Portrait synthesis

GF110mm lens reflections and GFX follow up

Over the past couple of months, I have integrated the new Fujifilm GFX 50S into my work photography. It has become my portrait camera of choice and I use it for large group photos. I still rely upon the X-T2 and X-Pro2 for on-the-move photography, but, gradually, the GFX is finding a place in my work photography. And with good reason.

Portraits, portraits and more portraits

Subject and photographer. Light and composition. Camera and lens. The combination of all of these elements create portrait synthesis. My perfect camera and lens combo has evolved since I started with the X-series cameras. With the introduction of the GFX, it continues to mature.

Portrait photography is a likely reason for anyone to invest in the GFX 50S. Fujifilm offers a few lens options that will work for portraiture. However, in my opinion, the best lens for the job is the GF110mm f/2 lens. Fujifilm Canada kindly loaned me the lens for photographing the new B.C. cabinet portraits. I have also been using it for personal projects and for shooting on the street.

A few of the portraits of the new B.C. cabinet and executive captured with the Fujifilm GFX 50S and GF110mm f/2 lens.

In short, the GF110 is fantastic. I have used it in studio and on location. I have shot at f/2 to f/16 and every aperture in between. In studio, I shoot between f/5.6 to f/8, to give me enough sharpness and depth of field to work for executive portraits. Away from the studio, I have shot extensively at f/2 and beyond.

This is one amazing lens!

The GF110 is also one big lens. But, it feels well balanced on the GFX. Like the XF56mm f/1.2 lens, it would be nice if it was image stabilized. However, I think that I would rather have a f/2 lens at the current size than a stabilize f/4 lens or a much larger stabilized f/2 lens. The aperture ring offers a good amount of resistance and the build quality is exceptional. This is one robust piece of glass.

The GF110  focuses fast and accurately, even with backlit subjects. In good light, focus is quick and reliable. Something you really appreciate when you are shooting at f/2 with this lens. As usual, I use back button focus in the Manual Focus setting. This gives me all the advantages of the focusing aids I have come to expect with the X-series cameras.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the camera and lens were able to focus with backlit subjects. In some cases, I was shooting into the sun, so my subject was a silhouette. I was triggering an off-camera strobe to light the subject while keeping the background exposed for the ambient light. I don’t think I missed focus once under these circumstances.

Available light

Apart from work portraits, I am using the GFX and GF110 lens for a personal project with my friend, soprano Amy Steggles, and for taking casual portraits of family and friends. This is where I have been shooting at f/2. A lot.

At a distance, f/2 works well for isolating the subject in the surrounding landscape. Close up, f/2 creates a large-format-like rendering that is truly gorgeous. Or at least, I think it is. No matter which aperture you choose, the in-focus areas of the photo are sharp and the out-of-focus sections of the image are creamy goodness.

In comparison to the Mamiya 120mm f/4 macro lens that I have used for portraits, the GF110 wins hands down. Using the native lens with the GFX just makes sense. Superior image quality, auto focus and two stops of additional light and depth-of-field control add up to a more usable, better lens choice. The Mamiya is a reasonable budget option in this focal length, but the GF110 is worth the investment, if you are serious about producing professional-quality images and if you need to work quickly.

OK, you get the point. I love this lens. I love the GF110mm f/2 lens on the GFX. I love the resulting photos that they help me produce. This lens and camera are the perfect pairing: a portrait synthesis.

What’s my next lens purchase? The GF110mm, naturally.


NB: All images captured with the GFX 50S and GF110mm f/2 lens, with the exception of the product shot.

2 responses to “Portrait synthesis”

  1. Don,

    What a lucky government to have you as a photographer! I enjoyed reading your article and viewing your imagery but I have to admit – you are not helping! Now, I want the GFX + the 110 lens even more :-) I am in such a trouble!

    All the best,


    • Thanks Olaf!

      Nothing like having a new government to produce a lot of portrait work. It’s been an excellent test of the GFX and the GF110. I understand your predicament!

      For me, it is the non-studio work that has made me love this lens so much. I think that you will too!

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