Saturday, December 6, 2014

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Preview: Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8R LM OIS WR Zoom

(click on above image to open a high-res version in a new window)

I recently had an opportunity to briefly test Fujifilm's new professional level zoom, equivalent to a 75-210mm in full-frame terms. I tested it on my X-E2 body but above, you can see it mounted to an X-T1. While the lens is indeed quite large and has substantial mass, it is actually not as heavy as it looks, in other words, its density doesn't seem all that high, a welcome fact thankfully. I have Fujifilm's extra hand-grip on my X-E2 and with it, I found the lens fairly well balanced and easy to handhold.

This is constant aperture f/2.8 zoom with a properly marked aperture ring on the lens, a first for Fujifilm zooms and hopefully the beginning of a future trend! It has a linear-motor (LM) for fast and quiet focusing, it boasts weather-resistant (WR) construction and has an optical image stabilizer (OIS) that is rated for 5-stops of extra stability. The tripod mount is detachable with two thumbscrews but it is also a nice way to carry the lens with attached body, to avoid stress on the body's lens mount from the relatively heavy lens.

The lens is beautifully constructed with a fully internal zoom mechanism and a silky smooth zoom ring with absolutely consistent tension that doesn't get tight anywhere within its range or towards either end of the zoom. In addition, it has a perfect feeling aperture ring with nice, crisp detents and excellent tension. In terms of its mechanical operation, it may just be the nicest feeling lens so far for Fujifilm's X-system. Personally, I take great pleasure in the mechanical and tactile feel of a camera's controls, one of the attractions of Fujifilm's X-system for me, and this lens absolutely does not disappoint. Finally, even the lens hood is thoughtfully designed, with a small slide-out portal that allows one to adjust a polarizing filter when the hood is mounted.