Fuji GFX50S review ( NSFW )

I figured it was about time I reviewed this beast of a camera, I've been holding off doing so because I've felt, and still do, that there is so much to get to grips with here.  That isn't to say the shooting experience is particularly complex, it really isn't. especially if you are used to the XT-2.  

Most of what you need is on top of the camera, although it's missing the exposure compensation dial and they replaced it with an LCD display which I find a bit superfluous, but I guess if you were shooting in the dark it would be useful.  To be fair, I've not done much straight studio shooting with this camera and I guess in dark studios that LCD might be quite handy, but I'd rather they had kept the exposure compensation dial.  

While we are on gripes, lets deal with the other common gripe with this camera, those strap lugs.  I found the strap got twisted all the time with them, to the extent that I just removed the strap completely.  Although light for a medium format camera I'm not going to be wearing this thing around my neck much.

 

GFX50S 120 mm F4 

GFX50S 120 mm F4 

OK that's pretty much all my negatives out of the way, now lets get to the good stuff.  First off, the main reason you would buy this thing, image quality.  I've used a bunch of cameras over the years, including the D800, 5d3, D750 and almost all the X series cameras, as well as a brief go with a Sony A7.  The images from this thing really do blow them all away, I've seen nothing else like it.  People using the high end phase gear aside, this is the best you can get without selling your children.  Some people have said that the Sony A7r2 comes close, and that may well be the case, but for me, this camera lets me get images that blow my mind, and I still feel as though its part of the Fuji system I'm used to, I don't feel like I'm running two systems side by side.  Some people may be fine with that, but I've always found it a pain.  The sharpness and punch of these images is simply incredible, although much of that is lost as soon as you post it to something like facebook of course.  However, editing these images is such a pleasure, its quite difficult to go back to anything else once you have experienced it.  Certainly I've found with model shoots I'm using it all the time.  Dynamic range is awesome, as expected, and the transitions between highlights and shadows is very subtle, giving the images a certain something that's hard to define, but it's there.

GFX50S 32-64mm f4 

GFX50S 32-64mm f4 

Partly this is down to the lenses.  I've used all 3 of the Fuji ones and they are all stellar in their own way.  The 32-64 zoom is the best zoom in this range I've ever used, by far.  I've used a bunch of 24-70s, which this very roughly equates to, at least in terms of functionality, but this is so much better than all of them.  It feels like using a prime and the sharpness is just amazing.  Its faster to focus than the 63 and I do feel the 63 is a bit pointless if you have the zoom.  Yes, the 63 is a stop wider, but most of the time you don't shoot wider than f4 anyway as the depth of field becomes too narrow.  The zoom then gives you way more flexibility.  You can use it for wider portraits and for landscapes and anything in between.

 

Fuji GFX50S 32-64mm F4

Fuji GFX50S 32-64mm F4

Finally, we have the 120mm f4 Macro.  I did find this a peculiar lens to come out with before the 110 f2, but now I've used it, I feel its the more versatile of the two and I can see why it came out first.  It has image stabilisation, and anyone who has used a Fuji lens with IS will know, it really is superb.  I tend to use the zoom or the 63 on a tripod, but there is no need to with this lens, which is a big bonus.  It's also almost too sharp, and has very good bokeh.  I found that I used this lens more than the others when it came to shooting models and I absolutely love it.  It's not a 1:1 macro, its 1:2, but then you can crop in ALOT which kind of  makes up for it.

 

Fuji GFX50S 120mm f4 macro

Fuji GFX50S 120mm f4 macro

Fuji GFX50S 120mm F4 macro

Fuji GFX50S 120mm F4 macro

The flash sync speed is a little bit of a pain, being 125th of a second rather than the 1/250th on the latest X-series cameras.  However, base ISO is now 100 rather than the 200 found on the X-series.  The problem I found with 1/125th is that unless you are using the 120mm f4, if you are using flash, then you need to use a tripod, and you will probably need ND filters.  However, high speed sync is around the corner courtesy of Godox amongst others.

The other really fun thing about this camera is the amount of adapters already available for third party lenses.  Fotodiox have already released a bunch of them, including Nikon and Canon, and there are adapters for almost everything already out there, with better quality ones on the horizon.  At the moment you are restricted to manual focus, but its a lot easier to manually focus with all the focussing aids being mirrorless brings to the table.  Here is a shot I took on the Samyang 85 1.4 on a recent bridal shoot.

 

GFX50S Samyang 85 1.4 ( Fotodiox adapter )

GFX50S Samyang 85 1.4 ( Fotodiox adapter )

The GFX community have been getting some outstanding results with adapted lenses and this is a really fun aspect of the camera that should not be overlooked, especially if you have some high quality legacy glass hanging around.  If you don't, then the Samyang lenses seem to be a really good buy.  

So what is this thing like to shoot with?  Well, generally, an absolute pleasure, although it will make your shooting experience a bit more sedate.  Battery life is very good, I generally only get through one battery in a days shoot, and I have just one spare battery.  The EVF is excellent and the general handling makes shooting this camera very easy.  Personally, I'm going to be using it for model test shoots, commercial work and certain parts of weddings ( group shots and couple portraits, I've already used it on one engagement shoot ).  I've also got some fine art projects in the pipeline where I'll be printing big for galleries, and this is primarily the reason I bought the camera.  If you are just using instagram and facebook, this camera is a bit pointless for you.  I can say however, that getting into medium format has never been easier or cheaper ( not that it is cheap in any way, until you start comparing it to the competition ).  I absolutely love it and although I'm still working out how to get the best from it, that's a process I'm really enjoying.  Here are a few more images..

 

GFX50S 32-64 mm f4

GFX50S 32-64 mm f4

GFX50S 120mm F4

GFX50S 120mm F4

GFX50S 120mm F4

GFX50S 120mm F4