Fujifilm GFX 50S II Hands-on Review: Is the GFX 50S II the best deal in medium-format photography?
posted Thursday, October 7, 2021 at 3:59 PM EDT
Click here to read our Fujifilm GFX 50S II Hands-on Review
The original Fujifilm GFX 50S kicked off Fujifilm's medium-format GFX camera system in 2017. Since then, the Japanese company has released the GFX 50R, GFX 100 and GFX 100S cameras. With the new GFX 50S II, Fujifilm is returning to its GFX roots with a successor to the original camera that started everything. The GFX 50S II uses the same camera body design as the GFX 100S, including in-body image stabilization, and the same 51.4-megapixel CMOS image sensor as the original GFX 50S (and 50R). Is the combination of the GFX 100S and the GFX 50S an ideal match?
Considering the GFX 50S II's design, the move from the chunky GFX 50S body to the sleeker GFX 100S body is mostly a good one. The camera is thinner and lighter, putting it closer in overall form to a professional full-frame mirrorless camera. The GFX 50S II is more refined. However, it's not all good news as the EVF has less magnification, which is somewhat disappointing. On the plus side, the EVF works well, and the dual-tilt touchscreen is really good. Ultimately, the GFX 50S II has good controls and an intelligent design. It feels enjoyable to use.
It's what inside that counts the most, though. The GFX 50S II doesn't get a new image sensor. It has the same sensor as 2017's GFX 50S. However, the image sensor performs very well, delivering incredibly detailed photos across an impressive ISO range and with an excellent dynamic range. Fujifilm's Film Simulations are also on full display, including a couple that weren't on the GFX 50S, Eterna and Nostalgic Neg, the latter of which is a particularly lovely inclusion. The GFX 50S II offers excellent image quality, even if the sensor is 'old.'
The GFX 50S II makes it easier to capture sharp handheld photos than its predecessor, however, thanks to the inclusion of in-body image stabilization. It can be tricky to get sharp handheld photos with a large image sensor and generally heavy Fujinon GF lenses. However, IBIS makes it much easier and works very well.
Capturing sharp photos is also easier with good autofocus. Unfortunately, that's not an area of strength for the GFX 50S II. The camera uses the same contrast-detect AF system as the original GFX 50S, although an overclocked X Processor promises slightly improved AF speeds and tracking performance. In real-world use, the camera's AF feels a bit snappier but still sluggish overall. The GFX 50S II can't keep pace with the hybrid autofocus in the GFX 100S.
There's a lot more to discuss about the Fujifilm GFX 50S II, including who it's best for and the implications of its $4,000 price point. To read my full thoughts on the camera, head over to our Fujifilm GFX 50S II Hands-on Review. You can also download full-resolution image samples by visiting the Gallery. If you want to view even more images and learn more about the GFX 50S II's image sensor and overall performance, check out our in-depth Fujifilm GFX 50S Review.