Fujfilm GF500mm f/5.6 Lens Announced

Published On: September 12th, 2023By Categories: Blog, FUJIFILM, Learning & ResourcesViews: 2497

As expected, today’s Fujifilm ‘X-Summit’ in Stockholm was a GFX (medium format) led event. The new GFX100 II was sort of expected, but I was surprised to see the announcement of a GF500mm f/4 lens in development. If I were a betting man, I’d have placed my wager on seeing this sort of lens being announced for the X-Mount before the GFX. Anyway, I thought I’d blog some of my initial thoughts on today’s news.

I’ve enjoyed using GFX cameras for wildlife photography with the GF250mm f/4 lens and GF1.4x teleconverter in Kenya’s Maasai Mara. It’s not an ideal combination for wildlife photography in the UK, but amongst the mega-fauna of sub-Saharan Africa, it’s absolutely viable. I’ve discussed this in a previous blog post, here.

With the GFX100 II improvements increasing the frames per second rate, in-body stabilisation efficiency, expanded buffer, refined autofocus and faster processing specifications, plus the GF500mm lens (and 1.4x teleconverter), medium format wildlife photography has been elevated from being viable to becoming a very credible and realistic option which opens up a range of possibilities, especially for huge format prints.

Yes, of course there are still a lot of unanswered questions. How much of an issue will rolling shutter be when using the electronic shutter? Will pre-shot be included and effective and just how efficient will the improvements in autofocus be when moving those big GF lens elements? Speaking of big lens elements, the actual physical proportions of the GF500mm will also be scrutinised. Perhaps we’ll see some size reducing optical technology similar to PF (Phase Fresnel) lenses used by Nikon. Time will tell.

Overall, It’s unrealistic to expect X-H2S standards, but the X-H2S has set high standards and no matter how unrealistic, it will be inevitable that performance comparisons will be made, especially in use in the field.

Since I wrote this Medium Format Wildlife Photography blog post, I’ve also used the GFX100S in the Maasai Mara and just like the GFX50s, it was very productive and I appreciated some of the improvements over the 50s. So, it seems apt to post a few photographs here too. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to hopefully giving the GFX100 II and GF500mm a trial. Maybe next year!

Lion & Giraffe, Fujifilm GFX100S - © Alan Hewitt Photography

Lion & Giraffe – Fujifilm GFX100s & GF250mm f/4 (1/120, f/4.5, ISO12800, 250mm).

Lion & Giraffe, Fujifilm GFX100S - © Alan Hewitt Photography

Lion – Fujifilm GFX100s & GF250mm f/4 (1/120, f/4, ISO8000, 250mm).

Elephants, Fujifilm GFX100S - © Alan Hewitt Photography

Elephants – Fujifilm GFX100s & GF250mm f/4 (1/680, f/6.4, ISO2000, 250mm).

Buffalo & Cattle Egret, Fujifilm GFX100S - © Alan Hewitt Photography

Buffalo & Cattle Egret – Fujifilm GFX100s & GF250mm f/4 (1/1100, f/4, ISO800, 250mm).

9 Comments

  1. Doug September 13, 2023 at 5:42 am - Reply

    Alan: I’ve been using an X-T3 and am considering upgrading to an X-H2S (waiting for a sale) or perhaps to a full frame camera like to Canon R6ii or the Nikon Z8. Sounds like you’re still pleased with the new Fuji? The specs are amazing. Field use good?

    • Alan Hewitt September 13, 2023 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      Hi doug, yes absolutely. It’s an incredible camera and well suited for my approach to wildlife photography. Pre-shot and 40 frames per second is incredible for bird photography. I used it a lot recently in Botswana and South Africa and I think I’ve returned with some of the best bird photography I’ve done in Africa.

  2. Ramsi September 13, 2023 at 10:04 am - Reply

    102mp cameras are too sensitive for wildlife.

  3. StuartJ September 13, 2023 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    What features do you predict the 500mm GFX lens will have?

    • Alan Hewitt September 13, 2023 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      Well, first up I must stress that I know nothing more than what has already been said at the X-Summit.

      As mentioned, I think there is a good chance we’ll see some sort of optics wizardry to keep the size down like we see in Nikon’s PF lenses. I’ve used their 300mm f/4 PF which is super compact as is their 500mm f/5.6 PF and both are still very good optically. I think lens based focus limiting range options are a given as they’ve been used on previous zooms in the GFX and X-Mount telephoto range. I’d also hope to see an Arca-Swiss compatible tripod foot and also the forward customisable buttons for focusing, focus recall and lock like the XF200mm and XF150-600mm. Maybe, just maybe an inbuilt 1.4x t/c!!!

  4. Greg Herons September 13, 2023 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Too big, too cumbersome, too heavy. You always champion the need for small portable lightweight yet embrace this?

    • Alan Hewitt September 13, 2023 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      I do and, I do. It’s about recognising the benefits something can bring.

  5. graeme reynolds September 17, 2023 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    This is a lens that should be developed for the X-H2S not for the GFX

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