Last September Fuji announced their entry into the medium format market at Photokina, possibly the biggest photo-show in the world held every two years in Koln, Germany. It is the place to find all the photographic manufacturers under one several roofs.
The new camera has a 50-megapixel sensor, now considered by many to be the minimum for a medium format camera. The sensor is not made by Sony; unlike those used by Phase One, Hasselblad and Pentax. Fuji have remained tight lipped about the source but it is a 51.4mp sensor measuring 43.8 x 32.9, the same size as the competition and significantly larger than a full frame DSLR – roughly 1.7 times larger.
Fuji have established a great reputation for the quality of their images with top quality optics and their “X processors”, this camera uses the “X processor pro” similar to the one used in their flagship APS-C camera the X-T2.
The GFX differs from the competition in having a mirrorless viewing system; this helps to reduce overall weight and more importantly moving parts resulting in less “mirror slap” or the effect the mirror has on exposure when the mirror flips up and down in front of the sensor. Fuji says that this gives a measureable improvement in image quality. Trying the camera I wasn’t sure that the refresh rate was any quicker than if there had been a mirror.
The camera is supplied with a detachable EVF (electronic viewfinder) and there is an optional rotatable viewfinder that goes a long way towards providing a waist-level style of viewing.
Fuji have considerable experience in developing EVF systems, this is certainly their best and possibly the best I have seen, maybe as good as an optical system.
The first thing you notice about the camera is the weight, around 950 grams (body only) about the same as a Canon 5D III. The lens are similarly not as heavy as you might expect with the standard 63mm lens tipping the scales at 405 grams, significantly lighter than a 50mp Hasselblad H6D and 80mm lens at over 2000 grams.
FUJI have produced an amazing product and there are far too many features to list here but the articulated LCD screen is worth mentioning along with the ability to choose the focus point using the joystick on the back. If you have an X-series camera you will be familiar with the technique. In the hand it feels very natural, like a bigger DSLR and the controls will immediately feel familiar to any FUJI X user.
However the clincher is the price, the body is retailing at £6,199 with the standard 63mm lens coming in at £1399. Also available are the 120mm macro shown above and a 32mm – 64mm zoom.
Three more lenses are slated for release in 2017, a 23mm f4, 45mm f2.8 and a 110mm f2. These equate to 18mm / 36mm / 87mm in 35mm format.
A final word of warning, once you have held it, fired the shutter and looked through the EVF be prepared to start saving because this camera is very desirable.