Which Medium Format Mirrorless System Should You Choose?

For decades, medium format film was the standard for professional photography work, so it’s no wonder that its bigger-than-full-frame resolution, shallow depth of field, and magic tonality is still sought after by pros and enthusiasts to this day.

We previously explored whether mirrorless cameras are more susceptible to depreciation than DSLRs, which Leica-M gear is most popular, and which Micro Four Thirds systems have held up over time.

The Tilt

For decades, medium format film was the standard for professional photography work, so it’s no wonder that its bigger-than-full-frame resolution, shallow depth of field, and magic tonality is still sought after by pros and enthusiasts to this day.

The industry has moved away from film, but we haven’t. We love film and are still passionate about it. After a decade of being active in the DSLR space medium format joined the ranks, and made the leap to mirrorless over the past 5 years.

Fujifilm and Hasselblad are two brands that have led the mirrorless medium format race. Both manufacturers have a long history of working with this format, from the 500CM to GF670. There’s decades worth of experience and excellence in both areas.

Both brands introduced their respective systems in 2016 — the Fujifilm GFX, Hasselblad X — and have continued to release cameras, lenses and accessories since then.

Which system has been a better investment? Let’s have a look at the data and shed some light on this subject.

The Shift

Before we begin, I want to clarify that this is not a comparison of features or ergonomics. These subjects are well-documented, and I have shot both systems extensively so I can assure you that both the image quality as well as usability of both systems is excellent.

If you are looking for these products, you have two options. I recommend that you try them both before you make a decision.

We’ll be looking at the average buy and sell price for these systems over time in order to compare them.

You may be wondering how this is useful. It can provide information about trends in purchase price or resale values, which can be very useful indicators of the health and longevity of the system. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the past, present and future in order to make informed decisions about how much money you are going to spend.

The Tilt-Shift report is based on KEH’s exclusive data. Because our prices reflect the demand and supply of the market, both within and outside KEH, these trends are indicative of what’s happening in the overall market, regardless if it’s private sales or auction sites.

Let’s first look at the average price paid for a body in the past three years.

You can see that body prices for both systems have fallen over the past three years. Fujifilm saw a 29% decrease and Hasselblad saw a 47% drop.

This is a sign that it pays to not be an early adopter. At least, when it comes down to buying in. It is not surprising that the body always suffers the most from depreciation. However, Hasselblad bodies have experienced a greater decrease in their price over the years.

Let’s also look at the average body selling prices over the same time period.

The drop in Fujifilm’s buy price is 49% compared to Hasselblad’s 42%. Although Hasselblad saw a larger drop in buy prices, they have managed to maintain resale values a little better than Fujifilm (at least when it is about bodies).

Fujifilm could have simply produced more bodies in this time frame and updated their product lines less often. This gives consumers more options and lowers the market value for older products.

Let’s now look at the same data regarding lenses. Here is the average price of a lens.

The price differences between brands are a little more noticeable. Although Fujifilm lenses are more affordable than Hasselblad lenses, the trend lines in value are reversed.

Fujifilm lenses have seen their prices rise by 19% over the years, while Hasselblad lenses are down by 13%. This gap could be closing for many reasons, but I believe it is mostly due to the differences in how they fill out each product line over time.

Let’s find out if these trends are also reflected by the average selling prices.

They are very similar. Over the past three years, Fujifilm’s average buyback value has increased by 22% while Hasselblad has seen a decrease of 23%. This could indicate that Fujinon lenses are in greater demand, possibly because more photographers use the system.

When it comes to investing in a system, not only are lenses and bodies important but so is accessories. It’s easy to overlook the cost of accessories like straps, lens hoods and batteries.

Here’s how they compare.

This is not a significant change for either brand. Over the past three years, Fujifilm accessories have averaged a 5% increase and Hasselblad has decreased by 3%.

Let’s take a look at the average purchase price next

There is nothing major. Both brands saw a decrease of 5% for Fujifilm and 11% for Hasselblad. The difference isn’t significant, but it is noticeable.

Overall, I would say that if your goal is to buy a mirrorless medium format camera, now is the time. Prices have dropped quite a bit since launch, making them more affordable.

Plus, the prices seem to have stabilized for now, so it’s unlikely that there will be any major changes in the next few years.

Fujifilm has the slight advantage in terms of which system is healthier. It seems that Fujifilm is the most popular system, judging from the lens sell/buy prices. This is consistent with the sales data. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean Hasselblad is lazy. Overall, I prefer the quality and handling of their Xmount products.

There’s no better time than now to move into mirrorless medium format. It is not so much about how it compares to very capable full-frame mirrorless system. Is it worth the effort? These are other questions.