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What do dedicated Fuji X-series photographers make of the Fuji GFX 50S? We get the X-Photographer’s view
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Photokina was an exciting event with lots of interesting announcements, but Fuji stole the show with the announcement of the GFX 50S. Although it’s likely to cost more than I can afford to pay, I’m excited by the camera because it moves photography forward, being only the second mirrorless digital medium format camera (the Hasselblad X1D was the first).
It also appears to sit well with X-series cameras like the Fuji X-T2, having a similar design and control arrangement, with some well-thought touches that cater for the variety of ways that the camera is likely to be used.
As the Fuji GFX 50S is a medium format camera it has a much larger sensor than is in Fuji’s X-series cameras, and it should be capable of producing much higher quality images than from ‘full-frame’ cameras with a similar pixel count.
I thought it would be interesting to find out what some of Fuji’s X-Photographers make of the new camera. These are a group of professional photographers who work across a range of photographic genres and who have been using the company’s APS-C format cameras for the last few years. Will they switch to using a GFX 50S and how will it fit into their work?
Here’s what they had to say…
The Fujifilm GFX looks to be an exciting new direction for Fujifilm five years after the X100 was launched. A mirrorless medium format system camera which is the size of a pro DSLR is something I am very interested in for all of my work.
I currently use the X-T2 and X-Pro2 for my motorsport, commercial and landscape work and I will continue to use the X Series, however the extra resolution and the relative compact size of GFX is something I will consider adding to my workflow alongside the current APS-C set up. For landscape and commercial work it will be a perfect addition, and the GFX will also be a great camera for the pitlane and driver/ team portraits for my motorsport work.
I used to own a Fujifilm GA645 and I also had a Bronica ETRSi system when I ran film cameras, so I know the benefits, and the limitations, of using a medium format system. I firmly believe that for the majority of my work the GFX will be a good fit and it is something I will be seriously following over the coming months as Fujifilm develop the camera. It is certainly exciting times.
My finger has been hovering over the Buy It Now button on Ebay for the last six months and the target tends to be a Hasselblad 500cm or a Mamiya 645, both medium format film cameras. So the Fuji GFX definitely grabbed my attention, even though I’m more than happy with my APS-C cameras like the X-Pro2 etc. But if money were no object (if I were a dentist), I would certainly be in the market for a GFX 50s and a couple of lenses. But finances probably won’t stretch as far as what this system will retail at. Sadly.
I’ve been working on a book for the past year that is a mixture of documentary and portraiture and features some of the worlds top jazz musicians. The GFX would be ideal for this project due to the larger format and the shallow depth of field. I imagine the resolution will produce stunning print quality.
But as this project has already taken me to New York and New Jersey with more flights on the horizon, I can’t see the GFX in my camera bag any time soon…unless a kind sponsor would like a mention at the front of a book.
I think the Fuji GFX is the perfect landscape camera to capture the dramatic Northern Ireland Mourne landscapes. The GFX would unlock the ability to capture every tonal detail and low light mist. Often when you walk away from a landscape you have a representation of the visual experience, I think the medium format GFX will capture the reality of a the scene as well as offer endless reproduction opportunities.
The GFX really compliments the current range of cameras, but I would use it for those projects that are a little extra special. I’d love to capture some bad weather approaching Doan Mountain in the Mournes. You approach Doan from an elevation and there is often a vastness of space and drama perfect for the medium format and high megapixel. I can’t wait!!!
The GFX at last! We did joke a while back in Fujiholics about Fujifilm jumping past the full frame option and going with medium format. The name we came up with was the XXL! Very tongue in cheek. It was a very popular idea at the time and even though we know Fujifilm does listen to its end users, I didn’t think it would be out so quickly.
It’s all very exciting as I have always been massively interested in using medium format in my workflow, however I could just not justify the cost of a complete system. I could hire one, but I feel that it takes quite a long time to get to know a camera so the hire option was not on the cards for me.
I am known for Street Photography and would love to be able to start a project with a medium format camera system to see how and where it would work and to slow me down out on the streets. I also teach landscape photography workshops so a medium format system would be amazing to use out in the field.
The obvious advantages with the new GFXs would be the size and portability. One thing that always made me wary of hiring a medium format system for the street was portability and speed. I have a feeling Fujifilm has just solved all of these issues with the GFXs.
I adopted the X-series as a leap of faith from my Nikon full frame system and have found that it has changed the way I work for the better. I am always looking for ways to change the way I work and keep the direction I am going fresh. Who knows, the GFXs might open a whole new doorway into my work in the future?
I think once the GFXs is available I will start a new street project that will make the most of the amazing resolution and the massive tonal depth a medium format system gives. I used to use Hasselblad and Mamiya cameras back in the film days, but once I changed over to the digital system I put medium format behind me. To be honest I did not think I would ever use a medium format system ever again, until now!
I tend to use the best camera system available for each job. Recently I’ve been teaching keen amateur/ enthusiast and pro photographers and using APS-C format has been ideal. The image quality has been fine for exhibitions, magazine features and front covers over the last 5 years.
My picture style is about to evolve once again. In May I went to the high deserts in the USA to shoot figure in the landscape work and it’s the kind of thing the GFX would be ideal for. I’ll be spending more time on personal photography projects like a book called TANGO. Those projects are crying out for the GFX system. Once I have the GFX I expect I’ll shoot it more and more.
My most recent medium format experience was when I shot Hasselblad H2 with a Phase One P25+ back and 5 prime lenses exclusively for 3 years. I then went on to shoot a Canon 5D with zooms.
I was lucky enough to have 5 minutes alone with the new GFX camera system at Photokina. The first thing I noticed when I picked it up was the lack of weight, especially in the lenses. My second key observation was how familiar it all feels. It’s based on the X-T2 menus and controls, so everything is where you would expect it to be.
If you are familiar with the Fuji X-series cameras there will be no need to read the manual. It’s going to be easy to hot swap between the GFX and an X-T2. I’ll be using the GFX for the big pictures and the X-T2 for the details and close ups.
I must say it’s not a beautiful camera, but in the right hands I think it will produce beautiful photographs.
The GFX 50S isn’t a ‘work in progress’ camera, the systems and processors have been developed from the super fast and proven X-T2. It’s a high performance tool ready to go.
The lenses will be the heart of this system. Fujifilm has already proved themselves by developing and delivering 21 fabulous lenses for the X system in just 4 years. If they do the same for the GFX there will be no holding this camera back. The lenses optical design will be optimised for 100MP, so this should future proof the lenses.
This camera will work well in the studio because there is no lag on the LCD etc. It will be great for landscape shooters too because it is really portable. I hope to have one in time for my USA tours next June.
I’m a documentary photographer and I rely on very fast, responsive cameras for most of my work. I’m not sure if the GFX will be too useful for my style of weddings. However, I also shoot social documentaries and day in the life-type shoots andI think the GFX will be suitable for those.
I’m greatly impressed by what I’ve seen of the GFX so far. Fuji has absolutely made the right decision to not go down the full-frame route. When I held the camera at Photokina, I could hold it fairly comfortably in one hand and whilst it is of course bigger than anything in the X-Series range, its still borrows from the philosophy of previous cameras by keeping the body as small as possible.
Certainly the wedding photography world in general, and those photographers that shoot portraits and editorial group shots, will be giving the the GFX a very good reception.
The GFX will compliment my kit, the X-system will always have a place in my workflow especially when leading workshops as compact system cameras and DSLRs are the platforms that most of my clients use.
Until recently I’ve always shot on large or medium format for most of my work. Going back to when I first started I had Bronica SQAs, then Mamiya RB67s. I changed to the Mamiya 7 for most of my work before buying an Ebony field camera. I switched to the smaller Fuji X series when I got fed up of lugging around the Ebony and two or three DSLRs.
To be honest I shoot with the Fuji X-T2 and X-T1 like a medium format camera, I rarely use them off the tripod and always use the LCD screen. I like this slower way of working.
I’m really excited by the GFX because I’ve wanted to get back into shooting medium format – the resolution, tonality and image depth of the files is stunning.
For Fuji to release what amounts to a slightly bigger X-T2 is wonderful. The history Fuji has with lenses in the large and medium format market is legendary, coupling that with their knowledge of sensor performance and design is a gift from God!
I’ll use the GFX 50S for my fine art landscape and still life work. I like to print my work really big, with the GFX I’ll be able to really my work to another level.