Recently, a few of the CameraPro team were lucky enough to get their hands on the new GFX 50S II; Fujifilm’s latest instalment to their GFX line-up. While we each only had a small window of time to play around, we’ve compiled our collective first thoughts to share with you.
The GFX 50S II utilises the same chassis as the GFX 100S that was released earlier this year; sporting a much sleeker design than the original GFX 50S body now the “hunchback” has been removed. As is always the case, the streamlined layout of this Mk II has come at a cost. Some physical dials, the D-pad and the removable electronic viewfinder that all adorned its predecessor are now gone. This will undoubtedly irk some shooters, particularly those with a film background.
That said, everything key is still highly accessible and there are 6 customisable buttons so you can gain quick access to the functions you rely on most. There is now a larger LCD on the top right which is beautifully clear and can be set to display your choice of settings, electronic dials or histogram.
Image Credit: Jonas Rask
Comfortable & Ergonomic Design
While some of the team found the electronic viewfinder (EVF) great to look through, others felt there was a lack of clearance space between the viewfinder and the rear LCD. The latter felt as if they really had to squish their face against the screen to be able to use the EVF, but we found that a move to the EC-GFX eyecup pretty much alleviated the problem. For times where you can’t use the EVF, the three-way tilting LCD makes it easy to work both horizontally and vertically from high and low angles.
Reminiscent in both size and weight to a full frame DSLR, each of the team found it ergonomically on point. The grip is comfortable to hold, the camera feels secure in hand and vital controls are within reach of your fingertips. Those with larger hands might consider grabbing the additional MHG-GFX S metal hand grip for a smidge more grip length. As a bonus, this will protect the bottom of the camera and provide you with a very useful arca swiss mounting plate!
Fujifilm GFX 50S II with GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR macro | f/4 | 1/200s | ISO 100 Image Credit: Phill Joshua
Outstanding In-Body Image Stabilisation
Probably the most appreciated upgrade is the addition of in-body image stabilisation (IBIS). The Fujifilm GFX 50S II’s predecessor was already regarded as an outstanding choice for landscape and studio photographers but the inclusion of IBIS will put this Mk II on the radar of photographers who regularly shoot handheld with longer focal lengths and at lower shutter speeds and ISOs.
Although we didn’t have enough time to really put that five-axis IBIS through its paces, one of the team found they were able to handhold the GF110mm lens down to 1/20th of a second. Of course not every photographer will be steady handed enough to pull that off but 6.5 stops of stabilisation will be advantageous for anyone shooting handheld.
The GFX 50S II has retained the same sensor as the original Fujifilm GFX 50S. There will most certainly be some who question Fujifilm’s decision to include a several year old sensor in a new body, but we all agreed that the image quality of this sensor is impeccable so it really doesn't matter.
Fujifilm GFX 50S II with GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR | f/11 | 1/250s | ISO 350 Image Credit: Phill Joshua
Amazing Detail with Very Low Noise
With 51.4MP on a sensor that is approximately 1.7x larger than full frame, it’s hard not to swoon at the resolving detail. These big pixels reproduce loads of tonality with very low noise and as is always the case with Fujifilm, the colour detail is second to none. If 50MP isn’t enough for you, the GFX 50S II now has multi-shot mode which utilises pixel shift technology to create a 200MP image reproduction … holy mega storage requirements! Basically, if image quality is your main wish, this camera will have it in droves.
Fujifilm GFX 50S II with GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR macro | f/4 | 1/100s | ISO 125 Image Credit: Phill Joshua
Fast Focus with Capable CDAF Performance
Just like the original Fujifilm GFX 50S, the upgraded model utilises contrast detection autofocus (CDAF). Some in our team found the exclusion of phase detection autofocus (PDAF) a bit of a let down. The compact body and inclusion of IBIS is going to be a huge drawcard for photographers who have previously steered away from medium format.
When coming from high end APS-C and full frame cameras there will be the expectation for a faster and more sophisticated AF system which is not entirely unreasonable at this price point in 2021. But let’s not get this bent out of shape, we all agreed that this will still be one of the fastest focusing medium format cameras on the market and the inclusion of the new X Processor 4 has added a nice little boost to the very capable CDAF performance.
We had to remind ourselves that the GFX system was never made for those seeking blazing fast autofocus. For the kind of subjects you'll realistically shoot with this camera, the contrast-detect AF will be plenty fast enough. Besides, a lot can be said for the way larger format shooting forces you to slow down a little, work more considered and appreciate the art form of photography.
Fujifilm GFX 50S II with GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR macro | f/5.6 | 1/250s | ISO 320 Image Credit: Phill Joshua
Fujifilm GFX 50S II with GF120mm F4 R LM OIS WR macro | f/5.6 | 1/250s | ISO 160 Image Credit: Phill Joshua
Two more film simulations have been added to the library which is a nice touch, bringing the suite to a total of 19 at the time of writing. We also love that it takes the newer W-235 battery from the Fujifilm X-T4 and GFX 100S which, according to Fujifilm, provides more shots per charge than the predecessor.
Not surprisingly, the video specs are light on. However, for photographers considering this camera, being limited to Full HD is not likely to be a problem. If you need high quality 4K video then you should have a look at the Fujifilm GFX 100S instead.
The new Fujifilm GFX 50S II is an impressively versatile camera and Fujifilm’s most affordable GFX body to date. Anyone who has been on the fence about moving into the larger format arena might find the combination of quality, functionality and price the final push they need. The GFX 50S II certainly piqued our interest and we can’t wait to get our hands on it again.
What do you think of the Fujifilm GFX 50S Mark II,
is it worth buying?
Feel free toget in touch or message us in the comments below.