It’s Beautiful, But It Has Issues: Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7 R WR Review

The Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR is an innovative lens that almost hits it out of the park.

Fujifilm is no stranger to shaking things up when it comes to cameras and lenses. They have dominated the APS-C field for some time, and they have taken the Medium Format segment by storm. They are continually innovating; it’s what sets them apart from other manufacturers. When it comes to Medium Format, we have been calling for faster glass for some time. Now, Fujifilm has delivered. Not only is the Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR the fastest GF mount lens, but it’s also the fastest Medium Format lens with autofocus on the market. Period. Does it live up to the hype? Find out in our full review.

Too Long, Didn’t Read

The Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR is a fantastic prime lens for GFX camera owners. The lens is crazy sharp, produces bokeh that will rock your world, and the colors it renders are great. The lens does have its issues, though. Green and purple fringing rear their ugly heads, and the focus motors are loud. At $2,299.95, it’s decently priced for a Medium Format lens, and photographers will love what this lens can produce.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Fantastic build quality
  • Weather sealing
  • Incredibly sharp
  • Great colors
  • Bokeh for days
  • Good autofocus speeds
  • $2,299.95 is a good price for an innovative Medium Format lens

Cons

  • Significant green and purple fringing in high contrast scenarios
  • The focus motors are loud

Gear Used

We used the Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR with the Fujifilm GFX100s.

What’s Innovative

This lens has the need for speed! With an aperture of f1.7, the Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR is not only the fastest GF lens to date, but it’s also the world’s fastest Mirrorless Medium Format lens with autofocus on the market. Now that’s innovation!

Tech Specs

All of the technical specifications were taken directly from Amazon’s listing:

  • Lens configuration: 12 elements in 9 groups (includes 1 aspherical and 2 superED elements)
  • Focal length: 80mm (35mm format equivalent 63mm)
  • Angle of view: 37.7°
  • Max. aperture: F1.7
  • Min. aperture: F22
  • Number of blades: 9 (rounded diaphragm opening)
  • Step Size: 1/3EV (23steps)
  • Focus range: 0.7m – ∞
  • Max. magnification: 0.15x
  • Weight (approx.): 795g/1.75lbs
  • Filter size: ø77mm

Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR – Ergonomics

The Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR is a chunky monkey. Make no mistake about it; this lens is big. Surprisingly, it’s not as heavy as it looks. Weighing in at 1.75lbs, it actually balanced well on the GFX 100S we tested it with. The lens is roughly 4.5-inches long, and you’ll add another 2.5-inches when you attach the lens hood. In terms of diameter, this lens is roughly 3.75-inches.

There are only two controls on the lens: the clicky aperture ring and the smooth turning manual focus ring. You’ll find no switches on the body at all. Both the aperture and manual focus rings are well placed and are easy to use with the camera held up to your eye. The rubber grips also feel nice to the touch as well.

The front element is decently sized, as you would expect. In terms of filters, the Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR takes 77mm filters. Despite its girth, this lens feels nice when in use. It’s not overly heavy, which makes it comfortable to walk around with for long periods. The controls on the lens are well placed and easy to use too. It balances well on the GFX100S. I would take an educated guess that it would feel great on the GFX100 and the GFX50S as well. With the GFX 50R being slightly lighter, I could see this lens being a little front-heavy. Overall, you will have no problems with the ergonomics of this lens.

“I performed a hefty splash test and can say the lens continued to work perfectly. This is definitely a lens that will last.”

Brett Day – Gear Editor

Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR – Build Quality

The Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR is beastly. You’ve seen how big it is in the ergonomics section. Fortunately, the lens’s build quality matches up to its size. “Well built” would be an understatement here. The body is metal, with plastic only being used for the included hood. The aperture ring clicks positively into place and requires a fair amount of force to turn. This is good as it means it won’t easily be bumped off of your setting. The manual focus control has a large rubber ring which provides a sure grip. The manual focus ring can easily be turned with a single finger.

The lens is designated as a WR lens, which means it features weather-sealing. The lens offers dust and water resistance and can operate in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. I have not been able to test the lens in the rain or the cold, but knowing how rugged other Fujifilm WR lenses are, I’m confident this lens will withstand what most photographers will put it through. As there was no rain in sight, I performed a hefty splash test and can say the lens continued to work perfectly. This is definitely a lens that will last.

“Shooting at f1.7 with any camera and lens combo can be hard, but when combined with modern mirrorless cameras, nailing focus at f1.7 is a piece of cake. This is even more impressive when you consider the size of the sensor it pairs up with.”

Brett Day – Gear Editor

Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR – Ease of Use

Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7

The Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 features a Full-Frame equivalent focal length of 63mm. The equivalent aperture is f1.3. If you’re used to shooting fast normal length primes, you’ll feel right at home with this lens. Like many modern lenses, the Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR is an easy lens to use. Attach it to the camera, take off the lens cap, and you’re ready to go. The only controls on it are the aperture and focusing rings. You can adjust the aperture via the lens or set the ring to A and adjust it via the camera body. Switching to manual focus is as easy as selecting it on your camera.

There’s no image stabilization built into the lens, but this shouldn’t be a problem for most. If you pair it up with the GFX100 or GFX 100S, the body can provide stabilization if needed. Of course, that might be an issue with folks using a Fujifilm GFX 50R. As long as you exercise good technique, you should be fine. Shooting at f1.7 with any camera and lens combo can be hard, but when combined with modern Mirrorless cameras, nailing focus at f1.7 is a piece of cake. This is even more impressive when you consider the size of the sensor it pairs up with. Chances are, if you’re considering this lens, you’re not just starting out in photography. But if you are, you’ll have no issues using this lens.

Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR – Autofocus

Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7

Given that this lens is being used on a Medium Format camera, the autofocus speeds are pretty impressive. The Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR does a decent job at keeping up with subjects when you’re using tracking modes, and in single focus modes, it finds focus quickly. Does it work as fast as a Full-Frame lens would? No, but that’s to be expected. There’s a lot of glass in this lens for the motors to move. However, I do have to say that the autofocus motors are decently loud. It’s not as bad as the focus motors in Hasselblad lenses that sound like they’re screw-driven at times. No, it’s definitely a more modern focus motor noise. But it’s there, and you need to be aware of it.

I used the lens for some impromptu wildlife photography and was able to make lovely in-focus images. Street photography is possible, as are concert photography and landscape photography. You’ll find that the autofocus performance is good enough for those genres but not perfect. This lens will be fine for all but the quickest of street photographers using autofocus. Landscape photographers, portrait photographers, and documentarians will have no issues. The speed of the autofocus barely changed when switching from good to low light. Unless you’re trying to capture fast action, you should have no problems with this lens.

“The Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR suffers from both green and purple fringing. In some cases, it’s so bad that it cannot be fixed in post.”

Brett Day – Gear Editor

Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR – Image Quality

Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7

In most situations, the images you produce with the Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR will make your jaw hit the floor. This lens is sharp, it’s contrasty, the colors are beautiful, and it has all the bokeh and then some. However, this good also comes with some bad, I’m afraid. Let’s break things down further.

Bokeh

Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7

Fast glass is good for two things: low light photography and the bokeh! Let’s be real here; everyone wants to see the bokeh this lens can produce. Well, I can tell you that it’s pretty phenomenal. An f1.3 equivalent lens paired up with a Medium Format sensor! Shut the front door! Of course, the bokeh is going to be gorgeous.

Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7
Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7

I can say that the bokeh is creamy and dreamy and could throw many more superlatives at it, but it wouldn’t do it justice. So just look at the images instead.

Color Rendition

Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7

Out of camera color produced by the Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR is great. They’re nice and natural, and they aren’t oversaturated. Personally, this is how I like lenses to be. Still, color rendition is highly subjective. The great thing is that you can do what you want to the colors during processing. Of course, with Fujifilm cameras, you can access many different film simulations that will alter color profiles. I have tried a few, and the lens produces fantastic colors with all of them.

Lens Character

Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7
Green and purple fringing are evident around the lettering.

This Fujifilm lens has a lot of character. Mostly good, but some bad traits must be mentioned here. There’s just something about the images that this lens produces that looks great. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but they’re pretty special. Ask Pentaxians about this quality, and they’ll call it Pixie Dust. Images, for the most part, are magical. Unfortunately, some of your images will be ruined by extreme chromatic aberrations. The Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR suffers from both green and purple fringing (images above and below). In some cases, it’s so bad that it cannot be fixed in post.

Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7
Heavily cropped image to show the extent of purple fringing around Kyle Dillingham and the mic stand

What the lens does do well, apart from sprinkling pixie dust onto images, is distortion control and vignetting control. I saw no evidence of either during my review period. If you keep the fringing issues in mind when you shoot, you’ll love what you produce with this lens. But just be warned that CA can get out of control.

Sharpness

Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7

Is this lens sharp? You bet! Wide-open at f1.7 sharpness in the center is off the charts. However, sharpness does drop off just a little in the corners. Stop the lens down just a hair, though, and you’ll be treated with corner-to-corner sharpness. While I haven’t done a portrait shoot with this lens, if you do, you’ll probably find that your work during post will increase because this lens will pick up details that nobody wants to see.

Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR – Extra Image Samples

From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. You’re not showing what the lens can do. So we have a whole section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.

Editor’s Note: Due to timing and the current issues around the coronavirus, we didn’t get to schedule a proper portrait shoot. We understand some folks would really, truly want that. At the same time, we also understand the needs of passionate photographers. Loads of them just want to go photowalking. The pandemic has truly been a very odd time for us to test cameras and lenses. We value and prioritize safety before everything else. And eventually, we’ll go back to a more normal testing routine.

Unedited

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Edited

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Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7
Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7
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Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7

“If you need an ultra-fast prime for your GFX rig, this is the one to get. However, just keep the issues with chromatic aberration in mind.”

Brett Day – Gear Editor

Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR – Conclusions

Likes

  • Produces sharp images all the way from f1.7
  • Nice natural color rendition
  • B.O.K.E.H
  • Good autofocus performance
  • Decently priced ($2,299.95) for a Medium Format lens that’s innovative

Dislikes

  • Fujifilm could have done a much better job with coatings to cut down on the amount of chromatic aberration.
  • Pretty loud AF motors.

At $2,299.95, the Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR is an exciting lens for Fujifilm GFX shooters. The 63mm focal length lends itself well to various genres, including street, concert, landscapes, documentary photography, and portraits. The fast aperture makes it ideal for low-light photography and portraiture. The latter genre will benefit greatly due to the gorgeous bokeh that can be produced with this lens. Images overall are sharp and nicely colored. However, they can be let down by poor chromatic aberration control in high contrast scenes. Focus speeds are pretty darn good considering this is a Medium Format lens, and the build quality is top-notch. If you need an ultra-fast prime for your GFX rig, this is the one to get. However, just keep the issues with chromatic aberration in mind.

The Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR receives four out of five stars. It’s great to see Fujifilm continuing to innovate in the Medium Format space. The Fujifilm GF 80mm f1.7 R WR is a solid lens overall that will expand your creative possibilities with the GFX system. Want one? Head on over to Amazon to see the latest prices.

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.