The GFX 50R looks like a hybrid of an X-E3 cross-bred with a house brick. In a good way.

The GFX 50R looks a lot like a scaled-up X-E3 but its significantly increased size is likely to prompt memories of the long-running series of medium format rangefinders made by Fuji from the late 1970s through until the mid nineties.

This isn't the first time the company has built a medium format camera this shape. Back in the film era, when it was known as Fuji, it built actual rangerfinders, such as the GW690 series.

The GW690 series was considerably larger than the 50R but then, as the name implies, it could shoot in the 83 x 56mm '6x9' format: over three times the size of the new camera's sensor. Digital isn't the same thing as film, though, and the GFX's 44 x 33mm sensor is the second largest format widely available and the largest you can buy without spending tens of thousands of dollars. So while it's easy to complain that it's not 6x6 or 645, it's probably going to be the largest digital format most of us will ever get to use.

What's new

The GFX 50R is a sizeable camera, despite being a touch smaller than its 'S' sibling.

It may be smaller than the GW690 or the GFX 50S but it's still a substantial camera: one you wield rather than simply carry. But that's to be expected of a larger-than-full-frame camera. It's not likely to be a camera you simply have with you: it's one you'll use when you're going out to take photographs.

Despite being a hulking great brick of a camera, Fujifilm has removed a couple of control points and connectors. As such, there's no four-way controller, with directional swipes of the touchscreen deputizing for the functions it might otherwise offer. The camera also goes without dedicated headphone or mic sockets: presumably because Fujifilm doesn't expect many people to buy a 1080p shooting, rangefinder-shaped medium format camera to capture video. (You can still connect a mic via the 2.5mm remote socket if you are a member of that video-shooting medium format minority).

Bluetooth

The GFX 50R gains the Bluetooth implementation Fujifilm has been using in its recent X-series cameras. Once registered, this sets up a connection between your smart device and the camera. This low bandwidth connection can either be used as a remote shutter release or as a way to more quickly establish a full Wi-Fi connection for image transfer.

Based on how attractive the camera's JPEGs are, we think the option to re-process Raw files in the camera and then send or show them to subjects or clients is pretty valuable.

Other than that, there's not much of a difference between the GFX 50S and the 50R: the new camera has a tilt, rather than two-axis screen, and slightly smaller viewfinder magnification, but most of the other differences are in the control points available.

The peers:

The smaller, squarer shape of the GFX 50R makes the Hasselblad X1D 50c an obvious competitor. The Fujifilm and its lenses are a lot less expensive, and its feature set (DR modes, a range of attractive color modes) more extensive.

The GFX 50R's 44 x 33mm sensor is around 70% larger than a 'full frame' 36 x 24mm one. This gives room for cropping (its 1:1 region is 90% bigger than full frame can manage), but the use of technologies such as BSI construction in the smaller chip size help reduce the difference.

Camera size rather rules out the Pentax 645Z as a peer: the Fujifilm is much easier to travel with, for instance. However, the greatest challenge to the Fujifilm is likely to come from the smaller format Nikon Z7. Its sensor is smaller but also has a lower base ISO which allows it to tolerate as much light as the Fujifilm can: allowing it to compete in image quality terms.

Slightly disappointingly, the GFX 50R doesn't gain the newer, faster processor from the X-T3, so there's still a delay if you engage features such as Color Chrome Effect, which aren't present on the smaller camera.

Fujifilm
GFX 50R
Nikon
Z7
Hasselblad X1D Sony a7 R III Canon
EOS 5DS R
Camera type Mirrorless Mirrorless Mirrorless Mirrorless SLR
Sensor size 43.8 × 32.9mm 35.9 x 24.0mm 43.8 x 32.9mm 35.9 x 24.0mm 36 x 24.0mm
Pixel count 51.4MP 45.4MP 50MP 42.2MP 50.6MP
Max resolution 8256 x 6192px 8256 x 5504px 8272 x 6200px 7,952 x 5,304 8688 x 5792px
Min ISO ISO 100
(expand 50)
ISO 64
(Expand 32)
ISO 100 ISO 100
(Expand 50)

ISO 100
(Expand 50)

Max ISO

ISO 12,800
(expand 102,400)

ISO 25,600 (Expand 102,400) ISO 25,600 ISO 32,000
(Expand 102,400)
ISO 6,400
(Expand 12,800)
Card slots

2 x SD (UHS-II)

1 x XQD 2 x SD 2 x SD
(1 x UHS II)
1 x CF
1 x SD
Max frame rate 3 fps 9 fps 2.3 fps 10 fps 5 fps
Autofocus system Contrast Detect On-sensor phase detection Contrast Detect On-sensor phase detection Dedicated 61-point AF sensor w/ 41 cross-type
Metering On-sensor metering (256-zone) On-sensor metering On-sensor metering On-sensor metering
(1,200 zone)
150k-pixel (RGB+IR) metering sensor
LCD 3.2" 2.36M-dot tilting 3.2" 2.1M-dot tilting 3" 920K-dot 3.0" 1.44M dot tilting 3.2"1.04M-dot
fixed

Touch-sensitive?

Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Viewfinder Electronic 3.69M-dot
0.77x mag
Electronic 3.69M dots
0.8x mag
Electronic
2.3M-dot

Electronic
3.69M dots
0.78x mag

Optical w/ 0.71x mag
Video spec 1080/30p 4K/30p 1080/25p 4K/30p 1080/30p
Dimensions 161 x 97 x 66mm 134 x 101 x 68mm 150 x 98 x 71mm 127 x 96 x 74mm 152 x 117 x 76mm
Weight 775g 675g 725 g 657g 845g
Price (body only, MSRP) $4500 $3400 $8600 $3200 $3700

The Sony can't quite keep up with the GFX's image quality (though the differences are pretty subtle, thanks to the smaller camera's BSI sensor). Like the Nikon, it significantly outpaces the Fujifilm when it comes to video. Both cameras can also shoot faster continuous bursts and have faster autofocus.

However, beyond the measurable pluses and minuses, we suspect some people will simply appreciate a camera that rewards considered shooting with excellent image quality.