Fujinon GF32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens
The GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR is the only general-purpose G-mount lens and unlikely to be challenged in the foreseeable future, going by Fujifilm’s published roadmap. So it’s nice to see that it’s such a fine performer.
Performance features include the solid weatherproof construction, smooth operation, excellent resolution, fine colour rendition and attractive bokeh. All these contributed to the high rating we’ve given this lens.
The Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR is the only zoom lens so far for Fujifilm’s medium format G Mount and cameras with the 43.8 x 32.9 mm sensor with which it covers a focal length range equivalent to 25-51mm. Featuring 10 weather resistant seals as well as dust resistance, it can be used temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius. Like others in the GF range, this lens is designed to handle resolutions up to 100 megapixels, roughly double the resolution of the GFX 50R camera supplied for our review.
Side view of the Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR zoom lens. (Source: Fujifilm.)
The optical design (shown below) comprises 14 elements in 11 groups and includes one each of the following types of lens elements: aspherical, ED (extra-low dispersion) and super ED. It also has a large aperture lens that adjusts with high precision to ensure high image quality equivalent to prime lenses from wide angles up to standard focal distances. The front element is protected by a fluorine coating that repels grease and grime, making the lens easy to keep clean.
This diagram shows the positions of the exotic glass elements in the GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens. (Source: Fujifilm.)
We’re not sure whether Nano GI coating, a common feature of X-mount lenses and featured in the GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR lens, is included on this lens to minimise ghosting and flare because it’s not mentioned anywhere on Fujifilm’s website. (At the price of this lens it certainly should be – and, if so, should be listed in the specs.)
Internal focusing means the length of the lens doesn’t change when focus is adjusted and reduces the weight of the focus lens which is driven by a linear motor for autofocusing. This system is both fast and silent, the latter being important for movie recording.
All G Mount lenses include a C position on the aperture ring that allows users to adjust the aperture value with the command dial on the camera body, along with an A (Auto) that sets the lens aperture automatically. Both positions are lockable to prevent unintended movements of the aperture dial.
It’s worth noting that this lens is not stabilised – and no stabilisation is provided in the GFX 50R camera we used for this review. The lens is supplied with front and end caps plus a petal-shaped lens hood with a locking button and a soft carrying pouch.
Who’s it For?
As the system’s the only zoom lens so far, the GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR is likely to become a general-purpose workhorse for professional photographers. It’s not particularly fast and its 2x zoom range is a bit limited, compared with what’s available for smaller camera formats. But it covers the same fields of view as a 25-51mm lens on a 35mm camera and it’ll provide roughly the same depth of field coverage as a 24-70mm lens. These ranges should suit most potential purchasers.
The size of the GF sensor means this lens must, of necessity, be relatively large. But that has the benefit of allowing large and easy to operate control rings and providing plenty of space for them.
This lens will focus as close as 50 cm at the 32mm setting and 60 cm at 64mm, where it provides a magnification of 0.12x. That’s some way from macro but usable for a variety of close-up shots.
Build and Ergonomics
Most of this lens is made from black polycarbonate to keep its overall weight as low as possible, while maintaining decent strength. It has a solid brass mounting plate surrounded by a rubber ring that keeps out moisture and dust.
The front element of the lens is slightly recessed into the inner barrel to allow for its slight outwards curvature. A threading for the 77 mm diameter filters runs around the inner edge of the barrel.
Moving back about 12 mm we come to the focusing ring, which is 20 mm wide and covered by a ridged, rubberised grip band. Because focusing is driven from the camera there are no hard stops at either end of the focusing range. The ring turns smoothly through quite a large rotation angle as you span the focus range from 50 cm at 32mm or 60 cm at 64mm to infinity in manual focus mode.
Autofocusing is controlled electronically and in manual focus mode there is virtually no tactile feedback, although the camera’s displays provide some assistance. You can take advantage of focusing aids like peaking and magnification to determine critical sharpness.
A couple of millimetres behind the focusing ring is the zoom ring. It is approximately 40 mm wide with a 30 mm wide rubberised grip band covering all but a 10 mm wide strip along the trailing edge where the focal length settings are stamped in white.
The zoom ring turns through about 20 degrees and, in the process, the inner barrel is extended by just under 30 mm. Focal length settings are lined up against a white line on the aperture ring, which is located immediately behind the zoom ring.
In common with other Fujinon lenses, the GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR has a traditional aperture ring with aperture markings in one-stop increments from f/4 to f/32 and click-stops at 1/3EV increments between. This ring is 15 mm wide and also carries the A (Auto) and C (Command) positions, the former engaging auto aperture control while the latter lets you set the aperture via the camera body instead of the lens. A 10 mm wide, rubber clad grip band along the trailing edge of the ring contains the locking button, which sits proud of the ring and is marked with a red bar.
The remainder of the outer barrel is roughly 20 mm in length before ending in the lens mount. The bundled lens hood attaches via a bayonet fitting and can be locked in place. It also reverses over the barrel for transport and storage.
As tested on the GFX 50R camera, the review lens turned in an excellent performance, particularly at the 64mm focal length where the JPEG resolution around the centre of the frame comfortably exceeded expectations for the camera’s 51.1-megapixel sensor and resolution fell just short of expectations towards the periphery of the frame. The highest resolutions were recorded at f/5.6 although, with the 64mm focal length, resolution remained high from f/5 through to f/11, after which it declined due to diffraction.
Edge and corner resolution was reduced for all focal lengths and sharpness was obviously reduced in the corners of the frame and stopping down didn’t improve corner sharpness. The transitions between the central zone and edges were, however, very smooth.
Overall resolution was lower at 32mm, but the test results remained constant from f/4 through to f/6.4, where they began to decline slowly. Interestingly, resolution remained high for all focal lengths right up to f/16, where the effects of diffraction became apparent. The graph below shows the results of our tests.
Lateral chromatic aberration was at the low end of the ‘negligible’ band and lowest with the 64mm focal length. But even at shorter focal lengths, it remained consistently below 0.01% of distance to corner, which can be disregarded. We found no evidence of coloured fringing in any test shots. In the graph of our test results below, the red line marks the lower boundary of the ‘negligible’ CA band.
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. We found the lens showed no obvious rectilinear distortion and very little vignetting at the three focal lengths we tested: 32mm, 50mm and 64mm.
The review lens was quite flare resistant and showed only slight veiling flare when the sun was included within the image frame. There were no flare artefacts in any of our test shots.
Bokeh was smooth and quite attractive, although not outstandingly so. This is partly due to the fact that this lens is slower than the others we tested.
Autofocusing was reasonably fast for a medium format lens but not nearly as fast as the lenses we’ve tested with Fujifilm’s X-mount cameras – or even the DSLR and full-frame mirrorless lenses we’ve reviewed. It was also more consistent than the other G-mount lenses we tested, which also relied on the fairly basic contrast-based AF system in the GFX 50R camera.
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Picture angle: 81 degrees to 46.3 degrees
Focal length equivalent in 35mm format: 25-51mm
Minimum aperture: f/32
Lens construction: 14 elements in 11 groups (including 3 aspherical, 1 ED and 1 extra-low dispersion elements)
Lens mounts: Fujifilm GF (medium format)
Diaphragm Blades: 9 (circular aperture)
Focus drive: Linear motor with internal focusing mechanism
Minimum focus: 50 cm at 32mm; 60 cm at 64mm
Maximum magnification: 0.12x
Filter size: 77 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x L): 92.6 x 116 mm (at 32mm) – 145.5 mm (at 64mm)
Weight: 875 grams
Standard Accessories: Lens front and end caps, lens hood, lens case
Distributor: Fujifilm Australia; 1800 226 355; www.fujifilm.com.au
Based on JPEG files captured by the Fujifilm GFX 50R camera.
Vignetting at 32mm f/4.
Vignetting at 50mm f/4.
Vignetting at 64mm f/4.
Rectilinear distortion at 32mm.
Rectilinear distortion at 50mm.
Rectilinear distortion at 64mm.
32mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/350 second at f/8.
44mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/480 second at f/8.
50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/420 second at f/8.
64mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/420 second at f/8.
Close-up at 32mm; ISO 200, 1/100 second at f/4.
Close-up at 64mm; ISO 200, 1/60 second at f/4.
Flare at 32mm, ISO 100, 1/1000 second at f/5.6.
Flare at 50mm, ISO 100, 1/1250 second at f/5.6.
Flare at 64mm, ISO 100, 1/1250 second at f/5.6.
62mm focal length, ISO 1600, 1/60 second at f/5.6.
43mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/10 second at f/8.
64mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/85 second at f/7.1.
40mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/100 second at f/5.
64mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/30 second at f/8.
Additional image samples can be found with our review of the Fujifilm GFX-50R camera.
RRP: AU$3499; US$2085.60
- Build: 9.0
- Handling: 8.9
- Image quality: 9.0
- Versatility: 8.9