Fuji XF Lenses

For my birthday a couple of months back, I got a new camera bag. A very nice bag it is too. It’s lightweight and compact enough to carry around without getting an aching should. It’s big enough to pack my camera, two or three extra lenses, my wallet, my Kindle Fire and other small odds and ends. It’s also a sling design, which is important. It’s good to be able to swing, unzip and retrieve the camera quickly when an unexpected potential photo turns up.

But what I really needed was an extra lens or two. Fuji are trying very hard to push their X range of CSC cameras. I originally bought my X-M1 and 16-50mm kit lens on a special offer – they threw in a zoom lens (XC 50-230mm) for free. And their promotions keep on coming. Some of the deals seem crazy. But Fuji’s X range is one of the newer CSC options, and I guess they want people to buy into the system. Sell a camera, you’ve got a customer for the life of the camera. Sell them the lenses, you’ve got them for life.

The latest offer was too good to turn down. To be honest, whilst the Fuji kit lenses are pretty good for kit lenses, they are still kit lenses. You’ll never get the most of out a good camera with kit lenses. So I now have a pair of prime lenses, the f1.4 35mm and the f2.4 60mm macro. I chose the latter largely because the pancake lens I really wanted was not in the offer. I’m pleased to say that I think I was ‘forced’ into buying the right lens. How good are they? I feel my photography has been transformed. I have awakened. I finally have some proper photographic gear!

A confession. I have shot most of my photography up to now in auto mode. Sometimes I switch to aperture priority. But mostly in auto mode. Creativity was always in the post-processing of the image. Since mounting these lenses on my camera I have shot exclusively in manual mode. Having decent aperture rings on the lenses and dials on the camera makes it easy to shoot in manual. And the results are all the better for it. I’m not forcing myself to shoot in manual mode, and then having to think about what I’m doing. It instantly became a natural and instinctive way of shooting.

Fuji XF 60mm f2.4 Macro.

The macro lens was the first to arrive. The name is really a bit of a misnomer. It’s not what most people would call a macro lens, capable of only a 0.50x magnification. Fuji have just released an extension tube for about £70/$100 which increases that to a more respectable 0.76x.  It’s a bit of a jack of all trades. Decent for close-ups, portraits and as a compact telephoto lens. Bright enough for use in all lighting conditions.

The focal length is a bit long for general use though. Photos are sharp. Bokeh is easy to create. Depth of field is easily controlled with pleasant, soft background blur. Colour and tone are spot on. While that longer focal length does sometimes mean I have to back up, back up and back up a bit more to get everything into my shot, for the most part it’s pretty easy to leave it on most of the day. The shot below is one of my favourites so far. But there’s a whole bunch of sample images in a set on Flickr – click here.

DSCF5281 Fuji XF 35mm f1.4

I noted that the 60mm is a bit awkward to use for general use. That is what this lens if for. A much shorter focal length means it’s a great street camera to tote. But it really comes into its own after dark and indoors. It’s a very bright lens. Like the 60mm, it’s a high quality metal lens that feels like a top of the range piece of gear. The rings are smooth and precise. This is the lens that will spend most of the time mounted to my camera. Sharp, great colours. The full package. With its own set on Flickr – click here, and a sample below starring Mrs P.

DSCF5227

15 Comments

  • Gary what program(s) are you using for post work on your images? I went on a whirlwind visit to Ireland, Scotland and Tenerife recently and although I took about 2000 photos many of them are a little dark but cleaned up nicely. However when saving them to Fropbox and flicka the original image was saved for some curious baffling reason.
    Thanks

    • Sorry for the late reply, but what with vacations and work, time has been mightily limited!

      Anyway, I use Adobe Lightroom. I have done for years. It’s the finest photo management/processing tool available in my opinion. There is a learning curve involved, as with any program. But it’s well worth investing the time. Again, in my opinion!

      Adobe does a Photography plan for about 10 bucks a month, and for that you get both Lightroom and Photoshop. It’s fantastic value for money if you do a reasonable amount of photo work. There’s a free trial too. It’s worth giving a go.

      And I can confirm that I’ve never had the problems you’ve described with Lightroom, although I have come up against that sort of thing somewhere else.

      If you do give it a go, let me know. I’d be happy to help out if you get stuck anywhere.

  • Well, I have the same lenses that you have plus, and I much recommend it, the 10-24mm zoom.

    Yes it does cost a few bobs but this is the lens that is really difficult not to use on a walkabout.

    I find it simply addictive and I am thinking to buy another body and leave this leans permanently on that body or otherwise the temptation to stick with it sometimes prevents me to put another lens on my camera.

    The lens that you’ve acquired “ for free” in the package deal, the 50-230mm, is one of the absolute undiscovered jewels of the Fuji system, if one can live, with its relative slow speed.

    In all honesty, even if the lens is not that fast, when one looks through the EVF or LCD display one looks, of course, at an electronic, enhanced image and therefore it matters very little whether the lens has a f1,4 or f4,5 maximum aperture.

    Furthermore, Fujifilm high sensitivity files are very reasonable in terms of noise and one can afford pushing the speed up to a comfortable level and save plenty of money on a lens like this.

    The 60mm has its quirks. I like it and does work for me but one needs to live with and accept the fact that this lens has some problems (even in high performance mode, which, by the way, many never even know it exists) to automatically focus things where low contrast and low light levels are playing havoc with it. Oddly enough sometimes it is easier to focus manually than it is using autofocus!

    Another oddity is its gigantic lens hood! I have decided to use the 35mm hood on the 60mm and only in case I am doing some rather close, close-ups (if you don’t wish to call them “ macro”) using this serious piece of metal tubing.

    The 35mm 1,4 is really spectacular! It was my first lens of the system and I love it.

    If I ever add anything to these lenses panoply I will probably get myself a 8mm f2,8 fisheye ( several brands for the same lens)

    • My next lens, which is a way off in the future, will probably be that pancake lens I referred to. But I’d rather like a fisheye too. One day, one day…

      Till then the 35mm f1.4 will be my main weapon of choice. It is a very fine lens.

  • That last shot of Mrs P is quite excellent, with beautiful focus and a wonderful bokeh.

    And welcome to the “locked in” club. As you know, I ended up buying another Canon back when my old 30D died for exactly the reason you cite: I already had 3 Canon lenses. And while I can’t complain TOO loudly as the new camera is a fine piece of equipment, the fact remains that the sensor is way down DxOptical’s ranked list of sensors/cameras.

    But hopefully Canon will catch up in the next generation.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where, after an initial burst of photography with the new camera, we have been remarkably photographically apathetic.

    • P.S. Manual mode?!? Are you a masochist?!? I typically use either shutter priority or aperture priority, depending on what I’m trying to achieve. (Almost never use full automatic mode.) But manual mode? I only use that for night shots done with a tripod where the automatic exposure tries to make things too bright.

      • ISO is on auto, although I’d love to have a dial to control that too. But the Fuji picks the right ISO almost every time anyway. But I’ve really enjoyed shooting in manual. The aperture is a cinch to set on the lens. The dial is fast and precise to set the shutter speed. It’s a lot easier than I thought it would be.

    • I am now truly locked in. And I remember how you pondered that new camera purchase. There’s a lot to be said for switching to the CSC format. There’s equally a lot to be said for not having to go out and re-buy expensive lenses that you’ve already purchased for your DSLR system.

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