 2019
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Yup heard of GFX50S before a month from a professional photographer when I thought to buy one. He advised me to change some settings and use if I buy. Which specific setting did you change personally?
 

zaren

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Oct 27, 2003
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Excellent review.
 

raphmeister

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
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Yup heard of GFX50S before a month from a professional photographer when I thought to buy one. He advised me to change some settings and use if I buy. Which specific setting did you change personally?
Hi Subbu I am not sure what he meant by that advice. I use it pretty much as per normal with settings catering for proper exposure is all and I process RAW. best to check with the pro photographer who gave you that advice on what he meant. thanks.
 

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Subbu

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Hi Subbu I am not sure what he meant by that advice. I use it pretty much as per normal with settings catering for proper exposure is all and I process RAW. best to check with the pro photographer who gave you that advice on what he meant. thanks.
Thanks!
 

raphmeister

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
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So one of the great things about the GFX is details... LOADS OF DETAILS ! just one example below and the quality of the pic may be affected by the cropping tool i used to grab the screenshot but u get the idea :)

opening it up in PS (at around 9%)

at 100% very impressive

& at 200% in LR most impressive

 

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