Life in 16mm (w/Fujinon XF16mm F2.8 R WR lens)

Seeing life with a more wide angle of view is not rare thing but for many it may be a photographic higher challenge compare to the more selective view of a telephoto lens. Yes there is already a lot of landscape (nature or urban) aficionados around the who are producing striking pictures so why limit the use o a wide angle lens to that specialized purpose?

I have been a long time adept to wide angle lens that offer an angle of view of 84 degree or even a larger one. The 84 degree image perspective can be translate in different formats by the 12mm focal length into MFT (Micro Four Third) or by a 16mm in APS-C or by a 24mm lens in 24 X 36mm sensor size. All those optics are usually original (not streched) design with their own technical specifications. There are less available and usually more expensive compare to other lenses that have a more narrowed angle of view.

In APS-C sensor format (17 X 24mm approx.), Fujifilm line-up is well represented by a couple of 16mm models and even an interesting 14mm lens. The latest Fujinon XF16mm F2.8 R WR has captivated my attention by its compactness and its weather resistant characteristic. As for many Fujinon WR F2 lens models (23mm, 35mm, 50mm),  the 16mmF2.8 is a natively less intimidated optic because of its small size. Combine with a compact APS-C camera, you can do spontanious photography and you can easely brought the camera-lens combination all day around.

The « spacious » lens
Telephoto lenses are renown for their compression effect between the foreground and the background surrounding the main subject. Wide-angle lenses have just the opposite effect by « decompressing » the subject and allowing a virtual increase of the perceived space between all the elements composing the picture that will be register. So it is not really what or how you actually seing the image with your naked eyes but in term of angle of view it represent more your total pictural perception of the scene.

This is particularly true when you are tempting to embrase « larger than life » subject such as landscapes, urban-scapes or interior-scapes. It is true also for larger subject taken in short distances such as groups of objects or of people. Because of this larger view emphasis, we have to be careful of the impact of all the elements included in the final picture. Working with a wide angle lens require a very special attention of our image composition. It is like doing a painting fresque each time if your subject is rich in several details. Or if the subject is more plain, we have to pay attention of the graphical arrangement that will be choosen.

The Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR is a prime lens that have got its own signature. It is not a previsible optic that doesn’t need to be really mastered before using it successfully. Many photographers outside their landscape needs will avoid using wider lenses. It is a pity because the wide lenses have the virtue of their compactness and the ability of using it much closer to the main subject. But a wide angle lens will be less forgiving if you dont care about your level position for example because tilting the lens is provoking a rapid shift of the horizontal and vertical direction lines. To help us, the Fujifilm X-mount camera models (as for many others maker digital camera models) have incorporated an optional electronic level that will appears into our viewfinder or our viewing back screen.

DoF Critical Element
The amount of deep of field optical effect is a constant subject of debates over the « photo » web. Some are praying to get the optimal good quality DoF in order to realize « scape » photography. Others just want to narrow it for the portrait purpose and be sure to « artistically » blur the foreground and the background (mainly). So what is happening when you are using the Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR lens. As many wide angle optics you have the sensation of an extended deep of field which in fact it is not really the case. For a specific focus (distance) point and aperture selected, the DoF will work the same way for the distance range whatsoever the lens focal length you have primarily chosen.

So knowing those facts, the wide angle lenses seem to give you more DoF may be because of the illusion of seing smaller many elements composing your picture especially in the background area.

Physical attributes of the Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR
By definition the Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR is a short lens. Short in term of focal lenght but also physically short in size and lightweight. The aperture ring is located the standard Fuji X-mount way with click 1/3 stop and an « A » (for automatic diaphragm ajustement) which is located at the end of the f/stop scale  but without any security lock button. The thin focusing ring is at the front but still manageable. A plastic dedicated lens hood is furnished with the lens which is always appreciated. Overall built finition follow the higher Fujifilm standards and the lens is proclaimed weather resistant.

Close-up with a 16mm?
Will we prevent ourselves to do close-subject photography with a wide angle optic? Many may pretend this is the case considering the particular perspective view rendering of this type of lenses. In a sens it is a pity to not experimenting the very particular way of seing that offers the use of a wide angle lens. I wont say that the Fujinon Xf 16mm F2.8 R WR lens is a very intuitive optic to operate in the very short distance from your subject but the results can be surprisedly intriguing and artistic. For example the apparent extended deep of field (DoF) will allow you to include in focus surrounding (graphics) elements that can enhance your main subject.

The Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR lens can be rightly seen as a competent urban optic but that said it must not prevent ourselves to use it in many other photographic exterior and interior situations. Its compactness will allow you to bring it with discretion and efficiency. More you will experiment the 16mm, more you will appreciate its original perspective by creating none less persifle pictures. At this price point and considering its construction and optical quality, you should fully enjoy it yourself.

The Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R WR: the expensive (muscle) Fujifilm trans-standard!

Not another big bazooka lens to hand-hold all day long! I cannot contradict my own preferences for using more compact and lighter photo equipment. But first I must confess that I had really like working with the Fujifilm X-H1 model. And optically my preference have been always for wide-angle, standard and (short) telephoto lenses. And many « pro » standard zoom lens models offered by manufacturers are in fact fulfilling these various tasks. So why not a test run with the Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR trans-standard zoom lens.

The Fujinon XF 16-50mm F2.8 Pro is a very beautiful piece of optic and very well carefully crafted too. Yes it is big and heavy, I won’t contradict you in that matter. And don’t try to put it into any of your pocket even the largest ones. No, the only way to bring it is holding it in your hands which can be convenient if you are attempting to do pictures with it! But what I love the most regarding many of the « pro » optics is their level of consistency along all the range of their focal lengths and apertures.

The Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R WR is not a compromise lens in any way and that explain mostly its dimensions and weight. Although it is not really a discrete optic device you can manage your behavior to counteract the effect of its relatively larger size. With its largest angle of view of 83.2 degrees the XF 16-55mm offer a perfect flexibility into urban, travel spontaneous photography subjects. And it can also manage interior photography to a some extend. At the long end (55mm) it can be used as a portrait lens. Its close focusing distance is modest but may be sufficient for standard size objects like flowers or food plates.

All the basic lens control rings (Aperture, Zoom, Focus) are easy reachable and their specific « grip » can be identifiable with after a short learning time. The filter-accessory size of 77mm is simply gigantic, so prepare you to spend extra money for even a basic protection filter and remember that at this big diameter the optical glass quality of these add-on accessories is a paramount factor to consider before buying (just for not helping you to keep your economy money). Lastly a beautiful but prominent plastic petal lens hood is included with the lens.

The red badged Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR is part of the select « pro » Fujifilm series X lenses. It insure certains specific characteristics that all these special optics share like the weather resistant feature and an implicite better design and manufacturing for a more intense use of the lenses. And on a long term those red badged XF Fuji lenses represent a better value on the resale market. The three control ring (Focus, Zoom, Aperture) are fairly large and smooth to operate. The aperture ring is click-set for 1/3 stops.

Fujifilm proclames that the Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR is ideal for portraits, landscapes, action/wildlife, urban/ street photography and video. Sure it attests of its own great versatility for all these various subjects. And the temptation to keep the XF 16-55mm F2.8 as a permanent resident on your X-series camera body can be overwhelming. Pairing the lens with complementary one(s) will probably ask you to select another red badged X-series zoom or fix focal length lens to get the same level of overall quality.

An interesting question can be asked concerning the focal length flexibility of the Fujnon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR? Can it replace all these fix focal XF lenses such as the 16mm F2.8, the 23mm F2, the 35mm F2 and the 50mm f2? If you eliminate the size and weight factors of the equation, the respond will be probably yes. Having working with some of those fix focal optics, I cannot see significant differences between their (high) picture quality output compare to the zoom one.  So yes it is a very good combine all-in-one product (however you may have to muscle your arms and shoulders a little bit!).

I was debating myself about the pertinence of selecting a weather-resistant (WR) lens over very good optic such as the Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS which a more compact unit with optical stabilisation (OIS). Obviously the stabilisation feature doesn’t really have to be considerate with a Fujifilm X-H1 model that have already in body image stabilisation function (IBIS). But the WR option can be an issue even if I am not always photographying in adverse conditions, it can happens very often in North America (Rain, cold, severe wind, snow, etc) and sometimes during travel (especially high humidity factor). So for a complete peace of mind you may want to fully rely the WR feature that also facilite greatly the maintenance of the lens.

The red badged Fujinon XF series lenses are expensive products. If you are considering to own some of them it can be a strong financial issue. Surely to get one or more of them, you will have to down play your acquisition pace (providing you are not millionaire!). The good thing about it is the fact it will allow you some time to consider seriously which type of lens will really suit you. You may even try one before buying it at a camera shop or may be rent it for a short photo essay (In Canada some  photo product retailers offer such a program).

What to conclude about the Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR zoom lens? It is in fact a very high quality optic and very well built. But moreover it is a very handy trans-standard zoom lens which will answer the needs of an urban traveller photographer who love to move around and choosing a great variety of different subjects to immortalize. It can work in almost any environnemental surrounding (providing you don’t immerse your camera-lens combo!). And it delivers photographic image results that sustain the Fujifilm exceptional optic reputation. There are only small drawbacks (size & weight) that can be compensate by hand-holding your camera for doing … photography!

Le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR: l’objectif intimiste.

Si vous aimez les appareils photo compacts, vous avez sûrement une certaine fascination pour tous les objectifs d’accompagnement qui sont de petites dimensions. À cet égard plusieurs modèles d’objectifs Fujinon de la série X répondent de ce critère. Ils sont discrets mais demeurent éminemment des optiques compétentes. On peut citer les XF16mm F2.8 R, XF23mm F2 R, 35mm F2 R et enfin, le propos de cet article, le XF 50mm F2 R. Tous ces modèles sont étiquetés résistants aux intempéries, Weather Resistant, et offrent des ouvertures maximales dans la bonne moyenne.

Le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR est un petit téléobjectif qui affiche un grossissement modeste de 1.5X par rapport à notre vision normale. C’est donc dire que son champ visuel reste assez étendu, environ 32 degrés, et peut être assimilé à une optique presque standard. Sa distance minimale de mise au point de 39cm n’est particulièrement spectaculaire mais peut convenir à une photographie de proximité de sujets de dimensions normales. Comme plusieurs objectifs Fujinon de la série X, le XF50mm F2 R WR est doté d’une bague balisée d’ajustement de l’ouverture et d’une autre bague bien dimensionnée de mise au point. Enfin un petit pare-soleil est fourni à l’achat et le diamètre des filtres-accessoires est de 46mm.

Malgré son statut de mini-téléobjectif, le XF50mm F2 R WR fait montre d’une surprenante versatilité en termes de sujets abordables. Bien sûr comme tout objectif dont la distance focale est fixe, vous devrez faire preuve d’une plus grande mobilité pour assurer votre cadrage final. Cependant sa sélectivité accrue par rapport à ses semblables XF16mm, XF23mm et XF35mm vous facilite une certaine épuration du contexte de la composition du sujet choisi.

Le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR s’harmonise très à l’usage d’un boitier Fujifilm plus compact des séries X-M et X-E et X-T10/20/30. Avec un boitier plus grand vous retrouverez également le plaisir de manipuler un équipage moins lourd et moins proéminent.

En ce qui concerne sa performance optique, le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR répond très bien aux exigences des capteurs les plus récents utilisés dans les modèles ayant une définition de 24 mégapixels ou de 26MP. Le profil colorimétrique de l’objectif s’inscrit parfaitement en phase avec ceux des autres objectifs de la série X, la distinction se faisant surtout sur les propriétés de compression propre à un petit téléobjectif.

Fujifilm catégorise le XF50mm F2 R WR comme une optique intéressante plus spécialement pour le portrait et la prise de vues en faible éclairage. C’est en effet presque un lieu commun pour ce type d’objectif mais je considère cette classification un peu trop limitative. Et pour certains photographes, je reste convaincu que le XF50mm F2 R WR pourrait être leur compagnon optique favori. Ce phénomène n’est pas sans évoquer le Leica Summicron-M 75mm F2 APO en format analogique-film 24X36mm bien qu’il s’agisse de deux technologies de fabrication très différentes.

Le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR est un autre petit joyau optique de la gamme des objectifs de la série X de Fujifilm. Alors pourquoi s’en priver car il est non seulement abordable en termes de prix de vente mais il est surtout un outil créatif amusant et de premier ordre.

The Fujinon "reframing" zoom lenses.

There is always be that dilemma of selecting between a classical fix focus lens and a more flexible vario-focal length zoom one. That debate will never end but you can simply look at the optic kit used by everyday photographers (amateurs, enthusiasms or pros) and chances are great that they are using the two categories of lenses. So it is not really a contest, it is simply a matter of convenience for each different use.

Many have described zoom lenses as the best replacement for, let say, two or three different fix focal lenses ranging from wide-angle to small telephoto or from small to longer telephoto or even the summation of all these angles of view. For each of those complex optics their designers have calculated the best technical combination available in term of size, price point, maximum aperture, minimum focusing distance, etc. But something you do more with a zoom lens compare to a fix focal one is implicating some obvious compromises.

And many zoom lenses are chosen first for their extreme focal length setting … and often use exclusively that way! The manufacturers are aware of that way of using their vario focal length models and pay a more careful attention to the optical quality output observed at the very start and the final focal range of them.

But there is also an whole array of focal length choices between the two extremums of a zoom lens. We could call them the « lens-framers » of the photographer. There are very thoughtful optic tools that allows us to refine our picture composition on place with less quality loss compare to the post-processing reframing. Zoom lenses can be very proactive in a way that they are asking to the photographer to be more cautious about the selection, the position and the context of your subject.

Like we have said earlier the zoom lenses do compromise on others characteristics such as their maximum aperture, their weight and size, their minimum focusing distance, etc.. With a smaller maximum aperture your deep of field control will be diminished that can be partly compensated by selecting a longer focal length if possible. The zoom lenses size will result in a less discrete optic that can be more intimidating for your subject. A more distant minimum focusing distance can prevent you to be able to do easily close subjects.

Short and medium zoom lenses as for the extreme « traveler » zoom lenes are the most versatile in term of angle of view. Many photographers will adopt them as their « stay-on » everyday zoom lens for most of time. Casual, urban, close, travel photography are rightly served by these lenses. The better image output quality will be obtained by selecting the mid-range priced ones to the most expensive ones.

The long telephoto zoom lenses are more specialized optics. Portrait, wildlife, sports and action photography are their main domain. They are bigger optical devices that can ask you to pay more attention to their stability in order to counteract the photographer « blurry » effect by using a more sophisticated stabilisation arrangement from the camera (internal and/or optical stabilisation options, higher shutter speeds and/or ISO setting, tripod/monopod). Again their maximum aperture is smaller but usually at those focal lengths the deep of field is already shallowed.

Over the years I have worked with different combinations of zoom lenses and I am always appreciating them as a very valuable option not only for spontaneous photography but also for more composed subject. For general photography I have really enjoyed the flexibility and the compactness of the Fujinon XF18-55 F2.8-4 R and the respectable magnification factor and the optical quality of the Fujinon XF55-200 F3.5-4.8 both OIS (which is a nice feature considering that some of my camera models doesn’t have an internal sensor stabilisation functionality). Many examples of my recent work are illustrating these abilities.

For travel and urban photography, the Fujinon XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R OIS is sufficiently versatile for many usual photographic needs and moreover is enough discrete to be a full time lens. To know more about this trans-standard zoom lens model you can refer to this recent article of mine.

The Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R OIS as for every other long telephoto zoom lenses is a different kind of beast. I call it a « bazooka » lens (especially with the lens hood mounted!). So it is not by far a discrete optic and you will surely impress your surrounding and probably intimidate some folks with it. The most intended purpose of these long telephoto zoom lenses is to isolate your main subject from its surrounding and compress its context. Careful off-center composition may be a challenge since we have a natural tendency to center a magnified subject.

There are several others options available from the Fujinon line of zoom lenses. The Fujinon XF10-24mm F4 R OIS and the XF100-400 F4.5-5.6 R OIS are very interesting options at each end of the optical spectrum. The same can be said about the « Pro F2.8 » line of lenses (XF 8-16mm, 16-55mm & 40-150mm). For entry-level Fujifilm models, the Fujinon XC series is giving you more affordable optic options. Fujifilm offer also their own version of an all-around zoom lens with the XF18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R OIS which is in fact a larger optical package that may be more appreciated by nature travelers particular. Lastly we have learn that Fujifilm will launch in mid-2019 a new Fujinon XF 16-80mm F4 R OIS WR zoom lens which can be a very attractive travel-urban all-around optic.

Speaking of the versatility of the zoom lenses is not in any way unevaluating the virtues of the fix focal length optics that are smaller (discrete), have a larger maximum aperture and will give you very high quality image output and these advantages remain today.

A perfect fix focal lens or zoom lens that will fit for every photographic purposes is purely an utopian concept. So even with the add-on versatility of different focal length present of a zoom lens, it cannot respond for every specific need in imagery. But zoom lens do offer a very easy way of re-framing your subject on the spot and without asking you a greater mobility from your original picture taking position. In my sense this is one of the biggest advantage of all those vario-focal length lenses.

All pictures were taken with the Fujifilm X-T20 & X-E3 cameras and Fujinon XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS, XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS & XF50mm F2 R WR lenses.

The Fujinon XF23mm F2.0: the close observer lens

Let us rewind to the analog film days of photography. The 35-50mm taking lenses were kings of their era and were present to almost every manufacturer systems offered. Their maximum aperture were ranging from a modest F3.5 to an astounding F1.2 if you were able to afford it.

With the introduction of electronic autofocus and motorized cameras  they were replaced by a plethora of different trans-standard zoom lenses from the cheapest ones to the expensive « pro » such as the 24-70mm F2.8. And that tendency has been replicated right from the start of the digital cameras era.

With an angle of view of 63 degrees the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR can be assimilated as a « eye-normal » standard lens although for some their opinion is that this Fujinon model is a bit too wide to be classified easily in that category. Its close focusing ability is good and this caracteristic contribute largely to its versatility. It is not a (head) portrait optic but surely you can work full body view portrait with confidence and proximity of your main subject.

The Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR lens is a useful « interior » lens providing you are not looking for a very wide view (the Fujinon XF16mm F2.8 or XF10-24mm F4 R OIS lenses for example should be more interesting choices in that case). For sure in some narrow contexts you will need to contorsion yourself to embrass the whole subject.

Because of its reduced size, this Fujinon XF23mm f2 R WR is a discrete optic and more if it is coupled with a Fujifilm X-E or X-M series camera body. This particular nature will be fully appreciated if you doing street, travel or casual photography in giving you the possibility to be more spontaneous in your activity.

We cannot escape the (Leica) Summicron lens series analogy even if we are speaking of two very different
 lines of optics especially considering the electronic involvement into the Fujinon X-series.

The two control rings of the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR allow you to select your aperture and adjust your focus manually if needed or hoped. In the case of the aperture it is handy to be able to better control the deep of field of your subject and also with the focusing ring have the capacity to choose the optimal focus point. The Fujifilm lens hood furnished with the lens is small and none-protuberant (You can leave on almost permanently except if you intend to use optional 43mm screw-in filters).

What about the optical quality image output of the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR lens? Suffice to say that I cannot see any noticeable (for me!) between this optic compare to the others Fujifilm XF series lenses. To be more reassured you can consult the numerous technical tests over the web. But in my sens the best way of evaluating a lens for your specific needs is to take pictures with it. It can fit or not your style of photography and respond accordingly to your specific technical way of taking pictures. In some countries Fujifilm offers « try and test » session or even loan programs to do so.

So the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR lens is it for you or not? That is the big question. Focal fixed lenses are optics that are asking a photographer adaptability to be ensure their complete useful. So your mobility is a key point of success when you intend to select that category of optics.  If you feel better and confortable to work from a fixed point of view and reframe with a variable focal zoom lens that can be a big issue. On the contrary if you are a kind of « active » photo takers this Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR can be be an creative and easy manageable answer (as for all the others focal fix Fujinon lenses).

A few years ago I was talking with Billy Luong of Fujifilm Canada about the possibility of creating a king of « bridge » new lens between the existing XF27mm F2.8 and the expensive XF23mm F1.4 R model and I have noticed his smiling facial expression at the moment. Less than one year after this conversation the new Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR was introduced on the market. Additionaly the Fujinon XF 23mm F2 R WR is now offered as a complementary (« kit ») lens combined with various camera body models at a very competitive price point. For many photographers it could a very wise and rewarding choice…


BIRD SNAPSHOTS w/ the Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8R LM OIS

Northern Cardinal (Female)

Yes, yes I will offend a lot of real bird photographers who spend hours and involvement to their beautiful art of illustrating birds in their habitat. But since I am only a kind of spontaneous photographer my purpose was only to demonstrate how versatile and rewarding it can be by simply using the Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8R LM OIS zoom lens.

For sure you need some kind of preparation such have a good place like my backyard and possibly install a few bird feeder to attract them. After that you need to observe the result and be prepare to take pictures in a discrete manner.

For those you this can be interesting I am located near a river on the north shore of Montreal, Canada. So here are some flying neighbors visiting my backyard:

Black-capped chickadee

Northern Cardinal (Male)

Slate-colored Junco 

Hairy woodpecker (Female)

Black-capped chickadee
House sparrow (Male in breeding)

The Fujinon XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8R LM OIS: Improve my reach!

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 fairly 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.

The Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS: (I’m) Not a kit lens!

How to compare the Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS zoom lens from Fujifilm? I will be a bit controversial saying that this little first class optic can be put at the same level as the Leica MFT 12-60mm F2.8-4. I know that the Fuji XF 18-55mm R has obviously a less wider angle of view at its short end and is natively less powerful on its longest end. That stands for the focal length statistic comparaison between these two fine products but for the quality of their respective construction, their optic glasses, their control rings and their manual abilities, there are in the same league.

And there is something else very important. The maximum aperture of the Fujinon XF 18-55mm at F2.8-4.0 is an exception compare to what we see useably in the compact standard zoom lenses market. And that simple point make a big different especially for the lenses designated for their on smaller sensor format like the APS-C and the MFT. In that field the Fujinon beats the Leica although it seems they share the same maximum aperture because the effect is different between those two smaller format sensor zooms.

The Fujinon XF 18-55mm R LM OIS is remarquable because it has that maximum  aperture of F2.8-4 and the internal optical stabilization, but also because it is still a compact lens in regard of all these factors. It breaks the actual tendency for the lens manufacturers to design and produce more and more inflated (i.e. big) lenses with larger maximum aperture or with a wider range of focal variations.

When you will be introduced for the first time to the Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS you may notice that it is an optic more oriented on the traditional design way. This is not a featherweight optic device and the zoom and focus control rings are more stiffer than many others zoom lenses. Direct access of an aperture control ring is another advantage of the Fujinon (as for all XF Fujinon lenses). Every bits of the XF 18-55mm R LM OIS is telling us about the quality of this zoom lens.

We can considerer it as the introducing zoom lens 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, the XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6R and the XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8R all OIS).

There is a lot to say regarding the obvious optical quality results obtained by the XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R. Many tests done over the Web by specialized photo test sites will tell you about its optimal definition compare to other products. I leave to them to give you a complete technical information.

A full exposure stop gain at 55mm focal length is one the most appreciated strength that I have experimented with the XF 18-55mm lens. It qualifies the zoom lens to an upper class compare to all others products that give you a max. aperture of F5.6 or more at their longest end. I wont pretend it can replace a « pro » zoom lens (with a constant max. aperture of F2.8) but it certainly is certainly far more compact optic.

On the purely none-objective side, we can already appreciate the image output of the XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS both in JPEG and RAW files issued from a Fujifilm X-camera.

With an angle of view of 79 degrees at its widest focal length, the XF 18-55mm R LM OIS is doing just a little bit better than an usual 28mm equivalent to 24X36mm format (FF). So contextual photography into cramped areas can be a real challenge especially in interior photography. But that angle should be manageable if you take time to carefully select your angle of view and the distance from your subject. The Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS is an enjoyable urban lens with a lot of flexibility. If you can afford to not use its dedicated lens hood, the lens become very discrete and non-intrusive

At 55mm you have just sufficient magnification to partly isolate medium range subject with success. This is not a true face portrait lens  but the Fujinon XF 18-55mm can produce good full-body (or partial) portrait.

For sure we have access to any intermediate focal lengths available on the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f2.8-4 R LM OIS. Popular focal setting include 23mm and 35mm that replicate their fixed focal length counterparts. Close focusing is on the average and this Fujinon is not a genuine macro optic but it can perform with subjects like flowers or mid-sized objects (or parts of) with competence. The XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R OIS lens doesn’t have a special close focusing setting to activate to get its nearest focusing distance, an advantage for detail photography on the spot.

I am not really found on the special function switches way and I prefer the solution used by Fujifilm on most of the others XF lenses with an « A » position on the aperture ring (this way you can preset your aperture value without looking at the viewfinder/screen like with the shutter control dial). If you are a frequent user of the Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS (maybe as your first lens) you will probably assimilate the reflex to activate/deactivate that switch…

Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) is in fact a commun « must be » with standard zoom lenses. Its advantage is obvious in particular when using slow shutter speed for less lit subject. Switching from a non-OIS lens, the Fujinon 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS will guaranty you a better rate of success by preventing micro blurs on the contours of your in-focus subject(s). The presence of OIS must not prevent you to still apply the best support you can give to your camera-lens. The OIS functionality can be shutdown for video or macro or tripod photographic situations.

A last a word regarding the dedicated lens hood that came with the lens (a nice though from Fujifilm). Using it will prevent flare no question about it as the lens hood offer an additional protection for the front of the lens. Without it as already mentioned the Fujinon lens is becoming more discrete, less protuberant for your subject. So the choice is yours. It can be inverted for transport but the inverted accessory is covering the vital focusing and aperture control rings.

Filter accessory size is 58mm a commun one available for a lot of filter combinations. It is up to you to use or not a protective filter. I do but the filter should be made with high optical quality glass that wont introduce more glare or  glass distortion in my picture. Many people don’t bother anymore about that and I respect their choice. Being a retired professional that have encounter many adverse conditions I have always preferred to change a filter than a complete lens…

What to say more about the Fujinon only to qualify it as an « all-going » standard zoom lens of an higher level optically and with a more than average quality of construction. Fujifilm produces lenses in the upper standard that perform well over the years and offers products that in my sens surpass many big competitor counterparts. So try it and eventually own it with confidence. Since I am not in any ways paid or attached to them my only raeson is to encourage manufacturers that still have respect for photographers…

The Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4: the twin personality lens !

The Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 lens is part of the initial line-up of the Fujifilm X-Mount optics. Its firmware has been improved extendedly to meet the requirement of the newest camera additions from Fujifilm.

The Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 receive a very classic presentation that will recall for some of us the classical lenses from the 35mm film era. Aperture and focus controls are traditional (although they are in fact simulated mechanical adjustments). It is not a small and light lens but without optical image stabilization option (no OIS) its heaviness add some inertial weight that can help to prevent shakeness. Yes it is a « made in Japan » product. An imposant metallic and nicely crafted lens hood is included with the lens that can prevent some flare phenomena under certain light conditions.

A double life
The twin personality of the Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 lens is relating about its portrait and macro vocations. In fact it more a small telephoto with a very near close focusing ability. So it gives you the possibility to take picture of your main subject at a very short distance and cutting down the deep of field a lot. Those qualities are rightly appreciated in portrait purpose.
As a small telephoto lens my preferred aperture setting is to select the maximum opening (F2.4) as often it is possible. The Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 had respond beautifully to that (ab)use of its largest aperture. Thus F2.4 appears to be modest but in reality it is easily comparable to the traditional Leica Elmarit 90mm F2.8 or the Nikkor AI-S 105mm F2.5 lenses of the time.

Action photography can be a challenge as usual for that kind of lenses. Snap Sport Shooters will definitively have problems to get full proofed on-focus subject by simply snap and follow the subject mobility. Prefocus (Auto or Manuel) setting is highly recommended but I have discovered that the Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 in normal lightning condition got its own ability with close distance action subjects. Panning your subject may be the more successful way of getting in-focus action subjects. Predictive manual focusing is another way of doing action photography with that lens but experimentation may be frustrating.

Kiki Piccolo is our « impossible » subject for action
photography. But through the small bars the
XT-10 / XF 60mm manage to focus rightly and
be able to freeze most the movement.

No stabilization on this lens mean you will need to be careful about your own ability to hold your camera very steadily and following action by panning your subject. In low light or interior conditions that will be a challenge since we are now more and more relaying on stabilization options over lenses or cameras. Your rate of success will decrease as you will find in selecting your final choice of pictures during the editing session. For that point of view it is always better to review your results on the spot by using the camera rear screen.

Accurate focusing is another challenge in particular with short distance subject. A small movement from the part of the subject or from your part will result in a visible out of focus of the interesting point of view.

Fujifilm Classic Rendering
With a macro lens of this type we are looking for higher quality results if not the best available. On the optical point of view the Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 will deliver very fine and detailed images. Closing down a bit your aperture will optimize yours results corner to corner but you don’t need to go too far to get that. 
Fujifilm color output is outstanding as usual. The last lens series that I have worked that was so distinctive was the Leica one during the eighties because I was mainly relying on slide films for colour projects. Fujinon X-Mount lenses will give you good colour and tonal separations. So editing your pictures will be more a fine tuning experience if your composition has been done carefully.

Even if the Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 lens is not really a snap shooter optic to say the least, it stays a wonderful selective tool if you are ready to invest the effort (and persistence) in your photography. And at the end you will obtain something different of your own originality.

Fujinon XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS II: The Urban Traveller

Fugace Selfie on the run at 16mm setting

 Many of us are looking for the magic lens that will be « the one and only » optic to bring with them. That elude device should be compact, light, first class quality, practical, sturdy and doted with a fairly large maximum aperture. For sure this concept does not exist in this modern era. So contemporary designers are trying to imagine many compensating technologies to cope with traditional constraints. Optical Stabilization (or image captor stabilisation), Higher ISO sensibility availability,
Extended variable vocals range (zoom) , In-board camera image post-processing, etc are part of the actual answers offered by manufacturers.

And more and more these technological advancements are responding to many of those very demanding exigences.Many of the so-call kit lenses are now very fine products that deliver high quality picture results without  big compromises.

The Fujinon XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS II lens is a good illustration of that trend. Its focal range is particularly interesting for urban or traveling photographers.

Flare with strong front lightning: The Fujinon XC 16-50mm maintains its creativity.
A good pick-up street lens

With a widest angle of more than 80 degrees the
XC 16-50mm is a useful lens for contextual photography allowing the user  to work with very close subjects and preserving its environmental context. Interior and urban projects can be apprehended with ease. Some photographers will propose it as a good landscape or even architectural tool. Since proportions of the objects can be sometime strongly altered at its widest setting I will stay caution with that kind of general advice.

Another area of interesting purpose of the Fujinon XC 16-50mm lens is more related with spontaneous photography like street photography or off-camera shooting (without looking at the viewfinder or view screen). In that case after-cropping can be done at the expense of loosing some image definition.

Photography is also a visual expression that requires impact at first and spontaneous photography is mainly about that. At every moment a quick swing of the focal ring of the lens can transform it as a small telephoto on the ready with a little more of one aperture stop lost (so beware about your shutter speed).

Minette; Ray of Light

The finesse of the Fujinon XC 16-50mm OIS II lens can be observed with this B&W picture of our beloved Minette if you examine the details of its fur.  This prove the ability of the lens of doing good close-up subjects with extended detail separations.

The Fujinon XC 16-50mm OIS II lens is not part of the XF Fujifilm X-mount series. It translates by a lighter construction, the absence of an aperture ring and visibly by the use of more plastic components. On a very intensive use the lens may show a faster  rate of wear but this point has yet to be proven. Ruggedness may be another weaker point and I won’t recommend it for careless users who like to bang expensive photo equipment. So it is not a  real photojournalist lens in the traditional way of working but the Fujinon XC 16-50mm OIS II can be a very handy and fine tool for photographers who will treat it with respect.

The Fujinon XC 16-50mm OIS II is the kit lens for urban traveller.