Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 lens review with 16 high res samples

Apr 19, 2017 | Continuous Lighting, GFX, Location | 59 comments

Mischkah Scott captured by Damien Lovegrove using the Fujifilm 110mm f/2 lens on the GFX50s camera

01. Nothing sums up the medium format look to me more than a calm delicate bokeh reminiscent of an oil painting. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window. GFX 50s with a pre production GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 400, 1/250th second using a monopod.

The Fujifilm GF 110mm F2 lens is the one that a lot of early adopters of the GFX system have been holding out for. The 120mm f/4 macro has been an option from day 1 but the lure of this soon to become available 110mm lens with an extra 2 stops of light gathering and a shorter more compact form has held many people back from buying the 120mm, including me. Now we have a choice and wow what a choice it is. You can find out which one of the medium telephoto primes I’ll be buying later in this review.

Three views of the new Fujifilm GF 110mm lens for the GFX camera. Fuji have produced a gem of a lens in this 110mm f/2 optic.

02. The Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 lens with lens hood on the GFX50s camera. [The tripod head is by RRS with a lever lock and the L plate is a $10 universal plate from Ebay and it works perfectly. I only have to change GFX batteries once a day and the retracting D loop on the universal bracket makes the process easy allowing me to swing it out of the way of the battery door in a jiffy. If the soon to be released RRS L plate is as neat and not too bulky I’ll probably get one in due course.] X-T2, XF 90mm lens at f/2

I try to keep equipment posts to a minimum here on Prophotonut because I’m all about the image but when I get some decent new kit to try I’ll do a review and let you know what I think of it. Just for the record I’m independent of any manufacturer and even though I’m an X photographer I am not paid by Fujifilm. I have been leant this pre production lens to evaluate. All the kit I own including my GFX and lenses has been paid for. What I say here is based on my experience and observations. I’ve posted 16 high res images for you to download so that you can make up your own mind on the image quality and optical characteristics of this lens in a real world shoot.

Click on any of the pictures shot on the 110mm lens in this blog post to open a full resolution version of that image in a new window. I saved the full res images at jpeg quality 8 to speed up download and to save bandwidth. I’ve just run the images through Lightroom in my normal way so they represent my day to day proof output. When any of these pictures get printed I will take them to a more refined state and fine tune the colour balance before re-exporting them from Lightroom. Enjoy…

Piano Girl

Location: Berwick Lodge ~ Country House Hotel near Bristol UK
Model: Mischkah Scott
Makeup and styling: Mischkah Scott
Photography and artistic direction: Damien Lovegrove

This first set of shots were taken at Berwick Lodge near Bristol. I was giving a 1:1 training session to a photographer client who flew in from Copenhagen. It was a one day shoot and the brief was to show him how I capture interior portraits using available light followed by a portraits on the street session with and without flash. My client was shooting on a Fujifilm X-Pro2 using my 16mm, 23mm, 35mm, 56mm and 90mm prime lenses. I shot on the Fujifilm GFX 50s using the 32-64mm zoom and the 110mm prime lenses. All these shots were captured with the GFX on a monopod. I mostly prefer to use a tripod but it was not part of the brief and not relevant to the training session.

Fuji GF 110mm F2 lens was used to capture Mischkah Scott at the piano in Berwick Lodge Gloucestershire

03. This establishing wide shot was taken on the GF 32-64mm zoom lens. I’ve included it here to show you the behind the scenes of the lighting available to us. All the shots in this sequence were captured using just the available light that you see here. The sun came and went and we just went with the flow of light choosing between low key and high key portraits to suit the ambience.

Mischkah Scott sitting at a piano captured by Damien Lovegrove using the Fujifilm 110mm f/2 lens on the GFX50s camera

04. I shot through the chandelier for this first portrait. I don’t normally like out of focus foregrounds but this shot ticks my boxes. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 125, 1/60th second using a monopod. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

When I was shooting with the 110mm lens at f/2 my client shot with the 56mm lens at f/1.2 alongside. There is very little between these lenses in terms of angle of view and depth of field. Once you know one, you sort of know the other. We shot many other focal lengths throughout the day but I’ve just included my 110mm shots here.

05. Changing viewpoint I showed my client how to use a series of camera positions and picture styles to illustrate the same scene from different angles. It’s what I did when filming television dramas at the BBC and what I did in my wedding photography career too. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 100, 1/250th second using a monopod. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

06. The GFX coped admirably with the high contrast caused by patches of sunlight and so too did my client’s X-Pro2 once it had been set to H-tone -1, S-tone-1, and Pro Neg S film profile. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 100, 1/250th second using a monopod. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

Although f/2 for a 110mm lens does not appear to be ‘breathtaking’ it is fast enough for sure. What some photographers probably don’t realise is just how small the depth of field is on a high resolution medium format system like the GFX. You will see in some of the shots here  (when you open them at full size) it’s not a case of deciding which eye to focus on it’s more like which eyelash and then “should I go for the tip or the base of the eyelash”. Seriously, the 110mm lens is perfect at f/2 for portraits from full length to mid shot (as in picture 01 and 04 above) anything closer and I’d suggest stopping the lens down to f/2.8 or even f/4. All the pictures here were shot wide open at f/2 to best show the characteristics of the lens at it’s widest aperture.

07. We shot low key, calmness as well as punchy vibrant portraits throughout the day. This is just the sort of mood range needed to attract my commercial clients who want me to match or create a feeling or character in their imagery. The shallow depth of field here is starting to look like an effect or fault. I would naturally want to be shooting at f/4 for a tight close up like this on the 110mm lens. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 100, 1/250th second using a monopod. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

08. A couple of stops brighter and the mood is completely different. A reflection has appeared in the piano too. This is where I explained how important it is to take the control of exposure completely away from the camera. There is a range of 2 or 3 stops of acceptable exposures to choose from for a shot like this and the selection process is creative, not technical. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 100, 1/60th second using a monopod. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

09. This was taken at minimum focus on the GF 110mm lens. I love this kind of look but what do you think of the depth of field? Is there enough at f/2.2? I think I’d prefer this at f/4 and the great thing is we have the choice. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2.2, ISO 160, 1/40th second using a monopod. (I only used f/2.2 because I knocked the aperture dial by mistake. f/2 was my intended aperture) Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

A comparison shot showing the Fujifilm GF 32-64mm lens alongside the Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2

10. A useful combination of lenses. The 32-64mm zoom and the 110mm prime.

11. Here they are with their respective lens hoods on. I always use lens hoods. It’s what I’ve always done and I never use UV filters or protectors; they degrade the image and attract flare.

Top tip If you are a head shot portraitist shooting with GFX I’d suggest getting the GF 120mm f/4 over the 110mm f/2 as it has OIS and a super close focus distance. I did find the minimum focus distance of the 110mm a bit limiting at times. The OIS on the 120mm is a great asset because using either of these lenses hand held would normally require 1/500th second as a minimum shutter speed to avoid camera shake but with the OIS switched in on the 120mm that shutter speed can comfortably come down to 1/125th second making the working ISO the same for both lenses wide open. The extra two stops of depth of field with the 120mm will most definitely be welcome on head shots to avoid the unnatural look caused by too shallow a depth of field.

12. I took this in the dining room at Berwick Lodge using just natural light from one window. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 500, 1/80th second using a monopod. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window. This medium long shot is perfect at f/2 on the 110mm lens.

13. ISO 8000 was an interesting experience. I’ve never gone there before as I’ve always been a bit worried by going beyond ISO 4000. Anyway, we wanted to stretch the legs of my clients X-Pro2 so we shot through a mirror in a darkened room. Even though there is some diffusion and diffraction caused by the mirror this shot at full resolution holds up really well. I set the noise reduction in Lightroom to a value of 25 – 50 – 0. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 8000, 1/80th second using a monopod. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

Bristol Waterfront and environs

Model: Mischkah Scott
Makeup and styling: Mischkah Scott
Photography and artistic direction: Damien Lovegrove

After excellent morning coffee at Berwick Lodge I drove us all into the heart of Bristol where I showed my client how to find great ‘studio’ locations on the street. The key to the process is identifying light sources and lighting angles. The next 3 pictures 11, 12 & 13 were taken in the porch area outside a council run attraction called @Bristol. It helps to be known in an area like this to avoid being moved on. I’ve found both Bristol and Manchester to be fabulous UK cities to shoot in.

14. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 800, 1/100th second using a monopod. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

15. “Let white be white” I said to my client. “A white shirt should not look like a grey shirt. Be brave”. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 800, 1/100th second using a monopod. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

16. The colour of the painted wall in this shot is the same as in the two shots above 14 & 15, It’s the same wall. I’ve just placed Mischkah in a different position to reduce the exposure of the background. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 500, 1/200th second using a monopod. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

17. We had lunch at the Pitcher & Piano bar in Bristol and after lunch we went upstairs to the top bar to take a few pictures (with permission of course). We explored the Acros film simulation options and settled on Acros without a colour filter variation. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2.2, ISO 500, 1/500th second hand held. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

18. This reflection shot was captured in camera outside The Bristol Hotel on the waterfront. The bokeh of the 110mm lens really comes into it’s own in locations with depth. It is uncomplicated and beautiful without swirls, doughnuts or other aberrations to distract the viewer. If I told you how I created this in camera I’d have to kill you. It’s a Lovegrove special :) GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 320, 1/250th second using a monopod. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

19. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 320, 1/250th second using a monopod. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

20. A walk along the waterfront in Bristol takes you to the railway sidings where this brake car resides. This was lit with natural light. Notice that both of Mischkah’s eyes are in focus yet the timber panel just behind her is nicely out of focus. GFX 50s, GF 110mm lens at f/2, ISO 250, 1/320th second using a monopod. Click on this picture to open a full resolution version in a new window.

Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 lens review

I love the weight and balance of this lens. The simplicity of design and uniformity really appeals to me. The lens barrel is the same diameter as the zoom and that feels good in the hand. It’s rare for me to get a buzz from a new lens these days yet the 110mm f2 delivers that buzz. The images it produces are so alike to the XF 56mm f/1.2 that I immediately felt at home with it. I could predict the angle of view and where to stand to get the shot straight away.

Autofocus on the GF 110mm f/2 is as fast as the GF 63mm f/2.8 and is as accurate as you would expect but it’s not as fast as the super quick GF 23-64mm zoom lens with it’s internal focussing elements. I needed to make the focus area tiny to pinpoint the part of the eye to focus on so bear in mind if you want to make the most of the shallow depth of field with this XF 110mm f/2 care must be taken with focus zone placement prior to exposure. When I’m on a tripod I use the 425 focus point option on the GFX.

The GF 110mm lens has a wobbly core, there are floating elements that you can feel wobble when you tip the lens. Once the lens is powered up the wobble is gone. This is just like the XF 90mm f/2 prime lens for the X series. Don’t worry though because the 90mm lens is the sharpest XF lens I own and has been fine travelling with me all around the world, kicking around in my camera bag. I expect this 110mm lens to be just as robust.

The GF 110mm looks good and is sharp, even wide open. The bokeh is gorgeous so what is there not to like about this lens? Nothing! It looks and feels solid yet not overly heavy like the MF lenses of the past. I weighed the 110mm lens in at 1012 grams and the 32-64mm zoom at 898 grams on my kitchen scales. This is a fine lens that will form the backbone of many a portrait photographers kit.

A side by side comparison of a Fujifilm GF 32-64mm lens and a GF 110mm f/2 lens

21. The 110mm lens is a comparable size to the 32-64mm zoom and just a bit heavier. They feel like perfect partners in my camera bag and left me not wanting more on this shoot. I’ll be testing the 23mm lens next as I think it will be perfect for the big landscapes in my forthcoming adventure in the USA. [The lenses are shown with Xume magnetic filter holders and as well as magnetic filters I use metal lens caps on all my GF lenses]

110mm or 120mm?

The decision about which of these lenses, the 110mm f/2 or the 120mm f/4 OIS to buy is less clear cut for me than it is for some photographers. I tend to shoot most of my work wider than a tight head shot so the f/2 of the 110mm will come in handy to provide focus separation. I got to shoot with a prototype 120mm back in November 2016 to put it through it’s paces and I like the excellent OIS on that lens; However I tend to use a monopod or tripod for all of my work with the GFX so perhaps the OIS is less important to me. Both lenses are tack sharp so there’s no image quality decision to be made. Knowing that there is a medium telephoto lens on the roadmap plus the fact that I’ll probably be adding it to my kit helps me with my decision. Which is…

I’m going to buy the GF 110mm f/2.

Both the 110mm f/2 and the 32-64mm f/4 are about the same size and they take the same 77mm filters too. That’s a good bonus.

The Fujifilm GF lens roadmap as published 19th April 2017

22. The Fujifilm GF lens roadmap as published on the 19th April 2017 shows a telephoto prime lens is due in mid 2018. We can only speculate as to what it might be but it would be great to see a 200mm f/2.8 (160mm) lens in the lineup. A teleconverter is on the timeline too. What about a a mid wide prime. Should we ask for a 28mm f/2.8?

Opportunity

If you would like to have a fun, creative day shooting alongside me at a location of your choice with a model of your choice shooting a genre of your choice then visit Passion Photography Experience for details, options and pricing. You can share the cost with friends too, follow the link for all the information.

If you want advanced notice of my photographic adventures, workshops and holidays please see our Lovegrove Creative Facebook Group.

Please feel free to comment on these shots or ask questions about GF lenses, my training events or photography in general.

59 Comments

  1. RAVI MAHADEVAN

    Thanks a lot, Damien! You have always been an inspiration. When I feel low I hit this page regularly and take a look at these pictures. it, sort of replenish one’s faith in being a minimalist yet profound. Keep posting such wonderful pics, we love them.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you Ravi,

      Your kind words mean a lot. I’m glad my photography inspires you.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  2. RAVI MAHADEVAN

    I have been looking around beyond your review of this lens, if there are more- for the ‘absolute’ use of this marvel, that is, in available light, with the potential of the shallow depth used to its max. for almost three years now- all over the place- on Youtube, by bloggers, — since this first appeared . And I must confess- No one has done a better justice to this glass than the pictures here, if I may humbly submit. I too own it , but the most interesting aspect that I found in the pictures here is the unadulterated light that seeps in and how you have made the optimum use of it combining the mood and ambience. The first series of the pictures (8 nos from the top) are my all time favourites till date.

    Reply
    • RAVI MAHADEVAN

      Hello, Damien! There is another question that I would request you to answer in relation to this. The Zeiss Otus 100 mm 1.4 was, sometime earlier, pitched against the native 110mm F2. With the Techart adapter combo this lens was projected as an excellent competition. At $5K it would not be the best option to any sensibilities but the I would like to know if you had the opportunity to try it on the GFX. If yes, kindly spare me a moment and provide your take on it and the results, if possible. Thanks a million- Best regards-Ravi

      Reply
      • Damien

        Hi Ravi,

        Forget it. The corners of the Otus will be unusable and without AF it will be a pain to use. The Fujifilm 110mm lens is the best lens I’ve owned and those include at least 10 Zeiss lenses. It is perfect for the GFX sensor and the image quality is sublime. Don’t get sucked in by brand names like Zeiss and Leica. The world has moved on.

        Kind regards,

        Damien.

        Reply
  3. Bernie Ess

    Hi Damien,
    in your series you somehow suggest that a 56/1,2 on an X camera gives very similar look (sensor performance left aside). Would you say the calm smooth look of the 110 shots can be replicated with the smaller format? And if not, how big is the difference? I shoot on FUji X since 5 years, and have the 56 (non APD) as well. So far MF was not a question, but with the new 50R that ressembles to my old X-E1 this may change. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Bernie,

      The 56mm on X series has a similar field of view and a similar depth of field but in my opinion there is a great deal of difference in the finished image hence me spending the money on MF kit. The 110mm on GFX50r is the best combo out there. Quality for price. I love the tilting viewfinder and 3 way tilting LCD of the GFX50s.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien

      Reply
  4. Joseph Daniel Batino

    Curious with this statement:

    “When I was shooting with the 110mm lens at f/2 my client shot with the 56mm lens at f/1.2 alongside. There is very little between these lenses in terms of angle of view and depth of field. Once you know one, you sort of know the other. We shot many other focal lengths throughout the day but I’ve just included my 110mm shots here.”

    Did you mean not much difference in the look between the two setups? sharpness and resolution aside.

    Coz I hear a lot of people talking about the medium format look and compression of the 110mm. I was thinking a 56 at 1.2 (or an 85 1.4 on a fullframe cam ) would get you close in terms of compression and dof.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Joseph,

      There’s a lot of hot air spoken about the ‘medium format look’ and the ‘lens pop’. Don’t believe the hype. What I’m saying here is If I took the same head shot on the GF110mm at f/2 and the XF 56mm at f/1.2, made them the same pixel size, say 2000 pixels on the longest side and posted them here not many folk would categorically be able to say which shot is from which lens. The differences would be subtle. I know the differences because I have taken literally 1000s of shots with each lens. I happen to prefer the bokeh on the GF 110mm lens to the XF 56mm yet my favourite lens look right now is from the GF 32-64mm at f/4. It has a calmness in the out of focus areas that I love. At the end of the day it’s only kit. What is far more important are the pictures.

      I hope this helps,

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  5. Willyfoto, le sympathique

    Hi Damien,
    Greats pictures ! Please tell me where did you buy your L bracket for GFX 50S I’d like to have also one.
    With regards
    Willyfoto, le sympathique

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Willyfoto,

      Thanks for the compliments. I currently have an expensive L bracket but I really don’t like it. I think probably the best one so far is a universal L plate that I got for $8 on Ebay but you can’t change battery with it in place.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien

      Reply
  6. Martin

    Hi Damien, pleasure reading your review and also comments. I would be interested in a workshop for me and my teenage daughter, she on the xt2 and me on gfx. Please contact me on my email. Thanks! Martin

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thanks Martin. We have sent you an email.

      Reply
  7. Hank Dinardo

    Damien how do you set your film simulations in camera for jpeg’s or do you primarily shoot Raw?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Hank,

      I always shoot RAW + F but I only use the RAWs. I do set my jpeg settings carefully. I use Pro Neg S with -1 for the highlight tone, -1 for the shadow tone and -4 for the noise reduction. This just gives me an EVF and LCD screen image that I can use to set my lighting, contrast and exposure. Once in Lightroom all that goes and LR builds it’s own previews. I do have Pro Neg S set as my default film simulation in Lightroom so that helps.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  8. Tim Larsen

    How do you find the tonal transitions of the GFX to compare to the X-pro2/x-t2?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Tim,

      I always shoot and process RAW files so I never see the transitions in tone from any of the Fujifilm cameras as anything other than smooth gradients unless some extreme pushing of the exposure is used. With 8 bit jpegs it’s a different story. To this extent the GFX files can take far more pushing before breaking up. This is a result of the higher dynamic range that pixels twice the size give.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  9. Charles dey

    Wonderful review. Have you had the opportunity to use the phase one xf yet? If so, how does it compare?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Charles,

      I’ve no intention of trying the Phase One. It’s way too big and heavy for me. I expect it is more expensive too. The GFX is perfect for my location work. I never shoot tethered etc.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  10. Andréleon

    Awesome pics Sir. For my own use I should prefer the 120 with OIS . Cheers

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Andréleon,

      Thank you. The 120mm is a great lens. It’s good to have a choice at this focal length.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  11. Serge Van Cauwenbergh

    Hi Damien, I appreciate your honest review and I love the images! I’m merely a photo enthusiast, I don’t make my living from photography, so the GFX is out of my league, but the 110mm would definitely end up in my camera bag.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Serge,

      If you like these 110mm shots then consider a 56mm lens for the X series your target. You will get a similar look and feel but without the subtle compression that a 110mm lens gives.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  12. Ray Noble

    This post provides the first really critical look that I have seen with the GF system and the results are spectacular! Photo #9 is a great shot for evaluating depth of field and looking at it I may chose to stop down to f4 for similar shots. If nothing else it drives home how critical precise focusing is, any small errors and that shot would not have worked. I also love #’s 15, 16, 19. I am looking forward to seeing more work with the GF system and suspect it may widen the gap between truly professional photographers and others. I am quite pleased that Fuji’s gamble is pushing the boundaries yet again.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Ray,

      Thank you for your positive feedback. I hope someone at Fujifilm is reading your remarks. This GFX in the right hands will certainly open up the professional amateur divide as you mention. But for how long remains the question.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  13. Steve Howard

    Just bought a GFX with the zoom lens and its a stunning camera in every respect, except the strap fitting, I was one of those you mention holding back to see the 110 before deciding on a portrait lens. I think I have made my mind up following this revue though and agree with your choice I love your work by the way and am constantly inspired by it. I am off to Malta for two weeks on Monday so will be giving the GFX a good try in that famous Maltese sunshine. Do you have any idea when and for how much the 110 will be available and also will you be making the portrait book available in printed format, if so you can have my order now
    Best regards
    Steve Howard

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the compliments and congratulations on your GFX purchase. I don’t use camera straps so I can’t comment on that. I’m not sure on the availability of the 110mm lens although I do know stores are taking pre orders and they claim June as the delivery date and £2599 as the price: https://www.parkcameras.com/p/2245165D/fujifilm-medium-format-lenses-g-mount/fujifilm/gf-110mm-f2-r-lm-wr-g-mount-lens

      I will be making a printed book this year but I’m not sure it will be a “how to” book. I might make more of an art/ coffee table book with the same images plus new ones too. We are still working on the concept.

      Many thanks,

      Damien.

      Reply
  14. Michele

    Hello Damien,

    first of all congratulations for your work: I am reading your book on portraits with much enthusiasm, and your photographs are really inspiring.

    I wanted to ask you what minimum shutter speed you recommend for the GFX based on your current experience when working handheld. I recall that for X Series Cameras you recommend 5 times the focal length (e.g. 1/125 for the 23mm). In my experience, although I was a bit worried of having to use very high shutter speeds (coming from Phase One and D810 which have both a mirror) but I was surprised to see that with the 63mm the results are not bad at 1/125 and even 1/60 sometimes.

    Many thanks in advance for your input!

    Ciao from Italy,

    Michele

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Michele,

      Thank you for your kind words and for buying my book. Your question regarding the minimum shutter speed for GFX lenses is a good one. The answer is complicated but with a little experimentation you can find what works for you. It’s worth noting that the minimum shutter speed that you can use will almost certainly be different to the one that I can use.

      I’ve shot everything so far on the GFX using a monopod or tripod. It’s the way I want to go for now with my GFX. However my experience as a cameraman at the BBC was that heavier cameras produced steadier images because of the inertia needed to move the camera. So with a 12kg video camera on my shoulders I can shoot like I’m a rock but with a X-T20 in my hands the shots are wobbly. In this regard the mass of GFX is likely to negate your pulse or breathing affecting the steadiness of the shot.

      I always do this test and I will do the same for each GFX lens in due course…

      Take 10 shots around the home and outside shooting naturally with no ‘extra’ care at 1/60th then repeat at 1/125th then again at 1/250th, 1/500th etc and finally on a tripod. I use the tripod set as my benchmark and see how the rest of the shots compare. I gather all the similar shots in Lightroom in library grid mode (viewing the folder not the latest import) and I park them next to each other but not noting the particular order and then I run through them at 200% colour coding sharp ones with red (6) and leaving unsharp ones unmarked. By then selecting just the sharp ones its easy to use the metadata to see the results. If I get 9 out of 10 shots sharp at a particular shutter speed that becomes my minimum shutter speed for that lens hand held. The last thing I want to do when shooting is to be conscious of having to be really still at the time of exposure as this changes the mood captured in my portrait.

      I hope this helps,

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
      • Michele

        Hi Damien,

        thank you very much, I really appreciate that you took the time to teach me how to do that. I think that your long lasting experience as a photographer shows here and throughout your work (books and photographs). We young and techie-oriented aspiring photographers need to learn a lot from who has really worked as a professional for many years, rather than going after the latest toy to play with.

        By the way I’ve done the testing, and for me it is 5x the focal length (35mm equiv.). So 1/250 for the 63mm, and 1/125 with extra care. What might be interesting is that I got exactly the same results with the X-Pro2 and 35mm, which I didn’t expect. Maybe the extra mass or the better shutter compensates for the increase in resolution.

        Best Regards,

        Michele

        Reply
        • Damien

          Hi Michele,

          I’m glad you are now sorted. I suggest you forget about converting to FF or 35mm eqv and just think of the numbers on the lenses.4x the GFX focal length sounds about right. I suggest you are slightly more steady than me. It’s a great feeling knowing what is right having learned through experimentation.

          Kindest regards,

          Damien.

          Reply
  15. Mark Devereux

    It really is quite mind-boggling. #18 is beautiful…and when zoomed in I think I can see her contact lens!

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Mark,

      You can indeed see Mischkah’s contact lenses in shot 18. The clarity and detail captured with the 110mm wide open at f/2 is stunning. I’m really looking forward to getting my own copy in June. Thanks for your comment.

      Damien :)

      Reply
  16. Martin Drazsky

    Hi Damien,
    I’d be interested in a 1:1 training session like the one you describe above. Is that something you offer regularly or was it a one off?
    Best regards,
    Martin
    PS: I got the 120 lens for my GFX and very happy with it.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Martin,

      I run a lot of 1:1 events just the one here. Several a week during the summer months and often overseas. If you’d like to do a GFX shoot in the Bristol area that would be fine too. You can mix and match genres. Here is the information you need. Speak to Blaise or Laura at my office and they will discuss your options with you and organise a bespoke shoot experience. They can also set up a complimentary Skype call for us to fine tune the objectives.

      That 120mm lens is wonderful. Enjoy it :)

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  17. fjeldheimsIvar Fjeldheim

    Hi Damien.

    Great photos as always, you are a great inspiration to me and manny others. How much change will the DOF be with the 120mm f4?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Fjeldheimslvar,

      Thank you for the compliments. Your question is a hard one to answer because perception of background blur is not the same as depth of field. Two lenses at f/4 irrespective of field of view will have the same depth of field for a given subject size. So a wide lens will be really close to give the same head shot as a long telephoto that is much further away. If the depth of field is 20mm on one lens it will be the same on the other too. By depth of field I mean the bit of the image that is acceptably sharp. However the wide angle shot will include a lot of background and it will be discernible and easily recognisable. The long telephoto shot will have a small area of background and it will appear to be completely out of focus. So the 120mm gets nearly as much background blur because it is a longer lens and yet it has more depth of field wide open even though it is f/4 than the 110mm at f/2. :)) I hope this a) makes sense and b) is accurate.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien

      Reply
  18. Hella

    Hi Damien,

    Wow these pictures are so gorgeous. They are so detailed as it looks like if the model is in my own room. Colours and skin tone are great and the bokeh is wonderful. It looks all very pleasant to the eye.I am quite surprised that the pictures at f/2.0 are still sharp as they are not with the fullframe Nikon’s or Canon’s wide open. This again proves that Fujifilm is a master in glass……

    By the way 110mm is this about 85 or 80mm in terms of 35mm?

    Best regards from The Netherlands

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Hella,

      Thank you for your generous comments. To convert a GF lens to FF equivalent just multiply it by 0.79 So the 63mm becomes 50mm and the 110mm becomes 87mm.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      PS: I think I’m coming to the Netherlands soon to do some workshops for Calumet. Keep an eye out for those on the Lovegrove Creative Shoots Facebook group.

      Reply
    • Hella

      Thanks Damien and yes I will.

      Reply
  19. Andrew Hain

    Blown away by the minute detail. Mishka’s eyes are stunning at the best of times but incredible detail around her lashes is unbelievable. Superb set

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Andrew,

      Thank you. Yes indeed, the detail is sensational but it’s the overall look that excites me more. Thanks for your compliments.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  20. murraylaidlaw

    Lovely images, f2 is certainly shallow, challenging!

    I’ve only shot with the Phase One 110mm f2.8 and 120 f/4 macro. Of the two focal lengths like you I would buy the 110 and rent the 120 for any macro jobs. The 110 is a more versatile lens in my experience.
    The argument for buying the Fuji just got a whole lot stronger.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Murray,

      I also love the fact that the Fujifilm 110mm is an f/2 lens and really decent at f/2 as well. I think I’ll stop it down a bit for my mid shots and close ups but to have f/2 for the long shots is great. I think this is going to be the kit defining lens for many photographers.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
        • Damien

          Hi Murray, exactly my thoughts too.

          Reply
  21. Chris Elliott

    Do NOT get me interested in this camera! Still coming to terms with the XT2 and XPro2. XT2 is getting most attention, not sure why. What monopod do you use and head. Still do not have a good monopod and getting a little shaky in my old age. Mischkah looked love as ever and that is not due to the camera! Chris.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Haha Chris,

      Keep up :) I know you now have the X-Pro2 and X-T2 and they are dream cameras coming from your Leicas ;) The X-T2 has a larger eyepiece, a two way tilting screen and easier access to the ISO hence why you are giving it more love. The X-Pro2 looks more like your Leicas and so gets your fondest attention. USA last year was fab and Spain the year before too. I hope we can shoot together in Spain at some point soon ;).

      I use a Gitzo GM3551 monopod that I’ve had for years with a RRS ball head that is now discontinued. RRS supplied me with a smaller diameter top plate for my Gitzo because the one it came with was a bit big. RRS are good like that.

      I now use a Novo tripod too and I love it. I think I prefer the build and feel of the Novo to the Gitzo but both are great.

      Stay inspired and keep shooting,

      Damien.

      Reply
      • Chris Elliott

        Thanks For advice. Yes I hope to meet up in Spain on another shoot Not driving so far, following the Cardiac surgery, but surely will soon. Just started a project in the local dance school. Very challenging. The school are very supportive so I hope I can build some decent images.

        Reply
        • Damien

          Hi Chris,

          It’s great to hear that you are on the mend.

          Keep smiling and stay creative :)

          Damien.

          Reply
  22. Jonathan

    No.16 is definitely the killer shot for me but all are fabulous. I would love to have shot this side by side with you on the XT2 as a comparator. Fuji where is the X series 80mm f2.8 Macro? I guess this will be close to the 120mm f4 on the GFX.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Jonathan,

      Thank you. I know what you mean about No 16. It’s the bit of mystery and the intensity of rapport that is arresting. Maybe we will get a chance to shoot side by side in Spain later in the year. I might do a shoot/ recce in Seville soon. I’ll keep you posted.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  23. Jason

    Fantastic article and great shots. Coincidentally I shot Mischkah at harbour side a couple of days later!

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you Jason,

      I hope your shoot with Mischkah was as fruitful. What a wonderful model she is to work with.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  24. Graham Millett

    This Camera is out of my league, but the pictures are just delicious! Wonderful as ever Damien.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Graham,

      I know what you mean about league etc. I make my living from photography and it was a tough decision for me to invest from the start. Thank you for your kind words about my photographs. There is a certain finesse to this set that is a direct result of me using the GFX. It’s the camera that is slowing me down to a pace where the fine nuances can be accommodated into the composition etc. I’m sure that a similar change can be had just by using a tripod with the X system. But maybe that defeats the object of the X system and the smaller camera captures a spontaneity that the MF camera can’t.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  25. David Edwards

    Always a fab set of images… made all the more so by the very lovely Mischkah… so dilemma 110/120…. I think I’ll have to have a serious play!

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you David,

      It’s a tough decision but as you know I’ve made up my mind.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply

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