FUJIFILM GFX Medium Format Mirrorless Camera for Video – Everything You Wanted to Know

Up until recently, thinking about an affordable medium format mirrorless camera with video capabilities was only a dream. With the introduction of the Hasselblad x1d  and the FUJIFILM GFX 50S, not only is this dream fast becoming a reality – it could also indicate the emergence of a pattern to the point of déjà-vu from the time when the Canon 5D Mark II was released and we started cinema5D.

FUJIFILM GFX

FUJIFILM GFX 50S – Credit: FUJIFILM

During my recent trip to Japan, I had a chance to visit the FUJIFILM headquarters and talk to Takashi Ueno-san, a manager at FUJIFILM and a key member of the team behind the new GFX 50S. The main reason for this interview was to establish whether this new camera had a chance of becoming a valid working tool in the arsenal of aspiring filmmakers. In addition, I wanted to understand the technical challenges that manufacturers have to face when designing and manufacturing a camera with such a large sensor.

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-17-38-21

As you can see in the interview above, the new GFX 50S can only shoot video in full HD quality. However, what’s important to take from my chat with FUJIFILM is that this is only the beginning of a journey – one that will be very much dictated by the public response and acceptance of Medium Format for video work. 

dsc04960

Takashi Ueno-san – FUJIFILM corporation

Here is a rundown of the questions asked in this interview:

  • 00:23 – What is the reason for FUJIFILM to introduce a medium format camera?
  • 01:30 – Are video users considered target users?
  • 02:56 – What is the unique advantage of the FUJIFILM GFX?
  • 04:08 – How are the video functions positioned in terms of priority?
  • 06:01 – What is the merit for shooting HD video?
  • 07:21 – What’s the reason for not implementing 4K video?
  • 08:03 – X-T2 and GFX – which is recommended for HD shooting
  • 09:00 – What are your plans for expanding the lens line-up?
  • 10:59 – Can medium format be a good solution for 8K?
  • 12:21 – What is the vision for the video function of medium format in the future?
  • 14:35 – What about pricing and availability?

Rest assured that we will test the new camera as soon as a final sample becomes available to us. In the meantime, I hope you guys will take a minute (or 15), to watch the interview and let us know in the comments section below if such a camera might be interesting for you.

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 Ian Hunter Oscar Stegland Beebee LestrJohnnie BehiriFujifilm GFX Successor to have 100 Megapixel Sensor: Fujifilm Manager Takashi Ueno Recent comment authors
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 Thomas Diehl
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Thomas Diehl

I would be interested to hear what you think about this

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/6113651777/kipon-to-launch-reducer-to-mount-medium-format-lenses-on-full-frame-cameras

Kipon to launch reducer to mount medium format lenses on full frame cameras

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[…] Source: Cinema5D […]

 Beebee Lestr
Member

Large format = Good.

It’s about art.

Traditional smaller-format video cameras focus on having a long zoom range in a compact design. That’s why they have tiny sensors. But that is not art.

Having the tools to make images into art means having control of your lens focal length. Traditional S35 video cameras can’t effectively do wide angle. They just cut off any ability to get ultra-wide shots.

This is why the Arri Alexa 65 camera is suddenly becoming sort after. The top cinematographers want to work on large format cameras. The imagery they get sets them apart from the masses using smaller-format devices.

I applaud Fujifilm for going in this direction. Large format video creates a look that can’t be achieved with little sensors.

You spoke with Fujifilm’s executives. I wish I could go to Canon headquarters and blast them about the dreadful Canon 5D Mark iv, which uses a cropped sensor for video, making the sensor area tiny. Canon lost the plot.

I think it’s worth taking these large-sensor cameras – like the Fujifilm GFX – seriously. Take back control of your lens focal length. Then you can start creating art.

 Ian Hunter
Member

Only in today’s hyper-quality saturated world would we call full frame 35 sensors “tiny.”

 Oscar Stegland
Member

Seriously, what? With the exception of the fact that large format gives a unique look with a shorter depth of field, I’m hard pressed to find anything in your post that isn’t pure bullshit. Stop focusing so much on what you’re shooting on and you’ll learn to see art in anywhere.

Is Ed Lachman’s work on Carol not art because he shot on S16? Did he choose S16 because of the zoom ranges available? Fuck no, he shot it on S16 and mostly on primes because he felt that that was the best way to tell the story. Art in every sense of the word. So are Moonrise Kingdom, Pi, The Wrestler, Black Swan, Irreversible, etc. These are only a few modern examples.

What do you mean smaller sensors can’t do wide-angle? Have you seen a 12mm Ultra Prime on an Alexa? I have a hard time seeing when you’d ever need wider than that. Just use the right focal length and you can get ultra-wide on any sensor you want. Again, it’s about picking the right tool for the job. The fact that you say S35 is incapable of wide-angle just makes me think you lack experience. I’ve never had any problems going wide because of the format, unless it’s a weird sensor size (like original BMCC) for a certain mount.

The simple fact of the matter is that large format cinematography is reserved for the world’s most high-profile and sought after cinematography. It’s simply too expensive and out of reach for most of us. Still, the guys who actually shoot 65mm and IMAX, built their careers on shooting ‘not-art’ on S8, S16, and S35.

Hell, AFAIK, Roger Deakins hasn’t shot 65mm (most of his work is S35 and continues to be so) and you’d be hard pressed to find any DP on the planet who wouldn’t say he’s one of the best and most influential cinematographers throughout history. He has specifically stayed away from the Alexa65 (although the tests he’s done has left him very impressed with the camera), in part, because there’s barely any lenses that you can use with it. There’s definitely nothing on the level of Arri Master Primes (which he almost exclusively shoots lately) or Leica Summilux-C.

Seriously, I cannot believe this statement. It’s rude as all fucking hell and you’re literally putting down every DP on the planet by stating something like this. Who the fuck are you? S35 is going to keep being the golden standard for years to come and S16 will keep being used as well. Stop caring so much about what camera you use. If you cannot create art with anything less than an Alexa65, you should not be working in film at all.

 Ian Hunter
Member

Although Deakins is probably experimenting more than at any other time with Blade Runner, considering the content.

 Oscar Stegland
Member

He’s shooting Blade Runner on Alexa XT and Master Primes just like his past several films, so not really…

 Beebee Lestr
Member

Oscar, let yourself feel secure about the work you do.

If someone wants to set themselves apart from the masses by using different gear, it shouldn’t offend anyone else. In fact, it’s a good goal for everyone to set themselves apart, using whatever tools or methods they deem appropriate.

I’m just pointing out there is increasing demand for larger format video cameras. If you don’t see any use in them, that’s perfectly fine. But there’s a movement going on from people who do believe there is a beautiful look achieved with a larger sensor.

I think it’s just a matter of time before Mr Deakins upscales to large sensor cameras.

 Oscar Stegland
Member

I feel fine about the work I do. I’m still up and coming and none of what I shoot looks like Deakins’ work. Again, that’s fine and well.

I’m not saying there’s not a push for large format cinematography. There absolutely is, and it’s great. If I can shoot digital 65mm in a decade with cameras that are less than $10k, I’d be super happy. Still, it wouldn’t make mine or anybody else’s work stand out. Your work should stand out because of your talent and your choices as a DP, which is exactly how it works today. The Revenant didn’t look great because of the Alexa65 (hell, it was mostly shot on normal Alexas). It looked great because Lubezki is a master of light and camera movement. Similarly Rogue One is quite possibly the best-looking Star Wars film because of Greg Fraiser’s lighting choices. The Alexa65 is certainly a part of the look, but generally I feel that lens choices have a far greater impact than choice of camera.

Then what happens when everybody is shooting large format. We’re already at the point where films that traditionally wouldn’t benefit from the larger framer/shorter depth of field are being shot on the Alexa65 just for the hell of it. It’s already saturating the market which means it no longer stands out.

Once again, I don’t feel personally hit by your comment. I do, however, feel that your comment diminishes the role of a DP into oblivion. It isn’t the camera that makes films beautiful/art. It’s the talent behind the camera, and a huge part of creating that art is choosing the right technology for the story, whether that is 16mm, S35mm, 65mm, IMAX, or even camcorders.

 Ian Hunter
Member

Speaking of 16, “Jackie” was a beautiful example of the talent you speak of.

 Ian Hunter
Member

What gets me is the lost opportunity with the new cams/sensors to market them effectively. It seems whenever a new professional tool comes along, it’s some company rep or generic video shoot that introduces it. Instead of filming leafs and Japanese portraitures, bring in some A-List film makers to debut the new tech. All too often it’s much later down the road that it ends up in the hands real auteurs.

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