Lens Review: Fujinon XF 27mm F/2.8 R WR

Bundled with my Fujifilm X-E4 was the brand-new Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR lens. It’s sometimes referred to as the “Mark II” version, although that’s just a nickname and not an official title. It replaces the aging XF 27mm f/2.8 (note that the old model doesn’t have an R and WR in the name), which was released in 2013. This refresh improves the original model’s shortcomings while not messing with what made it great.

The Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR, which retails for $399, is a pancake lens, which means that it’s small and flat. In fact, it’s Fujifilm’s most compact lens. The X-E4 when paired with this lens is similar in size to the X100V with its built-in lens. The 27mm f/2.8 is less than an inch long and weighs only three ounces, making it a perfect option for travel.

Fujifilm gave this new model two significant improvements over the old version. The most noticeable is the addition of an aperture ring (this is what the R in the name means). Fujifilm’s charm and ideology is retro-styling, and the traditional aperture ring is a big part of that, so it was a shame that the old model didn’t have one, but great that the new one does. Another improvement is weather sealing (hence, WR in the name), although this only matters if the camera is weather sealed, too. Also, the new model is capable of manual-focus-override while in autofocus, which I don’t believe the old version could do, so this is a bonus improvement.

The focus motor inside the new 27mm lens is the same as the old version. It’s plenty quick enough, but it is a little on the loud side. It would have been nice if Fujifilm had engineered a quieter motor for this update. There are noisier lenses in the Fujinon lineup, so it’s not a big deal (I suppose) that Fujifilm left the motor alone. Still, this would have been a nice touch.

Fujifilm kept the glass inside the new lens the same as the old one. There are seven elements in five groups with seven rounded blades. The minimum focus distance is a little more than 13 inches, which is decent enough but not great. The 27mm focal-length is 40.5mm full-frame equivalent, which is barely wide-angle, and is very close to “normal” on Fujifilm X cameras. The maximum aperture is f/2.8, which isn’t particularly fast, and the minimum aperture is f/16. The lens accepts 39mm threaded filters.

The 27mm f/2.8 lens is pretty darn sharp. I don’t think it’s quite as sharp as the 35mm f/2, but very close. There’s a little corner softness when wide open. Peak sharpness seems to be around f/5.6-f/8, but it’s good throughout the full aperture range. I didn’t notice any vignetting or chromatic aberrations. I did see a very minor amount of barrel distortion, which only really matters when shooting brick walls; it’s very subtle so no big deal. Bokeh looks nice. Sunstars are decent yet soft. Flare is well-controlled.

There’s a special quality about the pictures captured with the 27mm f/2.8 lens. I’m not exactly sure what it is—the “it factor” maybe?—it’s really difficult to describe, but what I can tell you is that I like this little lens more than I thought I was going to. Maybe it’s the small size? I think more than anything the pictures that it produces attracts me to it. I absolutely love the new Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR lens, and it’s a great bargain when bundled with the Fujifilm X-E4.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR   Amazon   B&H

Example photographs captured with the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR lens on a Fujifilm X-E4:

Palms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Palms Trees & Storm – Sun City West, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Black & White Bloom – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Little Garden Statue – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Boombox – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Little Dog – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Lampshade, Cross & Curtain – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Two Thirty – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T4 & Fujinon 27mm
Tiles & Stairs – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Window Blinds – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Globe by a Window – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
What’s the Dog’s Name? – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Cactus Seat – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Blossoming Red – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
That Way – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm
Three Palms – Sun City West, AZ – Fujifilm X-E4 & Fujinon 27mm

See also: My Fujifilm Gear Page

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Lens Review: 7artisans 50mm F/1.8

I picked up a used 7artisans 50mm f/1.8 lens for $60. The lens retail for $89, which is really cheap, but I wasn’t sure if this lens would be a good fit for what I want it for, so I went the used route instead. If it turned out to be a dud I wouldn’t be out all that much money. I’m happy that I paid less for it, because I don’t think I’m going to keep it for very long; however, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good lens.

The 7artisans 50mm f/1.8 is an all-manual prime lens that’s 75mm full-frame equivalent on Fujifilm X cameras, which makes it a short telephoto option. It’s the smallest 50mm lens for Fujifilm that doesn’t require an adapter, and that’s why I chose it. It seems to have good build quality—made mostly of metal—with a click-less aperture ring (good for video, but otherwise not my favorite design) and a smooth focus ring. It has 12 rounded blades, producing nice bokeh and sunstars.

The lens is a little soft at f/1.8 and f/2, but improves significantly when stopped down, and is overall pretty sharp. There’s some minor vignetting at all apertures, but nothing significant, and it’s barely noticeable by f/8. Lens flare is well controlled. I didn’t notice any chromatic aberrations. There’s not much distortion, so straight lines stay straight. The 7artisans 50mm f/1.8 is an inexpensive short-telephoto prime lens that’s pretty decent. So why am I planning to sell it?

There’s not much rotation in the focus ring from about 25 feet to infinity, meaning tiny turns of the ring move the focus point large distances. The lens will actually focus slightly beyond infinity, so focussing on further-away objects is tricky. I had more misses than hits when photographing distant subjects. This one flaw ruins the lens for me, or at least makes it less useful and enjoyable than I had hoped it would be. Otherwise, the lens is good. If you plan to photograph things that are closer than 25 feet away, the 7artisans 50mm f/1.8 is worth considering; however, for objects further away than 25 feet, the lens is still usable, but it can be a frustrating experience.

This review contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase using my links.
Amazon

Below are camera-made JPEGs that I captured using the 7artisans 50mm f/1.8 lens attached to my Fujifilm X-T30

Monochrome Home – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 7artisans 50mm f/1.8
Cold Metal Bench – Weber Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 7artisans 50mm f/1.8
Hair Stripes – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 7artisans 50mm f/1.8
Jo in a Yellow Beanie – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 7artisans 50mm f/1.8
Sunlight Through The Barren Trees – Weber Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 7artisans 50mm f/1.8
Outcropping – Weber Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 7artisans 50mm f/1.8
Winter Picnic – Weber Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 7artisans 50mm f/1.8
Dangerous Place – Weber Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 7artisans 50mm f/1.8
Fountain Show Shrub – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 7artisans 50mm f/1.8
Vibrant Colors Behind Bush – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 7artisans 50mm f/1.8

See also: My Gear Page

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Lens Review: Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R

The Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R lens is the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This is a lens that I want to love because of its small size and very useful focal-length, but I don’t love it because its way overpriced and has a disappointing focus system. I’m getting a little ahead of myself, though; I have plenty that I want to discuss about the Fujinon 18mm f/2 before giving my conclusion.

This is one of two “pancake” lenses offered by Fujifilm; the other is the 27mm f/2.8. Whereas the 27mm is a true pancake, the 18mm f/2 is only sort-of one, as it’s a little on the large size for this category. Think of it more of a Japanese pancake than an American flapjack, or maybe it’s a short stack. The 18mm f/2 is compact glass for when you want a little less girth and weight, but it’s not quite as small as one might hope for.

In this lens are eight elements in seven groups with seven semi-rounded blades. You won’t get great sunstars. Bokeh is pretty good, although not something you’ll experience much because it’s a wide-angle lens. The 18mm focal-length is full-frame equivalent to 27mm. The minimum focus distance is about seven inches, which is pretty good. The maximum aperture is f/2 and the minimum is f/16, with 1/3-stop intermediate clicks. The lens accepts 52mm threaded filters.

The Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens is sharp in the center at all apertures. It’s slightly soft on the edges at all apertures, but more so when wide-open, so it’s best to stop down to at least f/2.8 or f/4 if you can. I didn’t notice any vignetting. There’s not much distortion, and I didn’t notice any chromatic aberrations; I wonder if it’s because the camera is correcting this—as you probably know, I shoot JPEGs, and I didn’t inspect the RAW files. Image quality from this lens is clearly Fujinon, and I’m quite happy with how it renders pictures.

This is one of Fujifilm’s oldest X-series lenses, and it shows. It’s in desperate need of a refresh. Autofocus is the slowest I’ve experienced in a Fujinon model, outside of macro lenses that have a long range to cycle through. It’s also the loudest. I found manual-focus, which is focus-by-wire, to be somewhat unpleasant. The focus system on this lens is disappointing, but ultimately it is sufficient for most situations, so you just have to put up with it. Hopefully at some point Fujifilm makes a new version with a better focus motor.

The 18mm f/2 is quite prone to lens flare, which you might love or hate depending on how you feel about it. Fujifilm does provide a lens hood that’s highly effective, but it adds significant length, which defeats the point of it being a pancake lens—with the hood it makes this lens the same size as the 16mm f2.8. I’m personally okay with the flare, so I don’t use the hood.

Fujinon 18mm f/2 flare example.
Fujinon 18mm f/2 flare example.

The Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R lens isn’t weather-sealed (which only matters if your camera is), it doesn’t have any image stabilization (which isn’t a big deal on a wide-angle lens), and it’s slow and loud compared to other Fujinon lenses. Yet it retails for $600! The only thing special about the 18mm f/2 is that it’s small and lightweight, which is why I bought it and why I plan to keep it, but I wouldn’t pay $600 for it.

If you can find one for a good price, it might be worth owning. Otherwise, there are better options to consider, including the 14mm f/2.8, 16mm f/2.8, 16mm f/1.4, 8-16mm f/2.8, 10-24mm f/4, 16-55mm f/2.8, 18-55mm f/2.8-f/4, 16-80mm f/4, and 18-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6. Heck, the 15-45mm f/3.5-f/5.6 and 16-50mm f/3.5-f/5.6 might even be better options! Pretty much any Fujinon lens that covers this or a similar focal length will have some advantages over the 18mm f/2. The one and only reason to buy the Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens is if you need a small pancake-like wide-angle lens to attach to your camera. If you need that, this lens is your best bet because it’s your only option.

Ah, but the pictures captured through this lens are quite nice, even if the experience of capturing them is less than ideal. That’s why I said this is the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You have to know this going into it, or you’ll likely be disappointed. If you can put up with the quirks and can get it for a good price, you’ll find glass capable of capturing beautiful images, and that’s what matters most. I don’t love the lens, but I do like it and plan to use it frequently.

This post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase using my links I’ll be compensated a small amount for it.

Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R Amazon B&H

Example photographs captured with the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R lens on a Fujifilm X-T30:

Shallow Lake – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Calm Canal – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Farmington Bay Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Sky Reflections in the Water – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
International Fence – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Red Steel Pile – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Dirty Shore & Reflections – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Algae & Broken Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Puddle in the Path – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Still Water Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Seagull Over Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Wetlands Under Pastel Sky – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Structure Abstract – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Bucket in a Basket – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Sidewalk Intersection – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Three Seagulls – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Tree & Reflection – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2
Dramatic Sky Over Shallow Lake – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 18mm f/2

Help Fuji X Weekly

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Lens Review: Pergear 10mm F/8 Fisheye

I recently decided to create a compact kit for Fujifilm X cameras (specifically, the upcoming X-E4)—something that is versatile yet can fit into a small bag, that’s convenient for travel. An important part of this kit will be pancake lenses. It didn’t take me long to discover that there aren’t very many of these lenses available for Fujifilm cameras. There are only two Fujinon pancakes: the 27mm f/2.8 and 18mm f/2. There aren’t a whole lot of tiny third-party lenses, either. The Pergear 10mm F/8 Fisheye, which was released just a few weeks ago and retails for only $79, is an inexpensive ultra-wide pancake option that I knew I needed to try.

At 2/5ths of an inch thick, the Pergear 10mm F/8 Fisheye lens isn’t much bigger than the Fujifilm body cap. It’s super small and lightweight. I doubt there are many lenses available that are thinner than this one. It appears to be mostly made of metal and the build quality seems pretty solid. It has five elements in four groups. The minimum focus distance is about one foot, and manual focusing is done via a small lever on the bottom-front of the lens. On Fujifilm X cameras, the 10mm focal-length is full-frame-equivalent to 15mm.

Legendary photographer Weegee coined the phrase, “F/8 and be there.” Due to its fixed f/8 aperture, the Pergear 10mm F/8 Fisheye epitomizes this saying. You literally can’t do much more than “f/8 and be there.” This allows the lens to be so small, but it also limits its usefulness; it’s not a good option for low-light situations.

Pergear calls this a “fisheye” lens because there’s a lot of barrel distortion, which isn’t unusual on such wide-angle lenses. It reminds me a lot of SuperView on GoPro cameras, if you’re familiar. Straight lines won’t be straight, which you can either fix in software or try to use creatively.

I found the Pergear 10mm F/8 Fisheye lens to be sufficiently sharp in the center—not Fujinon prime tack-sharp, but sharp enough nonetheless. There’s some noticeable corner softness and vignetting. I did spot chromatic aberrations in extreme contrast areas. This isn’t the greatest glass, but, considering the price, it’s surprisingly decent.

Due to its focal length, fixed aperture, and barrel distortion, this is a challenging lens to use. It’s not for most situations; however, it can be used to capture some dramatic and creative pictures in the right situations. If you embrace the challenge you’ll surely be rewarded. I found the Pergear 10mm F/8 Fisheye fun to use—more enjoyable than I expected.

There are definitely better ultra-wide-angle lenses (both Fujinon and third-party) that you could buy instead of the Pergear 10mm; however, you won’t find any as inexpensive or as small as this one (at least I didn’t find any). That combination of size and value make the Pergear 10mm F/8 Fisheye an intriguing option. If you plan to shoot ultra-wide often, this isn’t likely the lens for you, unless you really appreciate how it renders pictures. If you think it would be fun to occasionally use a 10mm lens but don’t want to spend a bunch of money or make room in your camera bag for a bigger option, this Pergear lens is certainly worth a try.

This review contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase using my links.
Amazon $79

Example photographs using the Pergear 10mm f/8 Fisheye lens on my Fujifilm X-T1:

R&R BBQ – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
Weather Radar – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
February Thistles – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
Reaching Thistles – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
Small Pond – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
Rural Red Door – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
Boat Ramp Trash – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
Dirt Road to Nowhere – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
Marsh Path – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
Uncertain Trail – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
Dry Grass – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
Rooftop Sunshine – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
Ladder Smile – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
Stacked Chairs – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
Sysco Kid – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 & Pergear 10mm
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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: Pergear 50mm f/1.8

I get asked frequently, “How can I make my digital pictures look more like film?”

My film simulation recipes—made possible by Fujifilm’s commitment to the camera-made JPEG and their long history with film—are a great start for achieving a film-like look. Another step that can go a long way towards achieving an analog aesthetic is the lens that’s attached to the camera. You see, most modern lenses are precision engineered, designed to eliminate flaws as much as possible. They score well on test charts, but often at the expense of character. Modern lenses render photographs differently than vintage lenses; old lenses have flaws, as they weren’t designed with today’s technology or for today’s standards, and these flaws are why they render images uniquely. For (typically) not very much money you can buy antique lenses intended for film cameras, and mount them to your Fujifilm X camera with an adapter—something that I love to do! Cheap third-party lenses often accomplish the same thing, but you’re buying something that’s new (instead of old) and you don’t need an adapter. The Pergear 50mm f/1.8 lens is an inexpensive option for your Fujifilm X camera, and it indeed has character similar to a vintage lens!

I get gift cards sometimes, usually for my birthday or Christmas, and it can be hard to know what to buy myself. In the past I have purchased a Meike 35mm f/1.7 lens and a 7artisans 25mm f/1.8 lens—both are under $100, which is the right price range for those gift cards that I don’t know what to do with. The Pergear 50mm f/1.8, with an MSRP of $79, is in that same category. The Pergear lens has other things in common with the Meike and 7artisans models: click-less aperture rings, seemingly good build quality, similar flaws, and lots of character. You’d almost think that they were made by the same company, but apparently they’re not.

The Pergear 50mm f/1.8 is a 75mm-equivalent manual-focus, manual-aperture prime lens from China. It has 10 rounded aperture blades, 6 elements in 4 groups, a maximum aperture of f/1.8, a minimum aperture of f/16, a minimum focus distance of about 15 inches, and accepts 43mm threaded filters. The aperture and focus rings are both smooth. I do wish that the aperture ring had f-stop clicks, but it doesn’t—not a big deal, though.

Center sharpness is pretty fantastic on the Pergear 50mm f/1.8 lens at all apertures. Corner sharpness is decent-enough when wide open and noticeably improves when stopped down to f/4. There’s some minor vignetting when wide open; it improves when stopped down, yet it never fully goes away, although it’s hardly noticeable at apertures smaller than f/2.8. There’s some noticeable chromatic aberrations in extreme high-contrast light, but is otherwise well controlled. There’s almost no distortion. Bokeh is pretty good thanks to those rounded blades.

The Pergear 50mm f/1.8 has a weird flaw, which can be stunningly beautiful or terribly awful, depending on your tastes and the exact situation: the center of the frame can get a warm haze. It seems to become more pronounced when the aperture is (roughly) f/5.6 and smaller, and when there’s a bright light source somewhere in front of the camera (it can be outside the frame). Sometimes I really love this haze, and it’s almost like having a diffusion filter built into the lens, and sometimes it’s just too pronounced and essentially ruins the picture. Opening up the aperture seems to reduce the effect in those situations where it might be too pronounced. This strange haze is both the reason to buy this lens and the reason not to, depending on your opinion of it. I personally really like it, although I’m happy to have it limited to one lens, which I can choose to use when I want this character in my pictures. To be clear, this haze won’t show up in every picture—there are many situations where it won’t, either because the aperture is too large or because the light isn’t right, and even when it does appear, it’s often very subtle, which is great.

The Pergear 50mm f/1.8 is a good, sharp lens, producing lovely images in most situations. It has character that you just won’t find in most modern lenses. It has quirks, which can be good or bad, depending on the situation and your tastes. It’s all manual, which I like, but can take some practice to get good at if you’ve only ever used auto lenses. The Pergear 50mm f/1.8 lens, when used in conjunction with the Fujifilm JPEG settings, can help you achieve a much-sought-after film-like look from your digital camera. It’s not for everyone, but, for the price, it’s worth a try, especially if you are unsure what to buy with that gift card in your wallet.

This review contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase using my links.
Amazon $79

Below are camera-made JPEGs that I captured using the Pergear 50mm f/1.8 lens attached to my Fujifilm X-T30. For the color pictures I used my new Kodak Portra 400 v2 recipe (available on the Fuji X Weekly App for iOS), except for the the top picture, which was captured with Velvia, and the two night pictures below that, which were captured with Porto 200 (also available on the app). For the black-and-white pictures I used my Kodak Tri-X 400 recipe. The photographs of the lens (above) were captured with a Fujifilm X100V using my Superia Premium 400 recipe.

Piano Abstract – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Train at Night – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Windshield Bokeh – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Red Berry Tree – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Resting Girl on Chair – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Handicapped Parking – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Trash, Truck – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Rural Trash Can – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Dam & Bridge – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Water Under The Bridge – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Cold Country Road – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
December Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Hunting Journey – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Winter Sunflower – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Reed by a Frozen Lake – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Cattails – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Pole Cone – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Duck Hunters – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Grass in the Cold Water – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Motor Vehicles Prohibited – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Steel – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Barren Landscape – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Grass in the Frozen Marsh – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
Storm Over Frozen Marsh – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Pergear 50mm f/1.8
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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

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Lens Review: Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS CS


Fujifilm X-E1 Rokinon 12mm f/2 Photography Blog

The Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS CS is a fairly inexpensive ultra-wide-angle lens for crop-sensor cameras, such as Fujifilm X. This same exact lens is also sold under the Samyang brand name. Is it any good? Is it worth buying? Is it for you? Those are questions that I hope to answer in this Rokinon 12mm lens review.

This Rokinon lens has a focal length of 12mm, which is a full-frame equivalent of 18mm when attached to your Fujifilm camera due to the APS-C crop factor. It has a maximum aperture of f/2, which is good, and a minimum aperture of f/22. There are 12 elements in 10 groups, with six curved blades. The lens is made mostly of plastic, but it still feels plenty sturdy. The Rokinon 12mm lens is quite small and lightweight, and overall well designed.

Fujifilm X-T20 Rokinon 12mm f/2 Lens Photography Blog

Rokinon 12mm f/2 Lens

This is a manual lens. You will have to manually focus it and manually control the aperture. The focus ring is slightly stiff but smooth. It does focus just past infinity, which can be annoying. The aperture ring clicks at the different f-stops and is overall pretty swell, as far as aperture rings go. If you are not used to using manual lenses, it will likely take some practice to feel comfortable using this lens.

The Rokinon 12mm is pretty sharp. It definitely fits in well with Fujinon glass. There is some corner softness when wide open, but it’s corner-to-corner sharp by f/4. The center is crisp at all apertures, and seems to reach peak sharpness around f/5.6. Diffraction begins around f/11, but isn’t really noticeable until f/16, and even then it’s not terrible, although I would avoid f/22. While not perfect, this lens is surprisingly sharp considering that it’s a relatively cheap third-party option.

Fujifilm Rokinon 12mm Lens

Fujifilm Rokinon 12mm Lens

This lens produces some barrel distortion, but that’s not surprising since this is such a wide-angle lens, and it’s not as much as you might think. If you photograph a brick wall or straight lines you will notice it, otherwise it won’t affect your pictures. Honestly, I expected it to be much worse than it is.

There is pronounced vignetting at f/2 on the Rokinon 12mm, but it becomes less obvious as you stop down. It’s pretty minor by f/5.6, but I don’t think that it ever completely goes away. Chromatic aberrations can be found in the corners when wide open, but largely go away by f/4. Coma is well controlled, but slightly noticeable at f/2. The lens controls flare fairly well–not necessarily great but far from terrible. Sunstars are mediocre, as is bokeh, although you don’t buy a 12mm lens for the background blur. With a minimum focus distance of about eight inches, you can achieve some background blur when wide-open, but most likely you won’t be using the lens like that.

Fujifilm Rokinon 12mm f/2 Lens

Fujifilm Rokinon 12mm f/2 Lens

What I love about the 12mm focal length is that it is very dramatic. You can really make some interesting pictures with it, but at the same time it can be quite demanding. You have to stick the lens right into the scene, sometimes uncomfortably so. I love the challenge of using this lens, as it can be a lot of fun. It’s especially great for landscapes, street photography and astrophotography. I have used it for both still photography and video. If you want a lens that will help you create striking pictures, this is one to strongly consider, but know it’s not necessarily easy to use.

The Rokinon 12mm f/2 lens is a great ultra-wide-angle option for your Fujifilm X camera. It’s very easy to recommend. Although this lens does have some minor flaws, it’s pretty great overall, and it’s easy to overlook the shortcomings when you consider the price. It has an MSRP of $400, but can often be found for less than that, and sometimes for less than $300. While the 12mm focal length isn’t for everyone, and some people might be intimated by a manual lens, I do think this is one that most Fujifilm X shooters should consider having in their camera bag.

Fujifilm Rokinon 12mm f/2 Lens

Rokinon 12mm f/2 Lens Fujifilm

My affiliate links for this Rokinon 12mm lens are here: B&H  Amazon. If you make a purchase using my links I will be compensated a small amount for it.

Sample photographs, captured using a Rokinon 12mm f/2 lens with a Fujifilm X-E1 and a Fujifilm X-T30:

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Barn by the Tetons – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Tree of Broken Glass – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Self – Bonneville Salt Flats, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Tulip Blossom Monochrome – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Bike Jump – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Hustle & Bustle – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Storm Trooper – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Cat Crossing – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Lighthouse Lounge – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Urban Flowers – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Little Blooms, Big Blooms – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

Fujifilm X-T30 Blog

Vibrant Nature – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

Fujifilm X-T30 Blog

Tree Stars – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Schwabacher Landing Beaver Dam – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Hiding Rainbow – Coalville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Stars & Salt – Bonneville Salt Flats, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Sidewalk Tricycle – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Evening Bike – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Nick – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

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Inside The Savage Bus – Delle, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm f/2

For more reviews, please visit my Gear page.

Help Fuji X Weekly

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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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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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Lens Review: Meike 35mm f/1.7 for Fujifilm


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Meike 35mm f/1.7

I had a birthday a few weeks ago. I also had an Amazon gift card. So I browsed Amazon for something to buy myself in celebration of becoming older. I was looking through Fujifilm accessories when I stumbled across a cheap $90 prime lens, the Meike 35mm f/1.7. A prime lens for less than $100? I added it to the cart, proceeded to the checkout and submitted the order.

And I immediately regretted it.

I mean, I’m older and supposedly wiser. What kind of piece-of-junk lens am I going to get for so little money? It will, most assuredly, be poorly made with subpar optics and I’ll never use it. I had wasted my money, no doubt about it, I thought. I should have purchased something else. Oh, well. The order had already been placed.

A couple of days later a package arrived at my door. Inside was a box that contained the Meike 35mm f/1.7 lens that I had ordered. I opened it up with low expectations. It felt plenty hefty, though, and not lightweight like something made from cheap plastic. I removed the lens from the box and it looked and felt solidly built, mostly made of metal. My senses were telling me that I had ordered a vintage lens from the film era, perhaps the 1960’s, and not a brand-new lens made for digital cameras.

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Meike 35mm on Fujifilm X-Pro2

The Meike 35mm f/1.7 lens looked good and seemed like a quality item, but what about the optics? Was it going to perform well? Why was it so darn cheap?

I attached it to my Fujifilm X-Pro2 and immediately noticed a quirk. The aperture ring is smooth and doesn’t click at the different f-stops. That’s a little odd. I have a Helios 44-2 lens that has two aperture rings, one that clicks and one that’s smooth, and so it’s not a new concept, but it is an unusual choice.

Another quirk is that the spaces in-between the f-stops, marked by numbers on the lens, are far apart when the aperture is large and close together when the aperture is small. For example, it takes quite a turn to get from f/1.7 to f/2 but going from f/8 all the way to f/22 is a tiny turn, and trying to stop on f/11 or f/16 is a tough task.

This is a manual focus lens and the focus ring is smooth. It seems to have the right amount of give, not too firm and not too loose. There is a focus distance scale on the lens, something that is too often missing today. The front element doesn’t rotate and it has 49mm threads.

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Meike 35mm on Fujifilm X-Pro2 with coffee

I was shocked when I reviewed some frames that I had captured with the Meike 35mm lens on my X-Pro2 and saw how crisp they were. It’s sharp. Very sharp, in fact! I would expect this sharpness out of a lens that costs much more, but not out of budget glass. From the perspective of creating crisp images, this lens is right up there with the best. And it looks good attached to the X-Pro2.

I was then shocked by the amount of vignetting and the soft corners when using a large aperture. This is why the lens is so cheap. When wide open the Meike 35mm is almost unusable. I say almost because you could use the flaws as an artistic tool to give your images character. Things noticeably improve at f/2, but it’s still pronounced. By f/2.8 I would say that the vignetting and soft corners are minimal enough that you could live with them, but they don’t fully go away until f/8. Apertures smaller than f/8 suffer from diffraction. There is a small amount of chromatic aberrations that can be found when the aperture is f/4 and larger, but overall it’s well controlled. There’s a fairly pronounced pincushion distortion, which you’ll notice if you photograph a brick wall.

Bokeh, which is the quality of the out-of-focus area of an image, looks very good with this lens. When wide open there is a slight swirly effect, similar to the Helios 44-2 but less pronounced. When the aperture is large the subject separates nicely from the background.

The Meike 35mm f/1.7 is an excellent budget standard prime lens option for your Fujifilm camera. It’s all manual, which I like but some people might not. It has lots of character, something that’s often missing from modern lenses. It certainly has plenty of flaws and there is a reason why it’s cheap, but overall it performs much better than the price point would indicate. Even if the MSRP was $150 (instead of $90) it would still be an intriguing option. If you don’t already own a standard prime lens for your Fujifilm camera, this is one that you should consider, and, because it’s very inexpensive, it should fit into everyone’s budget.

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Securely In Father’s Arms – Mt. Rushmore, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Conoco – Edgemont, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 35mm

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Sinclair – Edgemont, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Big Cookie, Little Girl – Custer, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Camping Face – Custer, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Campfire – Custer, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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White Flower Blossoms – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Green Hills Under Grey Sky – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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State & Federal Symbols – Mt. Rushmore, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Monumental – Mt. Rushmore, SD – X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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George – Mt. Rushmore, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Mount Rushmore Monochrome – Mt. Rushmore, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Ominous – Custer, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Flowers & Rail – Edgemont, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Getting Ranger Badges – Mt. Rushmore, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

See also: Fujinon XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II lens review

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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