By now you have likely heard about this new lens from Fujifilm. I received a pre-production unit to work with for a few weeks...nothing fancy just my usual routine that the XF60mm F2.4 R Macro normally fills. I'm a country boy through and through so my down time isn't like most photographers. I head out chasing small critters and insects, anything that takes me out of the loop for a handful of hours. My macro lens also does double duty for my portrait and product photography because of the sharpness and image quality. While it serves me well, I've been waiting for the XF80mm F2.8 R LM OIS Macro for a long time. In most cases with small animals and insects...appropriate amounts of distance keeps you safe while providing the animal with enough comfort so I can get the shot. At 122mm (35mm format) this new lens does just that while maintaining a fairly close focusing distance. Add the XF1.4 or 2.o teleconverters if you need to get even closer.
It also has some nice features that aren't available on the XF60mm F2.4 R Macro, namely optical image stabilisation, linear motors for fast/quiet focusing and weather resistance. The first two items are big for me. In many cases I can't or don't want to use a tripod and now being able to handhold a shot stopped down is stellar. Focusing speed has been a priority for Fujifilm and they have certainly improved it tremendously with the new Linear Motor system. Combine that with all new auto-focus algorithms and you have a complete package that's perfect for macro photography.
ISO 200 80mm F5.6 1/500
The weather resistance is something I've become accustomed to on Fuji's premium lenses. I doubt I'll ever purchase another lens without that feature (see my previous blog post). While I don't expect to do much shooting in rain...snow, life happens I don't stop shooting because of inclement weather.
Keep in mind that this preview is based on a "Pre-Production" lens and while I didn't experience any issues with it, surely the final release version will be fine-tuned. Stay in touch for a full review once the retail versions become available.
And now...the pictures: For the most part these images were shot hand-held. The image stabilisation is good for 5-stops according to Fuji and in practice I've found it very good. Insects rarely stay still long enough for me to run and get my tripod so I tested the lens by hand as much as possible.
ISO 200 80mm F5.6 1/80
ISO 200 80mm F5.6 1/200
ISO 200 80mm F5.6 1/160
ISO 200 80mm F8 1/100
ISO 200 80mm F5.6 1/8
ISO 200 80mm F5.6 1/200
ISO 200 80mm F5.6 1/320
ISO 200 80mm F2.8 1/2000