In previous issues, we’ve written a lot about Fujifilm’s GFX ‘large’ format cameras, especially the GFX100s. Much smaller than the GFX100, the GFX100s has burst onto the market giving photographers a 100-megapixel medium format experience with the most realistic price in the game – under AUS $10,000 for the body.

Still, $10,000 is not cheap and not everyone needs or wants 100-megapixels. Is there something in-between? Now the answer is yes. The GFX50s II is carrying on the nomenclature of an earlier camera, but obviously based on the newer, smaller, better GFX100s. And the price for the body is around AUS $6500. Is this the best of both worlds?

The GFX50s II’s sensor measures 43.8x32.9 mm, so considerably larger than a 36x24 mm full-frame sensor. This in turn creates some subtle, but important differences in the quality of the images captured. What can’t be denied is the shallower depth-of-field and distinctive bokeh, which is a function of the sensor’s physical size; and then there’s the improved dynamic range.

There are lots of experts using various methods and scales to compare medium format with a full-frame sensor, but at the heart of the issue is the fact that the individual pixel sensors (pixel wells) can be larger (because of the physical size of the sensor) and thus capable of capturing more data per pixel (more light photons). This can result in a stronger signalto- noise ratio which in turn allows a wider dynamic range and better shadow detail (assuming we’re exposing for the highlights).

What many experts don’t describe in their measurements are the aesthetic differences and it’s only once you’ve worked with medium/large format files that you understand their beauty. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re loving your photography, maybe the new GFX50s II is the entry point for you.

So, what do you get? As you’ve no doubt guessed, there’s a 50-megapixel sensor, so plenty of image resolution which is backed up by some of the best lenses available, from a 23mm ultra wide-angle to a 250mm telephoto with a 1.4x teleconverter.

And like the GFX100S, the new GFX50s II is easy to use. Medium format cameras used to require extensive knowledge of photography to get the most out of them, but with the GFX range, Fujifilm technology handles it all, with fast, accurate autofocus, excellent ISO performance in low light and 6.5 stops of in-body image stabilisation (IBIS).

Pick the camera up and it’s no larger than a professional mirrorless or DSLR camera. Put the camera to your eye and it works just like any other well designed mirrorless camera. The controls sit nicely under your hands, there’s a generous LCD screen on the back which can be positioned for high and low camera angles and if you are interested in video, it supports full HD.

Inside, you can select pixel-shift multi-shot to capture 200 MP files, there are six types of bracketing (exposure, film simulation, dynamic range, ISO, white balance and focus) and the camera can be operated remotely from your phone or tablet. Fujifilm offers face and eye recognition autofocus and the best news is that it’s all tucked away in a 900 gram body.

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