Fujifilm Adds Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 Short Telephoto to Complete Its Rangefinder-Style Lens Trio

Fujifilm has added the third lens to its rangefinder-style lens set with the announcement of its Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR, adding the equivalent of the 75mm focal length to the XF 23mm f/2 and XF 35mm f/2 lenses equivalent focal lengths of 35mm and 50mm. 

The Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR is available in black or silver.

So now Fujifilm camera users can own a matched set of three lenses that have blazingly fast autofocus, are weather resistant, have small front ends for attaching 46mm diameter protection filters, and that have equivalent focal lengths of 35mm, 50mm and 75mm.

When trying out the XF 23mm f/2 and XF 50mm f/2 on my X-Pro2 last year, I found their small size and tiny front elements perfectly complemented the camera’s discrete look, with and without lens hoods attached.

The X-Pro2 is, for me, a cross between the Leica rangefinder cameras I built my style on throughout my analog photographic career and the 120-format film rangefinder cameras I came to love just as much after discovering them later during that time.

Although I appreciate the bokeh contrasting with the sharpness of my Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R lenses, they can feel a little oversized and somewhat slower to focus when away from available darkness and out in the street compared to the 23mm and 35mm f/2 primes.

There is also the question of the wide front elements of the faster lenses intruding into the X-Pro2 OVF (optical viewfinder) window, something my Leica lenses were prone to as well but to a lesser degree.

I learned to account for that occlusion by training myself to see through both eyes while shooting, right eye through the OVF and left eye seeing the wider scene and especially lower left of frame.

The benefit of using lenses which don’t occlude the OVF window as much, as this trio is designed to do, is you can concentrate more on what you are seeing through the OVF while directing your left eye to see the broader scene, alert for the marvellous serendipities that make rangefinder photography so unique and so unlike shooting with DSLR and EVF-only cameras.

The 23mm, 35mm and 50mm Fujinon f/2 lens trio. In 35mm equivalent terms, these equate to 35mm, 50mm and 75mm. Images not to scale.

I throughly enjoyed photographing with the XF 23mm f/2 and 35mm f/2 lenses last year and may well add one or both to my kit in future. I am very much looking forward to trying out the XF 50mm f/2 R WR this year.

An obvious comparison

So many X-Pro2 users familiar with Leica M-System rangefinder cameras and lenses have compared Fujifilm’s f/2 trio with Leica’s Summicron f/2 lenses.

There is some relevance in that comparison given the Summicrons I owned and used (I borrowed the 75mm for magazine assignments when I could as I did not own one) were pleasurable and fast to use, and were as adept in available darkness as under bright sunlight.

I cannot help but make the analogy to Leica’s f/2 rangefinder lens set comprising its 18mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 90mm Summicron-M and Apo-Summicron-M lenses. Of these my favourites during my Leica rangefinder days were the 28mm, 35mm and 75mm, with the 50mm and 90mm less frequently used.

Leica’s current Summicron lens set is five-strong, comprising 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 90mm lenses. My personal pick of those five focal lengths would be the 28mm, the 35mm and the 75mm. In Fujinon APS-C terms that is 18mm, 23mm and 50mm.

If Fujifilm could now turn its attention to radically revamping its current 28mm lens equivalent, the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R, in the style of its f/2 trio then I would be enormously grateful.

Fujifilm, please update the ageing XF 18mm f/2 R so it has the same marvellous traits as your f/2 rangefinder-style prime lens trio, making it a quartet. I miss the 18mm (28mm in its 35mm format equivalent) focal length terribly.
The XF 18mm f/2 R’s 28mm equivalent focal length is perfect for documenting events where space is severely limited and the only movements you can make to better frame your photographs are leaning left or right, forwards or backwards. Wider focal lengths than 18mm can overemphasize elements at the edges and corners through distorting perspective and thus draw attention away from the main point of the photograph. I made this photograph with an XF 23mm f/1.4 R lens but would have much preferred an 18mm focal length to better tell the story.
The Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R short telephoto lens is a terrific focal length at its 85mm equivalence for deliberate, intense portraiture where the subject relates directly with the photographer and through that creates a sense of doing so with the viewer. Close-up candid snapshots of people’s faces like this one are better suited, in my opinion, to shorter focal lengths like the Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR with its 75mm equivalency. Several reasons – faster autofocus, wider field of view, less bokeh at the same apertures and a wider field-of-view that better situates the subject within its environment.
The kind of photograph where the Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 really shines. Shot at f/1.4 in dim fluorescent light indoors on a Fujifilm XT-2 with manual focus and focus peaking, with the aim of having only the catchlight sharp.


Image Credits:

Header photoillustration aka featured image created for this website in Photoshop by Carmel D. Morris. Fujifilm and Leica product photographs obtained from each company.

Tech Notes:

Two photographs made at the Women’s March in Sydney on 21st January 2017 with Fujifilm X-Pro2, processed in Macphun Luminar. Square portrait made with Fujifilm X-T2 then processed in Capture One Pro 10 using the Capture One Film Styles Kodak BW 400CN Pro preset.