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Sony A9 versus Fujifilm GFX 50S

The Sony Alpha A9 and the Fujifilm GFX 50S are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2017 and September 2016. Both the A9 and the GFX 50S are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a full frame (A9) and a medium format (GFX 50S) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Fujifilm provides 51.1 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Sony A9 vs Fujifilm GFX 50S

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A9 and the Fujifilm GFX 50S is provided 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. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the A9 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Sony A9 vs Fujifilm GFX 50S
Compare A9 versus GFX 50S top
Compare A9 and GFX 50S rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Fujifilm GFX 50S is notably larger (14 percent) than the Sony A9. Moreover, the GFX 50S is markedly heavier (10 percent) than the A9. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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 the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the A9 gets 650 shots out of its NP-FZ100 battery, while the GFX 50S can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-T125 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony A9» 127 mm 96 mm 63 mm 673 g 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
Fujifilm GFX 50S« 148 mm 94 mm 91 mm 740 g 400 Y Sep 2016 6,499 i i Fujifilm GFX 50S
Canon 5D Mark IV« » 151 mm 116 mm 76 mm 890 g 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Fujifilm GFX 50R« » 161 mm 97 mm 66 mm 775 g 400 Y Sep 2018 4,499 i i Fujifilm GFX 50R
Hasselblad X1D« » 150 mm 98 mm 71 mm 725 g .. Y Jun 2016 8,995 i i Hasselblad X1D
Leica SL« » 147 mm 104 mm 39 mm 847 g 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
Nikon D7500« » 136 mm 104 mm 73 mm 720 g 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
Olympus E-M1 II« » 134 mm 91 mm 67 mm 574 g 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« » 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Sony A7 III« » 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
Sony A7R III« » 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
Sony A6500« » 120 mm 67 mm 53 mm 453 g 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i Sony A6500
Sony A7R II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 625 g 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 627 g 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
Sony A7 II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Sony A99« » 147 mm 111 mm 78 mm 812 g 500 Y Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony A99
Sony A77« » 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 732 g 470 Y Aug 2011 1,999- i Sony A77

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A9 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 31 percent) than the GFX 50S, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony A9 vs Fujifilm GFX 50S

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A9 features a full frame sensor and the Fujifilm GFX 50S a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the GFX 50S is 71 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 0.79. The sensor in the A9 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GFX 50S offers a 4:3 aspect.

Sony A9 and Fujifilm GFX 50S sensor measures

With 51.1MP, the GFX 50S offers a higher resolution than the A9 (24MP), but the GFX 50S has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.33μm versus 5.94μm for the A9). It is noteworthy in this context that the A9 is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the GFX 50S, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. 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 A9 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in relatively fast and reliable autofocus acquisition during video recording.

A9 versus GFX 50S MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Sony A9» Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792Sony A9
Fujifilm GFX 50S« Medium Format 51.1 8256 61921080/30p----Fujifilm GFX 50S
Canon 5D Mark IV« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.813.6299591Canon 5D Mark IV
Fujifilm GFX 50R« » Medium Format 51.1 8256 61921080/30p----Fujifilm GFX 50R
Hasselblad X1D« » Medium Format 51.3 8272 62001080/25p26.214.84489102Hasselblad X1D
Leica SL« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188Leica SL
Nikon D7500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386Nikon D7500
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777Panasonic GH5
Sony A7 III« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096Sony A7 III
Sony A7R III« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100Sony A7R III
Sony A6500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585Sony A6500
Sony A7R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385Sony A7S II
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II
Sony A99« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.014.0155589Sony A99
Sony A77« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.280178Sony A77

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A9 provides a higher video resolution than the GFX 50S. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Fujifilm is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony A9 vs Fujifilm GFX 50S

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A9 has an electronic viewfinder (3686k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GFX 50S relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GFX 50S can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-TL1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A9 and Fujifilm GFX 50S in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Sony A9»3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 20.0 n Y Sony A9
Fujifilm GFX 50S«- Y 3.2 2360 full-flex Y 4000 3.0 n n Fujifilm GFX 50S
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 7.0 n n Canon 5D Mark IV
Fujifilm GFX 50R« »3690 n 3.2 2360 tilting Y 4000 3.0 n n Fujifilm GFX 50R
Hasselblad X1D« »2360 n 3.0 920 fixed Y 2000 2.3 n n Hasselblad X1D
Leica SL« »4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 11.0 n n Leica SL
Nikon D7500« »optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 8000 8.0 Y n Nikon D7500
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n Y Panasonic GH5
Sony A7 III« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y Sony A7 III
Sony A7R III« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y Sony A7R III
Sony A6500« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 11.0 Y Y Sony A6500
Sony A7R II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7S II
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II
Sony A99« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 8000 6.0 n Y Sony A99
Sony A77« »2359 Y 3.0 921 full-flex n 8000 12.0 Y Y Sony A77

One feature that differentiates the A9 and the GFX 50S is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The A9 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the GFX 50S has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, both cameras feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

The A9 writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the GFX 50S uses SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Sony A9»YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
Fujifilm GFX 50S«YstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y--Fujifilm GFX 50S
Canon 5D Mark IV« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0YY-Canon 5D Mark IV
Fujifilm GFX 50R« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y-YFujifilm GFX 50R
Hasselblad X1D« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Hasselblad X1D
Leica SL« »YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--Leica SL
Nikon D7500« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y-YNikon D7500
Olympus E-M1 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y--Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« »YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic GH5
Sony A7 III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7 III
Sony A7R III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7R III
Sony A6500« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony A6500
Sony A7R II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S II
Sony A7 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
Sony A99« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Sony A99
Sony A77« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony A77

Both the A9 and the GFX 50S are recent models that feature in their makers' current product line-up. Neither of the two has a direct predecessor, so perhaps they will constitute the origins of new camera lines for Sony and Fujifilm.

Review summary: Sony A9 vs Fujifilm GFX 50S

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A9 or the Fujifilm GFX 50S – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A9:

  • 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).
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (127x96mm vs 148x94mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (650 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (31 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 6 months after the GFX 50S).

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Advantages of the Fujifilm GFX 50S:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (51.1 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 43%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check 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 1440k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2016).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A9 is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 8 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

A9 13:08 GFX 50S

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A9 or the GFX 50S. 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 summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony A9»HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
Fujifilm GFX 50S«-85/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 6,499 i i Fujifilm GFX 50S
Canon 5D Mark IV« »HiRec87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Fujifilm GFX 50R« »----- Sep 2018 4,499 i i Fujifilm GFX 50R
Hasselblad X1D« »rev81/100--4/5 Jun 2016 8,995 i i Hasselblad X1D
Leica SL« »-84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
Nikon D7500« »HiRec86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Sony A7 III« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
Sony A7R III« »HiRec90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
Sony A6500« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i Sony A6500
Sony A7R II« »HiRec90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« »Rec-4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
Sony A7 II« »Rec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Sony A99« »-84/1004.5/5rev4.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony A99
Sony A77« »91/10081/100-4.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,999- i Sony A77

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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 your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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