Sadly I don’t own a digital Medium format camera. I do however own a Bronica, which is an analogue (film) Medium format camera. Bronica went out of business in the late ’90s, due to the popularity of digital. However both formats produce stunning images; but I appreciate I can’t really compare digital and analogue…..
Fujifilm was a latecomer to the digital Medium format market, yet they have not only caught up with their competition but have established themselves as a front-runner, thanks to their comparatively frequent product launches. Fujifilm’s GFX Medium format system was launched in 2016 with the GFX 50S, and since then, they have released four more versions – way more than any other brand.
Fuji, if you’re reading this, any chance I could borrow one?
Fortunately, one of Fujifilm’s goals was to make digital Medium format photography more accessible and announced their first camera would be available for less than £10,000. However, with the latest GFX 50 S ll body-only priced at just £3500, the secondhand value of their previous models has crashed. This did have a good impact on the Medium format market as a whole, and has made the older Fujifilm bodies particularly affordable; for some! I’m still going to have to stick with my X-series cameras!
Fujifilm has two options really, a 50MP or 100MP model. If 50MP is sufficient, you can choose between a DSLR-style body in the S series or a flat-topped rangefinder-style in the GFX 50R. To put this into perspective, my X-Pro 3 is ‘only’ 26MP. In either case, you’ll get a Medium format camera with current menus and none of the lags or sluggishness that most other used Medium format cameras have. Whether you choose 50MP or 100MP, you’ll get superb image quality, as well as amazing and varied colour adjustments that allow so many Fujifilm photographers to shoot JPEG-only.
Fujifilm GFX50R is perhaps the best Medium format camera for the money.
I like its size, small lens and the fact it has a flip-out back screen. Something the X-Pro3 does not have. Let’s also not forget the 3.69 million-dot viewfinder. Some say the autofocus isn’t as fast or as accurate as more recent models, and the sensor’s read-out speed makes the silent mode unworkable for fast-moving subjects, but the image quality looks excellent and the camera is, like all Fujifilm cameras, simple to use.
As enticing as the GFX 100’s 100MP is, the GFX 50R looks like my favourite among the versions most likely to appear on the secondhand market right now. I appreciate the interchangeable viewfinders and handling of the GFX 50S, but the GFX 50R’s smaller proportions make it a better fit for my street, travel, documentary style of photography. One of the biggest reasons I got an X-E4 as a backup to my X-Pro3. The GFX is also well-suited to studio work and pretty much any other type of photography really; albeit its flat top means it doesn’t look as stylish as the GFX-50s. I hope that makes sense?
This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images