Fujifilm's monster 500mm will be longest mirrorless medium format lens ever

Fujifilm GF lens roadmap
(Image credit: Fujifilm )

The big surprise of yesterday's Fujifilm X-Summit in Stockholm was, in time honored tradition, left until last. The "one last thing" has become a regular feature of Fujifilm press conferences, and we weren't disappointed.

In fact, it was two last things this time. Two new lenses for the GFX medium format lens system, in fact. By this point, been served up details of its exciting high-speed 102-megapixel flagship camera - the GFX100 II - with its 8fps continuous shooting, and its double-sized buffer. And we had heard full details on three other GF lenses that had been promised on the GF lens roadmap.

But the two extra GF lenses were a complete shock. One of these - a GF Power Zoom designed for moviemaking - we had so little detail about, it is hard for us to comment  on at this stage. But obviously as Fujifilm make power zooms for its X-Series cameras, it is a logical progression for the GFX system.

But it was the announcement of the GF 500mm f/5.6 supertelephoto lens that was the real jaw-dropper. That really is a significant addition to the lens family - and which gives a full-frame focal length equivalent of a 400mm f/5.6. This means it is perfectly suited for those who want to use a medium format camera to shoot sport or wildlife.

Fujifilm GF lens roadmap, September 2023 (Image credit: Fujifilm)

In fact, the GF500mm will be the longest lens available for any digital mirrorless medium format camera so far. Hasselblad's longest X System lens is a rather pedestrian short-telephoto XCD 135mm f/2.8. That falls way short even of Fujifilm's existing GF 250mm f4 R LM OIS WR GF.

The only lens that competes, and even beats the GF500mm, is the super-rare smc Pentax-A★ 645 600mm f/5.6 ED for the Pentax 645Z. But that was a manual focus lens, and is now discontinued.

If we go back to the days of film, and we should also mention the Pentax SMC Reflex Takumar 67 1000mm f/8 for the Pentax 67 roll-film system. But that was again manual focus, used a mirror construction - and had an effective focal length of 500mm.

But the Fujifilm GF 500mm provides great proof that Fuji is building a robust, and complete system for the GFX camera family. This year it will have introduced two tilt-shift lenses (Canon, Nikon and Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras can't offer that). And now we have a supertelephoto.

All we have for now is an outline. But we can see, naturally, that it has a tripod foot - and we are also told that it will be compatible with the GF system 1.4x teleconverter. This will turn the lens into 700mm (with an EFL of 550mm).

And, thanks to the new roadmap, we know we only have to wait until next year for the lens to go on sale. I for one, can't wait to try it out!

Fujifilm GFX 100 II hands-on review
Fujifilm X-Summit live: new GFX camera and FIVE GF lenses
Best Fujifilm GF lenses
Fujifilm announces quintet of GF lenses

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Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.