The Best Reasons To Buy the Fujifilm GFX 50S II
Price – $3,999
The first thing that jumps out at you with the GFX 50S II is the price. This is a digital medium format camera that is priced at $3,999. This is the lowest price a digital medium format camera has ever retailed for (GFX 50R has been promoted at $3,499, but the retail price is $4,499). Why is this great? Because this is squarely in the same pricing realm of top end 35mm, full frame camera systems, but it’s medium format.
Sensor Size – 44mm x 33mm
If you value larger sensors, then Larger than Full Frame (which is a Fujifilm tag line) is here in this camera body. At 44mm x 33mm, the GFX 50S II sensor size is 60% larger than 35mm full frame. This means more room for larger photosites and lower noise while still a providing a very high level of megapixels.
While Fuji also offers a 100mp GFX 100S model, for many, 50mp provides ample detail and scaling ability. A 50mp sensor can easily handle print enlargements to 40 – 50 inches and more. It allows for creative file repurposing, with plenty of detail and scale to handle cropping into the image to create different orientations or isolate details to create images from images. And this is a true 16 Bit sensor, which means that you’ll have superior color and gradations even when pushing deep dark shadows.
6.5 Stop IBIS
This is one of the biggest changes from the previous GFX 50R and GFX 50S models, the addition of a 6.5 stop IBIS. This contributes to making this camera – despite the larger physical size and larger sensor size – a much more versatile camera along the lines of a 35mm camera system. Without IBIS, there are shots you can’t make with a system larger than full frame, and with a 6.5 stop IBIS, which works fantastically (and there is no hyperbole in that statement), you now can shoot medium format in many more situations than ever before.
Double the AF readout speed of the original GFX 50 S
Traditionally, auto focus has been a huge weakness for medium format cameras. For years, the only option was a single center point in a contrast-detect auto focus system. With today’s announcement, you now have a sub $4,000 medium format camera with 100% sensor coverage in a 425 Point Phase Detect Auto Focus system (PDAF). The auto focus readout speed from the GFX 50S II is twice as fast as the readout from the original GFX 50S, so action shooting with auto focus becomes much more viable.
Compact Size and Weight
While medium format, this camera only weighs in at 900g (1.8lb). Contrast that with the weight of a Canon R5 at 738 g (1.6lb). It’s amazingly light for a medium format camera, and the footprint isn’t much larger than an R5 either (5.9″ x 4.1″ 3.4″ for the 50S II, 5.4″ x 3.8″ x 3.5″ for the Canon).
Affordable, Extensive Lens Lineup
Fuji continues to expand their GF lineup. They’re the only medium format camera maker that offers not only IBIS but also OIS (for some lenses). While the camera body is in 35mm pricing territory, the lenses also are. And there are now 2 lenses below $1,000 (GF 50mm and the new GF 35-70 Zoom). Lenses now range from 23mm – 250mm. And there are some very viable 3rd party options (including a recently released 11mm/2.8) from TTArtisan, Mitakon, and others. There are also adapters for 35mm lenses, like Canon and Nikon TS lenses.
Fast, Sub f/2 Lenses
For those who have not moved up to medium format because they crave the fast lenses of 35mm full frame, Fuji offers two lenses at f/2 and below, the 110mm/2.0 and the 80mm/1.7. These lenses are sharp as a tack, even wide open. Keep in mind that due to the larger sensor size, the practical result of these lenses shot on a 44mm x 33mm sensor is equivalent to the 1.4 and 1.2 range of 35mm lenses.
Fuji packs many extras into this camera system. Electronic and Focal Plane Shutter options. Eye Focus AF. Focus Bracketing (Stacking). Pixel Shift (Multi-Shot Capture). 100% Viewfinder Coverage. Capture One Full Support (coming).
Who is it for?
I see many photographers being attracted to this product. Some are already shooting with a GFX 50S or GFX 50R and will want to step up for 6.5 stop IBIS, and sleeker body ergonomics. I can see existing GFX 100 or GFX 100S owners adding a GFX 50S II as a backup body or an alternative capture system without the huge file size. 35mm shooters may want to take their quality to another level, or even just differentiate themselves from the traditional Canon/Nikon/Sony crowd. APS-C shooters not content with the small-ish gap between their camera and a full frame camera, can create more of a gap with a medium format camera.
The bottom line is that for many years photographers have lamented they would love to shoot digital medium format, but they cannot afford it. That argument is no longer valid (for most). This is the most affordable digital medium format camera ever.