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Summary

Highly Recommended awardThe GFX50S II brings Fujifilm’s medium format system to a more affordable price point while still delivering more than enough quality for most photographers. By taking the surprisingly compact body of the GFX100S, the 50S II inherits the latest controls and features including built-in stabilisation, but swaps the sensor for the original 51.4 Megapixel model, saving 2000 dollars or pounds. It may be lower res than the 100 Megapixel models, but remains competitive with the best of the full-framers, and in my tests the contrast-based autofocus proved quick and reliable even for filming casual pieces to camera. The lack of 4k video, or even 1080 beyond 30p, is a limitation in the current market, but you can still enjoy good quality results. Ultimately I reckon there’s plenty of photographers who’d be delighted with the 50S Mark II. I loved the GFX100S body, so to have it in a more affordable version with files that still have more than enough resolution for most of us is a win-win. Overall it’s a really tempting option, especially with the new zoom lens.

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Fujifilm GFX50S II review so far

The Fujifilm GFX50S Mark II is a medium format mirrorless camera with 51.4 Megapixels and built-in stabilisation that costs $4000 or 3500 pounds for the body alone or $4500 / 3900 with the new GF 35-70 kit zoom.

At first, and even second glance, the GFX50S II looks a lot like the previous GFX100S and that’s because they share the exact same body, and externally the only difference is the badge on the side. So the too-long didn’t read version is that the GFX50S II is essentially the GFX100S but with the lower resolution 51.4 Megapixel sensor of earlier models, allowing Fujifilm to price it under $4500 or 4000 pounds with a lens. 

This means the original 51 Megapixel sensor enjoys built-in stabilisation for the first time, now good for up to 6.5 stops, as well as inheriting a 3.69 million dot electronic viewfinder with 0.77x magnification, three-way tilting touchscreen, top information panel, dual UHS II card slots and 455 shot battery life, all packed into a comfortable, surprisingly compact and weatherproof body weighing around 900g. For more information on the body features and controls, check out my GFX100S review. I briefly had a chance to try out a final production model, so I’ll show you everything I’ve learned so far in the video below, or keep reading for the highlights!

The big difference is of course the sensor, with the 51.4 Megapixel model capturing images with 8256×6192 pixels, which may be lower than the 100S, but still competitive against the best full-framers with the benefit of a larger pixel pitch. By coupling it with the latest image processor, the older sensor also enjoys a new lease of life, including all the film simulations up to Nostalgic Negative, improved face and eye detection, and a Pixel Shift mode which captures 16 frames that can be composited in software later to generate a 200 Megapixel image.

The older sensor does however lack the 4k video and phase-detect AF of the 102 Megapixel models, so remains limited to contrast-based autofocus and 1080 up to 30p, so let’s have a look at their performance. Here’s a video clip I filmed with the new 35-70 zoom in 1080 25p without stabilisation, and now after IBIS has been enabled, eliminating the wobbles. And finally a version with IBIS and optional digital stabilisation that can provide greater compensation but with a crop.

While the screen still can’t face forward, you can attempt a handheld vlog, relying on the IBIS to keep things steady and the AF system to keep you sharp.

As for the contrast-based autofocus, here’s a test showing the GFX50S II with the new 35-70 at 70mm f5.6 refocusing between near and far, where it looks fine, but there’s an additional new Rapid AF option which once enabled accelerates the focusing to become quite snappy. It may consume more power, but I’d be very happy with this speed and unless I was continuously autofocusing on a moving subject I wouldn’t miss the phase-detect AF of the 100’s.

I’ve also been mentioning the GF 35-70mm f4.5-5.6, a new compact kit zoom that employs a collapsing mechanism to reduce its size when being transported. A twist of the zoom ring extends the barrel for use. It’s comfortably smaller than the existing 32-64 f4 zoom and light too at just 390g. It’s available in a kit with the 50S II or separately for $999 or 849 pounds. As I wrap-up, I’ll show you some photos I took with it on the GFX50S II.

The GFX50S II brings Fujifilm’s medium format system to a more affordable price point while still delivering more than enough quality for most photographers. By taking the surprisingly compact body of the GFX100S, the 50S II inherits the latest controls and features including built-in stabilisation, but by swapping the sensor for the original 51.4 Megapixel model, you save 2000 dollars or pounds on the price. In use, 50 Megapixels is still more than enough for most photographers and allows the camera to remain competitive with the best of the full-framers, and in my tests the contrast-based autofocus proved quick and reliable even for filming casual pieces to camera. The lack of 4k video, or even 1080 beyond 30p, is undoubtedly a limitation in the current market, but you can still enjoy good quality results, especially with the Eterna profile. Only you can decide if this – and the lack of phase-detect AF to better-handle moving subjects – is a deal-breaker or not. 

Ultimately I reckon there’s plenty of photographers who’d be delighted with the 50S Mark II, with the two grand saving over the 100 Megapixel version making it very competitive against rival full-framers. I loved the GFX100S body, so to have it here in a more affordable version with files that still have more than enough resolution for most of us is a win-win. Overall it’s a really tempting option, especially with the new zoom lens.

I hope to test the 50S II side-by-side against some full-frame rivals to really see how the photos, videos and focusing compares, so check back soon!

Check prices on the Fujifilm GFX50S II at B&H, AdoramaWEX UK or Calumet.de. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!
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