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Monday, 11 January 2021


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Fuji GFX 50R and 50mm f/3.5.

That has my vote.

Go Pentax, you have a history with Pentax.
So says the person who ten years ago handed you that Leica S2.

[Ten years?!? Really? Wow. --Mike]

"But I'd be doing this more for you than for me."

Funny. Go for the 40 (and Fuji's lens mojo). I propose that the design that suits you best is the one least likely to get in the way of a sensor review.

Dear Mike, interestimng question, likely to cuase a tsunami of comments. I am a long-time APS-C user, quite happy but still felt the “itch” for a Hasselblad, having used their analog 500 series camera’s for a long time. I ultimately skipped FF and bought a Hassy X1D-ii, even cheaper than the 907 including viewfinder etc and even smaller than their FF Canon and Nikon counterparts. Same sensor though as the 907. Very happy with the files, especially dolor rendition and low noise performance. So, my vote would go to Hasselblad, 907 or X1D-ii.

Greetings, Rudolph Geesink PhD, Netherlands

I hope you’re contemplating to do this through a short term rental such as Lens Rentals. Don’t do this just to satisfy our curiosity; there’s plenty of MF reviews out already. Best of luck and happy new year. RThomas in Tacoma

[LensRentals and B&H Photo supply equipment for me to write about free of charge. They are both big supporters of the site. —Mike]

I've owned the 50r and the 50mm lens for several months (the body on sale and the lens better-than-sale-price from a forum) after switching from XT-3s and X lenses. That combo makes for a supersized X100 physically and a not-so-stealthy street camera. On the other hand, MF shines with landscape images shot on a tripod, or handheld in good light, for the details and dynamic range it can achieve. I use mostly older manual focus 645 and 35mm film lenses because they are magnitudes cheaper and lighter than native AF glass. Hone your manual focus skills! :-)

Just rent one of the cameras mentioned that you would have not the slightest intention of purchasing. I would think you still have monthly bills to pay!
The reason I say this is obvious. Nothing worse than having a camera a car or anything expensive rolling around in your mind to obtain. Usually the wallet follows the supposed "need".

I'd go with the Fuji. After all, aren't they the ones who "broke" the $10k or more barrier with the GFX50S? Even the 100MP GFX100 at $10k was thought to be a "bargain." Now, there are rumors of a 100MP GFX100S for $6k. No other brand has been so daring and innovative in the MF world. I wonder if anyone is buying Phase One products anymore as beautiful as they are.

A friend recently sold his GFX100, fabulous images, and replaced it with a Sony A7RIV. Why? The GFX lenses are too big! And this is a person who used to go out with an 8x10 view camera. The Sony, with a small sharp prime makes a great set up which can be easily carried at a fraction of the size and weight of the GFX. Isn't the GFX100 sensor just a larger version of the sensor in the RIV?

I rented a GFX50S a while back. The files are lovely, operation of the camera is smooth. I seriously considered purchasing one but... the lenses are too big!

I've been fortunated enough to have tried the Pentax 645D, the Fuji GF50s and the Hasselblad H3 DII (that last now seems like a prehistoric camera, awkward and inefficient).

The Fuji GFX 50r sounds like a dream to me, a rangefinder with that beautiful sensor. The Pentax feels like using any excellent DSLR, really.

Maybe that would be the key: the shooting experience should be very different with the Hassy. Shouldn't that be the point of using a MF camera, a radical different shooting experience? (I'm talking, of course, from the point of view of an amateur, just for fun).

It would be interesting, with regards to detail, DR, and noise, to see how a true single MF image compares to an APS-C or full frame image manufactured with multiple images stitched together.

In case, you know, you have unlimited time and any interest in the question! :)

I'd say Fuji is a good MF choice. My only other comment is about your price listing comparisons. I bought a Panasonic S1R, which I love, for a bit over 2K from a private party, late spring of last year. It was mint with an xtra battery. At that price it was worth every penny, but I would never have purchased it at list. It just seems entirely possible to find almost any camera you want these days available like new and not long after it's first released at far lower than list. Seems like the world is filled with well off "experimenters" who buy something new, play with it a few days to a week or so, then sell it! I lie in wait!

I vote for the Fuji, with the Pentax second. But don't take my vote too seriously as I'm completely happy with micro 4/3 sensors and extremely unlikely to purchase a medium format camera.

I have had the same thought, that I need to try out MF digital to see what all the fuss is about. My current system is based around the Fuji X-mount which I find super versatile, but it lacks resolution for landscape photography . So for me, I ordered the Fuji GFX 50r when it was recently on sale, and I plan to pair it with the 50 mm lens. We’ll see how this goes.

I'm interested in the 907, but something about it looking the way it does, and not having a square sensor, seems odd.

I have recently used the 50R and 32-64mm lens, a great combination. That and the 110mm f2.0 would be an excellent kit.

Mike, would love to see a comparison between one of the Fuji Medium format cameras and either the Canon 5 or the Nikon Z7II? I already have committed to the Z system but would still like to know your opinion of either systems? Eric

A phone is all I really need. I've replaced my Canon crop camera with an iPhone.

Size matters to me—smaller is better for things I need to schlep all day. So my vote is for a Hasselblad.

Fuji! I'd love to see you compare the 50R to the Fuji cameras you already have.

I'd be very interested in seeing the results of the new Fuji medium format. I've maintained for a while now, that when the manufacturing community adopted the 33 X 44 chip as "medium format" digital, it wasn't all that different in actual size than a full frame 35mm. I'd love to see the new Fuji compared against a full frame 35mm format of similar megapixels!

The Fuji has two practical reason to recommend it - used, it's under 3k and so ranging into the possibility range of many users, and it's also got staying power which I sadly can't sad about Pentax. I love the Hassy but it's priced out of curiosity range.

Go for the GFX 50R and the 50mm "pancake" - it's the most DMD-like of the choices, therefore the most "Mike"-like.

Your list of "most expensive" full frame ignores the really high end like the EOS 1Dx Mark III at $6300 and the Nikon D6 at $6500.

BTW I shoot with the GFX100 and GFX50s. The cameras are excellent and the lenses are phenomenal. They make a perfect complement to my Fuji X system.

The GFX 50R has a mechanical shutter, the 907x doesn't. This means the GFX can use adapted lenses. While you can use adapted lenses on the Hassy, the readout from the sensor is so slow, the electronic shutter is unusable for everything except still life, and it reduces the dynamic range. This affords me the ability to use the Nikkors that cover the GFX sensor, of which I own a few. I shouldn't mention it, because the last time I praised a lens here they shot up in value, but the Nikkor Quanta lenses work on GFX. The GFX also has the awesome Zhongyi 65mm 1.4. If you haven't tried this lens, its better than anything else on the market, bar NONE (although I haven't tried the nikkor .95 or the APO Leica 50, but everything else non-exotic in the 50 range I have pretty much tried). With this lens and a couple of others, I was able to assemble a GFX kit that goes from 28mm to 180mm for less than $1000. Manual focus on the FUji with adapted lenses is pretty good, good enough at least to make me forego thoughts of ever buying a native lens. Indeed after m43 debacle, and my alpha debacle before that, I have decided never to buy into another system, and will adapt the lenses i have in my arsenal for life. GFX and m43 cameras until I die, largely because 3:2 seems too 1970's for me.

I would opt for the one that best fits your style of photography. For me, I liked the Fuji GFX 50R. I had the 50S for a while, but it seemed better suited for the studio. I use the 30 and 50 most, but also own the 45 and 63. I should also note, much of my use for the camera is for panoramic work -- it mimics the Xpan format.

Mike - Hand's down the Fuji; smaller and lighter than the Pentax and has a built in viewfinder unlike the Hassie. IMHO, a much more rounded camera. You may find these article of interest:


Have fun!

Mike, you aren’t alone. Apparently Fuji has also decided that the way to compete with Canon-Nikon-Sony is by offering larger cameras at a similar price, which was Fuji’s niche in the film days.


I hear they are announcing some lower priced medium format cameras on the 27th.

What does it tell you that the first link when searching for the Hasselblad X1D is in Forbes magazine?

I would be very curious to see, how much "medium format aesthetics" you will be able to see in a format which has 63mm as its "normal" vs. a format which has 50mm as "normal". I do get that there will be a visual difference the difference between normal lenses of 50, compared to normal lenses of 75,80, or even 105mm. But 63 mm ?? So the Fuji with a 50 compared to FF with a 40 would be great to see. So I encourage you to borrow that as well, if you don't have access to FF and a contemporary 40mm lens. [I love my 1973 Summicron :-] Of course the aspect ratios are also different...

One clear difference would be the smaller sensor being able to deliver shallower DOF than MF, since 40mm FF lenses tend to be much faster than F/3.5. But of course we all know that shallow DOF and dramatic bokeh is not everything :-)

Not Bewitched - But Bothered and Bewildered.

My photos are viewed as 900 pixel high web images, 8x10" pages in books and/or up to 16x20 prints.

I can't figure out how an MF sensor would improve on the appearance of photos displayed in those ways in any way.

I don't know of any photographs I could make with an MF camera that I could not make equally well, by the above criteria, with my µ4/3 gear.

The vast majority of the 58,000+ photos I've taken with µ4/3 since 2012 could not, or would not, have been taken, had I been using MF gear. (~6% of those were near 40 mm eq. FL.)

If I were gifted with one of theses cameras and a couple of lenses, I'd just turn around and sell them, unopened.

I Do have a couple of A7 FF bodies, but those are for exploring and enjoying the unique rendering, with luck, Bad, of ancient vintage lenses for 35 mm film and contemporary LensBabies. Cropping a FF swirly bokeh lens to cut off most of the swirly part by use of a crop sensor body is silly. Even if I could find adapters for eight different lens mounts to a MF camera, and somehow overcome long register distances, I would gain nothing over a FF body but a round image circle and surrounding darkness.

Well you can't go wrong with the 50R and the 50 3.5. It's the lens I use the most on my 50R. The lens is fantastic. Both of them together probably weighs less than a lot of FF lenses too. :-)

The Fuji GFX 50R is a fascinating camera and I would certainly enjoy your take on it. However, the rumor mill suggests that a 100 megapixel camera in the same form factor (i.e. smaller than the current GFX 100) is on its way. That would be the ideal camera to review if you could get your hands on it. What has stopped me considering these cameras up until now is their single-purpose nature (i.e. landscape photography). My a7RIV is an all-rounder, with great auto-focus and the ability to do events, street photography, portraits and landscapes as long as you don't mind processing big files. Every new camera over 45 megapixels ought to be sold with a new computer!

Two opposite thoughts...

Go with the one you think you’ll be comfortable with, that maybe won’t get in the way of your “Mike-like” expectations. That way you’re looking at the difference - sensor - rather than coming to, err, grips with other differences.

Go with the completely different, the one lease likely to be familiar in handling or interface, so that you’re not always comparing big with small, light with heavy, all the time.

Gods, I love the look of that Hasselblad, without the grip and viewfinder. If I was buying, if I knew what was good for me, I’d definitely get the Fujifilm. Which means I’d definitely get the Hasselblad. And not regret a thing*.


*I regret everything, disarming myself of expectations is my new motto.

Hasselblad X1D II ($5750) plus the small new XCD 45 P lens ($1100, roughly 35mm equivalent FOV) would be the sexier choice.

I suggest that if you're doing it for the readers, then the most affordable and available option will also be of the most use to the most people i.e. the Fuji 50R is ideal, plus either the 50mm or the 63mm normal lens. This is the only option that is really 'affordable' to me i.e. comparable in price to a FF setup with a few lenses.

Why not a Fuji GFX 100 and go for broke? ;)

Moar megapickles!

That new Hasselblad (not Hassleblad) is beautiful. (And compact.) I have a 500C with two lenses, and I always love their old look.

Rent yourself a Fuji GFX 50R and the GF 50/3.5 lens. I hesitate to call the combination "small" or "light"... but for "medium format" it's small and light.

I find it difficult to use my X-T2 now that I have a GFX 50R. Consider yourself warned.

If you get one, I'll be curious to see if you find the files GFX camera produce pleasing for black and white.

I mean, it seems a shame to me that you wouldn't have The Greatest Camera in The World (Leica S) if you're going to go MF. But if you have to, I think you should settle for the Hassy because I love the inter compatibility with older parts and the return to industrial design greatness

Which may be irrelevant to you, but you did say you were doing this for me.

Why not go the whole hog and try the 100 meg Fujifilm, that should stand out against the FF cameras like the D850 etc.

It seems nobody has reviewed the Fuji with a 4x5 setup using the Large Format Adapter and I’d be interested in knowing how well that works (or not) and, if possible, compared to the Fotodiox (?) adapter which can do movements.

Please do, to satisfy my curiosity - I would appreciate your views on the Fuji.

Sounds great, but remember the dragoon and try not to like it too much. :-)

Why not test the GFX 100 since Fuji is rumored to be coming out with a downsized version of that this year for about half the price of the current model? And it will still have IBIS too. I’m predicting that will be a camera that will make some waves.

I guess it is hard to recommend since it’s not clear what you want to consider. As others have said there are gobs of technical (and not so much) reviews available. All reviewers are biased, whether intentional or not. Clearly, as you’ve written in the past, camera gear articles generate the most viewers, as photographers are more comfortable there than in talking about the image, or the print. In my case I decide to sell my 4x5 system and replace it with a “medium format” one. I’ve been happily using Fuji X-series since the T1 came out and so I’d love to see your experiences with a GFX system. And happily read about whatever area(s) you decide upon.

I am very happy that you are going to explore MF digital. In my mind micro four thirds and APS sensors are so good now that moving to full frame is hard to justify in terms of cost and physical size. I am sure that your comments after or during your user testing will be enlightening to say the least.Thank you very much for your sacrifice in taking on this task. Someone has to do it! Ha!

Try the Fuji 50R since it's their next step up in sensor size. I'm leery of the GFX100 due to the file size.

If you could comment on prints made from MF sensors that would be quite interesting.

Looking at pictures on a screen, even a great one, tends to level some of the characteristics of different sensors because everything is resized anyway.

I like my 907x to go with my 50 c lens very much, using not 203e body but the adapter. Strange that is the same lens I like using slide and 203fe.

It is very convenient when use with 907x. I can only afford the 40p. It is very portable. And the handle contribute. But not my angle of view.

The star using 70-200 nikon F2.8 using hf adapter is quite ok. Would try if cloudless Tmr using the h 250f5.6 lens instead. A bit heavy for my star guider. The f lens and leica lens using the square corp meant you have the Hasselblad back on quite a lot if my Ken’s ... even 600 but electronic shutter prevent it from doing great thing. And Until I got my gem I cannot use it for star and my telescope.

The whole Hasselblad 907x is really a very versatile modular system camera. Like it very much. And it would be my last camera .... I promise to myself :-)

The GFX 50R maybe the one for you and is the most affordable option and so is likely to be a more popular choice. Still too expensive for me, but maybe one day.

I have to say that I see almost no point in medium format cameras anymore. At one time, yes. Now, the next lurch in FF cameras will be up around 60mp, and with BSI in FF you're probably getting as much light-gathering at the pixel level. MF has no effect at all (I don't think) on any image shown on a video screen, and I doubt would have much effect on such things as the Victoria's Secret ten-foot-tall model images, where resolution is actually still important. So as part of your review, I'd like to see you address the question, "What's the point?"

There's something to be said about how the design of a camera can affect how you use it, and thus what your images will look like. That's one reason I shoot 8x10 for portraits. It's a slow process. Time becomes a raw element that allows for an intimate bond to take place.

The box-like shape and waist-level shooting of the 907x will slow you down and make you a more thoughtful photographer. For portraiture, not having a camera between my face and whom I'm photographing adds a psychological dimension, one of intimacy and trust. Slow down, shoot less. Shoot better.

The design of the 907x was made for me. That it is "medium format" is a plus, but I would have gotten it if it were full frame or 4/3 etc. That way of working just feels right for me.

By the way, the dynamic range of this sensor is amazing. I shoot it like Kodachrome... expose for the highlights. Any shadow detail will be there when you need it.

I'm 60, and my eyes are not what they were. I like to manually focus, and I was initially afraid that relying on just the flip up screen to focus might be an issue. It wasn't. I set a preference for the screen to zoom in 100% as soon as begin to manually focus. An amazing assist. Instant loupe magnifier. Lightly touch the shutter release (or tap the screen) and you'll see your full image again. It works with native XCD lenses, but the feature is available to any lens you can mount on the camera (literally hundreds with adapters) just via a button push.

For me, looking down at the entire image allows a clearer assessment of the composition. The need to make slight camera position adjustments somehow seems more obvious. With a camera designed for eye-level shooting like a DSLR or rangefinder I tend to "spot see" -- zero in on one area at a time. It's hard to see the "big picture" with your eye so close to the viewfinder. Mike, do you remember your love for looking at the ground glass of a large format camera? That feeling will be more at hand with 907x. Of course, you can try to utilize the Fuji in that manner by flipping up its screen, but the body is not designed from the ground up to work this way. Ergonomics becomes all wrong, and the camera "gets in the way." And there are all those buttons and a dense menu system. The Hasselblad has just two buttons on the body and the touch screen menu system is beautifully simple. Really. Simple.

What I like about the 907x is that it doesn't pretend to be the camera for everyone. I wouldn't use this for fashion or sports. Auto focus is not its strong point. Vertical shots forces you to hold up the camera. A future rotating tilting screen would be an interesting design feature, sort of like the rotating back of an RB67. Luckily I "see" horizontally almost exclusively. Also, be aware that third party lenses don't have leaf shutters like the Hasselblad lenses do, so you must use the camera's electronic shutter in that scenario. This limits you to subjects that aren't moving quickly or you will suffer the rolling shutter phenomenon, despite using fast shutting speeds. It hasn't been an issue for me, even with portraiture. My subjects aren't jumping around. If they did, I would then use Hasselblad lenses.

In a nutshell, if you like to shoot slower, enjoy the ergonomics of a small box to cradle, and appreciate waist level (90 or 45 degree) shooting, this is a dream camera. I've become quite attached to it rather quickly. Beautiful craftsmanship, too. She's quite a looker. It really is a Hasselblad, warts and all.

Since you have a Fuji (APS), go with the Fuji (MF). The Hasselblad is much too different. You want to review a medium format camera, not a completely different system. 50R is the most similar to the one you have and are familiar with. I am looking forward, very eagerly.

I thought you were a 35mm equivalent guy. So doesn't the Fuji 45mm f2.8 lens kit make the most sense? It looks to be $6200 as a kit with GFX 50R on B&H.
I am a macro guy so would go 120mm macro. But the number of readers whom are like me would be much less than whom would want to see that 36mm equivalent focal length.

Only go for the 40mm equivalent if you will compare directly with an Olympus Pen-f camera and Panasonic 20mm lens. I now have that exact combination and its excellent, even for this macro guy. The best for monochrome control of any camera.

I can see the point that there’s not a whole lot of difference between the prices of the top DSLRs/Mirrorless FF cameras and ‘medium format’, but sadly that seems to be just a result of the price increases of enthusiast full frame cameras in recent years. I fully accept that the latest such mirrorless cameras from Sony, Canon & Nikon are incredible machines, and that the lenses for the same are better than their DSLR equivalents, but there’s no way I can even think about buying any of them. So not only are medium-format cameras out of reach, so too are current full-frame ones. I shall persist with my APS-C body and a small collection of OK lenses.

Wow - after 35 years I have bought my ’last camera’. Well, last dedicated camera - I find myself more and more interested in computational photography with the phone, and I am currently eagerly awaiting delivery of my iPhone 12 Pro. Can’t wait to play with Apple’s ProRAW.

I agree with Ken Tanaka. There, now two votes for at least one of your options!

Too late to chime in? I vote either Fuji 50r or 50s, in large part because those are the two I’m most intrigued by, but also because I suspect those are also the ones most of your readers who flirt with the idea of plunking down all that green are considering—and can maybe afford. Whatever the case though, look forward to reading it!

Go for the GFX 100. More megapixels always seems to be where the industry is headed, so it's slightly ahead of the pack. I am very interested in digital medium format cameras, but I don't have the need or the funds for it. Your writing on the subject will be greatly appreciated.

For some the ability to use legacy lenses is important. For me, flash sync speed is a big deal. From the B&H site: Optimized for use with XCD series of lenses, which offer an integrated central shutter system, capable of sync speeds up to 1/2000 sec.

Most TOPpers are into found photos. On the other hand most of my shots are posed. Fast sync speed allows me to eliminate ambient light. This is a very big deal when there is a cluttered background.

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