Fujifilm’s Fujinon Super EBC XC 50mm-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II lens is a budget telephoto zoom option for X series cameras. It has 13 elements in 10 groups with seven rounded blades and a maximum aperture of f/22. This lens accepts 58mm filters. Because of the APS-C crop factor, it has a full-frame focal-length equivalence of 75-345mm. The only Fujifilm lens that has a longer focal length is the Fujinon 100-400mm, which retails for about four times as much.
The Fujinon 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II is mostly made of plastic. It doesn’t feel especially sturdy, like it would probably break if it took a big fall, but it’s super lightweight at about .8 pounds. This lens is fairly small, at between 4.4″ and 7″ depending on the focal length. For how telephoto this lens is, it’s impressive how light and small they were able to make it!
There’s no aperture ring, which is expected since it’s an XC series lens, but a bummer because the aperture ring is something that I appreciate about Fujinon lenses. There’s no doubt that this is a cheap lens when you look at the body. Manual focus is electronic and pretty good overall. Auto-focus, which is very quiet, isn’t especially quick, but it’s also not super slow. I would say that it’s sufficiently snappy for most purposes, and probably too slow for quickly moving subjects.
The lens has a maximum aperture of f/4.5 at 50mm and f/6.7 at 230mm, and variously in-between at other focal lengths. That’s not especially large, which means this isn’t a good lens for working in dim light or trying to achieve shallow depths of field. The close focus distance isn’t bad, though, so if you use the largest aperture at the closest focus distance you can get a nice out-of-focus background. When you do, bokeh is decent enough, but not particularly great.
The Fujinon 50-230mm lens is equipped with optical image stabilization, which Fujifilm claims will give you four stops extra. The math calculation I learned many years ago for achieving sharp hand-held pictures is the shutter speed should not go any slower than the focal length. That means, using good technique, you would expect to get a sharp hand-held image at 50mm with a shutter speed of 1/60, and at 230mm you should not go slower than 1/250. While Fujifilm says you get four stops extra because of the image stabilization, the reality is that you don’t, and even three stops might be pushing it. I would avoid going slower than 1/30 at 50mm and 1/125 at 230mm, although you may be able to get a little slower than that if you hold the camera really steady. The optical image stabilization is a nice addition, though, especially considering that the maximum aperture of this lens isn’t especially large.
There’s pretty much no distortion on the Fujinon 50-230mm lens. There’s a tiny amount of vignetting when wide open, especially at the further focal lengths, but that goes away as you stop down. I haven’t noticed any chromatic aberrations. Lens flare is well controlled. There’s very little negative to say about the optics.
This lens is surprisingly sharp for how cheap it is. It’s not as sharp as a typical Fujinon prime lens, and that’s to be expected, but it is more crisp than I thought it would be, especially considering that it’s a budget series lens. It’s better than many budget zooms I have used from other brands. While it comes across as cheap on the outside, the glass on this lens is clearly Fujinon, and it delivers the image quality that you’ve come to expect from that brand name. Sharpness is a highlight of this lens!
The Fujinon 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II lens is lightweight and sharp and optically sound. With an MSRP of $400, it’s cheap, and some corners were cut to make it cheap, but none of that relates to image quality, which is excellent. It’s easy to recommend this lens. If you are a sports or wildlife photographer, you might find some aspects of it to be frustrating, such as focus speed and maximum aperture, and you should consider the 50-140mm or 100-400mm instead. Otherwise, this is an excellent addition to your Fujifilm X glass collection.
You can buy the Fujinon Super EBC XC 50mm-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II lens here:
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Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using the Fujinon 50mm-230mm lens:
See also: Fujifilm Gear
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It feels to me that Fuji should really be bringing out a series of affordable telephoto primes. Telephoto-wise, Fuji seems to be really lagging. Maybe they feel they can’t bust into the amateur wildlife market, but I think many people who buy Fujifilm cameras for street, portrait, landscape, etc., would also be interested in photographing birds and wildlife.
To that end, a 200mm f3.5, a 300mm f4, a 500mm f5.6 – all with stabilisation, sharp, and with quick autofocus – could be made affordably, perhaps with some concessions in materials to keep costs down. When I shoot wildlife and birds, I use my father’s Nikon 200-500mm f5.6, which is just superb, and pretty affordable compared to a pro lens. But since I shoot it almost exclusively at 500mm, a cheaper 500mm f5.6 prime would be cheaper to produce and almost as useful.
I do think that Fujifilm is lacking in telephoto primes. The 90mm f/2 is amazing, but it’s also a tad pricey and not especially long. After that you have the 200mm f/2 that’s super expensive. And that’s it. I can see an inexpensive 135mm f/3.5 being added, but the lenses you mentioned, which I am fully on board that Fujifilm should make, I fear will be quite expensive. Maybe not as expensive as the 200mm f/2, but probably over a thousand dollars. They should still make them, though, especially if they can do so and keep the cost down somehow. Thank you for the input!
FYI. Found a review of the Fujinon XF200mmF2.
Thank you for sharing!
I have used the Fujinon XF100-400mmF3.5-5-6 lens. It’s a nice lens.
It also cost $1700. I rented one to shoot photos of birds for a few workshops. I shoot mostly landscapes so I had no intense desire to lens.
I think only a few people who primarily shoot street photography with small 16mm, 23mm and 35mm lenses have a need for lenses at the opposite end of the spectrum of focal length.
Fujifilm is a business and if they saw a gap, they would fill it. You may want this lens but what is the real market demand? It’s not a simple matter or “Fujifilm can make this lens”. It’s a matter of “Can Fujifilm sell enough of this lens to justify the R&D costs?”
I bet that’s an amazing lens! You are right, people nowadays typically prefer wide angle over telephoto by a large margin.
I use this lens and it is, as you mentioned, surprisingly sharp. Image stabilization works very well too. Very good value for the money.
I appreciate the input, thanks!
I picked up this lens about a week ago. My first choice was the 55-200, but this was on sale, and I had some store credit making this a terrific buy. I agree with everything you said in this article and I really have been happy with this lens. The only issue I have with it, it’s a bit slow at 230mm. After shooting in cloudy weather this past weekend, I found that I really had to crank up the ISO’s to get the shutter speed I wanted at 230mm, but I was able to get the shots I wanted. With the image stabilization of this lens and the incredible output of my X-T3, the shortcomings of this lens were somewhat negated. Although this lens is pretty good, I will likely end up getting the 55-200 for the extra F-stop and the integrated aperture ring which I really like.
Thanks again for the site, it has really given a lot of the information I was looking for in one place.
Thanks so much for sharing your opinion and experiences with this lens. I’ve used it occasionally for awhile now (I prefer primes over zooms, but sometimes I need a longer focal length, and this lens does the trick). If I were a sports or wildlife photographer I imagine that I would want something else, but for my photography this lens is just fine. And the price is certainly right. Thank you again for your feedback!
While it isn’t a native lens, I am extremely happy with the quality and quality of images of the Viltrox 85mm f1.8. Quality and cost make it a no brainer over the 90mm f2…IMO.
I have heard very good things about the Viltrox 85mm lens. I imagine that it’s extraordinarily great. I also really love my Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens, it’s one of my favorites, if not my favorite, Fujinon lens. Easily number two if not number one. Thanks for the comment!