Fujifilm patents f/1.1 equivalent GF lens – fastest medium format lens ever!

Fujifilm patents f/1.1 equivalent GF lens – fastest medium format lens ever!
(Image credit: Fujifilm / Japanese Patent Office)

Fujifilm has designed the fastest medium format lens ever – a GF 90mm f/1.4 optic for its GFX medium format cameras, which translates to a lightning-fast f/1.11 lens with a 71mm focal length in equivalent 35mm terms.

It was only last week that Fujifilm made waves by announcing the GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR – which at that point was the fastest commercial medium format lens in the world, at an equivalent 63mm f/1.3. The GF 80mm has been officially added to the Fujifilm GF lens roadmap, and is due for release in 2021. 

The new GF 90mm f/1.4 is obviously still in the development phase, so it may be some time before it reaches production – if indeed it ever sees the light of day (the manufacturer outright cancelled another recent superfast lens, the Fujifilm XF 33mm f/1.0, after it reached the public prototype stage). 

Still, the Japanese patent filing – spotted by Hi Lows Note (by way of Mirrorless Rumors) – is a tantalizing glimpse of what might come. The patent describes a lens with a true focal length of 88.78 mm, an aperture of f/1.44 and a 32.8° angle of view. 

• Read more: The 7 fastest lenses in 2020

Aside from the Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7 R WR, the fastest medium format lens on the market is the Hasselblad XCD 80mm f/1.9 – making the GF 90mm f/1.4 the speediest by quite some margin.

Some will quarrel that the mirrorless medium format employed by Fujifilm and Hasselblad cameras (43.8 x 32.9mm, equating to a 0.79x crop) are smaller than the full-frame medium format used by true 645 cameras like the Phase One XT (56 x 41.5mm, 0.62x crop). Even so, the fastest Schneider Kreuznach lenses for the Phase one top out at f/2.8 (an f/2.2 equivalent in 35mm terms).

Indeed, you have to look back to the classic Mamiya Sekor 80mm f/1.9 lens for a medium format lens as fast – and that still isn't quite as quick as Fujifilm's new patented lens, even in equivalent full-frame terms! (Obviously we're not counting non-commercial lenses like the Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7, as most of us don't have the budget of NASA or Stanley Kubrick!) 

Read more: 

The 7 fastest lenses in 2020 – break the speed limit with glass as fast as f/0.75
Fujifilm GF lens roadmap: all the current and planned lenses for the GFX system
The best medium format camera in 2020: big sensor cameras for experts and pros

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.