I immediately received a comment from a photographer who has attended one of my past presentations, who asked me what the differences are between the GFX-50S and the new GFX-50R. And that is what this blog is about.
R versus S
The question is, should you consider the new lighter, less expensive R model over the S model? Here’s my take, based on my ownership of the 50S and my research of the specs of the 50R.
The short answer is NO… but that’s only for me and my needs as a pro landscape, travel and wildlife photographer. You may find the R camera to be just what you need, especially if you are into street photography. So, let’s jump into the comparison.
Commonalties… and Differences
The R and S share lots of things in common. They use the same sensor, ISO rating, processing engine, full HD video, touch screen, and weather sealing, to name only some of their shared characteristics.
SIZE: The R is thinner than the S and weighs 5 oz (145gms) less. But it is also slightly wider. Not a great difference there, but if you are walking around a metro area all day, 5 ounces may make a difference.
GRIP: The grip on the new R is not as deep and does not have the same stable, comfortable feel as the S. For me that is critical. The S just feels right in my hand, even with heavy lenses.
VIEWFINDER: This would actually be a deal-breaker for my needs. First of all, the R viewfinder is way off to the left of the camera, which has always been a hassle for me with older film cameras, as it shifted my hand-eye balance enough to make me uncomfortable. Yet many photographers love that feel and the fact that ones nose does not get in the way. The S viewfinder that comes standard with the camera is dead center.
But what is the deal-deal-breaker about the R for me is the fact that you cannot mount the optional articulated viewfinder. As I said in my GFX-50S review, that viewfinder is not an option for me. It is an essential piece of equipment.
BUTTONS: the button layout is different for the R. Whether or not it matters is strictly personal preference. The R does not have a dedicated D-pad on the back, which is something I use a lot to manipulate the cursor and to create a customized set of menu options. The 50R uses a joystick instead. The 50S has both a D-pad and joystick. The 50R does add a bit more functionality to the touch screen, which partially makes up for the lack of the D-pad. However, I find that having to switch from my eyepiece to the back screen is a distraction when I am in the moment.
TILT-SCREEN: The S screen has three tilt directions; up-down and sideways. That sideways tilt can come in handy for vertical mode shooting. The 50R adjusts up and down, but not sideways.
NO Top Screen: I like having the top screen on my 50S. It serves as a quick reference for me when I’m not looking through the viewfinder. The 50R does not include one. Another strike against the 50R for my use.
Battery Grip: The 50S offers the option of a battery grip, while the 50R does not.
Price: Once again, you can save a bundle by going with the 50R, but only if you are comfortable with some of the differences (and deficiencies) I noted. Still, if I were doing a lot of street photography I would seriously consider the R.
So, there you have it. Feel free to leave your own comments below.