First Impressions: Fujifilm GF 23mm F4 R WR

The Fujifilm GF 24mm F4 lens wide angle lens has us very curious

Fujifilm’s GFX is the world’s most affordable medium format digital system, and as such, demand for this camera and any compatible lenses has been high. Fujifilm has been working hard to build up an impressive ecosystem of lenses to allow photographers who buy a GFX the ability to unlock its full potential and make the art they envision.

One of the recent additions to this series of GF lenses is the [amazon_textlink asin=’B071R2XGWW’ text=’GF 23mm F4 R LM WR’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9c430e2f-be84-11e7-8806-fb1ed836219c’], a fairly fast, wide angle lens for the GFX system that is really aimed at landscape and architectural photography professionals and enthusiasts who need an impressive wide-angle field of view.

Tech Specs

These are the official specifications for the Fujifilm GF 24mm F4 lens as posted on Fujifilm’s website.

Type GF23mmF4 R LM WR
Lens configuration 15 elements 12 groups (includes 2 aspherical ,1 Super ED , 3ED elements)
Focal length (35mm format equivalent) f=23mm (18mm)
Angle of view 99.9°
Max. aperture F4
Min. aperture F32
Aperture control ·        Number of blades: 9(rounded diaphragm opening)

·        Step size: 1/3EV (19 steps)

Focus range 38cm – ∞
Max. magnification 0.09x
External dimensions : Diameter x Length* (approx.)
* distance from camera lens mount flange
ø89.8mm x 103.0mm
Weight* (approx.)
*excluding caps and hoods
845g
Filter size ø82mm
Accessories included Lens cap FLCP-82
Lens rear cap RLCP-002
Lens hood
Lens pouch

 

Ergonomics

 

This is a medium format lens, and it’s rather large. However, if you are considering this lens then you should really be expecting that coming into the purchase. The [amazon_textlink asin=’B071R2XGWW’ text=’GF 23mm F4′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’aa42bb7c-be84-11e7-beeb-6b8d4b3f4fc6′] features an 82mm filter thread at the front of the lens, which allows you to make use of standard threaded lens filters like those that you may already use on your full frame DSLR lenses.

The lens has a large focusing ring at the front before Fujifilm’s standard aperture ring at the base of the lens. The focusing ring turns smoothly and has a good amount of resistance, which is great because it allows you to manually focus smoothly and accurately without being jumpy due to inconsistent focusing speed.

If you have ever used an XF lens for the X-Series then this lens will feel really familiar. It is basically a supersized version of their XF prime lenses. As well, if you are familiar with the other GF series lenses, this prime works exactly the same as the other primes.

The GF 23mm F4 fits well in the hands and balances well with the [amazon_textlink asin=’B01MZARM64′ text=’GFX 50s’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b264087f-be84-11e7-94da-691dac84db8e’]. Notably, the combination of the two was still lighter than a D850 with a lens attached, despite the GFX combo being the larger of the two loadouts. Overall, we feel like the 23mm is a good match for the GFX 50s, and anyone getting into that system will likely enjoy the 23mm from an ergonomic standpoint.

Build Quality

Fujifilm and their Fujinon lenses have been long been revered in photographic circles. Back in the film days, Fujifilm made some of the best medium format lenses on the market, and many old time photographers still harbor fond feelings towards Fujinon glass. The GF lens series has been no exception to that, and this 23mm F4 retains and maintains that reputation.

As you could guess with the WR designation, the [amazon_textlink asin=’B071R2XGWW’ text=’GF 23mm F4′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’bf3065b0-be84-11e7-8d20-390f3cf41c65′] is a weather resistant lens that will do well for those who need to take their GFX 50s out into the elements. Impressively the lens is rated to function perfectly in environments as cold at -10c, so even winter landscape photographers can enjoy this lens.

The GF 23mm G4 WR is a chunky bit of glass, as you would expect from a wide angle medium format lens, but as I noted above, Fujifilm managed to make the lens both fairly lightweight and durable. It almost feels like we are double dipping on this lens, but then you remember that F4 aperture, and how the tradeoff is the speed of the lens. However, for the use cases expected with this lens, we don’t think the F4 aperture will really be all that much of a detriment. It was a good trade-off in our opinion.

Autofocus

We only had a few minutes to actually test the [amazon_textlink asin=’B071R2XGWW’ text=’GF 23mm F4′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ca9d8247-be84-11e7-bab9-974c37ab92e7′], so we will need to reserve our thoughts for the full review. But in our limited testing of the lens, we found it’s AF performance to be about on par with what we have seen from other Fujifilm GF lenses. It was decently quick in a dimly lit office space environment and the lens was able to acquire focus sufficiently fast – especially considering the target uses for a lens like this. Landscape and architectural photographers will not have any issues with this lens in terms of autofocus.

Again, we will expand on those observations more in our full review of the lens once we get our review sample in.

Ease of Use

The GF 23mm F4 is about as easy as any prime lens we have had our hands on. The lens works perfectly, as you would expect, with the GFX 50s. The focusing ring is easy to turn and feels great, the aperture ring works as expected, and is not a problem at all. The 18mm (35mm FF equivalent) field of view on this lens means that most of what you shoot will be in focus (or appear to be ) anyway, so this could easily be a lens that we see not coming off some photographers cameras very often.

Image Quality

We were not able to review any images we took with the 23mm F4, so we can not comment on the image quality captured with this lens at this point in time. But as you would expect, we will have all of that good stuff in our full review of the lens. In the meantime, here are some killer sample images that were taken with the 23mm, provided by Fujifilm.

 

Image by Ben Benvie

Image by Daniel Tengs

You can find more great image samples over on Fujiflm’s GF 23mm F4 R WR mini-site, here.

First Impressions

The [amazon_textlink asin=’B071R2XGWW’ text=’GF 23mm F4 R WR’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d57f2756-be84-11e7-af01-4fd39f45fafd’] is a lens that fills a nice wide-angle gap in the brand new GF lens series. It provides an excellent option for architectural photographers and landscape photographers who need a relatively small and compact lens for use out in the elements with their [amazon_textlink asin=’B01MZARM64′ text=’GFX 50s’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’dcbddc5e-be84-11e7-8a00-011222b23b97′]. We obviously need to run the lens through our full review process, but in the meantime, we are fairly confident that those looking into this as an addition to their GFX kit will find it to be a suitable addition and an excellent tool when needed.

Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a Portland, Oregon based Boudoir Photographer specializing in a dark, moody style that promotes female body positivity, empowerment, and sexuality. Besides The Phoblographer, he also reviews gear and produces his own educational content on his website.