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Reader Question: Best Lenses for the Fujifilm GFX100S + Equivalent Focal Length and F-Stop vs 35mm Format

Important to my B&H loaner support — buy your Fujifilm GFX100 via links on this site.

I’ve been thinking about the Fujifilm GFX100S. I might end up buying it before the Sony A1 because the Sony A7R IV is going to be just as good for lens testing, and the Sony A1 I can borrow and test thoroughly. Eventually I will get one, hopefully at some discount.

Mitcha S writes:

Fujifilm GFX100S, rear view

I’ve got a question re Fujifilm GF lenses.

I’m a subscriber to your Medium Format section and was waiting for quite a while for the release of the new Fujifilm GFX100S. It seems overall like a fab camera, despite maybe the EVF.

As I am changing finally from the Nikon D850 to mirrorless and haven’t got any GF lenses yet, which 3 lenses would you recommend to start off with?

I am shooting portraits, features as well as landscape. I would appreciate very much if you could advice me,

DIGLLOYD: my bias is towards primes—the 100MP sensor is every bit as demanding as a Sony A7R IV sensor (same pixel density)—a serious challenge for even the best medium format lenses.

Format equivalence

When switching from 35mm, understanding the equivalent focal length and f-stops in terms of maximum aperture and depth of field is important. For lens and f-stop equivalence for 35mm starting from the Fujifilm medium format figures: multiply the focal length by 0.822 and multiply the max aperture by 0.822, e.g.:

80mm * 0.822 f/1.7 * .822  ===> 66mm f/1.4

For equivalent depth of field starting with the 35mm-format aperture, divide the f-stop by 0.822*. For example, you need ƒ8/0.822 = f/9.7 for equivalent depth on Fujifilm medium format for 35mm at f/8.

Fujifilm Medium Format Equivalent Focal Length and Depth of Field

Format equivalence* quick summary for the GF lens lineup, long edge of frame equivalence:

23mm f/4    ~= 19mm f/3.3
30mm f/3.5  ~= 25mm f/2.9
45mm f/2.8  ~= 37mm f/2.3
50mm f/3.5  ~= 41mm f/2.9
63mm f/2.8  ~= 52mm f/2.3
80mm f/1.7  ~= 66mm f/1.4
110mm f/2   ~= 90mm f/1.6
120mm f/4   ~= 99mm f/3.3
250mm f/4   ~= 205mm f/3.3

32-64mm f/4 ~= 26mm - 53mm f/3.3
45-10mm f/4 ~= 37mm - 82mm f/3.3

* Versus 36.0 X 24.0 mm sensor. Nominal focal lengths as per specifications; actual focal lengths of real lenses are usually rounded. Equivalence based on long edge of frame.

Lens choices

The 23/4 can be superb, assuming a good sample. The 50/3.5 may well be the best of the entire lineup, which is why I bought the copy I tested even though I don’t yet own a medium format camera. I have not tested the 30/3.5, but it should be excellent, probably not far off the 50/3.5 (30mm is more challenging in terms of optics than 50mm).

For portraits, the new Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 is surely a fine lens to have (66mm f/1.4 equiv), or for a more classic moderate telephoto, the Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 might be a more favored choice (90mm f/1.6 equiv). Personally I find the shorter focal length far more versatile, so I would favor the 80mm f/1.7.

For zooms, the only one I'm reasonably satisfied with is the 45-100mm and even then the f/4 aperture pushes the bounds of lens speed when shooting at dusk—it’s problematic at times. And it’s just damned awkward whereas the 50/3.5 is a joy to carry by comparison.

The headache with zooms is variable optical swing and tilt through the zoom range, a problem which is such a PITA that it forced me to always shoot a manually-focused INF frame for a focus stack after the camera did its thing. You have to determine where the swing is, then make that final frame at far distance on the side that is swung in focus too closely. Prime lenses can have this issue too, but it is less common, generally less pronounced, and most of all, easier to test for and reject a bad sample.

Important to my B&H loaner support — buy your Fujifilm GFX100 and lenses via links on this site.

 
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