Fujifilm wowed us with its 100MP GFX100 medium format camera, but all of those pixels are only as good as the glass in front of them. The Fujinon GF 120mm F4 LM OIS WR Macro ($2,699) is one of the first lenses we’ve been able to use with the camera. It delivers exceptional resolution, protection from dust and splashes, speedy autofocus, and strong stabilization. It’s an exceptional performer, and an Editors’ Choice.
Medium Format Macro
The Fujinon GF 120mm is a big lens, larger than similar options for full-frame systems. Its optics are larger to cover the 33-by-44mm sensor used by the GF system, which is bigger all around than a full-frame sensor (24-by-36mm).
It’s finished in black metal, with a rubber focus ring. The lens is fairly long (6.0 by 3.5 inches, HD) and weighs about 2.2 pounds. It supports 72mm front filters. The included lens hood has a retractable cutout, so you can adjust a circular polarizer without removing the hood. It’s long and heavy enough that I would have appreciated a tripod collar, but there’s none available.
As with all of the GF cameras to date, the 120mm lens is protected from dust and splashes. Fujifilm’s weather protection is top-notch, and you should feel comfortable using the camera in inclement weather. The front element has fluorine protection, which helps to keep it free of debris and water droplets.
An aperture ring is included in the design. It can be set to A, for automatic control, to C, for camera control, or set manually on the lens from f/4 through f/32 in third-stop increments.
Optical stabilization is included in the design. When paired with the GFX100, I netted consistently blur-free handheld shots at speeds as long as 1/10-second when seated and 1/30-second when standing.
Autofocus is very quick when paired with the GFX100. There’s a focus limiter switch on the barrel, so you can limit hunting to close subjects (1.5 to 3.0 feet) or those further away. At the closest focus distance, the lens captures subjects at 1:2 life-size.
If you want to get more magnification, you can add an extension tube. Fujifilm sells a pair, in your choice of 18mm or 45mm, the latter of which allows the lens to focus to 1:1, at the cost of focusing on distant subjects and some light gathering.
An Optical Gem
I tested the GF 120mm along with the 100MP GFX100 and Imatest software. At its widest aperture, f/4, it resolves 7,646 lines on a center-weighted evaluation. Resolution is strong from center to edge—the periphery lags behind the average by fewer than 300 lines. Resolution is steady at f/5.6 and f/8; we see slight improvements at the edges at both, though, and at f/8 they are dead even with the average.
There is a slight drop in contrast at f/11 (7,267 lines). Diffraction is a factor with high-resolution image sensors, and we’re seeing the effects of light scattering. Still, I’d feel comfortable using the lens here, and at f/16 (6,356 lines) when you need a larger area of focus for a shot.
While results are not directly cross-comparable across different camera models, we were able to test a similar lens, the Phase One 120mm Macro, along with the XF 100MP. At its best, the pair resolve 6,935 lines—a bit behind the GF 120mm, but certainly in the neighborhood.
Numbers on a chart are one thing. How much detail can the lens capture in the real world? Take a look at the image of the New York skyline above. At full resolution, it’s easy enough to identify the NY Waterway ferry as the Robert Fulton, and the sailboat is the Adirondack. I shot it handheld, at f/11 and a 1/125-second shutter speed.
There’s no distortion of which to speak, so you can reliably use the lens for reproduction work. Likewise, illumination is strong from center to edge. There’s no visible vignette at any aperture, nor did I observe any issues with false colors and similar aberrations in our test images.
Sharp, Stable Results
The Fujifilm Fujinon GF 120mm F4 R LM OIS WR Macro is a lens without any noticeable optical drawbacks. It’s as sharp as we’ve seen, free of distortion and vignette, and focuses close enough to project subjects on your camera’s sensor at half-size. The optical stabilization system effectively removes shake, effectively improving the clarity of handheld shots.
From a physical perspective, it’s a bit long, and I would have liked to see Fujifilm incorporate a tripod foot into the design. It’s a little front-heavy to mount on the camera on its own, and even more so if you add an extension tube.
But that’s the only trifle. If you’re in the market for a macro lens for your GF medium format camera, the GF 120mm backs up its asking price with results. It’s a good thing, too, as there aren’t any other native, autofocusing options for the system. In this case, your only choice is our Editors’ Choice.
It’s not your only choice in this focal range, however. Fujifilm also offers the GF 100-200mm F5.6 zoom, and a brighter GF 110mm F2 prime for portraits. But neither matches the 120mm F4 Macro’s close focus capabilities.