FujiFilm gets serious about large sensor imagery with the new GFX 50S, the start of an entire G-series system of medium format digital cameras.
Whether it's the Alexa 65 or the Panavision DXL, filmmakers are moving back to larger sensors. The imaging benefits are huge, since a larger sensor brings larger photosites that create less noise at the same light level, in combination with the visual benefits of a smaller depth of field you get at the same field of view. Unfortunately, both of those cameras are rental only and very expensive. With full frame cameras, it was a still camera, the 5D Mark II, that ultimately got sensors bigger than 2/3" into indie filmmakers hands, and it'll likely be a still camera that lets most of us get our hands on medium format sized sensors. With the official launch of the G-series line from Fujifilm today, the GFX 50S, we get a look at a platform that is likely to start showing up on indie shoots soon.
Unfortunately, it's currently limited to only 1080p, and this current version is unlikely to see that limitation change. The primarily reason is processing power: this model takes advantage of the X-Processor Pro to generate its video image, and processing the massive amount of data coming off the 51.4 MegaPixel sensor into a video package is hard enough. However, many filmmakers still end up delivering a tremendous volume of their content in HD, especially anything that has a final delivery for the web. For many jobs where image quality is paramount but resolution isn't, a medium format 1080p camera could be a strong choice.
When it was first announced back in September, Movie Mode was still unconfirmed, and we didn't have an official price. Today we learn that it's $6,495 for the body only, which is more than $2,000 cheaper than its main rival, the Hasselblad x1-d-50c, which also offers 1080p video. The key that makes this camera more likely to show up in the field on film shoots, however, isn't just the lower body price; it's also the lower lens prices. Compare the Hasselblad 120mm f/4 macro at $5,700 to the FujiFilm GF 120mm f/4 macro at $2,700. FujiFilm is famous for its lens quality, and the price point for the entire line makes it a very attractive option for filmmakers considering medium format work. Considering the furious pace of FujiFilm body upgrades, it's likely that there will be a 4K capable body available in two years time, and of course, the lenses will continue to work with the new platform. FujiFilm also released an adapter to use their older H-mount glass with the newer G-mount in manual focus mode, which should further open up affordable lens options.
FujiFilm has proven it is focused on creating great quality video with strong results from the internal video on the X-T2, recording full 4K internally. Both the GFX and the X-T2 have real-time film emulation modes available for real-time recording. While most filmmakers will want to shoot clean and color correct or add film emulation in post, for certain tight turnaround jobs, the internal film emulation is actually surprisingly useful. The X-T2 also received a little brother, the X-T20, which is also capable of internal 4K recording and, coming in at $900 for the body, should make a great entry level camera for filmmakers just starting out.
The GFX 50S is available for pre-order now at B&H.
- 51.4MP 43.8 x 32.9mm CMOS Sensor
- X-Processor Pro Image Processor
- Removable 3.69m-Dot OLED EVF
- 3.2" 2.36m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
- 117-Point Contrast-Detection AF System
- Extended ISO 50-102400, 3 fps Shooting
- Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 30 fps
- Multi Aspect Ratio Shooting
- Film Simulation Modes
- Weather-Sealed Magnesium Alloy Body