If nothing changes, then nothing changes.
Me...I'm like an anchor. Drop me over the side and you can guarantee the boat will be exactly where you left it until you haul me up. Good for consistency but terrible when your in the creative business where change is very, very good. To that end I've been making some big moves lately shedding, replacing etc.
As regular readers know, I'm primarily a two (2) lens man: 24-70 & 70-200mm range. Those cover 90% of everything I do professionally. These two are staying in the gear bag...forever or until Fujifilm releases a version II.
XF50-140MM F2.8 R LM OIS WR (76-213mm *35mm equivalent)
XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR (24-84mm *35mm equivalent)
XF90mm F2 prime lens, the equivalent of my old Canon 135mm L. It's a hard to use piece of glass because it requires so much room to deploy, and no image stabilisation. The "look" it renders, particularly to portraits is simply amazing and I owned it for about a year...and then we parted ways, out of love. I suppose it was easier to play it safe with the 85mm equivalent in the XF56mm F1.2 R .
XF56mm F1.2 R (84mm *35mm equivalent)
With an F1.2 aperture the XF56mm doesn't need any encouragement to present a nice smooth background for your portraits. In fact this focal length is one I recommend to others who are looking for a portrait lens regardless of camera brand. It shares the same sharpness and color/contrast expression as the XF90mm...except the latter is like a sports car with no compromises.
Most people like me buy this lens for one reason, it's ability to obliterate backgrounds and render them into globs of pleasing out of focus balls..That ability comes with responsibility though. If you aren't careful you can easily miss focus due to the thin depth of field. I got it because frankly, I'm no longer concerned with what's behind me these days...or behind the subject and the results are awesome.
The image above: Behind that ring resting on a bokeh of flowers is a tennis ball, book, tea can, a cup filled with pens and couple of Xmas lights. Distance...I would say about two or three feet and shot wide open at F2 with the camera on a tripod.
The XF23mm F2
At F2 you really need to be close to the subject and have plenty of space behind in order to blur out anything. Doing that however can give you some clown'ish but interesting images at times but I like it. My thinking is is to use it for landscape, travel and video work this Summer. Fuji makes a 1.4 version which I've also owned previously but I find the F2 far better...sharper, faster focusing (and quiet for video work) with a much better build. The most important feature though being weather resistance. I have no patience for running under tress just because of a little rain or snow.
This is the longest telephoto/zoom Fujifilm makes and it comes with the excellent 5-Stop OIS (Optical Image Stabiliser), a feature I've come to appreciate more each day as I crawl around the outdoors snapping images of wildlife. In use i've pulled off shots at insanely slow speeds without a tripod and the focusing is fast, smooth and "sooooo" quiet thanks to the LM (Twin-Linear Motors). Add weather resistance and your good to go for any environment you need to work in. Maybe it's firmware updates, practice or a combination, but I am getting some amazing images with this lens.
Stay tuned for PART 2 as I update on what I've removed from my gear bag...some of it may shock you but it's definitely time to move on.
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