Fujinon GF 55mm f/1.7 R WR lens

      Photo Review 9.0

      In summary

      The Fujinon GF55mm f/1.7 R WR lens’s robust, weather-sealed construction and relatively lightweight and compact form factor make it worthy of consideration by photographers who require a fast prime lens with a modest wide angle of view.

      The clicked aperture ring and top panel shutter speed and exposure compensation dials make this lens easy and intuitive to operate on any of Fujifilm’s GFX cameras.


      Full review

      Announced on 12 September, the new Fujinon GF 55mm f/1.7 R WR lens fills a gap in Fujifilm’s line-up of prime lenses for its medium format cameras. It also provides a significantly faster alternative to the existing GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR and GF 35-70mm f/4.5-5.6 WR zoom lenses. The 55mm focal length, which is equivalent to 44mm in 35mm format, covers a 52.9-degree field of view that is close to that of human vision and provides a natural perspective. The fast, f/1.7 maximum aperture is ideal for situations where the photographer wants selective focus control, such as for making the main subject stand out against an attractively blurred background.

      Angled view of the new Fujinon GF 55mm f/1.7 R WR lens without the supplied lens hood. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      The optical design of this lens (shown below) utilises14 lens elements in 10 groups and includes two ED elements and two aspherical elements, which are positioned to minimise common aberrations. The eight-element focusing lens group contains one of the aspherical elements and both ED elements, which control shifts in chromatic aberration, spherical aberration and coma when the focusing position changes.

      The optical design of the Fujinon GF 55mm f/1.7 R WR lens, showing the positions of the exotic elements. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      This is the first GF lens to feature 11 diaphragm blades, which create a circular aperture, enabling the lens to produce attractive bokeh at wider aperture settings. It can also be used for differential focus control in a wide variety of photographic situations. The lens barrel is weather-sealed in nine places to ensure dust and weather resistance, enabling it to be used in inclement weather.

      Autofocusing is driven by a DC motor that precisely controls the focusing group, which contains the aperture unit and eight elements. The motor allows the lens to autofocus quickly and accurately, even when shooting with a shallow depth-of-field.

      The minimum focus distance is 50 cm, which allows a good working distance when shooting at the highest magnification. Users can also take advantage of the focus bracketing function supported by the GFX 100 II camera body, which we used for our tests.

      Who’s it For?
      With its relatively compact size (for medium format), light weight and natural perspective, this lens should appeal to most users of Fujifilm’s medium format cameras. Despite its fixed focal length, its very modest wide-angle view will work well when shooting landscapes and environmental portraits as well as for some architectural and street photography.

      Product photographers could find it handy for studio shots with narrow planes of focus, particularly if they frame shots to optimise the bokeh potential of the lens. Videographers will also find it useful for certain types of event and documentary reportage, particularly in low light levels.

      It could be useful for portraitists who take a lot of full- and half-body shots and pet portraits would probably be another possible use. The minimum focusing distance of 50 cm restricts its use for close-ups, because the maximum magnification is only 0.17x so you’d need to crop the frame when shooting small subjects like flowers and insects.

      Build and Ergonomics
      The GF55mm f/1.7 R WR lens uses the same overall design and semi-gloss black finish as other GF prime lenses, although with a diameter of approximately 52 mm, its front element is larger than the slower 23mm and 45mm primes. Solidly built with a chromed metal mounting plate, it was a comfortable match for the GFX 100  II body used for this review.

      Top view of the GF55mm f/1.7 R WR lens on the GFX 100S body. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      There are only two main control surfaces: the focusing ring and the aperture ring. The focusing ring is roughly 42 mm wide and begins about 15 mm behind the front of the lens barrel. It is completely clad in a widely-ridged rubberised grip band. Because focusing is driven from the camera, the ring turns through 360 degrees without hard stops to demarcate the focusing range.

      Focusing is internal and focus modes are set via a switch on the camera body, which has three positions: Single, Continuous and Manual. When manual focus is engaged, the camera displays the focus distance on the EVF screen and activates focus magnification.

      Behind the focusing ring, the lens barrel widens to accommodate the aperture ring, which is 16 mm wide with an 11 mm wide ridged grip band covering its trailing edge. It sits about 15 mm aft of the focusing ring and, like other Fujinon lenses, provides a vital exposure control.

      Like the other GF lenses, the GF55mm f/1.7 R WR’s aperture ring has click-stops in 1/3EV steps and carries both A (Auto) and C (Command dial mode) positions, the latter allowing the lens aperture value to be changed from the camera.  A locking button, which sits proud of the ring and is marked with a red bar allows the ring to be locked at the A or C position.

      Side view of the GF55mm f/1.7 R WR lens with the supplied lens hood attached, showing the raised locking button and aperture settings. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      The lens barrel continues for about 12 mm and then slopes inwards for about 7 mm to end in the chromed lens mount. The bundled, petal-shaped lens hood attaches via a bayonet fitting and can be reversed over the lens barrel for transport and storage. It has a locking button to prevent it from being accidentally dislodged

      We tested this lens on the GFX 100 II camera but had to work with Medium/Super fine JPEGs and reduce the size of the RAF.RAW files to match them because our Imatest software can’t handle 100-megapixel files. This should have little or no influence on our overall assessments.

      The review lens turned in an excellent performance with centre resolution in JPEG shots exceeding expectations for the sensor resolution of the GFX 100 II camera. Mid-range and edge resolution were somewhat lower, although the former came close to expectations. Resolution peaked at f/2.2 then tailed off gradually through to about f/11, where diffraction began to take effect, as shown in the graph of our test results below.

      Lateral chromatic aberration remained comfortably within the negligible band in both JPEG files and the raw files we shot at the same time and converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw. The red line in the graph below indicates the upper boundary of the region of negligible CA.

      As usual, autofocusing speed is largely dictated by the camera itself and the selected AF mode. We found the wide maximum aperture worked in favour of this lens for lock-on speed, although its very wide maximum aperture required careful positioning of the focus point as the depth of field at f/1.7 is extremely narrow. Overall, autofocusing was very quiet and we found no evidence of focus breathing.

      Because Fujifilm’s cameras automatically correct both vignetting and distortion, we assessed these factors by looking at RAF.RAW files, which were converted into TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw. While very slight vignetting was found in uncorrected shots taken at f/1.7, it was gone by f/2.8. Similarly the slight barrel distortion would be effectively negligible from a practical viewpoint.

      Although we found normally backlit subjects were handled very well, once a bright light source entered the image frame, some small flare artefacts and slight veiling flare could be seen with smaller apertures. However, the lens produced sharp, 22-pointed sunstars when stopped right down.

      With a minimum focus of 50 cm, this lens is not really suitable for close-ups unless subjects are relatively large. However, the very narrow depth of focus with the f/1.7 maximum aperture will require great care when shooting close-ups because it’s very easy to have objects that would otherwise appear sharp end up completely out-of-focus. An example is shown in the Samples section.

      Bokeh was quite smooth at f/1.7, where bright highlights retained their circular form and a little outlining could be seen. When the lens was stopped down to f/5.6 the bokeh became a little ‘busy’ but the highlight outlining remained largely unchanged.


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      Picture angle: 52.9 degrees diagonal (44mm equivalent in 35mm format)
      Minimum aperture:  f/22
      Lens construction: 14 elements in 10 groups (including  2 aspherical and 2 ED elements)
      Lens mount: Fujifilm GF
      Diaphragm Blades: 11 (rounded aperture)
      Weather resistance: Dust and weather-resistant sealing in nine places
      Focus drive: Combined direct current (DC) micromotor and GMR sensor
      Stabilisation: No
      Minimum focus: 50 cm
      Maximum magnification: 0.17x
      Filter size: 77 mm
      Dimensions (Diameter x L): 94.7 x 99.3 mm
      Weight: 780 grams
      Standard Accessories: FLCP-77 front lens cap, RLCP-002 rear lens cap, lens hood, soft pouch

      Distributor: Fujifilm Australia



      Based on files recorded with the Fujifilm GFX 100 II camera using the M/Super Fine + RAW recording mode.

      Based on RAF.RAW files recorded simultaneously with the JPEGs and downsampled to the same size in Photoshop after being converted into 16-bit TIFF files with Adobe Camera Raw.



      All the test shots below were recorded with the GFX 100 II’s full 102-megapixel resolution.

      Vignetting at f/1.7.

      Vignetting at f/2.8.

      Rectilinear distortion.

      Close up at f/1.7; ISO 160, 1/1900 second exposure.

      Close-up at f/5.6; ISO 160, 1/180 second exposure.

      Sunstar at f/22; ISO 100, 1/26 second exposure. Note the small flare artefacts above and below the sunstar.

      Veiling flare; ISO 100, 1/600 second at f/1.7.

      ISO 160, 1/125 second at f/2.5.

      Crop from 51.1-megapixel JPEG file magnified to 100% showing detail in the recording plus the shallow depth of field.

      ISO 320, 1/42 second at f/8.

      Crop from 102-megapixel RAF.RAW file magnified to 100% showing the detail in the recording.

      ISO 160, 1/600 second at f/5.

      ISO 80, 1/300 second at f/4.5.

      ISO 100, 1/420 second at f/4.5.

      Shallow depth of field at f/2.8; ISO 200, 1/200 second exposure.

      ISO 80, 1/420 second at f/4.5.

      ISO 200, 1/300 second at f/5.

      ISO 160, 1/3100 second at f/3.2.

      ISO 160, 1/280 second at f/4.

      ISO 200, 1/240 second at f/3.6.

      ISO 80, 1/45 second at f/8.

      ISO 80, 1/56 second at f/11.

      Additional image samples can be found with our review of the Fujifilm GFX 100 II camera.



      RRP: AU$3899

      • Build: 9.0
      • Handling: 9.0
      • Image quality: 9.0
      • Autofocusing: 9.0
      • Versatility: 8.8