Fujinon GF30mm f/3.5 R WR lens
The Fujinon GF30mm f/3.5 R WR lens has a robust, weather-sealed construction, and with a weight of just 510 grams, length of 99.4 mm and maximum diameter of 84 mm, its slimline design makes it one of the most easily portable lenses in the GFX collection.
Its 24mm equivalent angle view makes it a good choice for landscape photographers as well as reportage, environmental portraits and certain types of event and documentary photography.
Performance-wise, its only flaw is a tendency to be flare-prone, although this can be largely avoided by judicious choice of aperture settings and careful shot composition.
The clicked aperture ring and top panel shutter speed and exposure compensation dials make this lens easy and intuitive to operate on the GFX 50R with which it is a natural match.
When considering this lens, potential purchasers should also look at the GF32-64mm f/4 R LM WR zoom lens , which is more versatile, although its widest coverage is slightly narrower than the 30mm prime lens.
The 12th GF lens to be produced for Fujifilm’s GFX Large Format camera system, the Fujinon GF30mm f/3.5 R WR lens slots in between the GF23mm f/4 R LM WR and the GF45mm f/2.8 R WR. Covering a focal length equivalent to 24mm in the 35mm film format, it is weather-sealed and cheaper than the 23mm lens (which we haven’t reviewed) but a bit more costly than the 45mm lens. This ‘go anywhere’ lens weighs only 510 grams and features an internal focusing system that cuts focus breathing down to just 0.05%, which makes it ideal for videography.
Angled view of the Fujinon GF30mm f/3.5 R WR lens without its end caps of lens hood. (Source: Fujifilm.)
A few initial commentators have complained that the f/3.5 maximum aperture is disappointing, although we think it’s unreasonable to quibble over 2/3 of an f-stop when you’re offered a smaller, lighter and more practical (by medium format standards) alternative. An f/2.8 version of this lens would be considerably larger, heavier and costlier.
The optical design of the GF30mm f/3.5 lens showing the positions of the exotic elements. (Source: Fujifilm.)
The optical design (shown above) consists of 13 lens elements in ten groups and includes two aspherical elements and two ED elements. The high-performance lens groups are positioned to control various aberrations, especially distortion, in order to achieve excellent, edge-to-edge sharpness.
Its AF system works by moving a small group of lens elements in the middle or at the rear of the lens instead of moving the relatively large front group. This requires less energy while also producing less noise.
Like all GF lenses, this lens has been manufactured with production technologies and processes that finish its optical surfaces with sub-micron level precision. A fluorine coating on the front element repels moisture and dust and makes it easy to keep the lens clean.
This diagram shows the locations of the weatherproof seals in the GF30mm f/3.5 R WR lens. (Source: Fujifilm.)
The lens has been sealed in nine different locations to ensure dust and weather resistance, making it ideal for location work and enabling it to be used safely in light rain or in dusty outdoor areas. It can also be used in temperatures as low as -10℃.
Unsurprisingly – given its relatively wide angle of view – this lens is not stabilised. There’s also no stabilisation built into the GFX 50R body that was supplied for us to use when reviewing it. The lens is suppliecomes with front and end caps plus a petal-shaped lens hood (which lacks a locking button) and a soft carrying pouch.
Who’s it For?
This lens can only be used on Fujfilm’s GFX cameras, which rather limits its potential market. However, with a weight of just 510 grams, length of 99.4 mm and maximum diameter of 84 mm, its slimline design makes it one of the most easily portable lenses in the GFX collection.
Its 24mm equivalent angle view makes it a good choice for landscape photographers as well as reportage, environmental portraits and certain types of event and documentary photography. Although its fixed focal length means users will be required to move physically when changing their angles of view.
It can be used for taking interior shots as well as architectural photography as long as potential angular distortions that can result from tilting the lens are accounted for. Optical distortions are effectively negligible.
While challenging, it could also be usable for street photography when you want to capture ambience shots. Although you’ll need to get close to subjects when photographing people, they may not be aware you’re taking photos at such close proximity unless you draw attention to yourself.
The minimum focusing distance of 32 cm restricts its use for close-ups, because the maximum magnification is only 0.15x. Pet portraits would probably be possible but you’d need to crop the frame when shooting small subjects like flowers and insects.
Build and Ergonomics
The GF30mm f/3.5 R WR lens uses the same overall design and semi-gloss black finish as other GF prime lenses, although its front element is smaller relative to its external diameter than the 23mm and 45mm primes. Solidly built with a chromed metal mounting plate, it was a comfortable match for the GFX 50R body used for this review.
Top view of the GF30mm f/3.5 R WR lens on the GFX 50R 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 GF30mm f/3.5 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 GF30mm f/3.5 R WR lens showing the raised locking button. (Source: Fujifilm.)
The lens barrel continues for 14 mm, before ending in a black sealing ring, which keeps out moisture and dust. It then steps inwards to end in the chromed lens mount. The bundled lens hood attaches via a bayonet fitting and can be reversed over the lens barrel for transport and storage.
As tested on the GFX 50R camera, the review lens turned in an excellent performance with centre resolution in JPEG shots exceeding expectations for the sensor resolution of the GFX 50R camera. Edge resolution wasn’t far behind.
Resolution peaked at f/5.6) then tailed off steadily through to about f/10, where diffraction began to take effect. A steep fall-off in resolution from then on showed the accelerating effects of diffraction, 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.
Autofocusing speed is largely dictated by the GFX 50R camera, although the relatively short focal length and wide maximum aperture worked in favour of this lens. AF accuracy, which is largely controlled by the camera, was first-rate and autofocusing was very quiet and we found no evidence of focus breathing.
Because the GFX 50R automatically corrects 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/3.5, it was gone by f/5.6. Rectilinear distortion was effectively negligible.
Flare is probably the main issue with this lens, although we found normally backlit subjects were handled very well. However, once a bright light source entered (or came close to) the image frame, both flare artefacts and veiling flare were relatively common in shots taken at apertures of f/5.6 or smaller. Both types of flare become more prominent at wider apertures so it’s best to stop down when taking contre-jour shots.
With a minimum focus of 32 cm, this lens is not really suitable for close-ups unless subjects are relatively large or you want to include some background to the subject. The f/3.5 maximum aperture provides some scope for differential focusing with suitable subjects because of the camera’s larger sensor. Bokeh was quite smooth at f/3.5, where bright highlights retained their circular form and little outlining could be seen. Close down to beyond f/7.1 and they began to display harder edges and onion-skin effects.
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Picture angle: 84 degrees
Minimum aperture: f/32
Lens construction: 13 elements in 10 groups (including aspherical, elements)
Lens mount: Fujifilm GF (medium format)
Diaphragm Blades: 9 (circular aperture)
Weather resistance: Yes, dust and moisture sealed
Focus drive: Internal focusing; mechanism not specified
Minimum focus: 32 cm
Maximum magnification: 0.15x
Filter size: 58 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x L): 84 x 99.4 mm
Weight: 510 grams
Standard Accessories: Front and rear caps, petal-shaped lens hood, lens pouch
RRP: AU$2799; US$1700
Distributor: Fujifilm Australia; 1800 226 355; www.fujifilm.com.au
Based on JPEG images taken with the lens on the Fujifilm, GFX 50R camera.
All shots taken with the Fujifilm, GFX 50R camera.
Vignetting at f/3.5.
Close-up at f/3.5, ISO 200, 1/220 second.
Close-up at f/22, ISO 800, 1/30 second at f/5.6.
Close-up at f/3.5; ISO 100, 1/420 second.
Close-up at f/6.4; ISO 100, 1/125 second.
Bokeh at f/3.5; ISO 100, 1/350 second at f/3.5.
Normal side-lighting; ISO 1600, 1/30 second at f/14.
‘Sun stars’ at f/32; 1/60 second at ISO 1250.
Veiling flare; ISO 400, 1/30 second at f/5.6.
Flare with contre-jour lighting; ISO 6400, 1/200 second at f/32.
ISO 320, 1/60 second at f/13.
ISO 125, 1/60 second at f/14.
Auto exposure mode; ISO 250, 1/60 second at f/3.5
Auto exposure mode; ISO 200, 1/150 second at f/4.
Auto exposure mode; ISO 200, 1/125 second at f/4.
ISO 200, 1/140 second at f/16.
ISO 200, 1/60 second at f/16.
ISO 200, 1/600 second at f/6.4.
ISO 100, 1/600 second at f/7.1.
- Build: 9.0
- Handling: 9.0
- Image quality: 9.0
- Autofocusing: 8.5
- Versatility: 8.0