8 Stellar Fuji Lenses

April 30, 2016  •  2 Comments


I've been a Fujifilm camera user for roughly 4 years now and during that time I've done a few BLOG posts about the lenses that I use on a day-to-day basis. Regular readers can appreciate that I'm a man on-the-go, rarely in one spot for too long so my lens choices for personal use tends to be really practical. The classic 24-70/70-200mm range is where I live 95% of the time. I'm expanding that to "lenses I would include in my bag" to cover some options that I don't currently have also. To make it easy I've numbered them in order of acquisition "if" I had to purchase one at a time.


XF35mm F1.4 R: If you can only afford one lens and it has to do almost everything well, buy this. It's a 50mm'ish equivalent which mimics the angle of view your eyes are already accustomed to. Look back over 30 years...almost any camera bundle you could buy included a 50mm lens. The XF35mm (both versions) is small, light and serves up excellent image quality. The bokeh is probably the most pleasing of the 7 other lenses listed here. The best part is the price. You can attach and leave this lens on the camera and be happy for a very long time. Sharp at F1.4, much sharper at F2 and absolutely dangerous at F2.8.

XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS: This lens fits roughly into that 24-70mm range for a general purpose zoom. Unlike a fixed focal length lens such as the XF35mm F1.4 R, you can tweak your composition without physically moving your feet. In the Fujifilm line of lenses it's about middle of the road. Middle image quality, middle size/weight and middle pricing. I use it primarily in the studio where I rarely shoot wider than F4 aperture. It's sharp, fast focusing and that focal length range is just what you need when space is limited. It's single best feature is Fujifilm's Optical Image Stabilization or 'OIS" for short. It helps you achieved those sharp, steady shots at low shutter speeds. I've found it extremely effective in all but the most challenging light levels. Sharp at F2.8 and get's sharper through F5.6 after which time it levels out.

Fuji XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OISFuji XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR: If you can stretch your wallet more get this lens over the XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS. It's the best general purpose zoom Fujifilm makes and it's worth every penny. The image quality is among the best in the lineup and in practice I've found that it exceeds similar lenses from other manufacturers. The auto-focus is fast and more importantly, accurate and you get the added benefit of weather resistance when paired with the X-T1 and Xpro2 camera bodies. It's heavy and big but when compared to it's DSLR cousins it's much more manageable if that sort of thing is important to you.  Sharp at F2.8 and improves continues to F4.

http://leighmiller.zenfolio.com XF56mm F1.2 R: Portrait, Bokeh and Sports photographers rejoice. This is as good as it gets for a mid-range telephoto lens. Unlike other 85mm equivalents I've used this one is sharp wide open which means that you can blur backgrounds away to your heart's content. The images are sharp, colourful with a decent amount of contrast. The autofocus isn't the fastest in the lineup but it's very good, enough to keep up with brisk action with a little practice. I use it a lot for events where I don't want to get too close to the action and I want the background diffusion. Sharp at F1.2 and keeps getting sharper to F4. By F5.6 it's as sharp as it's ever going to get...which makes it stellar.

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XF90mm F2 R LM WR: Big brother to the 56mm F1.2 R...in name only. It's sharper, faster focusing thanks to the new Linear Motor and weather sealed. At 135mm'ish (equivalent) you need a fair bit of room indoors for anything beyond macro and tight portraits. When you head outdoors that fault becomes a virtue instantly. Like the XF56mm F1.2 R, it takes very little effort to isolate your subject(s) from the background and that fast AF motor makes it ideal for pulling those action shots close-in to fill the frame. Sharp at all apertures going right into F11 where diffraction starts to weaken it a bit.

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XF60mm F2.4 R Macro...not a lens that everyone will take a liking to but I have. Like most macro lenses (from any brand) it's sharp, slower focusing and infinitely fun. While it's excels at being stopped down (F10 onwards) this one is also really good wide open. In fact it does double duty as a portrait lens when the XF56mm is too short and the XF90mm is too long. Sharp at F2.4 and keeps getting sharper the more you stop down, a necessary attribute when you photograph small subjects at very close distances. If you haven't shot with a macro lens before, you don't know what you are missing. This lens will drive you crazy searching for small critters and other objects to shoot. A tripod is almost always a must though, and a sturdy one at that.

Fujifilm XF60mm F2.4 RFujifilm XF60mm F2.4 R XF10-24mm F4 R OIS...the first time I tried a wide angle zoom lens was as the second photographer at a large Italian wedding. Up to that point wide angled glass was a landscape tool for me. I was hooked and bought one for myself. The XF10-24mm F4 R OIS is much better glass than I expected switching over to Fujifilm gear. It's got the usual caveats that a wide angle focal length comes with...you have to be careful at the corners to avoid distortion on key parts of the frame and it's definitely not a close portrait lens unless you like that bobblehead effect. I don't mind shooting it at F4, it's sharp enough wide open. Stop down to F5.6-F8 and it starts to sing...really loud. It renders colourful, contrasty and sharp details that stands up to heavy post processing. The OIS is very welcome and makes the F4 aperture a non-issue in low light for stationary subjects. There are better wide angle Fujifilm lenses but that would mean carrying around a couple of primes...and I'm not doing that. Besides, this is one instance where I prefer to give up all-out image quality for convenience and flexibility.

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....and number 8, the XF50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR.

The ultimate mid-telephoto zoom lens of ANY platform as far as I'm concerned. In fact the only other equivalent that's a match is the Olympus ED40-150mm F2.8 Pro which I also own. The only compromise is the size and weight...a design with the optics this lens boasts can't be made much smaller (yet). Image quality is...stellar and the auto-focus speed and accuracy are extremely good thanks again the the Linear Motor design Fujifilm has started using for their top shelf lenses.

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So that's my 8 "If money is no object" lens choices.

Now for the why...

To be clear and cut down on the hate mail, THERE ARE VERY FEW BAD LENSES THESE DAYS from any manufacturer. I think they have wised up to the fact that pros and hardcore enthusiasts demand extreme quality control when it comes to lenses. We will put up with imperfect cameras but not lenses.

More specifically though, I've encountered hundreds of Fujifilm "users" and potential DSLR switchers over the years and nobody asks me about the low/mid end of the Fujinon range. Nobody. The general message is that if one is switching to a Fujifilm camera only the high-end exotic glass will do. I don't consider myself to be much of a gear snob and I've reviewed many of Fujifilm's lenses on this BLOG. Some of my favourites are firmly in the low-end of their range. Sometimes cheap/inexpensive lenses can really wow you...like the XC16-50mm F3.5-5.6  OIS II. One of my most popular images was made with that very lens...pushing something like 50,000 views.

Front PageFront Pagehttp://leighmiller.zenfolio.com ...and the XC50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS.

In the end though, nobody comes here for anything but the best that Fujifilm has to offer and now you have them. The good news is that they perform equally well on the X-E, X-T1 and X-Pro2 bodies just make sure you are using the most recent FIRMWARE versions.


Comments

Gerald(non-registered)
Thank you for this wonderful overview.
Alan Shearer(non-registered)
Excellent comments. I have some, not all of these and could not agree more. My overall favorites are my 35 1.4 and 16-55. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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