Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fuji (Fujifilm) XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 lens
a hands on review

Fuji expands the optical system of its X cameras with the introduction of the XF 55-200mm (83-300mm equivalent) telephoto zoom lens. It compliments the current medium range zoom, the Fuji 18-55mm (27-83mm equivalent), and will be the second of three zooms intended for the X series cameras.  The super wide angle 10-24mm (15-36mm equivalent) will complete the series later in the year.

The Fuji 55-200mm zoom mounted on an X-Pro1 and shown next to the current 18-55mm lens.

The build quality of this lens feels solid and comfortable, weighing in at 20.46oz (580g).  It is 4.65" (118mm) long with a diameter of 2.95" (75mm). With the hood it extends 7.25" (184mm) from the camera. It accepts 62mm filters, and focuses as close as 3.1' (1.1m) for a magnification of .18x.  The variable aperture of f/3.5-4.8 closes down to f/22.

My first test is always to examine the sharpness of a lens, with particular attention to the corners of the frame.  This lens passed with flying colors.  Corners were sharp at all focal lengths and even with the aperture wide open. I have included some of the test images below with a link to download the high res version so you can judge the performance for yourself.

There is no apparent linear distortion at any focal length as you can see from the photo above and those below. Click here to download a hi res version of this file.

This is a brick wall test shot at three different focal lengths, 55mm, 100mm, and 200mm. Download the hi res versions using the links below.

The photos above also demonstrate the lack of linear distortion at all focal lengths. Vignetting also appears to be absent.

At 3.1' (1.1m) the lens is not setting any records for close focus, but with the equivalence of 300mm focal length you can get substantial enlargements like the example above.

The new zoom is a comfortable size as can be seen in this comparison with the 18-55mm model.
The lens hood is large but can reverse on the lens for storage, making it a more compact package for travel. The optical viewfinder does not have frame lines that zoom in and out to show the focal length as it does for the 18-55mm lens.  It does show a frame line for the 55mm focal length and the relative position of the focus spot within the frame. With a lens of this extreme length frame lines would be impractical. An electronic viewfinder is really the only way to go.

A big plus of the lens is its Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) feature, which is activated by a switch on the lens.  This adds 4.5 extra stops of stability for hand held photography.  All the test images in this post were shot hand held.

Click here to download a hi res version of this image.  This image should provide a good example of there resolution capabilities of this zoom close to full extension.
Click here to download a hi res version of this image.
Check out the corner sharpness of this image.  Click here to download a hi res version of this image.
Click here to download a hi res version of this image.
Click here to download a hi res version of this image.


Looks like Fuji produced another winner with the 55-200mm for its line of zoom lenses. It shows true professional qualities: no distortion, solid build, high resolution, image stabilization, and quick focus. This is a lot for a lens with a $699 price tag, much better than most zooms I have tested in this price range, and even better than some costing several times as much.

With this lens, Fuji introduced an updated firmware that improves its AF.  You can download the firmware here:

Click here to download firmware version 2.04 for the X-Pro1

Click here to download firmware version 1.05 for the X-E1

1 comment :

  1. Looks like the X-Pro1 set is the ultimate "walking around" set !! And taking sensor quality and lens quality into account, why would anyone buy a Leica M when you can get this value for a lot less money ?