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Fujifilm GF Lens Quality Control = Unacceptable

Fujifilm GF lens quality control is the usual roll of the dice, it seems.

Examining my Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 images, I see that all of them show left/right lens skew: the left side is blurred and the right side razor sharp, and at full-res the image below shows it in an obvious way even on a Retina display, even with f/6.4 partially masking the skew.

Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 Panoramas: Eastern Sierra (GFX100)

Two years ago Fujifilm shipped a coke-bottle 110mm f/2 as I showed. It seems that Fujifilm has done nothing in the quality control area. It’s a medium format system, WTF.

As a pro, I always know I should pre-test gear. But for me this is often unworkable—I often have the van packed and ready to go, awaiting arrival of the FedEx truck with the lenses and/or camera. I shoot far more in the field than I can examine, often returning back to scarf food and sleep (11 PM or later). It is very hard to actively test a lens on such a schedule and even harder on an iMac 5K with its ultra-high pixel density. So I sometimes get Screwed. Accordingly, I have little love for companies that ship stuff intended for users to test (or not, a winning scheme for poor quality control), instead of spending the extra $50 at the factory to f*ing do it right before shipping it.

Now I get this skewed sample of the Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 which has damaged all my work with it over a very strenuous 18 days of shooting. The 23/4, the 32-64 and the 120/4 all showed varying degrees of optical asymmetry, the 120/4 being the worst offender and unacceptable, the other two being off slightly but usable, but a nuisance I had to account for—focus stacking to the rescue.

Late in the trip after I saw the lens skew issue with the 120/4, I spent an hour trying to make an image sharp across the frame at f/5.6 on a distance scene. I failed to be able to do so—focus on the left and it was sharp; focus on the right and the left side goes blurry. How can Fujifilm ship out garbage like this to pros?

Shame on you, Fujifilm. I don’t go shoot your 'shit' for 2.5 weeks, hiking 14 hours a day for crap like this. I expect quality control consistent with a $20K system, not that of a $399 DSLR (which is probably better). It is not like I can make a 600 mile round trip and wait for a better sample—and my images are damaged forever. My time and effort were invested for degraded results. That is what really rankles, because it need not happen.

I have had numerous bad samples from Fujifilm from 2017 through 2019—nothing apparently has changed in quality control land at Fujifilm. Indeed, I would say that most Fujifilm GF lenses I have used have had symmetry problems—witness the Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 that I shot in December 2018 on the Fujifilm GFX-50R which could not make sharp edges at any aperture at 50 megapixels—and how much better the sample in August 2019 on the 100-megapixel GFX100.

Caveat Emptor with Fujifilm GF lenses.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm medium format System

Dusk over Rock Creek Lake
f6.4 @ 1.3 sec, ISO 100; 2019-08-07 20:08:55
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR @ 95mm equiv (120mm)
ENV: Rock Creek Lake, altitude 9600 ft / 2926 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{20,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Yair T writes:

I share your frustration and hunger. That is why Fuji doesn’t get my money! Yet I have to state Fuji aren’t alone. Sigma, Tamron are all doing it.

Due to personal experience I know those issues with Zeiss and Canon are very rare. ( Nikon is not as bad but not perfect either) I had to cherry pick all my sigma lenses , On the Sigma 85 ART It was the worst. I tested many copies I lost count :( One correction as a management of manufacturing factory of a high end gear.

Sadly it is not 50$ , it is much more. IMHO , from My own experience with lenses from those factories you have more than 75% failure rate and it will require not only rework but elements change. ( I would even go to improve manufacturing techniques ). The problem is that if you do that the cost of lens will be equal to the first party.

Regarding Fuji they are way better then the Hasselblad and have better ( potentially) IQ. Yet are far cheaper. The reduction in cost comes from inferior QC/QA. It is simply the company strategic decision since 90% of the buyers are clueless. That keep the 10% super frustrated!!! Again this is why Fuji doesn’t get my money.

DIGLLOYD: Yair is probably right that it would cost more than $50. That’s because while I’m sure a lens can be checked out at the factory properly for $50 or less, it costs a lot more to reject it and not ship it and/or carefully tweak it. And yet, the Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 costs $2699, so I don’t grant to Fujifilm the dismal standards that (in my experience) they employ. One lens is no big deal (stuff happens), but too many GF lenses have had issues, obvious ones.

Yair is also right that other vendors have issues. For example, my first sample of the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art is not sharp on the left side even at f/4 and even as the right side is razor sharp. Another sample is on the way.

Hasselblad mirrorless lenses have all been good so far.

Zeiss issues are rare in my experience, and I have used more lenses from Zeiss than any brand. I know for a fact that the Zeiss Otus line costs a lot because of exceptionally stringent quality control; rejects are not allowed to ship.


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