With the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR, many photographers who love primes could have a favorite lens.
When Fujifilm announced the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR, I was incredibly excited. While most folks would think of this lens and something closer to the normal range, one needs to remember that this is medium format. It’s something closer to my beloved 35mm field of view. In the older days of medium format, lots of photographers reached for primes like this. With modern Fujifilm’s glass, coatings, and designs you can be sure the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR is quite a performer. This is a lens that will easily find its way in the hands of professional photographers. Then you consider the weather sealing, the 35mm f2 equivalency with the compression of a 45mm lens, the feel, the relatively small size, and the overall lightweight system that the Fujifilm GFX is and you get yourself a fantastic option.
Pros and Cons
- Fantastic color rendition
- Pretty fast focusing abilities
- Very sharp
- Keeps distortion down pretty well
- Weather sealing
- Pretty small
- I really wish this lens had a significantly faster aperture. This is larger than full frame but smaller than 645; so I think Fujifilm can and should produce faster f1.8 or f1.4 glass. With so much innovation at a company like that, it has to be possible.
- The Fujifilm GF system has fantastic autofocus for medium format, but is still behind 35mm full frame cameras.
We tested the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR with the Fujifilm GFX 50s and an Adorama Flashpoint Zoom Li-On flash. Additional tests were done with the Manfrotto Magnetic Backdrop Clip and a Lastolite Background.
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.
Taken from our first impressions post
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 for its massive size. 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.
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.
During my review tests, I didn’t take it out into the rain but it survived being tussled about in a camera bag and being bumped by people and doorways in Manhattan. It shrugged them all of like the expensive champion of a lens that it is.
Ease of Use
The Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR is a lens that I’m sure would confuse a number of photographers I’d introduce it to, but who would eventually warm up to it. The Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR has a full working aperture ring bound to satisfy many classical and Fujifilm shooters. But if you set it to the C mode, then you can change that setting using the camera’s dials. In this way, it will function more like a Phase One, Canon or Nikon DSLR. In most shooting situations that medium format requires, you’re often keeping the settings at what they are with little to no changes – at least that’s what you do in the studio.
In documentary work, you’re most likely setting a higher ISO and aperture priority. Keep in mind this lens has the field of view and depth of field of a 35mm f2 lens full frame 35mm equivalent when shooting wide open. But because this is medium format, you’re getting the light gathering abilities of f2.8 even though you’re shooting with a shallower depth of field.
The Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR is fast and accurate but in some ways I feel like the Fujifilm GFX 50S is sort of holding it back. The autofocus is fantastic for medium format cameras in general but I think it is still behind 35mm full frame cameras. The autofocus is good, accurate, fairly fast, and works. But it could be faster in order to keep up with moving subjects, such as in a documentary setting. Photographers who shoot in the studio will genuinely enjoy this, but when it comes to using face detection and eye focus, the GFX 50s can be a bit behind the other products out there. Instead, I recommend just adjusting the size of the focusing point, moving it, and selecting the eye you want in focus. Granted, this can slow down your shooting.
Here’s an example of when I was using face detection and the camera focused a bit back on the subject. It happens every now and again, but to be fair this is tough for a lot of different cameras. It’s tougher for the GFX though due to the shallower depth of field at various apertures vs smaller sensors.
In studio settings and situations where you can slow down and take your time, the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR is a fantastic lens. In fact, I’m partial to saying it is one of my favorites. It’s as sharp as something like a Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Milvus, but it doesn’t have Zeiss’ color rendition. Instead, it’s all it’s own. It can create gorgeous bokeh for sure and in the hands of the right photographer it can be very capable.
Wide open, the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR has the depth of field and view of a full frame 35mm f2 lens on a full frame 35mm camera. With that said, you’re bound to get some nice bokeh. Indeed, you surely do with the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR. It isn’t distracting and, with the right white balance and film simulation, the bokeh will be gorgeous. This bokeh isn’t cinematic in my opinion, nor does it look anything like film and what film can do. Instead, it looks pretty darn digital. But to be fair, the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR is on a camera that has a very digital sensor. It’s smaller than 645.
Below are a few informal comparisons.
The Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR can focus fairly closely for sure and that gives you even better bokeh. Part of why you purchase medium format cameras and lenses is the bokeh. And unfortunately I don’t feel like either Fujifilm or Hasselblad are using their potential yet when it comes to fast lenses and depth of field.
Given this is a newer, medium format lens you wouldn’t believe the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR to have chromatic aberration of any sort. It indeed has no signs of purple fringing or anything like this. When I ran the images I shot through Adobe Lightroom’s Upright, it didn’t really find any major problems with distortion. While there is some, it’s not any more distortion than you would expect from the Sony 35mm f1.4 Zeiss lens.
The Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR has a lot to offer when it comes to color rendition. This is due to how the Fujifilm GFX 50s works. It offers up various film simulations such as Astia, Classic Chrome, the PRO Negative films, etc. For most of these studio session images I switched to either Classic Chrome or PRO Negative High Contrast. I’m really in love with the colors. Fujifilm won’t automatically give skin tones a nice, warm look like Canon and Zeiss lenses will, so instead I’d recommend going all manual when it comes to color editing. Again though, that has to do with the sensor.
When the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR nails the focus and a flash is added to the scene, the sharpness is off the charts amazing. I don’t feel it’s sharper than some of Fujifilm’s longer prime lenses though; and in some ways I’m torn there. It means you’ll have less skin smoothing to do at times if you’re shooting portraits, but it can also mean you’ll have more work to do if you’re doing landscapes and stuff. Fujifilm’s 63mm and 120mm lenses are both sharper than this. Again, I’m torn because I don’t want my portrait lenses to be uber sharp.
Extra Image Samples
- Sharp photos
- Colors are good
- Weather sealing
- Feels nice in the hand
- The classic 35mm!
- Not a bad price point!
- Not a whole lot that this lens can necessarily solve
I think the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR is a fantastic lens. Can it have a faster aperture? Absolutely. It also isn’t sharper than some of the other primes, so keep that in mind. If anything, that’s my biggest problem with the lens. My other problems are with the Fujifilm GFX system and I’m sure those will be improved via firmware updates.
But otherwise, there is a whole lot to love about this lens. It’s weather sealed, comes in at a fairly affordable price point, can deliver good colors, and with flash it can really make scenes pop. Combine this with knowledge of how to get the most from the GFX and you’ll have great images. I think professional documentary photographers and editorial photographers will be able to make the most of the Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR. I don’t think it will be perfect for weddings but it can surely do the job. This is due again to the Fujifilm GFX autofocus. But at the same time, it falls in line with what most medium format photographers have been doing for some time. It would be nice to see Fujifilm and Hasselblad continue to further change the game though. If this is a budget option for Fujifilm’s GFX system then I totally get that. It’s a great option. But I see room for a faster aperture and even sharper lens performance for most photographers who have teams of retouchers. With that said, it’s still a tough upgrade from full frame. Canon’s sensor tech is behind here, but Nikon and Sony have awesome results. The justification from full frame can be difficult, but it is surely there in the way of weight, per pixel performance for big prints, and versatility.
The Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR receives five out of five stars. Want one? Check out their prices on Amazon.