May 302013
 

Hands-on Review with Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 Lens

This morning I received the much anticipated Fuji 55-200mm zoom lens. Since I found out the delivery to Hong Kong was last night, I updated my firmware to 2.04 version, which is essential to take advantage of the autofocus system with this lens. The purpose of this review is to see what this lens can do in real life situations – no pixel peeping or technical gobly-gook information is here.

Real Life Samples – Fuji XF 55-200mm

The lens was delivered to my place of work and I could not wait until lunch to take photos of street scenes. So I recruited willing staff to test out my new you. Here are some samples shot:

ISO 4000, F4.8, 1/125sec, 200mm

ISO 4000, F4.8, 1/125sec, 200mm

ISO 500, F4.4, 1/100 sec., 134.5mm

ISO 500, F4.4, 1/100 sec., 134.5mm

 

 

 

 

ISO 2500, F4.8, 1/125 sec., 200mm

ISO 2500, F4.8, 1/125 sec., 200mm

 

ISO 200, F3.5, 1/85, 55mm

ISO 200, F3.5, 1/85, 55mm

 

ISO 640, F4.8, 1/125 sec., 200mm

ISO 640, F4.8, 1/125 sec., 200mm

Image Stabilization

One of the thing that I wanted to test quickly was the image stablization function – something that Fujifilm claims that can achieve the equivalent of 4 1/2 stops. While I cannot verify their claim, I can attest to the fact that the image stabilizer actually does work. Perhaps not 4 1/2 stops but in my brief tests today, I would venture to say that I could achieve 2 1/2 stops with consistent focus. I have a host of Nikon lenses and during my brief encounter, the Fuji actually seemed to work better than the expensive Nikkor lenses.

Lens Range

The lens ranges obviously from 55mm to 200 mm – this is equivalent to  84 to 305mm in 35mm format. I find that a long range lens is ideal for street photography in order not to be too intrusive and enables the photographer to capture more candid moments. The following are some shots to show the lens range:

ISO 200, F13, 1/420 sec., 55mm

ISO 200, F13, 1/420 sec., 55mm

 

 

ISO 200, F10, 1'400 sec., 90.4mm

ISO 200, F10, 1/400 sec., 90.4mm

 

ISO 200, F8, 1/450 sec., 200mm

ISO 200, F8, 1/450 sec., 200mm

 

Sharpness 

One thing that I hope that the photos show is the sharpness of this lens. It is very sharp – you would think that you are shooting with a prime lens. It is popular knowledge that Fuji makes lenses for Hasselblad and that their lenses are superb. This lens is no different then other lenses that Fuji makes – it is a dream lens in terms of acuity. It’s the  type of lens that can give you goose bumps.

Autofocus

Much has been made of Fuji’s focus speed with the X-series of cameras and I can attest that this has been a sore point in my shooting my X-Pro1. Give credit to Fuji in that they are continually upgrading their firmware to improve on the autofocus speed. They even released a firmware upgrade for both X bodies prior to the release of this lens. But make no mistake, this is not a fast focusing lens. DSLRs are light speeds ahead. At least on a positive note, the accuracy of the autofocus is great.

Build

The lens is relatively light at 580 grams but it does not feel cheap and has the high quality feel that I have come to expect from Fuji.

Recommendation

I can wholeheartedly recommend this lens for anyone with the X bodies that needs a zoom. As long as you are not anticipating shooting sports, this is a superb piece of engineering. And at US$ 699, it is incredible value.

 

More Sample Photos of Fuji 55-200mm Lens

I would like to leave you with some additional photos of my lunchtime shoot:

 

ISO 200, F5.6, 1/220 sec., 81.9mm

ISO 200, F5.6, 1/220 sec., 81.9mm

ISO 200, F5.6, 1/200 sec., 55mm

 

ISO 200, F5.6, 1/340 sec., 55mm

ISO 200, F5.6, 1/340 sec., 55mm

ISO 200, F4.4, 1/100 sec., 134.5mm

 

 

ISO 2000, F4.6, 1/120 sec., 164mm

ISO 200, F5.6, 1/320 sec., 200mm

ISO 200, F5.6, 1/320 sec., 200mm

 

ISO 400, F4.8, 1/125 sec., 200mm

ISO 400, F4.8, 1/125 sec., 200mm

 

ISO 200, F14, 1/240 sec., 55mm

ISO 200, F14, 1/240 sec., 55mm

 

 

ISO 500, F3.5, 1/40 sec., 55mm

ISO 500, F3.5, 1/40 sec., 55mm

 

 

 

 

  32 Responses to “Fujifilm XF55-200mm Lens Review”

  1. Jim,

    Now that you have had this 55-200mm lens since May 2013, can you kindly give me your opinion if it is a lens that you could recommend for travel photography ? I am in the midst of making a decision whether to go for the 60mm Macro or the 55-200 mm lens. Your opinion will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Jimmy

    • Jimmy,

      I highly recommend the 55-200mm lens now that I have had it for a while. The only limitation would be the x-pro1 body – how fast you can shoot, focus speed, etc. However, the lens makes a great travel lens and I would highly recommend it.

  2. [...] Jim Siano hands on the 55-200 here: “It is very sharp [...] Much has been made of Fuji’s focus speed with the X-series of [...]

  3. The sharpness is undoubtedly good! How is the performance in dim-light environment?
    If it costs US$999 and come with constant aperture at F2.8, will you buy it?

  4. Well, I think the advent of this zoom from Fuji really narrows the gaps between mirrorless and DSLR in terms of Lenses reach issue. I for one, always like to have a 70-200 range or more zoom, because at times, it is hard not to be intrisive. I have been hoping to get one in Taiwan were I reside and hopefully we will see our shipment soon.
    As someone who once had all the prime lenses with Xpro1 and sold them and now regain back with Xe1, I have to say the fact that Fuji came out with several outstanding zoom was one of the singular reason for me returning back to the camp. I just bought the 14mm two days ago, yes, another outstanding wide angle that challenges your photo skill. I intend to expand my lens from current 18-55, 14 and then 55-200 and I think I am almost done, ooh, forgot that I have a Samyang 8mm which can be quite a gem at times!

    • It is great to hear that you like the 14mm. I am thinking of buying it. I still use DSLR (Nikon D4 & D800E) which are used when I want to ‘travel heavy’ or need sports photos. But the X-Pro1 and Fujifilm lenses are outstanding with regards to sharpness and I shoot often with them.

  5. Sorry, accidentally repeated my question!

    Wow… the jpgs from the x-pro1 and the 55-200mm lens are really stunningly sharp!

  6. Hi Jim,

    Great shots and excellent image quality. Were these photos jpg straight out of the xpro1 or you converted them from raw? If raw, which software did you use? Thanks!

    Wilson

  7. Dear Wilson,

    I usually shoot in raw and jpeg and convert with Aperture. However, these photos were just shot with jpeg since they are just ‘snapshots’ and I wanted to just see what the lens could do. It really is a dream lens.

    Jim

  8. Dear Jim,

    Great shots and great image quality. I am wondering are these jpgs files directly out of the xpro1 or are raw converted into jpg. If they are converted, which software did you use? The images are SHARP!

    Wilson

  9. If the quality of the 18-55 is anything to go by, the new zoom should be awesome. Well done Fuji!!!!!!!!

    My personal opinion is that the Fuji X cameras and lenses will assume “cult status” in the not too distant future.

    Lawrance.

  10. Great review………I received my lens also yesterday and took a few photos of Big Ben in London……..I am also amazed by the sharpness, build quality and light weight…….it is up to Fuji’s high standards……..enjoy!

  11. I don’t have any idea about Fuji lens before, but the image quality looks good for this kind of zoom lens. at least better than my Panasonic 14-140, should I shift Panasonic to Fuji? or.. forget it, no time for holiday, no need to buy. borrow me next time if I have time for vacation with Tracy.

  12. I strongly agreed that great len is important for an awesome picture, and I am very impressed with the results of those pictures.

  13. Just wonder how the lens works under rainy sky. It’s terrific with the blue sky.

  14. Amazing lens… Len range offer gives shooting great flexibility. Image quality is great too… Truly value for money!

  15. Great photos with your new lens!
    Like x 1000000000!

  16. What a great lens! The sharpness of long distance objects is amazing! Guess it could catch good shots of flying birds too!!

  17. The lens is great! Photos are so sharp. It’s incredible!

  18. All the photos are cool with using the new lens. More details can be seen, the outline of the objects is vy sharp and the color contrast is obvious. The photo looks real, some even better than real.

    I expecially like the harbor view one as well as the one with two ppl in the restaurant.

  19. Super!!!!

  20. Great lens! Especially love the one with HK harbor! Haven’t seen such blue sky in HK for awhile.

  21. Great lens with Awesome photo!

  22. As a guy who does not have much faith with mirrorless lenses, I must say it is really a surprise to find the quality of focus, details, and sharpness from a retina screen. You can find all the details from various faces, and even the maker of the street lamp and it is really amazing.

    Meanwhile, as combined effort of X-1 Pro, lenses and the professional photographer, these street pictures also demonstrated superb handling of situations with multiple levels of day light condition. Not sure if HDR was engaged but regardless we can still see the different levels of exposure (sitting man with blue suit, purple guy with purple umbrella..).

    Lastly, it made me think again that it is the skill sets that matters, but not necessarily the best gears. See what X1-Pro and 55-200mm can accomplish with someone knows how to take pictures, and it has excelled a big population, me included, to dream about a better gears will improve the game. It doesn’t.

  23. its really cool!

  24. Wow! Stunning and sharp photos ! The new lens is great !

  25. Nice shots, cool guys =best photos!

    Great job!

  26. The photos are great and very sharp. Great lens! :)

  27. Looks like a great lens!

  28. Thanks Pasu. Glad you like the photo. The X-Pro1 excels because it can take interchangeable lenses.

  29. What a stunning photo shot of Kowloon Peninsula with beautiful colour with such a cool LENS Fuji 55-200mm !

    It is really awesome to look at the photo which is so real that you seems to be looking at the Peninsula togethre with Victoria Harbour and Lion Mountain with your own “nake” eyes !

    Likes X 100 !!!

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