Fujifilm makes medium format more portable with its GFX 50R

Way back in the day, Fujifilm made a series of fixed-lens medium-format rangefinder cameras that came to be known as "Texas Leicas" for their resemblance to a classic Leica M scaled way up. Now, the company is bringing back some of that magic with its GFX 50R, a mirrorless camera that tries its best to remain compact while housing a larger-than-full-frame 43.8-mm by 32.9-mm sensor with a 51.4-megapixel resolution. 

Medium-format cameras are prized by photographers for the uniquely shallow depth of field and smooth tonal gradations they can afford. The trade-off for that unique rendering tends to be huge bodies that require slow and deliberate shooting. Nobody carrying a GFX 50R is going to be mistaken for someone carrying a Sony RX100 Mark VI, but the body at least isn't something the serious shooter is going to regret tossing over their shoulder. At 1.7 lb (775 grams) and 1.8" (4.6 cm) thick, Fuji says the GFX 50R is significantly more totable than the 3.6"-thick (9.1 cm), two-pound GFX 50S.

In keeping with its heritage, the GFX 50R puts its viewfinder porthole on the upper-left corner of the body so that shooters can keep both eyes open: one on the scene, the other on the viewfinder. That electronic viewfinder is a 3.69-million-dot OLED with a 0.77x magnification—not quite Leica M3 territory, but likely good enough to give users some of that Cartier-Bresson feeling. To heighten the rangefinder experience, the GFX 50R maintains Fuji's typical suite of dedicated exposure controls for shutter speed, exposure compensation, and aperture so that users don't have to remove their eyes from the viewfinder to make crucial adjustments.

The GFX 50R processes each shot with Fuji's older X-Processor Pro guts, which made their debut at least two years ago in the form of the X-T2. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to ISO 12,800, and those values can be expanded down to ISO 50 and all the way up to ISO 102,400 if the shooter desires. The older guts perhaps limit videos to 1920×1080 recordings at up to 29.97 FPS. The GFX 50R can use any of the 11 existing lenses for the GFX system, and the company plans to introduce a compact 50-mm f/3.5 lens for the camera (equivalent to a 40-mm lens on a 35-mm full-frame snapper) to let the deliberate (or crazy) shooter take the GFX 50R along for walk-around use.

Fujifilm didn't provide a list price for the camera, but DPReview says the GFX 50R will be available in November for a body-only price of $4500.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 1 year ago

    I wonder how much money camera companies make off each camera or lens they sell.

      • Wonders
      • 1 year ago

      At retail, margin is often 10-15% on cameras and lenses. More on accessories (20-50%). Naturally, D2C sites such as Nikon’s open the door to higher margins, compared to selling to their retail/distribution partners. But since businesses also need volume to survive, they can’t push D2C too hard.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 year ago

    [quote<]Fujifilm didn't provide a list price for the camera, but [/quote<] ...if you have to ask, you can't afford it. Lol

    • WhiteDesertSun
    • 1 year ago

    MF will never be mainstream, unfortunately.
    Even if the sensors become dirt cheap, the lenses will always remain impractically large and expensive. Simply the nature of the optical beast.

    • Airmantharp
    • 1 year ago

    The biggest challenge isn’t other medium format cameras- it’s the D850, A7R III, and whatever Canon replaces the 5Ds with.

    Medium format generally means slower lenses which negate the formats potential low-light and shallow depth of field advantages provided by the larger sensors, which leaves tripod-bound long-exposures as the primary selling point.

    For that purpose, the smaller/lighter body is perhaps a decent offering. If not for the even smaller and lighter 135-format cameras mentioned above, of course.

    Perhaps the main draw of the GFX 50R is that Fuji is bring a 100MP camera into their new system, and that camera is bringing technology currently not otherwise found in larger sensor systems. Particularly, OSPDF and IBIS together truly expand the usefulness of the extra resolution beyond the studio where subjects, focus, composition and lighting can all be tightly controlled. With this camera on the docket as a potential upgrade point, photographers might be more interested in making an investment into Fuji’s nascent system despite the fairly severe limitations of the 50R and the 50S that came before it.

    • Kretschmer
    • 1 year ago

    $4,500 seems exceedingly expensive, but other medium format systems can be tens of thousands of dollars.

    I’d rather use the RX-100 VI referenced in the article. I’m more limited by composition skills and using light properly than I am by sensors and lenses.

      • DancinJack
      • 1 year ago

      Yeah, I’m sure most people would. Though the people carrying this need the 51 MP. The RX sensor is like, ~1″ I think? Just never going to get the detail something like this would, nor will you likely use it for things this would be used for.

      I had an RX 100 MK2 for a few years. It was a great camera, really great in fact. I still have my DSLR and a Pixel 2 so I didn’t REALLY have a use for the RX anymore, but they’re a really great line of cameras.

        • Kretschmer
        • 1 year ago

        I like my A6000 more for photos, but having a camera you can drop in your pants or suit pocket is useful when you can’t carry a bag.

    • chuckula
    • 1 year ago

    [quote<]At 1.7 lb (775 grams) and 1.8" (4.6 cm) thick, Fuji says the GFX 50R is significantly more totable than the 3.6"-thick (9.1 cm), two-pound GFX 50S.[/quote<] I remember when 1.7 lb and 1.8" thick was considered the latest in sleek cellular phones. #GetOffMuhLawn!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 year ago

      and when 1.8″-thick laptops were svelte.

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