Fujifilm GFX 50S Review

The GFX 50S is beautiful and, believe it or not, affordable for a medium format model

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By full-frame or APS-C standards, the GFX 50S’s operational performance is pretty pedestrian. The contrast AF system is effective and versatile, and covers nearly all of the frame, but it’s not especially fast. That said, the GFX 50S is made for considered photography, and in these situations the AF is fine. It might take a second to adjust to a big change in focus distance, but smaller adjustments are faster.

Image quality, however, quickly makes you forget any of these foibles. The level of detail the GFX 50S captures is simply stunning. Part of this can be attributed to the 50MP resolution, part to the larger sensor size, and part – we suspect – to the G-mount Fujifilm lens we were using.

The GFX 50S excels in the studio, and as a hand-held camera too.

The GFX 50S excels in the studio, and as a hand-held camera too.

We’ve seen with cameras like the Nikon D810 and Canon EOS 5DS that high-resolution sensors need the best-quality lenses since they show up any edge softness or fringing mercilessly, but the aforementioned 63mm f/2.8 lens supplied with our camera showed none of these. It was sharp and clean to an almost uncanny degree.

You can choose from a variety of Film Simulations, including Velvia, Provia and Astia, though most users would probably shoot Raw files.

You can choose from a variety of Film Simulations, including Velvia, Provia and Astia, though most users would probably shoot Raw files.

The dynamic range results were only average in the lab, but it was a different story in real-world use. To keep the playing field level, we don’t use in-camera dynamic range enhancement options in the lab tests, but we did use Fujifilm’s Dynamic Range expansion mode in the field, and this adds substantially to the tonal range it can capture. In Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw, the camera’s Raw files reveal substantial reserves of shadow and highlight detail.

The sensor produces Raw files with beautiful rendition and a large tonal range, allowing heavy adjustment without degrading quality.

The sensor produces Raw files with beautiful rendition and a large tonal range, allowing heavy adjustment without degrading quality.

It would take a long time to test the Fujifilm GFX 50S in every possible set of conditions, but our time with it reveals a camera that delivers superb image quality and handles brilliantly. It might not have the responsiveness of a smaller-format camera, but that’s both a by-product of the larger sensor and an acceptable compromise in a camera that can do what this one can.