When a package from Fujifilm Canada with the XF 50-140 OIS lens arrived on my doorstep, I got unusually excited. I couldn’t wait to start shooting. How strange, I thought. After all, I have never been a fan of zoom lenses; I mostly shoot with primes and the line of XF prime glasses fills my camera bag leaving no space for zooms.
But somehow, this new, large, heavy lens had captured my attention since the first day it was announced. There are three main reasons:
First, we have said many times on this blog that the right way for any company to build a photographic system from the ground up is to start with quality lenses. Amateur photographers usually get excited about cameras while lenses tickle the professionals (in the end, great glass will attract pros and ultimately sell cameras). In fact, the prime reason we started shooting Fuji X-series exclusively was the superb quality of the XF lenses. The XF 14mm F2.8, XF 35mm F1.4 and XF 56mm F1.2 are in our bag and they are some of the best lenses we have ever used. Therefore, XF 50-140 F2.8 OIS WR – the first really professional zoom from Fuji immediately had us on alert.
Second, Fuji equipped this lens with a newly designed image stabilization system with a gyro sensor and unique processing algorithm. This formula allows shooting by hand at much lower shutter speeds than was possible with telephoto lenses in the past. It is extremely important to us since most of our photography is handheld. We subscribe to the notion that the tripod kills creativity. We would take a riveting composition over a perfectly sharp photo at any time. That’s why this feature is so important to us.
Third, the superb XF 56mm F1.2 (and to a lesser extent, the XF 60mm) has been the only serious offering so far for portrait photography. However, very often we need more compression and the ability to zoom quickly while photographing couples, children or landscapes and this lens fits the bill exactly.
Last weekend we had a chance to put this lens to work. After shooting extensively with the XF 56mm F1.2 we didn’t expect this zoom to come even close but we were proved wrong. And after reviewing our first images our reaction was: “They’ve done it again!” The XF 50-140 is BITINGLY sharp with a crisp tonal transition and superb micro-contrast! The bokeh (out of focus area) is surprisingly smooth, given the smaller sensor size (in comparison to the FF). The only thing we could whine about is the size of the lens but if this is a trade-off to achieve top quality, I’m glad Fuji went for it.
Since the season of joy is upon us we have decided to do something different. With Kasia and a few elves we headed to our favourite Christmas destination, Art Knapp store. Not only did we have a great time together but we also met Mrs. Claus, who was kind enough to read us Christmas stories. HO! HO! HO!.
We coupled the XF 50-140 with the Fuji X-T1 and shot mostly by hand (of course with the OIS on). All images JPEGs straight from the camera (minor WB adjustments in LR 5).
For those of you who want to see how this lens performs for landscape photography, here are few more shots (processed in LR5, Velvia film simulation).
Next time… some material from our recent photo session with Nicole, of course shoot exclusively with the XF 50-140 lens. Stayed tuned.
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