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Fujifilm GFX mirrorless medium-format digital system ready for its February debut

Create: 01/22/2017 - 18:36
Fujifilm GFX system

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 52.4-MP CMOS sensor
  • Three of six announced lenses to be available initially
  • Full range of accessories available at debut

For those who have been waiting anxiously for the Fujifilm mirrorless digital medium-format system, the wait is nearly over.

The Fujifilm GFX 50S and three of six lenses should begin shipping February 2017 and will be priced competitively with similar offerings.

The highly anticipated camera comes at a good time for Fujfilm, which has built a solid following with its X-series cameras and lenses.

The GFX system includes the 50S body and six autofocus lenses with three to be available next month and the other three later this year, according to Fujifilm.

The system also includes a number of accessories, including lens adapters to fit Fujinon manual-focus lenses from its discontinued medium-format film cameras.

At this time, the GFX system will include:

  • Fujifilm GFX 50S body
  • Fujinon f/2.8 GF63mm R WR lens
  • Fujinon f/4.0 GF32-64mm R LM WR lens
  • Fujinon f/4.0 GF120mm R LM OIS WR Macro lens

The body and lenses are all weather sealed.

GFX 50S BODY, US$6,499.95

The GFX 50S has a 51.4-MP CMOS sensor. Fujifilm call this the G format, and the physical size of the sensor is 43.8 x 32.9mm. It has 1.7X the area of a full-frame 35mm sensor.

Fujifilm says the advantage of the G sensor is that the pixels are larger, which should be able to capture an image with more depth and gradation of colors. All image processing is handled by Fujifilm’s X-Processor Pro, which it also uses in its X-Pro2 and X-T2 cameras.

The sensor has an ISO range of 100-12,800, which can be extended lower to 50 and upward to 102,400. Additionally, the sensor can be set to a number of different aspect ratios: 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1, 65:24, 5:4 and 7:6.

The camera has both manual and electronic shutters, which can be used independently or together. The manual shutter has a range of four seconds to 1/4,000, while the electronic shutter runs from four seconds to 1/16,000. Bulb mode can keep the shutter open for 60 moments, whether the manual or electronic is being used.

There is no built-in flash, although flash synchronization is 1/125.

Continuous shooting occurs at 3.0 frames per second. Still RAW and JPG photos and video are saved to SD memory cards. The camera has dual card slots, which can be set up for redundant or contiguous storage.

Like other Fujifilm cameras, the GFX 50S can emulate the company’s different film emulsions. That emulation can be used with still images and video.

Regarding video, the GFX 50S can record Full HD 1920 x 1080 video for up to 30 minutes per clip. The camera has separate microphone and headphone jacks, as well as HDMI and USB 3.0 connections, as well as a power input connector.

The body is constructed atop a magnesium alloy frame and is weather-sealed at 58 points.

An optional battery grip (Vertical Battery Grip VG-GFX1) accepts a second battery to extend shooting, while replicating the shutter release, buttons and dials when holding the camera vertically to shoot portraits. A second optional accessory permits in-camera battery charging.

The camera also can be tethered to a computer for studio work. Another accessory also allows the GFX 50S to be mounted to a view camera.

The GFX 50S is sold with the electronic viewfinder, which is detatchable. A separate device (EVF Tilt Adapter EVF-TL1) can be purchased that allows the EVF to be tilted from 0-90 degrees in five-degree increments. There is a small knob to lock it at the desired angle.

The camera also has a tilting touch-enabled 3.2-inch LCD monitor that can be used for Live View, as well as navigating menus and reviewing photos and video. A smaller 1.3-inch monochrome LCD panel on the top deck displays pertinent exposure information and other status details.

The GFX 50S body is 5.8 x 3.7 x 3.6 inches (147.5 x 94.2 x 91.4mm) and weighs 32.5 ounces (825 grams) without the lens but with the battery, memory card and EVF attached.

FUJINON LENSES

Fujifilm is making three Fujinon GF lenses available at the launch with more promised for this year. All of the lenses have aperture rings, and all are weather sealed. A special fluorine coating on the front element repels moisture.

The first three lenses are:

Fujinon f/2.8 GF63mm R WR, US$1,499.95

This lens is a 50mm equivalent in 35mm terms, and has 10 elements in eight groups and has one extra low-dispersion element. It uses nine aperture blades. It uses 62mm filters and will focus as closely as 1.6 feet (50cm).

The lens is 3.3 x 2.8 inches (84 x 71mm) and weighs 14.3 ounces (405 grams).

Fujinon f/4.0 GF32-64mm R LM WR, US$2,299.95

This zoom covers a 35mm equivalent range of 25-51mm, which should make it good for everything from environmental shots to street photography.

It uses 14 elements in 11 groups, including three aspherical elements, one extra low dispersion and one “super” extra low dispersion element.

Close focus distance is about 1.6 feet (50cm), and it accepts 77mm filters.

The lens is 3.7 x 4.6 inches (92.6 x 116mm) and weighs 1.9 pounds (875 grams).

Fujinon f/4.0 GF120mm R LM OIS WR Macro, US$2,699.95

This medium-telephoto lens is equivalent to 95mm in 35mm format, making it suitable for use for portraits, as well as macro work.

It has 14 elements in nine groups and uses nine aperture blades. It accepts 62mm filters. The minimum focus distance is about 18 inches (45cm).

It is 3.5 x 6 inches (89.2 x 152.5mm) and weighs about 2.2 pounds (980 grams).

Later this year, Fujifilm says it expects to double the lens lineup by adding:

  • Fujinon f/2.0 GF110mm R LM WR (87mm equivalent in 35mm format)
  • Fujinon f/4.0 GF23mm R LM WR (18mm equivalent in 35mm format)
  • Fujinon f/2.8 GF45mm R WR (35mm equivalent in 35mm format)

Although Fujifilm didn’t state it specifically, it is unlikely that its existing X-series lenses would be adaptable to the GFX 50S, because the image circle likely wouldn’t cover a full-frame 35mm-sized sensor, let alone the larger GFX imaging device. It is possible that an adapter and firmware update would permit the use and automatically enable the APS-C crop, although it defeats the purpose of using a larger sensor.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.