best medium format camera for portraits

Medium format is becoming more attainable by modern photographers. It’s also not necessarily just for portraits and landscapes. You can photograph events and photojournalistic assignments with medium format now. The autofocus has improved a lot. And what’s better is that a lot of the time, you don’t even really need to edit the images. It’s so nice to get your live back in that way! We dove into our Reviews Index to find the best medium format cameras around. And yes, we tested all of them.

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The Phoblographer’s variousproduct round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Pro Tips for the Photographer Considering Medium Format Cameras

Photographers who want medium format cameras should consider these:

  • Slower aperture lenses will give you more shallow results than their direct full-frame 35mm competitors.
  • Even the best Medium format cameras have autofocus that’s slower than full-frame cameras. But they’re still usable.
  • Yes, all of these are Fujifilm cameras. And that’s because they actually put a bigger emphasis on medium format than other brands.
  • These cameras have incredible weather sealing. We’ve tested them, and we know.
  • The price of medium format has come down quite a bit. Granted, this isn’t true medium format as it’s not even a 645 sensor.

Fujifilm GFX 100S

Tech Specs

  • 102 megapixels 43.8×32.9mm CMOS Sensor
  • X processor 4 (4:2:0 10bit / 12bit ProRes Raw 4K/30p)
  • 5.0fps Continuous Shooting with AF-C / 64Gb DRAM
  • New Smaller Shutter & IBIS in smaller & Lighter weight body
  • Up to 6.0 stops Sync. Lens/IBIS / 4K30p non-crop recording
  • 100% Phase Detection AF up to -5.5EV @ F1.7/ F13~16
  • All of the features from X-T4 and GFX100
  • DIS for Movie / ProRes Raw 12bit Output
  • 400 Megapixel Multiple Shot, Drone & Gimbal support
  • GFX S (shooting) style Body H150 x V104 x D44mm
  • New Battery NP-W235 in grip makes the body thinner
  • Weather and Dust resistant, Freeze Proof to -10°C
  • Initial Shipment: Feb/Mar 2021
  • Launch Price: US $5,999

In our review, we state:

“The Fujifilm GFX100S is a fantastic camera loaded with features, including a 102 Megapixel sensor. With a new IBIS system, this Medium Format camera is just as comfortable on the streets as it is in a studio. Images are gorgeous, the ergonomics are great, and build quality is much improved over older models. It’s well priced at $5,999 and will appeal to many photographers.”

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Fujifilm GFX 50S II

Tech Specs

  • 54.1MP CMOS Sensor Large Format (44x33mm)
  • Quad-core CPU X-Processor 4 with Latest FW
  • Mode Dial Controls
  • Weather Resistant
  • 3.0fps Continuous Shooting
  • Full HD/30P, 4:2:0 8-bit (SD/HDMI)
  • Contrast Rapid AF of .272s
  • Lowlight Priority AF -3.5EV / 14 Stop Dynamic Range
  • New Nostalgic Neg. Film Simulation
  • IBIS with 6.5 Stops of Stabilization, more than GFX100S
  • Fixed 3.9M-dot EVF (0.77x Mag. 50fps refresh)
  • NP-W234 (440 frame) battery. Same as “X-T4 Battery”
  • 205MP Multi-Shot Pixel Shift / Drone-Gimbal Support
  • New 35-70mm f4.5-5.6 WR kit lens

In our review, we state:

“Fujifilm isn’t completely redesigning the medium format system; they’re building upon what has worked well for them. The sensor is pretty great, but it isn’t new. It is paired with the newer X-processor 4 for improved performance. In-camera skin-softening within the GFX50s II is very usable and drastically cuts down on editing time in post. The second iteration of the camera has also gained an impressive 6.5 stops of IBIS. That’s an extra 1/2 stop better than the flagship GFX100s. For medium format, that’s the best on the market.”

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Fujifilm GFX 50R

Tech Specs

  • Rangefinder style
  • Compact and lightweight body
  • Weather resistant structure
  • 43.8×32.9mm 51.4MP CMOS medium format sensor
  • X-Processor Pro
  • 2.36M-dot touchscreen LCD back panel
  • FUJINON GF Lens

In our review, we state:

“As we reported previously, the Fujifilm GFX 50R can resist quite a bit of abuse. We took it into the rain for a long time and it was just fine. Despite lots of moisture and rain getting around the camera and the lens, they combo just kept working. On our Instagram, we shared photos and more results. We’re very convinced that the Fujifilm GFX 50R is capable of doing pretty much everything that you need within reason. It isn’t submersible, but it can take some of the worst weather that may come its way.”

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Medium format digital cameras used to be large, “clunky”, and very cost-prohibitive. Fortunately, that is no longer the case! Recent innovations in medium format technology have yielded more powerful, versatile, and affordable options. In fact, some of the most affordable options cost less than some of the flagship full-frame digital cameras, and are approximately just as portable!

In this light, we’re going to discuss the best medium format cameras that you can choose from for an incredible photography experience at an affordable price.

What is a Medium Format Camera?

Medium format digital cameras are popular for commercial, editorial, fashion, and landscape photography, among other things, because of their highly accurate color reproduction, impressive dynamic range, and unparalleled overall high-quality images.

A medium format digital camera is based on the “120” roll film size, but often has slightly smaller (43.8 x 32.9mm) physical sensor dimensions. (A full-frame sensor, which is based on the 35mm roll film size, is 35.9 x 23.9mm.)

Best Medium Format Digital Cameras in 2021

Fujifilm GFX 50S II

It comes as no surprise that Fujifilm has earned a top position on this list. Having established themselves as a powerhouse brand in photography, Fujifilm has a history of developing innovative new camera technology. Their work with medium format cameras makes no exception.

The Fujifilm GFX 50S II combines portability, performance, and affordability that both professionals and serious hobbyists can enjoy. (NOTE: The GFX 50S II is so new, it may not yet be in stock!)

Pros:

  • Incredible price: $3,999
  • Superior build quality, weather-sealed construction
  • Lots of physical controls to customize functionality
  • Reliable AF system and decent burst rate speed
  • Responsive and flexible touchscreen
  • Excellent image quality
  • USB 3.0 capacity
  • Dual card slots
  • Microphone and headphone jacks available

Cons:

  • Autofocus system inherited from the previous generation
  • Video specs are not ideal for professional use
  • Mediocre battery life

Hasselblad 907X 50C 

The Hasselblad brand is currently making waves in medium format digital photography for its stunning innovations and classic styling. Anyone who remembers the “Hassy” 500-series film back cameras will love this latest design!

If you want to capture images for commercial or other high-end use, using a modular-style camera, the Hasselblad 907X 50C is something to look at.

Pros:

  • Affordable for a modular system camera ($6,399)
  • Easy-to-assemble and easy-to-use
  • The CFV II 50C fits the 500CM version
  • Utilizes the same lenses as X1D II 50C
  • Innumerable other lenses can be adapted

Cons:

  • Slow and noisy autofocus
  • Difficult to see the LCD screen under bright light

Fujifilm GFX 100S

Considered to be the best overall, the Fujifilm GFX 100S is a successor to the Fujifilm GFX 50S and the GFX 100, depending on how you look at it. At a glance, the GFX100S, like the GFX 50S II, can be likened to a full-frame mirrorless camera. However, its 102-megapixel BSI-CMOS medium format sensor breaks the camera away from its competition, both full-frame and (most) other medium format cameras.

Pros:

  • Stunning images and superb body build
  • Compact size and light weight
  • Affordable for its images and performance
  • Suitable for video/film

Cons:

  • Limited image stabilization
  • EVF could be better
  • Slow shooting speed

Pentax 645Z

High prices used to prohibit most photographers from considering medium format cameras, but companies like Pentax have been changing the game for a long time. For a medium format camera that performs adequately and provides excellent shots, the Pentax 645Z makes a great contender.

Although the Pentax 645Z revolutionized the medium format camera scene seven years ago, this old-timer still stands as a viable choice, especially when considering the used market.

Pros:

  • Incredible, ground-breaking image quality
  • Decent battery life
  • Superb weather sealing and build quality
  • Easy-to-use viewfinder and screen combo
  • Tilting Live View enabled
  • Large sensor with big pixel count
  • USB 3.0 capacity with microphone jack

Cons:

  • Weighs around 1.5 kilo without lens
  • Enormous size
  • No headphone jack
  • No touchscreen
  • Sluggish autofocus

Leica S3

Are you a Leica enthusiast searching for a medium format camera that can capture amazing photographs? If yes, then you’re going to love the Leica S3.

It’s the size of a conventional DSLR and has an optical viewfinder, and it integrates a 64 megapixel-sensor that puts this camera slightly ahead of Fujifilm 50-megapixel competitors. That is, if you want an optical viewfinder and have nearly $20K to spend on the body alone!

Pros:

  • High resolution
  • Excellent image quality
  • Superb build quality (dust and splash-resistant)
  • Compatible with both focal-plane and leaf shutters

Cons:

  • More expensive than most competitors
  • Moderately slow shooting speed

Conclusion | Best Medium Format Digital Cameras

Professionals who engage in commercial photography, editorial/fashion photography, or even landscape or other types of photography where sheer resolution and overall image quality is extremely important, we hope you saw something that caught your eye! You can absolutely benefit from the selection above, if you find an overall system (including the right lenses!) that fits your photography needs.

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