60 minutes with the Fuji GFX 50s

Fujifilm told me there has been so much interest in the GFX hard case they are looking into making it available for sale. No promises though.

A few weeks ago I reached out to Fujifilm UK and asked if there would be a launch event or something similar where I could as quickly as possible try out the GFX. It turns out there was a launch event in the UK, but it was a closed event and I had already missed it. To my surprise, Fujifilm offered to meet me at my local cafe for breakfast and a cheeky private demo.

Concerns from using X-Series Cameras

From using other X-series cameras,  like the X-T1, X-T2 and the X-Pro2, I found a few weaknesses I wanted to make sure were not replicated in the GFX. One such annoyance is how crippled I felt not being able to fully adjust the aperture using the control wheels. Thankfully, the GFX’s lineup of lenses now have a “C-mode” on the lens which lets the front control wheel adjust the aperture. Speaking of the control wheels, they feel flimsy and way to sensitive on my x-series cameras. With pretty much every shoot I do using a flash, a couple of frames are ruined because I nudge the control wheel by accident and exceed the flash sync speed. However, the control wheels on the GFX do feel sturdier and offer more resistance before they can be turned although not by much which I felt could make enough of a difference to avoid mishaps.

I bought a mirrorless camera as I wanted a lightweight system. The first lesson I learned however was that after extended use a camera needs to be large enough to hold comfortably. Neither my X-T1 or the X-Pro2 are large enough for my hands, even with the largest grip available. Now, I only had the GFX for roughly an hour, but there is no noubt the GFX is big compared to its siblings. This was a sitting down test though which is in no way a real world use case, but the GFX felt comfortable and well balanced to hold.

First Impressions

First thing I noticed about the GFX is of course its box-like apperance, and it is safe to say it is the ugliest Fujifilm camera by quite some margin. This, of course, is not really a deal breaker but the GFX did not come off well next to my X-Pro2.

Finally, the control wheels are firm enough

The lenses are pretty hefty things and do not have the same comforting, solid build as the XF lenses. In fact, they felt rather plasticky, but were at least pleasently light. This is good news as I was concerned about the weight and bulk of the GFX camera and its lenses. For my portrait work I don’t need to carry many lenses with me so it should be alright as this is the majority of my work. Most importantly, the GFX with the 120mm lens attached still fit into my Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L.

What really stood out was the EVF; it was responsive and BIG. My current pair of glasses are on the large side, and I do struggle with the X-Pr02 to see everything. With the GFX it was much easier, even though I still have to press my face snugly against the eye cup. The display seemed promising as well, but hard to say as we were indoors in fairly forgiving lighting conditions.

Autofocus was snappy, but again it was not really very challanging conditions. I don’t expect it to be an issue for most of my use cases.

Conclusions

I enjoyed my brief time with the GFX, and the three lenses are pretty much spot on for my most immediate needs. The 110mm portrait lens coming out later on will be a killer lens for my work. It is a shame that the GFX is a bit of a box of a camera, and not exactly the prettiest camera, but far from a deal breaker. Functionality trumps aesthetics.

The flash sync speed of 1/125th of a second, and the complete lack of HS/HSS support, is however a deal breaker. I do a lot of outdoor portraits, some with athletes, and I struggle with my X-Pro2. The 1/2000th sync speed of the X1D is what really got me curious in the first place, but then the X1D seems to suffer from shutter lag which made it hard to time the shots of my athlete.

I’ve heard a rumour, from what I consider a reputable source, Elinchrom are working on a HS trigger for Fuji but they don’t know when it will be released. Fuji confirmed they are indeed talking to Elinchrom about this, but that was all he could say, understandably.

Fingers crossed.

Big thanks to Fujifilm for taking the time to give me a private demo.

6 responses to 60 minutes with the Fuji GFX 50s

  1. Dean says:

    Thanks for the Lovely review!!

    I was told that if you shoot Raw with the GFX there is a viewfinder black out like with the X1D, did you noticed any?
    How would you compare the two cameras viewfinder and LCD? could you see the higher res. of the fuji>?

    Thanks so much

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    • I was not allowed to put a SD card in the camera. Couldn’t really test the black out.

      I’d like to say I saw the higher resolution of the LCD. We were however indoors for the entire time, but it felt clear, crisp and had more oomph.

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    • Right now neither camera quite fulfills my requirements. The GFX lacks HS/HSS and the X1D suffers from shutter lag.

      Two different camera. The X1D is more like a companion camera for someone who owns another larger medium format and just wants something lighter.

      The GFX I feel is more of a main body, which is what I’m looking for.

      I’ll tell you what though the X1D is so lovely I want it just for that 😜

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  2. Hi Erik, This seems like a fair assessment :). HSS works well with Fuji EF-X500 in local and remote mode or with Cactus V6 mk2 trigger on the GFX and a Godox or Elinchrom Skyport trigger on top in piggyback mode. As far as I know from rumour ProPhoto, Elinchrom and Godox are working on dedicated Fuji triggers.

    Cheers, Damien

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Damien. I didn’t realise you could stack triggers like that. Interesting. Might be how I need to do it then, although having a ‘native’ solution would be ideal. Might have to try and hassle Elinchrom for information 😃

      Like

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