It all started with a phone call while I was making paella, a critical moment. «Alberto, what would you come up with to try the new lens Fujinon GF30mm? We want you to try it…»
Eventually, I must say that both the paella and the project came out perfect.
After the phone call, my head started to work. Wow! Quite a challenge: a wide-angle focal lens for the kind of work I do, mostly based on advertising and fashion, when I do not normally use such short focals. It represented a challenge, and I love challenges, I could not say no, it was an opportunity to look for ways on how to add a focal to my equipment, an item you do not normally find in my bag. At least until then.
First impressions, Fujinon GF30mmF3.5 R WR
When it arrived, the first things I liked about it were its size and weight, light, a bit over half a kilogram, compact. I switched it to my GFX100 and the balance is perfect. I focus, it is fast and precise, straight lines, good definition around the edges, everything really fine, even when it is not included among the pre-corrected lenses in Capture One (it is not being sold yet when I try it). I find no chromatic aberration or distortion, the definition is excellent. Everything that I am accustomed to regarding the quality optics of Fujinon GF is present in this GF30 mm.
We have a lifestyle shooting with two professional swimmers and a triathlon athlete. The variety of images is tremendous and I want to shoot them all with the 30 mm. That is my challenge and what I like to do. I am determined to make the most of all the advantages that I can think of about the Fujifilm system in this shooting.
I have previously tried the lens and, at f8-11, I get the fastest optic response from the GF30mm. But I am going to use wider apertures, the whole shooting is shot between 3,5 and 6,3. I want to play with the natural light that is created around the pool with the light coming through the big Windows and only use the flash when it is necessary: I want a natural result, although sometimes a flash may be needed.
The degree of humidity is high, but it does not worry me, although the lens got a bit fogged up at the beginning and you have to wait for it to adapt to the environmental features of an indoor pool. As it is a sealed lens, I remain calm. The toughest part will come later when I have to get into the water with a GFX100 and the GF30mm.
I start with a portrait of Alicia with natural light. I look for the frame that best adapt to this focal and I was pleasantly surprised: I get soft backgrounds with beautiful bokeh. Up to medium shot, I can shoot portraits in a comfortable way, detaching the subject from the background in an effective way. The lens focuses from a close distance, which gives me a chance to shoot some details. I am starting to like it.
I feel very comfortable with the GF30mm attached to the GFX100. Balanced, light, fast. I try it in the 35mm mode because, with such a high definition, I can afford to lose a few megapixels in exchange for using it as an equivalent of a 30mm. It focuses fast, it is precise, the GFX100 has a focus that I love: nothing to compare with other medium format equipment. I have been using it for over six months and is has become part of my basic equipment.
I start to complicate the session a little bit: group portraits, three people in the frame. The GF30mm works great here, it is the perfect optics for this kind of photography. It allows me to work close to the models, capturing sensations from a short distance, and that provides a feeling of being inside the action.
In the action shots, I found very comfortable how light the lens is to work in positions and angles where I can frame using its tilting screen and capture overhead shots placing the camera over the swimmers.
When following movement, the fast and precise GFX AF combined with this GF30mm has been fundamental. Being able to capture action scenes with a medium format equipment had never been this easy and the 84°coverage gives me a wide vision of the scene, so I can reframe it later if necessary, especially when Sergio does the butterfly stroke towards the camera and I do not know for sure when his head will emerge from the water.
I like the freedom of movement that this kind of job provides, to move the camera in hand, follow the models, look for the perfect frame, and be able to shoot at any time. Honestly, I am very happy with the GFX100 system and this new 30mm that adapts to the way that I work better than I thought.
Another aspect about the GFX system that I also like is the quality of the image; the files are very organic if you know what I mean. They do not have that ultra-digital aspect with excessive color or oversharpness. Everything is harmonious and looks real.
The conclusion after trying the GF30mm es clear, it is a focal that perfectly complements my other lenses from the GFX series by Fujifilm.