Review: Fujinon XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR


Fujifilm Fujinon 100-400mm lens review

The Fujinon XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens is a serious telephoto zoom! If you’re looking for a long telephoto lens for your Fujifilm X camera, your options are very limited, and this one might be your best bet; however, it’s bulky, heavy and, with an MSRP of $1,900, very expensive. Is the Fujinon 100-400mm lens worth the cost?

Fujinon is Fujifilm’s brand name for their lenses. The XF in the name means that this is a premium lens (in other words, not budget) for X-mount cameras. The lens has a focal length of 100mm to 400mm, which is equivalent to 150mm to 600mm in full-frame terms. The R indicates that it has an aperture ring on the lens, which it does, but unfortunately it’s unmarked, which seems like a strange choice. LM stands for Linear Motor, which is the auto-focus system that’s inside the lens. OIS means that it has built-in optical image stabilization. The WR stands for Weather Resistant, which is useful if you are attaching it to a weather resistant camera. While the full name of this lens seems excessively long, it does give us a good overview of what we’re looking at.

When my Fujinon 100-400mm lens arrived in the mail, I was shocked at the size and weight of it. I had read all about how big and heavy it was, but it still took me by surprise. The lens weighs more than three pounds, and is just over eight inches long when retracted at 100mm and is nearly 11 inches when extended to 400mm, not including the lens hood, which adds another three inches. It’s massive! You need to know that it’s very big and heavy, probably more than you are expecting.

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Monochrome Reeds – Farmington Bay, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm lens @148mm

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Dark Lake Shore – Farmington Bay, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @124mm

The lens seems to be made with plenty of plastic. Not quite as much as Fujifilm’s budget lenses, but more than I would have thought for an XF lens, and I wonder how it would survive a fall. Hopefully I will never have to find out, but I do know that if it does fall it will fall hard! Beyond that, it seems well-built and well designed. There are three switches on the side: OIS on-and-off, Auto-Aperture on-and-off, and a close-focus inhibitor. The aperture ring works well, but is disappointingly unmarked. The focus ring is nice and smooth for manual focusing. The zoom ring twists the lens in and out for zooming. This lens accepts 77mm filters.

The Fujinon 100-400mm lens is very sharp at 100mm and mediocrely sharp at 400mm. This is a zoom lens and has sharpness similar to other Fujinon zooms, so don’t expect prime lens sharpness. Comparing my Fujinon 90mm f/2 to this lens at 100mm, the 90mm produces crisper results. This shouldn’t surprise anyone because primes usually produce better results than zooms, and the Fujinon 90mm f/2 is one of the very best Fujifilm primes. Even so, sharpness on the 100-400mm lens is pretty darn good for a zoom, at least at 100mm. I found sharpness to be excellent at apertures f/11 and larger from 100mm to about 250mm. From roughly 250mm to 350mm sharpness is still excellent, but not quite as good, and it seems to be best between f/5.6 and f/8. Sharpness gets noticeably worse when the focal length is longer than 350mm, becoming the least crisp at 400mm, including some obvious corner softness when wide open. At 400mm I think the sharpness is comparable to the Fujinon 50-230mm budget zoom, and f/8 seems to be the optimal aperture. I would avoid apertures smaller than f/16 at all focal lengths, as diffraction is noticeable.

I didn’t notice any chromatic aberrations, although the camera might be automatically removing it. I found no distortion, so expect straight lines to be straight. From 100mm to about 300mm there’s little-to-no vignetting, but vignetting becomes noticeable when wide-open and approaching the long end of the lens. At 400mm, even when stopped down, the vignetting doesn’t completely go away. The maximum aperture is f/4.5 at 100mm, f/5 at 200mm, f/5.2 at 300mm, and f/5.6 at 400mm, which is sufficient. I would prefer a larger maximum aperture, but that would only make the lens bulkier, heavier and more expensive than it already is. The minimum aperture at all focal lengths is f/22. Bokeh, which is the quality of the out-of-focus area in an image, is pretty good. The minimum focus distance is almost six feet, which means that you won’t be photographing anything from close up, but achieving a shallow depth-of-field isn’t particularly difficult thanks to the long focal lengths. Fujifilm claims that the image stabilization is good for five stops, but I really don’t think so. It’s definitely helpful, especially at the longer end, but I wouldn’t count on it working any miracles. I found it best to turn the image stabilization off when using a tripod.

Fujifilm Fujinon 100-400mm lens review

Fujifilm Fujinon 100-400mm lens review

Auto-focus is extraordinarily quick and quiet considering how many heavy moving parts are inside the lens. It’s not the fastest Fujinon lens, but it’s still fast. The inhibitor switch is helpful if you’re not close focusing. Manual focusing is great when using a tripod, but I found it a tad awkward to do hand-held just because of the size and weight of the lens.

The Fujinon 100-400mm is a difficult lens to use, especially at the longer end. When the lens is attached to your camera, you want to make sure that you hold the lens (not just the camera). You’ll find yourself wanting to use a tripod, or at least a monopod, and you’ll need to mount the lens (not the camera) to it. When not using a tripod, you’ll need to use good techniques to keep it steady, similar to shooting a rifle. Fast shutter speeds will be your friend. I seemed to get better results at the longer end when using the electronic shutter instead of the mechanical. Atmospheric distortion is magnified when zooming in on far away objects. With a good tripod and techniques this lens can be used in low-light situations, but I found that it likes a lot of light and does well in daylight. I got better results when I took my time and was very deliberate and precise. While the lens is particularly challenging, it can also be especially rewarding.

Perhaps the best way to think about the Fujinon 100-400mm is that it’s a fantastic 100-350mm lens, especially from 100mm to about 250mm, which is where it produces the best results. The last 50mm is a bonus—sufficiently good, but disappointing when you consider how much it costs. In other words, 400mm is available when you need it, but consider avoiding it when you can. If you think about the lens in that way you will likely be happy with it, but if you are counting on the long end for top-notch image quality, you’ll be let down. Whether you’re happy or not, the fact is that your options are limited. Fujifilm’s longest prime lens is the 200mm f/2, which retails for more than three times as much as the 100-400mm. The next closest prime is the 90mm f/2, which isn’t especially long. The 50-140mm f/2.8, which isn’t much cheaper than this one, but is optically superior, might not be telephoto enough, depending on your needs. Lastly, there’s the 50-230mm budget zoom, which is nearly five times cheaper, but optically inferior, and also might not be long enough. Those who are deciding between the 100-400mm and the 50-140mm will have to determine if 140mm is telephoto enough for their photography. If so, I’d recommend the shorter lens. If you are deciding between the 100-400mm and the 50-230mm, if you plan to use the lens only occasionally, it might be difficult to justify spending nearly two thousand dollars, so you should probably go with the cheap one; if you’ll be using it often or need the longer reach, the 100-400mm is better, but you’ll have to put up with the heft. For those who need a long telephoto option, you might just have to get this big lens, because there really are no good alternatives. Thankfully, the Fujinon 100-400mm is a pretty good telephoto zoom lens that can produce stunning pictures.

Edit: I overlooked the Fujinon 55-200mm as an alternative. It’s better than the 50-230mm, and much less expensive than the 100-400mm, although with a maximum focal length that’s half as long. If you can’t afford the 100-400mm or need something that’s smaller and lighter, this is one that you should consider.

My affiliate links for the Fujinon XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens are here: B&H  Amazon. If you make a purchase using my links I will be compensated a small amount for it.

Example photographs, captured using the Fujinon 100-400mm lens on a Fujifilm X-T30:

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Liquid Hay – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @301mm

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Wetland Snow – Farmington Bay, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @100mm

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Blue Heron – Farmington Bay, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @400mm

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Blue Creek – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @100mm

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Silver Snow – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @159mm

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Francis Peak – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @400mm

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Birds Nests – Farmington Bay, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @107mm

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Frary Peak Thru the Reeds – Farmington Bay, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @143mm

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Monochrome Cattails – Farmington Bay, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @243mm

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Stretch – Farmington Bay, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @400mm

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Ugly Duckling – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @400mm

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Half Circle Reflected – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @100mm

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Forgotten Concrete – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @100mm

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White Pillow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @252mm

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Shadow Ware – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm @243mm

See also: Fujifilm Gear

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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Lens Review: Fujinon XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II


Fujifilm Fujinon 50-230mm Lens Review Blog

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.

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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:
B&H   Amazon

These are affiliate links, which, when you purchase something using them, I get a small kickback. It doesn’t cost you anything, yet it helps to financially support this website. I would never ask you to purchase something that you don’t want, but if you found this article helpful and are planning to buy this lens, using my links to do so helps me tremendously. Thank you for your support!

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using the Fujinon 50mm-230mm lens:

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Clouds Around Timpanogos – Heber City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Brush Strokes Over The Great Salt Lake – Antelope Is. SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Pollution – Antelope Is. SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Snow Cap – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Full Moon Over Cold Ridge – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Cold Bicyclist – Antelope Is. SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Garage Door – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Frosted Hill – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Peeking Peak – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Autumn & Winter – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 50-230mm

See also: Fujifilm Gear

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

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Lens Review: Fujinon XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR


Fujifilm Fujinon 90mm f/2 Lens Review

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.

Fujifilm Fujinon 90mm f/2 Lens Review

Fujifilm Fujinon 90mm f/2 Lens Review

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.

Fujifilm Fujinon 90mm f/2 Lens

Fujifilm Fujinon 90mm f/2 Lens

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.

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Great Salt Lake Evening – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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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Onaqui Wild Horses – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

You can buy the Fujinon 90mm f/2 here:  B&H  Amazon

These are affiliate links, which, when you purchase something using them, I get a small kickback. It doesn’t cost you anything, yet it helps to financially support this website. I would never ask you to purchase something that you don’t want, but if you found this article helpful and are planning to buy this lens, using my links to do so helps me tremendously. Thank you for your support!

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using this lens on a Fujifilm X-T20 and Fujifilm X-T30:

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Wearing Grandpa’s Hat – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Colorpack II – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Jar of Coffee Beans – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Morning Egg Bowl – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Peak Through The Thin Clouds – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Holiday Decor – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Greasework – Evanston, WY – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Refine – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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BNSF In Snow – Thistle, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

Processed with RNI Films. Preset 'Fuji Superia 200'

Overcoming Adversity – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

For more reviews and recommendations, please visit my Gear page!

Help Fuji X Weekly

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Full Fujifilm Kit For Under $3,000

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Yesterday I mentioned that, with the current deals being offered, you could get a two-camera kit with several lenses for under $3,000. I thought I’d break down what that might look like, as it could be helpful to some of you out there. I know that people are constantly changing systems, and perhaps somebody is considering Fujifilm and wondering where to start. Or maybe someone has an older Fujifilm camera and wants to update and expand their gear. Whatever the reason, the idea of having a full Fujifilm kit for under $3,000 is fascinating.

What makes this all possible is that the X-T2 and X-T20 are heavily discounted, since the new generation X-T3 and X-T30 have replaced them. The new cameras are indeed better, but not by huge margins, and that shouldn’t diminish the fact that the X-T2 and X-T20 are excellent bodies. The X-T2 and X-T20 should still be considered great options for those in the camera market.

To begin with, I would purchase both the X-T2 and X-T20. The X-T2 is weather-sealed and slightly more feature rich, while the X-T20 is smaller and lighter and better for travel. I imagine that they’d both get plenty of use. Different tools for different jobs that deliver identical image quality. I would purchase the X-T2 body for $800 and I would purchase the X-T20 combined with the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 for $900. At this point you have two bodies and a decent zoom lens for only $1,700.

Lenses are a bit trickier because it all depends on your style and genre. Different photographers have different needs. For example, if you do astrophotography, you might want the 16mm f/1.4, but if you do portrait photography you might appreciate the 56mm f/1.2 more. I personally love the 90mm f/2. The first two lenses are $900 while the last one is $850. However, there are great alternatives that are more budget friendly. For example, you could get the 16mm f/2.8 for $400 and the 50mm f/2 for $350, which altogether is $750, and it’s not all that much different than having the 16mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2. So you could buy one expensive lens or two cheaper alternatives, whatever you think would serve your photography best. I would recommend the 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 for $400. If you went with the two-lens alternative, you could afford to get the 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 for $500 instead of the cheaper zoom. If you don’t need a telephoto zoom, I’d recommend selecting one of the cheaper primes instead, such as the 16mm f/2.8 for $400, 23mm f/2 for $400, the 27mm f/2.8 for $400, the 35mm f/2 for $350, the 50mm f/2 for $350, or the 60mm f/2.4 for $400, whichever one best fits your needs.

If you chose one of the $900 lenses plus the $400 telephoto zoom, you’ve now spent $3,000. If you chose the $850 lens plus the telephoto zoom, you’re now $50 under budget. If you selected the two-lens alternative from the previous paragraph and the telephoto zoom (or one of the $400 primes), you’re now $150 under budget, or $50 under budget if you upgraded to the nicer zoom. If you selected the two-lens alternative plus the 35mm f/2 instead of the telephoto zoom, you’re now $200 under budget. You could also select one of the $850-$900 primes plus one of the $350-400 primes, which would put you between $2,900 and $3,000, depending on what you chose. For somewhere between $2,800 and $3,000 (depending on your combination), you have two camera bodies, a pretty good zoom, plus perhaps two primes, or one prime and another zoom, or two primes and another zoom, or three primes, just depending on what you selected. Whatever the combination is, that’s a pretty darn good kit for the money.

Lens Review: Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR


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When I purchased my Fujifilm X-T30, I took advantage of a bundle deal that was being offered, and added the Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR prime lens to the camera for an additional $100. What an incredible bargain! This lens normally sells for $400. I didn’t do any research on the 35mm f/2 lens prior to the purchase–I just knew that I wanted it because of the focal length and price–so what arrived in the mail was a surprise. When I opened the box and saw the lens for the first time, I was disappointed by how ugly it was. I know that one shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, so I didn’t hesitate to attach it to the camera and put it to the test.

The Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR lens is a “standard” prime lens on Fujifilm X cameras, giving a full-frame equivalent focal length of about 52mm. It’s neither wide-angle nor telephoto, but sees roughly the same as the human eye, which is why it’s known as the standard lens. This focal length is very common, and is often the first prime lens that one purchases. I’ve used standard prime lenses off and on for twenty years now, although this is my first Fujinon lens with this focal length.

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Something that I’ve heard said many times over the last five or so years is that the 50mm focal length (or, in the case of this lens, the 50mm equivalent focal length) is the most boring of all focal lengths. There are people who will never purchase this lens because they believe that it’s not possible to create interesting photographs with it. I completely disagree with that sentiment! It’s only boring if you create boring pictures with it. If you think this focal length is boring, that should motivate you all the more to use it and prove the statement wrong. Many of the greatest photographs ever created were captured using a standard prime lens. The only limitation to creating interesting pictures is the photographer, and not the camera or lens.

I’m not going to talk a whole lot about the technical aspects of the Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR lens, as that information is already plentiful on the internet. I want to spend most of my time discussing my experiences using this lens to create pictures. Is it a good lens in real world use? Is this lens worthwhile to own?

The first thing that I noticed is just how sharp this lens is. The quality of the glass is obvious. It’s corner-to-corner tack sharp, even at f/2. There’s a barely noticeable amount of vignetting wide-open, but that quickly goes away as you stop down. Bokeh (which is an overrated aspect of lens quality) is creamy and otherwise excellent. This is a nearly flawless lens from an image-quality point of view. The 35mm f/2 is a great example of why Fujinon lenses are renown.

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Note how the bottom of the picture seems to curve up when in reality it is a straight line.

I did say “nearly flawless” in the last paragraph, and if there is one complaint, it’s some obvious pincushion distortion. Don’t expect straight lines to be perfectly straight. This would be most noticeable when shooting a brick wall. It’s not uncommon for lenses to have some barrel or pincushion distortion, so I wouldn’t get too worked up over this, but it’s good to know what to expect.

How this lens handles lens flare might be seen as positive or negative, depending on if you like flare in your pictures. It’s definitely prone to flare, but it has a lovely quality to it if you like that sort of thing. If you don’t like flare, I recommend getting an aftermarket hood to help prevent it.

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You might really love or hate all that lens flare.

The minimum focus distance is about 14 inches, which isn’t great or terrible. You can’t do any macro photography, but this isn’t a macro lens, either. Auto-focus is fast, quiet and accurate. It’s also a good lens for manual focus with a smooth focus ring. The 35mm f/2 is fairly small and lightweight, and so it’s good for walk-around and travel photography. It seems to be well built and durable. It’s weather sealed, which is great if you have a weather sealed camera to attach it to. The Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR is a quality lens, and not much negative can be said about it.

While this isn’t the best looking lens ever made, once you get past that, it is high quality glass, and one of the best prime lenses that I’ve ever used. It’s not perfect, but it is very, very good. If you are looking for a quality prime lens to add to your camera bag, this is one you shouldn’t overlook. In real world use it excels and it is indeed worthwhile to own. You can purchase the Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR lens by clicking here, which helps to support this website.

Example photographs, captured using the Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR lens attached to a Fujifilm X-T30:

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Monochrome Mesa – Castle Valley, UT – f/10

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Frozen Reservoir – Causey Reservoir, UT – f/8

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Dead Desert Tree – Moab, UT – f/8

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Two Pots – Layton, UT – f/5.6

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It’s Lit – Layton, UT – f/4

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Hand Held Phone – South Ogden, UT – f/2.8

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Microwave – Moab, UT – f/4.5

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25th Street – Ogden, UT – f/4

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Joyful – South Weber, UT – f/2

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Kitchenscape – South Weber, UT – f/5

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Trapped Inside – South Weber, UT – f/3.6

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Gathering Raindrop – Layton, UT – f/9

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Castles To The Sky – Castle Valley, UT – f/7.1

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North Window Arch – Arches NP, UT – f/9

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Great Fujifilm Deals

There are currently some great deals on Fujifilm cameras and Fujinon lenses at Amazon right now. If you’ve been thinking about buying one of these items, now is a good time because of the great discounts being offered. If you use the links below, you’ll be supporting this site. Nobody pays me to write the articles you find here, so using my affiliate links is one way that you can support what’s happening at Fuji X Weekly.

As far as Fujifilm cameras go, the Fujifilm X-T2 is still $500 off and the Fujifilm X-H1 with grip is an incredible deal at just $1,300! There are some other promotions currently being offered, but these two are the good ones that you should be aware of.

For Fujinon lenses, the Fujinon XF 200mm f/2 is $1,000 off, Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 is $500 offFujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 is $400 off, Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 APD is $350 offFujinon XF 80mm f/2.8 is $300 off, and Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 is $300 off. Those are the best discounts currently being offered on lenses.

My Fujifilm X Camera Lens Recommendations, Part 1: Fujinon

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Perhaps you got a new Fujifilm X camera for Christmas, or maybe you’ve had one for awhile now, and you are considering the purchase of a new lens. What options do you have? Which ones are good? What should you buy? You probably have a lot of questions, and you’re hoping to find some sound advice. Well, my goal is to give you sound advice! I’m hoping that this article will be helpful for those who are in the market for a new lens for their Fujifilm X camera.

There are tons of great lens options, most of which I’ve never owned. You could spend a small fortune collecting camera lenses. I certainly don’t have that kind of money lying around, so I’ve only owned a handful of different Fujinon lenses. I’m not going to talk much about the camera lenses that I’ve yet to use, and concentrate on the ones that I have firsthand experience with. I want you to know that the lenses listed below are ones that I have owned and used, and my opinions are based on my experience of capturing photographs with them.

Just so that you are aware, I am providing links to Amazon where you can purchase these lenses if you want to. If you do, I will receive a small kickback from Amazon for referring you, which helps to support this website. Nobody pays me to write these articles. If you happen to decide that you want to purchase a certain lens that I have linked to, and if Amazon is the seller you would normally use, it would be great if you used my links to do so. I certainly appreciate it!

Now let’s talk about lenses!

Zooms

Zoom lenses are popular because you can cover a large range of focal-lengths without carrying three, four or five different prime lenses. It simplifies things and allows you to have a smaller and lighter camera bag. It might make your camera kit more affordable, too. Zoom lenses are versatile, but there’s always a trade-off, which might be sharpness, distortion or maximum aperture. While I prefer prime lenses instead of zooms, Fujifilm offers many compelling zoom choices that are worth considering.

Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS

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Mirrored Mountain – Mirror Lake, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 18-55mm

The first lens that I want to talk about is the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS, which is one of Fujifilm’s best zooms, available at Amazon for about $700. If you have the cheap kit zoom that came with your camera, this lens is similar but better–definitely an upgrade! It has a larger maximum aperture and produces results more in line with what you’d expect from a fixed-focal-length lens. There are some professional photographers who use this as their primary lens because of its size, quality and versatility. If you want something better than your cheap kit zoom lens but still want the convenience of the standard zoom, this is a very good option that you should strongly consider. Alternatively, the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens is even better, but will cost you several hundred dollars more.

Fujinon XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II

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Clouds Around Timpanogos – Heber City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 50-230mm

If you have a standard zoom lens but would like an option with more telephoto reach, the Fujinon XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II is a good lens that won’t break the bank, and it’s available at Amazon for about $400. This lens is surprisingly lightweight for its size and surprisingly sharp for the price. If you are a wildlife or sports photographer, you might not find this lens to be sufficient for your needs, but for those who only need a longer lens occasionally, this is your best bet because of its excellent value. Alternatively, the Fujinon 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS is a better lens for a few hundred dollars more, or for about $1,600, which is a steep price, the Fujinon 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR is the best quality option.

Primes

I prefer prime lenses over zooms. Since the focal-length is fixed, the optics can be more precisely engineered, often resulting in sharper glass with fewer flaws. Often prime lenses have a larger maximum aperture than zooms. The disadvantage is that you will likely need three, four or five different prime lenses, which can cost a lot of money and add significant bulk to your bag, while one or two zoom lenses might cover all your focal-length needs. There are pluses and minuses to both routes. Still, I’d rather have several prime lenses than one or two zooms, but that’s just my personal preference.

Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR

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Night Sky Over Needles Highway – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

The Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR, which is available at Amazon for about $1,000, is an excellent wide-angle prime lens. It is sharp and fast and quite wide, which makes it particularly great for dramatic points of view and astrophotography. Not everyone needs a lens that’s as wide-angle as this one, but for those who do, this is a superb choice. Alternatively, the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R, which doesn’t have as large of a maximum aperture as the 16mm, is slightly wider and cheaper, and overall an excellent option.

Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 R WR

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Starry Nights – Park City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 23mm

Everyone should have a walk-around prime lens, and the Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 R WR, which is available at Amazon for about $450, is a great choice for that role. This lens is superb, small and lightweight, and the focal-length is good for everyday shooting. If you’ve never owned a prime lens before, this is an excellent one to start with. There are several good alternatives, including the more expensive Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R, the more wide-angle Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R, the more telephoto Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R and the more compact Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8, all of which are quality lenses that are worth having. Pick one, as you should definitely own one.

Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro

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From Dust To Dust – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

One of my favorite lenses is the Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro, which is available at Amazon for about $650. This lens is a short telephoto (in other words, telephoto but not too telephoto), which gives you a little more reach than the kit zoom, and is great for portraits or landscapes. It’s a macro lens, if just barely, which allows you to focus closer to the subject than many other lenses. I find it to be quite versatile. The quality is exceptional, and it’s pretty small and lightweight for what it is. If there is one complaint it’s that autofocus is a tad slow, which is typical of macro lenses, but it’s not that big of a deal. Alternatively, the Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R, which some consider to be the very best Fujinon lens, is a similar focal length, but it’s about $1,000, and the Fujinon XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro, which also gets brought up in the “best Fujinon” conversations, might be a better macro lens, but it costs about $1,200.

Fujinon XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR

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Great Salt Lake Evening – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & 90mm

A great portrait lens, which is also a great landscape lens when you are a distance from the subject, is the Fujinon XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR. It’s available at Amazon for about $950.  This lens is a bit big and heavy, but it’s super sharp and captures lovely images. Because of its focal-length, it can be tough to use at times, but in those situations where you can use it, the lens delivers stunning results! As far as image quality is concerned, this is my favorite Fujinon lens. Alternatively, the Fujinon XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro, which is more expensive and not quite as telephoto, is really your only other option (outside of a telephoto zoom lens), but it’s also an excellent choice.

The list of Fujinon lenses above, plus the alternatives mentioned, are only some of the lenses available for your Fujifilm X camera. There are other great Fujinon options, plus third-party lenses, that you might also consider. These lenses have worked well for me and my photography, and I believe that they will do well for others, as well. If you do go with my suggestions, know that I am sincere in my recommendations, but that doesn’t mean that those lenses are necessarily the right ones for you and your photography, because I don’t know what your exact needs are. These are definitely generalized suggestions, and it’s a good idea to consider what would be the best options for what you will be capturing. Anytime you see someone recommend a certain camera or lens or other gear, it’s smart to do your own research to better understand what your needs are and how to best meet those needs. I hope that this article has been helpful to you in some way in your search for a new lens for your Fujifilm camera!

Part 2 – Third Party Lenses For Fujifilm X

Lens Review: Fujinon XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II


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I purchased a used Fujifilm X-A3 camera for $400 a few months ago with the intentions of using vintage lenses on it. The camera, which, by the way, is a great bargain, producing image quality that fits somewhere in-between X-Trans II and X-Trans III, came with the cheap kit 16-50mm lens attached. I was planning to sell this lens to bring the cost of the camera to somewhere near $275-$250 (figuring that I could get around $125-$150 for the lens). I had no intentions of keeping the kit zoom, but after capturing a few images with it, I decided not to sell it after all.

The lens, official called Fujinon Super EBC XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II, is Fujifilm’s bottom end zoom lens that usually comes paired with their cheaper cameras. In fact, starting with the X-A5, it’s actually been replaced by a new kit zoom. By all means this lens should be garbage. It’s meant for beginners. It’s meant for amateurs. It’s meant for cheapskates. It’s not meant for serious photography. Or is it?

There are some reasons why the lens is cheap. It’s mostly made of plastic and feels like it wouldn’t take a whole lot to break it. On the flip side of that coin, it’s very lightweight, which is a significant plus. The lens lacks an aperture ring like most other Fujinon lenses. The largest aperture, available only at the widest focal length, is f/3.5, which isn’t particularly fast. At the telephoto end the largest aperture is f/5.6, and there’s nothing impressive about that.

To make matters worse, there’s some significant corner softness at f/3.5, and it doesn’t completely go away until f/8. Diffraction begins at f/11, although it’s not really a problem until f/16, so the range where this lens is at peak sharpness is quite narrow. Thankfully, vignetting and chromatic aberrations are very minimal and there’s only a tiny amount of distortion, even at 16mm.

So what is there about this lens that convinced me to keep it? Three things: focal length, close focusing and sharpness.

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The focal length of 16-50mm, which, because this is an APS-C lens, is equivalent to 24-75mm in full-frame terms, is just about perfect for an everyday walk-around lens. Almost-but-not-quite ultra-wide angle at one end, and portrait-length short-telephoto at the other end. It’s a very versatile range of focal lengths. Even though it seems like there’s no real difference between 18mm (the typical kit zoom wide-angle focal length) and 16mm (the wide-angle focal length of this lens), it’s actually quite significant, and 16mm is noticeably more dramatic.

I was surprised at the close focus distance of the 16-50mm lens. At the wide-angle end, the closest focus distance is a little less than 6″. At the telephoto end, the closest focus distance is a little less than 14″. What this means is that it’s not quite a macro lens, but it is not far from it, and it is possible, with a little cropping, to do some borderline macro photography. It also means that if you place the subject as close as possible to the end of the lens (but where you can still focus on it), it’s possible to achieve a narrow depth-of-field and separation from a blurry background. And the bokeh on this lens is actually pleasant.

The biggest surprise for me with this lens is the sharpness. I was shocked, really. When in the sweet spot, which is roughly f/6.4 to f/10, the lens is crisp edge-to-edge, with sharpness that’s on par with a lesser prime or higher-end zoom. It’s definitely sharper than one would expect for an inexpensive zoom! At f/5.6 center sharpness is still very good, but the corners are just a tad soft; however, it’s still an excellent aperture. As you open up the aperture from there (which become increasingly available as you zoom out) the corners become softer, as does the center, and by f/3.5 you get mediocre (but still usable) results. Diffraction begins at f/11 but it isn’t really noticeable until f/16, and even then it’s not a huge deal.

The Fujinon XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II lens has an MSRP of $400 brand new, and I would never pay that amount for it. You can find the lens used pretty easily for under $200, and I’ve seen them as cheap as $100. I was planning to sell mine for somewhere around $150-$125, and for that price it’s well worth having, even if you only use it occasionally. It’s inexpensive, lightweight, has a great focal length range, can focus close and is quite sharp when in a narrow range of apertures. It has some flaws, but they can be worked around. It’s certainly possible to capture great photographs using this cheap zoom. While Fujifilm made this lens cheap, they didn’t sacrifice on the optics, and it becomes obvious in use that this is indeed a Fujinon lens.

Example photos:

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45 MPH Road – Wendoever, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm @ 16mm f/10

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Kids At The Salt Flats – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm @ 16mm f/11

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Welcome – Lake Point, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm @ 16mm f/4.5

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Dry Brush – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm @ 50mm f/5.6

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Red Tree Berries – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm @ 50mm f/5.6

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Sky’s The Limit – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm @ 16mm f/10

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Stark Salt – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm @ 16mm f/9

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Pyramid – Antelope Is. SP, UT – Fuji X-A3 & 16-50mm @ f/10

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Ivy Leaves – Ogden, UT – Fuji X-A3 & 16-50mm @ 50mm f/8

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Penned Horse – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm @ 50mm f/5.6

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