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Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6 Review

In this review, we’ll get up close and personal with the new Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6 R LM OIS WR super-telephoto prime lens.

The Fujifilm GF series of cameras and lenses has become increasingly popular since the launch of the original GFX 50S in 2016.


Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6

Super-telephoto lens offering incredible range, sharpness and optical clarity, perfect for capturing sports and wildlife.

Today, Fuji offers one 50MP and three 102MP medium format cameras and no less than 19 GF lenses.

Fujifilm has made it clear that it wants larger-format photography to be more accessible to photographers of any level or experience.

The GF 500mm takes the lead as the longest medium format system super-telephoto lens in the range.

Before launch, I received the mammoth Fujifilm GFX 100S II camera and the GF 500mm f/5.6 R LM OIS WR and tested and reviewed both.

Let’s take a look at what is likely the biggest lens medium-format photographers can get their hands on.

Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6 Specs



  • Excellent wildlife super-telephoto lens
  • Weather sealed
  • Linear motors
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
  • Superb image sharpness
  • Lightweight despite its size

  • Sluggish autofocus performance
  • Beware the cost
  • Focal length – 500mm (396mm FF equivalent focal length)
  • Angle of view – 6.3°
  • Maximum aperture – f/5.6
  • Minimum aperture – f/32
  • Minimum focus distance – 2.8m (9.1′)
  • Maximum magnification – 0.2x
  • Filter size – Ø95mm filter thread
  • Lens configuration – 21 elements in 14 groups
  • Dimensions – Ø104.5mm×246.5mm (4.1″x9.7″)
  • Weight – 1375g (3lb)

Build & Ergonomics

A black telephoto camera lens with various adjustment dials, mounted on a lens support, positioned against a dark background.

The Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6 R LM OIS WR lens is possibly one of the finest examples of Fuji engineering and design.

The weather-sealed medium-format super telephoto lens is incredibly robust. Its alloy body delivers superb balance and rigidity without compromising weight.

Despite its massive dimensions of Ø104.5mm×246.5mm (4.1″x9.7″), it only weighs 1375g (3lb).

It’s a formidable combo that draws attention when paired with the Fujifilm GFX 100S II.

Thanks to its whopping 95mm filter thread, peering into the front element is like staring into a canon – not THAT Canon!

Close-up of a large camera lens against a dark background showing the glass surface and part of the lens barrel.

Internally, Fujifilm delivers optical purity through an excellently balanced 21-element/14-group lens assembly, including two super ED and five ED elements.

As a result, the Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6 R LM OIS WR isn’t front-heavy and is a comfortable carry.

When holding the GFX body securely in my right hand and supporting the 500mm lens in my left hand, I had optimal control hunting for subjects.

However, given the 6.3° field of view, I sometimes struggled to find my subjects, so I would peep above the camera to spot them and refocus.

Regardless, the 104.5mm (4.1″) diameter fit comfortably in my hand, and I was also comfortable shooting holding the tripod mount.

The medium format lens boasts a range of features and customization options.

Close-up of a black camera lens with various switches and dials for different settings, including AF-partial, full-time focus, and different focal lengths.

The ridged aperture ring delivers a smooth yet clicky glide through the f/5.6 to f/32 range. It also offers an “A” for Auto and a “C” for Custom aperture settings.

The broad rubber focus ring is textured and offers a smooth glide with ample dampening.

The customization doesn’t stop there, as the Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6 lens also features an OIS On/Off, Focus Limiter, and an AF Preset switch.

The Focus Limiter allows focus to be contained within 5m to infinity or opened up to the full focus range.

Given its considerable size, the Fujinon GF 500mm f/5.6 lens features a fixed tripod collar and removable tripod foot.

The tripod collar and foot provide excellent support for carrying the lens and handheld shooting.

A black, long telephoto camera lens with various adjustment dials and a mounting bracket is displayed against a dark background.

Three customizable function buttons are forward of the focus ring and spread equidistance around the lens. Any can be assigned as a focus control button.

Finally, the mammoth 500mm ships with an equally large lens hood that locks securely into place and features a slide to access variable filters.

Overall, the Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6 R LM OIS WR lens is of a standard that sets it apart from the pack.

Focus Performance

Person skateboarding in a skate park, wearing a dark jacket and jeans. Other skateboarders and onlookers are in the background.

Fujifilm GFX 100S II + GF 500mm f/5.6 | 1/1000 SS | 3200 ISO | f/5.6

I want to be very clear that I’m not a professional sports or wildlife photographer – I’m barely a hobbyist in those genres.

As a result, shooting with such a considerable super-telephoto focal length proved a steep learning curve.

Those already familiar with super-telephoto photography or the medium format sensor system will be right at home.

For context, it’s also important to know that I typically shoot with Fujifilm X Series cameras and lenses.

Having recently tested and reviewed the Fujifilm X-T50 and XF 16-50mm f/2.8-4.8 kit lens, I was amazed at the focus speed.

The GFX cameras and lenses aren’t known for their lightning-fast focus performance, but I was keen to see how they compared.

When paired with the new GFX 100S II, I found the GF 500mm f/5.6 lens to be slower and indecisive when acquiring moving subjects.

Provided a subject was relatively still or moving slowly, the focus was fast and accurate – especially when subject detection was activated on the medium-format camera.

However, if the subject was moving fast, I struggled to not only acquire focus but also retain focus on a subject.

I tested the GF 500mm f/5.6 with the full range of Fujifilm’s focus modes and subject detection options.

While the Linear Motor inner focus system worked hard, it didn’t match the performance of the X Series.

It’s also important to know that the GFX 100S II and the GF 500mm f/5.6 lens were review models that may not have had the final production firmware on board.

In low light, optical image stabilization provided exceptional support for reducing camera shake while shooting with lower shutter speeds.

Image Quality

A duck with brown and white feathers swims in a body of water with gentle ripples.

Fujifilm GFX 100S II + GF 500mm f/5.6 | 1/500 SS | 3200 ISO | f/7.1

One of the biggest compliments I can give the Fujifilm Optical Devices Divisions is applauding the incredible image clarity captured by the GF 500mm f/5.6 lens.

It’s awe-inspiring how much image resolution and sharpness the Fujifilm Fujinon GF lens achieves.

Wide open at f/5.6, the Fujifilm GF 500mm delivers exceptional center sharpness that extends to each corner of the frame.

Subject separation is excellent at that aperture, as is background blur and bokeh of distance elements.

Working with the widest aperture ensured optimal exposure while maintaining high-resolution performance.

At f/10, the GF lens continued to tighten up the image sharpness across the full frame.

The edge-to-edge sharpness is ideal when cropping larger files without compromising image clarity.

In low-light conditions, the camera system paired with the Fujifilm GF 500mm lens pulled in any available light to still deliver impeccable detail.

Granted, the 102MP medium format image sensor and camera processor play a considerable part in the process.

Regardless, GFX line users looking for a super telephoto lens with outstanding optical performance should consider this an exciting addition to their kit.

Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6 Sample Images

Here are some sample images taken with the GF 500mm f/5.6 lens using a GFX 100S II camera.

Black and white photo of a cat with white and gray fur, facing left. The background is dark and out of focus.

Fujifilm GFX 100S II + GF 500mm f/5.6 | 1/160 SS | 8000 ISO | f/5.6

A man wearing a black beanie and black shirt skateboards with arms extended for balance, in an urban area with graffiti and signage in the background.

Fujifilm GFX 100S II + GF 500mm f/5.6 | 1/1000 SS | 3200 ISO | f/8

Green bush with small orange fruits growing among the leaves, set against a blurry background of bare tree branches and sky.

Fujifilm GFX 100S II + GF 500mm f/5.6 | 1/125 SS | 1250 ISO | f/11

A person wearing a beanie, light gray sweatshirt, and tan pants skates in a skatepark. A figure with a skateboard is in the background.

Fujifilm GFX 100S II + GF 500mm f/5.6 | 1/1000 SS | 3200 ISO | f/5.6

A duck with a green head, brown body, and gray wings floats on a calm, reflective pond with rippling water.

Fujifilm GFX 100S II + GF 500mm f/5.6 | 1/500 SS | 3200 ISO | f/7.1

Black and white photo of a cityscape showing several tall modern skyscrapers against a cloudy sky.

Fujifilm GFX 100S II + GF 500mm f/5.6 | 1/200 SS | 3200 ISO | f/10

A dark-feathered bird is pecking at the grass in a sunlit area surrounded by green vegetation.

Fujifilm GFX 100S II + GF 500mm f/5.6 | 1/400 SS | 1600 ISO | f/5.6

Electric train traveling on tracks surrounded by greenery and power lines.

Fujifilm GFX 100S II + GF 500mm f/5.6 | 1/500 SS | 1250 ISO | f/11

Large green leaves with pronounced veins surround a single reddish-brown unopened bud in the center. The leaves show signs of damage, with some holes and tears visible.

Fujifilm GFX 100S II + GF 500mm f/5.6 | 1/640 SS | 320 ISO | f/6.4

Black and white image of a man skateboarding in a park, wearing a hoodie and shorts. Other skateboarders are present in the background, including one with a helmet, and another person mid-trick.

Fujifilm GFX 100S II + GF 500mm f/5.6 | 1/1000 SS | 3200 ISO | f/5.6

A black and white photo of a bird walking on grassy ground with water in the background.

Fujifilm GFX 100S II + GF 500mm f/5.6 | 1/500 SS | 400 ISO | f/8

How I Tested the Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6

A person with glasses, a hat, and a beard uses a large camera lens to photograph outdoors amidst greenery.

As mentioned, I was lucky enough to test the Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6 R LM OIS WR lens with the new Fujifilm GFX 100S II camera.

It was my first time having unrestricted access to the weather-resistant GFX medium format camera body.

It was an absolute blast to get out and about with the super-telephoto GF lens and draw focus on anything and everything.

I tested the Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6 lens in and around my home in all lighting conditions.

Once out and about, I tested the GF lens at the Prahran Skatepark and Melbourne Botanical Gardens.

I was determined to try my hand at bird photography with the impressive GFX medium-format system.

Despite the combined 2.25kg (4.96lb) weight, I opted for a strong Lucky Straps wrist strap and carried the camera by hand.

I made the most of the lens barrel features to manually control the aperture, focusing distances, and image stabilization.


Given the popularity and performance of the GFX system, the Fujifilm GF lens range continues to grow, now including 19 primes, zooms, and teleconverters.

If the 500mm (396mm FF equivalent focal length) is too ambitious for you, the Fujifilm GF 250mm f/4 R LM OIS WR telephoto lens is your next best option.

The GF 250mm f/4 delivers excellent image sharpness and boasts a wide, fast maximum aperture for GFX users.

While it’s shorter than the GF 500 mm f/5.6 lens at ø108mm x 203.5mm (4.25 x 8.01″), it is actually heavier at 1.42kg (3.14 lb).

With a full-frame equivalent of 198mm, it’s an ideal focal length and maximum aperture for portraiture, wildlife, and commercial product photography.

However, if you’re more of a zoom person, the best alternative to the Fujifilm GF 50mm f/5.6 lens is the GF 100-200mm f/5.6 R LM OIS WR.

Granted, its 79-158mm full frame equivalent focal range is nowhere near the Fujifilm GF 500mm lens, but it delivers a consistent f/5.6 maximum aperture throughout the focal range.

The Fujifilm GF 250mm f/4 and the GF 100-200mm f/5.6 both feature the same high-quality build and precision optics and deliver excellent image quality.

While neither has the same super-telephoto range at 500mm, they pair with the Fujifilm GF 1.4X Teleconverter.

The weather-sealed GF 1.4x features Fuji optical magic thanks to its lens assembly with seven elements in three groups.

When paired with the GF 250mm f/4, the teleconverter delivers a 1.4 magnification, pushing the focal distance to 350mm. Drop it on the GF 100-200mm, and the focal range jumps to 140-280mm.

It’s worth mentioning that the optional teleconverter also seamlessly pairs with the GF 500mm f/5.6 to magnify the focal distance to 700mm – perfect for photographing distant subjects.

Value for Money

If you know anything about medium format or the GFX system, you’ll know to expect a hefty price tag when purchasing any cameras or lenses.

Value for money is an interesting discussion point as the value of anything is determined more by your needs and capacity to afford it.

However, it’s fair to say that the GFX system is expensive and not typically bought by hobbyist photographers.

With that primer, the Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6 R LM OIS WR lens retails for around US$4,000.

If you’re keen, cashed up, and looking to pair the super-telephoto lens with the latest GFX camera, the GFX 100S II retails for around US$5,000.

For comparison, the Fujifilm GF 250mm f/4 R LM OIS WR retails for around US$3,300, and the GF 100-200mm f/5.6 R LM OIS WR for around $2,100.

The Fujifilm GF 1.4X Teleconverter is also expensive, at around $800.

The big question is, “Is the GF 500mm f/5.6 worth the asking price?”

If you’re an enthusiast or professional who needs a super-telephoto prime that delivers exceptional image quality for bird or wildlife photography, yes, it’s by far the best option.

Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6 Review | Conclusion

Black Fujinon camera with a large zoom lens attached, placed on a gravel surface near some plant leaves.

I was super excited to get my hands on the Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.7 R LM OIS WR lens and the Fujifilm GFX 100S II.

I’ve wanted to review the GFX medium format range for some time now.

I wasn’t prepared for the steep learning curve and challenge of super-telephoto photography.

I want to congratulate sports, bird, and wildlife photographers who operate in various conditions while trying to focus on a subject with a 6.3° field of view.

I’ve made it clear that I was a little disappointed with the focus performance of the Fujifilm Fujinon GF 500mm f/5.6 lens.

However, to be honest and transparent, I’m not a super-telephoto kind of guy. Plus, I was working with a pre-launch camera and lens.

Regardless, it’s easy to see why many GFX system photographers are excited by this new addition to the GF lens range.

It doubles the focal range of the Fujifilm GF 250mm f/4 R LM OIS WR without doubling the price, size, or weight.

What’s most impressive about the GF 500mm f/5.6 is the ability to create exceptional-quality images regardless of the lighting conditions.

The super-telephoto GF lens combines incredible range and optical clarity for photographing birds or other distant subjects.

It’s an essential piece of kit for bird, sports, and wildlife photographers who already use Fujifilm’s medium-format system.


Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6

Fujifilm GF 500mm f/5.6

Super-telephoto lens offering incredible range, sharpness and optical clarity, perfect for capturing sports and wildlife.

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