FIRST LOOK: Fujifilm GFX system


      In summary

      It’s difficult not to be impressed by the GFX system for the quality of the images we obtained from the camera and three lenses we received. The physical design and ergonomics of the equipment are almost as impressive.

      The JPEG image files we obtained with the camera are simply the best we have ever printed.

      Not only did the system capture more detail than other cameras we’ve reviewed; the shots are sharper and retain that sharpness, even when printed at a length of more than a metre. Admittedly, the SureColor P5070 printer used is a top-level performer; but the files from the GFX system really tested its capabilities.

      In the GFX system, Fujifilm has created the nucleus of a powerful and versatile professional interchangeable-lens camera system that has all the advantages of the mirrorless format.

      We look forward to running more comprehensive tests on the GFX 50S camera and the three lenses.


      Full review

      One of the highlights of Photokina 2016 was the announcement by Fujifilm that it was developing a medium format camera system, known as the Fujifilm GFX. Photo Review was fortunate enough to attend the media briefing in Kyoto on 19 January when full details of the new camera, three lenses and accessories that make up the nucleus of the system were revealed. We’ve reported on them in news announcements but have just been allowed some hands-on time with the system.


      The Fujifilm GFX system, showing the GFX 50S camera plus the six lenses that will be released during 2017. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      At its heart is the Fujifilm GFX 50S camera, which is based upon a sensor measuring 43.8 x 32.9 mm with an effective resolution of 51.4 megapixels. Fujifilm Australia supplied Photo Review with an early production quality sample of the camera body, along with three lenses:  the wide-to-normal zoom GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR, which offers a 25-51mm equivalent focal length, the GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR, which is a 50mm equivalent standard prime lens and the  GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR, which has a 95mm equivalent focal length and is a medium tele prime lens. We also received the EVF-TL1 tilting adapter for the detachable electronic viewfinder, which enables the EVF to be used from different working angles.

      That’s a lot of gear to cover in the week we were allowed use of it, particularly as we had other review products on our desk at the time and it rained in Sydney every day during the period. There was no time available for Imatest testing so we’ve opted to publish a ‘First Look’ report covering the system as a whole. Fujifilm Australia has promised to send the equipment back to us in late March or early April so we can carry out our regular technical tests and produce more detailed, individual reviews of the camera and lenses.

      Who’s it For?
       With a price tag of AU$9999 for the camera body alone and a body size and weight similar to that of the flagship pro cameras from Canon and Nikon, the GFX 50S can be considered a professional product and, although some well-heeled high-end enthusiasts will find it tempting, it’s most likely to find a home with pro photographers.

      Commercial portrait and studio photographers, fashion and landscape photographers will probably be the main purchasers, at least initially. Architectural and event photographers (particularly wedding shooters) should also be attracted to the system ““ for the quality of the images it delivers and its ease of use.

      Fujifilm isn’t the only manufacturer producing cameras in this category: Hasselblad (X1D), Ricoh Pentax (645Z, an SLR with a pentaprism viewfinder) and PhaseOne (IQ3 50MP, IQ1 50MP and IQ1 40MP) have offered cameras for several years. Hasselblad has a long history in medium format cameras and PhaseOne has backs with even larger sensors. But, aside from Pentax and Fujifilm all the other manufacturers’ camera body prices are well over AU$10,000.

      To put the ‘compact size’ tag into perspective, the table below compares the body dimensions and weight of the GFX 50S with the Pentax 645Z and the flagship pro cameras from Canon and Nikon. We’ve added the effective resolution to flesh out the basic data so you can see that for a pro photographer, the GFX 50S has a lot going for it.

      Fujifilm GFX 50S Pentax 645Z Canon EOS-ID X Mk II Nikon D5
      Dimensions (w x h x d) 147.5 x 94.2 x 91.4 mm 156 x 117 x 123 mm 158.0 x 167.6 x 82.6 mm 160 x 158.5 x 92 mm
      Weight (body only) 740 grams 1470 grams 1340 grams 1235 grams
      Sensor size

      43.8 x 32.9 mm

      35.9 x 23.9 mm 35.9 x 23.9 mm
      Effective resolution

      51.4 megapixels

      20.2 megapixels 20.8 megapixels
      RRP / average selling price


      $9299 / $9000 n.a. / $9000

      This table tells only part of the size and weight story, however. A large sensor has a larger imaging circle than a 35mm sized chip. This means lenses developed for the system will almost certainly be bigger and, probably, heavier than their 35mm equivalents, a factor that will also affect the Pentax 645Z.

      It is also more difficult to build zoom lenses with an extended focal length range. The only zoom lens for the system so far ““ the GF32-64mm f/4 R LM WR ““ covers a 2x zoom range, compared with just over 3x for the typical 18-55mm kit lens supplied with APS-C crop DSLRs or close to 5x for a 24-105mm lens that is seen as the ‘kit’ equivalent for ‘full frame’ DSLRs.

      Build and Ergonomics
       The body of the GFX 50S is made mainly from magnesium alloy. It’s relatively compact and light for a medium format camera ““ although a lot depends on how you define ‘medium format’. Currently, most digital cameras in this category have sensors roughly the size of the 43.8 x 32.9 mm chip in the GFX 50S. This is smaller than the 6 x 4.5 cm format, which was the smallest ‘medium format’ back in the days of film.


      The graphic above shows the relative sizes of various imaging formats, compared with 6 x 7 cm, the largest ‘medium format’   film size.

      The body of the GFX 50S is styled to look a lot like a DSLR but, being a mirrorless camera, it lacks the SLR’s characteristic pentaprism ‘hump’. The camera comes with a detachable electronic viewfinder, which is covered in detail below.


      Angled view of the Fujifilm GFX 50S camera with the GF32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      The front panel has a similar design to a DSLR, with a large lens mount that covers roughly half of the area plus a generous grip moulding that is notched to provide a comfortable rest for the user’s middle finger. The shutter button is located on the sloping top of the grip, with a rotating on/off switch below it. The small Fn1 function button sits to its right.


      Two views of the front panel of the GFX 50S camera with no lens fitted. The upper view shows the camera without the EVF, while the lower view has the EVF in place. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      In front of the shutter button on the upper edge of the grip is the front command dial, which is used to adjust settings like the lens aperture, ISO sensitivity (when C is selected with the ISO dial), select menu tabs or page through menus. Pressing it in switches between selections.

      The only other items on the front panel are the lens release button (in the usual Fujifilm spot on the lower right hand edge of the lens mount), a second function button above it, a tiny self-timer LED near the bottom of the grip (an unusual spot) and a flash sync terminal with screw-in cover on the upper left side of the panel.


      Top view of the GFX 50S without the EVF and with no lens fitted. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      The top panel’s layout is also a lot like that on a DSLR, with the centre of the panel allocated to the viewfinder housing. As mentioned, the EVF is a separate unit, that attaches to hot-shoe contacts on the camera’s body. Stereo microphone slots are located on either side of it.

      Prominent on the right hand side corner is a secondary LCD monitor that shows eight camera settings; four (shutter speed, aperture, EV compensation and ISO) with text and four (film Simulation, white balance, image size and shooting mode) as icons. Other items can be added. A small button to the left of the screen turns on backlight illumination.


      Two views of the secondary LCD monitor showing different settings. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      Left of the data panel is the shutter speed dial, which has a central locking button and settings ranging from one to 1/4000 second plus Time and Bulb modes. A red ‘A’ marks the Auto setting. In front of the shutter speed dial is the Drive button, which accesses a sub-menu with all the drive modes, including single and continuous shooting, five bracketing options, multiple exposure and movie mode.

      A single dial on the left side of the EVF area handles ISO sensitivity. It has a central locking button. Settings range from ISO 100   to ISO 12800 and there are two additional positions: a red ‘A’ marks the Auto setting, while the ‘C’ setting enables sensitivity to be adjusted with the front command dial. With this setting you can access the extended sensitivities of ISO 50   and ISO 25600, 51200 and102400.


      Angled rear view of the GFX 50S with the EVF in place showing the protruding monitor module.  (Source: Fujifilm.)

      The rear panel is stepped, with the section carrying the main LCD monitor protruding roughly 25 mm from the rest of the camera body. The screen covers the front of this section. Details are provided below.

      Above the screen is a sloping area that carries buttons for (from left) the focus mode selector (Single, Continuous, Manual), Delete and Playback. A small speaker grille is located on the lower right hand side of the screen module delivering monaural playback of audio recordings.

      To the right of the screen mounting is a fairly standard array of controls that include an arrow pad with a central Menu/OK button and directional selector buttons, which are programmable. Two additional function buttons are located just above the arrow pad and left of the rear command dial.

      There’s a protruding thumb rest in the top right hand corner of the rear panel, providing a comfortable support for the grip. On top of it is another function button, a Quick menu button and an indicator lamp that glows green when focus is locked, blinks green to display a focus or slow shutter speed warning (pictures can be taken), glows orange while shots are being recorded   (which blocks image recording) and blinks red for a lens or memory error.

      Between the Fn4 and Fn 5 buttons is a joystick lever that can be used to select the focus area and pressed in to select the centre focus point. It’s used in combination with the rear command dial to select the size of the AF frame.


      Right hand side view of the GFX 50S with the EVF in place, showing the memory card compartment cover and grip moulding.  (Source: Fujifilm.)

      Dual SD card slots are located beneath a lift-up cover on the right hand side panel, both compatible with UHS-I / UHS-II standards. The camera can be set for sequential (use the second when the first is full), backup (each image saved on both cards) or raw to one card and JPEG to the other. Sequential storage is the default setting and you can choose the card to store movies with the Save Data Setting>Movie File Destination control in the menu.


      Left hand side view of the GFX 50S without the EVF, showing the interface port and battery chamber covers. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      The left side panel carries the interface ports ““ and also the battery compartment.   There are two port compartments, each with lift-off rubber covers. Closer to the front of the camera you’ll find the HDMI micro connector, the Micro USB 3.0/2.0 connector, a 15V DC-IN port and a remote release jack. In the rear compartment are the microphone and headphone jacks.

      The battery chamber lies below the interface ports, accommodating the rechargeable NP-T125 battery. It has a nominal voltage of 10.8 V and capacity of 1250 mAh, which equates to a CIPA-rated capacity of approximately 400 shots/charge with auto power save turned on or about 60 shots less with it off. This remains true whether you use the EVF or monitor for shot composition.

      A battery grip will be available to double these capacities. It fits onto the base of the camera, which accounts for the side- access design of the battery chamber. A metal-lined tripod socket is located on the lens axis roughly a third of the way across the base plate.

      Sensor and Image Processing
       Large sensors can support higher resolution and/or larger photosites and the GFX 50S has opted for the former, with more than double the resolution for a sensor size that has 1.7x the area of a 35mm frame. The 43.8 x 32.9 mm sensor in the GFX 50S is a standard CMOS chip ““ without the X-Trans colour array used in Fujifilm’s’ X-series cameras.

      At the press briefing in Kyoto we asked why the conventional CMOS design with a Bayer colour array and primary colour filter had been preferred over X-Trans chips. We were told the large sensor and high resolution of the GFX 50S produced file sizes that couldn’t be processed quickly enough with the more complex X-Trans configuration, even with the latest processor chips. Fujifilm isn’t ruling out possible use of X-Trans technology in future GFX sensors; just not with current technology.

      The sensor is customised for GFX and supports an effective resolution of 51.4 megapixels. In common with recent trends, it has no overlaid anti-aliasing filter.  To keep its size as small as possible ““ and maintain a relatively small body size for the camera ““ the sensor is mounted to the silicon circuit with the terminals placed on its rear side.

      Specially-designed micro-lenses on the chip have slightly wider spaces between photosites than conventional sensors. Fujifilm claims there is no need for larger micro-lenses to be larger because the photosites are big enough to collect sufficient light for the camera’s sensitivity range.

      Interestingly, with a surface area measuring 5.3 nanometres in width, its photosites are smaller than those in the Canon EOS-ID X Mk II (6.56 nanometres) and the Nikon D5 (6.42 nanometres).

      How significant this difference is in determining high ISO performance will only be revealed with testing. But it’s pretty small so we don’t think there will be any noticeable difference across the ‘Goldilocks’ range of ISO 100-6400 and you shouldn’t see the effects of noise at ISO 51200, where the Canon and Nikon pro DSLRs also deliver relatively low noise levels.

      The top ISO setting on the GFX 50S   is ISO 102400,   a sensible choice that is likely to deliver usable images with minimal noise interference. In contrast, Canon and Nikon really push the capabilities of their cameras’ sensors and processors with settings above this point. Our tests have shown the resulting images to be seriously noise affected.

      The GFX sensor goes through a special manufacturing process that extends the photic (light) saturation point, resulting in a claimed increase in dynamic range of 1/3 EV step. This provides some protection against blown-out highlights in subjects with wide brightness ranges.    Its highest effectiveness is at ISO 100, which is the recommended sensitivity setting unless shooting conditions dictate otherwise.

      The sensor is paired with the well-established X Processor Pro, which is also used in the X-Pro2 and X-T2 cameras. The camera supports three different JPEG settings (Super Fine, Fine, Normal), as well as two different RAF.RAW settings (uncompressed and compressed). TIFF output (8-bit) is also available via the in-camera RAW development. The table below shows the image sizes available for the default 4:3 aspect ratio.

      Image quality Image size (pixels)

      Approximate file size

      Super Fine Fine Normal
      Uncompressed raw 8256 x 6192


      Compressed raw


      JPEG 8256 x 6192 31.5MB 21.0MB 13.2MB
      4000 x 3000 14.8MB 9.7MB 6.6MB

      Other aspect ratios are also selectable, including 3:2, 16:9, 1:1, 65:24, 5:4 and 7:6. In each case, they are achieved by cropping the 4:3 frame.

      Continuous shooting speeds are slow compared with those offered by the pro DSLR cameras. The maximum speed is 3.0 frames/second but this can depend upon shooting conditions and the type of memory card used. The capture rate slows to 1.8 fps when shooting with the electronic front curtain shutter setting. According to Fujifilm’s published data, the buffer memory capacity is 25 JPEGs, 13 compressed raw files and 8 uncompressed raw files; not huge by DSLR standards but given the average file sizes (see above), quite impressive nonetheless.

       Unlike the Canon and Nikon DSLRs, the GFX 50S can’t record 4K video; it’s stuck with Full HD 1080p and HD 720p with frame rates of 29.97, 25, 24 and 23.98 fps for each. You need a UHD   speed class 1 or faster card to record movies with this camera. Recordings are in the MOV format with H.264 compression and stereo sound.

      Selecting the movie mode puts some restrictions on other camera controls.   Sensitivity is limited to the range of ISO 200-6400, exposure compensation ranges across +/-2EV in 1/3EV steps and you can only assess two AF modes: Multi (with auto AFpoint selection) or area AF. The battery should be good for up to 145 minutes of recording time in P mode with face detection switched off.

      However, there are a few ‘professional’ features. The camera can output footage to an external HDMI device and users can choose whether  it will send start and stop signals to the device when the shutter button is pressed to initiate and stop recording. A mic level adjustment setting is provided to setting levels for both internal and external microphones.

      On the whole, however, this camera can’t be seen as a ‘serious’ device for recording professional footage. Not only is the available resolution too low, it also lacks key functions like Zebra patterns and ‘flat’ video profiles, although it does include focus peaking in the MF Assist sub-menu. But that setting is mainly for stills.

      Special Features
      The detachable EVF fits into the space where a pentaprism would normally reside. It’s a bit tricky to fit: you have to slide off a closely-fitting ‘shoe cover’ on the camera and remove a protective shield from the contacts on the under-side of the EVF before it will slide into place.


      Angled view of the detachable EVF. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      The 0.5-inch ‘type’ organic EL screen boasts a resolution of 3,690,000 dots and covers the full image frame, providing a viewfinder magnification of 0.85x. It uses five dedicated lens elements and offers a dioptre adjustment range of -4m-1  to+2m-1. The adjustment knob is on the left hand side of the housing and very easy to reach and fine-tune.

      The screen can display four types of histograms: RGB and brightness, each with or without highlight warnings. It also supports an electronic level that uses a 3D system to provide accurate detection of horizontal and vertical lines, making it ideal for landscape and architectural photography.

      Fujifilm offers an optional EVF Tilting Adapter EVF-TL1 that fits between the camera body and the EVF to enable vertical tilt (0 °-90 ° / 5 steps) and horizontal rotation (+/-45 °). This enables users to shoot with the camera at waist level and aids shooting in portrait orientation.

      The lens mount merits a closer look for several reasons ““ apart from being a totally new design for Fujifilm. For starters, it has to be strong enough to support the large and heavier lenses of the medium format system. So the new mount is 1.6x thicker than the current X Mount and roughly four times more rigid. Made of high strength stainless steel, it has passed the test of 10 kg load and, although there are unlikely to be such heavy lenses for the system, it will comfortably accommodate the three lenses currently available, the heaviest of them weighing just under one kilogram.

      Cameras without the mirror box required by the SLR design provide greater configuration flexibility. When seeking to reduce size and weight, designers have looked at reducing the flange back (the distance  between the camera’s mounting  flange  and the sensor plane) and also the back focus distance (between the rear of the lens and the sensor).

      Although the flange back of G Mount is 26.7 mm, the lens can be positioned10.0 mm closer to the sensor, giving a back focus distance of 16.7 mm. In contrast, the flange back distances for the Canon EF and Nikon F mounts are 44 mm and 46.5 mm respectively.

      According to Fujifilm: Shorter back focus is one of the reasons for the creation of many great compact wide angle lenses for mirrorless camera systems. Larger elements can be placed at the rear end for lenses with short focal distance. The diagram below shows how this works for the GFX system.


      Fujifilm’s   G Mount has 12 terminals inside the mount; two more than the company’s X Mount. The additional terminals enable more power to be passed between the battery and the lens and  make use of the higher capacity.  It also provides scope for potential higher capacity batteries in the future. This will be desirable, since the GFX 50S has a CIPA rated capacity less than half that of the Canon and Nikon DSLRs (although only when the optical viewfinder is used in the DSLRs; in Live View mode, battery capacity drops to less than 300 shots/charge with both cameras).


      Close-up view of the lens mount, showing the image sensor and 12 electronic contacts. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      Inside the lens mount is a cover glass that protects the sensor and can be vibrated to remove dust. It is positioned 9 mm above the sensor’s surface to minimise the visibility of any dust that happens to fall on it when lenses are changed.

      Finally, the mount has been designed for mass production and adjusted within a tolerance of a few microns to keep the sensor surface accurately positioned. This allows fast lens apertures to keep their resolution with high levels of precision.

      The  monitor screen is a 3.2-inch colour LCD with a 4:3 aspect ratio. It has a resolution of 2,360,000 dots and touch panel overlay. The screen can be tilted upwards through 90  degrees, down through 45 degrees and to the right through 60 degrees, providing considerable viewing flexibility when the camera is used in both horizontal and vertical orientations.

      All the standard touch controls are available, including tapping on a displayed icon to select an AF point or lock focus, tap focus frame selection and tap off. In playback mode, swipe moves to the next image, pinch-in and pinch-out adjust magnification, double-tap zooms in on the selected area and drag moves the magnified area to other parts of the displayed image.

      The GFX 50S’s contrast-based TTL autofocusing system isn’t quite as fast as the phase detection systems in the pro DSLRs but it doesn’t lag far behind. The algorithm used for autofocusing is the same as in the X Series, although it acts differently since it’s managing much larger lenses than those used for the X Series, one reason why its speed is limited.

      The camera can be set to prioritise release or focus when the shutter is pressed. The latter locks the shutter until the image is in focus.

      We found a few instances in focus priority mode where the camera refused to focus on a close subject that was within the specified range for the lens, most occurring when the GF 120mm f/4 R LM OIS WR Macro lens was in use. This suggests that focusing can be halted when the camera detects a possibility of camera shake with the stabilised lens due to the selection of a relatively slow shutter speed. No such problems were found with the other lenses where refusals to focus were entirely due to the subject being closer than the lens’s limit.

      Users can choose between Single point, Zone and Wide/Tracking AF modes and select the area to focus upon with either the touch control on the monitor or by moving it with the joystick. Together, the joystick and rear command dial can be used to adjust the size of the focus frame.

      The camera’s sensor has been customised to provide a readout speed of between 130 fps and 200 fps and focusing is carried out on the sensor itself. Fujifilm claims its accuracy is superior to that of the DSLRs. We found that once the lens was focused, the zone of sharpness in the subject was exactly where we had set the focus via the joystick lever.

      In Single point AF mode and for manual focusing, the number of focus points can also be selected, with a choice of 117 points in a 13 x 9 array or 425 points in a 25 x 17 grid.

      ‘Intelligent’ Face Detection is available and users can choose between Face On/Eye Off, Face On/Eye Auto, Face On/Right Eye Priority, Face On/Left Eye Priority and Face Off/Eye Off settings. The Single point AF mode also has a setting that allows manual focus override by   rotating the focus ring while the shutter button is half pressed.

      Focus peaking and magnification are available in this mode as well as for manual focusing. Depth-of-field checking is also available on a film or pixel basis, the latter for images that will be viewed at high resolutions.

      Film Simulation settings have long been part of Fujifilm’s settings that distinguish the company’s cameras from those of other manufacturers. The GFX 50S provides a comprehensive array of settings that include the original PROVIA / Standard, Velvia / Vivid and ASTIA / Soft modes as well as PRO Neg.Hi, PRO Neg.Std and Black& White with separate settings for yellow, red and green filters and Sepia. The recently-introduced ACROS B&W modes are also available, also with yellow, red and green filters.

      A new Colour Chrome mode, introduced in the GFX 50S helps photographers to reproduce deep colours and tones in highly-saturated objects so they are separated and lifelike in appearance.  It can be applied at two levels: Strong or Weak.

      Other in-camera effects that can be applied to JPEG files include dynamic range adjustment with auto, 100%, 200% and 400% settings, highlight and shadow tone tweaking, colour and sharpness controls and red-eye correction for flash shots. Creative filter effects include   Toy camera, Miniature, Pop colour, High-key, Low-key, Dynamic tone, Soft focus and Partial colour (Red / Orange / Yellow / Green / Blue / Purple) adjustments.

      Wi-Fi is built in with the standard Fujifilm protocol, requiring the Fujifilm Camera Remote app in the connected smart device. Once connected users can browse images on the camera, download selected images and control the camera remotely. Location data from the device can be uploaded to the camera and stored in the image metadata.

      Playback and Software
       The GFX 50S supports the normal range of playback settings for both still images and movie files and includes in-camera raw conversion, the ability to choose which card slot to playback and select and erase single or multiple image files. Frame cropping and resizing are supported, along with the ability to protect and rotate images and remove red eyes from flash shots.

      You can also copy files between cards in the first and second slots. Voice memos can be attached to image files, with recordings in stereo using the WAV format.


      Recording   a voice memo with the GFX 50S. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      Fujifilm continues to support the Silkypix raw file processor, for which an update was released on 28 February adding support for the GFX 50S. Support for the camera in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom v6.9 (which would enable raw files from the GFX 50S to be processed in Adobe Camera Raw) is promised for an unspecified date in the (hopefully) near future. We hope that happens before the camera and lenses are returned to us for Imatest testing.


      Raw files taken with the GFX 50S will soon be able to be processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom v6.9. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      Fujifilm has also released a new X Acquire app that enables users to transfer images taken with the camera to a Mac or PC and save them in a specified folder. The software can be downloaded from the Fujifilm website for free.

      Other optional applications include HS-V5 for Windows tethered shooting software and Tether Shooting Plug-in PRO for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (each sold separately). Using this software, photographers can transfer captured images directly to a computer and also control the camera from the PC. The new Control Panel Window in the latter application provides some handy functions, such as the speed while browsing images and setting and saving various shooting conditions.

       No camera system is complete without a suite of lenses and Fujifilm has kicked off the GFX system with three of them, all dust and weather resistant and designed for use at temperatures as low as -10 °C. Initial offerings include the GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR, a fast standard prime lens with an angle of view roughly equivalent to 50mm in 35mm format; the GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR zoom lens, which covers a 35mm equivalent range of 25-51mm and the GF 120mm f/4 R LM OIS WR Macro which corresponds to a 95mm lens.


      The first three lenses released for the GFX system, from left: the GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR, the GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR and the GF 120mm f/4 R LM OIS WR Macro. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      All the GFX lenses have been designed to handle resolutions up to 100 megapixels, a distinct possibility with future medium format cameras. Although they differ in construction and applications, these lenses have a number of important features in common. The table below provides a quick comparison.

      GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR GF 120mm f/4 R LM OIS WR Macro
      Optical design 10 elements in 8 groups 14 elements in 11 groups 14 elements in 9 groups
      Exotic elements 1 ED 3 aspherical, 1 ED, 1 Super ED 3 ED
      Minimum aperture


      Focus drive Linear motor Dual linear motors
      Stabilisation No Optical, 5 stops correction
      Minimum focus 50 cm 50 cm (wide), 60 cm (telephoto) 45 cm
      Maximum magnification 0.17x 0.12x 0.5x
      Filter size 62 mm 77 mm 72 mm
      Weather resistance 9 seals 10 seals 9 seals plus fluorine coating on front element
      Dimensions (diameter x L) 84.0 x 71.0 mm 92.6 x 116 mm 89.2 x 152.5 mm
      Weight 405 grams 875 grams 980 grams

      Still to come ““ and scheduled for release during 2017 ““ are the GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR, a fast 87mm equivalent mid-telephoto lens, the   GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 18mm and the GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR, which covers an angle of view equivalent to a 35mm DSLR lens.

      All the Fujinon GF lenses feature an aperture ring with a new C (Command) Position on the ring to enable aperture adjustments with the Command  Dial on the camera body.  The minimum aperture setting for each of the three lenses is f/32. The large sensor also enables a shallower depth of field at the wide aperture settings. It’s particularly shallow at f/2.8 with the GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR lens and the f/4 maximum aperture on the other two lenses produces a depth of field that is similar to about f/3.2 on a camera with a 36 x 24 mm sensor.

      Given the amount of detail recorded by the camera, at wide aperture settings if either the subject or the camera moves even a tiny amount during an exposure, the effect is noticeable. However, diffraction-related softening is much less of an issue; you can stop down to f/22 (or smaller) without seeing any loss of resolution.

      Although the GFX 50S doesn’t offer phase detection AF (yet), Fujifilm has been quoted as saying support for it will ‘definitely’ be included in future lenses ““ but didn’t specify when those lenses might appear. Fortunately, the contrast-based AF system is less prone to back- or front-focus errors than systems that use a separate AF sensor, such as the Pentax 645Z.

      Fujifilm is also making it easy for photographers to use third-party lenses on the GFX 50S by offering two adapters. One will have an H (Hasselblad) mount, and the other will fit lenses from view cameras.


      The H Mount Adapter G. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      The   H Mount Adapter G enables any of nine Super EBC Fujinon HC lenses and/or a teleconverter developed for the GX645AF to be used, although with some restrictions. Autofocusing is not supported but the lens aperture can be changed using the command dial on the camera body. The camera can also take advantage of the lens shutter built in to the lenses and will support speed flash sync up to 1/800 second. The adapter has electrical contacts that can communicate with the camera body, enabling it to create, save, and apply correction data for each lens. It also supports Manual and Aperture Priority AE exposure modes.

      The View Camera Adapter G enables the GFX 50S to be used as a digital back for shooting with older Fujinon large format camera lenses that were designed for 4×5 cameras. The large image circle of these lenses and variable optical axis functions produced by the bellows adjustments of the view camera can be used to perform tilt shooting for product shooting and architectural photography.

       The first accessories to be released for the system are the VG-GFX1 vertical battery grip, which accepts one NP-T125 dedicated battery, doubling the camera’s shooting capacity. It has a release button, dials and function buttons that can be used when shooting. A separate AC-15V accessory enables the battery to be charged within the grip in approximately two hours.


      The VG-GFX1 vertical battery grip. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      The EF-X500 multi-function flash can also be used with the GFX camera. With a Guide number of 50, it supports multi-flash lighting, FP mode and continuous output in Burst Mode.

      Preliminary Conclusion
       It’s difficult not to be impressed by the GFX system, at least for the quality of the images we obtained from the camera and three lenses we received. But the physical design and ergonomics of the equipment are almost as impressive.

      We found the camera no more difficult to operate and carry than any of the pro DSLRs we’ve reviewed. And, in use, it appeared to be even less conspicuous. During the time we wandered around Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House precinct and while we were in a major city shopping centre nobody took the slightest notice. We were able to take candid shots without attracting attention and get quite close to subjects, despite not having the longer zoom lenses we’re accustomed to using.

      A word of warning: there’s no anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor so be prepared for moirø© interference patterns when you photograph subjects with regular patterns of dark and light lines (including fabrics with stripes and checks). We noticed it in a few shots in the series of JPEG images we recorded.

      The chance of moirø© could have been increased a little because the camera applies relatively high levels of sharpening to JPEGs by default. We didn’t capture raw files due to the lack of suitable conversion software but we’ll certainly check them when we have the gear again.

      Moirø© is an indicator of very high resolution and most photographers would prefer to deal with it when it happens, rather than have the resolution of all images from the camera slightly compromised by an anti-aliasing filter. Software is available for suppressing   moirø© but it works by slightly blurring the image. We think most photographers would prefer not to use it.

      Sometimes moirø© can be suppressed by changing the angle or position of the camera or shifting the focus point a little. Different focal length settings can also affect moirø© patterns. Sometimes the pattern results from the interaction of the pattern(s) in the image and the raster scanning on the monitor screen. It such cases, it doesn’t appear when images are printed.

      We delayed publishing this report until we’d had the chance to print some of our shots on the new Epson SureColor P5070 printer (which we are currently reviewing). To say we are impressed is a gross understatement; the JPEG image files we obtained with the camera are simply the best we have ever printed.

      Not only did the system capture more detail than other cameras we’ve reviewed; the shots are sharper and retain that sharpness, even when printed at a length of more than a metre. Admittedly, the SureColor P5070 printer is a top-level performer; but the files from the GFX system really tested its capabilities.

      And that’s not all; the camera was capable of recording a wide dynamic range with the Auto Dynamic Range setting that records printable detail in both bright highlights (just below specular level) and deep shadows. That’s no mean feat!

      We’ve provided some examples of shots we took during the time we had the camera and lenses. Most were recorded in indifferent lighting but, even at the low resolutions we are stuck with for posting images, an impressive amount of detail and a wide tonal range were captured.

      In the GFX system, Fujifilm has created the nucleus of a powerful and versatile professional interchangeable-lens camera system that has all the advantages of the mirrorless format. The first camera in the system is designed primarily for shooting stills and lags behind the competing pro DSLRs in its support for video. But that may be only temporary.

      Improvements in processor chips and processing algorithms could well see 4K being offered in future cameras (although it’s probably not a priority issue). There’s an undeniable advantage in being able to frame movies through a high-resolution EVF instead of   having to rely on the monitor screen as necessitated by a DSLR.

      We look forward to running more comprehensive tests on the GFX 50S camera and the three lenses and congratulate Fujifilm on developing such an impressive system. We’re confident it  will delight pro photographers and their clients and establish a base that can be built upon well into the future.



      Camera Specifications:
      Image sensor: 43.8 x 32.9 mm  CMOS sensor with Bayer colour array and primary colour filter; no AA filter; 51.4 megapixels effective
      Image processor:  X-Processor Pro
      A/D processing: 14-bit RAF.RAW
      Body material: Magnesium alloy
      Lens mount: Fujifilm G mount
      Focal length crop factor: 0.79x
      Image formats: Stills: JPEG (Exif Ver.2.3, RAF.RAW (14-bit), 8-bit TIFF (in-camera raw conversion); Movies: MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264) with Linear PCM Stereo sound (48KHz sampling)
      Image Sizes: Stills ““ 4:3 aspect: 8256 x 6192, 4000 x 3000; 3:2 aspect: 8256 x 5304, 4000 x 2664; 16:9 aspect: 8256 x 4640, 4000 x 2248; 1:1 aspect: 6192 x 6192, 2992 x 2992; 65:24 aspect: 8256 x3048, 4000 x 1480; 5:4 aspect: 7744 x 6192, 3744 x 3000; 7:6 aspect: 7232 x 6192, 3504 x 3000;   Movies: [Full HD] 1920 x 1080: 30p, 25p, 24p / 36 Mbps; [HD] 1280 x 720 30p, 25p, 24p / 18Mbps,   up to approx. 30 min.
      Image Stabilisation: Lens based
      Dust removal: Ultra Sonic Vibration
      Shutter / speed range: Mechanical focal plane shutter plus electronic shutter / mechanical: 60 minutes to 1/4000 second, electronic: 4   to 1/16000 second; flash sync. at 1/125 second
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 5EV in 1/3EV steps (+/-2EV for movies)
      Exposure bracketing: 2, 3, 5, 7, 9 frames in +/-1/3EV, +/-3EV steps
      Other bracketing options: Film Simulation (and 3 types), Dynamic Range (100%, 200%, 400%), ISO sensitivity (+/-1/3EV, +/-2/3EV, +/-1EV), White Balance (+/-1, +/-2, +/-3)
      Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay
      Interval timer shooting: Yes with interval, number of shots and starting time selectable
      Focus system: TTL Contrast AF with Single Point, Zone, Wide/Tracking modes
      Focus modes: Single AF, Continuous AF, Manual
      Exposure metering:   Multiple, Centre-weighted and Spot metering patterns
      Shooting modes: P, A, S, M
      Photography functions: Colour, sharpness, highlight tone, shadow tone, noise reduction, long exposure NR, Lens Modulation Optimiser, pixel mapping, select/edit/save custom setting, store AF mode by orientation, Rapid AF, AF point display, Pre-AF, Face/Eye detection AF, AF+MF, Focus peak highlight, focus check, interlock spot AE & focus area, instant AF setting (AF-S, AF-C), depth-of-field scale, release/focus priority, touch screen mode, mount adapter setting, red-eye removal, Movie AF mode, electronic level, multiple exposure
      Film Simulation modes:PROVIA / Standard, Velvia / Vivid, ASTIA / Soft, Classic Chrome, Colour Chrome, PRO Neg.Hi, PRO Neg.Std, Black& White, Black& White+Ye Filter, Black& White+R Filter, Black& White+GFilter, Sepia, ACROS, ACROS+Ye Filter, ACROS+R Filter, ACROS+G Filter
      Grain Effect modes:Strong, Weak, Off
      Colour Chrome effect: Strong, Weak, Off
      Dynamic range setting: AUTO, 100%, 200%, 400%
      Advanced Filters: Toy camera, Miniature, Pop colour, High-key, Low-key, Dynamic tone, Soft focus, Partial colour (Red / Orange / Yellow / Green / Blue / Purple)
      Colour space options: sRGB and Adobe RGB
      ISO range: Auto (x3, up to ISO 12800),   ISO 100-12800 in 1/2 steps, extensions to ISO 50, ISO 25600, 51200, 102400 available
      White balance: Automatic scene recognition, Custom, Colour temperature selection, Presets for Daylight, Shade, Fluorescent light (x3), Incandescent, Underwater
      Flash: Hot-shoe for external flashgun (TTL flash compatible)
      Flash modes: Auto, Standard, Slow Sync., Manual, Off; First/Second AutoFP(HSS) selectable
      Sequence shooting: Max. 3 shots/sec.
      Buffer capacity: 25 Large/Fine JPEGs, 13 compressed RAW files or 8 uncompressed RAW files
      Storage Media: Dual slots for SD, SDHC, SDXC cards (compatible with UHS-I / UHS-II standards)
      Viewfinder: Detachable electronic viewfinder; 0.5-inch type OLED, approx. 3,690,000 dots, 100% coverage, approx. 23 mm eyepoint, dioptre adjustment -4 to +2 dpt, 0.85x magnification, built-in eye sensor
      LCD monitor: 3.2-inch with 4:3 aspect ratio, 2,360,000 dots, 100% coverage, touch screen; tilts through 90o up, 45o down, 60o to the right
      Touch screen display: Supports flick (up/down), double tap, tap, press, drag, pinch in/out, swipe gestures
      Playback functions: Switch slot, raw conversion, erase, erase selected frames, crop, resize, protect, rotate, red eye removal, voice memo setting, copy, Photobook assist, multi-frame playback with micro thumbnails, favourites, RGB histogram, highlight alert
      Interface terminals: USB   3.0 micro terminal (supports optional Remote Release RR-90), HDMI Micro Type D, 3.5 mm terminals for microphone & headphone, 2.5 mm remote release connector, DC-IN   15V connector
      Wi-Fi function: IEEE 802.11b/g/n, Infrastructure mode, WEP / WPA / WPA2 mixed mode
      Power supply: NP-T125 rechargeable Li-ion Battery Pack; CIPA rated for approx. 400 shots/charge
      Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 147.5 x 94.2 x 91.4 mm (excluding protrusions)
      Weight: Approx.   740 grams (body only); 825 grams with battery and card

      RRP: AU$9999; $US6500
      Distributor: Fujifilm Australia; 1800 226 355;



      Taken with the GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens:


      32mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/20 second at f/16.


      64mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/17 second at f/16.


      32mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/220 second at f/16.


      64mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/200 second at f/16.


       Crop from the above image enlarged to 100%.


      32mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/1000 second at f/4.


      37mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/4 second at f/32.


      64mm focal length, ISO 250, 1/60 second at f/4.5.


      32mm focal length, ISO 800, 1/27 second at f/8.


      64mm focal length, ISO 800, 1/10 second at f/10.


       148: 65:24 aspect ratio; 43mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/60 second at f/16.




       Crops from three different areas in the above image, captured at 100% magnification.


      3:2 aspect ratio;64mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/180 second at f/10.


      Crop from the above image enlarged to show moirø© pattern.


      59mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/45 second at f/16.


      32mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/25 second at f/11.

      Taken with the GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR lens:


      ISO 200, 1/480 second at f/10.


      ISO 200, 1/1300 second at f/2.8.


      ISO 200, 1/60 second at f/7.1.


       ISO 100, 1/140 second at f/11.


      ISO 200, 1/90 second at f/5.


      ISO 800, 1/42 second at f/8.


      ISO 320, 1/60 second at f/2.8.


      ISO 320, 1/60 second at f/2.8.


      ISO 400, 1/60 second at f/2.8.


      ISO 800, 1/28 second at f/5.6.

      Taken with the GF 120mm f/4 R LM OIS WR Macro lens:


      ISO 200, 1/550 second at f/4.


      ISO 200, 1/280 second at f/5.6.


      ISO 200, 1/140 second at f/8.


       Crop from the above image enlarged to 100%.


      ISO 125, 1/60 second at f/8.


      ISO 200, 1/58 second at f/4.5.


       Crop from the above image enlarged to 100%.


      ISO 200, 1/30 second at f/4.5.


      ISO 200, 1/250 second at f/4.