I was lucky enough to get my hands on a GFXR Fuji .
I already have the GFX50S and was actually on the fence deciding whether or not to switch, is this machine really that portable? is it really every street photographers dream?
Taken with GFX 50S
Taken with the GFX50R
Needless to say my first day with a GFX50R started out with all the best intentions, i.e I wanted to use it as a street camera and below is the first image I took with it.( see below)
Above is a straight out of the camera jpeg with the Classic Chrome emulation which may give you an idea of what this camera is capable of.
Ok I'm not a hardcore street photographer although it is an option I never dismiss, if the image is there I will do the best I can to capture it, but I much prefer to set things up and keep a slow pace, which is perfect for Fuji Medium Format.
I have always tried to find an all round camera, capable of being used as a professional camera but also as a street photography instrument.
Taken with Leica M Monochrome ccd (Backstage)
Here above is an example of one of my various attempts of finding the perfect street camera and I still think the M system is the most versatile but not the best in terms of image quality.
I picked up a used Leica Monochrom, what a gorgeous little camera, but not up to standards, for example getting your highlights right was murder, the dynamic range and micro contrast are pretty bad as you can tell by the gaping white holes in this file, even if you exposed on highlights there was really no way of recovering detail in post, (not the case with the GFX I can literally underexpose as much as I want and recover everything ) when I started getting the knack of things ( i.e shooting round the cameras limitations) it had a rotting sensor issue and as we all know , when you send your camera to Germany you are in for a long wait, 3 months to be precise.
In the end when the sensor was substituted for the second time and I reluctantly sold it
*On the customer service note I will just quickly add that I had to send my GFXS to FUJI UK for a minor issue, ( internal battery failure) I was given a substitute camera which I didn't even have time to use because in the meantime my camera was repaired, the sensor was put in new (just because they can) in eight days.
I was delighted.*
So back to my first attempt of using the GFXR fuji as a street camera...well the answer is a straight no, it's big, sluggish, and flash and even though cheap in terms of MF it is still a blatantly fancy piece of kit, and people can tell , basically they spot you a mile off and they want to know why the hell your taking images of them, so unless you ask permission or go crazy crop style like in this image below, you really are not going to be very stealthy.
I hate to talk about the autofocus, mainly because I stick to f11 and keep everything in focus from a meter out in manual and worry mainly only about exposure( I think that people who rant about slow AF on medium format have probably not had any experience with it. (fuji systems in manual are a dream)
Having mentioned this however I think it is fair to admit (for all those who can't do without it) that compared to some cameras I found the AF a tad slow and not always accurate , you WILL miss shots, and that can really be heartbreaking in some cases.
So for all you photographers that were hoping for the ultimate combo of portability and image quality the time has still not come, the street medium format (with no compromises) has still not been invented, and I think that all the reviews stating the contrary are not accurate and may fool people into buying this camera with the hopes of becoming a very high end street photographer.
The truth is is that image quality has very little to do with good street photography, you need qualities that cannot be bought in any store.
These shots below are were taken on a 28mm equivalent focal length, the classic fujix70, I underline the focal length because it is important you understand how close I was.
There is no way you can obtain such spontaneous photos stuffing a GFXR50 in peoples faces.
Don't get me wrong,I think this is one of the best cameras on the market and when you get the right light and you nail the focus ( which if you don't you may as well being using a phone)the files are breathtaking.
Anyway hope this helps for all you image hunters looking for your perfect set up.
Crazy crop on gfx50r (below)
Fuji x70. (above and below)
(below)(GFXR50 another crop example)