The XF 50-140mm f/2.8 OIS is frankly an extremely impressive lens when it comes to optical quality, and that begins with image sharpness. The lens starts out very sharp over the central 75% of the frame, with still very good edges and corners right from f/2.8 throughout the entire focal range. Stopping down brings the center into outstanding territory and the edges to excellent. Surprisingly, the lens performs nearly as well at further focus distances as it does closer up.
While the corners at f/2.8 won’t match the very best primes available, frankly it’s not very far off. I have no hesitation whatsoever shooting at any aperture at any focal length with this lens, even when the subject is near the edges of the frame. Click on the image to the right to enlarge, then click on the green arrow at the bottom to view the image at full size.
The Fuji 50-140mm generally produces very pleasing out of focus renderings, but there are definitely situations where the worst of the lens comes out. In the majority of situations, the lens produces smoothly rendered blur with evenly illuminated specular highlight discs and lovely falloff. However, a very close examination of specular highlights shows a slight double dark edge around the outside. In most situations, this has no negative impact on the image. However, when shooting at wider focal lengths on further subjects with busy backgrounds, it can combine to produce very nervous bokeh. Given what I saw in most of my images, I’m very pleased with the lens’ performance in this area.
The only real negative regarding bokeh is that the specular highlights do take on a cat’s eye appearance due to mechanical vignetting. Any highlights that are outside of the center of the image will have this visible to varying degrees. I personally never mind this look, but if you don’t like it, you probably won’t enjoy that characteristic of this lens.
Color, Contrast and Chromatic Aberration
The XF 50-140mm produces images with excellent contrast and rich color at all image settings. The images aren’t overly contrasty but provide real depth to the files and lots of latitude in post. I really like the way the lens draws in this regard.
The biggest surprise to me with the lens was the total absence of any chromatic aberration. I don’t do test charts or measurements, so it’s possible there’s a small amount a testing instrument could pick up, but looking at the images (developed from RAW), I saw absolutely none. No lateral CA, and even more surprising, no longitudinal CA, even when shooting white text at an angle…just smooth tonal transition and pure black and white in those instances. Likewise, on high contrast subjects like chrome or backlit dark objects, I saw absolutely zero purple fringing. I’m truly stunned by the performance of the lens in this department.
Distortion, Flare and Vignetting
The 50-140mm also turns in outstanding results in these three categories. There’s really no field relevant distortion from the lens, and vignetting is very mild at f/2.8 and negligible by f/4. I was similarly impressed by the performance against bright light. Even with the sun in the frame at a slight angle, only minimal loss of contrast occurred and no major ghosting or flare artifacts were visible in the shots I took. The lens uses a new ‘Nano-G’ coating from Fuji that may be helping turn in this impressive performance.
Overall, if you couldn’t tell by now, the 50-140mm f/2.8 is an optically stellar lens. Only some imperfect bokeh (that I still generally like) and some very minor corner softening at f/2.8 keeps it from being essentially flawless. It’s easily the best zoom lens in the Fuji lineup, and by a rather wide margin. The lens really competes on the level of the excellent high-end primes in the XF lineup.
27 thoughts on “Review: Fujifilm Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR”
Does it have the same oddly designed gasket on the lens mount as the 18-135 (with the rubber sealing around the outside) or is it done the more normal way? Seeing how excited you seem to be about this lens is heartening
Yes, it’s the same design. I didn’t have heavy rain to shoot in, though, so I never got it wet enough to really test if the same issue was present (also, it’s my personal X-T1, and I didn’t fancy dumping water all over it to check either). I have updated the review to note this, however.
It’s the same design as all Nikon’s WR lens so what?
Do you consider this design to be a failure? so Nikon has failed on 100% of their recent releases although nobody complained… or did anyone? I’ve always wondered if it was efficient… :-s
Not a failure, but also not as secure as one that presses against the lens mount. I haven’t noticed any water intrusion with the later WR lenses, but the 18-135 had some water get past the gasket and between the two lens mounting plates, which isn’t great.
first of all thank you for this excellent review.
As I’m a Fuji as well as an Olympus (OMD E-M1) shooter like you I’m wondering which one would be the better lens overall to invest in.
The excellent Olympus 40-150 f2.8 together with the Oly Teleconverter or the Fuji 40-150 f2.8.
I’m mostly interested in taking photos of my 2yo toddler, so fast AF is crucial.
Which one would you prefer? Will you write an extra article comparing these two lenses like you did for the PanaLeica and the 56mm f1.2 (btw this article and the price difference between these two lenses made me invest into the Fuji X System with a X-E1 now followed by an X-E2).
Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to both lenses at the same time. I think the Fuji is optically a slightly better lens (though the Olympus is no slouch). It’s a bit sharper at the edges, has smoother bokeh in most cases and has better CA and flare control. That said, the Olympus slightly more compact and has notably more reach on their respective cameras (especially if you’re adding the 1.4x). Honestly, they feel like different types of lenses given the range differences.
Both lenses are really, really good. I think both may struggle with tracking a toddler in poor light, but both should do fine in good light (at least to the capabilities of their cameras). The Olympus does focus a lot closer, so you’ll have more success when young children run up to the camera there. I’d pick based more on the range of both lenses and which system you’re likely to pick up for the tasks you have in mind…you’re not going to get bad results with either.
I will say I wish I’d had the 50-140mm for just one more day, as the new firmware for the X-T1 seems to have some under the hood focus improvements…I’d be curious to see if it improves the 50-140’s speed in lower light.
If I recall correctly, you shot with the Pany 35-100 a while back. Any thought versus the new Oly 40-150? Does weight trump reach since cost is moot?
My 18-135 is a tad faster ergo sharper between F5.6 and F11 (above 1/125) after the update on XT1…and just like you say..the light has to be good !
I recently changed to Fujifilm, buying an X-T1 and 50-140mm f/2.8 and decided to test the sharpness across the frame. I made sure the camera was square to a flat wall of cupboards with plenty of detail and took multiple shots at various focal lengths at f2.8. To my horror the right hand half was considerably less sharp than the left.
I exchanged the lens, repeated the test and found the replacement is fractionally even sharper across the frame than the good side of the first lens. At f/2.8 the sharpness in all four corners, particularly at 140mm, is stunning.
I am going to buy the 16-55mm f/2.8 and hope I will not have a similar problem. Has anyone else experienced this issue with a Fuji lens?
Yes, I’ve had two XF 23/1.4 copies that were decentered, both bought used, and according to the prior owners were very slight used so I assume they came that way from the factory. Third one, bought new, is fine. Also have had one 35/1.4 that was decentered, second one bought used was fine. Varying degrees but all easily detected. PITA and something that shouldn’t happen at this price point, imho.
I just bought a used 23 mm and am new to the Fuji system. How will I know if the lens is decentered? TY
Shoot a flat subject from a reasonable distance and shoot it from a tripod square to the subject at a wide aperture. It won’t be sharp over the entire frame at f/1.4, but the sharpness should be similar at the left and right edges and the top and bottom edges if it’s properly assembled.
I did notice similar issues with the 18-135, very sharp across the image field from f/8, but rather soft at the left side when shooting the wall of shame, all from tripod and OIS turned off. I exchanged the lens and at first impression all looked fine, but on closer examination the same issues as the first copy, only slightly less blurred left edge, but stil noticeable. My uncle has the same 18-135 with the same issues. This lens is made in China while the others are made in Japan.
My first 10-24 had this issues as well, being soft at the right upper corner, I exchanged that one for a good copy though.
What I’ve learned from this is: always check and double check when you buy a Fuji lens, looks like the quality control isn’t up to the standards yet.
Jordan, do you prefer the bokeh of the Fuji at to long end (@140) over the bokeh of the Olympus 40-150/2.8 (@150)?
I have both a Fuji XT1 and an Olympus EM1 and really doubting which constant zoomlens to get
I think the Fuji’s bokeh is a bit nicer simply because it lacks the onion-ring structure that the aspherical Olympus lens imparts. However, I think that choosing between the two lenses is probably best done considering usage scenarios rather than optical quality, as they are both stellar lenses. The Fuji is probably slightly better overall, but it not enough to sway a decision for most people. The Fuji can provide better subject isolation due to use on the larger format, while the Olympus covers a narrower field of view. Whichever of those is more important would influence my decision, as well as which system you tend to use more often.
Quick question; would the 50-140 work on X-Pro1 ?
I don’t have (yet) and X-T1, but an X-Pro1. Planning on selling my Nikon set and will miss my 70-200 until I get enough money for the X-T1…
Deal-breaker for me on this lens is the non-removeable tripod ring. Impairs fast, smooth handling. Fuji, what were you thinking? Class leaders in this FL zoom all produce lenses with removeable rings …
You can remove the foot, which gives you the same sleek handling feeling as removing the ring on any other lens, just the ring itself doesn’t come off. If anything, it’s sleeker than a lens with a standard removable ring.
Thanks for the really fast reply, Jordan. I thought that even with the foot unscrewed the knobs would pinch and catch near the v-grip and xt-grip, but you’re saying there’s enough clearance? I guess I need to rent this one for a few days.
Yeah, everything comes off except the side knob that locks rotation, but that’s never in the way anyway. The whole foot comes off at the barrel, including the locking screw knobs.
Update: bought the lens, Jordan. No issue with the lens once the ring is removed, as you suggested.