Do You Love it? Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR Review

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If you had the Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR, would you love it? Would you even like it? That’s a question I was asking myself the entire time. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the GF format for a while. I’ve always felt they needed faster aperture lenses. And if they wanted to keep things small, I believe they should go collapsible. But this lens feels incredibly sterile and perfect. It’s not the Fujifilm that I’m very used to using. Personally speaking, I’m not sure I’m in love with it. But if you like clinical sterility, you might be.

Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Sharp
  • Weather-Sealed
  • Fairly small for what it is
  • Fast-focusing
  • Reliable
  • Very clinically near perfect

Cons

  • I wish it had a faster aperture. Otherwise, I’d settle for a collapsible design.
  • Lacking character

Gear Used

We tested the Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR with the Fujifilm GFX 50R and the Fujifilm GFX 100.

Tech Specs

These specs are summarized from the LensRentals Listing.

  • 9 aperture blades
  • Weather resistance
  • f3.5 aperture
  • 58mm filter thread
  • 13 elements in 10 groups
  • 3.9 inches in length
  • 1.1-foot minimum focusing distance
  • 1.12 lbs

Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR Ergonomics

Taken from our first impressions post

Photographers familiar with Fujifilm’s Medium Format prime offerings will feel right at home with the GF 30mm f3.5 R WR. It utilizes the same design language found in the company’s other G Mount prime lenses. A large, rubberized manual focusing ring dominates much of the lens’s exterior. The manual focusing ring offers a good amount of resistance when turning, and the rubber ridges on the ring also make it very easy to grip. Both are helpful when fine-tuning the focus.

The Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR also sports a smaller, clicked aperture ring. You can use it to dial in your aperture (between f3.5 and f32), or set it to either A or C modes. When set to A mode, your camera will automatically control the aperture settings, while C mode allows you to adjust the aperture using your camera’s customizable dials.

Aside from the manual focus and aperture control rings, you’re not going to find any other buttons or switches on the Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR. A petal-shaped hood is included in the box and helps reduce flare when shooting in brightly lit conditions. For photographers planning on shooting long exposures with the GF 30mm f3.5, it uses 58mm filters. It’s a minimalist design that works.

Build Quality

Here in NYC, we’re in the middle of the pandemic. Our positivity rates are pretty well controlled, but we still need to be careful. With that said, some of our recent snowstorms were perfect for testing this lens. The Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR lens stood up to the snow with no issues at all. It’s what we’ve come to expect from Fujifilm. 

More importantly, it feels great in hand. When you hold the lens, it doesn’t feel too large or too small. But it does this odd thing of starting really wide towards the mount and getting really small in front. Lots of Fujifilm f2 weather sealed primes for the X mount do this. So I guess you can just call this lens the equivalent of that lineup.

Ease of Use

This is a pretty simple lens to use overall. Mount it onto the camera, point, focus, and shoot. It’s that simple. There is no manual focus ring to bring back. The only thing that could throw people off is the aperture ring. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. You buy Fujifilm cameras and lenses for ergonomics. If you’re not using those features, then you might as well go to another camera system.

Autofocus

As far as focusing goes, the Fujifilm GF system is the fastest focusing on the medium format market. Specifically, the 30mm is also very fast to focus. But part of this is because of the wide-angle design. In my tests, though, it never missed a shot. And that’s impressive. At times, it and the GFX 50R were a bit slow to focus. But they never missed their mark.

Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR Image Quality

The Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR has great image quality overall. That statement is said from a pretty technical standpoint. Personally speaking, it’s one of Fujifilm’s most sterile lenses I’ve seen. Maybe that’s because it’s designed for the GF format. Those lenses and cameras are designed for a different type of shooter, so they’re pretty clinical. But as far as I’ve always thought, many of the Fujifilm GF lenses lack character. 

Bokeh

The 9 aperture blades from this lens help to give it a fairly smooth bokeh. But I really wish that it had 11 blades. If you’re going for the GF format, you should have lenses that can find a way to pull you away from all the full-frame 35mm format options out there. Granted, this is a wide-angle lens. But Fujifilm has known that I’ve had this issue for a long time. 

Something will always satisfy me so much more about the glass from my old Bronica ETRs, the Pentax 67, or my Mamiya RB67. Those lenses had a soul and solid image quality. Maybe this is one of the reasons why so many people adapt full-frame lenses to the sensor format.

Chromatic Aberration

As far as we saw, we couldn’t find any major issues with chromatic aberration. Is there distortion? Yes, but it’s very well controlled. In Capture One 21, we used the generic and manufacturer lens profile options. There are very few times where we’d clearly prefer one or the other.

Color Rendition

Color from the Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR is all dependant on the color profile you’re using. I mostly stuck with Velvia, Astia, Classic Chrome, and Classic Negative. The latter two are the ones that I really liked.

Sharpness

As stated before, this lens is very sharp. It’s a very clinical design, and if you’re looking for sharpness, this is the one to go for. Fuji’s primes have always been stellar. And I know I’m not alone in preferring them to their zoom lenses. But the GF lenses go a whole other level up.

Extra Image Samples

Conclusions

Likes

  • Weather sealing
  • Fairly small size for a GF lens, but it doe not exactly make the 50R a very portable package
  • Clinically outstanding image quality

Dislikes

  • This lens made me think that Fujifilm needs to create a series of collapsing lenses for the GF series to make them more portable. 
  • It lacks character, but it’s excellent when it comes to overall actual image quality.

I’m very torn on the Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR. As a lens in and of itself, Fujifilm should be proud. They’ve created a lens that would gladly please most photographers looking for something very clinical. But I feel like you don’t buy into the Fuji system for clinical perfection. You get it because it has character. And this lens I feel is relying too much on the film simulations for that. I’ve tested loads of GF lenses and X series lenses. Something about how the X series renders images has always drawn me to it, coupled with the size. But with the GF format, it always lacked a little bit of magic. To make sure that I wasn’t going crazy, I went to Flickr to see if there was anything that inspired me. After finding nothing, I went to Instagram. There were maybe two photos that really stood out at me. 

Again, this is a very clinical lens. If you’re considering the GF format for clinical perfection, then this lens is going to be the one to pull you over to their system. But if you want the character that you’ve known and loved Fujifilm for, you’re not going to get it with the Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR. 

The Fujifilm GF 30mm f3.5 R WR receives four out of five stars. Want one? Check out Amazon for the latest prices.