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Reader Comment: “best lenses for the Fujifilm GFX system... track the price... tilt/shift lenses”

re: Fujifilm GF 30mm f/5.6 TS
re: Fujifilm GF 110mm f/5.6 TS
re: Fujifilm GF 30mm f/5.6 TS and Fujifilm GF 110mm f/5.6 TS: How Useful are the Tilt/Shift Functions?
re: Fujifilm Locks Down Medium Format with Fujifilm GFX100 II, Fujifilm GF 30/5.6 TS, Fujifilm GF 110/5.6 TS

I had both of these lenses on loaner request for review since they were announced last fall. First they were delayed, then they are never in stock not even once. I definitely will be reviewing them but when I don’t know. And they are apparently best used on the Fujifilm GFX100 II, something to do with the sensor design.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm Medium Format: Top Picks

Reader Roy P writes:

If you want to know which are the best lenses for the Fujifilm GFX system, all you have to do is to track the prices of GF lenses on B&H Photo. Over the course of a year, you will see most of the GF lenses offered at $400-500 discounts. I have been seeing this behavior for the last four or five years.

But there is a small handful of lenses that have never been offered at a discount, and these are the Fujifilm GF 20-35/4, Fujifilm GF 55/1.7 and the Fujifilm GF 250/4, along with its 1.4x extender. I think Fujifilm knows which of its lenses are the stellar performers vs. the ones that are the “cover-your-nose-with-one-hand-and-sell-these-with-your-other-hand” variety. The only exception to this is the Fujifilm GF 35-70mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom which, as you know, is a star lens that punches way over its weight class, and this can be had for $500 (what I paid for mine).

That is a long preamble to say I don’t think the two Fujifilm tilt / shift lenses (30 F5.6 and 110 F5.6 Macro) are likely to go on a sale anytime in the near future, maybe not for another 5+ years. Based on the specs, interviews by the Fujifilm design engineers and a small handful of reviews, these lenses seem to be exceptional. These two could possibly be the best T/S lenses designed for any camera system (excluding technical cameras), at least in my experience. I have owned and used all three T/S lenses from Nikon for its F mount DSLRs, both T/S lenses from Canon for the EF mount DSLRs, and Schneider-Kreuznach 120 f/5.6 APO Digitar for Phase One.

The Schneider 120 T/S is a superb lens, every bit as good as the Schneider 120 F4 Macro lens for the Phase One XF. This T/S is in a class by itself and the the 35mm T/S lenses don’t even begin to compare. The Fujifilm T/S lenses may be in this class optically, maybe even better. They are certainly a lot more capable than the Schneider in terms of usability.

They’re certainly not cheap, but considering the size of the image circle they have to draw and also all the functionality built into them (e.g., T/S at 45° angle, maybe even any angle? TBD) and what appears to be top-notch mechanical design, they are more than fairly priced, I think. They are priced about $1500+ less than the $5000 price tag the Schneider used to have (it’s discontinued now).
[DIGLLOYD: for landscape, just 0.5° to 1.5° of tilt is all that is typically needed]

These could be the ultimate lenses for landscapes, product, architecture and interior photography for anything below a Phase One XT + Rodenstock lenses. I also think these lenses put Fujifilm way above Hasselblad, notwithstanding the better cosmetics and finish of the Hassleblad system and the slightly better colors the X2D is supposed to deliver.

I have my eyes set on these two Fujifilm lenses and at some point, if I can finance them, I’d like to get one or both of them.

Suggest getting hold of these T/S lenses for a review. I think it will be worth your time. Maybe even contact Fujifilm to get loaners, since B&H has never had these in stock.

DIGLLOYD: yes, the Fujifilm GF tilt/shift lenses should be awesome.

Focus stacking remains a hard requirement for high-quality work for the vast majority of situations. The manual focus tilt/shift lenses cannot use Focus BKT.

Optical tilt has limited uses, but when it can be used it is terrific. It can be useful for landscape, but in my experience it usually cannot be used due to the lack of any consistent plane of focus for a 3D scene eg something in the scene projects out of the main plane, and will be badly blurred by using tilt. There are of course exceptions, such as scenes like a desert playa.

Optical shift also has limited but terrific uses. Correcting perspective (eg converging verticals) is one such use, but parallax-free stitching intrigues me more. But the DoF problem remains and that makes such uses extremely limited except for distance scenes and similar.

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