12 lenses of Christmas: September 2023 heralded a quintet of medium format lenses

Best Fujifilm GF lenses
(Image credit: Fujifilm)

Exciting times in September for Fujifilm GFX medium format shooters, with the announcement of no less than five brand new Fujinon lenses. Headline attractions included the Fujinon GF 55mm F1.7 R WR premium fast prime, GF 500mm F5.6 telephoto, a GF power zoom for videography and two new tilt & shift lenses in the shape of the GF 30mm F5.6 T/S and GF 110mm F5.6 T/S Macro. The moderately wide-angle was soon to become one of our favorite GF lenses.

The Fujinon GF 110mm F5.6 T/S Macro is an exciting proposition, its tilt mechanism enabling greater depth of field for shooting extreme close-ups. (Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

It was an exciting month for Nikon Z owners too, with the news that the Nikon Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena would be imminently available. Designed to give the utmost quality of bokeh, it’s a lens that we were certainly keen to test and much less keen to give back afterwards. Tamron went on to set an October launch date for the Tamron 17-50mm F4 Di III VXD that we first reported the previous month.

The prowess of the Plena’s bokeh extends to remarkably well-rounded bokeh disks, even out towards the edges and corners of the image frame. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

Meanwhile, Sigma had its eyes set on Fujifilm shooters, with the launch of its first ever X-mount telephoto zoom. The Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary was originally designed for Canon and Sony DSLRs, then reworked for Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras, on its way to the X-mount version. More suitable for a shoestring budget, there was also the announcement of a full-frame compatible TTArtisan 500mm F6.3 prime for Canon EOS R, Nikon Z and Sony mirrorless cameras, with X-mount and GFX mount options to follow.

Building on the success of its manual lenses, TTArtisan announced a powerful 500mm F6.3 prime in a range of mount options for mirrorless cameras. (Image credit: TTArtisan)

On the reviews side, September’s standout attraction was undoubtedly the fabulous Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR, which we thoroughly enjoyed testing. It’s Nikon’s first ‘affordable’ super-telephoto zoom for Z-system cameras and well worth the money. We also tested the Nikon Z-mount version of the Laowa Argus 28mm F1.2 FF, a fast and wide full-frame and fully manual lens, and gave that one a more mixed review.

The Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR is a big, chunky lens weighing just over 2kg, or just under if you remove the tripod ring, but 5.5-stop optical stabilization helps with handheld shooting. (Image credit: Nikon)

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.