Fujinon GF 35-70mm F4.5-5.6 WR Review
February 28th, 2022
Fujifilm has been slowly expanding their lineup of lenses for their GFX Medium Format system. In times past Fuji has largely operated as a closed platform, with almost all lenses being first party (Fujinon) lenses. That’s starting to change on the APS-C front, but in the medium format space it remains the case. That means that there are still a fair number of holes in the lineup, but an important one is getting filled with the release of the Fujinon GF 35-70mm F4.5-5.6 WR. Fuji has never had a true kit lens to sell with their cameras, and, while kit lenses are rarely exciting, they are very necessary for several reasons. First of all is price. The GF 35-70 isn’t necessarily cheap when purchased on its own at $999 USD (though little is expensive when you’re talking medium format!) But if purchased in a kit with the new Fujifilm GFX50S II that I just reviewed the price premium drops to only $500 over buying the camera alone. That allows someone just coming into the system to actually have a lens to use with their new camera without breaking the bank to do so.
The second reason that kit lenses are important is that they tend to be jack-of-all-trades, doing a little bit of everything. There’s a recognition that (at least for a while), a lens like the GF 35-70 might have to function as a photographer’s only lens. Rarely are kit lenses exceptional at any one thing, but they do a lot of things reasonably well. In this case, you can get wonderfully detailed landscape images even with the high resolution Fujifilm medium format bodies.
Build quality is not top tier, but we do have a weather resistant (WR) lens that feels reasonably tough and durable. It doesn’t have much in terms of other features (no aperture ring or switches), but it is very lightweight at only 440g, which makes it nicely portable. It is a retractable zoom design to maximize compactness (you have to extend the lens by twisting the zoom ring before it is operational), but that does make its retracted dimensions very compact at 84mm in diameter and only 75mm in length.
Autofocus comes via an STM (stepping motor) focus system, and, while the focus system on the Fujifilm GFX50S II that I used to review the lens is pretty primitive, autofocus does feel reasonably smooth and quick. Autofocus felt snappier than the more premium Linear Motor on the GF 110mm F2 that I was also reviewing. I did see some focus inconsistencies at times, but it is nearly impossible to parse out lens focus errors from general focus errors due to the outdated Contrast AF system in the 50S II.
I was generally pleased with the image quality from the lens. This is a 28-55mm full frame equivalent zoom range, so it covers a number of important focal lengths. It is extremely sharp at 35mm, though it does suffer from some barrel distortion and heavier vignette there. The distortion and vignette diminish as you zoom into the focal range, though the lens is softer in the middle of the range and requires stopping down at the telephoto end to reach high sharpness levels across the frame. Control of chromatic aberrations is fairly good, though, and flare resistance is very high.
You can get a 0.28x magnification level at the 35cm minimum focus distance, though contrast isn’t amazing wide open up close. The lens is capable of producing beautiful images, however, with rich detail and color. Check out my in depth video review for a deep dive into the optical performance.
I consider the lens to be good value for money when purchased in the kit, as it gives you a little bit of zoom versatility and is perfectly capable for shooting landscapes or general purpose images. Enjoy the photos from the lens below!
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Thanks to Fujifilm Canada for providing me the loaner of the cameras and lenses to do this review. As always, this is a completely independent review and my findings are entirely my own.
Photos of the Fujinon GF 35-70mm F4.5-5.6 WR
Photos Taken with the Fujinon GF 35-70mm F4.5-5.6 WR
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Keywords: Fujifilm, Fujifilm GFX50S II, Fujifilm GFX-50S II, GFX50SII Review, Review, Fujinon, Fuji, GF, GF 110mm, GF 110mm F2, Fuji 35-70mm F4.5-5.6, 35-70, 35-70mm, GF, Fujinon GF 35-70mm, Fujinon GF 35-70 Review, WR, Medium Format, Fuji GFX50S II, GFX, 50S II, MF, Portrait, Bokeh, Sharpness, Resolution, Video Test, Sample Images, Real World, Comparison, Sony Alpha 1, Fuji GF 80 Review, review, Dustin Abbott
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