The Separator – The Fujinon GF 110mm f/2 review

For many Fujifilm GFX owners and future buyers, the Fujinon GF110mm f/2 must be one of those lenses that you must own at some point. Just like the Takumar 105mm f/2.4 for the Pentax 6×7 or the Hasselblad HC100mm f/2.2 for the Hasselblad H-system, the GF110mmf/2 seems to be one of those lenses that is destined to become a musthave.
This of course ties in deeply with one of the primary usage areas for the medium format systems. – Commercial, portraiture based photography.

Now, before I go further with this writeup, let me repeat the conundrum from my original GFX50s review. The medium format system is not really a suitable format for my kind of photography. There is a reason why I switched to the small APS-C X-series cameras. They are perfect for my kind of photography. With that being said, I have ventured further and further into areas of photography where there is a definite use for this sort of camera system.
Packshots, portraits and landscapes. All perfectly suited for medium format goodness with superior resolution and tonality.

DSCF0276
Nanna in the cold wind – GFX50s – GF110mm f/2

I was asked to test out the GF23mm f/4 WR on my trip to Iceland, but I was also asked to do the Fujifilm-x.com packshots of the new lenses including the GF110mm f/2, so I was fortunate enough to try them both out. Of course I brought the 110mm with me to Iceland, but I also did a little shoot with one of my favourite bike-builders from Relic motorcycles. Other than that I tested it out in various situations like I always do., mostly including my poor kids.

Build

The GF range of lenses for the GFX50s are amazing in build quality. They’re large, they’re heavy and they’re beautiful! The 110mm f/2 is no exception. It oozes premium quality, as it darn well should given its cost. It’s one of the bigger lenses for the system, and it balances best when you use the extra accessory battery grip. It uses a 77mm filterthread, it’s 12,5cm long, 9,4cm across and weighs just above 1000g. If you’ve ever used the Canon L 85mm f/1.2 it feels similar in size with an added 4 cm to the back.

DSCF0366
Mike in the zone – GFX50s – GF110mm f/2

It has weather sealing, and after a trip to Iceland, I’m certainly inclined to backup that testament 100 percent. I took it for a testdrive in some of the heaviest rainfall I’ve ever been in, as well as mixed temperatures and waterfall sprays. The WR works.
It has an aperture ring with a lockable “A” and “C” position – where the latter lets you control the aperture using one of the control dials on the GFX50s. The clicks are firm and feels great.

DSCF0138

Speaking of aperture, the range is f/2 – f/22. It has 9 rounded aperture blades, and you can stop it down in 1/3 increments.

The 110mm f/2 has inner focusing using a linear focusing motor, and it focuses fast and precise. It’s made up of 14 lens elements in 9 groups, and uses a lot of (4) extra low dispersion elements to eliminate chromatic- and spherical aberration. The rest of the technical stuff can probably be found on Fujifilm’s website.

DSCF0423
Palle Schultz in a happy mood – GFX50s – GF110mm f/2

Image Quality and Characteristics

This is where I could end up having the entire internet photographical tech taskforce on my neck, but I’m going to venture down this road non-the-less. The road is called depth of field equivalency. Scary stuff huh?
Back in the day. I mean, waaaaay back in the day photonegatives, -positives, wet plates etc came in rather large sizes. Why? Because that was what you got. A one off copy. No reprints or enlargements possible. Wanted a wall sized plate print of your house cat? You had to get a house sized camera.
Kleinbild 35mm format came, medium format stayed, 8×10 large format stayed. Everyone was happy. Until the digital formats started appearing. Then everyone started shouting about full frame sensors, crop factors and yada yada yada! People started lusting for bokeh! Shallow depth of field and the likes. But why? – because no matter how full-frame-ish the digital sensors became, they were still rather small. And the obtainable shallow DOF was still quite limited compared to the old days.
So it goes without saying, that the larger the sensor gets, the bigger the potential and possibility for shallow DOF gets.
The GFX50s sensor isn’t that much bigger than a 24x36mm sensor, but it’s still enough to achieve a slightly different look to your images. And this is not so much because of the shallow DOF as it is the tele-effect of the longer focal lengths used.

DSCF9666
GFX50s – GF110mm f/2

To technically and mathematically achieve the same depth of field on a 24x36mm sensor as the 110mm f/2 gives you on the GFX50s, you would need a 86.9mm f/1.58 lens. That you can easily obtain. Canon, as an example, produces an 85mm f/1.2 lens. So you can easily get a shallower DOF on the current full-frame sensors.
But why do the images from the larger sensor setup still look a little different, and a little more shallow? – Well, you have to adjust for what the longer focal length does to the image. The tele effect compresses the scene, and even though the DOF isn’t more shallow, the appearance is that it is more shallow, simply because the tele looks like its pulling the background a little closer. This is absolutely visible, and its the reason why many photographers swear by a 200mm f/2 lens for full-body location portraiture. You get a much clearer effect of subject separation.  

DSCF9576.jpg
Kristian Bech from Relic Motorcycles with his custom Yamaha XS11 build. GFX50s – GF110mm f/2

 

All the above is basically just to tell you that you will get a unique look to your images when using the GF110mm f/2. You will get a very pleasing separation and a very shallow depth of field.

The quality of the image rendering is staggering. The GF110mm f/2 renders some of the most creamy and smooth out of focus areas that I have ever seen. The transitions from in-focus to out-of-focus are buttery smooth, and the color reproduction is spot on!
The sharpness is fantastic. It can easily resolve on par with the 50mp sensor in the GFX50s. Contrary to the GF120mm f/4 macro the 110mm is much more forgiving in regards to skin. It renders the skin much more delicately, and avoids the harsh contrast ridden sharpness of the 120mm. This is not to say that it can’t render sharp images, it just renders them differently.

When using this lens handheld I found that I needed to use at least a 1/125s shutter speed. There is no OIS on this thing, and the resolution of the GFX is unforgiving in regards to camera shake and motion blur. I would recommend to go up to 1/250 for handheld shots unless you’re really in control of your breathing/still shooting techniques.

Sample images

I can write on and on about how well this lens performs, but most of you will need to handle this lens and use it for your work before you can truly see what this thing is capable of.  The samples have been processed to my liking in Adobe Lightroom. This is not a place to find unedited jpegs. You can find those elsewhere.  I would love to use Capture One for my processing, but sadly they do not support GFX files.
Now, I will let my images finish off this little review. The Fujinon GF110mm f/2 is a true gem. A large gem that is!

You can download 5 of the sample images in full resolution HERE


IcelandDSCF0236DSCF0364DSCF0255DSCF0261DSCF0265DSCF0354DSCF0366DSCF0367DSCF0405DSCF0480DSCF0258DSCF0433DSCF0176DSCF0044DSCF0158


Relic motorcyclesDSCF9629DSCF9633DSCF9608DSCF9594DSCF9597DSCF9604DSCF9605DSCF9549DSCF9543


Misc samplesDSCF9790DSCF9798DSCF9796DSCF9793DSCF0017DSCF0187DSCF0182DSCF0170DSCF0119DSCF0062DSCF0038DSCF0098DSCF0024DSCF0026

jr050680

14 thoughts on “The Separator – The Fujinon GF 110mm f/2 review

  1. Thanks for the early review of this lens, along with the images. I think you’re right; it’s a “must have.”

  2. Hi Jonas,

    Thank you for your reviews for the two new GFX lenses.
    If you wish to use CaptureOne with the GFX email me and I will tell you how to proceed.

    Best regards.

    Benjamin

      1. Hello Will,

        The procedure will look quite complicated but once you have done the preliminary step, it is very easy.

        Preliminary : The first thing you have to do if you want to have a correct color rendering C1 is making a dedicated profile for the GFX for Lightroom. I used Basiccolor Input but it is an expensive software (tough great) and I guess it will work with Colorchecker Passeport or Adobe DNG Profile Editor with the ColorChecker Passeport target (around 100 euros). When your DNG profile is ready and correct then make a Lightroom preset to apply this profile when Import and convert to DNG from Lightroom. Buy an Exif editor like Exif Editor for Mac OS X.

        1) Import your files with Lightroom importation module choose Copy to DNG to the selected folder in your computer and choose to apply the preset with the dedicated GFX profile you made (this is very important). It will convert directly the RAF files of the GFX into DNG that C1 can read later, the dedicated profile you attached in the DNG will guarantee a correct color rendering in C1.

        2) Import your DNGs in the Exif editor, select all the files to batch the process and remove the model of the camera (i.e. : GFX50s) and save this modification. Your GFX files are ready to be used in C1…Enjoy 😉

        1. After seeing your post, I ran across someone else’s method, which is similar to yours. Can you use that color profile in DNG converter, as opposed to LR? Thanks for replying so quickly and enjoy the GFX. Exciting times!

          1. Unfortunately DNG Converter does not allow you to add the custom profile like you can do when you import trough DNG your files in Lightroom using a preset or making your custom profile as default profile for the GFX.

  3. Contrary to the GF120mm f/4 macro the 110mm is much more forgiving in regards to skin ?
    you don’t like a sharper image . OK

  4. Thank you Jonas for yet another decent real world review. I too will opt for this lens over the 120mm and I completely understand your comment re the calmness of the images from this lens. I too got to shoot with a pre production 110mm lens and I found it to be bitingly sharp without the drama. I’m going to enjoy using this lens for years to come.

    I love your vision.

    Damien.

  5. Thank’s for the review ! Intersting to read real world review.

    It never came to my mind that the medium format look was also due to the telephoto lens used to have a “normal” lens. Made me rethink a bit things.

    So thank you for the mind opening things around the review 😉 and for the great pictures ! Cheers !

  6. Hi Jonas,

    I’m a big fan of your site and your skills, but I believe the telephoto effect you mention – i.e. more compression in medium format due to longer focal lengths – isn’t correct.

    The compression of an image is only dependant on the distance to the subject (regardless of sensor size or focal length – e.g. you have identical compression with 23mm and 110mm if you crop the 23mm to the same framing).

    The framing in turn is only dependant on angle of view, which is a result of focal length and sensor size used. So if you have the same angle of view on two cameras with different sensor size (e.g. 56mm on an X-Pro and 110mm on GFX) and the same distance to the subject you will get identical compression and framing (but most likely different depth of field – depending on the aperture!!!).

    Whilst saying that: I still see that the pictures have a different look to them, but the reason has to be something else :-)…

    Cheers
    Dominik

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s