It may be a more existential question regarding telephoto lenses and more specifically long telephoto zoom lenses that have a tendency to extend almost up to the infinity. The good thing about this it is the fact that you don’t really notice it when you are looking at your viewfinder but otherwise it could be seen as a bit of indecent…
The Fujinon XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8R LM OIS zoom lens is from the start a very fine product. Not fast as a “pro” F2.8 lens but it can deliver a lever of quality image output result that can stand on par compare to these more expensive products. Its design presentation is a mimic of the XF 18-55mm F2.8-4R LM OIS standard zoom lens and we can assimilate them as the four optic elements of the Fujifilm NMARX X-series lens models (None-Marked-Aperture-Ring-X-Series-lens i.e. NMARX) (the other ones are the Fujinon XF 10-24mm F4R and the XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6R both OIS).
The Fujinon XF 55-200mm is not a compact product. The “left-hand-holding” lens got a lot of inertia on which you can count to stabilize it. It will better fit with larger Fujifilm camera models like the X-T1/2/3 or the X-H1 for the weight repartition between the body camera and the lens. Using a center viewfinder will also work better with this powerful telephoto zoom lens especially when you select its longest focal length and doing more action photography.
Because of its first nature of being a zoom lens, the XF 55-200mm is a kind of “all-around” telephoto optics that can be convenient into many different situations like portrait, sport, nature, detailed or compressed subjects. With a minimum focusing distance of 1.1m it is not a real close focusing ability lens but its maximum magnification ratio may be sufficient for bigger objects.
By design and construction the Fujinon XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8R LM OIS will extend a lot at its longest focal length which is less esthetically interesting to say the least. So you will not impress the pro photo intelligentsia of this small planet but other than that the XF 55-200mm is a very well built optic. Remember this is not a weather sealed product and it need to be protected to perform flawlessly in adverse conditions (a good translucide plastic bag used along with a rubber band surrounding the lens hood can easily do the job here).
The variable maximum aperture of F3.5 to F4.8 is a good compromise that avoid the choice of smaller maximum aperture like F5.6 or F6.3 at its maximum length and in doing so it minimize the aperture-stop lost compare to more “pro” lenses of F2.8. For portrait situation, the aperture of F4 can be set within the focal range of 75 to 90mm which should be sufficient to get an average clear/blur separation between subject and foreground/background.
|Even with heavy cropped picture the Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8R LM OIS
won’t prevent you to get good results.
In action photography and with a maximum aperture of F4.8 you will have to compensate 1 1/2 stop opening by increase your ISO or panning the action of your subject. If you can keep your sensor sensibility below the ISO 1600-3200 mark the quality lost should be minimal. For years a 300mm F4 or 4.5 lens in 35mm film (200mm equiv. in APS-C sensor format) was the workhorse for many press photographers prior to the venue of the now inevitable 300mm F2.8 lens version.
The in-board optical image stabilizer (OIS) of the Fujinon XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8R is very efficient allowing us to select shutter that are almost three stop under the usual reference (1/focal length). For example you can get good results at 1/60sec instead of 1/250-1/500. In doing so you are less penalized by its more modest maximum aperture. Working with a long zoom telephoto such as the Fujinon XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8R will ask you a more careful holding of the camera/lens combo because of the image magnification which is about 6 times higher compare to the standard 35mm lens for the APS-C sensor format. The use of an additional support like a monopod, a tripod or even an improvised one will help you to get a better rate of success.
The Fujinon XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8R LM OIS has good focusing abilities. Even in low light or with less contrasty subject, it perform well assuming that the camera model is recent. But in some specific situations manual focusing may be the only sure way to rightly lock on your subject. The “prefocusing” method can be also used for tricky subject in action photography.
62mm is the moderate filter accessory diameter of the XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8R LM OIS zoom lens. A dedicated lens hood is part of the original manufacturer accessories that came with the lens which is always a good habit to observe in the industry. You can use it to prevent flare coming from light sources located in front of the camera but in some others light scenario it can afford be dispose. As I use to say a protective filter made of high quality optic is a safe precaution for preventing to spoil the front glass element of the lens or cleaning it or even replacing it (when it is possible!).
|Fully extended the Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8R LM OIS is a fa
irly long lens!
Despite its more standard size dimensions and weight I really appreciate to work with the Fujinon XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8R LM OIS zoom telephoto lens. Part of it can be certainly related to its quality of construction which is giving confidence to use it intensevely. But I would say that the high level of the image quality output is may be its best asset. If can afford its limitations like the minimum focusing distance and its moderate maximum aperture you will enjoyed with very large variation of focal lengths that gives to the XF 55-200mm an outstanding versatility.