Fujifilm GFX 50S II Review

Camera Reviews / Fujifilm Cameras i Now Shooting!
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Fujifilm GFX 50S II
Resolution: 51.40 Megapixels
Sensor size: Medium format
(43.8mm x 32.9mm)
Kit Lens: 2.00x zoom
35-70mm
(28-55mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 12,800
Extended ISO: 50 - 102,400
Shutter: 1/16000 - 3600 sec
Max Aperture: 4.5 (kit lens)
Dimensions: 5.9 x 4.1 x 3.4 in.
(150 x 104 x 87 mm)
Weight: 31.7 oz (900 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 09/2021
Manufacturer: Fujifilm
51.40
Megapixels
FUJINON G Mount Medium format
size sensor
image of Fujifilm GFX 50S II
Front side of Fujifilm GFX 50S II digital camera Front side of Fujifilm GFX 50S II digital camera Front side of Fujifilm GFX 50S II digital camera Front side of Fujifilm GFX 50S II digital camera Front side of Fujifilm GFX 50S II digital camera

Fujifilm GFX 50S II Review - Hands-on Review

by Jeremy Gray
Preview posted: 09/02/2021

Updates:
09/14/2021: First Shots added
10/07/2021: Hands-on Review & Gallery Images added

Click here to jump to our in-depth Fujifilm GFX 50S II Product Overview

Fujifilm GFX 50S II Hands-on Review

The GFX 50S II is a strong performer and a fantastic value

by Jeremy Gray | Posted 10/07/2021

Fujifilm launched its large-format (medium-format, really, although Fujifilm uses the term large-format in much of its marketing material) GFX camera system in 2017 with the Fujifilm GFX 50S mirrorless camera. The GFX 50S has a 51.4-megapixel CMOS image sensor that's about 70% larger than a classic 35mm full-frame image sensor. Best-known for its X Series cameras that feature APS-C sensors, Fujifilm decided to skip over full-frame altogether and head straight into medium-format territory.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 37mm (29mm equiv.), f/16, 18s, ISO 200.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

This basic history lesson has a purpose, so bear with me. Fujifilm followed up the GFX 50S with the GFX 50R. The rangefinder-style camera had the same image sensor, included new wireless connectivity, and made medium-format photography more accessible with a lower price point and smaller camera body.

Then came the Fujifilm GFX 100 in 2019. The GFX 100 was a big shift in many ways. The camera introduced a dual-gripped, pro-body design. Inside, Fujifilm introduced a new 102-megapixel image backside-illuminated image sensor. That represented a significant advancement for the GFX system. The improved sensor readout speed and a hybrid autofocus system with fast phase-detect AF pay big dividends. Fujifilm didn't stop there. It added in-body image stabilization (another major advancement) and 4K video (not to sound like a broken record, but that's also a big deal). Of course, when you make all these major improvements, you end up with an expensive camera. The GFX 100 costs $10,000.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 62mm (49mm equiv.), f/8, 6.5s, ISO 100.
Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

2020 was a quiet year for GFX cameras, although Fujifilm released new glass. However, 2021 has been very busy. Earlier this year, Fujifilm announced the GFX 100S. Harnessing the spirit of the original GFX 50S, the GFX 100S introduced a new DSLR-style camera body that is much sleeker and more compact than the original. As evidenced by its model name, the GFX 100S has the same 102-megapixel image sensor as the GFX 100, plus an even better in-body image stabilization system. It's a fantastic camera, and thanks to the camera body design and IBIS, it's also very enjoyable to use.

Okay, we're caught up. Fujifilm just recently announced the GFX 50S II. It takes the same body as the GFX 100S and pairs it with the same image sensor as the original GFX 50S. The result is a camera that promises identical image quality as the GFX 50S, slightly improved AF (more on that later), and in-body image stabilization in the exact camera body as the GFX 100S. Is the GFX 50S II worth upgrading to from the original GFX 50S? Probably not. Is it the best value in medium-format photography and an excellent entry point to the GFX system? Absolutely.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 61mm (48mm equiv.), f/8, 0.6s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Without further ado, let's find out more about the GFX 50S II, including its image quality, improved performance and overall usability.

Fujifilm GFX 50S II Key Features and Specs

  • 51.4-megapixel medium-format (43.8 x 32.9mm) Bayer CMOS image sensor
  • Native ISO range of 100-12,800, expandable to 50-51,200
  • 14 stops of dynamic range
  • Includes Nostalgic Neg. Film Simulation
  • Overclocked quad-core X-Processor 4 with latest firmware
  • Contrast-detect autofocus system with faster AF than the original GFX 50S
  • Upgraded autofocus algorithms
  • Focuses down to -3.5 EV with lowlight priority AF
  • Focuses as fast as 0.272s with Rapid AF
  • Continuous shooting at 3 frames per second
  • 0.77x 3.69M dot electronic viewfinder with 50fps refresh rate
  • 3.2" tilting touchscreen
  • Up to 6.5 stops of shake reduction with in-body image stabilization
  • 205-megapixel Multi-shot Pixel Shift
  • 440 shot battery life with NP-W235 lithium-ion
  • FHD video at up to 30p
  • $4,000 for the body only
  • Available in a kit with the new GF 35-70mm lens for $4,500

Fujifilm GFX 50S II body and design: A sleeker and more compact GFX

In all practicality, the GFX 50S II has the same camera body as the GFX 100S. The only difference is the model name on the side of the camera. Since the camera is identical, this review includes the product shots I captured of the GFX 100S. What I said earlier this year about the GFX 100S design rings true with the GFX 50S II. There are some nice aspects of the GFX 50S II's design.

The GFX 50S II is a moderately stylish camera. It's not the most exciting camera to look at, but it's sleek and well-designed.

Compared to the GFX 50S, the new camera is lighter by 20g and more compact. The GFX 50S is 147.5mm (5.8") x 94.2mm (3.7") x 91.4mm (3.6") (W x H x D) without its viewfinder attached. The GFX 50S II, which has a non-detachable viewfinder, is 149.9mm (5.9") x 104.1mm (4.1") by 86.4mm (3.4"). That may not seem like a big difference, but the reduction in depth is noticeable in real-world use, in large part because the GFX 50S II doesn't have a large bulge behind its display like the original GFX 50S. The GFX 50S used a larger battery, which was inserted behind the display. It's a chunky camera. The GFX 50S II instead is sleeker, and its battery goes into the bottom of the front grip, as is the case with many cameras. Admittedly, the side battery compartment was convenient when working on a tripod.

The GFX 50S II looks quite a bit different than the original GFX 50S, especially from the back. Gone is the battery bulge behind the display, which is a big improvement. However, the EVF in the GFX 50S II has less magnification and there's no dedicated directional pad.

What about compared to a full-frame mirrorless camera? Consider the Sony A1. The GFX 50S II is 31mm wider, 7mm taller, and 17mm thicker while weighing 84g more. That's not a big difference. What about the Panasonic S1R? The GFX 50S II weighs 120g less than the S1R and is 1mm wider, 6mm shorter and 10mm thinner. The GFX 50S II is bigger than a Nikon Z7 II but smaller than a Nikon D850 DSLR. The point is that the GFX 50S II is more comparable in size to full-frame cameras than its predecessor, and in some cases, the larger-sensor camera is smaller than its full-frame counterparts.

How is the GFX 50S II in use? It's good. The control layout makes sense and is easy to use. I wish the GFX 50S II had the same directional buttons as the original GFX 50S, which worked well for menu navigation and could be assigned to act as four convenient function buttons. The GFX 50S II instead has just a joystick, which is used for both menu navigation (click for selection) and moving the autofocus point when shooting. The joystick works well most of the time, but directional inputs are not always accurately recognized.

The GFX 50S II is highly customizable. On top of the camera there's a large e-ink information display, which can conveniently show a live histogram as well as the usual exposure settings and other info. Next to this display are a pair of programmable function buttons. You can assign many different functions to these buttons, including exposure compensation, image quality, ISO, Film Simulation, white balance, focus mode, focus area, bracketing, metering, image stabilization, self-timer, AE/AF locks and more. The e-ink display can also show virtual dials, which can be used to adjust different shooting settings depending on the mode, including shutter speed and ISO. This essentially replaces the dedicated ISO dial on the GFX 50S.

Another customizable aspect of the camera is its Q menu. You access the Q menu by hitting the dedicated 'Q' button on the thumb rest. It brings up a menu with 12 settings. The default arrangement, including settings like Film Simulation, white balance, and self-timer, is good, but it's simple to make changes in the camera's menus.

The camera includes a physical locking mode dial, something absent on the larger GFX 100. The mode dial's return is a welcome one. Next to the mode dial is a switch to go between video mode and still photography mode. The dial gets more use on the GFX 100S given the camera's 4K capabilities, but nonetheless, it's on the GFX 50S II as well.

On the GFX 50S II actually does look different than the GFX 100S from this angle. The GFX 50S II has 'GFX 50S II' on its left side, instead of just 'GFX' as seen above. The fact that the GFX 100S doesn't say '100S' anywhere on the body is interesting, actually, and makes me wonder if the GFX 50S II wasn't planned at the time of the GFX 100S' design.

Returning to the camera's back, the touchscreen is a 3.2" display with 2.36M dots of resolution. The display tilts up 90, down 45 and to the right by up to 60. The display works well in use when shooting in landscape or portrait orientation. It's worth noting that when using the GFX 50S II, like the original GFX 50S, images appear somewhat blurry at first during playback. The camera does a bit of processing, and the image appears sharp within a second or so. It's not the display's fault, but it is something to consider, given how one routinely interacts with the display.

The electronic viewfinder is fixed, unlike the detachable one on the GFX 50S. The GFX 50S II's EVF also has less magnification (0.77x) than the original GFX 50S's EVF (0.85x). The EVF has 3.69M dots, which is good, although it's not quite as impressive as the 5.76M dot EVF in the flagship GFX 100 camera.

The GFX 50S (left) is compatible with an EVF tilt adapter and vertical grip. The GFX 50S II (GFX 100S on the right) is not compatible with these accessories and there aren't any alternative accessories available.

I use my GFX 50S with the optional vertical grip and EVF tilt adapter. I love both these accessories for my workflow, despite adding size and weight to the overall kit. Unfortunately, the GFX 50S II is not compatible with GFX 50S either of these accessories for obvious reasons, such as a different design and a non-detachable EVF. Still, the GFX 50S II is not compatible with any vertical grip at all, which is a disappointment. The tilting display works well in portrait mode, but there's no vertical grip available for the camera. It's a small issue for most people, perhaps, but it does mean I'd personally never switch from the GFX 50S to the GFX 50S II (more on that later).

Overall, the Fujifilm GFX 50S II is a well-designed camera. Like the GFX 100S before it, the GFX 50S II is sleek and easy to use. Its controls are heavily customizable, and the EVF and rear display work well in real-world use. It's not a perfect camera, but it's robust, well-designed and works well.

Image quality: Same great image quality as the original GFX 50S

The GFX 50S II has the same 51.4-megapixel image sensor as the GFX 50S. It's an unchanged image sensor. It wasn't even a brand-new sensor in 2017 when the GFX 50S launched, so in 2021, the image sensor is officially 'old.' However, despite lacking fancy technology like backside illumination, the 51.4MP sensor delivers excellent image quality.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 49mm (39mm equiv.), f/8, 1/4s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Getting into the nitty-gritty, the sensor is 43.8 x 32.8mm (4:3 ratio, rather than the typical 3:2 ratio seen in most cameras), which is about 1.7 times larger than the 36 x 24mm sensor found in full-frame cameras. A larger image sensor is a big deal. Comparing the GFX 50S II's sensor to a full-frame camera with a similar megapixel count, the GFX 50S II's larger image sensor impacts overall image quality. The pixels are physically bigger.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 32mm (25mm equiv.), f/4, 10s, ISO 12,800.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The camera's native ISO range is 100-12,800, and image quality is good across much of that range. At low ISO settings, images are very sharp with rich color and excellent tonality. The dynamic range is also excellent, and RAW files can be processed heavily without any discernible loss in overall quality.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 49mm (39mm equiv.), f/8, 1/4s, ISO 100.
Original image. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 49mm (39mm equiv.), f/8, 1/4s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

At higher ISOs, the GFX 50S II holds up well. Even at ISO 6400, image quality is pretty good. You do lose dynamic range as you increase ISO, as expected, and color quality degrades slightly. However, the image remains detailed, and the visible noise is fine-grained and consistent. I quite like the grain quality on the GFX 50S II, especially at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200. To each their own, but the point is that the image quality at higher ISOs is good.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 64mm (51mm equiv.), f/4, 1/60s, ISO 6400.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 64mm (51mm equiv.), f/4, 1/60s, ISO 6400.
100% crop. This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 64mm (51mm equiv.), f/4, 1/60s, ISO 6400.
100% crop from original JPEG image. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Like other Fujifilm cameras, the GFX 50S II features an array of their useful Film Simulations. The GFX 50S II offers many color and monochrome Film Simulations, including Provia (standard), Velvia (vivid) and a newer Nostalgic Neg. Different photographers will land on different favorite Film Simulations. Still, the point is that many of them look excellent and help the GFX 50S II deliver excellent images straight from the camera. Some software is compatible with Film Simulations, too, allowing you to take advantage of them in addition to RAW processing capabilities.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 61mm (48mm equiv.), f/11, 2.1s, ISO 100.
ACROS Film Simulation. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The larger image sensor impacts image quality that goes beyond simple megapixel count. Like the original GFX 50S, the GFX 50S II produces sharper images than full-frame cameras with similar megapixel counts. The camera produces images with excellent detail.

Let's defer briefly to Fujifilm on the matter of sharpness, 'GFX50S II's large format imaging sensor isn't just physically larger than every full-frame sensor out there, it also has specially shaped microlenses that are small enough to leave space between the sensor's pixels, which allows it to efficiently focus light to create images with striking detail and clarity.'

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 51mm (40mm equiv.), f/8, 1/4s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

What Fujifilm is talking about has a demonstrable impact on image quality. The GFX 50S II produces very sharp images. However, this sharpness isn't always a good thing. The GFX 50S II is prone to aliasing and quite easily succumbs to moir artifacts. Sometimes images can appear too sharp.

The GFX 50S II may not have a fancy new image sensor, but it doesn't need one. If you demand the absolute best in GFX image quality, the GFX 100S is there. If you prefer to save money and storage space on your computer the 51.4MP GFX 50S II is great.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 32mm (25mm equiv.), f/13, 20s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Autofocus and performance: Slightly improved AF is still slow

Autofocus

The Fujifilm GFX 50S II also includes the same autofocus system as the GFX 50S. Although, unlike the situation with image quality, there are differences in autofocus performance with the new camera. Thanks to an overclocked processor and improved autofocus algorithms, Fujifilm promises improved autofocus speed. Not dramatically improved, but improved nonetheless.

I put the GFX 50S II up against the original GFX 50S and tested autofocus speed with the GF 32-64mm f/4 lens, and the GFX 50S II is a bit faster. That said, it's still not fast. Compared to other cameras that have hit the market since the GFX 50S launched in 2017, even a slightly faster GFX 50S II feels a bit slow.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 64mm (51mm equiv.), f/4, 1/160s, ISO 1600.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The AF system is limited by the technology in action. The GFX 100(S) cameras can utilize on-sensor phase-detect autofocus pixels, but the GFX 50S II relies only on contrast-detect autofocus. It's just slower than the hybrid AF system in the GFX 100(S). There's no way around it. Further, the 425 CDAF points cover much of the GFX 50S II's image area but not as much as the PDAF system in the GFX 100(S).

In low light, the limitations of CDAF are somewhat apparent, although low-light AF does seem slightly better with the GFX 50S II than the original GFX 50S, as Fujifilm stated it would be. There's some hunting in dim conditions, and speeds are noticeably decreased, but the autofocus system is generally accurate and reliable. The GFX 50S isn't an action camera, and neither is the GFX 50S II.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 36mm (28mm equiv.), f/16, 30s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Autofocus area modes are standard fare. There's single point (with a changeable AF point size), zone, wide/tracking and face/eye detect autofocus. Autofocus tracking, eye detection and face detection are all stated to be improved thanks to updated AF processing. I think that's true in real-world use. Face detection still isn't great, but it can work when the subject takes up a large portion of the frame and isn't moving quickly, as you can't use eye-detect AF with continuous AF. Photographing any quick-moving subject with the GFX 50S II will prove challenging.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 32mm (25mm equiv.), f/8, 1/5s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Performance

The GFX 50S II can shoot at up to 3 frames per second. It's not fast. Paired with the sluggish autofocus, the GFX 50S II is, once again, not an action camera. It's not quick to power up or playback images. There's even occasional slowdown in menus. If you use Color Chrome FX on your images, the camera can take a few seconds to process a single image, limiting what menu options you can access.

However, an area of performance worth applauding is the in-body image stabilization. The inclusion of IBIS makes the GFX 50S II a better performer than the original GFX 50S in terms of capturing sharp images and putting the fantastic image sensor to use. IBIS makes a significant positive difference in overall performance and usability.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 62mm (49mm equiv.), f/8, 1/20s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Video: Still 1080/30p video

The GFX 50S II's video performance is fine. The camera records Full HD (1920 x 1080) video at up to 30 frames per second. It's paltry compared to the GFX 100S's 4K/30p video or the 4K/60p video offered by many full-frame mirrorless cameras these days. However, the GFX 50S II's FHD video quality is pretty good, and autofocus works okay.

Fujifilm GFX 50S II Sample Video - 1920 x 1080 at 30 frames per second.
Download video (53.2 MB .MP4 File)

The GFX 50S II is not really designed for video, and I can't imagine many prospective buyers are all that interested in using the GFX 50S II for video work. If they are and can handle 1080/30p video then the GFX 50S II works decently enough.

Shooting experience

Is the GFX 50S II an upgrade from the original GFX 50S?

The GFX 50S II is a great option for someone new to the GFX system, but it's not necessarily a good choice for someone who already owns the original GFX 50S. The primary draw of the GFX 50S and the new GFX 50S II is image quality, and that remains the same.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 32mm (25mm equiv.), f/4, 900s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Autofocus is improved, sure, although it is still far from excellent, especially compared to the fantastic mirrorless cameras you can get in 2021.

The GFX 50S II's camera body design is also better overall. However, if you have any accessories for the GFX 50S, those will be useless on the new camera, and you can't even get a new EVF tilt adapter or vertical battery grip. The EVF is also worse, although it remains good in and of itself.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 43mm (34mm equiv.), f/8, 4.5s, ISO 100.
Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Perhaps the most exciting change for existing GFX 50S or GFX 50R owners is the inclusion of in-body image stabilization in the GFX 50S II. IBIS is not only good but also a significant and positive change in how you can use and photograph with the GFX 50S II. It's a big deal for anyone who shoots handheld. Is it a big enough deal to trade up to a GFX 50S II? Not for me, but I wouldn't begrudge someone who wants IBIS that badly.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 64mm (51mm equiv.), f/11, 2.6s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Ultimately, the GFX 50S II makes more sense for new GFX owners than existing ones. For existing GFX owners, the upgrade to the GFX 100S is a much more appealing, albeit expensive, proposition.

Is the GFX 50S II the best deal in medium-format photography?

Fujifilm is pricing the GFX 50S II very competitively. The original GFX 50S launched at $6,500, which, while a significant sum, was a relatively good deal in the medium-format space. It still is, although the new $6,500 camera in Fujifilm's lineup is the excellent GFX 100S with its stunning 102MP image sensor. Meanwhile, the GFX 50S II is launching at $4,000. That's about the same price as the Canon EOS R5 full-frame mirrorless camera and around $500 more than the Sony A7R IV. You can't get better image quality in a modern digital camera for $4,000 than the GFX 50S II, as far as I'm concerned. So if that's your primary concern, the GFX 50S II makes a lot of sense.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 58mm (46mm equiv.), f/11, 2.3s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Further still, Fujifilm has a kit with the GFX 50S II, something it hasn't done with any previous GFX camera. The GFX 50S II kit comes with the new GF 35-70mm lens and costs $4,500, representing a $500 savings compared to buying the camera and lens separately. It's a terrific deal.

It may be obvious at this point that my answer to the above question, 'Is the GFX 50S II the best deal in medium-format photography?' is a resounding yes. It's an excellent deal in photography in general. It's still an expensive camera, going head-to-head with high-end full-frame cameras in terms of price. Still, it's less expensive than some pro-oriented models despite having a relatively large and very impressive 51.4-megapixel image sensor.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 53mm (41mm equiv.), f/8, 26s, ISO 100.
Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

Who is the GFX 50S II best for?

Where the GFX 50S II comes up short, however, may be significant to some photographers. The GFX 50S II has sluggish autofocus and is a slow camera overall. Even navigating the menus and going through playback on the camera can be quite slow at times. While IBIS makes the camera much more usable, it's still not an agile camera that's well-suited to every situation. The GF lens lineup is good, but an overall lack of lens selection hampers the GFX 50S II for some photography. Medium-format cameras aren't built for wildlife and action photography. The GF lens lineup's lack of long lenses although the GF 250mm f/4 lens is excellent reflects the format's inflexibility.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 43mm (34mm equiv.), f/8, 60s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The Fujifilm GFX 50S II is excellent for certain types of photography, of course. It's very good for nature and landscape photography. The resolving power of the sensor and the GF lenses brings out incredible detail in many scenes. The GFX 50S II's smaller and lighter design also makes it a better choice for this type of work than the original GFX 50S, which is a bit cumbersome in comparison.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 60mm (47mm equiv.), f/5, 1/4s, ISO 100.
Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The GFX 50S II also works well for portraiture and studio work, although sluggish AF and somewhat lackluster eye-detect focus can occasionally be limiting. The GF system also uses a focal plane shutter, so its maximum flash sync can't keep up with the Hasselblad X1D system and its leaf shutters. That said, the GFX 50S II is competing more against full-frame cameras than it is against other medium-format systems, in my opinion. The GFX's image quality certainly holds up against the X1D system but can't keep pace with the Phase One IQ4 digital back. Then again, the GFX 50S II costs less than 10% of what an IQ4 setup costs, so the target audience and use case is different.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 61mm (48mm equiv.), f/8, 15s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

The Fujifilm GFX 50S II does very well when photographing detailed, slow-moving (or preferably stationary) subjects. It produces excellent image quality. If that sounds appealing to you and the GF lens lineup has what you're looking for, then the GFX 50S II is well worth considering.

Fujifilm GFX 50S II Hands-on Review Summary

A very good camera for certain photographers

What I like most about the Fuji GFX 50S II

  • More compact than the original GFX 50S
  • IBIS is very good
  • Still excellent image quality
  • Film Simulations are very good
  • An outstanding value
Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 44mm (35mm equiv.), f/8, 1s, ISO 100.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

What I dislike about the Fuji GFX 50S II

  • Worse EVF than its predecessor
  • Not compatible with a vertical grip
  • Autofocus is improved, but still not very good overall
  • Only records 1080/30p video
  • GF lens lineup continues to improve but is somewhat lacking

In the first part of my Field Test for the original Fujifilm GFX 50S camera, I wrote, 'Ultimately, the Fujifilm GFX 50S is a special camera. The camera offers incredible imaging performance that will stand up to the scrutiny of the most demanding photographers.' That sentiment rings as true today for the GFX 50S II as it did for the GFX 50S in 2017. The Fujifilm GFX 50S II is an excellent camera for capturing detailed, high-quality photographs of mostly stationary subjects. The camera's autofocus is slow and leaves a bit to be desired, and it's not a fast camera. However, it shoots photos with incredible detail, great tonality, impressive dynamic range, vibrant color and considerable flexibility during post-processing. Plus, the inclusion of in-body image stabilization makes the GFX 50S II an impressively versatile medium-format camera. You can handhold it and still take full advantage of the excellent image sensor.

Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens at 46mm (36mm equiv.), f/16, 15s, ISO 400.
This image has been converted and processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Click for the full-size image. Click here for the RAW file.

There are full-frame cameras that can come close to the image quality of the GFX 50S II while delivering much better autofocus, a more diverse feature set, better video and a more flexible lineup of native lenses. That's all to say that the GFX 50S II isn't the best overall camera available. But it does possess a special quality to it that makes the camera feel fun to use. There's just a special something about the GFX 50S II.

 

• • •

 

Fujifilm GFX 50S II Product Overview

by Jeremy Gray
Preview posted: 09/02/2021

While the 102-megapixel medium-format image sensor in Fujifilm's GFX 100 and GFX 100S cameras have understandably garnered a lot of attention among photographers, the 51.4-megapixel sensor from the original GFX 50S and rangefinder-styled GFX 50R cameras remains an excellent image sensor. Aiming to deliver some of the advantages of the GFX 100S while offering a much more affordable new choice in 2021, Fujifilm has combined the sensor of the GFX 50S/R and the body of the GFX 100S for its new $4,000 GFX 50S II medium-format mirrorless camera.

The key new features of the GFX 50S II compared to its predecessor are a more compact size, updated autofocus, in-body image stabilization and better value. When the GFX 50S launched in 2017, it cost $6,500. The GFX 50R launched in late 2018 for $4,500, a significant price reduction compared to its sibling. However, the 50R lost the chunky front grip, large viewfinder, three-axis tilting touchscreen and a bit more. What it did was keep the same impressive image sensor.

2017 was a long time ago, at least when considering technological advancement. However, the 51.4-megapixel image sensor from the GFX 50S/R cameras continues to hold up well. It produces sharp images with excellent color. Besides, not everyone needs 102 megapixels, nor does everyone want to spend $6,000 (plus a fair bit more to get a lens) to get their foot into the door of the GFX system.

By combining the exact body design of the new GFX 100S and the older imaging pipeline of the GFX 50S/R, Fujifilm hopes to deliver a great value with the GFX 50S II. Let's take a closer look at the new camera and see how it stands up, at least on paper.

Fujifilm GFX 50S II Key Features

  • 51.4-megapixel large-format Bayer CMOS image sensor
  • Image sensor is 43.8 x 32.9mm
  • Native ISO range of 100-12,800, expandable to 50-51,200
  • 14 stops of dynamic range
  • Includes Nostalgic Neg. Film Simulation
  • Overclocked quad-core X-Processor 4 with latest firmware
  • Contrast-detect autofocus system with faster AF than the original GFX 50S
  • Upgraded autofocus algorithms
  • Focuses down to -3.5 EV with lowlight priority AF
  • Focuses as fast as 0.272s with Rapid AF
  • Continuous shooting at 3 frames per second
  • 0.77x 3.69M dot electronic viewfinder with 50fps refresh rate
  • 3.2" tilting touchscreen
  • Weight
  • Up to 6.5 stops of shake reduction with in-body image stabilization
  • 205-megapixel Multi-shot Pixel Shift
  • 440 shot battery life with NP-W235 lithium-ion
  • FHD video at up to 30p
  • $4,000 for the body only

Fuji GFX 50S II camera body design

When Fujifilm first announced the GFX 100, it represented a significant departure in design and handling compared to the original GFX 50S. The dual-grip design was different. In some ways, it was better. In other ways, it was worse. Fujifilm dialed things back with the GFX 100S, returning to a more traditional, SLR-inspired design. A few excellent features of the GFX 100's design were lost in the process, unfortunately, including its fantastic 5.76M dot EVF. The GFX 100S has a 3.69M dot EVF with 0.77x magnification. That's still good, but not as good as the high-res EVF with 0.86x magnification on the GFX 100. The original GFX 50S included more magnification, too, at 0.85x.

The new GFX 50S II uses the same body as the GFX 100S, save for the model name badge on the body. Therefore, anything that can be said about the GFX 100S's design can be equally applied to the GFX 50S II. It's incompatible with a vertical grip, and the camera doesn't include a dedicated control pad with four customizable function buttons.

It's far from all bad news, though. The GFX 50S II is significantly smaller and lighter than the original GFX 50S. Fujifilm's first GFX camera had its battery slot behind the tilting 3.2" display, resulting in a large bump on the camera's rear. As a GFX 50S owner, I got used to it. However, the thinner design of the GFX 50S II is undoubtedly an improvement.

The GFX 50S II is quite similar in size to a full-frame DSLR and some full-frame mirrorless cameras despite its larger image sensor. The GFX 50S II weighs almost the same as the Panasonic S1R and is nearly identical in size. Compared to another full-frame mirrorless camera, the Sony A1, the GFX 50S II is 31mm wider, 7mm taller and 17mm thicker. That's not a big difference. The GFX 50S II is slightly bigger than a Nikon Z7 II but weighs over 100 grams less. While the original GFX 50S was somewhat unwieldy, the slimmed down medium-format GFX 50S II is comparable to its full-frame competition.

Looking at the back of the GFX 50S II, it's laid out a fair bit better than the original GFX 50S. Whereas the GFX 50S had the playback and button in an awkward position to the left of the viewfinder, the GFX 50S II has it to the right of the camera's 3.2" tilting touchscreen. Above the playback button are DISP/BACK, MENU/OK and AE-L buttons, plus the camera's joystick. Instead of directional buttons, this is the primary way to interact with the camera, aside from using the touchscreen. The joystick worked well on the GFX 100S, although it isn't as reliably precise as directional buttons. We expect it to feel the same on the GFX 50S II. To the far right, near the thumb rest (which is ample in size, by the way), is the Q button. The Q Menu is a customizable quick menu to access your go-to camera settings. There's also an AF-ON button and a focus drive mode dial on the back of the camera.

The top of the camera includes a mode dial to the left of the viewfinder, a large top display, a pair of customizable function buttons, an exposure compensation button and the shutter release. The camera has dual command dials that both offer click functionality. The shutter button has a very soft touch, which was noted when Fujifilm briefed us about the GFX 100S. It has a lightweight feel in use.

Essentially, if you've seen or used a GFX 100S, you know what to expect with the body and design of the GFX 50S II. If you've used the original GFX 50S, you can expect numerous improvements, like a better overall button layout and a smaller size, as well as some compromises, including a smaller EVF and lack of directional buttons.

Image sensor and image quality

The GFX 50S II uses the same image sensor as the original GFX 50S. To recap, it's a 51.4-megapixel CMOS image sensor. The sensor is 43.8 x 32.9mm, which is 1.7 times the size of a full-frame image sensor but still smaller than the medium-format image sensors found in Phase One IQ4 digital backs.

The sensor has a native ISO range of 100-12,800, which can be extended to 50-102,400. The larger pixel size of the image sensor results in excellent tonality and imaging performance. While the 102.4-megapixel image sensor in the GFX 100(S) is superb, we did call the original GFX 50S's image quality the best we'd seen back in 2017. Of course, it has since been passed by its newer siblings, but the GFX 50S and now GFX 50S II still delivers excellent image quality that arguably continues to beat full-frame cameras in the market. Even though there are full-frame cameras with more megapixels, there's something to be said for having a physically larger image sensor.

What we wrote about the original GFX 50S's image quality in our review conclusion in 2017 remains true in 2021: 'Fantastic image quality across the board; Excellent RAW dynamic range; Superb high ISO performance.'

Autofocus, performance, IBIS and shooting features

We also wrote about the GFX 50S that its superb image quality came at the cost of autofocus speed and overall performance. The GFX 50S II hopes to address by pairing the same image sensor with a newer image processor, an overclocked X-Processor 4, which is the latest-generation Fujifilm image processor and same chip from the GFX 100S, for example.

By increasing the available processing power, the GFX 50S II takes advantage of improved autofocus algorithms and delivers better speed. It's still a contrast-detect autofocus system, but minimum focus speed is said to be faster. Further, low-light performance, autofocus tracking, eye detection and face detection are all said to be better, too.

Fujifilm states that the GFX 50S II can autofocus in as little as 0.272 seconds. While we need to wait until we go hands-on with the camera to assess its autofocus performance, it's worth pointing out that in our lab, the original GFX 50S focused in 0.476 seconds. It's a significant difference, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out in the real world. After, sluggish autofocus performance is one of the key weaknesses of the original GFX 50S, especially compared to full-frame cameras and the newer GFX 100S with its hybrid autofocus system.

The GFX 50S II can shoot at up to 3 frames per second with continuous autofocus, which is the same as the original GFX 50S. Considering that the GFX 100S has a higher-resolution sensor and uses the same processor to shoot faster, we think that the GFX 50S II, like the original GFX 50S, is limited by the sensor's readout speed more than anything else. It's still shooting 14-bit files, by the way, so unlike the GFX 100(S), the GFX 50S II isn't constrained by a 16-bit raw file. The GFX 100(S) can also shoot 14-bit, which is how it achieves its faster 5 fps continuous shooting.

Regarding buffer capacity, there's been no mention of improved buffer capacity, so we expect similar performance. This means you can expect a burst of about 21 lossless compressed RAW frames or 8 uncompressed RAW frames before the camera begins to slow down. We'll test this, of course, but we aren't expecting any real change in performance here either.

The GFX 100S includes in-body image stabilization. In fact, it has an improved, smaller IBIS system compared to the one found in the GFX 100, which was the first GFX camera to include IBIS. The GFX 50S II includes the same IBIS system as the GFX 100S, but stabilization performance is slightly improved due to the larger pixel size on the 51.4MP image sensor of the GFX 50S II. The GFX 50S II promises IBIS up to 6.5 stops (compared to up to 6 stops on the GFX 100S).

The addition of IBIS also results in a key feature addition for the GFX 50S II compared to its predecessor, Pixel Shift Multi Shot. The mode allows photographers to capture multiple images of still subjects using a tripod to get a final image when processed with accompanying software on your computer with 205MP of resolution. While this isn't quite as practical as 102MP in a single shot, it's still a nice inclusion.

The GFX 50S II has other features that the original GFX 50S lacks, including the Negative Nostalgic Film Simulation. The GFX 50S II also adds Bluetooth connectivity, something that was missing from the GFX 50S, although it was added to the GFX 50R.

Since it shares its design with the GFX 100S, the GFX 50S II also shares the same battery. It's an NP-W235 battery, and it's rated for 440 shots (20 fewer than the GFX 100S, which has a more efficient imaging pipeline). It's also the same battery as the Fujifilm X-T4. The GFX 50S II is rated for 40 more shots than its predecessor.

In terms of memory card slots and ports, the GFX 50S II includes a pair of UHS-II SD card slots on its right side. On the camera's left side, there are mic and headphone inputs, USB-C, HDMI (mini) and a remote control input. The camera's battery slot is on the bottom, whereas the original GFX 50S had its battery compartment on the side behind the monitor. The camera doesn't accept a screw-on vertical grip, unfortunately. On the top of the camera, there's a standard hot shoe. The camera's maximum flash sync is 1/125s.

Video: Still Full HD

Like the original GFX 50S, the new GFX 50S II records video. And like its predecessor, video quality tops out at FHD resolution at 30 frames per second. FHD/30p video was outdated in 2017 when the GFX system launched and is even more outdated now, especially considering that the GFX 100(S) does 4K/30p video and does it well, by the way.

Not everyone requires 4K, of course. For those who don't, there's some good stuff with the GFX 50S II. It records 4:2:0 8-bit video using the full width of the sensor, allowing for video with nice depth. The camera now has 180 shutter functionality, allowing users to set shutter speeds like 1/48s, 1/96s, etc. The camera has a built-in mic and has mic and headphone inputs. The camera has an impressive recording limit of 2 hours and can record to SD, output via HDMI and do both simultaneously.

Pricing and availability

The GFX 50S II will be available starting September 23 for a suggested retail price of $3,999.95 USD, a full $2,500 less expensive than the launch price of the GFX 50S and $2,000 less than the GFX 100S retail price. By the way, the original GFX 50S is still available for $5,500, although we expect it to be phased out.

The GFX 50S II is the first Fuji GFX camera to have an official kit option. While the $4,000 body-only price is a good deal, the kit option is an even better value. For $4,499, you can purchase the GFX 50S II with Fujifilm's new compact Fujinon GF 35-70mm f/4.5-5.6 WR zoom lens.

The lens offers an equivalent focal length range of 28-55mm (35mm equiv.), which is quite like the existing GF 32-64mm lens's 25-52mm range. The new GF 35-70mm lens has a slower maximum aperture across the range and eschews the aperture ring (as denoted by 'R' in Fujinon GF terminology). Aperture must be controlled via the camera. It's the first Fuji GF lens not to include the aperture ring.

When looking at the lens, it's clear that there's just no space for the aperture ring. There's very little room on the lens that isn't taken up by the zoom and focus rings. The lens is only 73.9mm (2.91") in its collapsed position. To use the lens, you must zoom in from the collapsed position to 35mm, which extends the lens to 76.4mm (3"). The lens weighs 400g (14.1").

The weather-resistant lens promises fast and silent autofocus performance. Its close-focusing distance is 35cm (13.8") across the zoom range, resulting in maximum magnification of 0.28x. For video shooters, the lens is designed to deliver minimal focus breathing.

The lens will be available first in the kit with the GFX 50S II for $4,499, although the lens will be sold separately in late November for $1,000.

Fujifilm GFX 50S II versus GFX 50S

Compared to the GFX 50S, the GFX 50S II includes around 80 new and upgraded features. New features include Nostalgic Neg Film Simulation, clarity adjustments, focus limiter, better eye detection, color monochrome, updated pixel shift technology, low-light live view, multiple exposure improvements, tone detail adjustment, Q menu customization, improved AWB, digital IS for movie recording, improved dial operation, SD card hot swapping, an independent menu for movie and stills, auto HDR priority, linear focus ring, exposure smoothing during interval shooting, customizable lens name, Bluetooth (BLE) and much more.

The different body design is a big difference, too. The GFX 50S II is smaller and lighter. It does lose some usability by ditching the larger detachable EVF, optional grip support and directional buttons, though, so it's not an improvement across the board.

In terms of photographic capabilities, the improved autofocus is a nice change. Perhaps an even bigger change is the inclusion of in-body image stabilization. Having IBIS will make the GFX 50S II a much better handheld camera than the GFX 50S, which often requires the use of a tripod to take full advantage of the image sensor's impressive capabilities.

When comparing the GFX 50S II to the GFX 100S, the differences are much less superficial. The cameras look the same and have identical control layouts and designs. However, there's a big difference between what's inside the camera. The GFX 50S II has a 51.4-megapixel sensor without phase-detect autofocus points that records only FHD video and shoots stills at up to 3fps. The GFX 100S has a 102-megapixel image sensor that includes wide phase-detect AF point coverage, records 4K/30p video and shoots stills at up to 5fps.

If you want 102MP, the GFX 100S is the obvious choice. If you don't need that much resolution or don't need the best autofocus and video features the GFX system has to offer, the GFX 50S II promises to be a good option at a 33% less expensive price point.

 

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