I recently purchased the Fuji GFX 50S and I needed a couple of lenses to get me started. I knew I needed a portrait lens and Fuji hit it out of the park with the 110mm f/2, one of my favorite portrait lenses of all time. But I needed something wider for environmental portraits and potentially some landscape work.
The obvious solution for me is the Fujifilm GF45mm f/2.8. Offering a 35mm equivalent of 35mm, the 45 checks a lot boxes for the working professional. Many a photographer will tell you, 35mm is a very versatile focal length.
First up is the build, and like most of the lenses in the GF lineup, build quality is very good to exceptional. Coming in at a fairly light weight 1.08 pounds, the 45mm might be considered scrawny for a medium format lens.
The focus ring is ribbed, tactile, thick and offers an ideal amount of resistance. Typical with Fuji lenses is the aperture ring. Which is thin, clicky and a little bit less prone than other Fuji lenses from getting knocked from its intended setting. Of course, I always have the option of setting the aperture in camera. Fuji seems to love this retro style interface. I’m not a fan, but like anything, I got used to it and eventually it doesn’t get in the way of getting the shot. The lens hood and lens cap are made of nice high quality plastics. The filter thread is a common and smallish 62mm.
On the inside, there are 11 lens elements arranged in eight groups. That formula includes one aspherical element and two extra low dispersion elements. The aperture ranges from f/2.8 to f/32. Speaking of the aperture, there are nine rounded aperture blades for pleasing out of focus bokeh rendering. Lastly, the lens is dust and moisture resistant.
Handling / ease of use
When mounted to the GFX 50S, the combination can still be a weighty affair. To hands, the 50S is a bit of a cinder block of a camera. Fortunately for me, when I’m using the GFX, I’m rarely using it handheld — I’m almost always using a tripod. I use the tripod even though the 45mm is one of the lightest lenses in the GF lineup.
Additionally, I’m almost always using the 50S’ autofocus system, so manual focus rarely comes into play for me. I do usually set the aperture on the lens, and only occasionally do I knock it out of its intended setting. One of my personal nits with the aperture ring is that it can get nudged from its intended position. I’m able to get around this by setting the aperture ring to “A” which allows aperture control in camera.
Autofocus speed and accuracy
Medium format cameras in general are not renowned for their brisk autofocus speed and accuracy. The latest firmware on the GFX 50S incorporates face and eye detect AF, which work well.
However, like most of the lenses I’ve used with the GFX, don’t expect earth shattering AF performance with the 50S. I would call AF speed and accuracy adequate, and when you consider that most pros using the GFX are shooting static subjects, then the GFX and the 45mm’s AF are sufficient.
More importantly, I find the AF to be very accurate, even if the lens hunts a bit before capturing accurate focus.
If there’s one area where none of the Fuji GF lenses have disappointed, it’s optical quality. I can tell you with certainly, the 45mm is no exception.
As a working pro, it took me a long time to get used to a 35mm equivalent focal length. I am good with wide angle — I shoot a ton of real estate. I am also good with longer focal lengths like a 70-200mm. For me, that focal range between 24-70mm was always kind of photographic no man’s land. It hasn’t really been until the last four years or so that I’ve gotten comfortable with the 35mm focal length. Fast forward to today, and I can tell you that I love it!
The 35mm equivalent will force you to commit more effort when composing your shots. More thought has to go into an image that just the subject. Background elements become more important and potentially distracting. But when everything works — lighting, composition and pose, the GF45mm f/2.8 is capable of digital gold. Sharp from edge to edge, even wide-open, the images I’ve created with this combo have been exceptional!
Last up is value, and to me, a 35mm equivalent with and f/2.8 aperture shouldn’t cost as much as the GF 45mm does. However, it begins to make sense when you realize the elements need to cover that massive medium format sensor. One rarely thinks value when they’re considering medium format cameras. They have long been at the pinnacle price wise in digital photography. To their credit, Fuji is forcing medium format competitors to rethink medium format and the pricing associated with these cameras and lenses.
Given the level of optical quality this lens is capable of delivering, then in spite of it’s narrow-ish aperture, I believe for medium format lenses, the 45mm stands out as a decent value. Even at these elevated price points, then relatively speaking the 45 is a good deal. When you see what you can create with it, you’ll eventually forget how much this lens set your wallet back.
The GF 45mm f/2.8 is a versatile and well-built gem of a lens that’s nearly essential for any working pro who uses the GFX system from Fujifilm. Outstanding image quality, excellent build and a price point that’s reasonable relative to other medium format lenses.
- Focal length: 45mm (35mm full-frame equivalent field of view)
- Aperture range: f/2.8–32
- Aperture blades: 9
- Elements/groups: 11/8
- Dimensions: 3.31 x 3.46″ / 84 x 88 mm
- Weight: 1.08 pounds
- Angle of view: 62.6°
- Excellent build quality
- Weather sealing
- Sharp optics across the board
- Nearly all common lens aberrations are well controlled
- Aperture ring has a tendency to get knocked from it’s intended position
- AF tends to hunt a little bit, but this is common with medium format cameras in general
- Price high for an f/2.8 lens — though typical for medium format
FUJIFILM GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR Lens
Offering a versatile wide-angle perspective, the GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR from FUJIFILM is a 36mm equivalent lens for the G-mount GFX camera system. With a slightly wider-than-normal field of view, this lens is ideal for everyday shooting and its f/2.8 maximum aperture suits working in difficult lighting conditions. Its optical design incorporates one aspherical element and two extra-low dispersion elements to reduce both spherical and chromatic aberrations for improved sharpness and clarity. A Nano GI coating has also been applied to individual elements to suppress lens flare and ghosting for greater contrast and color accuracy.