Future sensor for the GFX50x refresh

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Chris Dodkin
MOD Chris Dodkin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,456
Future sensor for the GFX50x refresh
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There's a certain amount of speculation that the refresh for the current GFX50x models in two years time, will be with the 100MP Sony sensor currently on the Sony sensor roadmap, and used today in the GFX100.

This is highly unlikely:

  • Fujifilm want to keep a clear differentiation for their 'pro' GFX100 line
  • The 100MP sensor would drive up the retail price of the 50x replacement, and make it more difficult for Fujifilm to pull people from 35mm small format.
  • Fujifilm believe that to fully utilize 100MP MF, you need IBIS - and IBIS will not fit into the 50x form factors as is, or their price points.

Which sensor will Fujifilm use?

People are quick to point out that there is currently no intermediate MF sensor on the roadmap from Sony, so if there's no sensor there, then the only option is 100MP.

This is naive and short sighted - just because there is no intermediate resolution sensor shown today, doesn't mean there won't be one available for a future 50x refresh.

In fact, the genesis for that replacement sensor already exists, and is in use.

Let's look at what Sony have been doing with their sensor families for clues as to what will come next.

Sony have been using common sensor tech, and scaling it from APS-c, through 35mm, to MF.

This makes a lot of economic sense for them, and presumably saves a lot on R&D, and shortens time to market.

The likelihood is they'll do the same for the sensor in the 50x refresh.

Which sensor will they upscale to MF?

The obvious choice will be the sensor in the Sony AR7III - which is their 35mm 42MP sensor - (which interestingly isn't on their current sensor roadmap either).

  • Sensor Type: BSI CMOS Sensor
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Effective Megapixels: 42.4
  • Sensor Format: 35mm
  • Sensor size: 861.6mm2 (35.90mm x 24.00mm)
  • Approximate Pixel Pitch: 4.51 microns
  • Focal Length Multiplier: 1.0x
  • Aspect Ratio: 3:2
  • Color Filter Type: RGGB
  • Anti Aliasing Filter: None
  • Self-Cleaning: Yes
  • Sensor shift image stabilization: Yes
  • On-Sensor Phase Detect: Yes

If you take this sensor, and scale it up in the same way Sony did for the sensor in the GFX100, you get a 71MP BSI CMOS 4:3 sensor with PDAF on chip.

It's existing and well-proven technology - and the price point would likely keep the 50x refresh within the current price ranges.

It provides significant upgrades for the 50x user - BSI, higher MP, PDAF for faster AF - but does not eat into the GFX100 market.

The 50x refresh will also include a higher spec processor, so many performance parameters will be improved, giving the existing 50x user a good reason to upgrade to the revised model.

Sony get to maximize their investment in silicon development - Fujifilm get to benefit with MF sensors which maintain the price point, whilst moving the spec forward on entry MF systems, keeping them abreast/ahead of 35mm system MP counts.

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Your time is limited, so don't waste it arguing about camera features - go out and capture memories - Oh, and size does matter - shoot MF

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