Fujifilm GFX 50R Review
|What we like||What we don't|
The GFX 50R is the least expensive medium format digital camera available. Like the Pentax 645Z it benefits hugely from inheriting a interface that's been subjected to the evolutionary pressures of the mass market. This means the GFX is as easy to use as a Fujifilm X-E3 (albeit one that's harder to carry and that focuses more slowly). The downside of this is that you may find the controls on the GFX 50R feel a little cramped and, dare I say it, cheap for a camera costing this much money.
Image quality is sensational, though. The large, modern CMOS sensor combined with an impressive-looking selection of lenses make it comparatively easy to get some of the best image quality you're going to see, this side of a 54 x 40mm / 645 system. The slow-ish autofocus system is very good at consistently delivering the best that its lenses can offer.
|Out of camera JPEG shot using the Acros profile.
ISO 100 | 1/2500 sec | F5.6 | GF 45mm F2.8 R WR
Photo by Carey Rose
However, because the 44 x 33mm format is only 70% larger than full-frame, the difference in image quality between the Fujifilm and the best of its full-frame peers (some of which have more advanced sensors) is somewhere between slight and non-existent. This means you pay an awful lot of money for a marginal gain. And, of course those smaller-format cameras are stronger all-rounders in terms of autofocus, shooting rate and video, making them adaptable to a wider range of challenges.
Overall the GFX is a lovely camera but, in the end, its perhaps best seen as the least expensive way of getting into the GF lens system. It's a camera that will absolutely reward discerning photographers obsessed with detail, but for most users out there, a more flexible camera using a smaller sensor format is likely going to be the more sensible option.
What we think
Compared to its peers
Hasselblad X1D 50C: Even in 'rangefinder-style' format, the 50R is larger than the Hasselblad X1D but that's about the only way in which it loses out. The decision to use a focal plane shutter means the Fujifilm avoids the angular bokeh that affects most X1D lenses as you stop them down, while also helping keep the Fujinon lens's costs down. The 50R is compatible with enough high-speed flash sync systems to mean you probably won't miss the Hassy's leaf shutter. The Fujifilm is easier to operate, has longer lasting batteries and delivers beautiful JPEGs, as well as costing less.
Canon EOS 5DS R: The Fujifilm's sensor is larger and adds less noise than the Canon's does, which give it an edge in image quality in a range of situations both in and out of the studio. The Canon is faster to focus but the Fujifilm again offers a benefit in terms of precision. The Fujifilm should capture every tone in the scene with a little more light and a little less noise, and its larger sensor is less demanding on lenses. The Canon is part of one of the most extensive lens systems there is, even if you will have to be selective about those lenses to get the best out of the camera. You pay a lot for the difference but there will be a measurable difference in favor of the Fujifilm, if you want or need it.
Nikon Z7: The Nikon Z7 is perhaps the most troubling competitor for the 50R. Its ISO 64 mode lets it tolerate and capture similar amounts of light to the Fujifilm, which narrows the gap in terms of non-lens IQ aspects (richness of tone, dynamic range, noise) to nearly nothing. The Z7 is, of course, a much more flexible camera, whether in terms of burst speed, AF performance and video capabilities. The Nikon also has in-body image stabilization and a more extensive flash system. The GF lenses do look extremely good though, and will continue to work when Fujifilm moves on to 100MP, which it'll be harder for full-frame to match. But don't expect a significant difference in most aspects of image quality between the 50R and the Z7: your preference between 4:3 and 3:2 aspect ratios will have more of an impact.
Fujifilm GFX 50S: The GFX 50S is the other significant rival to the 50R. It's not that much bigger but its additional grip and controls make it a nicer camera to spend time shooting with. Image quality is, as you might expect, identical, as are most of the arguments in terms of features. But the 50S's larger viewfinder, dual-axis tilt screen and dedicated controls all make it nicer to shoot with.
Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system
and what these numbers mean.
Fujifilm GFX 50R
Category: Professional Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
The Fujifilm GFX 50R brings medium format digital photography down to a more attainable price point than we've seen before, and does so while offering exceptional image quality in a reasonably compact yet well-built body. The ergonomics suffer a bit from the smaller grip, and some competitors with smaller sensors suffer only a slight image quality hit while being more flexible overall. That said, the GFX 50R remains a joy to use, the images a joy to view, and it's an excellent way to get access to Fujifilm's lineup of GF medium format lenses.
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