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Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S 1

The new Fujifilm GFX 50S might just be the star of this year’s Photokina tradeshow. We’re in Cologne and we just got our hands on a prototype of the new medium-format camera.

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S 2

The first thing that strikes you when you pick up the GFX 50S for the first time is its weight – or rather it’s lack of weight. Considering the size of its sensor, the GFX 50S is impressively small and light. Fujifilm used to make some highly portable medium-format film rangefinder cameras, and it’s obvious that this philosophy has carried over into the new 50S.

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S

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Ergonomically, the 50S resembles an upscaled X-series camera. With the grip attached it operates in a very similar manner to the X-T2.

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S

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The rear LCD can be tilted for waist-level or high-angle compositions, which is very handy for landscape and studio work. The screen on this demonstration prototype has been grubbied by countless enthusiastic journalist’s fingers, but trust us – once the smudges are wiped off, it’s bright and clear.

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S 5

As you’d expect, the GFX 50S is considerably ‘deeper’ than the company’s APS-C mirrorless cameras, but the flange-back distance has been kept impressively short, at 26.7mm. This view gives an idea of the size of the add-on viewfinder, which will ship in the box at no additional cost.

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S

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Although we didn’t have a DSLR ready to compare sizes, the GFX 50S feels roughly equivalent in size and weight to a full-frame DSLR, despite having a sensor 1.7X larger. The body is weather-sealed and build quality is superb. 

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S

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Unlike the X-T2, the 50S features a top-plate LCD screen, which displays key exposure settings. This view also shows off the traditional-style ISO and shutter speed dials, and Nikon-style integrated shutter button and on/off switch. 

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S

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The viewfinder is lovely, and at least a match for the excellent finder in the X-T2 in terms of clarity and size. An additional finder will be available which can tilt upwards by 90 degrees and even swivel from side to side. This kind of articulation is especially useful when shooting in a studio.

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S

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This shot illustrates the 50S’s impressively short flange-back distance. A focal plane shutter allows for a minimum shutter duration of 1/4000sec.

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S

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The 50S is built around a 43.8 × 32.9mm 51.4MP sensor, without an AA filter. That’s 1.7X bigger than full-frame. Despite the obvious similarities to the imaging chips used in the Pentax 645Z and other cameras, Fujifilm is insisting that this is a new, Fujifilm-developed sensor.

Interestingly, this is a conventional Bayer-pattern filter array, not X-Trans. 

Photokina 2016: Hands-on with Fujifilm GFX 50S

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The 50S will be available early next year alongside three weather-sealed lenses – a 63mm F2.8 Prime, a GF 32-64mm F4 LM WR wide to normal zoom and a GF 120mm F4 Macro. Three more lenses will follow later. Kitted with the 63mm F2.8, we’re told that the total cost will be ‘well under’ $10,000.


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