Telephoto shootout


XF50-140mm f/2.8 LM OIS WR v. 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII

In a recent post, I reviewed the new Fujinon XF50-140mm zoom lens. One of the comments asked how it compared to the Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 VRII lens. I promised to post a comparison of images from those two lenses. So here it is…

Well, actually, before I start, a few thoughts. I have been using the new Fujinon telephoto lens a lot during the past two months. I am very, very happy with the resulting images and that I have this lens for work. In many situations, it is the only way for me to get the shots that I need. There is no getting away from the size and weight issue though. It is a big lens, by X-camera standards. However, it is smaller and lighter than any full-frame equivalent lens, while delivering images that are as good as any that I have made with the 70-200mm lens.

Having given my opinion up front, I know that many will disagree with me, particularly if you own the excellent Nikkor zoom lens. Of course, part of the equation when looking at image quality will be the camera and sensor. For the Fujifilm shots, I was using an X-T1. For the Nikon shots, I was shooting with either the D700 or D600. I have attempted to post images shot from similar or the same event, just from different years. I have not posted full-sized samples or crops. Just lazy I guess. Instead, I have posted fairly large versions of the images, from which I believe you can still get a good idea of image quality.

Fujinon XF50-140 gallery

Nikkor 70-200 gallery

Usability

Another aspect of shooting with any lens is how well it handles and focuses. From a purely personal point of view, I can’t say that either lens out performs the other. Focus with the Fujinon lens is as good as with the Nikkor. Given that I prefer shooting with the smaller and lighter mirror-less cameras and lenses, that tips the balance in favour of the Fujifilm products. Other photographers will have different preferences. So be it.

Final word

As I stated in my initial review of the XF50-140mm lens, I think it is stellar and I’m thrilled to have it available. This zoom range is required for so much professional work, that it is necessary to have it covered with a great lens. With the Fujinon, I do.

Note: Not related to the lenses used, it is interesting to note that nearly all of the images I have included as samples for the Fujinon lens were OOC JPEGs. I believe only two of the samples were from RAW files. All of the Nikkor samples are from RAW files. A clear reflection on how reliably the Fujifilm X-trans sensor renders JPEGs. I have never willingly relied upon Nikon JPEGs.

2 Comments

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  1. Marco Cinnirella March 12, 2015 — 01:22

    Nice shots there, though when I read “shootout” I was expecting more comparison – side-by-side comparison images, for example. Just how much smaller and lighter is the Fuji lens by the way?

    • Marco, sorry if you were misled. I wanted to talk about user experience, as well as image quality, however, I’ll leave pixel peeping to someone else. You can see a fairly large sample for any of these images by clicking the full-size preview image. I’m sure that someone else will do a side-by-side comparison. From a user’s perspective, great image quality and performance delivered in a smaller, lighter and more affordable package seems like a win for the XF50-140 lens. But, in the end, whatever works for you, is what you should use.

      As for weight, the Fujinon weighs 995g. while the Nikkor weighs 1540g. Since we don’t use a lens without the camera, let’s add the camera weight as well (X-T1: 390g. v. D600: 760g.). So total weight difference is: Fujifilm – 1385g. v. Nikon – 2300g. I think those numbers speak for themselves.

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