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Sep 16

Hands On: Fuji Booth (X100T, 50-140mm f/2.8 and more!)

Fuji 50-140mm f/2.8

Edit 12/19/14: My in-depth review of the Fuji 50-140mm f/2.8 is now up.  Check it out here!

Fuji’s big lens announcement for Photokina 2014 is the new 50-140mm f/2.8. This lens has a field of view equivalent to 75-205mm at a constant f/2.8 aperture. It’s a fairly substantial lens, being just slightly larger than the average 70-200mm f/4 lens for full frame (but far smaller than a 70-200mm f/2.8).  I wish Fuji could have optimize size a bit more, but it may pay for that size with better optics.

Fuji's new 50-140mm f/2.8

Fuji’s new 50-140mm f/2.8

The 50-140mm has a very nice build quality that is completely solid with no wiggles or wobbles anywhere. The lens is internally zooming, and the zoom ring operates with great smoothness and damping. The aperture ring, which is thankfully marked, unlike the 10-24mm f/4), has a very robust feel with nice firm detents and solid clicks. It’s how all the aperture rings on Fuji lenses should feel, so let’s hope it continues on future lenses. The tripod collar turns exceptionally smoothly, and while the whole collar can’t be removed, you can remove the foot to reduce size.

Focus is fast and sure, and very accurate from my limited time shooting with it. While, like most things at Photokina, I couldn’t shoot with the lens and take home pictures from it, I did make sure to zoom in to maximum magnification on the rear of the camera, and this lens looks really sharp. Knowing how my other Fuji lenses look on the rear of my X-T1, it looks like the 40-150mm is going to have that true prime-like sharpness across the frame. Bokeh also looked very pleasant and there was essentially zero chromatic aberration, even when shooting sparkling silver jewelry on the models at f/2.8.

Front element of the 50-140mm f/2.8

Front element of the 50-140mm f/2.8

Fuji appears to have a winner on their hands with the 50-140mm, and I can’t wait to put one through its paces in the coming months.

56mm f/1.2 APD, and other new Fuji Lenses

Just a quick note on the 56mm APD. I held and shot a few test frames with the new 56mm, and it looks and handles almost identically to the old 56mm. The only difference is the slightly broader aperture ring. I took a few test shots that looked great, but of course the regular 56mm f/1.2 looks great too. This APD version is going to be a very specialized lens, I feel. If you want the softer out of focus renderings and a bit more wide open contrast, it might be worth your while, otherwise I think the standard 56mm f/1.2 is going to be what makes the most sense for most shooters.

New Fuji Lenses

In addition to the officially released lenses, Fuji had mockups of all the new roadmap lenses, including the brand new 140-400mm f/4-5.6, the 90mm f/2.0, the 16-55mm f/2.8 and the 16mm f/1.4.

For the most part, if you are after small size with your mirrorless kit, these lenses may make you walk past. My gut feeling is Fuji is pulling out all the stops on image quality, and that may necessitate a larger lens in some instances.

The 140-400mm has a massive 86mm front filter thread and a huge wide cylinder of a body, though in length it’s no longer than the new 50-140mm. While I couldn’t hold it, my guess is that it won’t be a light lens either, but it will put high quality 600mm reach in your hands.

The huge front element of the 140-400mm f/4-5.6

The huge front element of the 140-400mm f/4-5.6

Very fat, but somewhat short for the focal length

Very fat, but somewhat short for the focal length

I was very surprised by the size of the 90mm f/2. It’s a huge lens, with a 72mm filter and a size reminiscent of the Canon 85mm f/1.2. It’s far larger than any of the 85mm f/1.8 lenses for SLRs and looks like a 56mm f/1.2 that’s been enlarged. I’m going to assume that this lens is likely to have simply stunningly good optics, which would help negate the very large size. For the lens to be successful, it will have to have those stunningly good optics, as otherwise few will want to put it in their bag.

The new 90mm f/2

The new 90mm f/2

The new 16-55mm f/2.8 WR is another weather sealed lens that is coming out shortly, and it definitely is not a stabilized lens. This could come back to bite Fuji, though the already quite good 18-55mm f/2.8-4 may fit the bill for those who need some speed with an optical stabilizer.

In any case, the 16-55mm looks to be a fairly hefty lens as well, with almost the same dimensions as the 18-135mm. When I inquired about the lack of stabilization, I was told that the 16-55 had the stabilizer removed in order to improve the image quality further. Perhaps this will be one of the finest standard zooms around if that’s the case.

The new 16-55mmf/2.8 next to the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 and the 18-135mm.

The new 16-55mmf/2.8 next to the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 and the 18-135mm.

The 16mm f/1.4 has a big front element, but keeps the body size very close to that of the existing 23mm f/1.4. Like that lens and the 14mm f/2.8, the 16mm f/1.4 will also feature the focus clutch mechanism for manual focusing.

The new 16mm f/1.4

The new 16mm f/1.4

All of these lenses are slated for release by the end of next year.  Keep coming back for more reports from Photokina!

About the author

Jordan Steele

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Admiring Light; Photographer; Electrical Engineer and Dad

18 comments

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  1. David

    Filter size on the 16-55?

    1. Jordan Steele

      77mm

      1. Alan

        I hope that isn’t final, the 10-24 and 50-140, 90/2 are all 72 and it’d be nice if they kept it consistent!

        1. CarstenW

          A step-up ring would fix that. Not ideal, but also no big deal.

          Jordan, the zoom picture in picture of the X100T is not any larger than the same section of the image?

          1. Jordan Steele

            Huh. Works for me.

          2. Alan

            A step-up won’t fix that all my filters are 72mm, or fit under a lens hood :(

          3. David

            not if you are using Lee Seven5 filters

  2. Florent

    Thanks a lot for the report, Jordan.
    This year’s Photokina is certainly very exciting!
    We are witnessing an interesting shift in mirrorless land. In the past, manufacturers tried to attract the weight/size conscious photographers among us while now they seem more to cater to enthusiasts with large lenses featuring (presumably) excellent optics.
    I’m personally not very interested in large lenses despite their probably very high IQ. I wish Fuji would release some more compact lenses even if the IQ were to be slightly inferior (I love pancake designs). The 90 and 50-140 are a bit disappointing in this regard . The Pentax 50-135 is indeed quite a bit smaller and lighter than the Fuji. Also, as you wrote, the 90mm is much larger than the Nikkor 85 f/1.8 for instance (which is faster and covers FF).
    It appears as the only manufacturer concerned by size is Panasonic.

  3. alans

    Interesting point about the 16-55 lacking IS. The 24-70mm f/2.8II Canon also lacks IS and that’s a very sharp zoom. Hopefully it helps alleviate the cost also. Thanks for the info on the 50-140mm as well. If you get a chance to check the AF speed again and can compare it relative to other lenses(realizing that it’s pre-production) that would be appreciated. Hope you get a chance to take some personal photos and also enjoy the trip!

  4. Guest

    any word on whether the 16-55 will be internal zooming?

  5. Andrea

    Call me what you want but a slightly updated x100s, an xt1 in a new color and a modified 56 (which barely hit the market) shouldn’t be what Fujifilm build it’a reputition on …
    Whete the heck is a mindblowing X-Pro2?

    And what about an Xe-3? Or an x200(new sensor)?

    I really hope they don’t walk the modest CaNikon way. Panasonic tops it off, as of now. I just hope Fujifilm is picking up momentum again …

    Wont swap my black x100s in a decade thats for shure but give me a state-of-the-art X-Pro2!!!
    Andrea

  6. Balbo

    Thanks for this detailed report :)
    Much appreciated.

  7. MikeyLNG

    Is the AF speed of the X100T improved at all? It always seems Fuji cameras have “good enough” AF speed, but always seem to be lacking when compared to other mirrorless competitors like Olympus and recent Panasonic cameras, especially in lower light conditions.

  8. Hernan Zenteno

    Nothing about a new X Pro 2? Booo. I would like one with tracking focus and best refresh image of the EVF for when I use M mount tele lenses. That is the reason I am impatiently waiting the 50-140 2.8 but nobody have a clue how good works with tracking focus in moving subjects like football with the XT-1. I need teles for my professional work, the 56 1.2 is a beauty but the perspective is still one like a normal lens.

    1. Jordan Steele

      The perspective on the 56mm is not ‘like a normal lens.’ Perspective is based ONLY on distance to subject and has absolutely nothing to do with focal length. I wrote an in-depth article on the subject earlier this year: http://admiringlight.com/blog/perspective-correcting-myth/

  9. DBowen

    “A camera that is really reaching full maturity at this time”. Typically Fuji, not to do the things first time right. Here I’m having two years now this X-Pro1 – still being sold as a top X-series model in all shops over the world – where the word ‘full maturity’ really becomes a bit ironic. Glad kept my DSLR-stuff and this was some kind of lightweight back-up solution. ‘Has just left the prototype stage’ was a better description when I started using it as an early adopter and now, a dozen of firmware updates later, the best description could be ‘ quite enjoyable if the fate is not against me’. Is something better coming up, f.i. and X-Pro2 with this rangefinder feature and finally a mature sensor? Wait about another year and see. Best guess…it will be based on the old revamped Sony 16MP again and some kind of next gen graphical processor. The X-series seemed to have a lot of potential in the beginning but Fuji is just a small player, surfing a bit too much on niches & hyping – and whether this quite expensive stuff is a good investment… look at the second hands value which is nothing less than.

    1. BanBs

      You’re right! We’ve bought into a camera system that is never perfect and needs constant improvements. Yet, I do believe that Fujifilm’s intent is genuine in providing updates and making the user’s experience a positive one. Despite spending thousand of dollars on Nikon equipment over the years, they never provided me with a free firmware update. Does that mean that their cameras were perfect and didn’t need any? Far from it!

      1. DBowen

        The issue that frightens me from the beginning is that the Fuji X-series are more a computer device than a camera. This is the way it was engineered and designed and where the original concepts and assumptions could gradually evolve into something better (what actually happened) the overal reliability and ‘feel’ is a bit at stake (the X-Pro1’s quirky FW remains a plain adventure at some time). It is also very strange that in this concept each new lens release forces Fuji into FW updates of nearly all the X-series cameras they made. I suppose this excessive FW-updating is more debugging and damage control than it is ‘listening to the users’, as some are saying. This Kaizen is just a maskerade-trick to repackage serious control issues and further compatibility with more recent releases of gear. Be honest, Nikon doesn’t require this. The camera might not be perfect, but the firmware is extremely stable and any Nikon photographer buying a new model will get away with it in seconds. The camera’s specs evolve but the ergonomics and handling remain the same. All the glass of the 90’s still works fine. All accessories still do. I think Fuji really need to learn from what competition is doing, there is a lot in their current approach that doesn’t feel solid to me, where I even doubt that it provides the X-series a longterm, brilliant future. At the end, I don’t want to rebuy new cameras and lenses that are fixed versions of the previous gen, if this is the way MLICs are going, its a far more expensive track than working with rock solid DSLRs buying you stability, reliability and a very longterm experience in anything what photography really can become as a mission. For me, Fuji has still a very long way to go to achieve that target.

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