Gear Photography

Fujifilm’s GFX50S II brings medium format quality to the masses

Full-frame crushing image quality finally meets speed, portability and handling at an affordable price...

It’s hard to believe that Fujifilm’s GFX Series has only been with us since 2016. Now, its newest and most accessible model is here, the GFX50S II. This is a camera that blends the original model’s imaging excellence with the updated speed and refined handling of the GFX100S, and promises to bring medium format quality to a whole new section of photographers.

The GFX50S II features the same 51.4Mp resolution as its predecessor, and of course this comes from the G Format sensor that’s 1.7x larger than a 35mm format ‘full frame’ chip. This has all the benefits in resolving power, dynamic range and signal to noise ratio that you’d expect from a bigger area for the light to be gathered from, so anyone thinking of upgrading to the larger format has plenty to look forward to.

But elsewhere it’s all change. The GFX50S II uses Fujifilm’s latest X Processor 4 imaging engine and employs leading-edge algorithms for faster, high-precision AF. Sensor readout speed has been almost doubled, so more urgent focusing should be expected, and the extra processing power also accelerates Face / Eye Detection modes well beyond the previous model, perfect for shooting portraits and candids with the aperture wide open. 

On top of that, the GFX50S II adds five-axis, in-body image stabilisation (IBIS), which provides up to 6.5 stops of advantage. What that means is the sensor’s high resolution is made the most of when hand holding the camera, whether that’s in low light or everyday shooting conditions. The ability to move the sensor in this way also allows up a Pixel Shift Multi-Shot mode, as seen on GFX100S, which this time generates 200Mp images, and the same function can be used to produce 51.4Mp images, free of false colour when required.

All this imaging power comes in a body that’s designed to be as simple, portable and easy to use as a medium-sized DSLR. It has a large, comfortable hand grip, the top panel features a traditional MASP mode dial, including six custom settings for unique shooting setups, and there’s a selector switch that shifts between stills and movie modes, wherein buttons can be individually customised. A new flat-shaped focus lever makes moving the active AF point quicker and easier, and there’s a 1.8in top-plate LCD for camera settings and status info as well as a three-way tilting 3.2in LCD touchscreen. 

Maybe best of all is the GFX50S II’s size and weight. Almost identical to the GFX100S, it weighs approximately 900g and measures 104.2×87.2mm. The body is made of magnesium alloy, fully weather sealed and operable down to -10ºC. 

Complementing the new GFX50S II and also a good match for the GFX100S and GFX50R, Fujifilm has launched the GF35-70mmF4.5-5.6 WR zoom. Like those bodies, it’s compact and lightweight, giving a versatile 35mm equivalent of 28-55mm, and weighs just 390g. It also has a dust- and moisture-resistant construction and is rated for use down to -10°C. The lens also closes to approximately 73.9mm when fully collapsed, making it ultra portable, and when mounted on the GFX100S or GFX50S II , the combined weight comes to around only 1,300g. 

None of this compact build should come at the expense of image quality either, as the GF35-70mm uses one aspherical element and two ED elements in its 11 element, nine group design, promising edge to edge sharpness and well-controlled spherical and chromatic aberrations. A stepping motor is also incorporated for silent, fast and highly-accurate AF performance, and its minimum focusing distance is 35cm across the complete zoom range, giving a working distance of around 25cm. 

The GFX50S II is available from late September, at £3,499 body only or £3,899 with the GF35-70mmF4.5-5.6 WR. The lens alone is available from late November at £849.