Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR lens

      Photo Review 9

      In summary

      Price-wise this lens is targeted at the professional end of the market, although it will also appeal to well-heeled serious enthusiasts and represents a worthwhile long-term investment.

      Superior build quality with weatherproof sealing make this a versatile lens that will be useful for many years.  


      Full review

      The Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR is one of two lenses we received with Fujifilm’s X-T2 camera body. Announced on 10 September, 2014, when fitted to the X-T2 this lens has a focal length equivalent to 76-213mm in 35mm format and a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture (which is equivalent to f/4.2 in 35mm format) throughout the zoom range. Twenty dust- and spray resistant seals give this lens the same levels of environmental protection as the X-T2 camera used for this review.


       The Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR lens, shown without the lens hood and tripod mount. (Source: Fujifilm.)

       The optical design of this lens is complex, consisting of 23 glass elements in 16 groups, with five ED (extra-low dispersion) lens elements and one Super ED lens element that Fujifilm says is ‘comparable to a fluorite lens’. Proprietary HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating) has been applied to all the lens surfaces. This is augmented by a new Nano-GI (Gradient Index) coating technology, which alters the refractive index between glass and air. Together they ensure ghosting and flare are effectively minimised.


       The optical design of the Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR lens showing the positions of the exotic elements. (Source: Fujifilm.)

      A new   addition is the Triple Linear Motor autofocusing drive, which controls the inner focusing elements, at the same time enabling a lighter lens design. The phase detection AF system in the X-T2 can utilise this technology to provide fast and quiet autofocusing and shooting.

      Optical image stabilisation is built into this lens, with an enhanced gyro sensor and a new series of stabilisation algorithms that cancel drift to allow steady shooting with longer focal lengths or slower shutter speeds. The bright f/2.8 constant maximum aperture makes handholding possible in previously challenging areas for a telephoto zoom.

      The lens is supplied with front and end caps plus a petal-shaped lens hood and a detachable tripod mount. It accepts 72 mm diameter filters.

      Who’s it For?
       The size and weight of this lens make it a more comfortable fit on Fujifilm’s more solidly-built camera bodies, particularly those with Lens Modulation Optimiser (LMO) technology like as the X-T2 we used for this review. (LMO applies software adjustments to images to restrain diffraction and other optical aberrations and produce sharper images.)  

      The telephoto end of the zoom range can be suitable for shooting sports action as well as nature and wildlife photography. The shorter end of the zoom range is close to ideal for most types of portraiture, including candid shooting.

      The minimum focus of one metre at all focal lengths provides a good working distance for capturing close-ups of small animals and flowers, while the constant f/2.8 maximum aperture provides scope for blurring distracting backgrounds and shooting with the camera hand-held in poorly-lit situations. When combined with an X-T2 camera body, the overall weight of the kit is roughly 60% of the weight of an equivalent full-frame system.

      Build and Ergonomics
       Weighing almost one kilogram, the Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR is a substantial handful. Its build quality is excellent, thanks to the amount of metal used in its construction. Both the focusing and aperture rings are metal and the lens mount is made from brass for improved strength.

      Weatherproof sealing makes this lens usable in temperatures as low as -10 °C, while the broad rubber-clad controls can be easily operated with gloved hands. Internal focusing and zooming maintain a constant lens length during adjustments and help to prevent dust from entering the lens.

      The focusing ring is located about 15 mm behind the front edge of the lens. It’s 20 mm wide, with most of its surface covered by fine ridging to provide a secure grip. Around its trailing edge is a narrow silver band, behind which is a 5 mm wide section of the barrel that does not move.

      The zoom ring is 60 mm wide, with the front 50 mm being covered with a thick rubber cladding that has slightly broader ridging than the focusing ring. Stamped on the trailing edge of this ring are focal length settings for 50mm, 70mm, 90mm and 140mm positions, which line up against a white line on a narrow section of the barrel just behind.

      Immediately behind this section is the aperture ring, which is 13 mm wide and turns through about 120 degrees across a series of 1/3EV click stops. Aperture settings from f/2.8 to f/22 in one-stop increments re engraved on the front edge of this ring, with an A position that sets the camera and lens to auto aperture just beyond the f/22 position. The grip band on this ring lies behind the aperture settings. It’s about 7 mm wide and thickly ridged.

      Aft of the aperture ring in a 20 mm wide section of the barrel is the stabiliser switch, which is a slider with two positions: off and on. Unfortunately, the AF/MF switch that is normally located in this area on professional quality lenses is absent; if you want to swap between the single AF, continuous AF and manual focusing modes, you must use the lever switch on the front of the camera.

      The tripod collar is located behind this section. It’s also 20 mm wide, with a locking screw that enables the lens to be rotated to position the camera vertically or horizontally. A tripod foot attaches to the lower section of this part of the barrel with two locking screws.

      The supplied lens hood is made from rigid black plastic. It is just over 80 mm deep and has a petal shape with a removable section on the lower section that allows you to adjust a polarising filter by inserting a fingertip.

      Our Imatest tests showed the supplied lens to be a superior performer, delivering resolution levels that were above expectations across all focal lengths. With the 50mm focal length, both centre and edge resolution were well above expectations between one and two f-stops down from maximum aperture.

      Resolution tailed off gradually as the lens was stopped down, although both centre and edge sharpness remained good at the minimum aperture of f/22. The graph below shows the results of our tests.


       Lateral chromatic aberration was effectively negligible, as shown in the graph of our Imatest results below. The red line marks the boundary between negligible and low CA.


       Rectilinear distortions are corrected for JPEGs in Fujifilm’s camerasso we had to check out raw files to discover any inherent distortions the lens might produce, Fortunately, the distortions we found were mostly negligible and ranged from barely visible pincushion distortion at 50mm to slight pincushioning at 140mm.

      In-camera corrections are also provided for vignetting so, once again, we had to turn to raw files to gauge their extent. Slight corner darkening could be seen at 50mm and this increased as the focal length was extended, resulting in noticeable darkening at 140mm. At each focal length, stopping down to f/4 made the darkening barely visible.
       Bokeh was generally very attractive, as you would expect from a high-quality fast telephoto zoom lens. Background blurring was smooth with only slight outlining at the 50mm focal length. No coloured fringing was detected.

      Autofocusing was generally fast and quiet enough to allow this lens to be used for recording video, as well as in situations where camera noises must be minimised. The built-in stabiliser is also effective, offering between three and four f-stops of correction, depending on your ability to hold the camera and keep it steady.

       Price-wise this lens is targeted at the professional end of the market, although it will also appeal to well-heeled serious enthusiasts and represents a worthwhile long-term investment. Superior build quality with weatherproof sealing make this a versatile lens that will be useful for many years, as long as Fujifilm’s X-mount persists.

      These benefits come at a price. Fujifilm lists the lens at an RRP of AU$2249, which is more than $100 higher than the US MSRP at current conversion rates. Fortunately, the lens has been on the market for a couple of years, which means discounting is well underway. A survey of Australian online re-sellers shows this lens is offered at between AU$1522-1799, which is less than you would pay if you shopped off-shore. Most local camera stores should be prepared to sell the lens within this price band. Buying locally gives you all the (not insignificant) benefits of Australian consumer protection laws ““ and, if you visit a shop you can check out how the lens handles before spending your money.



       Picture angle: 31.7 to 11.6 degrees
       Minimum aperture: f/22
      Lens construction: 23 elements in 16 groups (including 5 ED lens elements and 1 Super ED element)
      Lens mounts: Fujifilm X-mount
      Diaphragm Blades: 7 (circular aperture)
      Focus drive: Triple Linear Motor with inner focusing system
      Stabilisation: Optical (5 stops)
      Minimum focus: 1 metre
      Maximum magnification: 0.12x
      Filter size:   72 mm
      Dimensions (Diameter x L): 82.9 x 175.9 mm
      Weight:  995 grams
      Standard Accessories: Lens front and end caps, petal-shaped lens hood, detachable tripod mount

      Distributor: Fujifilm Australia; 1800 226 355; www.fujifilm.com.au  



       Based on JPEG files captured with the Fujifilm X-T2 camera.






       Vignetting at 50mm f/2.8.


       Vignetting at 70mm f/2.8.


       Vignetting at 90mm f/2.8.


       Vignetting at 140mm f/2.8.


       Rectilinear distortion at 50mm.


      Rectilinear distortion at 70mm.


       Rectilinear distortion at 90mm.


       Rectilinear distortion at 140mm.


      Close-up at f/2.8; 50mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/300 second.


      Close-up at f/2.8;140mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/400 second.


      Bokeh at f/2.8 in a contrasty subject, 140mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/1500 second.


      136mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/140 second at f/5.6.


      75mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/2000 second at f/4.5.


      Strong contre-jour lighting; 140mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/1000 second at f/6.4.


      140mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/850 second at f/5.6.


      140mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/1250 second at f/5.


      90mm focal length; ISO 200, 1/1000 second at f/8.


      72mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/350 second at f/9.


      140mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/420 second at f/4.
       Additional image samples can be found with our review of the Fujifilm X-T2 camera.



      RRP: AU$2249; US$1599

      • Build: 9.2
      • Handling: 9.0
      • Image quality: 9.2
      • Versatility: 8.9