Fujifilm GFX 50S: Initial Impressions

Today I took my Fujifilm GFX50S to Morikomi Gardens to see how it handled a variety of shooting conditions and it did not fail to impress. I haven’t had time to fully explore the system yet, but I want to say that after shooting the GFX myself I feel a lot of the information out there is incorrect.  I highly encourage you to get hands on with a GFX if you have any doubts in your mind about this system being right for you.

For starters, the amount of detail and information the files retain is astounding. I haven’t been this impressed with a camera since shooting a Leica S, which I almost purchased. The Leica S opened my eyes to what medium format had to offer, but the Fujifilm GFX made it hard for me to ever look back again. I really hope they continue to grow and improve the system like they have their X line-up.

Autofocus speed is perfectly acceptable under good lighting conditions. All 3 of the launch lenses focus quickly and accurately when shooting outdoors. I would compare the focusing speed to the Fujifilm X-T1, which was very good. However, this does change around dusk.

Shortly after sunset I did notice a significant change in autofocus performance with the GFX. The Fujinon GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR did not want to focus on my black SUV or the side walk, but the GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR and GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR were both able to successfully focus acceptably, but not quickly. Under low light the Fujifilm GFX 50S begins to perform more like the original Fujifilm X-Pro1 with a Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 XF R attached, but the 32-64mm has a slight advantage.

Of course Fujifilm will continue to improve the performance of the GFX with firmware updates, but I have to say that, so far, it is exceeding my expectations. It’s hard to relay the detail captured by the GFX via the web, so make sure you check out my 500px album for more samples and join the Fujifilm GFX Owners Group.

Fujifilm GFX 50S B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama

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  • HD10

    Thank you for this. Please continue updating us on your experience.

    While I am waiting to see what Nikon will release as a D810 replacement before deciding whether to get this camera, I am rather surprised at the ferocity at which the GFX 50S have been attacked online … and for rather dubious reasons at that. I see these attacks as motivated by other than a genuine desire to evaluate and share their experiences.

    • Ya there are a lot of very opinionated people on the web. So far most of them haven’t showed up here, but my posts might be irresistible since I shoot a variety of thing to share, which aren’t “appropriate for medium format.” I think people confuse “professional work” and “good test shots.” I’m trying to leave my files as untouched as possible, but the latitude the GFX allows is pretty over the top and hard to resist.

      The GFX is going to bring medium format to the masses whether people like it or not. For now it is a well to do photographers tool/toy, but when the used market normalizes and Fujifilm expands the range I image there will be medium format digital bodies available for around $2,000 used. It might take a few years, but we will get there.

      D800’s are beasts, but I don’t think Nikon has the glass to compete with GFX glass. When I shot with the owner of Nikonrumors/Photorumors/Leicarumors the other day we talked about the future of photography and why we aren’t seeing a megapixel war yet. He is of the opinion that there are sensor manufacturing limitations, but I am of the opinion that companies are reluctant to release sensors that will require you to purchase new glass.

      If you look at newer mounts the companies behind them are openly talking about their glass being designed for 75-100 megapixels, but older mounts weren’t designed for that level of resolution. The manufactures of older mounts don’t really advertise their peak resolution expectations for new glass. Fujifilm emphasized this point in their most recent post GFX Technologies #3, which was an interesting move. If I am right we might see a new mount from Nikon/Canon to reduce confusion and to enter the megapixel war. Sony and Fujifilm both have new enough mounts that they probably planed ahead, but Canon and Nikon both have a lot of glass that do not work well with sensors above 24MP.

  • nwcs

    One nice benefit of all the recent X cameras (XPro2, XT2, etc) is that they all share the same X Processor Pro. That makes me hope that they architected it in a way that when they resolve/innovate on one platform they’re easily able to transfer that to the other platforms.

    I may rent one for a weekend or a small trip sometime over the next year. It might be fun. 🙂

    • I highly recommend it. I feel that a lot of the reviews have rushed to judgement without tweaking the system much. I am finding a lot of “inconsistent” performance, but not in a bad way. It seems there are ways to get the camera to perform in a quicker manner with almost no downside. Still working on it, but I am going to shoot some fire performers on the beach Sunday during the full moon drum circle they do in Miami, which should be the cameras “breaking point” we will see.

  • doge

    the detail is high because they used a bayer sensor and not that garbage xtrans sensor.