Behemoth Obscura – Fujifilm GF 250mm f/4 and GF1.4X TC WR mini review

All photography in this article including product shots was shot by me on Fujifilm gear.

A week ago, a package landed on my doorstep. I needed to do my usual Fujifilm-X.com commercial editorial shots of the new Fujifilm gear released today. At the time I didn’t even know what had been sent, just that the deadline was monday.
The box was heavy. As in quite heavy. I was intrigued. (I’ll spare you the unboxing video, since thats probably a bit 2015’ish 😉 )
When opened and stripped of bubblewrap the “Behemoth of Fujinon” revealed itself. The GF 250mm f/4 R LM OIS WR sure looked like a beast of a lens. A real heavy piece of kit!

RASK0720
GFX – GF250mm f/4 + GF1.4X TC (right click and open to download)

The package also contained the FUJINON Teleconverter GF1.4X TC WR as well as the macro extension tubes MCEX-18G and MCEX-45G.

So, I dived straight into the productphotography, using my GFX and GF110mm with and without the new macrotubes for the editorial shots of the 250mm and TC, and switching to the X-H1 for the pictures of the tubes themselves.
But now that the job had been done, I still had 6 days of photographic play-time until announcement day, so off I went to test out all this stuff in the field.

I’m not a tele-lens shooter at all. The longest focal length I use is a 135mm. I find them to be big, cumbersome and tedious for my kind of shooting. But now I had the lens, so I needed to test it out.
Lugging it around isn’t easy. It’s a nice big piece of kit. But then again, cannot beat physics and this is medium format sensor coverage at 250mm and f/4. It’s bound to become a large piece of glass. But is it a good piece of glass? Damn right it is. It’s a magnificent piece of glass.

Disclaimer: The lens used in this review is an early pre-production sample. Image Quality might therefore not be final.
Disclaimer II: I’m an official X-photographer. My views are most likely as biased as they come. This being said, I’m an open and honest guy and I speak my opinions. Whether you believe my views of this gear or not, at least you get to see some colourful images of wildlife 

RASK0653
GFX + GF250mm f/4 (right click and open to download)
RASK0638
GFX + GF250mm f/4 + GF1.4X TC (right click and open to download)

Now let’s get all the technicalities out of the way:

The GF 250mm f/4 consists of 16 elements in 10 groups, includes 2 ED elements and 1 super-ED elements.

  • Focal length (35mm format equivalent) f=250mm (198mm)
  • Angle of view 12.5°
  • Max. aperture F4
  • Min. aperture F32
  • 9 aperture blades (rounded diaphragm opening)
  • Focus range 1.4m〜∞
  • Max. magnification 0.22x
  • External dimensions: Diameter x Length:  Φ108mm x 203.5mm
  • Weight: 1,425g
  • Filter size Φ82mm

As you can clearly see from those numbers and the productshots, this lens is big. It’s about as big as the XF100-400mm. It doesn’t matter much since it balances really well with the GFX body.

The GF1.4X TC WR is a 7 elements in 3 groups configuration.

  • External dimensions: Diameter x Length:  Φ82mm x 26.7mm
  • Weight: 400g

It obviously magnifies the original focal length by 1.4 giving you approx. 350mm when paired with the GF250mm f/4. It will take a stop of light, so you will effectively get a 350mm f/5.6 lens when pairing the two. This will surely give you a lot of reach.

RASK0514
GFX – GF250mm f/4 (right click and open to download)

Functions

The GF250mm f/4 R LM OIS WR has some pretty cool features built in. Near the front element on the frontmost portion of the barrel you will see 4 buttons. They act as “focus control buttons”. They act as a half-press on your shutter release, and is basically a back button focus placed on the front of the lens. This is SO handy!
The behaviour of the AF, and hence the focus control buttons, is set using the AF mode switch on the lens.
1. In AF position, the focus buttons will act as a half-pressed shutter release
2. In AF-L position, the focus buttons will lock the focus while in AF-C mode on the camera
3. In Preset position, the focus buttons will use the preset focus point that you can store in the lens using the “SET” button near the switches.

This kind of autofocus control is so important when shooting high-speed action, wildlife or just when you want complete minute control over your focus parameters. It works really well.

The close focusing distance of this lens is a mere 1.4 meters, making it quite capable of doing closeup shots in even quite confined spaces. You can really do headshots with this lens.
It has a 5 stop OIS, so shooting this lens handheld at a mere 1/15th seconds is definitely possible.

RASK0498
GFX – GF250mm f/4 (right click and open to download)

Autofocusing was very fast and very accurate. I never ever felt like it was hunting on me. It found focus and locked in nice and fast. You seriously wouldn’t think that moving all that glass could be so fast, but it can. The focusing algorithm is spot-on.

The GF250mm f/4 is weather sealed, and so is 1.4 teleconverter. Perfect fit for the GFX body, and perfect for photography in the wild.

Image Quality

The quality from the lens is staggering. The resolution at the long distances is crazy. There’s so much contrast and sharpness that it’s not even funny. The bokeh is great, but it can exhibit a little bit of cat eye shape near the edges of the frame.
The compression of the frame makes everything look pretty monumental and separated.
It’s getting old for me to write this, but seriously, the image quality from these FUJINON lenses is ridiculously good. I don’t think there’s another way for me to describe it.

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 21.57.36.png
1:1 crop of the deer shot above. (right click and open to download)

I have uploaded the two images below at full resolution jpegs for you to look at. For the crane image, notice the houses on the land in the background. Those are 20km out. The crane is about 300m away. With the crow, notice the sharpness around the eye and head. It’s incredible.

You can download the full size here: https://d.pr/i/vcukgh and here: https://d.pr/i/4ycm

Closing arguments

This lens is insane. The size is insane, the features are insane, the build is insane, but most importantly the image quality is insane. The focal length doesn’t suit my style of photography, but it sure will for a lot of GFX shooters out there. Wild life and nature photographers need this lens in their kit, whereas lifestyle street photographers do not.

This mini-review isn’t all that long since I’ve had such limited time with the lens. I did try a pace myself all I could though, and I tried it out in many varied situations.

This lens is amazing for what it is, and so far the last 6 days shooting it has been amazing. This lens sure is another optical home-run by Fujifilm.

Samples

I’ll leave you with a sample gallery as usual. All shots have been post-processed in Adobe Lightroom CC to my liking. You can click each image in the gallery for maximum resolution of 2048px on the long end.

 

jr050680

9 thoughts on “Behemoth Obscura – Fujifilm GF 250mm f/4 and GF1.4X TC WR mini review

  1. Hey Jonas, incredible stuff – when I saw that first deer shot, my mouth literally dropped. Was wondering, when you export for the web, do you just do one setting at 2048 long edge and sharpen for screen? And what JPEG quality setting do you chose too?

  2. The crane image at full resolution – massively impressive, to the point that using JPEG becomes a monumental problem even at a 40MB file size. Especially the flag poles in the background caught my eye. Looking forward to seeing this lens pushed to the limits. This bodes well for stepping up to 100MP sensor.

  3. Hi, I was wondering how good the continuous autofocus was on this lens. Is it good enough for wildlife life tracking shots. I know that the medium format cameras can’t focus as well but I’m really interested in this lens…seems like it’s a little too good to be true 😅

  4. NOPE!!!!!! Nikkor 300mm 2.8 adapted will blow that away X10 .

    saying that as a GFX owner with all 6 lenses.

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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )

Connecting to %s