GF100-200mm. Should I buy it?

When I first heard of this lens; I wonder to myself will I ever get this rather big lens? With a maximum F stop at 5.6. Seriously? I doubt so. When my wife saw the GF100-200mm mounted in GFX50s place on my dining table; she said: That looks heavy! I told her it may look heavy but it’s actually pretty manageable. In a flash, I went into the kitchen and took her weighting scale and decided to weight the GFX50s + GF100-200mm and X-T3 + battery grip + XF50-140mm lens. I was a little surprise! I will let the 2 pictures below showcase their respective total weight. 
DSCF0003a
GF100-200mm + GFX50S
VVV
About 90grams separates this 2 set-up.
DSCF0742a
ISO200, 1/150 F5.6 @200mm
DSCF0383a
ISO4000, 1/60, F5.6 @105mm
DSCF0495a
ISO400, 1/750, F5.6 @200mm
Fuji-Bobby-0752a_ppa
ISO 100, 1/125, F8 @ 117mm
DSCF0954a
ISO 1600, 1/90, F5.6 @115mm
DSCF0917a
ISO 100, 1/450, F5.6 @200mm
If landscape, location portraits and maybe wildlife is your cup of tea. This lens
may have an opportunity to be part of your photography set-up. Living in the city state of Singapore; wildlife is nearly non-existent and the closest experience is probably at the Zoo and a couple of wild otters living along rivers. Like a headless chicken and without any clear direction on what to shoot; I will take you through the paces with this lens in this tropical city of Singapore I call home. 
For a start I think this lens is rather light, at 1050 grams. Yes, pretty light by medium format system standard. To put you in perspective; the XF50-140mm F2.8 weights 995 grams. It’s certainly portable for any able human. The focal length of 100-200mm is about 80-160mm in 35mm film format. That is a reasonable mid telephoto lens. I do wish it does have a little more reach on the far end. When I take it along for a walk; it took me awhile to get used to. Once I am over this, I begin to focus on shooting. 
DSCF9990a
Size comparison. XF50-140mm on the left and on the right GF100-200mm.
DSCF0541a
ISO400, 1/2900, F5.6 @200mm
DSCF0568a
ISO400, 1/100, F5.6 @100mm
DSCF0892a
ISO400, 1/180, F5.6 @100mm
DSCF0406a
ISO 800, 1/750, F5.6 @200mm
DSCF0774a
ISO 200, 1/950, F11 @200mm
DSCF0785a
ISO 1600, 1/105, F5.6 @200mm
DSCF0390a
ISO 2500, 1/170, F5.6 @186mm
At F5.6 I struggle a little. Thankfully there is OIS. Five stop of image stabilization is essential. Especially in the morning when the light is not to my 
advantage. Once the sun is out and shining happily; this lens works beautifully
and all ready for any adventure. If you are shooting landscape or cityscape; with a tripod all the F5.6 issue suddenly vanish. 
Focusing is good and quick. At 100mm the minimum focusing distance is 60cm and 160cm if you are shooting at 200mm. This is relatively a good working distance. Another good point to note about this lens is it house a internal focusing. So the lens doesn’t extend when you rotate the zoom barrel. Which by the way is buttery smooth. 
At F5.6 there is enough separation between the subject and background. I do find the bokeh it produces a little “messy”; especially when the background is busy. Image quality is good; as expected. I did have an opportunity to test it in a studio setting. Perfect. I have no complain on the performance and I do enjoy the ability to zoom in and out to find my frame. 
Conclusion
Will I get it? Let me give you an overview first. I am a commercial photographer. I own six GF lenses. GF23mm, GF45mm, GF63mm, GF110mm, GF120mm and GF32-64mm. All this lenses serve a purpose in my “eco system”. Now I need to ask myself will I regret if I were to purchase this lens? It’s indeed more versatile to own the GF100-200mm vs GF250mm F4. The price is also factor. The difference is USD$3299 vs $2000. That is $1300 savings and I could buy a X100F with it. If I shoot more wildlife; which I don’t and some location portraits; I would think it wise to invest in the the amazing GF250mm. If I love shooting landscape and travel; I would highly recommend GF100-200mm. 
DSCF9993a
GF110mm F2, GF120mm F4 and GF100-200mm F5.6
DSCF0925a
ISO 400, 1/1800, F5.6, @153mm
DSCF0935a
ISO 400, 1/420, F5.6, @200mm
DSCF0928a
ISO 400, 1/320, F5.6 @200mm
Fuji-Bobby-0823aa
ISO 100, 1/125, F7.1, @130mm
Screen Shot 2019-02-27 at 12.18.12 PM
At 100%. Great details and nice separation.
In fact If you own a GF32-64mm; paring it with GF100-200mm makes it rather logical. I do find this lens require more of a photographer from me to yield the results. Basically I needed to work harder to get that shot. In someways it’s a good challenge, that is if you wanna rise to that occasion. For studio work; I have always used the GF120mm as my top choice and GF110mm F2 if I needed to open up for greater depth. GF100-200mm cannot be compared with these two lenses. It’s a more general purpose lens and I could still achieve much with it as it has so much more reach. 
DSCF9997a
Zoom mates.
DSCF0761a
ISO200, 1/320 F5.6 @100mm
DSCF0811a
ISO 100, 1/1100, F5.6, @200mm
DSCF0824a
ISO 100, 1/60, F5.6, @200mm
DSCF0834a
ISO 100, 1/350, F5.6, @100mm
DSCF0845a
ISO 100, 1/160, F5.6, @200mm
DSCF0849a
ISO 100, 1/450, F5.6, @158mm
DSCF0791a
Lens: GF100-200mm @117mm F5.6 at minimum focusing distant.
DSCF0789a
Lens: GF120mm @F5.6
DSCF0792a
GF120mm at minimum focusing distant.
DSCF0958a
ISO 100, 1/180, F5.6, @200mm
GF100-200mm is certainly portable. I mount it with GFX50S and place it inside my Billingham Haley Small without the padding. I am good to go as a walk about set up. It’s versatile, because of its focal length. Therefore its able to adapt to many shooting scenario. Lastly, good value for your hard earn money. 
The final question, would I get one for myself? I started with a big NO because its a F5.6 lens. After giving it try; I am now reconsidering. I guess I will have to update you all again and if anyone of you have gotten this lens; I would love to hear from you. Cheers. 
IG @ivanjoshualoh
cover

3 Comments

  1. Very nice review Ivan, I own this lens and it is absolutely fantastic! In fact, I traded my 120 f/4 Macro and 110 f/2, as this lens is much more versatile. The 110 and 120 are stellar lenses, I do much more location portraiture and landscape than studio work. My first image with my GFX50s and this lens blew me away. It was an image of my dog, shot wide open at f/5.6, ISO 3200, hand held at 200mm and 1/25 sec!!! The Bokeh was also quite pleasing.
    The image can be found here:

    https://www.juzaphoto.com/galleria.php?t=3095463&l=en

    I could not have done that with the 110…maybe with the 120. I also own the 45 f/2.8; 32-64 f/4; and the 250 f/4. All great lenses!

Leave a Reply to Robert Cancel reply