The Fujinon Super EBC XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR is an excellent lens! Perhaps that statement is too upfront, since I’m starting this review with the conclusion, but it’s true. I hope that you’ll keep reading, as I will discuss many aspects of this lens, including some technical specs and aesthetic qualities, and suggest who it might be for. Is the Fujinon 90mm f/2 a lens that Fujifilm photographers should have in their bag? Is it worth the MSRP of $950? I will attempt to answer those question in this review.
Fujifilm gives their lenses long names, and the Fujinon Super EBC XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR is no exception. Every part of the name means something. Fujinon is the brand name of Fujifilm lenses. The “Super EBC” part indicates that this lens has been multi-coated using Fujifilm’s “Super Electron-Beam Coating” method, which sounds a lot more interesting than it actually is. All modern lenses, and even many older lenses, have had the glass coated with something to prevent lens flare and ghosting. The “XF” in the name means that the lens is designed for Fujifilm’s APS-C X-Mount cameras. It has a 90mm focal length and a maximum aperture of f/2. The “R” indicates that the lens has an aperture ring. “LM” stands for Linear Motor, which is the auto-focus system found inside this lens. The “WR” means it’s weather resistant, which is quite useful if your camera is weather sealed. Not in the name (but nevertheless printed on the lens) is another important specification: this lens uses 62mm filters. Despite the long name, most people would call this lens simply the Fujinon 90mm f/2.
The focal length of this lens is 90mm, but, when attached to an APS-C camera, due to the crop factor, it has a focal length equivalency of 135mm, which makes it a medium-to-long telephoto lens. In the olden days, the 135mm lens was perhaps the second or third or fourth prime lens that you’d add to your glass collection. It was a pretty standard focal length that many photographers regularly used, but it seems to have fallen out of favor in recent years. I think that wide-angle lenses have become more popular overall, and, outside of wildlife, sports, and portrait photography, telephoto lenses have become less popular.
Since this lens is 135mm-equivalent, it should come as no surprise that the Fujinon 90mm f/2 is fairly large and hefty. Without the long hood that came with the lens, the length is just over four inches, and with the hood the lens is about six-and-a-half inches long. It’s about three inches across the barrel. This lens weighs almost 1.2 pounds, which means that it’s not lightweight, and not really comfortable to have hanging around your neck for long periods of time. The lens is mostly made of metal, which makes it feel solidly built and durable, and it also explains the heft.
The minimum focus distance of this lens is two feet, which means that it’s not a macro lens. Because it is telephoto, the 90mm f/2 is actually pretty good for close focusing, as objects two feet away will look large in the frame. It’s about as close to being macro as you can get without actually being a macro lens, which is great!
There are 11 elements in eight groups on the Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens. It has seven rounded blades, which means it’s not great for sun-stars, but is great for bokeh. The maximum aperture is f/2 and the minimum aperture is f/16, with 1/3 intermediate stops in-between the full stops. There is no built-in image stabilization, which is perhaps one of the few negative things that I can say about this lens. You will either need to use a tripod or increase the shutter speed to prevent blurry images.
Auto-focus on the Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens is very quick, thanks to the Linear Motor auto-focus system. It locks focus almost instantaneously. When the camera is off, if you shake the lens you can hear and feel the auto-focus system clunking around. When the camera powers on, you can hear and feel it stiffen into place, ready to work. Overall the lens is quite quiet; nearly silent, in fact. Quick and quiet are how I would describe auto-focus on this lens, which is what you hope for. Manual focus works via an electronic system. The large focus ring is smooth and accurate and overall a joy to use.
The Fujinon 90mm f/2 is a very sharp lens, one of the sharpest in the Fujifilm lineup, which is really saying a lot, as Fujinon lenses are renown for their quality glass. It is corner-to-corner tack-sharp at f/2, and continues to be so until f/11 when diffraction begins to appear, but even at f/16 the lens is still pretty sharp. This lens will allow you to maximize the image quality of your Fujifilm X camera.
There are no chromatic aberrations, distortion, coma, or vignetting that I can find, even when wide open. It might be that the camera is automatically correcting it, or it might be that the lens is just that good, or more likely a combination of the two. Also, lens flare and ghosting are very well controlled. This lens seems to be without technical fault.
Bokeh, which is the quantification of the quality of the out-of-focus area within an image, is significantly overrated, but even those who are bokeh snobs will appreciate this lens. The creaminess of the bokeh produced by the 90mm f/2 is something you’ll absolutely love, especially when the lens is wide-open, but, thanks to the pretty good close-focus capabilities, also at smaller apertures. This is one of the best bokeh lenses in the Fujifilm lineup.
If you are a portrait photographer, this lens is one of your top options, if not the top option, for optimal image quality. If there are faults, it could possibly be too sharp for portraits, and perhaps the focal length might force you to stand further away than you’d like. It’s also an excellent option for sports and wildlife photography, although it might not be telephoto enough, depending on exactly what you are capturing. I personally love this lens for still-life and landscape photography. Really, you can use it in any genre, but you might have to rethink your technique or style to make it work, especially if you are used to using wide-angle and standard primes, and don’t have much experience with telephoto lenses.
To conclude, the Fujinon Super EBC XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR is a nearly perfect lens from a technical standpoint. It delivers stunningly beautiful pictures that are super sharp. There are a lot of pros and very few cons. It’s very easy to recommend this lens, as it’s one of my absolute favorites, and I use it often. Some of my favorite pictures were captured with it. If you are considering purchasing this lens, I wouldn’t hesitate to do so, as you won’t be disappointed by the image quality that it produces. In my opinion, the Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens is definitely worth owning, even though it retails for $950, which is not exactly inexpensive, as it is just superb! This is one of the absolute best prime lenses for Fujifilm X cameras.
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Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using this lens on a Fujifilm X-T20 and Fujifilm X-T30:
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