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Since announcing its mirrorless digital medium format camera system back at last year’s Photokina in Germany, Fujifilm has kept a tight lid on the first GFX camera’s full specs and pricing. Now all is revealed and the first shipment of bodies and lenses should be landing in Australia right around now.

You can read our 'Sneak Peak' from the current issue of Camera by clicking on the pages above. But let’s cut to the chase regarding pricing - the GFX 50S body delivers on the promise of being “well under $10,000”, but that’s in US dollars of course. In Australia it just scrapes under at $9999, which still makes it a lot cheaper than Hasselblad’s rival X1D and in the ballpark in terms of competing with the top-end full-35mm D-SLRs from Canon and Nikon. The standard GF 63mm f2.8 R WR lens (equivalent to a 50mm) is priced at $2399 so that’s a shade under $12,500 to jump into a digital medium format system…only Pentax’s 645Z offers a similarly affordable route, but it’s a significantly bigger and bulkier camera than the GFX 50s.

There are two other lenses available immediately – a 32-64mm f4.0 zoom (equivalent to 25-51mm and priced at $3499), and a 120mm f4.0 macro lens (95mm and $4199) – but Fujifilm is promising three more lenses by the end of 2017; namely a 23mm f4.0 ultra-wide (equivalent to 18mm), a 45mm f2.8 wide-angle (36mm) and a 110mm f2.0 short telephoto (87mm). There’s also an adaptor for H-Mount lenses (which, of course, Fujifilm has some involvement with) and which give the GFX system a lens-shutter option.

A number of the GFX body’s major features have already been well-documented since Photokina 2016, including the interchangeable EVF, the new G Mount with a fully-electronic 12-pin interface, and the 44x33 mm 51.4 MP (effective) CMOS sensor which is designed by Fujifilm – or “customised”, as the company nicely puts it – and fabricated by Sony. What’s now revealed is a 425-point contrast-detection AF system (in a 17x25 pattern), 256-zone metering and a continuous shooting speed of 3.0 fps with no limit on the JPEG burst length. The sensitivity range is equivalent to ISO 100 to 12,800 with expansion up to ISO 102,400 and a one-stop ‘pull’ to ISO 50. The camera’s focal plane shutter has a speed range of 60 minutes to 1/4000 second, but there’s the option of a sensor-based shutter which boosts the top speed to 1/16,000 second, or ‘electronic first curtain’ operation. Flash sync is up to 1/125 second.

The GFX 50S captures a maximum image size of 8256x6192 pixels with the option of one smaller size, but a total of seven aspect ratios – 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1, 5:4, 7:6 and 65:24 (i.e. the ‘true’ panoramic ratio). JPEGs can be captured at one of three compression levels while RAW files are captured with 14-bit colour (RAF format) and there’s the option of RAW+JPEG recording.

The GFX 50S has dual memory card slots for the SD format, both with UHS-II speed support for SDXC devices.

Not surprisingly, quite a number of JPEG processing features from the top-end X Series cameras have found their way into the GFX 50S, including the ‘Film Simulation’ presets (with the latest ACROS B&W modes), ‘Grain Effect’ and the ‘Lens Modulation Optimiser’. New is something called ‘Colour Chrome Effect’ which is designed to boost the colour saturation without compromising tonality. Other notable features include five auto bracketing modes (including for the ‘Film Simulation’ presets), a multiple exposure facility, intervalometer and WiFi.

The GFX 50S records Full HD 1080p video with stereo sound and the availability of various functions such as the ‘Film Simulation’ presets. There’s a stereo audio input for external mics and an output for monitoring via headphones. An uncompressed video output is available from the camera’s HDMI connector for recording to an external recorder.

Physically, the GFX 50S looks and feels a bit like a supersized X-T2, although it’s neither big nor bulky for a digital medium format camera. The fully weather-protected magnesium alloy bodyshell – which is actually smaller overall than either the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II or the Nikon D5 – weighs in at 920 grams with the detachable EVF attached. It sports a pair of dials – for shutter speeds and ISO settings – and a top-deck monochrome LCD read-out panel. The 8.1 cm LCD monitor screen has a resolution of 2.36 megadots, has a three-way tilt adjustment (like the X-T2) and provides touch controls including for autofocusing. There’s an optional vertical grip which holds an additional battery and a tilt adapter for the EVF. Interestingly, there’s a monitoring facility for the age of the batteries, scaled from zero to four.

See our Sneak Peek first look here!

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