Fujifilm GFX 50S vs Olympus E-PL9
The Fujifilm GFX 50S and the Olympus PEN E-PL9 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2016 and February 2018. Both the GFX 50S and the E-PL9 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a medium format (GFX 50S) and a Four Thirds (E-PL9) sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 51.1 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Fujifilm GFX 50S and the Olympus PEN E-PL9? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Fujifilm GFX 50S and the Olympus E-PL9 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PL9 can be obtained in four different colors (black, brown, blue, white), while the GFX 50S is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL9 is considerably smaller (43 percent) than the Fujifilm GFX 50S. Moreover, the E-PL9 is substantially lighter (49 percent) than the GFX 50S. It is worth mentioning in this context that the GFX 50S is splash and dust resistant, while the E-PL9 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Fujifilm GFX 50S||148 mm||94 mm||91 mm||740 g||400||Y||Sep 2016||6,499|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Feb 2018||599|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||151 mm||116 mm||76 mm||890 g||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499|
|5.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|6.||Fujifilm GFX 100S||150 mm||104 mm||87 mm||900 g||460||Y||Jan 2021||5,999|
|7.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||161 mm||97 mm||66 mm||775 g||400||Y||Sep 2018||4,499|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D II||148 mm||97 mm||70 mm||766 g||..||Y||Jun 2019||5,750|
|9.||Hasselblad X1D||150 mm||98 mm||71 mm||725 g||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|10.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|11.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|12.||Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|13.||Olympus E-PL10||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Oct 2019||599|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||122 mm||84 mm||50 mm||410 g||330||n||Aug 2017||649|
|15.||Olympus E-PL8||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Sep 2016||549|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|17.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The E-PL9 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 91 percent) than the GFX 50S, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Fujifilm GFX 50S features a medium format sensor and the Olympus E-PL9 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL9 is 85 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.79 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
With 51.1MP, the GFX 50S offers a higher resolution than the E-PL9 (15.9MP), but the GFX 50S nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.33μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL9) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-PL9 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the GFX 50S, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GFX 50S has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Fujifilm GFX 50S implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the GFX 50S for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41.3 x 31 inches or 104.9 x 78.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 33 x 24.8 inches or 83.9 x 62.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.5 x 20.6 inches or 69.9 x 52.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-PL9 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Fujifilm GFX 50S has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus PEN E-PL9 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Fujifilm GFX 50S||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|6.||Fujifilm GFX 100S||Medium Format||101.8||11648||8736||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D II||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||none||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|10.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|11.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|13.||Olympus E-PL10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|17.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the E-PL9 provides a better video resolution than the GFX 50S. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Fujifilm is limited to 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The GFX 50S and the E-PL9 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the GFX 50S can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-TL1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Fujifilm GFX 50S and Olympus E-PL9 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Fujifilm GFX 50S||optional||Y||3.2||2360||full-flex||Y||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0||n||n|
|6.||Fujifilm GFX 100S||3690||Y||3.2||2360||full-flex||Y||1/4000s||5.0||n||Y|
|7.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||3690||n||3.2||2360||tilting||Y||1/4000s||3.0||n||n|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D II||3690||n||3.6||2360||fixed||Y||1/2000s||2.7||n||n|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the GFX 50S, but is missing on the E-PL9 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The E-PL9 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the GFX 50S does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Fujifilm GFX 50S and the Olympus E-PL9 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the GFX 50S and the E-PL9 write their files to SDXC cards. The GFX 50S features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the E-PL9 only has one slot. The GFX 50S supports UHS-II cards (on both slots), while the E-PL9 can use UHS-I cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Fujifilm GFX 50S and Olympus PEN E-PL9 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Fujifilm GFX 50S||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Fujifilm GFX 100S||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||Y|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||-||3.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the GFX 50S has a microphone port, which is missing on the E-PL9. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Fujifilm GFX 50S (unlike the E-PL9) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The GFX 50S is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Fujifilm. In contrast, the E-PL9 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PL9 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PL10. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Fujifilm and Olympus websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Fujifilm GFX 50S or the Olympus E-PL9 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Fujifilm GFX 50S:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (51.1 vs 15.9MP) with a 79% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2360k vs 1040k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2016).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-PL9:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8.6 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x68mm vs 148x94mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 360g or 49 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (91 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 4 months) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GFX 50S is the clear winner of the match-up (20 : 11 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Fujifilm GFX 50S and the Olympus E-PL9 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GFX 50S or the E-PL9 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Fujifilm GFX 50S||..||..||85/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||6,499|
|2.||Olympus E-PL9||..||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2018||599|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||4/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||4.5/5||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499|
|5.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|6.||Fujifilm GFX 100S||5/5||..||90/100||..||5/5||Jan 2021||5,999|
|7.||Fujifilm GFX 50R||5/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2018||4,499|
|8.||Hasselblad X1D II||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jun 2019||5,750|
|9.||Hasselblad X1D||..||o||81/100||..||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|10.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|11.||Leica SL||4/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|12.||Nikon D7500||4.5/5||+ +||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|13.||Olympus E-PL10||..||..||77/100||..||4/5||Oct 2019||599|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||..||+||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2017||649|
|15.||Olympus E-PL8||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||549|
|16.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|17.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Fujifilm GFX 50S vs Olympus E-PL9
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Fujifilm GFX 50S||Olympus E-PL9|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Fujifilm G mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2016||February 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 6,499||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Fujifilm GFX 50S||Olympus E-PL9|
|Sensor Format||Medium Format Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||44.0 x 33.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||1452 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||55 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||51.1 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8256 x 6192 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.33 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.52 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 102,400 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||X Processor Pro||TruePic VIII|
|Screen Specs||Fujifilm GFX 50S||Olympus E-PL9|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||no viewfinder|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||2360k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fully flexible screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Fujifilm GFX 50S||Olympus E-PL9|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||8.6 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||Dual UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Fujifilm GFX 50S||Olympus E-PL9|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Fujifilm GFX 50S||Olympus E-PL9|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
148 x 94 x 91 mm
(5.8 x 3.7 x 3.6 in)
117 x 68 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.7 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||740 g (26.1 oz)||380 g (13.4 oz)|
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