Fujinon GF45mm f/2.8 R WR lens
The GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR lens is currently the second smallest, second lightest and second cheapest lens in the GFX system (the recently released GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR lens just beats it on all three criteria). This alone is enough to stimulate the interest of potential purchasers, who will be reassured by the excellent performance of the lens and its angular coverage.
Superior build quality and comprehensive weather sealing will also commend this lens to photographers who shoot outdoors, particularly landscape, documentary and street photographers.
We see the main buyers of this lens will be professional photographers, especially portrait and event shooters and landscape and architectural specialists. Studio photographers specialising in shooting products for posters will also benefit from the high resolution and extended dynamic range this lens plus one of the GFX cameras can deliver.
Announced with the GFX 50S at Photokina 2016, the Fujinon GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR lens wasn’t released until the end of 2017. One of six prime lenses for the GFX system, it covers a focal length equivalent to 36mm on a 35mm format camera. Weighing only 490 grams and just 88 mm long, this lens is the smallest and lightest of the three lenses we received with the GFX 50R body, which was used for this review. Weather and dust resistant, the lens can be used in temperatures down to -10 degrees Celsius.
The Fujinon GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR lens, shown without end caps and lens hood. (Source: Fujifilm.)
The optical design takes advantage of the short (26.7 mm) flange back distance of the G mount to minimise the effects of vignetting and achieve high edge-to-edge sharpness. Utilising 11 elements in eight groups, it includes one aspherical and two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements. The front element is flat but there’s a highly convex element behind it that helps to pull in light from a modestly wide angle. Threading around the inner rim of the barrel accepts 62 mm filters.
The optical diagram for the Fujinon GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR lens, showing the positions of the exotic elements. (Source: Fujifilm.)
Nano GI coating has been applied to some surfaces in the lens to suppress ghosting and flare caused by incident light from diagonal angles and maintain high image quality. The iris diaphragm has nine rounded blades that close to produce a circular aperture.
Autofocusing is driven by a linear motor which moves six lens elements without changing the length or orientation of the lens barrel. This internal focusing ensures fast, near silent focusing. The lens has been sealed in ten areas to keep moisture and dust at bay.
Like the other GF lenses, the GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR’s aperture ring 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 mechanism has been added to prevent unintended adjustment of the aperture dial.
Like the other lenses we received, this lens is not stabilised and there’s no stabilisation built into the GFX 50R body, although the wide angle of view and fast maximum aperture make it suitable for hand-held shooting. The lens is supplied 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?
The compact and lightweight design of this lens makes it ideal for reportage, group portraits and event and documentary photography. Its angle view makes it a good choice for street photography. It could also be used for commercial and fashion photography and while the 62.6 degree angle of view restricts its use for most sports photography, it could work for taking close-up action shots of subjects like skateboarders.
The relatively fast maximum aperture gives it a two-stop advantage in low light over the GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR lens. However, the close focusing limit of 45 cm limits its use for shooting close-up subjects, although it magnifies a little more than the zoom lens.
Build and Ergonomics
The GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR lens uses the same basic design other GF lenses and. like them, appears to be made from black polycarbonate with a semi-gloss black finish. The barrel ends in very solid chromed metal mounting plate, which is surrounded by a rubber ring that keeps out moisture and dust.
It’s a comfortable match for the GFX 50R body used for this review on which it felt very well balanced. The combo was portable and inconspicuous enough for street photography.
There are only two main control surfaces: the focusing ring and the aperture ring. The focusing ring is roughly 32 mm wide and begins about 12 mm behind the front of the lens barrel. It is completely clad in a widely-ridged rubberised grip and, because focusing is driven from the camera. the ring turns through 360 degrees without hard stops to demarcate the focusing range.
The lens barrel widens to accommodate the aperture ring, which sits about 13 mm aft of the focusing ring. Its leading edge is marked with focal length settings in one-stop increments from f/2 to f/22 with click-stops at 1/3EV increments between.
The aperture ring is 16 mm wide with an 11 mm wide ridged grip band covering the trailing edge. 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.
The lens barrel continues for 15 mm, ending in a black sealing ring, which keeps out moisture and dust. It then steps in 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 remained high from the widest aperture (f/2.8) 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 appears to be corrected automatically in JPEG files, although it remained low in the raw files we shot at the same time and converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw. The tiny variations shown in the graph below are so small they can be classified as statistical noise. The red line in the graph 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. Subjectively, we think the GF45mm f/2.8 is the fastest of three GF lenses we have reviewed so far. AF accuracy, which is largely controlled by the camera, was also very good.
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.
There was little or no veiling flare when a bright light source was just outside the image frame and no evidence of ghosting or flare artefacts in contre-jour subjects. Normally backlit subjects were generally handled very well.
With a minimum focus of 45 cm, this lens is not really suitable for close-ups unless subjects are relatively large. The f/2.8 maximum aperture provides some scope for differential focusing with suitable subjects. Bokeh was very smooth, thanks to the wide maximum aperture, although we found some traces of outlining around bright highlights.
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Picture angle: 62.6 degrees
Focal length equivalent in 35mm format: 36mm
Minimum aperture: f/32
Lens construction: 11 elements in 8 groups (including 1 aspherical and 2 ED elements)
Lens mounts: Fujifilm GF (medium format)
Diaphragm Blades: 9 (circular aperture)
Focus drive: Linear motor with internal focusing mechanism
Minimum focus: 45 cm
Maximum magnification: 0.14x
Filter size: 62 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x L): 84 x 88 mm
Weight: 490 grams
Standard Accessories: Lens front and end caps, lens hood, lens pouch
Distributor: Fujifilm Australia; 1800 226 355; www.fujifilm.com.au
Based on JPEG files captured by the Fujifilm GFX 50R camera.
Vignetting at f/2.8.
Close-up at f/2.8, ISO 160, 1/60 second.
Close-up, ISO 100, 1/105 second at f/5.6.
Strong backlighting, ISO 100, 1/1000 second at f/8.
Traces of flare artefacts with light source inside frame, ISO 100, 1/1700 second at f/7.1.
ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/8.
ISO 100, 1/70 second at f/5.6.
Differential focusing at f/2.8; ISO 100,1/180 second at f/5.6.
ISO 200, 1/70 second at f/4.
ISO 1600, 1/30 second at f/5.6.
Additional image samples can be found with our review of the Fujifilm GFX 50R camera.
RRP: AU$2699; US$1699
- Build: 9.0
- Handling: 9.0
- Image quality: 9.0
- Versatility: 8.8