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Fujifilm’s GFX 50S II is the cheapest medium-format camera ever

Fujifilm announced the GFX 50S II, a digital medium-format camera costing $3,999 for the body only, or $4,499 in a kit with the GF 35-70mm f/4.5-5.6 WR lens, at its September X Summit event today. This makes it the cheapest digital medium-format camera ever — it comes in at a full $2,000 less than its predecessor, the GFX 50S, at launch. This is a major step in Fujifilm’s ongoing push to drive the cost of medium-format down and give it more mainstream appeal.

The GFX 50S II isn’t just cheap for a medium-format camera; it’s remarkably light and compact as well, at only 1.98 pounds. Despite its small size, Fuji still managed to pack in a whopping 51.4-megapixel sensor that’s 1.7 times bigger than a full-frame sensor. Fuji has also improved the autofocus compared to the previous generation of the camera (thanks to the new X-Processor 4) and included 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) that provides 6.5 stops of stabilization.

The overall package represents a medium-format camera that’s far more approachable to the average person than previous devices, which tended to be expensive and niche. The GFX 50S II offers the promise of the benefits of a larger sensor without the drawbacks typically associated with these high-resolution photographic behemoths.

Fujifilm GFX 50S II Sample Image.

The GFX 50S II seems squarely targeted at more adventurous photographers who operate in rugged conditions. The camera is built of magnesium alloy, is highly weather-sealed to protect it against dust and moisture, and is rated to operate at temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius. Coupled with its compact size, light weight, and IBIS, the GFX 50S II is designed to be as capable when used handheld in inclement weather as it is on a tripod in the studio.

The GFX 50S II also features 19 film simulation modes for photographers who prefer the look of film and who want to save time on applying digital filters in post-processing. If editing images in post is more your style, this camera offers an increased dynamic range, as well as reduced noise and resolution, over both its predecessor and cameras with smaller sensors. The GFX 50S II includes Fuji’s Pixel Shift Multi-Shot function, which combines 16 RAW files to create a single 200MP image.

Other features include a range of different bracketing options in addition to traditional exposure bracketing, such as film simulation brackets. Videographers should keep in mind, though, that the GFX50S II only shoots 1920X1080 video up to 29.97p. However, medium-format cameras are generally not meant for shooting video, so this is not a major downside, considering that the GFX 50S II is aimed at stills photographers, many of whom don’t care if a camera has video functionality at all.

The GFX 50S II will be available in late October.

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Andy Zahn
Andy Zahn is a freelance writer and photographer living on a small farm in the shadow of Mt. St. Helens. He currently writes…
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