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Medium Format

Fuji 50R
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Fuji 50R © AP

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[3Oct19] Ever on the search for new toys, my inclination is towards a medium format digital camera (a rather silly marketing phrase, but it has come to enjoy a fairly widely accepted meaning - larger than full-frame sensor). As I enjoy Fuji equipment and Fuji make the best value MF kit, there is an obvious direction to take. The aim is slow, deliberate, contemplative,photography, often involving a tripod.


[13Jan2020] I am still wavering between Nikon and Fuji ≈ 50Mb sensors. One appeal of the Nikon 850 is the relatively cheap lenses, some of which I already have for the D600. Photographing in a dimly lit Southwark Cathedral today, I just used the standard prime on the XT-2 and really appreciated the lens. Perhaps the answer is to just get a Fuji 50R and a GFX 63mm standard - especially with an extension tube to extend the usage.

[9Nov19] In the original version of these pages, I noted that the Nikon 850 at 45MB is not far short of what Fuji calls (one aspect of) medium format. Given my recent Nikon D600 purchase, consideration should be given to this route and I will already have some of the necessary lenses. It will be interesting to se the second-hand price of the 850 in a couple of years and so I will monitor that too. AmPhot review / The D850 launched in October 2017 at £3,499 (, 24Aug17) and currently sells for £2,499 new and £2,334/£2,202 used (MPB/Wex). The only D850 downside I'm aware of is that the second slot takes the expensive XQD card.

[3Oct19] Who wouldn't like a Hasselblad? I have wanted to play with a 500 series since the 1960s, but settled for the admirable Pentax 6x7 for MF film work, sadly sold for digital too early. I note that the 50R has a native 6x7 format.
I was never interested in the lumpen Hass H-system with its ludicrous prices, but their X1D is surely the prettiest camera ever made (and not wildly-priced) until their new 907X arrived as a natural companion to the legacy lenses, making available the 500-series experience without the bother of pesky film processing possible.

But back in the real world, Fuji MF is relatively affordable. My usual policy is to buy a camera second-hand a while after the next model has launched, giving careful owners time to trade in and upgrade and prices to fall. The launch of the £9,999 100MP Fuji GFX100 certainly helped, but I have a theory (based on absolutely no evidence whatever) that Fuji will launch another 50MP model before long, hopefully before I have saved up enough for a 50R (£2,989 as new on MPB as at 3Oct19) and a first lens. The s/h prices of lenses, understandably, remain fairly steady.

Hass 503CX P67 Hasselblad X1D 907X Fuji 50R Nikon D850
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1. Hasselblad 503CX
2. Pentax 67 © Jan von Erpecom
3. Hasselblad X1D © Hasselblad
4. Hasselblad 907X 50C © Hasselblad
5. Fuji 50R
Nikon 850
IPR information provided where available

I called into Wex in Sep19 to look at the Fuji models. I had favoured the 50R prior to that as it is more like my XT-2 — I was surprised how massive it is in real life and in the hand. Strangely, in ways I cannot explain, it seems larger than the 50S. Holding the two, I preferred the 50S because of the grip and the exposure display on the top plate (like the H1), but my feelings are returning to the 50R — and Smallrig sell a grip (APL2339, £81) that will attach to their wooden handle which then gives shades of the P67.

Fuji 50S Fuji 50S Fuji 50R Fujo 50S Fujo 50S
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1a, 1b. Fuji 50S © Imaging Resource
2. Fuji 50R © Imaging Resource
3. Fuji 50R with Smallrig grip © Smallrig
4. Fuji 50R with Smallrig grip and handle © Smallrig
IPR information provided where available

So, as things stand, in October 2019, the intention is to carry on saving spare funds in a lackadaisical way and when there is enough to buy a s/h 50R (currently less than £3,000), to do so. Unless other considerations arise, such as an irresistible launch from Fuji, or anywhere else. This page will proceed on that assumption.


Fuji GF lens roadmap
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Table from Fuji

[4Oct19] My inclination was to get the standard zoom and the standard prime (63mm = 50mm), but I hadn't decided which to get first. And also to maybe experiment with some legacy lenses on a converter.

Ken Rockwall (see below) states that,

You never need more than a few lenses, and Fujinon already makes what we need. The Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 (25-50mm equivalent) and stabilized GF 100-200mm OIS (80-160mm equivalent) should cover you for everything. Ken Rockwall, May 2019

and regarding converting legacy lenses,

For people who prefer futzing over shooting, you can adapt any lens to the GFX and have a ball. I wouldn't bother with this because Fujinon's GF lenses are the best you can get optically for the GFX, and more importantly they integrate electronically with autofocus and aperture control. Lens adapters are rarely more than dumb metal tubes that require you to open and close your apertures manually …
While you always can get "decent" results when stopped down, these iffy results aren't why you pay top dollar for a medium format camera. If you're a hobbyist, have fun, but if you're serious, forget about adapters, especially for the wider lenses.…
Half the beauty of the GFX is how well it handles, and you lose all that if you adapt manual lenses to it. Go ahead and encumber yourself with your old Hasselblad lenses on adapters, but you'll thank me when you get real GF lenses and take the work out of shooting. Ken Rockwall, May 2019
P67 200mm f4
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My P67 200mm f4

Nevertheless, I have bought a Pentax 67 200mm lens from Japan on ebay for a mere £75 (plus £26 customs charges) and it is due to arrive tomorrow (5th Oct). If I ever get around to buying a GFX camera, I'll buy a converter (probably Fotodiox). If not, well they make a regular Fuji adaptor too. According to Joseph D'Agostino, the focal length conversion for P67 to GFX is x.79, so 200mm becomes 158mm. And here is Jim Kasson on manual focussing. [7Oct19] It arrived on 7th and seems to be in remarkably good condition.

On the GFX lenses, I tried the 63mm and the 32-64 zoom at Wex. I found the latter a disappointment, because of the restricted zoom range — I have been spoiled by the 18-135 (27-206mm equivalent) on the X-mount. Perhaps I just need to manage my expectations.

GFX lenses
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GFX lenses

The forthcoming 45-100mm (36-79mm) might be interesting: perhaps I should get the 63 or 50 first, wait for the 45-100mm to arrive and then decide.

Here are the Fuji lenses available:
The Fuji GFX roadmap was updated in January 2020 to include a 30mm f/3.5 and a 80mm f/1.7, see fig F1.

Length 35mm equiv. max ap filter Wex price new Jan 2020 Wex price new Oct 2019 notes
23mm 18mm f4 82mm £2,399 £2,399  
30mm 24mm f3.5     - due 2020
32-64mm 25-51mm  f4 77mm £2,149 £2,149  
45mm 36mm f2.8 62mm £1,579 (£120 off) £1,579 (£120 off)  
45-100mm 36-79mm f4   £2,049 tba due 2020
50mm 40mm f3.5   £899 (£50 off) £949  
63mm 50mm f2.8 62mm £1,359 £1,359  
80mm 64mm f/1.7     - due 2020
100-200mm OIS 79-158mm f5.6   £1,799 £1,799  
110mm 87mm f2.8 77mm £2,599 £2,599  
120mm macro 95mm f4 72mm £2,499 £2,499  
250mm OIS 198mm f4 82mm £2,899 £2,899  
1.4x converter         £749  
18mm and 45mm ext. tubes         both £289  

Prices from Wex, Oct 2019.

GFX 100
Used GFX 100


[1Apr20] MPB had its first Fuji 100 during march, for two or three days, that is.

[1Mar20] A notable price drop on the Fuji 50R - £1,000 discount to £2,999 new at Wex.

[4Oct19] I have been monitoring the prices of s/h Fuji MF kit since May 2019. MPB and Wex use completely different condition descriptions, but the outcome must be broadly similar from Mintish to Abused. I usually buy from MPB in New condition with the original box etc. so I will just quote the highest price from both shops. The summary is below, from which we conclude that prices have dropped considerably over the last six months.

  50R 50S 100S GFX 63mm Nikon D850
Oct 20 new £3,199
MPB £2,899 LN (1)
new £3,999
MPB none
new £9,999 MPB £8,010 LN (1) new £1,259 new £2,549
MPB £2,099 LN (23)
Sep 20 new £3,199
MPB none
new £4,899
MPB £3,100 LN (1)
new £9,999 MPB £7,999 Exc (1) new £1,259 new £2,549 MPB £2,259 LN (23)
Jul 20 MPB none MPB £2,659 (1)      
Jun 20 new £3,199
MPB £2,589 (4)
new £4,899
MPB £2,894 (5)
£9,999   new £2,499
MPB £2,139 (2)
May 20 new £3,199
MPB £2,758 (7)
Wex none
new £4,899
MPB none
Wex £2,499 (rough)
Wex £9,999
MPB none
new £1,259 new £2,499
MPB £1,949 ( Exc)
Apr 20 new £2,999
MPB £2,769 (7)
Wex none
new £4,495
MPB none
Wex £2,499 (rough)
Wex £9,499
and see above
MPB £8,399
new £1,259
Wex £1,129
new £2,499
MPB £1,829 (5)
Wex none
Mar 20 new £2,999 !
MPB £2,754 (4)
Wex none
new £4,499
MPB £none
Wex £2,736 (2)
£9,499 £1,359 new £2,499
MPB £1,889 (22)
Wex none
Feb 20 new £3,999
MPB none
Wex none
new £4,999
MPB £2,729 (9)
Wex £2,880 (3)
£9,999 £1,359 new £2,499
MPB £1,999 (43)
Wex £1,899 (4)
Jan 2020 new £3,449
MPB £2,814
Wex none
new £4,649
MPB £2,514
Wex £2,499
£9,999 £1,009 new £2,499
MPB £2,099
Wex £2,174
Dec 19
Black Friday
new £3,449
MPB none
Wex £2,499
new £4,649
MPB £2,699
Wex £2,785
£9,999   new £2,499
MPB £2,100
Wex £2,174
Nov 19 new £3,449
MPB £2,814
Wex £2,999
new £4,649
MPB £3,094
Wex £3,139
£9,999   new £2,989
MPB £2,334
Wex £2,202
Oct 19 new £3,999
MPB £2,989
Wex £3,129
new £4,999
MPB £3,294
Wex £3,139
Aug 19 new £3,999
MPB £3,299
Wex £3,174
new £4,999
MPB £3,654
Wex £3,351
Jul 19 new £3,999
MPB £3,599
Wex £3,299
new £4,999
MPB £3,724
Wex £3,449
Jun 19 new £3,999
MPB none
Wex £3,599
new £4,999
MPB £3,724
Wex £4,499
May 19 new £3,999
MPB £3,679
Wex £3,699
new £4,999
MPB none
Wex £4,699

Fuji GFX 63mm discounted £350.


Fuji 50R manual.

Ken Rockwall review - I regard Ken as authoritative, but some say opinionated. No matter, I have found his advice to be sound. He likes the Fuji 50R and said in his May 2019 review,

The GFX 50R looks, feels, handles and shoots exactly like any other real camera, and sells for less and weighs only half as much as lower image quality full-frame cameras like Nikon's D5 and Canon's 1DX Mk II. No full frame camera matches the GFX 50R's high-ISO, noise and resolution performance at any price. Ken Rockwall, May 2019

AP review of the Fuji 50R which concludes,

It’s always exciting when a camera brings something new to the market that we haven’t quite seen before. By placing the stunning image quality of its medium format sensor into a relatively small body at a groundbreaking price, the Fujifilm GFX 50R does exactly that. Indeed this feels like it could be a transformative moment for medium-format digital, bringing it into serious consideration for a much wider audience than ever before.
First, let’s consider the price. We’ve looked at several ‘affordable’ medium format cameras in recent years, but the GFX 50R undercuts them all considerably. It costs £1000 less than its stablemate the GFX 50S, and £2000 less than the Hasselblad X1D 50c. Even the four-year-old Pentax 645Z DSLR costs £1500 more, body-only. Fujifilm’s GF lenses are reasonably affordable by medium format standards, too.
Equally important is the portability factor. With its relatively compact size and light weight, it’s really no more difficult to shoot with the GFX 50R out on location than it is to work with a full-frame DSLR. Fujifilm’s lenses aren’t too huge or heavy either, and I was perfectly happy carrying the camera on extended treks with the 32-64mm f/4 zoom and 45mm f/2.8 and 63mm f/2.8 primes. This isn’t something you’d usually say about medium format kit.
Crucially, the GFX 50R is also an extremely enjoyable camera to use. Thanks to its traditional analogue control dials, it’s just as intuitive and engaging as Fujifilm’s APS-C X-system models. Its image quality is utterly addictive too, with the firm’s trademark gorgeous colour combined with phenomenal levels of detail. With so much going for it, this is a camera that simply begs to be picked up and used, and occasionally I even found myself taking pictures just to see what hidden features it might tease out of a scene.
Of course the GFX 50R is still a niche, specialist camera. For the majority of serious photographers, a full-frame system will be the more obvious choice, especially when super-fast autofocus and continuous shooting are required. Indeed the very best high-resolution models, most notably the Nikon Z 7 and D850, will come very close indeed to matching its raw image quality. But for those who understand how to exploit its strengths, and who aren’t concerned by its weaknesses, the GFX 50R is a truly phenomenal photographic tool. AP review ,Dec, 2018

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IPR information provided where available

Page created 03-Oct-2019 | Page updated 01-Oct-2020