These are the best Fujifilm GF lenses for a whole variety of photographic needs, from compact primes for general walk-around photography to portrait lenses, telephotos and zooms.
Fujifilm makes a wide range of high-quality, high-performance APS-C format X series cameras with interchangeable lenses, but leapfrogs the full-frame (35mm) sector altogether, moving straight on to the GFX medium format system. It’s based on digital bodies that include the conventional-looking Fujifilm GFX 50S II and the relatively compact, rangefinder style GFX 50R, both of which have 51.4 megapixel image sensors. Then there’s the upsized Fujifilm GFX 100 and GFX 100S with their ultra-high 102 megapixel image sensors.
A similarity of all GFX series cameras is that they have a 43.8x32.9mm image sensor, which is substantially larger than the 36x24mm sensor of ‘full-frame’ (35mm) cameras. As such, GFX system lenses have a kind of 'inverse' crop factor or focal length multiplier of 0.79x. We’re generally more used to multiplying the focal lengths of X-mount APS-C format lenses by 1.5x to give the ‘effective’ focal length in full-frame terms, so a 50mm lens would be similar to using a 75mm on a full-frame camera. It’s the opposite with the GFX system, where a 50mm lens gives an ‘effective’ focal length of 40mm on a full-frame body.
The lenses are typically quite chunky, because they need to deliver a bigger image circle than full-frame format lenses, to cover a relatively large medium-format image sensor. They don’t tend to be overly large, however, with modest aperture ratings that help to keep the size and weight down to manageable levels.
Lenses for the GFX system all have a ‘GF’ prefix to denote the mount type. To date, most have an ‘R’ suffix as a reference to the inclusion of a physical aperture ring, so you can easily adjust the aperture via a control ring on the lens itself. Another similarity is that they so far all have a ‘WR’ (Weather-Resistant) construction. The vast majority have an ‘LM’ classification, to show they have a fast and virtually silent Linear Motor to drive autofocus, while a small number with longer focal lengths add OIS (an Optical Image Stabilizer). For example, the GF100-200mmF5.6 R LM OIS WR includes all of these elements. So far, there are nine prime lenses and three zooms in the FUJINON GFX line-up. Let's take a closer look at what each of them has to offer...
Fujinon GF prime lenses
Compared with the GF30mm lens, the GF23mm gives a much more generous viewing angle, similar to using an 18mm rather than 24mm lens on a full-frame camera. It’s great for shooting everything from cramped interiors to sweeping landscapes, although the f/4 aperture rating is a bit on the slow side for capturing the night sky. An upside is the fairly short 0.38m minimum focus distance, which enables you to get in really close and exaggerate the perspective effect between the foreground and background in a scene. The high-tech optical path includes two aspherical elements, two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements and one Super ED element, to reduce distortion and chromatic aberrations, along with Nano GI coating to minimize ghosting and flare. Typical of GF lenses, build quality is excellent with plentiful weather-seals, while image quality is superb with excellent sharpness right out to the corners of the frame.
The GF30mm looks a bit of an oddball lens, with a profile that looks a bit like a wedding cake that’s been tipped over on its side. The design obviously works well, however, as image quality is super-sharp with negligible chromatic aberrations or distortion, helped by two aspherical and two ED elements. The lack of distortion is especially impressive for such a wide-angle lens, equivalent to using a 24mm prime on a full-frame camera. The viewing angle is naturally more restrictive than with the GF23mm and the aperture rating is similarly modest, at f/3.5, but it’s pretty lightweight for a GF lens. Although it lacks an LM (Linear Motor) classification, autofocus is both quick and virtually silent. All in all, it’s a high-performance wide-angle prime at an attractive price.
Read more: FUJINON GF30mm F3.5 R WR review
With an ‘effective’ focal length of 36mm in full-frame terms, and a viewing angle of 62.6 degrees, this lens gives a classic moderately wide-angle perspective that’s often favoured by street photographers. The relatively small and lightweight build, at least for a medium-format lens, also makes it ideal for walkabout urban and documentary photography. The optical design features one aspherical and two ED elements and, as we’re used to seeing in GF lenses, Nano GI coating. Further typical attractions include copious weather-seals in a construction that’s freeze-proof down to -10 degrees Celsius. As with other GF lenses, this one has a nine-blade aperture diaphragm that remains well-rounded when stopping down a little, helping to maintain good quality bokeh.
Canon famously makes 40mm pancake lens for its full-frame EOS DSLRs and this is something broadly similar for the GFX system. As such, it has a slimline design and, while it doesn’t really qualify as a pancake lens, its overall length of less than two inches makes it very small for a medium-format optic. It also has a fairly modest f/3.5 aperture rating that helps to enable the small size and an uncommonly light weight of just 335g. Suffice it to say that this is an ideal lens for casual walkabout photography. Centre-sharpness is impressive even when shooting wide-open but sharpness drops off more noticeably towards the edges and corners, compared with other GF lenses. The optical design is relatively basic, as you’d expect in such a small lens, with just nine elements in total, including one aspherical element and no ED elements.
Equivalent to a ‘nifty fifty’ on a full-frame camera with a 35mm image sensor, this has the same ‘effective’ 50mm focal length on a medium-format GFX system camera. As such, it gives a classic standard viewing angle, but the aperture rating is relatively slow, compared with most full-frame 50mm lenses that have either f/1.4 or f/1.8 apertures. That said, and even though the minimum focus distance of 0.5m isn’t particularly short, the GF64mm can deliver soft and dreamy bokeh, along with outstanding sharpness for in-focus areas across the entire image frame. There are no aspherical elements although the optical path does include one ED element. Ultimately, the aperture rating can feel a little disappointing but at least it enables a fairly compact, lightweight and inexpensive build, at least for a medium-format lens.
The newest prime lens in the GF line-up is also the fastest, with an f/1.7 aperture rating. The focal length is interesting, giving a 37.7-degree viewing angle, similar to using a 63mm lens on a full-frame (35mm) camera. As such, it falls between the classic prime focal lengths of 50mm and 85mm and, in use, often feels a good compromise between standard and short telephoto options. It’s a particularly good fit for half-length portraits, where it enables a very natural shooting distance, while the combination of focal length and f/1.7 deliver a tight depth of field on a medium-format camera with lovely bokeh. It’s a beautifully engineered lens with great handling characteristics, while the optical path features one aspherical and two Super ED elements to deliver top-drawer image quality.
Thanks to the medium-format image sensors of GFX cameras, this 110mm lens has an ‘effective’ focal length of 85mm, making it ideal for portraiture. You can shoot anything from tight head-and-shoulders shots to half-length portraits from an entirely natural distance that allows you to engage with subjects without crowding them. The shortish telephoto focal length also gives a flattering effect of slightly flattening the perspective. While the lens delivers excellent sharpness even wide-open at f/2, the quality of bokeh is often more important in a ‘portrait lens’. Aspherical elements can be the enemy of bokeh but this lens doesn’t have any, although it does include no less than four ED elements. The net result is superb image quality with bokeh that remains excellent when stopping down a little, helped by the well-rounded 9-blade aperture diaphragm.
90mm macro lenses (or thereabouts) are something of a favourite for full-frame macro photography, enabling a convenient working distance for shooting extreme close-ups of bugs and the like. Like most modern macro lenses, this one can focus to infinity and works equally well as a short telephoto lens for general shooting. For the latter, the 5-stop optical image stabilizer can be a godsend but it’s less useful for extreme close-ups, where it’s a poor substitute for a tripod. Image quality is excellent in all respects, while build quality and handling are also highly impressive. One disappointment is that the GF120mm isn’t a ‘full macro’ lens, as it can only reproduce objects at a maximum magnification factor of 0.5x or 1:2 of life size on the image sensor. For full 1.0x or 1:1 magnification, you need to fit Fujifilm’s MCEX-45G 45mm extension tube, which adds around $329/£289 to the price of this already expensive lens.
Something of a high-tech feast, this range-topping telephoto prime lens is a bit of a beast, weighing in at just under 1.5kg and, suitably enough, coming complete with a tripod mounting ring. High-end handling characteristics include an autofocus range limiter which can lock out the short end below five metres, a 5-stop optical image stabilizer, and four focus control buttons towards the front. These can be assigned to AF-Lock, Focus Preset or AF-On, via a control switch towards the rear. Fast and virtually silent autofocus is powered by a Linear Motor and the lens is well weather-sealed against the elements. As for optical elements, it includes two ED elements and one Super ED element. Image quality is fabulous in all respects, as is all-round performance, justifying the top-dollar price tag. If you need greater telephoto reach, the lens is compatible with Fujifilm’s GF 1.4X TC WR Teleconverter, at an additional cost of around $849/£749.
Fujinon GF zoom lenses
Despite being a zoom lens, the GF20-35mm F4 R WR goes noticeably wider than the GF23mmF4 R LM WR prime, which had previously been the widest lens for a GFX camera.
The GF20-35mm offers an effective focal length equivalent to a 16-28mm on a full-frame camera and has been designed to offer sufficient resolving power to take advantage of the 100-megapixel resolution of the GFX 100S. This is also surprisingly small and light for a lens of its type, using a near symmetrical lens element configuration to facilitate aberration correction. The number of elements traditionally needed has also been reduced by using an aspherical surface in each group. The front two groups in front of the aperture serve for both zooming and focusing.
Premium features make this lens even more desirable, like a Nano-GI coating to suppress lens flare and ghosting, a fluorine coating for stain resistance, and 12-point weather sealing for all-weather versatility.
With an ‘effective’ 25-51mm zoom range in full-frame (35mm) terms, this lens gives pretty generous wide-angle coverage but lacks any telephoto potential, only stretching as far as a ‘standard’ focal length. It also lacks an optical image stabilizer, which can be frustrating with the GFX 50R and 50S bodies, as only the GFX 100 and GFX 100s feature in-body stabilization. The uncompromising optical design features top-grade glass, three aspherical elements, one ED element and one Super ED element, image quality is simply excellent, throughout the entire zoom range even at the widest aperture of f/4. Even so, the lens is a little less versatile than a top-quality 24-70mm f/2.8 lens on a full-frame camera, but that's the nature of full frame cameras.
Read more: FUJINON GF32-64mm F4 R LM WR review
The Fujinon GF35-70mm F4.5-5.6 WR was developed to be a lightweight kit lens, as well as a low-cost entry point to the GF lens range. $999 certainly isn't everyone's idea of 'low cost', but in the world of GF lenses you could almost call it a bargain!
Equivalent to a traditional 28-55mm lens in full-frame terms, it weighs a mere 390g - half the weight of the older GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR (above) - making it great for anything from street photography to studio portraits or even still life. The lens has a variable maximum aperture and does away with the manual aperture ring to help achieve its smaller proportions and low weight.
The GF35-70mm has been designed to produce minimal focus breathing to enhance its credentials to video shooters. The STM autofocus motor helps to minimize autofocus vibrations for near-silent video focussing, plus the lens supports in-camera eye/face detection modes. The weather-sealed construction seals the lens, and the deal.
For enhanced versatility, this lens covers an arguably more useful range than the companion GF32-64mm. It’s naturally not so wide-angle but does stretch into telephoto territory, with an ‘effective’ overall zoom range of 36-79mm in regular full-frame terms. The f/4 aperture rating might not sound very ‘fast’ but it’s pretty typical for medium-format zooms and does enable a reasonably tight depth of field, especially towards the long end of the zoom range. Also like the GF32-64mm, the physical length of the lens extends at longer zoom settings but, even so, build quality, handling and performance are all of a fully professional-grade standard. Sharpness is fabulous throughout the entire zoom range, right into the corners, and there’s minimal colour fringing or distortion, all helped by the inclusion of three aspherical elements, one ED element and one Super ED element. If you’re only going to pick one zoom lens for a GFX camera, this is probably the most appealing.
Read more: FUJINON GF45-100mm F4 R LM OIS WR review
Photographers with a full-frame (35mm) camera of pretty much any make and model are able to reap the rewards of a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, which boasts a generous telephoto zoom range and fast f/2.8 constant aperture. The longest of Fujifilm’s GF zooms, this one is a little less appealing, with a 79-158mm ‘effective’ zoom range and an aperture rating that’s two f/stops slower throughout. Even so, it’s ideally suited to landscape and nature photography with a tough, rugged and weather-sealed construction, a 5-stop optical image stabilizer and a fast yet virtually silent autofocus system. Handling is intuitive and the lens is easy to live with, being a mere two-thirds of the weight of most 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses. Image quality is up to the typically impeccable quality of GF lenses and, if you want more telephoto reach, you can fit the GF 1.4X TC WR Teleconverter (£749/$849) which boosts the effective zoom range to 111-221mm in full-frame terms, albeit with a narrowing of the aperture to f/8.
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