Why the XF50-140mm is the nail in the coffin for my SLR

I have been using the Fujifilm X-Series for over a year now and I am completely hooked on it. Its discreet design, tactile interface and the space and weight saving factor that makes you feel completely in control. However, I still have my SLR almost exclusively because of the 70-200mm F2.8 lens, which until now, for me, has been the one lens really missing from my Fujifilm line up. Now that the XF50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR has been officially launched, here is my views on why many people will be looking to make the full switch to this system.

In June I was lucky enough to be given a prototype of the 18-135mm lens by Fujifilm to capture some wildlife shots. This was a brilliant experience but what I found was that I generally used it in the 70-200 equiv. range unless I was taking a landscape and/or environmental shot.

18-135mm

Incoming seagull at sunrise 1/3800 F8 ISO800

18-135mm-2

Thoughtful puffin 1/170 F8 ISO400

18-135mm-3

Puffin in the midday sun 1/1500 F8 ISO800

18-135mm-4

Puffin eye level 1/2500 F5.6 ISO640

18-135mm-5

Inquisitive tern 1/450 F11 ISO800

18-135mm-6

Breaching dolphin 1/850 F8 ISO800

18-135mm-7

Pod passing Bamburgh castle 1/300 F11 ISO800

All of these photos were taken at 135mm, the long end of the lens. Note that I generally have the X-T1 at ISO800 when I’m walking around, ensuring that I should have a high enough shutter speed to freeze any potential action I come across. This ‘walkaround’ ISO used to be ISO400 but the noise control of the Fujifilm camera is so good that I can raise it. Other than the low angle puffin photo, all of the shots were above the minimum aperture. The reason for this was that this was a prototype lens, which meant that the overall quality wasn’t quite as good as the production version (which I now own and love). Though this wasn’t a big problem it was somewhat limiting my creativity. If I had access to F2.8 at this focal length then I like to think I could have come back with some more interesting shots.

When outdoors in ‘rough’ conditions it is always nice to know that the lens you’re using has been designed to be weather resistant. That is why I have been using the XF18-135mm lens so much (see the Wales pictures below), other than the versatile wide focal length, the weather resistance ensures that when mounted on the X-T1 I don’t need to worry about it in wet conditions. I am very happy to hear that the new lens is also weather sealed.

18-135mm-8

Defying the elements 135mm 1/640 F8 ISO1600

18-135mm-10

Welsh sunset 135mm 1/280 F5.6 ISO1600

Away from wildlife photography for a moment, I often cover events such as weddings and conferences and this is where I use an SLR with a 70-200mm F2.8 attached alongside my Fujifilm gear. The reason for this is low light capabilities of the telephoto zoom are usually very important in these dimly lit places. The Fujifilm lenses I use cover everything from wide angle to short-telephoto but for close up shots I do require a 70-200mm equiv. lens. Once the 50-140mm F2.8 lens is available my need for a hybrid SLR/mirrorless system will no longer be required. And although I only carry one SLR and 70-200mm, swapping this for the Fujifilm equivalents will make my kit that much lighter.

I believe this lens will make lots of photographers switch over to this system. Yes it is still quite big, but in comparison to SLR lenses it weighs a third less! Though some might not want it because of the weight/size factor, I for one am looking to snatch one up as the capabilities it offers are huge. As the Fujifilm system continues to improve its auto focus capabilities I expect this lens will get better and better. I’m imagining trekking in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda searching for mountain gorillas with the X-T1/50-140mm combo. A system that weighs over 1kg less than an SLR equivalent. That for me is just one of the factors that will make this kit epic. Here are a selection of shots I’ve taken with my Canon 70-200mm F2.8. As you will see, I use this focal range a lot and so this announcement by Fujifilm is going to be huge for my kit.

Gorilla mum

Mother cradling her child 175mm 1/200 F2.8 ISO3200

Lion smelling the wind

Smelling the wind 200mm 1/800 F2.8 ISO50

Thoughtful Chimpanzee

Thoughtful chimpanzee 200mm 1/200 F2.8 ISO3200

70-200-4

Startled proboscis monkey 200mm 1/1600 F2.8 ISO400

70-200-3

“Everyone say AWW” 200mm 1/640 F2.8 ISO400

70-200

Antoine in his environment 175mm 1/1000 F2.8 ISO50

70-200-2

Singer in lowlight conditions 105mm 1/250 F2.8 ISO6400

What do you think? Are you looking to get your hands on this new lens or is it not for you? Let me know. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask here or via twitter and facebook:

@Benji_Cherry

Ben Cherry Photos facebook page

Happy shooting!

Ben

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