First Impressions: Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR (Sample Images Included)

I applaud Fujifilm for delivering the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR to us in such a short time. Being the equivalent of the 35mm field of view, I also applaud them delivering a wide angle medium format lens with a relatively fast aperture. Like the other Fujifilm GF lenses, this one is weather sealed and is putting an emphasis on delivering only the absolute best image quality from Fujifilm. What’s really interesting here though is that a lens like this delivers the equivalent field of view of an approximately 35mm lens, but is inherently a longer focal length. What that translates into is less distortion for something like portraiture–which I’m positive the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR will be used for.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from our original news blog post

  • FUJIFILM G Mount is compatible with the FUJIFILM GFX 50S
  • Weather and dust resistant design capable of operating at temperatures as low as 14°F/-10°C
  • 8 groups and 11 elements construction using one aspherical lens and two ED lenses
  • 9 blade aperture creates smooth and circular bokeh
  • Nano GI coating suppresses ghosting and flare

On the GF lens front, Fujifilm has announced their new GF 45mm F2.8R WR, a lens that they have developed as the sixth lens in the GF system, and it is aimed squarely at street/documentary style photographers.

The 45mm F2.8 R WR has an effective 35mm focal length of 36mm, making it perfect for those who are in love with shooting on a 35mm lens with their DSLR. So wedding, portrait, street, documentary, and journalists who may be shooting with the new Fujifilm GFX system now have a killer option for a wide variety of purposes.

In terms of pricing, the new 45mm F2.8 will also be available in November 2017 for an retail price in the neighborhood of $1,699.95. Stay tuned for pre-order links once they are available.

Ergonomics

When you look at the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR lens, you’ll see it more or less resembles many of Fujifilm’s other lenses. It’s a prime lens, so its design is mostly dominated by a large focusing ring with a smaller aperture ring towards the back of the lens. You can also set it to A mode for automatic control or C mode to allow the camera’s dials to control the aperture settings.

The Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR is otherwise more or less a typical, standard lens, except pretty massive. But the weird thing is that, despite being a much wider lens, it isn’t larger than the Fujifilm 80mm f2.8 for the X series. The GF format is larger than full frame.

Build Quality

As the name implies, WR in the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR means it is weather resistant. To prove that, Fujifilm put a small rubber gasket around the lens mount. But in addition to that, I’ve taken Fujifilm cameras out into hurricane-like weather and they’ve survived when used with a weather sealed lens. So I’m honestly not worried here.

Ease of Use

The GF format is designed for higher end professional photographers. With that said, I’m not sure most folks will understand what to do with an aperture ring or how they work due to modern day designs. But still, for the rest of us it is pretty simple to use. I really wonder though–why didn’t Fujifilm give us a depth of field/zone focusing scale on the lens?

Autofocus

In my tests with the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR and the GFX 50S, the lens focused very quickly and accurately. I had one misfocusing issue with the 20 images that I shot, and that was indoors. However, this is a prototype lens and I wasn’t able to configure the camera to single AF point in time due to the limited window of opportunity with the lens and the camera. Once the production versions come out though, I’m very positive it will be more or less perfect. When I’ve used the GFX 50S around other photographers, they’re all very impressed by it.

Image Quality

These images were shot using the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR and the Fujifilm GFX 50S, then edited in Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom isn’t my favorite editing suite at all; and I yearn for the day Phase One wakes up and doesn’t consider the GFX system to be competition with their far more high-end option. These were set to Astia mode with the white balance locked at 5500K daylight. The images then looked perfect–or at least as close as I can get them. As you can see though, the bokeh and sharpness from this lens are very good.

Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR First Impressions

We expect tons of portraits to be shot with the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR. It seems like a fantastic lens in many ways that you absolutely can’t go wrong with. My only complaint is one that goes for Fujifilm’s entire system: where is the fast glass? If this sensor were true 645 medium format digital, then I’d sort of understand. But even at that larger format, lenses were able to get to f1.8. There is no really, really fast glass yet with the Fujifilm GF format, but there should be if the system is going to prove itself better than full frame.

And hopefully with the next camera, we’ll get an X Trans Sensor.