There’s No Replacement for OEM.. But Wait, There’s More!!!

Ok, that’s not really true. It all depends on your tolerance for crap. When it comes to lenses though, there’s really no replacement for OEM. Some third parties make some really good stuff, but they all still have compromises somewhere; you just have to look. Even worse are those issues that show up because it’s a feature you depend on.

Sigma makes great lenses since changing their formula to aim for uncompromising image quality. For most people their glass is second to none, but if your photography depends on autofocus, no amount of image quality can overcome their slower autofocusing speeds. Things only get worse when you add another third party into the equation by way of a mount adapter.

I initially started with adapting Sigma lenses on my GFX and was mostly happy with image quality. It was why I bought into medium format in the first place. Then weight became an issue. Then it was the inability to use zoom lenses without crop mode. Finally it was the lack of full frame ultrawide angle lenses. So I slowly sold off my Sigmas and acquired Fujifilm’s own GF lenses.

My latest lens is the GF 110mm ƒ/2. This was after I’d bought the 32-64mm, 23mm and 100-200mm. I just wanted a dedicated portrait lens with a large aperture and ~85mm focal length. The problem is that it didn’t fill either gap in my range. What I need is the upcoming 80mm ƒ/1.7 or 45-100mm ƒ/4 that’s currently available.

My real issue is the lack of an ultrawide zoom. 3 years on and Fujifilm continues to neglect all of the landscape photographers they try to market this system toward. There have been rumors of a 20-36mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 but nothing official has been announced. You’d think this would be a priority… instead we got a 50mm pancake, 30mm ƒ/3.5 and the 45-100mm ƒ/4. The latter filled a huge hole in their lineup but the other 2 seem to serve only the GFX 50R buyers. Landscape users are left in the lurch for yet another year, unrewarded for our patience and dedication.

And that’s the point of this. I’m ranting. Lens development takes a long time, so putting aside a lens that would help all GFX owners to produce niche lenses for buyers of Fujifilm’s cheapest medium format camera doesn’t make an owner feel that confident in their choice of system. While the ability to use crop mode is an option, it’s about principle. GFX owners have paid to use all of the sensor, not part of it. Worse is that autofocus adapters aren’t even officially supported, resulting in a weird catch-22… can use 35mm format lenses, can’t use them with autofocus. I mean, we can, but it’s unsupported and thus not optimal. In fact, it’s mostly a nightmare and only a bragging point rather than a useful capability.

So, Fujifilm, let’s get an ultrawide zoom lens out before the end of 2021. If not, at least give official support to autofocus lens adapters so third parties can make them as functional as possible; the reverse engineered crap out now is just that: crap. And don’t even get me started on the lack of truly wide aperture lenses. There’s no reason why the GFX lacks ƒ/2.8 zooms and ƒ/1.4 or 1.8 primes. MiniMF sensors aren’t so large as to make an ƒ/4 aperture look like an ƒ/1.4 on 35mm format.

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