Fuji 50-140mm f2.8 :: It Thinks It’s A Prime

DerekClarkPhotography.com-XE1X7139c

Warning. If you don’t want to to spend more money on gear, do not read this post!

All of these portraits of my kids are straight out of the camera. I have not adjusted contrast or sharpness. This is what you get from an X-T1 and the 50-140mm f2.8. I will do a follow up post to show how great the shallow depth of field looks, but I wanted to get a review out as quick as possible and it’s been a dark grey weekend. This won’t be a technical review. You can find plenty of specs on the web if you need them. Specs are fine, but if they’re not engineered properly, they don’t mean a thing!

It seems nobody told this lens that it’s not supposed to be as sharp as a prime. Come to think of it, nobody told Fuji that you can’t make a zoom that performs like a prime lens either. But I’m glad, because they have pulled it off. Click on any of the portrait shots to see a full size version on Flickr.

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Ok, so the shot above is sharp, very sharp. But look below and you will see that this is just a small crop of the original photo. Not only that, but as I said above, this is SOOC. These portraits of my kids were shot with the Fuji X-T1 and the new 50-140mm f2.8. With a full frame equivalent of 75-210mm, this is Fuji’s answer to the classic professional workhorse 70-200mm f2.8. Now I own a 70-200mm Nikon and it’s a fantastic lens (as is the Canon version). It’s the reason I’ve held on to my Nikon D800, because I need that 200mm reach for my jazz photography. Fuji’s other long zooms are too slow for what I need and my longest prime is the awesome 56mm f1.2. I’m looking forward to my next jazz shoot with an all Fuji setup!

Fuji_50-140mm_f2.8_Derek_Clark_Photo-13

So this shot of my son wearing his first tour t-shirt from our first father and son gig on Saturday (War Of The Worlds) is enough to show the amazing quality that the X-Trans sensor and the 50-140mm can produce. These portraits were lit using a Lastolite Hotrod Stripbox with a Nikon SB700 inside. I also used a Lastolite Trigrip 8 in 1 reflector to get clamshell style lighting. The Flash was triggered by the Flashwave III Radio Triggers. More information on using Flash with Fuji can be found in my 3 part post starting HERE.

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The first thing you notice when you see this lens in person is the size of it. Although not as large as the Nikon or Canon version, it is however, a 70-200mm f2.8 (FF), and that means bulk. Compared to other X-Series lenses, this one is big and it’s heavy. Not in a DSLR sense, but for mirrorless. But this is not a lens that you take with you every day. No this is the big gun that goes to a paid job and does the business. It’s a wedding or portrait photographers must have piece of glass and it will be the lens that allow a large number of DSLR shooters to jump ship to Fuji mirrorless. There will be some that need an equivalent to a 24-70mm f2.8 before that jump, but don’t worry because there’s a 16-55mm f2.8 coming early 2015.

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Fuji_50-140mm_f2.8_Derek_Clark_Photo-16-17

DerekClarkPhotography.com-3Xcameras

So here is how the lens looks on three Different bodies. On the left is the X-T1, which with the battery grip, will be my preferred camera with this big lens. In the middle we have the X-Pro1 and on the right is the smallest of the three, the X-E1. As you will notice from this Triptych, Fuji have put some thought into this and included a removable square (see centre image) on the lens hood. This is to give access to a polarising filter so that it can be turned. I would recommend using the hood with the hole at the bottom to keep out sunlight.

I’m really pleased that Fuji has went with an aperture ring that has the f stops marked on it and has a dead stop at either side, rather than the un-marked continuous ones found on the other zooms. The zoom ring is nice and stiff and very grippy. And on the subject of zooming, as this is a professional lens, all zooming movement is internal, so there are no unwanted protrusions at the front end.

A metal tripod mount Is included and attached, which is essential if you shoot landscapes etc. The lens is heavy and it doesn’t matter which of the X bodies you use it on, there would be too much strain on the cameras lens mount if attached to a tripod via the bottom of the camera. As I only use a tripod now and again, I prefer to remove the tripod mount until required. This is easily achieved by removing two screws (they stay attached to the mount, so no chance of loosing them). I found the best way to reattach the tripod mount is to hold it in place with a thumb and turn both screws simultaneously. When I tried to do them one at a time, the second one was always a bit reluctant to go in. The tripod mount is attached to a ring on the lens that allows the camera to rotate for upright portraits. This locks into position by a single thumbscrew. A small wish for the tripod mount would have been a quick release system similar to the Nikon 70-200mm rather than the two screws….but it’s no big deal!

I often use a BlackRapid Yeti double strap and I really wish Fuji had included a threaded hole for a tripod on the base of the lens as well as the tripod mount (other 70-200mm’s have this). I would feel better about hanging my camera upside down from a BlackRapid FastenR with the rubber bush, than the two thumb screws holding the tripod bracket to the lens. It may be absolutely safe, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it for the first few shoots.

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My seven year old daughter played her first two gigs at the weekend. So the real reason for taking some studio pictures was really to mark the occasion. It was just good timing that Fuji released this lens at the same time. Ho did they know?

The focusing ring is well suited to portraits as you can make really fine adjustments without overshooting the distance. This is due to the focusing ring having a longer travel, something welcome on this lens, but not so much on a shorter focal length prime.

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My time to shoot pictures of my son is limited, as he doesn’t stop moving long enough. So I told him I would shoot 15 frames and he was done. This was the last shot and in response to me asking him to give me the James Bond look. As you can see from the catch lights in his eyes, the strip box is above and the reflector below.

DerekClarkPhotography.com-Fuji_v_Nikon_70-200mm So in conclusion: The Fujifilm 50-140mm is just outstanding! We’ve waited a while, but the wait was well worth it. I keep thinking that Fuji has peeked with the quality of their lenses, but as soon as I do, they bring out something that just blows me away! Sure it’s a big lens on such small cameras, but it is smaller than the equivalent Nikon or Canon (see comparison pic to the left). Apart from wishing for a quick release on the tripod mount and a threaded hole to allow direct tripod/BlackRapid mounting, the only other thing I would have wished for would be a soft or hard case to have been included, rather than the usual cloth bag.

But those are in no way deal breakers. The XF 50-140mm f2.8 R LM OIS WR (to give it it’s full title) is value for money when you consider the quality and comparison to the price of the big two’s 70-200mm f2.8 glass. If Fuji can pull off the same feat with the upcoming 16-55mm f2.8, they will have arguably two of the best zooms for the working professional. It’s amazing to think how little time has passed since the launch of the first interchangeable lens X camera. But in such a short time Fuji has produced an unbelievable system. Let’s hope they’re working on a great wireless flash system to go with it.

Click these links to see what the 50-140mm looks like in daylight and with shallow depth of field.

Out & About With The Fuji 50-140mm f2.8
And Now For Something Completely Different :: Street Photography With The Fuji 50-140mm f2.8

  1. Pingback: Fuji 50-140mm f2.8 :: It Thinks It’s A Prime | Derek Clark › Von TOMEN

  2. Turgeon76

    Great blog, great photos. Thx. How quick is the focus? Have you a chance to test the lens for moving objects?

    1 year ago

    Reply
    • Derek Clark

      Focus is very quick and very quiet. I’ve only had a chance to do the lit portraits so far, but I’ll get out to do some more varied testing ASAP, so watch this space.

      1 year ago

      Reply
      • kim

        really lovely photos! Do you know the 56 1.2mm lens?? I think that autofocus is NOT that good.. are you agree? Is the 50-140 better? gr kim

        3 months ago

        Reply
  3. Filip B.

    Thanks for the review, Fuji sure does have a great streak with their lenses.

    1 year ago

    Reply
    • Derek Clark

      Yup, they’re on a roll. I’m so looking forward to that 16-55mm f2.8 and the 90 f2. I’m also glad to see my Fuji system is almost complete.

      Derek.

      1 year ago

      Reply
  4. Noel Butcher

    Warning. If you don’t want to to spend more money on gear, do not read this post!
    I was happily able to disregard this message as I received my 50-140 yesterday. Beautifully constructed, smooth and precise focusing, the 50-140 in my very short test proved to be as good as I had expected it to be. I look forward to putting it through its paces properly.

    In the last week I parted company with my Canon gear (including the venerable 70-200 f2.8). With my Fuji system now maturing, 10-24 F4, 50-140, two bodies and a few other lenses, I doubt I will miss the bulk of the Canon system despite it having served me well for over twenty years.

    Derek’s results above prove to me that I have made a great decision to buy the 50-140.

    1 year ago

    Reply
    • Derek Clark

      Thanks Noel, and happy new lens to you.

      I’ve held on to my Nikon gear for the 70-200mm, and only used it for my jazz project lately. With this 50-140mm, I’ll need to think about selling the Nikon kit. It would easily generate enough money for the next two lenses and another body +

      All the best with your Fuji system.

      Derek.

      1 year ago

      Reply
  5. Rich Waine

    thanks for taking the time to create this blog.
    This is the lens I have been waiting for all year, seeing your shots just wants me buy this even more

    1 year ago

    Reply
    • Derek Clark

      It’so time Rich. You owe it to yourself :o)

      Derek.

      1 year ago

      Reply
      • Richard Waine

        I’ll probably end up owing the bank manager as well..

        I only need this lens for next years festivals so no rush for it yet.

        I would like to see a Nikon/Canon user of a 70-200mm try out this lens with a Xpro1 or Xt1…

        1 year ago

        Reply
        • Derek Clark

          I have a D800 and 70-200mm f2.8. I’be got an X-Pro1 & X-T1 too. I’ll be out testing it more today. Can’t speak for Canon though.

          Derek.

          1 year ago

          Reply
  6. Eric

    Hi Derek,

    Great article. I was wondering whether you used the 12″ (30cm) or 16″ (40cm) Lastolite stripbox for these shots.

    Eric

    1 year ago

    Reply
    • Derek Clark

      Thanks Eric. I used the 16″ (140cm). It’s one of my favourite modifiers, and I’ve recently bought a grid for it too.

      Derek.

      1 year ago

      Reply
      • Eric

        Thanks Derek! I’ve been quite interested in their stripbox as well. Were these taken with the grid? And whose grid did you use (I heard they did not have a grid available for their stripboxes).

        Eric

        1 year ago

        Reply
  7. Derek Clark

    I think the one with the violin was with the grid, but the rest were definitely without. I got the Lastolite grid from Warehouse Express (UK). It comes with another front diffuser that has wider Velcro to attach the grid to.

    Cheers
    Derek.

    1 year ago

    Reply
    • Eric

      Thanks Derek. I am a big fan of the Fuji X system. Started with an X-E1 and now using an X-T1. Your post is really making me seriously consider purchasing the 50-140mm now too.

      1 year ago

      Reply
  8. Oliver

    Thanks for the review. Nice images! Have you tested the lens with different backgrounds? I’ve seen a lot of example images from outdoor shootings with very irritating and harsh backgrounds. These examples let me focus on other Fuji lenses for XMas.

    1 year ago

    Reply
    • Derek Clark

      Thanks Oliver. I went out yesterday to test the lens in daylight. I’ll try to do a post tomorrow if I can and include plenty of pictures.

      I’ve also got a post coming tomorrow on my 35mmStreet blog with some pictures from the 50-140mm.

      Derek.

      1 year ago

      Reply
  9. Ted V

    Nice article. Thank you for sharing

    1 year ago

    Reply
  10. Pingback: XF50-140: “IQ slightly better than the Nikon 70-200″ (Bjorn) + “superb micro-contrast” (Olaf) + “it thinks it’s a Prime” (Derek) | Fuji Rumors

  11. Julian Day

    Hello Derek

    Great article Derek,

    I recieved my 50-140 yesterday and my initial impressions are a fantastic quality lens, I am really looking forward to the weekend where I can give it a good outing.

    I have noticed that even when the OIS is turned off, either the motors or the OIS seems to be continually on, you can hear a noticeable sound from the lens and when I turn the camera off there is a discernible ‘clunk’ wh. Is this your experience of the lens too?

    Many Thanks

    Julian

    1 year ago

    Reply
    • Derek Clark

      Hi Julian
      This is normal for these lenses. The 10-24mm and 18-55mm do the same. It’s like a permanent his. It’s what they do. They eat through batteries too!

      Hope you’re loving the 50-140mm too.

      Derek.

      1 year ago

      Reply
  12. Julian Day

    Cheers Derek

    Much appreciated the quick response. My 5 year old daughter better watch out this weekend, she will be my prime subject, I can imagine there may be some bribery going on

    1 year ago

    Reply
  13. Guzz

    Have you try Xt1 with135mm Apo sonar carl Zeiss

    1 year ago

    Reply
    • Derek Clark

      No, I haven’t had the chance to try any lenses on the X-T1 apart from the Fuji ones.

      Derek.

      1 year ago

      Reply
  14. Pingback: Out & About With The Fuji 50-140mm f2.8 | Derek Clark Photography

  15. Pingback: Fujinon 50-140mm f2.8 LM OIS WR: Review | The Digital Trekker Blog & Photography

  16. Pingback: Out & About With The Fuji 50-140mm f2.8 | Derek Clark › Von TOMEN

  17. Pingback: Out & About With The Fuji 50-140mm f2.8 | Derek Clark | Photo Research Information

  18. Pingback: Fuji X Buyer’s Guide :: Part 2 :: Lenses · DEDPXL

  19. Mark Dell

    Great review Derek and it’s all your fault!
    I have ordered one tonight from WEX can’t wait to try it out

    1 year ago

    Reply
  20. Pingback: Fuji 50-140mm F2.8 » K-pture blog

  21. doug

    Great photos.. excellent subjects. But looking at Flickr, it’s also a very non-flattering lens if you don’t do skin softening! Question though… Have you noticed with yours, that the OIS is AlWAYS on and making noise? I brought mine back to BHphoto because of that, thinking it was a bug. I’ve seen others saying that it’s always on, and others saying not. Haven’t gotten a real answer.

    8 months ago

    Reply
    • Derek Clark

      The (hissing) noise is constant on all Fuji OIS lenses.

      Derek.

      5 months ago

      Reply
  22. David Queenan

    Hi Derek, Great review… sounds like a great lens. Just wondering if you’ve got plans to review the 16-55mm? I currently have a D610 with 18-35mm and 70-200mm lenses and was all set to get the 24-70mm to fill the gap but since getting a Fuji X-E2 last year I’m suddenly having second thoughts. I have the 18-55 and 10-24 lenses and I’m getting the urge to get the Fuji 16-55 and swap my Nikon 70-200 for the Fuji 50-140 with a view to upgrading (or adding) my X-E2 with a X-T1 or X-Pro2 if it comes out early next year as rumoured. Any thoughts?

    7 months ago

    Reply
    • Derek Clark

      Nothing planned David, but never say never. The 16-55mm f2.8 is a stunning lens though and much better than the Nikon 24-70mm.

      Derek.

      5 months ago

      Reply
  23. Nafis Ahmed

    Hey Derek!! Very informative review.. I own a xt1 with xf 35mm f1.4r ..right now I’m thinking about buying a new lens but I’m confused in between xf50-140mm f2.8 and xf 90mm f2.. I choose xt1 for its size and weight that makes it stand out from cannon and nikon..i guess every mirrorless fan chose mirrorless over full frame because of that.. But if i buy that 50-140 then everything about compact vanishes for me..What do you think i should go for based on your use ?

    6 months ago

    Reply
    • Derek Clark

      It really depends on your needs and what you use it for. Both produce stunning results!

      The 90mm is smaller and a bit faster at f2, which might swing it sor some people. The 50-140mm will focus better in low light and gives you the versatility of 75-210mm (ff). The compression is amazing when zoomed in all the way. But it is a big beast of a lens on the X-T1, but nice with the battery grip.

      I don’t own the 90mm right now. The test model went back to Fuji and so far I haven’t felt that I’ve needed one so far. F2 would be nice, but I do a lot of music photography in low light. The OIS on the 50-140 is amazing and I can shoot at 1/125th at f2.8 zoomed in to 210mm hand held and it’s pin sharp. Focus is quicker than the 90mm, so it’s the one for me. I only put the 50-140mm in my bag when I’m going on a job that requires it. The 90mm is smaller, but in my bag it would have to lay on it’s side and that would take up the space of two lenses (the 50-140 takes the space of 3).

      It’s a personal choice and only you will know, but I hope this has helped. If I didn’t shoot a lot of low light and concert photography I would maybe choose the 90mm for size.

      Good luck
      Derek.

      6 months ago

      Reply

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