Fujifilm wasn’t the first to put out a medium format camera priced for the masses, but its $6,500 GFX 50S, which debuted at previous Photokina show in 2016, spurred more photographers to expand their vision outside the confines of a 35mm film frame.
It also drove down the price of its most comparable rival, the Pentax 645Z, which has dropped to about $5,500, down from an $8,500 debut in 2015. Today, also at Photokina, Fujifilm unveiled the GFX 50R, which offers the same image quality as the GFX 50S, but in a smaller, less expensive body. It’s the first medium format camera we’ve seen debut for under five grand—the 50R sells for $4,499.95 without a lens.
From an imaging perspective, we expect the 50R to perform in line with the 50S. The cameras use the same 51.4MP image sensor and X-Processor Pro imaging engine. It loses some of the 50S’s articulation—you don’t get the removable, tilting viewfinder—but matches it in most other respects.
But cutting those out brings both size and cost down. The 50R is a rangefinder-style camera—the EVF is positioned at the top-left corner on the rear, rather than centered behind the lens in an SLR-style mirrorless camera. It measures 3.8 by 6.3 by 2.6 inches (HWD) and weighs 1.7 pounds without a lens. Compare this with the 50S, which is 4.5 by 5.8 by 3.6 inches and 2.0 pounds with its EVF attached, and 3.7 by 5.8 by 3.6 inches and 1.8 pounds without it.
It doesn’t size things down without losing anything. One of the results of its form factor is a viewfinder that appears smaller to the eye—the GFX 50S has a huge 0.85x magnification EVF, while the 50R is a 0.77x design. That’s nothing to sneeze at; the best full-frame mirrorless cameras use 0.78x EVFs.
The viewfinder electronics are the same in the two cameras—each uses a 3.69-million-dot, 0.5-inch OLED panel, the difference is in the optics that project and magnify the panel. Likewise, the rear display is the same 3.2-inch, 2,360k-dot touch LCD, but the 50R’s screen only tilts up and down. The 50S’s display tilts in three directions.
Like its larger sibling, the 50R is sealed to protect its internals from dust and moisture, and it offers dual SD memory card slots, film and film grain emulation, and 1080p video capture. It does add Bluetooth as a connection option—Wi-Fi is also included.
In addition to the new camera, Fujifilm is bringing three new GF lenses to market, eventually. The GF 50mm F3.5 R LM WR is best suited for use with the 50R, as it is designed with a moderately wide angle of view, a favorite of many who love street and travel photography, and is sized to match the new, smaller body.
It’s joined on the lens development roadmap by a pair of optically stabilized zoom lenses: the GF 34-100mm F4 R LM OIS WR and GF 100-200mm F5.6 R LM OIS WR. The 100-200mm can be used with the existing GF 1.4X TC WR teleconverter.
The lens news is part of a development roadmap, so it’ll be some time before we know when you can buy them, or how much they’ll cost. The GFX 50R is priced at $4,499.95 as a body only and will go on sale in late November. It will also be available in Canada, for $5,699.99.