Closing in on the cold with the XF80mmF2.8 macro lens

By Ben Cherry

The Fujifilm system is now at a stage where the last lenses needed to make it, in my opinion, a ‘complete working photographers system’ are on the roadmap and set for launch at some point this year. With the recent announcements of the FUJIFILM X-H1 and the MKX lenses, the system can really cater for a wide variety of needs. One of the lenses I had been missing, until its launch in 2017, was the XF80mmF2.8 Macro OIS.

I regularly work in close proximity to my subjects. In the past I have used the Fujifilm extension tubes to get up close and personal. These were super, ‘get out of jail’ add-ons for lenses like the XF56mmF1.2 and XF50-140mmF2.8. You can find a blog I did on these handy accessories, while working as a researcher in Costa Rica here.

As well as these lenses, I have also been using the ever adaptable XF16mm F1.4 for close up wide angle shots. This truly is one of my favourite lenses. I have used it to photograph lightning storms and stars, elephants in rainforests and the release of baby turtles. I find it incredibly adaptable; one of the reasons for this is down to its incredible close focusing distance. So, when I had the opportunity to spend 24 hours in the Black Mountains of South Wales, I grabbed some zooms and my three favourite primes: XF16mmF1.4, XF35mmF1.4 and the XF80mmF2.8 then headed off.

I spent the night in the mountains in a remote cabin, which was made all the more remote by a fair sprinkling of snow.

X-Pro2, XF16mm F1.8, ISO 1600, 13 seconds

It was a relaxing trip so had to stay hydrated and cosy…

X-Pro2, XF35mm F1.4, ISO 800, 1/600

When daylight hit, I went for an explore around the surrounding valley, taking in the magical scene. All the while I was looking for suitable circumstances to test out the XF80mm. Then, tucked around one of the many hills, I stumbled across a small waterfall with natural steps built into it. I thought this would be a good place to start.

X-T2, XF100-400mm F8, ISO 400, 1/200

Macro photography usually requires large amounts of light as you often have to use large F-stops to ensure a decent depth of field, which is proportional to the distance from the camera. To compensate for this, I added an extra level of creativity, I brought along two mini portable LED lights. These allowed me to illuminate the icicles whilst keeping the background dark.

X-T2, XF80mm F8, ISO 1600, 1/950

The bokeh of the XF80mmF2.6 lens is really pleasing. Even when stopped down to F8, the light glistening off icicles in the background was beautiful.

X-T2, XF80mm F8, ISO 1600, 1/2400

I deliberately underexposed the above image to keep the light subtle on the air pockets, highlighting the tiny but beautiful detail of this icicle. The XF80mm had so much to give, the issues I experienced were down to me! I was hand-holding this set up, camera in one hand, LED light in another, whilst my feet were slipping on the rocks as icy water flowed over them. Health and safety would have had a field day! But the camera/lens combo was easy to handle. Because of my instability, I had to use very fast shutter speeds. The autofocus was snappy, which is not usually a strong feature of macro lenses.

At one stage I put the LED light in the water (thankfully completely waterproof) and was able to brace for some slower shutter speed images. I was very impressed. With the addition of the X-H1 (can’t wait to pair these two together) the potential to go even slower is very exciting!

X-T2, XF80mm F11, ISO 100, 1/17

Being able to get two different macro perspectives from two fantastic prime lenses was fantastic. Here is a shot taken with the XF16mm F1.4 showing how the focal length makes a huge difference to the image, despite the close focusing.

X-T2, XF16mm F1.4, ISO 200, 1/1900

All in all, I am very impressed with the XF80mm F2.8 OIS Macro. I think it will replace the XF56mm F1.2 in my backpack. X-T2, X-H1, XF16mm, XF35mm, XF80mm, XF16-55mm, XF50-140mm, XF100-400mm, plus accessories like some lights, batteries, etc makes for a fantastic set up which is still suitable for airline carry on. The prospect of the impending XF200mm F2 OIS makes the set up near perfect for me. I can highly recommend the XF80mm, I’m sure it will make for a brilliant portrait lens too.

Until next time, happy snapping!


More from Ben Cherry

Website: http://www.bencherryphotos.com/

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More about XF80mmF2.8 Macro OIS

Mid-Range Telephoto Macro Lens

The first 1.0x magnification mid-telephoto macro lens for X Series
This lens features a focal length equivalent to 122mm (on a 35mm format), a maximum aperture of F2.8, and 1.0x magnification factor, a first in the X Series interchangeable lens range. By achieving high resolving power at the focus point and beautiful bokeh, this lens is optimal for shooting flowers and nature photos. Combine this lens with Fujifilm’s unique Film Simulation such as Velvia, for truly stunning close up images.

Bright nights and city lights with the FUJIFILM X-T20

By Oliver Wheeldon

Being a London local, Oliver Wheeldon was extremely excited when the Lumiere Light Festival, a show of over fifty artistic light installations, came to town. Not only was Oliver able to capture some stunning shots of the lights transforming the city at night, he was also able to push the X-T20’s high ISO capabilities to the limit to capture the city streets after dark.

Continue reading Bright nights and city lights with the FUJIFILM X-T20

9 Ways to Create Dreamy Long Exposures

By Dawn Black

Depending on who you speak to or which forum you frequent, long exposure photography can be defined as anything longer than half a second to more than 30 seconds and into minutes or even hours. The effects that you will achieve with longer exposure times will all depend on the speed of the moving elements within the frame and, like everything in photography, there are no hard and fast rules. When creating a long exposure image all the usual considerations of composition and light apply but we add in the element of time. We will create an image that the eye itself cannot see and this requires some vision. Whether you want to record dynamic moving clouds, swirling waters, to record or even eliminate moving people in a busy place, shoot light trails or go completely minimalistic, the possibilities are there for us. Personally, I use long exposure in my landscape work.

In order to create long exposures you need to practice and perfect your technique. Here are some considerations you should think about:

1. Carry your tripod everywhere

A tripod is a must. In long exposure photography, be it light painting, light trails or long exposure in landscapes, the shutter is open for more than a second so it is imperative that you have the ability to keep the camera absolutely still.

Vortex, Europoort
Fujifilm X-T2 + XF50-140mm @ 74mm | ISO 200, f/5.6, 8 secs with Lee Big Stopper

Continue reading 9 Ways to Create Dreamy Long Exposures

A photographer’s perspective on the art of mindfulness through photography

By Alex Carp

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience mental health issues at some point in their lives and that is quite a stark statistic. I am a strong believer in taking up photography as a hobby when it comes to helping people who are experiencing mental health issues. Whilst there have many discussions around what can potentially lead to mental health issues, and ways in which people can get treatment and support, I haven’t seen many talking about how photography, can help your mind stay healthy. Getting out and about with a camera in hand helps people to become more present, more aware and more mindful. Continue reading A photographer’s perspective on the art of mindfulness through photography

Primes vs Zooms: A Different Perspective

By Mark Gilligan

“Is it worth me buying any prime lenses for landscapes? I have read that a zoom will do all I need?”

That’s a question that pops up from time to time but before I give my answer we need to look at what they are and what they can offer. Without going into the technical detail too much (you can check out the tech specs on the web), I will keep it simple. Continue reading Primes vs Zooms: A Different Perspective

Never Miss The Moment: A first look at the FUJIFILM X-H1

By Chris Weston

Wildlife photography throws up many challenges. For starters, weather and environmental conditions are rarely ideal. Dusty African savannahs, humid jungles, persistent precipitation in rainforests, sub-zero temperatures in the Arctic and Antarctic – they all demand the very best of the equipment I use, in terms of both performance and reliability. In reality, it’s about confidence – I need to know that when the going gets tough the camera I’m using will perform consistently and uninterrupted. Having worked with X-T series cameras in camera-hostile environments around the world, I already have surety in the Fujifilm system.

I have recently spent time working with the FUJIFILM X-H1, including a trip to the stunning Camargue region in the South France to photograph the wild horses there. It’s obvious the designers and engineers have taken weather resistance to even higher levels with this new camera, with more robust seals to prevent electronics’ two main enemies, dust and water, leaving you high and dry. Continue reading Never Miss The Moment: A first look at the FUJIFILM X-H1

Sports Photography as a Spectator – Ice Hockey

By Jeff Carter

In a series of articles X Photographer Jeff Carter will be shooting at sports events in the UK and showing how to capture great images with the Fujifilm X Series without the need for a media pass. In this blog Jeff gives you all his top tips for photographing an ice hockey game.


Continue reading Sports Photography as a Spectator – Ice Hockey

Abstract Architecture Photography with the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 Lens

By Felix Mooneeram

I first became interested in the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 lens when I had an idea for a specific photo series which came to mind as I was travelling around my home city: Manchester. There’s a lot of history here but there’s also been a great deal of new architecture built in the last 10 or 15 years. For a few months, I imagined a series of images where I could get closer to the architecture that was catching my eye everyday around the city. I wanted to explore the relationships between the old and the new, whilst examining the styles and materials of the recent developments more closely and the XF100-400mm was the definitely the lens to do this. Not only was I interested to see how a lens typically used for sports and wildlife photography could work in a city; but I was excited about the new perspective it could gave me on buildings that I pass on a daily basis. Continue reading Abstract Architecture Photography with the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 Lens

Sports Photography as a Spectator – Football

By Jeff Carter

In a series of articles X Photographer Jeff Carter will be shooting at sports events in the UK and showing how to capture great images with the Fujifilm X Series without the need for a media pass.  In this blog Jeff gives you all his top tips for photographing football matches.


Continue reading Sports Photography as a Spectator – Football