At the X Summit annual event, FujiFilm didn’t disappoint – a new flagship camera and a few significant lenses were announced.
FujiFilm announced the new GFX 100 II flagship camera, with a new variant of the existing 102 mpx sensor. Three new lenses were also introduced – a new fast normal, and two tilt-shift lenses – and new leases are added to the roadmap.
The new GFX 100 II camera utilizes an improved, faster sensor – the readout speed is doubled with the new circuitry, bringing improvements to image stabilization, autofocus, faster EVF and faster burst speed. It packs a powerful slew of video features, as well, with 8K recording to an external SSD, support for anamorphic lenses and waveform and vectorscope display modes.
Compared to the previous GFX 100 camera, the new model kept its removable EVF, but it lost the integrated vertical grip – a move not everyone will approve of, despite the fact that now a detachable grip is an optional accessory. Design and ergonomics are modernized and optimized, as well, and now it looks slightly Pentax MZ-S-esque because of a tilted top plate. It weighs a solid 1030g and is actually cheaper than the model it replaces – it comes at 8000€ at the moment of introduction.
This time, it was time for a fast normal lens – GF 55mm F1.7 R WR – and a pair of specialized, tilt-shift lenses – GF 30mm F5.6 T/S and GF 110mm F5.6 T/S Macro.
GF 55mm F1.7 is a true normal lens, where the focal length matches the sensor diagonal, making it equivalent to a 43mm lens in the “full-frame” format. An F1.7 (equivalent to ~ƒ/1.3) aperture makes it the second lens in the system faster than ƒ/2 and the third lens faster than ƒ/2.8 – the other two being GF 80mm F1.7 and GF 110mm F2. The lens has an aperture ring, focuses down to 0.5m, has a 77mm filter thread, and weighs 790g. It is priced at 2600€.
Tilt-shift lenses are the first specialized lenses in the system, and the first tilt-shift lenses designed specifically for mirrorless cameras. Both lenses are manual focus designs, allowing ±15mm of shifting movements, and ±8.5° of tilt. There are no aperture rings on these lenses, but there are tilt and shift sensors, reporting both values to the camera.
Wider of the two, the GF 30mm T/S lens is a ~24mm-equivalent wide-angle lens ideal for architecture photography, uses 105mm filters, weighs a hefty 1340g and is priced at 4500€.
The GF 110mm T/S lens is a ~85mm-equivalent short telephoto lens best for product photography, not only because it can focus down to 0.43m, but also because of its magnification factor of 0.5×. It uses 72mm filters, weighs 1255g and arrives at 4000€.
Fujifilm also updated its lens roadmap, this time with the longest telephoto of the system, a GF 500mm F5.6 (400mm-equivalent) that can be paired with a 1.4× teleconverter for a total of 700mm (550mm-equivalent), and a standard wide-to-normal, power-zoom, video-optimized lens of an unknown exact range and apertures.
An updated, smaller and cheaper camera, but with a new sensor and a lot of video features suggests a popular camera, even to videographers, I’m expecting the new camera to be back ordered and unavailable for the foreseeable future. Tilt-shift lenses fill the missing niche and expand the usability of the system significantly, and fast normal finally match the offers of the full-frame manufacturers regarding the oh-so-popular and vaunted shallow depth of field.
Despite the optical prowess of the new 55mm lens, for those not needing the shallowest depth of field, and for those wanting to keep the portability of the system on saner levels, the GF 63mm F2.8 is still a better option, though. The new lens is quite big and heavy for a carry-everywhere lens. On the other hand, no medium format system is really designed to be a carry-everywhere combo. It’s a small wonder that both Fujifilm’s GFX and Hasselblad’s XCD systems have options for that.
A planned long telephoto lens will extend the reach of the system significantly, and although it will still not match competing full-frame mirrorless systems, it will further confirm Fuji’s dominance over the medium format.