For about 3 weeks I played around with the GFX 50R, the new medium format digital beast from Fujifilm. I shot tons of pictures mostly portraits in ambient light and with strobes. I got used to the grip and feel of it in my hand. It’s a solid but light camera. The lenses balance well. Last few years I have been primarily using Leicas and I love their simple menu system. The Fuji does have menu within menu but the key menu items are all easily accessible and customizable.
The only item I had a problem finding was ‘shoot without lens’. I had to refer to the manual to find it.
On 11thof January I had the opportunity to actually do a couple shoot. This was my first commercial shoot with the 50R. We were to shoot at a beach resort around 3:30pm onwards. The sun was going to be harsh at that time and around 5:30 the golden hour sets in. Since Chennai is in the East of the Indian peninsula the sunset would be behind us if we were facing the sea. I took along with me a Godox AD600 Pro with a Fuji trigger and a 120 Para to fill, use as key light for backlit situations and use it as hair light if the sun was the key light.
I was expecting some drama with clouds during sunset but alas none happened but still the colors were good and the Godox light responded very well, fast recycling, excellent color consistency and it withstood the whole shoot in a single battery charge.
The Fuji rocked the day. I used it in the following ways:
- Along with the 110mm f2 for some long shots
- With the Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 and a Fotodiox Adapter, for some ultra-wide shots
- With the Linhof Technika and a Schneider 210mm f5.6, for some creative shots with the lens tilted and the 50R adapted as a digital back with a Fotodiox Adapter
The 110 (equivalent of 85mm on Medium Format) focuses well. It is accurate, it has a lot of glass and feels solid, it is as fast or slow to focus as any other 85mm 1.4/1.2 from Canon or Sony G Master. The image quality from this combination is just brilliant. Subject background separation wide open is excellent and gives a typical medium format pop.
I love the Voigtlander lenses on my Leicas and love them on the Fuji too. The Fotodiox adapter fits very well and the 15mm at a widest aperture of f4.5 has ample depth of field. Manual focusing with this lens is a breeze and focus peaking on the Fuji works very well to nail focus.
I hardly crop pictures but with this camera it is tempting to crop to suit the composition you desire and still have all details intact and still be able to print to a decent size.
Although the combination of the Linhof and 50R has a lot of limitations, I still love using the 50R as a digital back and get some nice lens tilt effects in the form of selective blurring. I keep the Schneider 210mm f5.6 wide open, remove the ground glass back and slide in the Fotodiox adapter and then fit the 50R. Focusing is via the LCD and focus peaking. I set exposure manually and shoot. The Fotodiox adapter movements enable you to create some lovely panoramas.
The Godox/Fuji combination works very well. Shooting wide open with the 110mm, HSS kicked in and worked well for all shots.
I’m looking forward to using the 50R for an upcoming wedding on the 22ndand 23rd January. I will write on that experience soon.