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What's the purpose of the rumored GFX 50R (Fuji's medium format digital rangefinder)?

Discussion in 'Fujifilm X News & Rumors' started by HansA, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. HansA

    HansA Member

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    Hi,

    As far as I understand, the two generations of X-Pros with their OVF are made to be used primarily with semi wide angle to short telephoto prime lenses and thus particularly suitable for street photography - I'm wondering what would be the case with the future/rumored GFX 50R (R for rangefinder)?

    It would certainly be bigger (compared to X-Pro), heavier, and as an interchangeable lens system, won't be compact either. Would it be marketed to people who just prefer the rangefinder as opposed to SLR form factor? As a complete beginner to photography, I seem to see that image quality doesn't sit particularly high on the list for street photographers. I know that some of you have been using medium format film rangefinders, perhaps you could give some idea on why people would choose the GF's future RF compared to SLR format?;)
     
  2. HansA

    HansA Member

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    Well, as I read further that the price is supposed to be around 2/3 (around $4000) of the current GFX 50s, it could be a nice but still very pricey "gateway drug" to the Fuji's digital medium format system.

    Could look nice with the GF63mm on..., still big though. Can't wait to see. Maybe Fuji can offer them as a bundle for $4500.
     
  3. jptsr1

    jptsr1 Premium Member

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    Right in my wheelhouse (price-wise anyway). Cant wait for the reviews. I want to see how it does against the 5Ds dollar value for dollar value.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  4. monst

    monst Premium Member

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    It would be nice if they did make a real rangefinder again. Used to love the 6x9 Fuji's
     
  5. JonPB

    JonPB Premium Member

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    Film rangefinders are great because they are so compact, regardless of film size. The rangefinder mechanism requires width, which most cameras have anyway, while through-the-lens mechanisms require enough length for the mirrorbox plus height for the prism and eyepiece. Of course, today’s digital cameras offer TTL focusing by reading the sensor directly, which allows them to be at least as small as a rangefinder.

    Which is to say, I suggest looking at the difference between EVF and OVF, not historical form factor. EVFs offer a preview of the captured image while OVFs offer a slice of the scene to be captured. Both have benefits and drawbacks. The main benefit of an OVF is that it shows the scene’s full dynamic range while an EVF can hide shadow or highlight detail. A window finder, like in a rangefinder, also allows the eye to see outside of the frame, which some like and others don’t.

    Modern window finders tend to be more expensive than EVFs, so I don’t know how the 50R will cost 2/3rds as much as the 50S. Could be that the interchangeable finder of the 50S makes it as expensive as a fixed OVF, and they both will be around the $4,000 mark.

    Window finders also work best with small lenses. The GFX lenses aren’t huge, but the finder would need to be a good distance from them to show a clear view of the scene, making the 50R much larger than the 50S.

    So I’m not sure how it’ll all come together, but Fujifilm seems to make mostly wise decisions in its designs, and it’ll be great to see what they release.
     
  6. TonyWilkins

    TonyWilkins Premium Member

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    Do we know if it will have the hybrid or just evf rangefinder style?
     
  7. DougMac

    DougMac Premium Member

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    That's a good question. I'm interested because rumors have the price as lower than the GFX 50s. The X-Pro2 is more expensive than the X-T2.

    I have seen videos of photographers using the 50s for street photography. I guess Fuji figures there's a market for that form factor. I wonder if there will be other attributes to set it apart.

    There have been some classic film medium format cameras in the past, including the Koni Omega, which was popular with newspaper photographers because of its rapid film advance lever. Here are others: Please login or register to view links
     
  8. HansA

    HansA Member

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    I was thinking along the lines that the RF form factor is the stripped version of the 50S (but with OVF) thus the price difference (e.g no detachable viewfinder, flippy screen, top e-ink display, battery/vertical grip, and probably less video capability among others) but what you said that the 50S' price would come down to match the 50R seems to make more sense.

    Regarding the OVF, I do know that some people like to work with it but as it seems that the GFX system is marketed more towards professional photographers, I'm not sure if the profit from selling a medium format RF form factor camera with more restricted functions like the X-Pro (compared to X-T1/2) but with an OVF could justify the R&D cost in this segment. Perhaps the profit is secondary to other factors like establishing Fuji's identity in photography, but what do I know :p

    Good question. I assume that it will have a hybrid viewfinder like on the X-Pro.

    The "Brenizer effect" mentioned on that page looks very cool!
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  9. Martin E

    Martin E Premium Member

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    Where is all this information about the new camera coming from?
     
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  10. David Schneider

    David Schneider Premium Member

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    If you go to mirrorlessrumors dot com and go down to Dec.4 there's something about it. Also Fujirumors dot com on Dec. 2.
     
  11. lawsofphysics

    lawsofphysics Premium Member

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    The primary purpose of an RF style OVF is when able to compose with awareness of what's outside the frame is more important than precise framing. This is often the case in dynamic, spontaneous circumstances often encountered during candid photography of strangers.

    Other advantages are clearer viewing in low light; avoiding aliasing flicker from frequenc- modulated light sources and slightly reduces power consumption.
     
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  12. Finder

    Finder Premium Member

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    I am not sure that was the primary purpose of RF frame lines, just a happy accident. The other difference with viewfinders is that the entire scene is sharp, so nothing is obscured by depth of field. You can see all elements. The down side is you cannot judge depth of field.
     
  13. HansA

    HansA Member

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    I do understand the main benefits of RF form factor for photographers but in this case, I'm especially trying to understand why Fuji wants to develop this camera.

    Digital medium format is still very expensive for your average photographers and the X-Pro2 is already awesome enough if you like using OVF to take photos in the street. Would there be enough street photographers who would jump the ship to medium format because of this camera to justify its existence? Why would professional photographers choose this over the GFX 50S?

    I have a hunch that Fuji is willing to take some losses just to develop this camera and launch it to the public. Rangefinder cameras are part of Fujifilm's heritage anyway, it would be a shame if they don't continue to bring them into the modern age.
     
  14. Finder

    Finder Premium Member

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    Fuji has never followed the herd with camera design. And their camera division has probably never been a profit maker. I am sure if they continue to break even, they will be around. You might enjoy this:

    Please login or register to view links
     
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  15. HansA

    HansA Member

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    That was an eye opener. It's interesting to know that Fujifilm's photographic division only contributes 1% to their total profit!

    I guess Fuji doesn't have anything to lose with its camera division and the people there can do anything they want :p
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  16. The Judge

    The Judge Premium Member

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    There has been a rich history of 20th century street photography shot on medium format film, though typically with chimney finders. The original photojournalists at the end of the 18th and through the 19th centuries used even much more cumbersome equipment.

    The benefits for me would be the native 4:3 aspect ratio and a Bayer sensor.

    Also, to answer your question from a business sense, a compact rangefinder style body could position itself as a competitor to Hasselblad's X1D. Fujifilm and Hasselblad took different approaches to their mirrorless medium format systems: Fujifilm positioned itself as a fully-featured professional system with maximum flexibility while Hasselblad was more pared down and portable. They both went for different markets but Fujifilm could have two lines that cover both.

    A truly radical medium format system would be a box with a 44x33mm sensor, computer and lens mount that would fasten to the back of a tablet. You would use the screen of your tablet as the viewfinder. It would be like a digital view camera.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  17. SkvLTD

    SkvLTD Well-Known Member

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    And I personally see that as the biggest problem, to this day. Like Pentax, Fuji ignored the real pro market and the need for FF cameras and while they managed to get some people on-board, majority stuck with trusted and tried for all the right reasons. Jump all the way to sort-of-medium format is truly nice, but for that price and plenty of competition around, we'll still see what happens there.....

    That said, if this new RF "MF" Fuji will finally be a proper optical RF like a Leica, but murder the big L in IQ for fraction of a price, then that will turn MANY heads including my own. I would personally love a truly bigger sensor for a rival price of D850, and if the OVF delivers in proper RF style.... the battery life WILL be there.

    While I would agree, realistically only way they'd consider is to make it Apple proprietary and that would spiral the whole thought into depths of hell.
     
  18. David Schneider

    David Schneider Premium Member

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    The dslr, mirrorless and medium format markets get more sales from amateurs than from professionals. The best way to get more amateur sales is to call a camera "professional." So the questions isn't would professional photographers choose a rangefinder or GFX type body, but would advanced, well funded amateurs buy it.
     
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  19. The Judge

    The Judge Premium Member

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    This will be dependent on whether the existing lenses have mechanical coupling needed for rangefinder focusing, no? And also whether they decide the market agrees to accept the limitations of mechanical rangefinders after their X Pro and X100 series have found workarounds for close focus and the ability to use wide angle and telephoto lenses without auxiliary external viewfinders.
     
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  20. HansA

    HansA Member

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    I could agree with that. Although I'm not sure if I have a lot of money (being an amateur), I'd buy that big and heavy fully-pro Nikon D850, for example - but that's just me.

    The current GFX 50S does have an allure for your enthusiasts that it's relatively more affordable (compared to its peers), not that big, pro-grade medium format. And in this token, the future GFX rangefinder will be even more attractive for because it will be even more affordable (around or below $4000) than the 50S! I do think that it's aimed at that market segment rather than fully at working photographers. I could be wrong though, like maybe some pros prefer to work with X-Pro2 rather than X-T2 just because.
     

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