GFX 50S an Update

The GFX in the Field and Studio

The GFX 50s in the Weather

Medium format cameras are considered a studio camera, although that is far from the real truth as there are lots of accomplished artists using these cameras in the field, one only has to look at the work of Edward Burtynsky. He like many others has flown these cameras on quad copters, pointed them out of helicopters and aeroplanes, and off of temporary platforms or ladders. Removing the mirror from these cameras has created a lighter more portable camera, that will expand what can be done in the field. The two diagrams below which compare the GFX and X1D mirrorless to the 645 illustrate this difference. Perhaps this is what is behind DJI’s, a very successful drone manufacturer, acquisition of a majority stake in Hasselblad, they see the potential of using these cameras on drones.

The Fujifilm GFX 50s, although the Hasselblad X1D is smaller, has set the ground work for a revolution in photography, by pricing their camera at the same price as a D5/1DX and making it smaller than a D810! The Hasselblad has not been able to bring their price anywhere near Fujifilms price point.

Courtesy of

Is it Really Medium Format
Medium format cameras have various sizes of sensors unlike APS-C and full frame (with the exception of Canon sensors of course) that are standardised sizes. The following illustration gives you a good idea of how medium format sensors vary and how they compare to other sensor sizes.

As you can see the GFX 50s sensor is smaller than the traditional Hasselblad sensor, but a full frame sensor is 60% of its size, which is a significant difference.
Pricing and DSLR High-End Market
The GFX 50s is $6500 US or $8,499 CAD for the body and with the 63mm lens $10,398.99 CAD. This is the same cost as the Hasselblad X1D body with no lens. In addition the GFX 50S body price the same price as a Nikon D5 at $6496.95 US or $8499 CAD and close to the EOS 1DX at $6299 US or $7999 CAD. The Fujifilm’s GFX 50s also delivers a camera smaller than a Nikon’s D810 and considerably smaller than a D5.

Image courtesy of

Sony A7RII Nikon 
Nikon D5 Fujifilm 
Hasselblad X1D
Price July 2017 CA$ 3499.99 CA$ 3699.00 CA$ 8499.00 CA$ 8499.00
CA$ 11936.00
Camera type Mirrorless SLR SLR Mirrorless Mirrorless
pixel pitch 4.51 µm 4.87 µm 6.45 µm 5.3 µm 5.3 µm
Sensor size 35.9 x 24 mm 35.9 x 24.0 mm 35.9 x 23.9 mm 43.8 × 32.9 mm 44 x 33 mm
Pixel count 42 MP 36.3MP 21 MP 51.4MP 51MP
Max resolution 7952 x 5304 7360 x 4912px 5588 x 3712px 8256 x 6192px 8272 x6200
ISO Auto, 100-25600 (expands to 50-102400) Auto, 64-12800 Auto, 100-102400 (expandable to 50-3280000) Auto, 100-12800 (expands up to 102400) 100-25600
Max frame rate 5 fps 5 fps 14 fps 3 fps 2.3 fps
Auto Focus Points
LCD 3” 1.2M- dot  fixed 3.2″ 1.2M-dot fixed


3.2″ 2.36M-dot tilting 3″ 920K-dot
Touch-sensitive? No No No Yes Yes
Viewfinder 0.78× electronic Optical w/ 0.7x mag Optical w/ 0.72x mag
Electronic 3.69M-dot (removable)

w/0.85x mag



Video spec 1080/60p 1080/60p 1080/30p 1080/30p 1080/25p
Dimensions 127 x 96 x 60 mm 146 x 123 x 81.5mm 160 x 159 x 92mm 147.5 x 94.2 x 91.4mm 150 x 98 x 71mm
Weight 625 g  880 g 845 g 920 g 
(with EVF)
725 g

What Might Attract a D5/1DX Owner
If one was considering upgrading their D5 for or a 1DX when a new version comes out or if one owns an older version and finally has the money to up grade the GFX 50s will be a serious consideration. The price, size and image quality, of course, makes it very attractive but you also need to consider the following advantages that their cameras don’t have:
➤ a “what you see is what you get” view in both the LCD and viewfinder before you press the shutter.
➤ smaller camera.
➤ in camera film stock jpgs.
➤ focus point joy stick.
➤ an absolutely silent shutter.
➤ 51.4 megapixels resolution.
➤  external dials for ISO, speed and aperture adjustments on the lens, as well as a digital display, making it much more pleasurable to operate.
➤ the ability to act as a digital back for 4 by 5 view camera.
➤ full HD video.
➤ the viewfinder is detachable for further size reduction
➤ the viewfinder can be rotated into a vertical position or sideways for studio work or low landscape shots.
➤ an LCD that is tiltable both horizontally and vertically with touch.
➤ optional vertical battery grip.
➤ in camera RAW processing.
➤ Wifi.
➤ Batteries that can be changed out from the side so it does not have to be removed from a tripod.

GFX retro dials and digital display

So what might be a deterrent to a high-end shooter opting to upgrade to the GFX 50s? Sony and Fujifilm are making much smaller mirrorless cameras, so there are some options here. If the resolution is important and the pixel pitch is not a great issue then the A7RII would be a much cheaper and smaller option for an upgrade and at a much more reasonable price. If you are just adding a camera for travel purposes then the compact X series Fujifilm cameras might be an option. But if they are looking for a second camera to replace a D5 or 1DX these two options would not have the picture IQ and versatility of their current camera, and they would likely be frustrated with these two options.
The Cost of Transitioning
The D5 or 1DX owner could transition into the GFX at the same cost of upgrading to a new D5 or 1DX. The critical issue would be rebuilding and existing lens stable.
Some photographers who transition are heritage lens users, these people will have it easy as there are already adapters for this camera that will adapt the following mounts: Bronica ETR, Canon EF, Canon 35mm, Contax 645, Yashica CY, Hasselblad XPan, Hasselblad V, Leica M, Leica R, Leica S, M39/L39, M42, Mamily 645, Minolys Rokkor, Nikkor F/G, Pentacon 6, Pentax 645, Pentax 6×7, Pentax K, Sony A, Alpa 35mm, Bronica GS-1, Bronica S, Bronica SQ, Contarex SLR, Contax 645, Deckel-Bayonetta, Rolleiflex SL66 and Voigtlander Bessamatic. So you can see these individuals will be in heaven because whether or not the lens has a leaf shutter it will work on this camera.
The second group of photographers will be those that prefer to use native lenses on their cameras, they would be faced with transitioning and running two lens stables for a while, this will means purchasing new lenses while still working with and retaining the old ones.

Lense Stable Comparison
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Lens
$ 1696.95
CA$ 2136.63
Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR Lens
$ 2299.95
CA$ 2895.87
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED Lens
$ 796.95
CA$ 1003.44
Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR Lens
$ 2599.95
CA$ 3273.60
Nikon AF NIKKOR 35mm f/2D Lens (Open Box)

$ 329.00
CA$ 414.24
Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR Lens
$ 2599.95
CA$ 3273.60
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens

$ 1596.95
CA$ 2010.72
Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR Lens
$ 2799.95
CA$ 3525.42
$ 4419.85
$ 5565.03
$ 10299.80
$ 12968.49

As you can see from the chart this will double the value of the lenses, however, at the same time the lens quality and the picture IQ will be significantly better than what they are experiencing now. So the increased dollar cost will pay off.
Noise Comparison to Full Frame
How different is the noise level on these two cameras compared to full frame Nurthrop Photography has experienced lower noise levels with the X1D, which should be the same as the GFX 50s. When they shot the X1D at ISO 625 the amount of noise they got was the same as shooting the D810 at ISO 400, so a significant improvement in noise reduction.
Pixel Pitch and Image Quality

One issue that may give Nikon D5 shooters pause is the difference in pixel pitch between cameras. The D5 has a pixel pitch of 6.45μm and the GFX has a pixel pitch of 5.3μm, which means the light measurement should theoretically be more accurate on the D5. In my opinion, the difference in pixel pitch is not significant enough to outweigh the significant gain in sensor resolution and light gathering capacity. Then there is the new processors and sensor technology to consider. So it may not really be an issue, here is something that needs to be tested.

The Fujifilm Lens Advantage

The real advantage of a Fujifilm system is their lenses which do not have leaf shutters, something that would have significantly increased the cost of a lens. This means very high-quality lenses can be crafted at a more affordable price. It is unlikely a photographer who has shot with Fujifilm’s lenses would go back to their old lenses. The glass in both Hasselblad and Fujifilm lenses come from the same factory unless there has been a recent change, so lens quality is excellent.
My personal experience in shooting with Nikon full frame professional lenses and the high-end APS-C Fujifilm lenses is the latter are sharper edge-to-edge at non-optimal f-stops, and the same would certainly be true of the Fujifilm medium format lenses.

Other Innovations

The GFX 50s can be attached to a 4 by 5 camera and act as a digital back, which opens up other possibilities for the camera.

GFX connected to a 4 by 5 Camera

The side loading battery allows battery changes without having to remove the camera from a tripod or it’s optional verticle battery grip.

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The verticle battery grip for those individuals who need a longer battery life or find themselve shooting in portrait mode.

Courtesy of

The LCD is not only a touch screen but it also rotates both in a vertical and horizontal fashion.

Courtesy of

Potodiox announcement for their lens adaptors for the GFX 50s 

The GFX 50s has already risen to the top of B&H top selling medium format cameras, so photographers seem to be voting with their money. Clearly, this camera is an ultra premium medium format camera at a price that is more than affordable, a bargain given that it is the same prices as a full frame D5. Unlike the D5 or the 1DX, it offers far more and opens up a whole new world for the high-end SLR shooter, the world of medium format, lower noise levels, higher resolution, touch articulating LCDs, Wifi and stunning lenses. For those who love heritage lenses, it opens a panacea of choices.
If you are already working with a medium format camera, it offers a lot more than most medium format cameras currently offer. It is feature rich, compact and tough, a camera that can both be used in the studio and out in the rain and snow. The only draw back might be the size of the sensor and the resolution, but portability and size are also important.
Let us not forget there is also the “what you see is what you get an aspect of shooting mirrorless.” You no longer have to “chimp” or check the tethered computer to see what you got. You see the image you will get before you press the shutter on the LCD or in the electronic viewfinder!

Courtesy of Fujifilm

Articles Referenced