Monday, October 12, 2015

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Gallery: Fall, and more XF 90mm f/2 tests...

Fall is coming, the leaves are changing and I spent another day with Fujifilm's 90mm f/2 firmly attached to the front of my X-E2. When I get a new lens, shoot with it, and then scarcely want to take it off the camera... well that's a sign that I really like that lens. My previous lens purchase, the XF 16mm f/1.4, was the same: on my trip to California earlier this year, about half of my 3300 photos were taken with that 16mm. Even though longer focal lengths are not something I use all that often, the 90mm has given me such wonderful results, that I've been using it a lot more than I thought I would.

There seems to be something almost "magical" in how it renders highlights, be it reflections on water, or reflections off metal or chrome.  Look at the large version of photo 43 in the gallery for example, and maybe you'll see what I mean? The 90mm is so sharp that I want to seek out textures too: old crumbling brick walls, rusting metal or decaying, yet colourful leaves. An added bonus is that it focuses very closely, considering it is not a macro. In fact, it offers roughly 1/4 life-size reproduction at its closest focus. Some portrait lenses have a tough time getting you a tight headshot, but with this 90mm, you can frame a face tightly enough to capture just the eyes.

Lastly, I wanted to mention how perfect the aperture ring feels on this lens, despite it being a WR design. Detents are firm and crisp, with full stop detents being distinctly stronger than its 1/3 stop detents, attention to detail which is commendable in my view. This is not the only Fujifilm lens to offer this full-stop/third-stop difference in feel, but it is one of the most obvious that I have felt. This little bit of "tactile perfection" is something that just makes the lens even nicer to use in practice. Not all Fujifilm lenses have felt so good, with the 18-135mm kit lens having a particularly mushy and vague aperture ring for example, but the aperture ring on this lens feels, at least to me, just about perfect. I am stating this as a distinct point of praise for Fujifilm's lens engineers, with the hopes that they take this to heart and not only continue to design future lenses that are superb optically, but make ones that also feel equally superb mechanically...


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