Days after borrowing a Fujifilm GFX 50R with a Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR wide-angle lens from our Fujifilm rep, I was asked to review Fujifilm’s new Fujifilm GF 100-200mm f5.6 R LM OIS WR zoom lens. Who was I to argue? After arranging the dividers in one of my larger camera bags to accommodate the beast, I headed out to see how this 79 to 158mm equivalent zoom lens measures up in the real world.
Fujifilm’s new G-mount telephoto zoom lens complements its 25 to 51mm equivalent counterpart, the Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR and, like the entire Fujifilm G-series lens lineup, the new 100 to 200mm zoom is first-class in every way. Measuring a reasonable 7.2" (before adding the included lens shade), the Fujifilm GF 100-200mm zoom features dust- and weather-sealed construction, and a rotating, removable tripod collar.
Photographs © 2019 Allan Weitz
Inside, you’ll find 20 lens elements in 13 groups, including twin Super ED elements and a single aspherical lens element, a Linear AF motor with a range limiter for quicker close-up and distance focusing, and a rounded, 9-blade diaphragm for natural-looking bokeh.
The lens also features 5-stops’ worth of optical image stabilization which, for the record, performs as advertised. Though I always had a tripod with me, I barely used it. Despite the size and bulk of Fujifilm’s GF camera system, it’s as nimble and stable as a pro DSLR. Other features of Fujifilm’s GFX 50R include a 1.97' (0.2x) minimum focus distance and 67mm filter threads.
One of the problems with lens shades is that you usually have to remove them to adjust Polarizing filters. To get around this problem, the designers at Fujifilm provide a sliding door on the side of the lens shade that enables you to adjust the angle of the filter quickly, without having to fumble about and waste precious time.
Style-wise, the Fujifilm GFX 50R is reminiscent of Fujifilm’s classic GF 670 and 690 medium-format film cameras which, like the new GFX 50R, are as boxy as a ’64 Chevy Impala. Form factor aside, the Fujifilm GFX 50R handles not all that differently from its 35mm counterparts. It didn’t take long for me to get past the mass factor of this medium-format puppy and begin enjoying my time with it.
The Fujifilm GF 100-200mm zoom (2.3 lb) is twice the weight of the Fujifilm GF 50R camera (1.7 lb), yet together, they weigh less than the average pro DSLR with a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom. At no point during my jaunts around midtown Manhattan and Coney Island did my shoulder start cramping up, as it would have with a heavier rig. Even when I had a Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR wide-angle lens in my bag, the weight and bulk of the GF system remained well within my comfort range.
As for the image quality of the Fujifilm GF 100-200mm zoom, I prefer to let the pictures speak for themselves. The colors are bright, with crisp contrast and accurately reproduced levels of saturation.
Do you have any experience with Fujifilm GF-series cameras or other medium-format digital cameras? If so, what do you think of them and how do their results compare to the results you get from your smaller-format cameras? Don’t be shy—we’d be very interested in your thoughts or anecdotes.