September 21, 2016

FujiFilm GFX 50S is a Mirrorless, Giant Sensor Beast with Movie Mode

Fujifilm GFX 50S
Fujifilm seems to start over from scratch with the GFX 50S, a medium format mirrorless with a sensor 1.7x bigger than the 35mm FF sensor.

Big sensors cost more money to build and require bigger lenses to cover, but the image quality benefits they offer can make it worth the effort. These include lower noise and smoother, higher resolution images. Shallower depth of field at the same field of view. Often better low light performance. The Alexa 65, for example, has generated some stunning footage, first reaching a mass audience with The Revenant. With the Fujifilm GFX 50S, Fuji is taking a dive into mirrorless medium format image capture, with a sensor that is 43.8x32.9mm, 1.7x bigger than the 36x24mm full frame 35mm sensor size.

Fujifilm Format Comparison
Format ComparisonCredit: Fujifilm

While medium format was long popular in the still photo universe, many of those standards were built around needing a mirror for viewfinding, and Fuji has started over nearly from scratch with the new platform, designing a new sensor, new lenses, and most important, a new lens mount, closer to the sensor than in medium format film mounts.  

Why does this matter to filmmakers? Italian filmmaker Max Angeloni got his hands on a pre-release version of the camera, and has thankfully shared with the world that there is a Movie Mode (scroll down for the menu image). While features in pre-release bodies do sometimes disappear before release, it's rare, and if Fuji is letting photographers get their hands on this, they had to know that it would leak out. We can't tell from the images precisely what format the movie mode will offer (4K seems likely, especially since they have already brought it to the X-T2, and we don't know if the recording media can handle 6K or 8K), but we do know that a clean HDMI signal output will be available, which is a good sign. Combine that with any of the solid 4K external recorder options on the market, such as those from Atomos, and there is the potential for a big sensor video camera that could be huge with indie projects.

Fujifilm GFX 50S Viewfinder
Removeable ViewfinderCredit: Fujifilm

The other feature that has people excited is the 800g weight of the body; despite the large sensor size, the body itself is very compact, not much bigger than the X-T2, though much deeper. The viewfinder is a removable accessory, which is nice for remote rigs, but even when attached to the body, it can be angled horizontally and vertically for complicated operating situations. 

Coming early 2017, pricing is yet to be announced, but the rumor is that it should come in around the same price as the Hasselblad X1D-50c mirrorless, which runs about $8900 without a lens (but the Hasselblad was limited to 1080p video.)  You can sign up for updates on the B&H page, though official pricing hasn't arrived there as of publishing.

Reported tech specs:
  • 43.8x32.9mm Bayer Array sensor
  • Mirrorless G mount lens, 26.7mm flange depth
  • 51.4 Megapixel stills
  • 4:3 default aspect ratio
  • 14° Fahrenheit minimum operating temperature
  • Removeable and orientable viewfinder
  • Tiltable screen

Your Comment

9 Comments

After the XT-2, I can't see this not having 4K. Can anyone think of any medium format vintage lenses which would be compatible with this beast ?

September 21, 2016 at 1:39PM, Edited September 21, 1:39PM

0
Reply
Saied M.
1324

Don't know but, only hope my Pentax lenses for my 645's and 6x7's would work somehow. Beautiful glass.

September 21, 2016 at 1:47PM, Edited September 21, 1:50PM

0
Reply
Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
1668

Flange depth of 26.7mm. Most flange depths on medium format cameras are quite large because of the mirror, in the ~60-100mm range. It should be easy to adapt almost any lens to this system with a simple extension mount.

Hope there's a run on old medium lenses online, because I bought em up in advance anticipating demand ;)

September 21, 2016 at 2:54PM, Edited September 21, 2:54PM

3
Reply
avatar
Zack Wallnau
Cinematographer & Tinkerer
652

Even if it offers 4K, I don't see it being high quality 4K. I can't imagine the camera is powerful enough to downsize 51MP images at 24fps. It would either need to do pixel binning, the old Canon DSLR line-skipping process to keep the full sensor area but cause image issues or it would need to cut out a 8.8MP area of the sensor and just use that. Which would be a pretty substantial crop and probably bring you somewhere in the micro four thirds to APS-C size range.

September 21, 2016 at 2:25PM

7
Reply
avatar
Mike Tesh
Pro Video / Indie Filmmaker
767

The a6300 from Sony and the NX1 from Samsung incorporate a unique technology that does neither of those, yet still reads from the whole sensor! I don't entirely know the science behind it, but basically it records (on the a6300, which I own) 6K then down resolution scales that to package it as a far superior looking 4K image. By far superior, I mean it looks nicer and has better detail than a normal 4K recoded image. If that was used with this camera, the results would be some amazingly detailed 4K footage. Here's an article from EOSHD that talks a little about it:
http://www.eoshd.com/2016/02/6k-oversampled-4k-super-35mm-for-1000-impre...

September 21, 2016 at 4:23PM, Edited September 21, 4:34PM

0
Reply
avatar
Micah Foster
Director of Photography
74

Yeah that's what I was referring to when I said
"I can't imagine the camera is powerful enough to downsize 51MP images at 24fps."

Though technically it wouldn't be 51MP, it would be whatever the 16:9 crop of that is. Even so, that's a lot of resolution. It seems to me like they would take a simpler route, like most companies have.

Just a guess though.

September 22, 2016 at 12:15AM

0
Reply
avatar
Mike Tesh
Pro Video / Indie Filmmaker
767

The 16x9 crop is around 36MP from what I remember from the presentation. It also has a widescreen 2:40 type crop. If the X-T2 can down-res via hardware in camera from 5k to 4k and 3k to 1080 than I think they could do similar with larger format but who knows. I thought the 2 photographers they profiles on Youtube's video looked pretty good and all shot in 4k with the X-T2 - my next camera by the way :)

September 22, 2016 at 12:56PM

0
Reply
avatar
Lance Bachelder
Writer/Director/Editor
337

Initial reports say it will be 1080p only. This is a stills camera, meant for studio work, not a jack of all trades.

September 21, 2016 at 5:51PM

0
Reply

IMAX = 70mm x 48mm.

September 22, 2016 at 12:33AM, Edited September 22, 12:33AM

0
Reply