Fujinon GF 110mm F2 WR LM Review
March 4th, 2022
I started to get requests and suggestions to review the Fujinon GF 110mm F2 R WR LM from the moment that I started to review Fujifilm’s medium format systems. I was assured that I would love the lens, and that it was optically one that could really take advantage of the resolution of the sensors. It stands to reason – this is a portrait oriented lens for a system that specializes in portrait work. It has taken me a year to get to the lens, but I feel confident after reviewing the lens that the supporters of the lens have got it right – this is a beautiful optic. My experience in some ways was limited by the autofocus system of the Fujifilm GFX50S II that I just reviewed but there is no question that lens is a wonderful compliment to the amazing sensors in the Fuji medium format cameras. I suspect I would enjoy the lens even more on the higher resolution and higher functioning Fujifilm GFX100S body. Even on the lesser body, though, this is an amazing portrait lens.
For those less familiar with medium format (and Fuji), it might help to orient this lens. First of all, a breakdown of what all those letters mean. R = aperture ring, in this case a clicked aperture ring selectable in one third stops, or with the option to put the lens into automatic or command mode where aperture is controlled from within the camera body. WR = weather resistance, referring to the fact that the lens is professional grade with weather sealing both internally and at the lens mount. LM = Linear Motor, which refers to the autofocus system.
A full frame sensor has a 1.0x crop factor, and the industry standard for focal lengths is in the full frame/35mm standard because of this. A 100mm lens, then, will behave like 100mm on the 35mm/full frame sensor, while the same lens mounted on a Fuji APS-C sensor (1.5x crop factor), will behave like a 150mm lens (full frame equivalent) in terms of focal length. Mount that same focal length on Fuji’s medium format (0.79x crop factor), and it will behave like a 79mm focal length. In this case we have a 110mm lens, and if you do the math, it roughly corresponds an 85mm F1.4 lens (Fuji says it has an 87mm full frame equivalent focal length). You can see that the framing and depth of field from the GF 110mm is about the same as the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DN lens I had mounted on the Sony Alpha 1.
The difference in the size of the two lenses is pretty remarkable, though, as the Fuji lens has to cover the much large (about 70% larger!) medium format image circle. The GF 110 is fairly large, but not exceptionally so. It is 94.3mm in diameter and 125.5 mm in length and weighs right over a kilogram (1010g). That’s big, for sure, but actually smaller and lighter than the full frame Canon RF 85mm F1.2L.
A couple of other takeaways from the comparison with the 85mm lens. While F2 doesn’t sound very impressive as a maximum aperture if you’re accustomed to full frame or APS-C lenses, this is a very large maximum aperture for a medium format camera. We can see from the image above that the depth of field is just as narrow at F2 on medium format as F1.4 is on full frame. That’s why medium format can easily produce a shallow depth of field, 3-dimensional look even with lenses that don’t have a huge maximum aperture. Where I find medium format really special is in the medium distance – not with the background completely blurred out, but in that beautiful falloff of light and focus. The GF 110 really delivers on that front, with something very special about the rendering of the images.
Autofocus comes via the noted LM (Linear Motor) focus system, and, while Linear Motors are typically the higher end focus systems in mirrorless cameras, the Contrast AF focus system on the Fujifilm GFX50S II that I used to review the lens on is pretty primitive (despite this being a new camera). Focus felt fairly slow, and I saw a fair number of autofocus misses. The kit lens (GF 35-70mm F4.5-5.6) and its STM focus felt a little bit faster, though that could also be due to the fact that the focal length/aperture combination in that lens isn’t nearly as demanding. Low light focus was quite poor with this combination, as was any attempt to get video AF for focus pulls. Best case scenario was for portraits where Eye AF helped, but even there I got some front and back focus inconsistencies, like this:
I’ll presume that focus quality would be better on one of the GFX100/GFX100S bodies, though autofocus in the medium format space isn’t really comparable to the much better performance we see on modern full frame cameras.
Where the GF 110 excels is in the image quality department, where it does pretty much everything well. There is negligible amount of pincushion distortion (hardly worth correcting) and a mild amount of vignette that is nicely linear and nature and will be complimentary in many situations and easily correctible in others. This is an exceptionally sharp lens that delivers incredible amounts of detail all across the frame even at F2:
There is a very mild increase in sharpness and contrast when stopping down, but little more is needed. The GF 110 also does a great job controlling aberrations of all kind, has beautiful bokeh, and is even quite flare resistant for a large aperture short telephoto prime. One of my favorite applications of the lens is portraits at a distance, where the lens produces images with amazing presence. The subject is very 3-dimensional but without blurring out the background completely.
This is an exceptional optical instrument and should be a priority purchase for anyone interested in doing portrait work on Fuji’s medium format cameras. Check out my in depth video review for a deep dive into the optical performance.
The GF 11o is fairly expensive ($2800 USD), but that is the exact same price as the Canon RF 85mm F1.2L lens that I mentioned above. When you consider how much expensive medium format gear tends to be, this isn’t an exceptional price (though it isn’t cheap, either!) You probably didn’t get into the medium format space for the budget prices, though. You got into it for the photos…and so enjoy the ones in the gallery below.
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 110mm F2 WR LM
Photos Taken with the Fujinon GF 110mm F2 WR LM
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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 AbbottR WR
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