A fantastic photography artists who's work I was very interested in at one point said "if your images aren't good enough, then you aren't close enough". While I generally share that thought, I have to append my usual practicality as a disclaimer. Sometimes you can't get closer, and at other times getting closer isn't very advisable. Distance can be a good thing and for those moments nothing beats a long lens.
This blog post is a followup to my previous "What's In My Bag for 2016". Close to a year ago I reviewed the Fujinon XF 50-140mm f2.8 R LM OIS WR so I'm not going to repeat the technical stuff. This is more of an exploration in how I use it etc. and why it's replaced the XF56mm f1.2, XF90mm f2, XF35mm f1.4. Over the past year I started to fall back into that "gear accumulation" trap from my DSLR days. When I took a good look at the images I make on a daily basis, every single one is within that 24-70/70-200mm range. Why then did I need so many other lenses weighing me down...if/when I need those other exotic pieces of glass I can always rent or borrow.
Consider this post more of a long-term update to that older review.
My Adobe Lightroom CC catalogue tells me that I shoot portraits between F/2.8 and F/5.6 about 95% of the time. I suppose I already knew that..so why I owned F/1.2 to F2 lenses is a mystery. I'm not bothered by higher ISO's so F/2.8 works for my quite well. Add the Image Stabilization,Sharpness wide open and fast/accurate Auto-Focus the XF50-140mm works just fine for me. The sharpness is very uniform across the frame and so stopping down doesn't improve it by very much. In very bright daylight or with studio strobes/speedlite flashes I'll stop down to F/5.6 to balance exposure. Occasionally I will shoot wide open even with strobes after screwing in a Neutral Density Filter.
Ditto for Lifestyle work...all between F/2.8-F/5.6 and the odd time, F8
Nature...wide open to F8
Landscapes F/5.6 to F11, though typically I use a wider angle lens for that sort of thing.
I love shooting nature isolates wide open...it's great "filler" for my compositing work or monitor backgrounds.
One lens...so many applications.
The days of Prime Lenses being sharper than Zooms is quickly fading, long gone some say. The absolute image quality is so similar that I don't feel the need to give up Image Stabilization, Variable Focal Length and Weather Resistance.