Nasim Mansurov of Photography Life has published, or more likely updated, extensive reviews of four wide Fujinon prime and zoom lens options for Fujifilm’s XF APS-C/Super 35 camera system in advance of the coming release of the Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R WR LM(?) OIS wide-angle zoom lens.
The reviews are from the perspective of a landscape photographer rather than a documentary photographer or photojournalist, and do not cover the lenses for use in video so look out for more specialized reviews if needed.
I have been pondering Fujifilm’s current XF optical offerings whilst reprocessing and uploading documentary photo galleries to this website in the light of ongoing frustrations with the company’s still limited lens collection, especially of lenses suitable for documentary cinematography and stills photography.
Belt-tightening for independent, self-funded creatives is ever-more prevalent nowadays given the constant predations against creativity by the pandemic and the federal government, so new lens purchases must be even more well-considered and well-researched than ever before.
I have been lucky enough to have borrowed three of the lenses Mr Nasurov reviews in his articles and agree with his many insights into them.
My first loan of the original Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS occurred alongside that of a Fujifilm X-T1 and an XF 56mm f/1.2 R, eventually resulting in purchasing an X-Pro2, XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R.
The XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS was in contention but, as usual, funds were limited and I had several misgivings about the lens that I hope may be palliated by its mark II replacement.
Chief amongst those doubts are these:
No weather resistance (WR) at a time when Sydney’s weather continues to be increasingly subtropical in summer.
A free-rotating, unmarked aperture encoder ring, less than optimal for video and for fast-moving available darkness documentary photography work when one sets aperture by feel.
Some variations in optical and manufacturing quality control between copies of the lens reported by users.
Less than stellar performance at the wide end, at 24mm, a standard focal length for much documentary work where one often needs to shoot at wider apertures in available darkness.
All three Fujinon lenses reviewed by Mr Mansurov have their many and various virtues and varying price points, but the best bang for the buck, as it were, may well be from an optically and mechanically improved mark II 10-24mm zoom lens and I look forward to learning more about it when it is released.
I do prefer prime lenses to zoom lenses for the most part, the amazing Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR aside, and so the XF 14mm f/2.8 R reminds attractive despite its age and lack of weather resistance, and that I prefer the manual clutch focusing approach Olympus has taken with its M. Zuiko Pro lenses to Fujifilm’s more limited implementation.
Meanwhile those many and various virtues of all four superwide lenses are well-covered by Mr Mansurov’s excellent set of reviews, links below.
“If we consider the zoom range and fixed f4 aperture in the FUJINON lenses in this segment, to me, the most reasonable option is XF16-80mm. From wide-angle to a medium telephoto zoom range makes this lens ideal especially for street and travel photographers. Even for general architectural shots (no ultra-wide angle), the lens has high-end features that will satisfy anyone who wants to work with a single lens. Let’s look at the other details….”
FUJIFILMglobal: Huseyin Aldirmaz x XF16-80mmF4 R OIS WR / FUJIFILM
Each year I always look forward to the Sydney edition, as it were, of Fujifilm Australia’s People with Cameras event and that anticipation is no less eager this year with the event coming up for tomorrow, Saturday September 7th, 2019.
I will be carrying my trusty Fujifilm X-Pro2 and a handful of Fujifilm Fujinon prime lenses, along with an X-H1 kindly loaned by Fujifilm Australia’s PR folks.
I have been enjoying the many virtues of the X-H1, and am hoping that an X-H2 is on the horizon for release early 2020, if we are lucky.
The X-H1 in combo with my X-Pro2 is a powerful kit when engaged in documentary work and portrait photography.
The X-H1 is, of course, the better option of the two for top-quality video using the Pro Neg Standard, Eterna Cinema or F-Log profile depending on taste and need, and I highly recommend using Paul Leeming’s settings below when shooting with the X-H1, X-T3 or X-Pro2, as well as their other cameras.
When shooting video, or stills for that matter, always best to expose to the right aka ETTR in order to avoid burnout at the shoulder end of the exposure scale.
Paul Leeming’s video settings for Fujifilm cameras:
Pro Neg Std (best option on the X-Pro2), Eterna Cinema, F-log (or HLG for the X-T3)
H265 recording format
DR100 for all profiles
Highlight tone 0
Shadow tone 0
Noise Reduction -4
Zebra level 100%
I have been hoping a lens like Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR would turn up for quite some time since acquiring my first interchangeable lens Fujifilm camera, a standard zoom lens offering better quality than the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom which has, however, proven surprisingly good for its class though the latter is not everything I might wish for.
The X-Pro2 and X-T3’s lack of in-body image stabilization ruled out considering the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR, a lens that appears better suited to a gripped IBIS-equipped X-H1 than the two smaller cameras.
My time in DSLR-land with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and its Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM kit zoom lens taught me the value of lenses with optical image stabilization and a bit extra on the long end of the focal length scale when shooting documentary stills and video.
The in-development announcement of the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR came as a pleasant surprise to many of us who had been hoping for a one-lens replacement for several prime lenses when weight and size would be an issue and Hüseyin Aldırmaz’s report on his experience with a pre-production copy looks promising.
Now to the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR’s release and falling into the hands of well-qualified non-Fujifilm Ambassadors for some in-depth reviews so we have some idea of whether this is the all-purpose standard zoom lens we have been waiting for.
I was lucky enough to spend a very short time with a pre-production model of the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR at last Saturday’s Fujifilm People With Cameras event in Sydney and can report that the lens feels good and solid with fast autofocus and good balance on the Fujifilm X-T3 upon which it was mounted.
I was asked not to save any photographs or video shot with it so my assessment is limited.
Thanks to the ever-keen eyes of the folks at Fuji Rumors, I have now added some reviews of pre-production versions of the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR to the links list below.
Enjoy, until the first in-depth reviews of the production version of this lens start appearing.
Bill Fortney – The New Mid-Range King! – “I will cut to the chase and tell you now it will replace the 18-135 as my standard middle zoom. In fact for my upcoming trip to the UP of Michicgn and Acadia N.P, it and the 10-24, and 100-400 will be my three zoom package. “
Fujifilm South Africa – THOUGHTS ON THE FUJINON 16-80MM F/4 – Anton Bosman – “For professionals who are looking for an all day carry around lens and for the traveller who is looking for a compact carrying kit, yet they still want the ability to create images that will hold their own against the best on any platform. For videographers there is good news, the lens has very little breathing.“
Ivan Joshua Loh – XF16-80mm. – “If you are looking for a zoom lens; this could be it. Of course there is the XF18-135mm lens but I would go for the XF16-80mm. I would prefer a wider advantage than a tele. I would not use this lens professionally as the optically on a different level when compare with XF16-55mm F2.8”
jonasrask|photography – Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR first look preview – “The XF16-80mm f/4 R WR OIS is without a doubt one of the new Fujinon XF classics. It is a phenomenal performer with great image stabilisation, and good IQ throughout the zoom range. Especially at 50-80mm. It’s sharp and has good looking out-of focus rendering. It focuses very fast and precise, and the build quality is fantastic.”
Leeming LUT Pro – production of Paul Leeming’s LUT pack for Fujifilm XF cameras is currently under way.
I have always set up my cameras to zone focus by simply going into manual focus mode, setting the focusing distance scale to my desired focusing distance and shooting away. The problem with this approach is that it is difficult to keep the focusing distance consistent because more often than not I am accidentely bumping the focusing ring. However using the settings I describe below I have been able to circumvent both of these issues and have a reliable zone focusing setup….”
I made heavy use of zone focusing via setting hyperfocal distance during a years-long urban documentary project during the analog era when relying on a pair of Leica M-Series cameras and mostly 28mm and 35mm lenses.
Of the two my preference was the 28mm lens as its medium wide-angle focal length allowed me to be right in the middle of crowds and close-up to my human subjects while still revealing telling details of the environment in which they and I found ourselves.
Narrower or wider than 28mm or 35mm does not cut it for that approach, as I have proven to myself many times before and since, and ultra-wideangle lenses like the otherwise excellent Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R and Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR with their 21mm and 24mm equivalent focal lengths impose a so-called “lensey” look on the image the perspective distortion of which draws undue attention to the lens and not to the subject matter when using it up-close and in-deep in the street.
Setting one of two hyperfocal distances for either closer or more distant action with the 18mm-equivalent 28mm Leica lens was a brilliant solution to the need for maximum speed and meant I could concentrate on seeing and getting into the zone, achieving maximum flow, achieving extraordinary outcomes that evaded a slower, more deliberate approach.
My term for this high-speed, highly-focused approach to urban documentary photography was “visual athletics” and it produced challenging, heavy-muscled images that upset the denizens of my then-local art and photography community and challenged them in accepting my work as art much less as being in any way creative.
More fool them, now that photography is understood as an art form in its own right and that so-called street photography has become an acceptable creative practice.
It can be a thankless task, though, to be something of a provincial pioneer in any art form.
As I have written here a number of times, I am not a fan of Fujifilm’s ageing 18mm almost-pancake lens and have been waiting far too long for its modernized replacement.
A Fujicron-style Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R WR lens would be an acceptable upgrade especially for urban documentary photography but even better would be a far more versatile professional-style manual clutch focus lens in the manner of the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R, XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR and XF 23mm f/1.4 R for stills and video.
Fujifilm, where is the Fujinon XF 18mm that Patrick of Fuji Rumors has been telling us is coming for ages now?
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Breakthrough Photography X4 Brass UV filters – B&H – I rely on this brand’s beautifully-made non-binding knurled traction frame UV filters to protect all my lenses with filter diameters from 39mm up to 105mm.
Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R Ultra Wide-Angle Lens – B&H
Leica CL Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18mm Lens (Black) – B&H – Leica’s APS-C sensor digital rangefinder-style camera with 28mm-equivalent f/2.8 interchangeable lens is one possible solution to Fujifilm’s lack of a decent 28mm-equivalent 18mm lens.
Leica Q (Typ 116) Digital Camera – B&H – Leica’s 35mm sensor digital rangefinder-style camera with 28mm f/1.7 fixed lens is another possible solution to Fujifilm’s lack of a decent 28mm-equivalent 18mm lens.
“… My attraction to optical viewfinders has to do with visual simplicity. Specifically, when composing a photograph, I don’t want to have to peer through a barrage of backlit numbers and flashing icons. I want zero distractions—I don’t want my subject bordered by a Broadway theater marquee….”
The appearance of this article by Allan Weitz is a timely one given I am currently contemplating buying a Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R ultra wide-angle prime lens for my Fujifilm X-Pro2, for architectural and documentary photography.
I had hoped to use this beautifully optically-corrected 21mm equivalent (in the 35mm sensor format) lens to shoot high quality 4K video on my X-Pro2 too but have set this plan aside after finding that Fujifilm dropped the ball on allowing us to customize picture profiles and especially sharpness settings in their recent 4K video firmware update for the X-Pro2, doing a Canon by crippling a long-promised, much-needed functionality.
I hope we do not have to wait too long for the ability to customize sharpness, noise reduction, contrast, colour, highlight tone and shadow tone for video as is permitted on all the other current and recent generations of Fujifilm cameras so I can put my X-Pro2 to work on producing great video footage to match the high quality of its stills.
The Eterna video picture profile would also be very welcome on the X-Pro2.
The X-Pro2’s amazing Hybrid Multi Viewfinder that I love using in its ERF-in-OVF mode for stills and video, with electronic rangefinder (ERF) image lower right in the camera’s optical viewfinder, can only properly handle focal lengths between 18mm and 56mm inclusive, so I must rely on the X-Pro2’s excellent though non-articulated monitor or its suboptimal electronic viewfinder (EVF) for lenses wider than 18mm or longer than 56mm.
When reading Mr Weitz’ article on optical viewfinders, I was reminded of how useful I found the OVFs on the Linhof, the Graflex Crown Graphic upon which I relied in my magazine photography career, my Rolleiflex twin lens reflex cameras and the odd borrowed specialist camera such as the superb Hasselblad XPan panorama camera and Hasselblad SWC Superwide.
The XPan was made by Fuji Camera as it was then known and marketed in Japan under its own product designations, the Fuji TX-1 and Fuji TX-2.
Leica has produced its superb but incredibly expensive external optical viewfinders for many years now, from long before the famous portrait of a young Henri Cartier-Bresson with external OVF-equipped early 20th century Leica was made.
Something I especially like about composing through an optical finder is that unlike the black-bordered, tunnel-like view of the scene you get with LCD, electronic, and conventional reflex viewing systems, optical finders allow you to see beyond the borders of the frame, which gives you a definitive edge when photographing fleeting moments.
I am now in the market for a good but affordable 21mm optical viewfinder to go with the second-hand Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R that its current owner is currently using on a trip to India and hopefully the lens will return safe, sound and free of dust.
Fujifilm, Voigtländer or another brand altogether, I am looking forward to the digital version of a camera view-finding experience that I grew to love during the era of analog cameras, film, photochemicals and, sadly for me, a debilitating photochemically-derived dermatitis that prematurely ended my magazine photography career.
Roll on digital photography!
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“… The Fujifilm X-T20 is everything that is good about technology. It’s a throwback to the days of necessarily rugged metal bodies, optical viewfinders, and entirely physical control schemes replete with satisfying clicks and clunks from mechanical switches and dials. But it elevates those laudable aspects of old-timey film cameras with judicious use of modern technology, including an electronic viewfinder, the same 24-megapixel APS-C sensor as inside the higher-end Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X-T2, and a reliable autofocus system that’s also very amenable to manual adjustment….”
“… 3. To be eligible to claim the applicable cash back amount, an eligible individual must purchase one (1) of the selected FUJIFILM X series cameras AND one (1) of the selected lenses listed in section 9 of these Terms and Conditions in a single transaction (an “Eligible Purchase”) from an authorised Australian participating dealer/retailer during the period commencing 1 st June 2017 and ending 31st July 2017 (“Promotion Period”). For the avoidance of doubt, this promotion does not apply to any of FUJIFILM’s X series cameras or lenses that are not listed in section 9….”