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Reader Comments on Adapting 35mm Lenses to the Fujifilm GFX

See also:

Peter M writes:

I just compared using the Canon 17mm and 24mm TS-E lenses on the Sony A7R II and the Fujifilm GFX using the Cambo adapter, shifted left and right and shot at f/4, f/8, f/16.

I was hoping the performance on the GFX would be good enough for me to dump the Sony A7R II so I could just use one system.  However, the edges were noticeably more smeared with the GFX, so for now the A7R II is staying.  

DIGLLOYD: this is in accordance with all my tests. Based on all the lenses I tested, it is my conclusion that something about the GFX sensor just does not play well with non-native lenses, with few exceptions, if any. Even the Zeiss 135/2 APO-Sonnar (best of the 9 I tested) needs f/4.

Brian C writes:

I’m sorry, but what exactly is the point of using Full Frame lenses on the Fujifilm GFX? Why is everyone in blogs and on YouTube so concerned about doing so?

It seems that if any of these lenses can cover the image circle, then I cannot imagine that the difference in sensor size can be dramatic enough to really warrant the cost and drawbacks of the body. Won’t full frame sensors eclipse this particular one in a couple years, if they are not that much smaller?

The higher up you want to go with image quality, then the bigger role better performing lenses seem to play. I understand wanting to go to a larger format, just don’t understand why someone would spend so much money and make so many compromises for the better image quality of this camera, then hamper it back down with lenses that will underperform on it.

DIGLLOYD: for starters, it makes great clickbait! And wishes and desires vs reality are often fun until reality kicks in (or until it doesn’t, just rewrite reality as was done with Leica M on Sony mirrorless for quite some time and persists even today—see how degraded MTF for rangefinder lenses is on Sony).

For my part, I deemed “35mm on medium format” a legitimate question to be investigated. I am satisfied that I have answered it as to the potential value—not worth the hassle, with rare exceptions.

The image circle projected by the lens has to cover the sensor, but that is only a precondition, being far from sufficient in deciding image quality. The primary issues once the sensor is covered are sharpness (even within the central 36 X 24mm area), but also evennesss of illumination, field curvature, focus shift, point spread function in outer zones, etc.

Sensor quality is high on my list for why the GFX has appeal: the 50MP Fujifilm GFX offers a very high pixel quality far exceeding the quality of the Canon 5DS. I do not expect the sensor quality of a 36 X 24mm 50-megapixel sensor to match that of a 44 X 33mm sensor this year or even next year, though I do expect the gap to narrow significantly and that may be close enough. Actually, the quality match (or exceed) is there already: Pentax K1 SuperRes pixel shift mode, but that is tightly restricted as to applicable shooting scenarios. And the Nikon D810 is very strong also, albeit 36 megapixels not 50.

Brian’s comments are based on the premise that sharpness and higher image quality are the primary goal. For me that would nearly always be the goal also. However, there are other valid reasons that might apply:

  • Unavailable focal lengths: for example, the Canon 17mm f/4 TS-E is a 17mm lens, far wider than 32mm, the widest lens currently available for the GFX, at least until the GF 23mm f/4 ships.
  • Using lenses for visual effect in which sharpness is way down the list.
  • Vry high speed lenses, such as f/1.2 or f/1.4 DSLR lenses that Fujifilm just does not offer. These too are probably of interest for visual effects, because raising the ISO and using a native lens is going to be better nearly all of the time.
  • Specialty lenses, such as long telephotos. With an electronic shutter, a lens like the Leica 280mmn f/4 APO-Telyt-R might perform well, and there is nothing remotely similar for the GFX. Whether it or other long telephotos work well, I do not know.
  • Already owning lenses and at least wishing they would work well. There are few such lenses, but the Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar is one example that adapts well. Alternately, already owning lenses and simply accepting that the quality may be lower, but there they are already in the bag.

I think the "35mm lenses on GFX" fad will wind down in excitement over the next 12 months, just as Leica M on Sony did. As a rule it is a poor solution, with very few exceptions if the goal is about sharpness. And over time the Fujifilm GFX and Hasselblad X1D systems will fill out the native lens lines.

Below, ultra low performance on the full frame of the Fujifilm GFX—what if you are after a certain visual rendering having little to do with sharpness?

f1.2 @ 1/1000 sec, ISO 100; 2017-04-25 17:46:24
GFX 50S + Olympus Zuiko 50mm f/1.2 Auto-S @ 41mm (50mm)

[low-res image for bot]
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