That damn Fujifilm XF50-140mm lens…

Damnit Fujifilm!! Why, oh why did you have to make this lens. I’m amazed. I’m in shock. I’m in love. I’m no longer a “primes are always the best choice” kind of guy…  

When first unboxing this lens, I went from “shit this lens is heavy”, to “shit this lens is sharp” in just three exposures. I’m not kidding! Three exposures! The XF50-140 lens is actually so sharp I threw away my Philishave razor, and have been shaving with this lens since Fujifilm Nordic lent it to me. Yes, it’s that sharp!


 The longer lenses
I love longer lenses, and there are four main reasons why I reach for a longer lens when I’m shooting:

1) It can clean up a messy background by throwing it out of focus. 

2) With an out of focus background, the subject is more seperated and stands out more from the background. 

3) It can make a boring background more interesting, by turning it into a cascade of blurry highlights and shadows. 

4) It fits my style.

And with identical framing of the subject, 140mm at f/2.8 gives me a background more out of focus than the XF56mm lens gives me at f/1.2. 

Focus and aperture
The XF50-140 focusses very fast and precise, so I can work efficiently when the situation demands it. Even with the focus area set to the smallest size I can trust the lens and camera to just nail focus, even in demanding lighting situations. And the focus ring is a dream. Same with the aperture ring. It’s stiffer and has more definitive clicks than most of the other lenses. I haven’t tested the XF16 or XF90 lenses yet (I hear they are excellent), but so far the aperture ring of the XF50-140 is my favourite by far. Perfect!

Versatile lens
After nearly 6 months with the XF50-140 lens, I’ve shot fashion, portraits, stage-shows and industrial subjects. And that’s how I evaluate lenses. I use them. On actual shoots. So you won’t find charts, tables or any other nerdy I-just-wet-my-pants technical stuff here when summarizing those 3 months. 

It’s extremely sharp. Not just for a zoom, but also compared to fixed lenses. Even wide open, all across the frame, and throughout the whole zoom range. The out of focus areas are creamy and delicious, and it delivers colors and contrasts that are fantastic. The images from this lens has this 3-dimensional look, a quality that not many lenses have. 

And the icing on the cake? It’s got an OIS that ables me to shoot tack sharp images at 1/8 second. On full zoom…! Yes, I’ve tested, and you can see one of those images here. I tried to get blurry water while handholding at 1/8 second, and I’m amazed this is even possible.

Well like I said it’s pretty big and heavy. For a Fujifilm lens. It’s lighter and a bit more compact than my Nikon 70-200mm lens of course, but still it’s heavy. But I didn’t expect it to be smaller or lighter. Some people seem to have unrealistic expectations just because Fujifilm cameras and fixed lenses in general are lightweight and compact. A fixed f/2.8 lens zoom lens in this range needs a lot of glass, so it will be big. 

And that’s the only negative thing I have to say about it. Nothing else.

So if you’re looking for some optics in this range, it doesn’t get much better and versatile than this lens. It’s really one of the best tele zoom lenses regardless of manufacturer or platform. Period. 

Note: Just a final comment about the images in this blogpost. They have been captured with the X-T1 camera, only natural/existing light, and with all kind of light levels ranging from ISO200 and all the way up to ISO6400. The level of details are amazing, no matter what ISO they’ve been shot at. Some are JPGs straight out of camera, and some are rawfiles converted in Capture One Pro 8 with some minor Photoshop adjustments.


16 thoughts on “That damn Fujifilm XF50-140mm lens…

  1. A fantastic lens, no doubt about it. You put it to fantastic use, Eivind!

    Love the pictures, especially the industrial reportage!

    1. Thanks James! I’m sure you won’t regret buying it. It’s an amazing piece of glass and technology. Let me know what you think after you’ve had the chance to shoot with it, and I’d be thrilled to see some images.


  2. Hi Jonas – I have had mine since release and a massive ditto on your review. I love this lens so much – I don’t use the 56 anymore as I agree I feel the bokeh is superior and much more versatile with the OIS!!! Excellent images on your review!

  3. Yes, that’s some good work. I especially like the shot of the man using the grinder — with the sparks flying. Great stuff.

    But you know, Eivind, according to Experts Who Hang Out In Forums, this lens cannot possibly be good enough because the bokeh isn’t absolutely perfect. I read it on the web, so it must be true. Sorry.

    1. You know Mike, you should never, ever, ever….believe ANYTHING you read on the web. Never. Ever. Oh wait……

      1. : ) Yep. “There are no absolutes, including this one.” “Moderation in all things, including moderation.” Etc.

        But (semi-)seriously, I am kind of amused by the trend of people becoming irritated about lenses because of areas in images that _aren’t_ in focus.

        I have greatly appreciated the “reach” of the 55-200, which is certainly not a bad lens, at least for cat-pictures : ). I imagine I’d be perfectly happy with the 50-140, once the 1.4X TC unit becomes available. It will then provide almost the same “reach” with a max. aperture of f/4…and, well, yes, true, a lot of extra weight. Our next trip to Sweden will be in a number of months and there’s the dilemma: travel light (10-24/18-55/55-200), or travel “sharp”? (But how could I consider leaving the 23 or the 60 macro behind?) (Don’t worry. My wife says: “No, you are NOT going to go and bother that guy in Norway when we’re there.”)

      2. I usually pack just two, max three lenses on personal trips. The 35 is always with me, and either a 16 or 23, and a 56 or 90. But if you’re coming here, I have to pack it all. And escape….. 😉

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