With much of the interest at this year’s Photokina mostly on the full-frame 35mm mirrorless camera announcments, Fujifilm decided to go one better and christened its GFX mirrorless digital medium format system as “Super Full Frame”.
Of course, the term “full frame” is technically incorrect anyway as any format sensor is essentially full-frame (which is why we prefer to say full-35mm), and Fujifilm is making a valid point, but it’s also just made its GFX system more attractive for anybody considering the move to a bigger sensor. Key to this is the arrival of a rangefinder-type 50 megapixels model – called the GFX 50R – which is even more compact and lightweight than the GFX 50S and will be complimented by a new 50mm f3.5 ‘pancake’ prime (equivalent to 40mm). Fujifilm is suggesting, subtly at least, that if you’re really serious about moving up to a bigger sensor, then why not go bigger than full-35mm?
The GFX 50R is 25 mm slimmer than the 50S and 145 grams lighter (the total body weight is 775 grams with the battery), but it still packs the same 43.8x32.9 mm, 51.4 megapixels CMOS sensor which is 1.7 times bigger than a 35mm device. In reality, the GFX 50R really isn’t a whole lot bigger than the X-Pro2 given the difference in sensor sizes. However, it has a fully electronic viewfinder – rather than the latter’s hybrid type – which uses a 3.69 megadots EL-type panel with a magnification of 0.77x (35mm equivalent). The magnesium alloy bodyshell is both weather-sealed (64 in all) and insulated to allow shooting in temperatures down to -10 degrees Celsius. Availability will be from mid-November with local pricing yet to be confirmed, but the US body-only price is being quoted at US$4500 (less tax) so the 50R looks destined to be the most affordable digital medium format camera on the market.
As expected, a 100 megapixels version of the GFX 50S is in development with a launch scheduled for, most likely, mid-2019. It has a BSI-type CMOS sensor – again 43.8x32.9 mm in size – with a pixel count of 102 million. It also features on-chip pixels for phase-difference detection autofocusing which give 100 percent coverage… a world first for this category. Fujifilm is claiming a number of category ‘firsts’ for this camera, including in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) and 4K video recording at 30 fps with 10-bit colour. Of course, it is the world’s first 100 MP mirrorless camera full stop. Interestingly, Fujifilm sees cinematographers as a key customer segment for this camera given its affordability and portability versus an equivalent RED or Black Magic models. IBIS is seen as critical for dealing with the vibration issues that potentially exist with a sensor of such a high resolution.
In addition to the 35mm f3.5 prime, two additional GF lenses are on the way – a 100-200mm zoom in 2019 (equivalent to 79-158mm) and a 45-100mm zoom in 2020 (36-79mm). This will expand the system to 11 lenses.
The really big news for existing GFX camera owners is that Capture One’s RAW image processing is now available for the 50S and 50R plus all the higher-end X mount ‘APS-C’ models, including the latest X-T3. Fujifilm isn’t neglecting its ‘APS-C’ mirrorless system, announcing the availability of the XF 33mm f1.0 ultra-fast prime which will arrive some time in 2019. The big deal with this lens is that it will be autofocus, something that is quite a technical challenge to achieve with such a large maximum aperture. For more information visit http://www.fujifilm.com.au