A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to test drive a preproduction model of the GFX 50R in Ethiopia. My buddy and fellow X-Photographer Matt Brandon came with me and documented our trip for a short video that will be released later. But because the shipping date of the GFX 50R is getting nearer, and because I get a lot of questions from people what it was like shooting the camera and if they should get it or rather the GFX 50S, I decided to make this video review.
I’m a Fujifilm X Photographer and a Fujifilm ambassador so I’m probably not the most neutral judge. But on the other hand, I became an ambassador because I love the quality of the Fujifilm cameras. I have been shooting with them for almost seven years now, starting with the X-Pro 1. After trying out the GFX 50S in India, I bought one myself and I would not have done that if I did not love the system and believe in its potential.
All the images you’ll see in the video have been processed (many of them with my Lightroom Creative Profiles Starter Pack). They are not straight out of camera images. As much as I love the Fujifilm film simulations, for me they’re just a starting point. I love processing images, in fact I probably love it even more than actually making them. Through my processing, I try to convey the way the scene felt to me when I was there. In fact, one of the reasons I love the GFX system so much, is because these files can take a beating in postproduction. The dynamic range is stellar and the sharpness of the lenses incredible. I can do just about anything with a GFX50 raw file. In Lightroom! I love having that amount of flexibility.
Other than the fact that the GFX 50R has a 50 megapixel, 33 x 44 mm sensor inside, I won’t bother you with other technical specs. You can find those on the Fujifilm website.
So, with that in mind, here’s my review. I suggest you only watch it if you have some money to spend, because chances are you’ll either want a 50R or a 50S by the end of the video… Don’t say I did not warn you :-) I have included some sample images but the poor compression really does not do them much justice. If you have any questions or remarks, hit me in the comments.
By the way, this was also a scouting trip for a new photo workshop on location lighting and portraiture in Ethiopia. We’re currently working out the details for a 2019 trip. If you want to know more about that, sign up for the newsletter and you’ll be the first to hear. As a thank you for signing up, you’ll also get a set of 10 free Lightroom presets.
As you may have noticed in the video, I use a lot of flash in my travel images. I like the way how flash can amplify, modify or sometimes even downright overpower the available light and let me create my own lighting rather than having to deal with what the climate gods decide to throw at me on any given day - which in Ethiopia is a glaring, way too contrasty sun from early morning until late in the evening. If you want to learn more about using flash on location, have a look at my Light It Up! ebook: it’s loaded with advice on how to use flash for travel and location portraiture.
And here is a 1:1 crop of that image: