Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fujifilm Announces the Medium-Format GFX 50S

Fujifilm GFX 50S
Just like I said would happen, Fuji just announced a 50-megapixel (51.4-megapixel, to be exact) medium-format camera. The camera will be called the GFX 50S. I'm not sure what the "GF" stands for ("Giant Format" maybe?), "X" is a letter Fuji loves to use, "50" maybe has to do with the megapixel count, and "S" might stand for "Small" since the camera is small for the size sensor contained within. Those are just guesses. It's all marketing, so it doesn't matter.

What does matter is that the GFX 50S will have a Sony-made Bayer-type sensor (not X-Trans). This will be a big deal for some, but it shouldn't be. The advantages of the X-Trans are less so as the format size increases, so there's a diminishing return, and it's not logical to complicate things for marginal gains.

The only things Fuji really announced is that they're indeed making this camera, it will eventually have six lenses available for purchase (three initially, and three shortly thereafter), and it will arrive in stores in early spring of 2017. Also, it won't have a built-in viewfinder (for some odd reason).

Fuji didn't announce the expected price. Rumor is that it will cost a little less than the Hasselblad X1D-50C (the camera that the GFX 50S will be competing directly with), which runs $9,000 for the body only. The Pentax 645Z (which shares the same sensor as the other two) would also be competition for the Fuji, and it runs $7,000 for the body. I suspect that the MSRP will be no less than $7,000 and no more than $8,000 for the Fuji body. We will have to wait and see.

Whatever the price is, it's way out of my range. Unless Fuji "gifted" me one (which won't happen), I will not be giving the camera a test drive.

And besides, 50+ megapixels are way too many for me. You can make poster sized prints from a good clean 16-megapixel file (such as those that I routinely get from my X-E1). Fuji's latest X-Trans cameras have 24-megapixels, which is plenty of resolution for murals. Very few photographers actually need the resolution that these mega-megapixel cameras produce. 

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