Unlike the X1D, however, flash sync speeds are
capped at 1/125th sec.
And, this being a Fuji camera, there are
15 film simulation modes. These modes can
be modified with a “grain effect” setting that
mimics film grain and is available in either
“strong” or “weak” intensities. There are
several bracketing modes, too, including
AE, film simulation, dynamic range, ISO
sensitivity and white-balance bracketing.
There’s built-in Wi-Fi and a pair of SD
card slots. The camera supports full HD
recording at 30p. Film simulation modes are
also available when filming.
There are three GF mount lenses available
as of this writing: a 63mm F2.8, the GF 120mm
f/4 OIS WR Macro, and the GF33-64mm f/4 R
LM WR. We tested ours with the 63mm f/2.8.
The GFX 50S is physically bulky, but
surprisingly lightweight despite generous
weather-sealing (it’s sealed in 58 places against
the elements). While larger than Hasselblad’s
X1D, it’s lighter and handles like a full-frame
DSLR. It’s very comfortable to shoot with,
Patiño tells us. “I really loved the form factor.”
The exterior of the 50S places most of the
core functions within easy reach. There are
dedicated dials for shutter speed and ISO
(aperture can be manually set via a lens ring).
There’s a convenient backlit monochrome LCD
monitor on the top plate for camera status,
The viewfinder isn’t built in,
which is too bad, but one is provided
in the box and it does slide securely
into the hot shoe. It’s extremely high
resolution, at 3.69-million pixels, and
refreshes quite quickly.
The camera has a 3.2-inch tilting
touch screen display. You can touch to select
focus points or use the convenient built-in
joystick to chose an AF point. The touch display
supports a few gesture-based controls too,
such as swiping up to bring up a histogram and
highlight alert and double-tapping to enlarge
an image. There are other thoughtful design
touches, such as a side-loading battery so you
can swap it out while still mounted to a tripod
and a quick menu button within easy reach of
Patiño used the GFX 50S for two product
shots and tells us he was very impressed by
the camera’s image quality. Shooting mostly
with the Standard film setting, the GFX 50S
produced sharply detailed, color rich photos.
Patiño, who purchased a Canon 5DS for the
extra resolution for studio and product work,
said the GFX 50S was a camera he would
be sorely tempted to buy in its place, even
though it costs twice as much.
Patiño was particularly struck with the
high ISO performance. “This camera excels in
low light,” he tells us. He saw incredible JPEG
images at ISO 8000. Even at ISO 12,000 the
camera was producing images relatively free
from ungainly grain. At 100 percent there was
very little evident image noise in JPEGs at ISO
8000. That is excellent performance, he says,
given the state of ISO in medium format. “You
can use this as an event camera,” he notes.
The dynamic range was similarly excellent,
though perhaps not as flexible as the X1D. We
were able to push a completely under-exposed
file up 5 stops in Lightroom, but noticed a little
bit more noise in the Fuji than in the Hasselblad.
The focus system on the GFX 50S mirrors
those in place on Fuji’s X-T2 and X-Pro 2 and
while it’s not quite as fast as those models, it’s
class-leading for the medium-format category.
“This focuses like a DSLR,” Patiño says. The
camera can focus fairly quickly in a range of
lighting situations and selecting focus points
is quick and intuitive. You’ll have the option
to use continuous AF in movie recording,
though we’d avoid it. The camera will struggle
with any strong backlighting and will noisily
hunt for focus. Single point AF is available but
stays fixed during recording—we wish you
could touch-to-focus during video recording.
You’re able to hit 3fps in continuous
shooting mode for an unlimited number of
JPEGs but only up to 13 RAW images. That’s
fairly brisk by the unhurried standards of
medium format cameras.
Live view proved reliably responsive, though
there were times, particularly when adjusting
exposure or moving into areas of high contrast
where the feed struggled to keep up.
You’ll enjoy about 400 shots per
battery charge, which isn’t half bad by
To answer the question posed at the beginning:
yes. The GFX 50S is unambiguously a winner.
It delivers stunning image quality, tremendous
high ISO performance and a user-friendliness
that will likely tempt many photographers
into medium format. While it’s not as well
designed as Hasselblad’s X1D and lacks the
speedy flash sync, it functions as a more
natural bridge between a conventional
mirrorless camera and a medium-format
body thanks to its plentiful AF points, robust
feature set and very attractive price point.
Fuji GFX 50S
PROS: Beautiful image quality; excellent
low light/high ISO capability; easy AF
operation; competitively priced; tilting
display; comfortable ergonomics; weather-sealed build; generous feature set.
CONS: Bulky design; EVF occupies hot-shoe when attached; no 4K video; slow
flash sync speed.
ABOVE: Fuji’s design incorporates elements from previous X-series cameras with a convenient top LED for
status readings. BELOW: Shot at ISO 10,000, the GFX 50S breaks new ground for medium-format ISO sensitivity.