Considering it was more of a “camera year” for Fujifilm, 2019 still saw the release of four new lenses split between its two mirrorless systems. Already possessing a mature X system and a solid lineup of G-mount lenses for this company’s quickly growing medium format system, Fujifilm spent the year filling in some gaps in the two optics lineups with versatile zooms and compact primes.
For the APS-C-format X-mount system, Fujifilm started the year by adding to its immensely popular series of compact primes with the XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR lens. This 24mm equivalent wide-angle joins the 23mm f/2, 35mm f/2, and 50mm f/2 lenses as a sleeker, lighter weight, but still weather-resistant alternative to its f/1.4 options. Despite the connotations as an entry-level lens, its optical design still includes a pair of aspherical elements to help control distortion and improve sharpness, and a stepping motor is featured for quick and silent AF.
Later in 2019, Fujifilm also released the XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR, a 24-120mm equivalent zoom that gives that extra bit of length over a typical 24-70mm for a bit more long-range versatility. Sure to be a popular option among one-lens and travel enthusiasts, this lens boasts a constant f/4 maximum aperture, optimized optical design to control a variety of aberrations throughout the zoom range, and Optical Image Stabilization to compensate for up to six stops of camera shake. Our resident Fujifilm enthusiast, Todd Vorenkamp, took this zoom for a spin at a local pizzeria and air show, stating, “unless you are needing the f/2.8 aperture at the wide-angle end of the zoom, the expanded focal length range, still-manageable travel-friendly size/weight, exceptional OIS, and weather sealing might make the new Fujifilm XF 16-80mm f/4 lens the new go-to ‘non-kit’ kit lens for the Fujifilm X line.”
Moving over to medium format, Fujifilm released two lenses that couldn’t be more different from one another. Early in the year they introduced the first telephoto zoom for GFX cameras, the GF 100-200 f/5.6 R LM OIS WR. This flexible short-to-medium telephoto zoom is characterized by its constant f/5.6 maximum aperture, five stop-effective image stabilization system and, of course, a sophisticated optical design to live up to the size and quality of the higher-resolution sensors. Allan Weitz took the lens to review, noting its color rendering as “bright, with crisp contrast and accurately reproduced levels of saturation.”
Finally, Fujifilm also introduced the perfect companion to last year’s GFX 50R, the GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR. This slightly wide-angle prime is an especially important release because it shows how compact medium format can be. Measuring less than 2" long, this pancake-like lens has the optics, focusing, and handling attributes we’ve come to expect from some of the other smaller GF primes, such as the 45mm and 63mm, but by forfeiting two-thirds of a stop, the lens takes on a decidedly smaller, sleeker form factor that makes walkaround medium format photography a reality.
What are your thoughts on the Fujifilm’s lens releases of 2019? What lenses are you hoping to see from this company 2020? Let us know in the Comments section, below.