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Date: 21/09/2016 | By: Mathieu

Fujifilm GFX Medium Format Mirrorless – Hands-On and First Impressions

fuji gfx vs xt2

Fujifilm GFX Medium Format Mirrorless – Hands-On and First Impressions

Our second hands-on is all about the new Fujifilm medium format camera. Many users were asking for 35mm format, but the brand decided to go even larger! Granted, the camera targets a specific market of professional photographers but it is interesting to see this segment expanding with more and more competitors.

Keep in mind that Fujifilm only announced the development of the camera which means that specifications are not final and subject to change. Here is our video.


Our first impressions in a nutshell:

  • The camera feels quite light which left us with a positive impression. The lenses are bulky as expected given the large sensor they need to cover but our overall feeling is that the GFX isn’t larger or heavier than a full-frame DSLR kit.
  • The first model, the GFX 50s, will sport a 43.8 x 32.9mm sensor (1.7x larger than full-frame) which is about the same as the one inside the Hasselblad X1D. Keep in mind that in medium format terms, this is still considered a “crop” sensor. It has 51.4 MP of resolution.
  • The camera will have lots of aspect ratios including 5:4, 7:6, 1:1 and a 65:24 panorama format. The high megapixel count allows you to keep a decent resolution regardless of the aspect ration chosen. Of course this will happen by simply cropping the sensor to achieve the desired aspect ratio.
  • It will use the new X-Processor Pro engine and hopefully include the film simulations we all know and love. I wouldn’t be surprised if new profiles are being developed for the camera as well. The ISO sensitivity range should be similar to the X-T2 but starting from a native ISO 100.
  • The sensor is not made by Fujifilm but specifically developed for the new camera, much like the APS-C series. However, in the place of X-Trans technology, there is the traditional Bayer sensor.
  • The GFX has a focal plane shutter and a maximum speed of 1/4000s, which is a first for a mirrorless medium format camera.
  • There are many characteristics inherited from the X-series: exposure dials, an aperture ring on the lenses, a 3-way tilting screen and the AF joystick just to name a few. The grip felt comfortable and an optional vertical battery grip is in the works.
  • An external electronic viewfinder will be supplied with the camera and an optional accessory will allow you to tilt it up and rotate it to the left or right.
  • Six lenses are in the works and can resolve more than 100MP. It is likely that the GFX 50s is just the beginning.
  • There is no official price yet but Fujifilm plans to released the camera, the 63mm lens and the EVF for less than $10,000.

The lenses announced are the following. Note that they are all marked as weather sealed and the camera will be as well:

  • GF23mmF4 R LM WR (18mm equivalent)
  • GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR (25-51mm equivalent)
  • GF45mmF2.8 R WR (35mm equivalent)
  • GF63mmF2.8 R WR (50mm equivalent in 35mm format)
  • GF110mmF2 R LM WR (87mm equivalent)
  • 1:0.5 GF120mmF4 Macro R LM OIS WR (95mm equivalent)

As always, don’t hesitate to leave a comment to share your impressions or ask a question!

Below are some side-by-side product shots showing the GFX prototype and X-T2.

Check out our Photokina 2016 coverage here.

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About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Tony Bonanno

    I’ve been a working photographer for over 30 years and MF film was one of my favorite tools when I needed that “look”, fine grain, and high resolution. Personally, I think this is a very exciting product IF you have the subject matter / clients, etc. or if you are a passionate landscape shooter. Fuji knows the MF world and MF glass. A MF body without a mirror (and no mirror slap) is very appealing. Glad to see Fuji went with a Bayer sensor and not the X-Trans. I suspect this new GFX line will be very successful for Fuji. I want one myself.

  • Silvestro Crino

    I highly doubt anyone will be designing a 6×7 sensor ….ever…. … there is a 100MP version of this Sony sensor floating around… at some point they will exploit their BSI technology… and keep incrementally improving high ISO performance and IQ… plenty of headroom at this “Cropped” MF sensor size to print fantastic images the size a billboard…. its processing and storage speed where I want to see more improvement…

  • Silvestro Crino

    Fujifilm makes most of Hasselblad’s current MF glass…and has a storied history in MF…. the design of the GFX is very tool like…its meant for working Photographers… the shape dictated by things like sliding the bigger battery from the left side and dual storage cards from the right…rather than the bottom….thereby, letting you change both even if the optional battery grip is attached or if the camera is on a tripod…. function driven design…. its not just about looking pretty or being as small as possible…..

  • Mathieu

    Apparently it will be Full HD only.

  • That Oak Cliff Texan

    I was wondering if you think that they will add 4K video option? It seems like someone should claim this space and market.

  • Alan Paone

    it looks to me like they know they can’t compete on design so they’re coming out swinging with the lenses, makes adapting lenses interesting but less of a necessity. i’m interested, but definitely waiting for a used one. hopefully this and the hassy are enough to push sony to use larger wafers and the new copper process on the next generation of these sensors, then we’ll see a big drop in price and a decent jump in quality.

  • Turbofrog

    I shoot a Koni Omega Rapid 6×7…

  • Amirali

    Disappointing , X1D(at least looks nice and does not have the ugly bump at back) or the next M it is then…

  • Granata

    I am not sure, but it does seem like Fuji designed several of the primes so they have the “right” field of view when used with a 33x44mm sensor (i.e. very close to 35mm, 50mm and 85mm equivalent). My bet is that 33x44mm is now the new standard for crop MF sensors.

  • Granata

    Aside from being rude, your comment betrays that you suffer from the very ignorance that you accused someone else of.

    Medium format sensors/negatives have traditionally been *much* larger than full frame/35mm, anywhere from 2.7x (645) to 7.3x (6×12). It is the greater resolution/finer grain of a larger sensor/negative combined with the significantly longer focal lengths used to get the same angle of view that have given medium format its look.

    The GFX sensor is halfway in size between FF and 645, the focal lengths for any given angle of view are therefore halfway between the two, and the GFX sensor is closer in resolution to top FF sensors than it is to the top full sized 645 digital backs. People who buy this camera without understanding all of this are likely to end up disappointed, and I am looking forward to buying a barely used GFX from someone who thought it would sprinkle “magic medium format fairy dust” on all their shots only to discover that their latest generation FF body and high quality 85mm f/1.4 have similar IQ and shallower depth of field than the GFX and 110mm f/2

    I shoot medium format film on a Mamiya 645 and digital on a Fuji X-E2. I also borrow my wife’s FF Nikon from time to time and have shot 35mm film in the past. I mention this because I want to make sure you understand that my comments are not just based on having a basic understanding of how cameras work, but on my actual experience with these different formats.

    If all of this doesn’t convince you, just google “AR7II vs 645Z picture quality”. The Pentax and GFX use the same sensor.

  • Granata

    I agree with a lot of your thoughts. I don’t think Fuji can compete with Hasselblad and Leica on design or prestige, and FF from Japanese brands should continue to have a price and size advantage over the GFX well into the future. However, I think Fuji is playing a long game and planning on growing the G mount system into something that ends up having much broader capabilities after a few years than it did when it first launched, as they did with the X system. Assuming the price gap between FF vs 33x44mm sensors and the electronics that handle the extra resolution drops, Fuji may very well end up with a system in 3-5 years that will not be absolute tops in terms of IQ, lens selection, ergonomics, durability, design and expectation of future support, but that is close to the top on *all* of them, and is therefore compelling to a wider swath of the enthusiast and pro markets than any of the alternatives.

  • bryan davis

    U dont instantly see the appeal because you are not a shooter if medium format cameras, your comparing it to cameras that shouldnt be compared to.
    Why cant people stop posting to thimgs they know nothing about.

  • Amirali

    The mount sure looks won’t take full frame medium format sensors in it , but is there room for slightly larger sensors like 48×36 ?

  • Turbofrog

    It’s certainly more fully-featured and workman-like than the Hasselblad X1D, but I must say from an initial impression, it doesn’t have the same allure. This is basically the same size and the same price as a very high-end full-frame DSLR. The X1D is, of course, more expensive and more limited in many ways, but the form factor is just so radical. It’s barely any bigger than a Sony A7.

    When put into the context of a D810, A7r II, or 5DS R, I’m sure the ultimate quality will be better, but I don’t instantly see the appeal for 2-3x the price.

    The focal plane shutter is nice, at least. That way you can adapt any old medium format lens, assuming you’re willing to deal with the crop factor. It is like the APS-C of medium format, but some lenses like the Mamiya 80mm/1.9 would still be very interesting, and can be picked up for under $300.

    All that said, I see this ending up in the hands of very high-end professionals, all the same. I’m sure there is a perception about professionals that use medium format that is almost as important as the quality of the images.

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