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Fujifilm Fujinon GF 20-35mm F/4 R WR Lens Review

John Riley has been putting the Fujifilm Fujinon GF 20-35mm f/4 R WR lens through its paces, capturing sample photos in the chilly winter weather.

| Fujifilm GF 20-35mm F/4 R WR in Interchangeable Lenses

Fujifilm Fujinon GF 20-35mm F/4 R WR Lens Review: Fujifilm GF 20 35mm F4 On GFX100S | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 60.0 mm | ISO 100

Fujifilm has long been a manufacturer of high-quality medium format cameras, from the rangefinder 645, 6x7, 6x9 and panoramic 6x12 film cameras right through to the amazing 102MP GFX100S that we have here for the purpose of reviewing their latest medium format digital lens. The lens in question is another expansion of the Fujifilm repertoire - the medium format ultra-wide zoom GF 20-35mm f/4 R WR. With a sensor that is 1.7x the size of a full-frame DSLR, this equates to a "35mm-equivalent" field of view similar to 16-28mm. The potential of this is exciting indeed, so let's see how it turns out both in terms of handling and performance.  


Fujifilm Fujinon 20-35mm GF 20-35mm F/4 R WR Handling and Features

Fujifilm Fujinon GF 20-35mm F/4 R WR Lens Review: Fujifilm GF 20 35mm F4 On GFX100S Top View | 1.3 sec | f/32.0 | 31.0 mm | ISO 100

The package of Fujifilm GFX100S with this new zoom lens really fits the hands well and does not seem unduly bulky compared to a large DSLR. It balances beautifully, the lens itself weighing in at a relatively manageable 725g. Dimensions are 88.5mm in diameter and 112.5mm in length.

Starting our tour of the lens at the front, there is a provided bayonet fit lens hood and this clicks smoothly into place. The release catch for this is however very soft in its action and very proud of the hood itself. As has been noted, albeit rarely, with another marque, this means that if the camera/lens is placed side down in a camera bag the catch is very likely to be depressed and the hood will work loose. Carrying the kit in this way is useful as the hand can simply reach into the bag and remove the camera into the working hold in one smooth action. The solution would be to make the catch flush with the hood. The alternative way round this is to not follow the index marks on the hood and bayonet it in place upside down, putting the catch out of harm's way on the other side. This works, but we do need to be aware of the design glitch. Within the bayonet fit for the hood is a standard 82mm filter thread. Being an ultra-wide lens it may be wise to buy slim filters to prevent any chance of vignetting from the edge of the filter.

The first control ring is the manual focusing ring, electronic, super-smooth and without vices. Focusing is down to 0.35m, or 13.8 inches, for a maximum magnification of 0.14x. AF is fast, accurate and virtually silent, driven by a stepping motor. The IF (Internal Focusing) system means the lens does not extend or rotate in use. The close focus of the lens is adequate for most general purposes, but it is no macro lens.


Fujifilm Fujinon GF 20-35mm F/4 R WR Lens Review: Fujifilm GF 20 35mm F4 On GFX100S With Hood | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 53.0 mm | ISO 100

Zoom is also internal, so again the length of the lens does not extend and therefore the balance remains the same. There are clear focal length markings at 20mm, 25mm, 30mm and 35mm. These settings are accurate.

Last but not least, we have Fujifilm's piece-de-resistance, their over-engineered but quite beautiful aperture ring, with its silky smooth click stops, bold grip and the addition of a useful locking catch. The lock can be applied to keep the ring within its one-third-of-a-stop manual range or to keep it at C or A. C enables setting of the aperture via the camera and A permits setting automatically by the camera.

Optical construction is 14 elements in 10 groups, including 3 Aspherical, 1 Aspherical ED and 3 ED (Extra Low Dispersion). The diaphragm comprises 9 blades that offer a rounded aperture. The lens is multi-coated using Fujifilm's


Fujifilm Fujinon GF 20-35mm F/4 R WR Lens Review: Fujifilm GF 20 35mm F4 Rear Element View | 1.3 sec | f/32.0 | 60.0 mm | ISO 100

Nano GI coating. The front element also has a fluorine coating to repel dirt, dust and moisture. The lens as a whole is weather resistant.

This lens does push the versatility of a medium format camera into much wider territory than has been generally available, except of course for special ultra-wide Hasselblad lenses built into dedicated bodies. The range of 16-28mm in 35mm-format terms is very appealing to the wide-angle photographer and in use, the images seen on the camera screen look stunning. They continue to look stunning when hugely enlarged. It is not just a matter of resolution and sharpness, but also of smoothness of gradation and what can only be described as that “medium format look”.

The lens will no doubt particularly attract photographers shooting fashion, portraits, weddings, landscape, travel and anyone looking to make huge prints or submit material to high-quality glossy magazines. It is true that it does not focus particularly closely, nor is it the most suitable for single portraits, being an ultra-wide, but as always there are exceptions where the photographer has a particular creative style in mind. It is, however, a joyful lens to use for its sheer wide-angle vision and gorgeous quality.


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