Fujifilm GF 80mm F1.7 R WR Review
The GF 80mm F1.7 R WR is the new holder of the "fastest lens for the GFX camera system" title, usurping the GF 110mm F2.
It isn't quite as good as the 110mm, though, for several reasons - the auto-focusing system is slower and much louder, chromatic aberrations are all too apparent at f/1.7, and the focal length itself is somewhat betwixt and between the more classic 50mm and 85mm (35mm) lenses. We'd choose the 110mm if it was a straight fight between the GF 80mm and 110mm, despite the former's faster maximum aperture.
Crucially for some users, though, it is that f/1.7 aperture that could make all the creative difference, which in conjunction with the 9-blade aperture makes this lens capable of producing some gorgeous bokeh effects.
Whilst the effective 63mm focal length isn't as long as the GF 110mm's 85mm equivalent, the new 80mm lens can focus 20cm more closely than the 110mm, making it almost as adept for portraiture and isolating smaller subjects in the frame.
Shooting wide-open at f/1.7 reveals a slight loss of sharpness in the centre and edges of the image, although that does make the lens slightly more forgiving for your subject.
Stopping down to f/2 for the centre and f/2.8 for the edges sharpens things up considerably, and performance is maintained right through to f/16. This lens displays virtually no barrel or pin-cushion distortion, and vignetting at f/1.7 is commendably well controlled.
By far the biggest optical problem of note is chromatic aberrations, with green and purple fringing rearing its ugly head in high-contrast images when shooting wide-open.
Along with that image quality issue, the other main bugbear of the GF 80mm is auto-focusing. It doesn't have the high-speed linear motor found in the GF 110mm, and consequently the AF is both sluggish, particularly when changing from its nearest focus point to infinity or the reverse, and also loud, so much so that we wouldn't recommend this lens for video use.
On a more positive focusing note, the on-camera focusing aids and large, well-damped focusing ring make manual focusing a pleasure rather than a chore, and as with every other GF lens, the 110mm retains a very welcome traditional aperture ring.
The other main thing to consider with this lens is the unusual focal length. Slightly longer than a classic 50mm standard lens and slightly shorter than an equally classic 85mm portrait lens, 63mm proved itself to be a surprisingly versatile half-way house between the two. It combines something of the normal viewpoint of a 50mm lens with some of the the more pronounced bokeh effect of an 85mm lens.
Overall, the new GF 80mm F1.7 R WR is another very good addition to the growing range of GFX lenses, but it doesn't quite scale the same heights set by the GF 110mm F2 lens.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||4|