GFX50R vs GFX50S in Kandooma.

It’s the end of the year and it’s time for a year-end family holiday. I am crazy enough to bring both GFX50S and the new GFX50R for a shootout. One Maldivian island, two medium format cameras ,four GF lenses and 8 beautiful days at Holiday Inn KandoomaThe four GF lenses are GF23mm, GF32-64mm, GF45mm and GF250mm mated with 1.4 TC. Oh and I also packed three other cameras for my daughter’s set-up, X100F, X70 and XP90 for all the things underwater.
 
This is our second time at Holiday Inn Kandooma. True to what we mention when we left last year; ‘we’ll be back”. But this time we brought more people back. My good friends and their four children to experience the wonder hospitality at Kandooma. 
 
From a photographer perspective, I find it more difficult to photograph as nothing has change since I visited some 14 months ago. It’s not a bad thing
that this property has up kept well and still looks the same. That is where the fun and challenges comes. Isn’t it? Photographing familiar places differently. I guess this time round we have to play host to our friends as we a bit of an expert to this lovely island. 
Here are photos to showcase this beautiful resort, the amazing staffs, wildlife and it’s landscape. 
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Life vest on. Can’t wait to see Kandooma again.. GF45mm

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Staff carry Summer kick scoot luggage into the speedboat. 30-40 minutes is all it takes to reach Kandooma. GF45mm

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GF32-64mm + ND filter

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Naseer; Boat Captain. GF45mm

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GF250mm

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Our beach house for the next 7 nights.

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Day 1. Summer feeling the sand. She have been waiting for this day for almost 3 months! X100F

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Friendly Alyssa; Front Desk. GF45mm

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Security; Azumath. GF45mm

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GF250mm

 

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In room check-in by super efficient Karlyn. GF45mm

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Lovely trees in front of my friend’s rooms. Quiet South side. Behind me is where the beach is. GF45mm

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After checking in; I grab this cool family for a quick snap infront of their rooms. GF45mm.

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GF45mm

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GF45mm

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GF45mm

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GF45mm

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Karlyn. There is nothing she can’t do. Thank you! GF45mm

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For all our food needs and crazy request; Executive Chef Eddy Ng. GF45mm.

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Gals enjoying their 1st breakfast. GF45mm.

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Enjoying my specially prepare Prawn Nasi Lemak! Shot by my wifey with the GFX50R.

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The night before, house keeping came and help removed a small gecko. And the next day they created another family member, the crocodile. Great sense of humor indeed. Stay Relaxed! GF45mm

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Refresh and renew with Lavia. Yoga Instructor.

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Chef Dian. Thank you for all the yummy Indonesian food. GF45mm

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Water Villa. GF250mm.

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Retheesh. Always good to be served by a familiar face. Thank you for serving us like royalty.

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GF250mm

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Shot from the first sunset at Kandooma. GF23mm

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Summer and her Mama enjoying a game of Pool at the upper deck recreation area. GF23mm.

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Moray Eel by the jetty. GF45mm.

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Miss Picky Eater is glad to be back in Holiday Inn Kandooma; where no food request is consider too difficult.

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Joseph, the super GM at Holiday Inn Kandooma. Your team is amazing!

 
As the kiddos and wives were busy playing at the pool; I suggested to my friend, Hanson; why don’t we go to the local island for a tour. This local island is just across from the resort. Here is where we get to see how the local lives and go about their daily routine. A must itinerary. My last trip I took a catamaran across and I was given a 20-30 minutes tour. This year I decided to booked it’s local island tour at USD$29 for a 2 hours walk around the island. Two hours is a good time to explore the local island. Local stores and shop, colorful homes, a school, small hospital, police station and a couple of small restaurant in this island of about 2000 inhabitant. Time kind of stood still here in this charming Maldivain island. 
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We have the whole boat to ourselves. GF45mm

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Hanson taking a snap of me. GF45mm.

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After a 10 minutes ride we reach this charming local island. GF45mm.

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Harbor front. I understand in the evening there will be pushcart selling food here. GF45mm

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Local kids fishing by the port. GF45mm

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Local kids showing off their catch. GF45mm.

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GF45mm.

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Entrance of main street. GF45mm.

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Main street. GF45mm

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GF45mm

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Shot by Hanson. GF45mm.

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Middle section of main street. GF45mm

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Locals. GF45mm.

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Local kid getting ready to fish. GF45mm

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Cafe by the sea. GF45mm.

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GF45mm

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Hanson finally found his dream girl. GF45mm.

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GF45mm.

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Another colorful home. GF45mm.

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GF45mm

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View of Holiday Inn Kandooma water villa. GF 45mm.

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GF45mm

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Friendly Local. GF45mm

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Local Guide. GF45mm

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Rustic. GF45mm.

Every Wednesday evening at 6pm is shark feeding session. If you wanna get up close to sharks; this is best opportunity. Or if you don’t like your travel companion this may be the perfect opportunity to accidentally push him or her down. Just kidding. Was told these are reef sharks they don’t fancy humans. In my last trip we even saw a couple to stingrays. 
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Shark Feeding in Progress. GF45mm

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The spectators. GF23mm.

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GF23mm.

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Food is serve! GF45mm

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GF45mm.

THE EXPEDITION.
After a hearty breakfast; everyone is looking forward on our little expedition on this beautiful morning. This is a private 4 hour boat trip. According to the GM; he called this speed boat the Pink Chariot. Together with 2 crew and Ushan the marine biologist we headed off. First stop;looking for dolphins. As Ushan mention; nothing is certain when it come to nature. After traveling for about half an hour we saw dolphin! A pod of them. I think maybe 30-40 of them. Hanson and his daughter were the brave ones to dive in and have a closer encounter with nature. It was exhilarating.
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Joseph the GM came and greet the young explorers for their expedition. GF45mm

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Crew and staff uploading towels, food and drinks. GF45mm

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Team explorers on board the Pink Chariot. GF23mm.

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The search for dolphins begins. GF23mm

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Front seat for Dolphins spotting. GF23mm

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Can’t wait to see the Dolphins. GF23mm

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GF250mm.

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GF250mm

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Dolphins. GF250mm.

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Hanson swimming toward the Dolphins.

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GF250mm

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Shooting each other. Top photo taken with XP90 by hanson and the bottom shot with GFX by me.

Next stop. Lunch at the sand bank. It’s a pretty big sand bank or I could call it a tiny island.
A 5-7 minutes walk gets me around it. Here we get to swim; snorkel and explore. As it noon time
and rather hot and with no umbrella, the kids decided to build their own tents with beach towels. 
Now that is the true spirit of an expedition; working with what we have! Well done kids! Lunch
was great with tuna sandwiches, a variety of danish pastry and tropical fruits.
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Welcome to our almost private sandbank. GF23mm

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Lunch is ready. GF23mm

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Yay. Our boat just left us! GF23mm.

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Ushan. Our cool marine biologist. GF45mm

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Ushan the marine biologist giving an education tour on the marine life along the beach. GF23mm

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Snorkeling time. GF23mm

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Hanson the explorer. GF23mm

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Tourist with umbrella. GF45mm

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The team. GF45mm

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My family and photobomb by Hanson! GF23mm

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Hungry explorers. GF45mm

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Lunch. GF45mm

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Tourist arrival. GF45mm

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Local guide. GF45mm

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More tourist. GF45mm.

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Building our tent. GF45mm

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Tent and the proud builders. GF45mm

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Enjoying the fruits of his labor. GF45mm

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GF45mm.

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GF45mm

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What a great time at sand bank. GF45mm

With a heavy heart we say goodbye to this little sandbank. Next expedition is sea turtle spotting. 
Ushan bring us to a reefs area where there are turtles. It didn’t take long before turtles were 
spotted. Not just a place for turtle but also marine fishes. 
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Turtle spotted. Can you see it? GF250mm

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Hanson taking the lead. GF45mm

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Summer’s first attempt at open sea. GF23mm

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Lead by Ushan, the search for turtle has began. GF23mm

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Where is the turtle again? GF23mm

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Ushan with the turtle. He held it for maybe 2-3 second to show the size of this turtle. GF23mm.

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Shot by Ushan. XP90.

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GF23mm

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Taken by Ushan. XP90

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Top shot by Ushan with XP90 under the sea and the bottom shot with GF23mm.

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A strong man. GF23mm.

Before heading back to Kandooma Hanson needed to make a pit-stop at the local island. Our last trip there; he saw a coral that he wanna purchase but we didn’t bring cash. So now is the
perfect timing plus we could bring our little explorers to visit the local island too.
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GF250mm

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Hanson feeling excited. GF45mm

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GF45mm

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Finally. GF45mm

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The long selection process. GF45mm

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Man with his price procession. GF45mm.

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The support group. GF45mm

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GF45mm

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Going back. GF45mm

For those that is planning to come to Kandooma; I would certainly recommend this 4 hour private expedition. The cost is USD$1800 for 8-10pax. Its great value considering it’s all-inclusive except for Hanson’s coral. This trip is certainly the highlight for the kids and us too. 
Here are more photos from the rest of this wonderful holiday! We’ll be back again.
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GF250mm

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Main beach at Holiday Inn Kandooma. GF23mm.

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Main building. GF23mm.

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All ready to conquer the day. GF45mm

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Staff removing coconuts. GFG45mm

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Happy Wives Club. GF45mm

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GF250mm

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Kids Club Boys! GF45mm

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GF45mm

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Thank you Chef Sherry for all the delicious Malaysian cuisine. SEDAP! GF45mm

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GF45mm

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GF250mm + TC1.4

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GF250mm

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Harbor at Kandooma. GF250mm

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Craft activities at Kids Club. GF45mm

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Kandooma resident. GF250 + TX1.4

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Deck at Sunset Bar. GF23mm

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Pool time. GF45mm

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Beach House no 1 and 2. GF45mm

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Kayaking. GF250mm.

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Gym. GF45mm

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GF45mm

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Amir. Thank you for your patience and hospitality. Took this shot of him during his off day. GF45mm

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All gals team. GF250mm

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Kids Club. GF45mm

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Coral painting at Kids Club. GF45mm

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Rain or shine, they snorkel and I shoot in the rain! GF250mm WR.

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World Pool Finals. GF45mm

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Enjoying the evening glow. GF45mm

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Wifey phone 7 went into pool. Thank you Dasantha to the rescue. GF45mm.

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Adding some bubbles to the holiday is certainly a warm welcome. Woohoo! GF45mm

After using both GFX50S and the new range finder style GFX50R; here is my take. Many will ask if I could only choose one which will it be? I could only speak for myself; it’s GFX50S. Not that GFX50R is bad. They both house the same sensor. So in the IQ department there are no difference. GFX50S is a more all rounded camera. I have mounted the monster GF250mm lens with GFX50R. Do I have an issue with the handling? No. But when I mount it on the GFX50S; It certainly handle better because of the grip. GFX50R will work best with GF45mm and GF63mm. And I am sure it will shine more with the coming GF50mm Pancake lens. That I believe will be a marriage made in heaven. 
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Which is better?

So if you are into street, travel and documentary. GFX50R will be perfect. It’s also has a cheaper point of entry. About twenty percent compared with GFX50S. Which makes it very attractive. If you only shoot in Medium Format, GFX50R makes the perfect compliment as a second camera to the GFX50S. I don’t see the need spend more on a GFX50S as a second back up camera. I am just glad that Fujifilm now have two medium format cameras to cater to different needs of the most demanding photographers. 
Below are some of my favorite photos from this holiday. Either shot with GFX50S or GFX50R which I don’t really care as long it’s a GFX.
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