Zoom! At f2.8

Working with the XF50-140mm f2.8 lens

It has been a while in arriving, but I finally own the new Fujinon XF50-140mm f2.8 lens. This is the one lens that my work kit has been missing since I switched to Fuji X-cameras. Earlier, I resorted to using the work Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 lens on the D600 when I have needed a longer zoom. More recently, I used the XF55-200mm variable aperture lens, which has worked well in certain circumstances. However, the new XF50-140mm lens is and will be my go-to lens when I need the reach.

I was so certain of the quality of this lens, I ordered it without having tried it or even seen it. I had every confidence that Fujifilm would once again produce a stellar piece of glass.

They have.

 Workhorse

The XF50-140 lens is robust. It is robust in size and build. Although smaller and lighter than it’s full-frame counterparts, it is still a significant lens. You will not wonder which lens is attached to your camera body when you grab it from your bag.

Since it’s arrival, I have used it for a couple of work gigs and a documentary project, as well as using it for some personal shooting and portrait tests. This lens is clearly meant for work, at least for me. Attached to the X-T1 with the battery grip, it hangs from one shoulder while my X-E2, fronted with an XF prime lens, is slung from the other shoulder.

Belfry Theatre

This past week I shot with this combination at a keynote address delivered by our Premier as well as using it for a theatre presentation over the weekend. Wow, what a difference having the XF50-140 made to the types of images I was able to capture. The lens is sharp at f2.8, which is where I have kept it, most of the time. Auto focus is as fast as with the other XF zooms, if not faster. Of course, I usually shoot in MF mode relying upon the MF focusing aids, such as zoomed view and focus peaking. In both cases, I shot wide open and at high ISO.

I am very pleased with the results, which confirms for me that buying sight-unseen was the right choice.

Options

My normal setup is a wide prime on one body and a longer prime on the second body. This is a great combo for most of my work, which puts me reasonably close to my subjects. With the new XF50-140mm lens, I now have a fast telephoto for my X-cameras. This is a great option to have, when the need arrives.

I will also use the lens for some personal work and for weddings and theatre gigs. The fast aperture and great X-trans high ISO performance make shooting in the theatre a lot of fun!

The XF50-140mm lens is a great portrait lens. If you don’t already own one of the two XF56mm f1.2 lenses, then the new, fast zoom will become your best portrait option. I do own the XF56mm f1.2 lens, which will remain my primary portrait lens. The faster aperture and lighter weight make the 56 a better option for me. And, it is less in-your-face than the XF50-140. People are a little intimidated when you point the long telephoto lens at them!

Recommendation

If you are a photographer shooting with Fuji’s X-cameras and have longed for a fast 70-200mm (FF) equivalent lens (you know who you are!), your wait is over. The Fujinon XF50-140mm f2.8 is as good as you would expect from Fujifilm, if not better. It is not a small investment, but given the quality and the image results, I believe that it’s worth the cost. If you are accustomed to using the excellent, and small, XF prime lenses, then the XF50-140 will take a little getting used to because of its size and weight. It is an understandable tradeoff that one has to accept with a long, fast telephoto lens. Mine will not get used all the time, but I am really happy to have it for those circumstances where I will need it.

Images captured with the Fujinon XF40-150mm f2.8 lens fronting either the X-T1 or X-E2.

7 Comments

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  1. great post Don. I have the 56mm 1.2 and I love that lens. Haven’t tried the 50-140 yet. Off topic which is the camera strap you have on the x-t1. I use upstrap on my DSLR but can’t find the right and similar strap for my x-t1

    • Thanks Harmeet, you are the second person who has asked me about straps after reading this post. The little anchor links on the X-T1 work with the Peak Design’s strap system. These include straps and cuffs. I use them all the time with my X-E2 and all of my former X-cameras. The X-T1 tends to be used most often with a Blackrapid Curve strap and swivel anchor, as it generally has the heaviest lens attached. With the XF50-140, I attach that strap to the tripod foot on the lens, so the camera/lens are slung on my right side. With lighter lenses, I attach the strap to the camera tripod threads. Hope this answers your question and thanks for reading.

  2. Larry Gottschalk January 28, 2015 — 14:16

    Nice. I miss my Canon 72-200 2.8 IS. Not sure whether I want this or the 16-55 more…though I suspect this one will make it into my bag first, since I have the 16-55 FL range covered with various primes. Thanks for the write up Don.

  3. So now the question is, how does it compare to the 70-200 f2.8 Nikon VRII ….

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