Just how good is the XF50-140mm zoom lens?

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Guest Blogger strip BLACK

By Brian Rolfe

May this year I picked up a second-hand graphite silver edition X-T1 and wanted a good excuse to go out shooting with it.

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Shooting with the XF50-140mm

So.. I arranged to meet a model I’ve known for 5 or 6 years now, Imogen Leaver who’s with Nevs Models in London. We got chatting and I mentioned a friend of mine who’s a makeup artist that had just moved to Ibiza, well she’d been on my case to fly out and shoot on the island, it was something I’d been wanting to do for a long time.

To cut a long story short, we were both fairly quiet work-wise so we looked into flights and within a few days that was it, flights were booked and we were going to fly out the following week for 3 days!

The next thing to decide was what gear to take?

You see my switch to regular use of the Fuji X System was still pretty fresh, my Canon 5D MkIII was and still is part of my kit but I’d only used it once in about 4 or 5 weeks, even in the studio I’d been reaching for the X-T1.

Honestly, I thought I might have deliberated more over what kit to take but I wanted to travel light and I already knew how much I loved Fuji in natural light from past experience so that was that – I took the X-T1, the X100T, my 35mm and 56mm.

I’d also been hearing great things about the XF50-140mm zoom, but being a prime shooter I wasn’t too sure if it would work for me, but Fujifilm kindly loaned me one for the trip so I could try it out and see what all the fuss was about, I wasn’t expecting to use it much – how wrong I was!


The Shoot

First day out we drove to a beautiful beach, Sa Caleta the sun was shining & we were ready to get going, the rocks and cliffs were a beautiful golden colour I just knew would give amazing tones and colour to Imogen’s skin.

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We started with a bit of fashion on the water’s edge before heading up into the cliffs, at this point I pulled out the 50-140mm lens as I thought it would be good to stay fixed to one spot rather than moving around the rocky terrain with the camera to my eye and tripping.

Well, I really wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to fall in love with that lens, it performed like a prime, fast to focus, sharp and the Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) was a real plus. I’ve not got the steadiest hands so when I’m out in natural light it can be so easy to miss a shot due to camera shake, but with this lens every shot was in perfect focus.

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I was also surprised how balanced it felt in the hand for a large zoom, when you compare it to something tiny like the 35mm F2 you’d expect it to feel very heavy and just a bit odd on a small body, but I found it really easy to use and very comfortable.

Day one was the last time I used my primes, seriously.

The zoom did not leave my camera for the rest of the trip as after reviewing the images on my MacBook Pro every evening I noticed they appeared to have more depth to them, almost a 3D quality. Maybe it was the beautiful Ibiza light I don’t know, but there’s something I can’t quite put my finger on that’s different to the primes and whatever it is, I love it.

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I really did put it to the test on this trip as well, some strong winds on the second day really showed how the OIS helps. We shot alongside those famous Ibiza sunsets where Imogen modeled swimwear out upon a jetty with the sunset behind her – I experimented quite a bit here as it’s not something you get to shoot everyday!

I’d shot sunsets in the past but throwing a model into the mix really offered up a new challenge for me, and I knew Imogen really wanted some sunset shots too… no pressure!!

I exposed for the sunset initially leaving Imogen in silhouette but then found a good middle ground exposure to be able to have enough light on her while still capturing the beauty of the sunset, the colours and reflections on the water. I also tried exposing for the model and blowing out the sunset more and I have to say they all worked out very well.

You don’t get more than maybe 20 minutes to get those shots and yet I was still spoilt for choice with the results. I knew I could push things in post but I’m a bit of a stickler for getting things as close in camera as possible & having all the dials on top of the camera really helps to make those quick adjustments.

I think the ultimate test was as we were driving away from the beach on the cliff road, Lauren, our make up artist and host pointed out to the sun just about to disappear into the water behind us, I wound down the window grabbed the XT and with my upper body hanging out of the moving car I took a shot, as you can see it came out beautifully!Imogen - Ibiza 0928 web

I have to say that I truly missed that lens when it went back to Fuji and I think I’m very likely to get myself one in the near future. The whole trip was a great success and we’ve had great feedback from the images that were taken.

I’d like to thank Fuji for providing the lens for this trip as well as my friends Lauren Buckley make-up artist and Imogen Leaver for making the trip such a successful and memorable one.

To see more of Brian’s work, click here. 


 

XF100-400mm Vs Bruce Springsteen

By Tony Woolliscroft

tony-woolliscroft-jul-2014For music & concert photographers, restrictions have meant it’s become harder and harder over the years to get those great shots. So seeing the Fujifilm XF100-400mm lens come into the fold is a very welcome addition to the Fujifilm lenses lineup.

Along with bad photography contracts thrust upon us as we collect our photo passes, and image right grabs on the pictures we capture, we’re now being forced further and further back within a venue, which restricts what we can actually capture due to the distance we’re expected to shoot at. This makes the XF100-400mm essential to achieving good results.

 


Bruce Springsteen – Manchester

With Bruce Springsteen performing in Manchester, I looked forward to using Fuji’s new beast of a lens the 100-400mm. Even though we were expected to shoot from the ‘Golden Circle’ barrier at around 50 meters (164 feet) from the stage, it’s still quite a distance.

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The size & weight of this new lens was inline with all the Fuji X series cameras/lenses, well made, light in weight and weather sealed.

The one thing that did concern me though as I arrived at the City of Manchester stadium was the weather…… It was absolutely pouring down. I knew this would be a good test for both this new lens and my Fuji X-T1 camera!

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Once in position, I had 3 songs in which to capture images from the ‘Golden Circle’ barrier. Even from here it was difficult to gain a vantage point above the sea of waving arms, mobile phones and homemade signs that swam through the crowd as Springsteen performed.

Even though it is a larger lens than other Fuji lenses in their range, in comparison to Full Frame it’s still relatively light and having to shoot without a mono pod (as I was constantly moving to dodge the arms blocking my shot) I was able to do this and keep my camera steady without much shake.

The camera and lens handled the heavy rain perfectly, no problems there, and I also found that the lens focuses very quickly and especially when Bruce was standing directly in front of the big video screen (which can be challenging for cameras).


Once home and after a bit of time spent editing the pictures, I was extremely happy with how the 100-400mm lens performed.

It helped me capture some great moments in the allotted 3 songs slot I was given to shoot in, and the distance the lens covers from 100mm to 400mm was a massive plus as right at the end of the third song Springsteen stepped onto the lower stage and I was able to capture that moment too!

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Springsteen on the lower stage platform

Using the Fujifilm XF16-55mm f/2.8 for press photography

Guest Blogger strip

By Rachel Megawhat

I began using Fuji cameras at the beginning of 2013. I had begun my photographic career in the days of film, primarily working as a studio fashion and portrait photographer. Through a lot of the time of digital I had been raising a family and working on fine art projects using film  but in 2013 I decided it was time to get a really great new digital camera. The Fujis were suggested to me and I just felt comfortable with them straight away- not least because of the familiar velvia and provia settings. Initially I got a X-E1 and did so much work with that that that I later got an X-T1 as well. I feel that much of the work I have done over the last two years has happened because I am so comfortable with these cameras.

Recently I’ve been trying out the Fuji XF16-55mm f/2.8. My XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 has seen 2 years of near daily use since I got my first Fuji camera, and compared with it, the 16-55/2.8 is a lot bigger lens, quite a lot heavier, and I wondered if the extra 2mm and constant 2.8 aperture could make that much difference.


I really love this lens.


I am a photographer not a writer so the best way to explain it is probably by showing some of the pictures I have taken with the lens.

On VJ day 70th anniversary after photographing the Queen arriving at the Church service, using a longer lens, I had switched back to the 16-55 as the Royal car drove past- given the heightened security it was not made clear which route she would be driving so I was lucky she drove past.

The image on the left is shot at 16mm and then zoomed in to 38mm for the shot on the right. The reflection on her face is a bit unfortunate but I love the way her hand is rested on Philip’s knee.

Last year there was a lot of focus on the Labour party and I covered a bit of this with the 16-55. L-R, Mr Corbyn arriving at the announcement of the Leadership Election, Yvette Cooper in a lift on the way to make a speech and Gordon Brown giving the speech where he walked over a mile, a real test of the camera’s autofocus speed as he literally didn’t stand still.

Like most photographers I see no reason to leave the camera at home if I go away for the weekend so I had the Fuji with me when I went to Weston-Super-Mare to visit Dismaland. It was one of the least dismal days of the year, and gave me the chance to test the lens for landscape shots.

I also tested out the low light action with left: Fat Boy Slim and right: Run The Jewels

One job which is always a welcome break from politicians is the London Zoo photocall. In August they weigh the animals and invite news photographer’s along to record it. This tiny frog was a nice test of the close up capabilities of the 16-55.

I quite often photograph celebrities, often campaigning and this month has seen its fair share with Charlotte Church and Emma Thompson for Greenpeace and Brian May for Badgers

I also covered the AIM Independent music awards with FKA Twigs and Michael Eavis

All in all the 16-55mm has dealt with everything I’ve needed it to do, I quickly got used to the extra weight and I would recommend it to anyone.

See more of Rachel’s work

Rachel’s official website
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“Why I love the Fujinon XF50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR lens”

Welcome to the first “Why I love” XF lens series. Find out why the X-Photographers love our fast, long telephoto zoom, the FUJINON XF50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR.

 Wayne Johns – Fashion & Beauty

A Beauty Photo shoot, with photographer Wayne Johns, for an advertising campaign.

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When Fuji released this lens (75-210mm DSLR Equivalent), my intrigue questioned whether this would be an equal to the 70-200mm F2.8L series I had used on my DSLR; would the optics be as good? After trying it I could only describe the results in 2 words ‘Blown away’; the image quality was absolutely outstanding. I use this lens a lot in the studio for its narrower angle of view and the compression it applies to the depth of my images. The focusing & sharpness of this lens, even when hand held is amazing!… I had no need to question this lens, it more than equaled my DSLR equivalent and it’s much lighter too.
It’s obviously a little bigger than the other Fujinon lenses, but who cares when it delivers truly incredible results like it does.quote-right

Click here to see more of Wayne’s work


Kerry Hendry – Fine Art Equestrian

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I’ve shot on Fuji for almost two years now, but it was the release of the 50-140mm lens that really sealed the deal for me. Shooting fast equestrian sports needs a fast, longer lens – whether you are looking to capture pin sharp action pictures, or deliberately looking to include creative movement with interesting bokeh.

Even in low light the wide aperture, teamed with the brilliant OIS means I can still hand hold at slower shutter speeds. Also, shooting horses, whether on the polo field or out in the wild, means one thing – rain and mud! The X-T1 body with the 50-140mm gives me a robust weather sealed system I can take anywhere.quote-right

Click here to see more of Kerry’s work


 Derek Clark – Documentary & Music

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I shoot prime lenses most of the time, but as my primes top out at 56mm (85mm in old money), I often need the reach and speed of the 50-140mm f2.8 for music photography (especially for stage work). With a full frame equivalent of 75-210mm, this is the the classic workhorse zoom that has the beautiful look of a full frame 70-200mm f2.8. Put it together with the 16-55mm f2.8 and you have the ultimate fast twin lens zoom setup that can cover just about any type of event. The OIS is essential on a lens of this size and it does an amazing job, even allowing me to shoot handheld at 1/15th sec while zoomed all the way in.quote-right

Click here to see more of Derek’s work


Ben Cherry – Environmental Photojournalism

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This is strapped to the front of one of my X-T1s at all times. Sharp, fast and built to withstand some strong abuse, the XF50-140mm is designed for those who need a lens to rely on and not to let them down. With beautiful bokeh and tack sharp wide open, this F2.8 zoom has such a useful focal range that it is in the kit bag of nearly all working X-Photographers. The autofocus is able to track moving animals and it has turned out to be the game changer for many of my recent wildlife encounters. quote-right

Click here to see more of Ben’s work


Matt Hart – Events

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I love to shoot prime lenses but at events and festivals you just cant get close enough to your subjects due to the crowed density, so the next best lens to a fast prime is a fast Zoom and the 50-140mm lens is just stunning. I have used top of the range glass from all the other big names when I used to use DSLR’s but nothing compares to the sharpness of this 75-210mm equivalent. What makes it even better is I can shoot with this lens all day and still not have shoulder and neck ache. It gives me beautiful out of focus areas, pin sharp subjects and the image stabilisation comes in to its own when the light drops.
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Click here to see more of Matt’s work


Paul Sanders – Landscapes

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The XF50-140 is a real workhorse of a lens and without doubt, a lens I am loathed to leave behind.

The incredible optics deliver superb definition and contrast throughout the entire aperture range. But for me it is not the technical specifications that make this lens worthy of the plaudits it receives across the web and throughout the photographic world.

It is the fact that in a cluttered world, I can isolate my subjects, drawing attention to them by shooting with the aperture wide open, deliver exceptional details, stunning candid portraits and most of all dramatic landscapes that have impact & power over the grace of a wide-angled image.

Shooting landscapes with a telephoto  lens is a different discipline but it is one worth persevering with & utilising every mm of focal length this stunning lens offers you.

It’s ideal for shooting panoramas and the tripod mount gives it an incredibly stable base for shooting long exposures without a hint of camera shake – but for those who only shoot hand held the image stabilisation is second to none.

In short, if you want to add one zoom lens to your bag, this is the one – it is worth every penny and will never let you down.
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Click here to see more of Paul’s work


Dave Kai-Piper – Portraiture

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When this lens was created there was nothing else much like it in the range. And to date, it is still the finest long lens in the line up. Tack sharp from 50mm to 140mm – this constant f2.8 lens is fast enough & stabilised enough for you to think less and shoot more. Combined with the most recent updates leaves this lens as one of the most reliable lenses – regardless of genre or type of photography.

It’s packed full of all the latest and greatest Fujifilm tech, such as nano Gi coating, LMO (corrects for diffraction), HT­EBC Coating (ensuring ghosting and flare are controlled), five ED lens elements, one Super ED lens, 23 glass elements in 16 groups and then seven rounded aperture blades to create a smooth, circular bokeh. It has a massive 5.0 stop stabilisation too. Internal barrel movements combined with large rubber grips give this lens a wonderful sense of balance whilst also feeling very natural to hold.

In short, this lens is one of the most vital items in my kit bag alongside the 56mm APD & 16-55mm lens. The real world interpretation of the technology being used in this lens is simply that it does what you would expect it to as a working professional photographer. Combine this with the focus tracking in the X-T1 and you can confidentially take on any genre of photography. Whether it be a fashion catwalk, motorsports or even wildlife photography knowing you can get the shots you are looking for, every time.
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Click here to see more of Dave’s work


pic_header_18d326_03_06d1a6a828Click here to see retailers selling the XF50-140mm lens