Fujifilm’s rangefinder-style medium-format mirrorless camera offers addictively high image quality in surprisingly portable package, as Andy Westlake finds out
Fujifilm GFX 50R: At a glance
- 51.4MP medium-format sensor
- ISO 50-102,400 (extended)
- 3 fps continuous shooting
- 3.69m-dot OLED EVF
- 2.36m-dot 3.2in tilting touchscreen
Medium-format mirrorless is still a relatively new concept, with the first cameras of the type appearing towards the end of 2016. The initial two models were rather different to each other: Hasselblad’s stylish, flat-bodied X1D-50c appealed strongly to photographers looking for medium-format quality in the smallest possible package, while the Fujifilm GFX 50S provided a relatively conventional, but bulkier SLR-like design at a more affordable price. Now with its new GFX 50R, Fujifilm has essentially repackaged the 50S into a simpler rangefinder-style body that’s similar in concept to the X1D, while striking an unprecedented price point. As a result, it may just have hit upon a Goldilocks formula for medium format digital.
So what might make the GFX 50R so appealing for serious photographers? First and foremost, it uses a 51.4MP medium-format sensor that’s 70% larger in area than full frame, and in general, a larger sensor equates to higher image quality. But this still fits into a relatively compact body that’s just as easy to carry around as a high-end DSLR. What’s more, at £3999 body only, it’s not stratospherically more expensive than the likes of the 45.7MP full-frame Nikon Z 7 or D850.
Of course, a body on its own isn’t enough to take pictures, and when you factor in lenses, the GFX system starts to look a bit less portable and more expensive. This reflects the fact that the system is built around a small collection of absolutely top-quality primes, with just a single zoom. But then you discover the sheer quality of its Fujinon GF optics, and this doesn’t necessarily look like such a bad compromise after all. In short, photographers who demand superlative image quality from a relatively portable set-up should be very interested in this camera indeed.