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