The Best Value in Medium Format? Fujifilm 35-70mm F4.5-5.6 Review

I always look forward to shooting with the Fujifilm GFX system and barely having to edit. The lack of fast lenses for the system is why I have not switched over yet. The company is still creating a roadmap of lenses to reach its full potential. The Fujifilm 35-70mm f4.6-5.6 kit lens is an excellent addition to the GFX lineup. Its focal length is perfect for portrait, product, travel, and street photography. The best part is it is essentially $499 when you buy it as a kit with the GFX50s II. This kit is the most affordable way for photographers to get into medium format. But how does it perform? Keep reading to find out.

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Too Long; Didn’t Read

The Fujifilm 35-70mm f4.5-5.6 WR lens is a great compact zoom lens for the GFX system. It is weather-resistant and lightweight, so you can take it anywhere. The lens produces sharp images with plenty of contrast and beautiful colors. Images require little post-production. Plus, it only adds $499 to the price of a GFX50s II if you buy it as a kit. It’s $999 if you buy it separately.

Pros and Cons

Pro

  • Inexpensive zoom lens
  • Weather Resistant
  • Sharp with plenty of contrast
  • Beautiful colors and accurate skin tones that require minimal editing

Cons

  • At f4.5-5.6, it’s not the fastest lens.
  • There’s a minimal amount of highlight fringing and barrel distortion, and it’s easily corrected in post-production.
  • No aperture ring

Gear Used

The Fujifilm 35-70mm f4.5-5.6 WR lens was tested with the Fujifilm GFX50s II from LensRentals. I also used my personal Broncolor Siros L 800ws monolight and Broncolor Para 133.

Innovations

The Fujifilm 35-70mm f4.5-5.6 lens isn’t the most innovative zoom lens. Why change what works well? The simple design is one of the best values ​​on the market. Paired with the GFX50s II, it’s the easiest way to get into medium format.

Tech Specs

The tech specs are from the LensRentals listing.

  • Angle of View: 42.7° to 76°
  • Aperture Blades: 9, Rounded
  • Aspherical Elements: 1
  • Autofocus: Autofocus
  • Brand: Fuji
  • Diameter: 3.3″
  • Extra Low-Dispersion Elements: 2
  • Focal Length: 35.0-70.0
  • Format: Medium Format
  • Groups/Elements: 9/11
  • Hood Included: Yes
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Item Type: Lens
  • Length: 2.9″
  • Length at Maximum Extension: 3.8”
  • Max Aperture: 4.5
  • Magnification: 0.28x
  • Mfr. Model Number: 600022326
  • Minimum Aperture: 32.0
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 1.2feet
  • Mount: Fuji GFX
  • Sensor Size: Medium Format
  • Weight: 1.0 lb.

Ergonomics

The Fujifilm 35-70mm f4.5-5.6 WR is a compact, collapsible zoom lens that rests comfortably in your hands. As you can see, there is weather-sealing at the mount. It weighs less than a pound and measures just under four inches long when fully zoomed in at 75mm.

The first thing you will notice is that there isn’t an aperture ring, which is common with most of Fujifilm’s offerings. Next is the texturized zoom ring. It has markers at 75mm, 63mm, 45mm, and 35mm (~ 55mm, 50mm, 35mm, and 28mm full-frame equivalent). Twist the lens to the dot past the 35mm to lock it into place in its most compact form.

Turn the ring to the left and it elongates in correlation to its zoom. The next textured ring is the focusing ring used when shooting manual focus.

The lens does ship with a lens hood, and the filter size is 62mm.

Build Quality

The lightweight and compact Fujifilm GF 35-70mm lens is dustproof and water-resistant. I shot in the mountains and got caught in a Montana mid-spring storm (half wet snow and half heavy rain). The lens did an extraordinary job of keeping the moisture out. It performed as if it were bright and sunny outside.

Autofocus

It’s a little slower to focus, as is customary with medium format. At f4.5-5.6, it won’t get the fastest action shots every time. However, it can keep up with my cat when he’s moving a bit more methodically. I was most successful in AF-S mode and a single focus point. AF-C did ok tracking, but I had more misses than I did with AF-S and a single focusing point. The lens won’t keep up with my cat when he’s at his most rambunxious.

The 35-70mm lens handled very well when focusing on a chain-link fence and then recomposing to focus on the background. The autofocus speed was adequate, and there was never an instance where I felt I could achieve it faster if I focused manually.

Manual focus is achievable with magnification. It doesn’t beep to assure you it’s in focus. It’s also slower to focus when in the studio and utilizing a modeling lamp.

Ease Of Use

Fujifilm’s 35-70mm f4.5-5.6 lens is relatively simple to use in most settings. If you’re acccustomed to DSLR cameras, this setup will be a breeze to navigate. On the other hand, you will miss having an aperture ring if you are used to Fujifilm and other rangefinders.

Twist the zoom ring to zoom in and out at your desired focal length. The lens has marked standard focal lengths to take out any guesswork. This is very handy if you need to shoot a variety of crops for the same shot. Twist past the 35mm mark to lock the lens into place for easy transportation.

For the most part, the 35-70mm lens is quick to focus. Shooting in the studio with a modeling light is where things get more challenging. I suggest turning off the auto mode of the EVF screen. If you rely on the perfect exposure when the flash goes off, you will be looking into a very dark viewfinder. You have to guess whether or not your subject’s eyes are open and that it’s composed the way you want.

The Fujifilm 35-70mm WR lens is fantastic for various applications. The focal lengths are great for portraits, fashion, landscape, product, and street photography. At f4.5, it’s not the fastest lens. Children, pets, and sports photography will be a bit more harrowing, but not impossible. This is a great lens to leave on your camera.

Image Quality

The 35-70mm f4.5-5.6 WR lens produces sharp images with plenty of contrast. The colors are as beautiful as we’ve come to expect from Fujifilm. It can produce decent bokeh when you take the time to compose for it properly.

Sharpness

Images are sharp throughout most of the frame and soften at the edges when shooting wide open. Sharpness extends through most of it when stopped down to f6.4; only the outermost parts of the corners were soft. I found shooting f4.5 and f8 yielded the most pleasing results with the 35-70mm Fujifilm lens.

Bokeh

At f4.5, the Fujifilm 35-70mm lens is not made for the most glorious bokeh, especially at 35mm. But, you can certainly create it if you take the time to provide adequate background separation. The bokeh is increased when you zoom in to 75mm. It is sufficient for portraits, landscape, and street photography.

Lens Character

The Fujifilm 35-75mm WR lens produces sharp images with beautiful colors and adequate contrast. I appreciate how it handles blue hues. It does have a minimal amount of distortion and highlight fringing, which are quickly remedied in post. The lens does not create the opportunity to get creative with lens flares and sun stars. But, it can produce sufficient bokeh when you take the time to compose for it.

Color Rendering

The 35-70mm f4.5-5.6 WR lens produces the beautiful colors we expect from Fujifilm. It was terrific for the twilight hours. Skin tones are accurate, and most of the images require minimal editing, if any. I was able to capture the true navy hue of a Billingham bag, while other manufacturers’ lenses would render it a royal blue, often oversaturated with the wrong color cast. However, Fujifilm captured it beautifully.

Extra Image Samples

From day one, The Phobographer has been huge on transparency. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews that show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They’re not showing what the lens can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.

Edited

Unedited

Conclusions of the Fujifilm 35-70mm f4.5-5.6 WR Lens Review

Likes

  • You’re essentially getting a zoom lens for less than $500 when you buy the GFX50s II kit.
  • Weather and dust resistant
  • The color rendering with Fujifilm’s color science does not disappoint.
  • Fantastic image quality
  • It’s a great kit lens.

Dislikes

  • I miss having an aperture ring.
  • At f4.5-5.6, it’s not the fastest lens.
  • The lens doesn’t produce sun stars or significant light flares.
  • Minimal distortion and fringing that are simple to correct in post-production

Fujifilm has done a wonderful job making medium format accessible with this kit lens. It is an excellent complement to the Fujifilm GFX50s II. However, as much as I appreciate the company’s efforts to make quality medium format affordable, I wish they would dedicate more time to manufacturing faster lenses. That is why I have not invested in the GFX system yet. I plan on making the switch when faster lenses become available.

The lightweight and compact design of the Fujifilm 35-70mm WR lens is comfortable enough to shoot with all day. Its variable focal length is perfect for a variety of applications. You can attach the lens and leave it on for most of the time.

Although it is not the fastest lens, it is sufficient for how most photographers will use this lens. It produces beautifully sharp images with gorgeous colors that are synonymous with Fujifilm. I always appreciate how little I have to edit with Fujifilm, and this lens is no exception. The GFX50s II kit with the 35-70mm WR lens is an excellent investment if you want to get into in medium format.

We are giving the Fujifilm 35-70mm f4.5-5.6 WR lens four out of five stars. Want one? You can pick one up from Amazon or Adorama. You can also rent the lens from LensRentals to try out before you buy it.



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