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Fujinon GF 32-64mm F/4R LM WR Review

Fujinon GF 32-64mm F/4R LM WR

The Fujifilm Fujinon GF32-64 F/4R LM WR
Fujifilm Fujinon GF32-64 F/4R LM WR
is a standard constant-aperture zoom for GFX system mirrorless cameras. It covers a focal-range of 32 to 64mm while keeping a maximum aperture of F/4. This is the only zoom currently in the lineup of GF-mount lenses. An equivalent full-frame lens would need a 25-50mm focal-range to give the same 81° to 46° field-of-view range. A zoom like this one is suitable for a variety of subjects, including architecture, landscape, environmental portraits and urban photography.

This 32-64mm zoom has a minimum focus distance from the sensor of 50cm at wide-angle and 60cm at its longest focal-length. It therefore achieves its maximum magnification of 0.12X at the long end. With a maximum aperture of F/4 and the imaging circle of the GFX system, depth-of-field can be relatively shallow with this lens. Like other members of the lineup, the GF 32-64mm F/4R LM WR has a 9-blade circular aperture to produce smooth bokeh.

Body Design

As the first and only Medium Format zoom reviewed here, the GF 32-64mm F/4 is impossible to compare. This is a moderately heavy lens despite a short 2X zoom ratio, compared to typical 3X ones used on full-frame constant aperture zooms. Still, at 875g, it is comparable in weight to a bright full-frame zoom. With a 93mm diameter and length of 116mm, size is not that different either.

The lens barrel of the GF 32-64mm is made of two interlocking metal pieces. The outer part holds all the mechanic controls, while the interior extends outwards without rotating about 4cm when fully zoomed in. Focusing is internal and neither changes the length nor the rotation of the front element. The inner part of the barrel has a bayonet mount to lock a petal-type lens hood in place and a 77mm thread to accept standard circular filters.

Exactly as one would expect, the lens mount is metal. The entire lens feels very sturdy and well put together. Like all GF-mount Fujinon lenses, this one is weatherproof and freezeproof down to -10°C. The lens comes with a plastic lens hood with a release button to avoid accidentally rotating it. Since it is fixed at the front of the lens, it provides optimal coverage only for wide-angle photos.

There are three rings on the GF 32-64mm F/4R LM WR. They cover almost the entire outer barrel. At the front is a rubberized fly-by-wire focus-ring. The focus-ring rotates very smoothly without hard-stops on either end of the focus-range. It has a slight resistance to minimize accidental changes. See the GF 23mm F/4 review page for a detailed description of fly-by-wire focusing.

A large ring in the wider portion of the lens barrel controls the focal-length. This zoom ring takes 30° of rotation to go from the short to the long end. It moves smoothly with a good amount of resistance and hard stops at 32 and 64mm. As with all mechanical zooms, this has infinite precision and is immediate. Numbers inscribed on the zoom-ring show 4 focal-lengths: 32, 44, 50 and 64mm. They correspond to 25, 35, 40 and 50mm on a full-frame.

The third ring, near the base of the lens, is just over 1cm wide and made of metal. It controls aperture. Fujifilm implemented a system to support every type of aperture control. The ring itself has markings in full-stops for apertures from F/4 to F/32. There are extremely soft detents at each 1/3-stop between markings. Beyond the F/32 marking, a red A indicates Automatic Aperture Control. With the ring set to A, the camera is either in Shutter Priority mode or in Program mode, depending whether the Shutter-Speed is set a a specific speed or Auto, respectively. A C position next to A indicates Control-Dial aperture control. When the ring is set to C, the aperture is controlled by an on-camera control-dial. This places the camera in either Aperture-Priority mode or Manual mode, depending on how the Shutter-Speed dial is set.

To avoid accidentally changing the camera mode, the aperture-ring cannot move freely between C, A and F/no positions. A small square button marked with a red line built into the aperture ring must be pressed to move the aperture-ring in a way that changes the Exposure Mode. All this seems complicated but it allows photographers to choose how to work with aperture.

Optical Performance

All Fujifilm GFX system lenses are designed to resolve 100 megapixels, including this one which is the only zoom in the lineup. This is achieved using a complex design that includes 3 Aspherical, an Extra-Low Dispersion and one Super Extra-Low Dispersion element. These elements combine to counter aberration and produce virtually distortion-free results throughout the zoom range.

The absence of distortion is equally impressive as the complete lack of vignetting. Even wide-open, illumination stays perfectly uniform throughout the focal-range. Color and contrast are impeccably rendered by the GF 32-64mm F/4. There are no signs of fringing or any other type of chromatic aberrations. This lens has been treated with the latest nano coatings to protect against ghosting and flare which appears to be very effective. Even with backlit subjects, contrast is well-maintained.


Click on image for full-resolution

Fujinon GF 32-64mm F/4R LM WR Sharpness

The Fujinon GF 32-64mm F/4R LM WR is a very sharp lens. At any focal-length, the center of images is pin-sharp right from wide-open and stays that way until diffraction hits around F/20. Medium format pixels are larger and so smaller apertures can be used before suffering from diffraction compared to full-frame and APS-C cameras.

There is visible softness at corners which gradually fades away from edges. Near wide-angle, softness is moderate from F/4 to F/5.6. It dimishes at smaller apertures before reaching a minimum at F/8. Any aperture from F/8 to F/18 produces nice sharp results from edge-to-edge. Towards the long end, performance improves quite well. Corners show only a slight softness at F/4 and F/4.5. By F/5 though, they are perfectly sharp, where the remain until diffraction takes over at F/20.

What is shown below are 5 crops taken from a photograph, repeatedly captured for each combination of focal-length and aperture. The smaller pieces are cropped from the extreme corners of the image, while the middle wide crop comes from the center of the image. Select an aperture in a row for a desired focal-length to see the crops from the corresponding image. When judging quality, keep in mind that these crops come from a 50 MP image which is normally used to print an image up to 40x30". On a computer display, these may appear much larger which magnifies image defects.


Upper Left
Upper Right
Center
Lower Left
Lower Right

This Medium Format lens is easily one of the best zooms on any system. Optically, the GF 32-64mm F/4R LM WR is extremely impressive. It produces ultra-sharp images with minimum corner softness at wide apertures towards the wide-end of its focal-range. Distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberrations are all virtually inexistent, while being quite resistent to flare. This cements its place as the must-have lens of the Fujifilm GFX Medium Format mirrorless system.


Click on image for full-resolution

Fujifilm GFX 23mm F/4R LM WR

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By on 2017-08-22

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