Review: Fujifilm GF 23mm ƒ/4 Ultrawide Lens for GFX

Waiting intensely for an ultrawide zoom lens for GFX, I was forced to get something, anything, for certain landscapes and astrophotography. So, until that lens appears I’ve decided on the only lens available: the GF 23mm ƒ/4.

Fujifilm GF 23mm ƒ/4

Not much of a choice for sure, but not a bad lens at all. Equivalent to 18mm ƒ/2.8 in rendering, the GF 23mm is a versatile wide angle lens that’s massive but is worth the space in your kit.

It uses an 82mm filter thread and thus accepts threaded filters as the front element doesn’t protrude.

Let’s be honest: there’s really not much to this lens. Everything about it is above average, including its price of $2599 USD. It was designed as a foundation to the GF lens range, being one of the first lenses introduced. Despite that, it hasn’t really aged and that’s probably due to Fujifilm’s total neglect of this end of the focal range.

Huckleberry Creek. GFX 50S and 23mm ƒ/4.

It’s nice and sharp across the frame with very little falloff visible. The maximum aperture is ok for astrophotography but I’d prefer an extra stop or two. Use for portraiture isn’t advised unless you’re purposely trying for exaggerated perspectives or an unflattering shot.

White River Campground. An example of the 23mm for portraiture.

Focus is silent and snappy. The body is a mix of polymer and metal, sealed at all openings with internal focusing and a gasket over the bayonet. Moving parts move with stability and just enough friction to feel surehanded. The aperture ring has 1/3 stop detents and a locking button for shutter priority and command dial positions. There are no other buttons or switches on the body.

Mt. Rainier under full moon glow with the GF 23mm.

Really though, it’s a basic lens with excellent rendering and sharpness. If you need a wide angle with autofocus, this is your only game for GFX. It’s hard to complain about anything regarding the lens itself… the issues are with having no other options on a system so heavily marketed toward landscape photographers. Bottom line: you know if you need this lens and it’s $2599 if you do.

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