Touch & Try Fujifilm GFX 50S

By Kristupa Saragih, Live from Photokina 2016, Cologne, Germany

A day after announcing its digital  mirrorless medium-format camera, Fujifilm GFX 50S, Fujifilm organized “Touch & Try” session of the camera for press and X-Photographers at Photokina 2016 in Cologne, Germany, on September 20. The session was presented by several officials of FujiFilm Optical Device & Electronic Imaging Product Division: Product Manager Masakatsu Kubota, Camera Product Planning Makato Oishi, Lens Product Planning Takashi Saga, Image Quality Designing Tetsuo Ashida, Product Designing Masazumi Imai, Electric Designing Hirofumi Horii.

GFX 50S is made mirrorless since it does not use mirror as in DSLR and previous digital medium-format cameras. “We produce mirrorless medium-format ones to make the medium-format more compact and lightweight, including its lenses,” said Toshihisa Iida, Fujifilm Sales and Marketing General Manager, in the official announcement of GFX 50S on September 19 at Koelnmesse, Cologne.

The reason why Fujifilm produces the mirrorless medium-format camera is to meet the needs of photographers in various fields. “Fujifilm has made cameras for shooting needs of nature and landscape, medical and academic, documentary and reportage, family snap, children, family studio, portrait, wildlife and birds, railway and airplane, and professional sports,” Makato Oishi, Fujifilm Camera Product Planning, explained and added, “Now we present medium-format camera for fashion and advertising photographers, and for such large photo printing needs as outdoor billboards.”

The 51.4-MP X-Trans CMOS III image sensor in GFX 50S is supported with X-Processor Pro sophisticated processor. “APS-C sensor technology is limited to 24 MP, and APS-C-sized sensor cannot accommodate lenses with higher resolution,” said Oishi. “Highly committed to provide high-quality photography products, Fujifilm releases medium format GFX series,” he added.

In film era, Fujifilm put G code on all of its medium format cameras, such as 645 GA645 and GS645S, 6×7 format GX67 and GW670, 6×9 format GW690, and 6×8 format GX680 and GW690 medium-format panorama camera. Meanwhile in digital mirrorles era, Fujifilm put X code on X-Series cameras. The word “F” in GFX refers to focal plane shutter type.

The size of the 51.4-MP sensor in GFX 50S is 43.8 x 32.9 mm. This size is 1.7 bigger than DSLR full-frame sensor.

As in high-end X-Series cameras, GFX 50S is made dust and weather resistant as well. In addition, there is External EVF (Electronic View Finder) mounted on hot shoe.

Six lenses are planned to be launched in the official release of Fujifilm GFX 50S in early 2017: prime standard lens GF 63mm F2.8WR, zoom standard GF 32-64mm F4 R LM WR, prime macro GF 120mm F4 Macro, wide GF 45mm F2.8R WR, ultra-wide GF 23mm F4 R LM WR, and fast aperture mid-telephoto GF 110mm F2 R LM WR. The focal length and maximum aperture combinations meet the needs of professional photographers.

In the release in early 2017 such additional accessories are also provided as batteray grip and EVF Tilt Adapter to take waist-level pictures. According to Oishi, there will be tether shooting software though no confirmation yet on iOS version. But almost certainly there will be a release of RAW Converter software and also flash system for GFX 50S. For film and video needs, HDMI monitor and microphone will provided as well.

GFX 50S and X-T2 shares the swivel LCD and dual SD card slots. What makes GFX 50S different from previous X-Series is its LCD screen on top of the camera side by side with shutter speed dial.

In addition, there is also C (command) button on camera as well as lens. The button is for flexible operation to combine shutter speed, apperture and ISO. GFX 50S shutter is focal plane type. Fujifilm claims that it is the first mirrorless medium-format camera using focal plane shutter type. Nevertheless,  GFX 50S is still able to shoot with leaf shutter lenses. The camera has flash sync speed at 1/125 second and the highest shutter speed of 1/4000 second.

Unfortunately, no technical data are officially available now since GFX 50S has not been finalized yet. So far there is one competitor for GFX 50S, namely Hasselblad X1D which its sensor is made by Sony.

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