Fujifilm GFX 50S: Why I made the switch

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You know those people who wake up in the middle of the night to preorder gear? That was me with the Fuji GFX 50S.

Just a few weeks later, I boxed up and sold my 5D Mark III and L-series glass — all for a brand-new mirrorless medium format camera I hadn’t even tried. Crazy, right? After shooting with the GFX for a few months, here are my thoughts:

The shooting experience

Night street Chicago

Photographers love to talk about how talent trumps access to high-end gear. And while I agree, having the right tools can make getting the shot that much easier. I wanted a system that would get out of my way and help me to achieve my creative vision, and that’s exactly what I got with my new camera.

As someone new to the Fuji ecosystem, I was a bit apprehensive about learning a new camera system. But within an hour or so, I felt right at home with the GFX. Its menu might not be as refined as the 5D Mark III’s, but changing settings feels almost as straightforward.

From its 3.2” tilting LCD and removable EVF to its lockable dials and well-placed AF-point selection joystick, the GFX has what I need, right where I need it. Better yet, I don’t think twice about taking it out of the studio, as the GFX was designed to be used in the field.

File latitude

Feral cat Old San Juan Puerto Rico

Blown away.

That’s how I felt after viewing GFX RAWs in Lightroom for the first time. Coming from the 5D Mark III, GFX file malleability, resolution, dynamic range, and color reproduction were like nothing I’d seen before. Play around with a sample RAW from DPReview and you’ll see what I mean.

Thanks to its 51.4MP 43.8 x 32.9mm medium format sensor and G-mount glass, the GFX’s image quality is nearly unbeatable. And unlike medium format cameras from just a few years ago, the GFX uses a CMOS sensor, so don’t sweat bumping your ISO to 3200 or 6400. Handheld, low-light medium format photography now is a reality.

AF accuracy

Erin the Westie

There were many things I loved about my DSLR, but I was continuously disappointed by its unpredictable AF performance. The GFX focuses more slowly than a DSLR, but in good light — and even low light for the most part — the GFX is dead-on, thanks to its contrast-detect AF.

Want to be sure your subject’s eye is tack-sharp? Select the smallest focus area, choose from the closest of 425 AF points, and say goodbye to focus and recompose.

Are you a sports or action shooter? If so, the GFX isn’t for you, but for studio, portrait, and landscape photographers, its AF system is more than enough. While some photographers say the GFX’s AF performance is subpar, I disagree entirely. In fact, I’d argue the GFX boasts the most sophisticated AF system of any medium format camera to date.

Is the GFX perfect? No, but for my work, it’s hard to beat.

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Portrait photographer Brennan Anderson’s work combines classic photography and lighting technique with modern elegance and style. Brennan utilizes dramatic lighting and striking poses to emphasize form. He has been shooting portraits for over a decade. Brennan is available for bookings in his studio and throughout Chicago.

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