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Thursday, 04 December 2014

Comments

Pity, really, that they don't make any real DSLR for this fine glass.

That's a really exciting lens! I mean that with all sincerity. It ticks every possible box: stabilization, damp resistance, exactly the right focal lengths for my kids' sports- 75mm-e to 210mm-e, MTF numbers that are so far beyond "good enough", that I'd never feel a need to compare it to another lens.

It's a lens to end all lenses: I'd never need to replace it with something better. I'm (notoriously?) price conscious, but there's not a whisper of a doubt that it's worth the price.

However.
There's a however. For my purposes (kid sports), it's the perfect focal length and aperture, but I have no idea how good Fuji's AF tracking is. Or, how good it would need to be for my purposes.

This sounds ridiculous when I say it, but I can't wait for the hands on reviews :)

[Don't kid yourself, it doesn't sound ridiculous at all. Kids are notoriously tough to shoot on the fly, especially when they're flying about. When my kid was young, I used to try shooting a yard full of kids every now and then just to hone my shooting skills. It ain't easy. --Mike]

I normally expect the Fuji lenses to be noticably bigger than m4/3 lenses, so I'm impressed that Fuji kept this within 100g and about .7" of the Oly 40-150 Pro. Very similar lenses, in some ways.

Fuji is undoubtedly the "photog's manufacturer" right now. The XF series of lenses is so coherent and appropriate. If I'd been able to gel with the X-T1, I'd have jumped into this system, no question. I'll just have to suffer with my EM-1!

Based on the specs and early reviews, it's undeniably an impressive lens. And weather-sealing is always nice. However, it's more lens than I want to carry around on an X-E2 or even an X-T1. For me, at least, the essence of mirrorless is portability. I own the 55-200mm Fujinon, but it sits home unless I know for certain in advance that I'm going to need more reach than the 18-55mm kit lens offers. And when I do need it, the image stabilization makes up for the narrower maximum aperture. (Now the 12-24mm zoom ... that's altogether another matter: every time I leave the house without it, I wind up missing it.)

Having said that, I'm delighted that Fuji keeps feeding the supply chain with such fine glass. It not only demonstrates the company's commitment to the product line, but also that somebody in Fujiland really understands what's important to photographers.

Why would they make this lens for the X-T1?? I rented that camera and some primes a few weekends ago to see about a purchase. It was nice enough for static shots. But at my daughters' soccer fields, when firing off even a few shots in continuous mode, the EVF would black out for a while with an annoying swirly graphic then come back online a few seconds later. No good. Even in single shot mode the EVF lag was enough to rule out the X-T1 for even casual action shots. I wanted to love the camera but I packed it up and sent it back early.

Well -- darn it! Now what do I do? Plunk down the money for this and stick with Fuji? Or plunk down the money for an A7II and make the jump? Your site has created a wrenching GAS attack for me lately, just in time for the holidays.

I can't believe the size and weight of that ugly monster. Nothing could make me run faster away from considering the Fuji system. What are Fuji thinking? Maybe they are exploiting the American obsession with bigger is better? I don't know. Try a side by side comparison with the Lumix equivalent. Be prepared for a horrible shock.

The first photo in this post proves the axiom "MILCs are smaller," and can still be impractically corrupted.

Some time ago, I bought a 70-200/2.8 for my FF and APSC DSLRs, but very rarely used it, and have decided to sell it (when I get round to it). I am not sure why this seems to be such a popular option - for me it has always been either too short or too long. I either go for a standard zoom (20-something up to 80-something or a little more) or else for something that reaches to 300 or more, depending on subjects. Eventually, I'll probably get the 55-200 for my XP1, but for now I'm keeping the SLRs for this range.

That bulked-up lens is definitely not the reason I got in the X-pro system, having shown all my big Canon glass the door over the last few weeks. But I love it that Fuji is developing a product clearly targeted at the "pro-sumer" market. I love these cameras and the selection of wonderful primes. With Fuji pushing ahead with new lenses, my hope is that they are going to support this platform for many years.

This lens looks fantastic, although, as the true King of Bokeh, you should know that the bokeh of the 50-140 looks pretty bad in a number of shots that I've seen. It's something you may want to investigate.

"...the EVF would black out for a while with an annoying swirly graphic then come back online a few seconds later..."

I'm confused by this comment: I've shot a few of my daughter's games with the XT1 and the 55-200 and though there's a bit of an annoying blackout I had no swirly graphic... that's strange. I didn't feel the blackout was much more than I was used to with the mirror on my old 7D. I got lots of excellent shots of the action with the Fuji, though on the whole I have better luck with my Canon. Still, the XT1 seems to me to be a decent action camera for a weekend game. I will say it took some practice. It's not as easy at first as a DSLR.

MILC Phase 1: small cameras and small primes, see, we are really smaller than the big and ugly DSLRs...

MILC Phase 1.5: ok, now we need to go back to the nostalgic SLR design of old, with the EVF hump and mechanical dials and such...

MILC Phase 2: ok, we need to come up with f2.8 zooms, otherwise, no one will takes us seriously...

Next Phase: ok, now we have the lenses covered, we need to put robust and good AF tracking in the cameras...

I'm rather pleased that this lens holds no interest for me -:) For me the reach of this zoom isn't enough to take photos of my daughter in her chosen sport of horse-back riding, which is why I bought the XF55-200 lens. I prefer primes to zooms but this lens works really well for me, and even makes a nice portrait lens. The trade off in extra reach is more suited to the photos I take than the wider aperture of this lens (especially with OIS), plus I don't need the weather sealing and I most definitely don't need the extra weight. The 55-200 is not overkill on my X-T1 but I suspect this one would be.

23 elements in 16 groups? Holy crap! You had better have good QC to get all that aligned to a reasonable standard of quality for every lens.

I think it's important to remember the applications or "user scenarios" in which one uses certain equipment, gear or lenses.

As Mike pointed out, the "classic" 70-200/2.8 "fast zoom" is, arguably, a mission-critical lens for working professionals. I don't earn my living from photography, but I've worked in a professional context under deadline press conditions as a professional motorsports photojournalist for over 12 years, and I can assure folks this classic lens specification is one that you would have to pry from the cold, dead hands of many, many a working pro, including me, when I have to use my Canon 1D-series gear for photographing racing action.

Regarding it's size. The physics are simple: there is no way to make an f/2.8 constant-aperture, autofocus, OIS-stabilized, internal-zoom APS-C sensor-based lens of this focal length range with weather-sealing that is smaller than this. If Fuji could have made this lens smaller and lighter, they would have. It's already approx. 33% smaller and lighter than the 35 mm full-frame 70-200/2.8 zoom lens would be, and for this type of lens, that is a BIG savings.

Regarding AF speed, Fuji is using three AF motors in this lens as a new AF subsystem design, and the lens is reported by users to be quite fast. Will it be be as fast as a Canon 70-200/2.8 L IS II on a 1Dx shooting basketball or arena football? Probably not, but the use scenarios where pro DSLRs still have an advantage for AF system performance are pretty much down to two these days: sports photojournalism and combat photojournalism. The rest? My guess is an X-T1 with a battery grip and this lens will be more than up to the task of high performance of a broad range of use scenarios (including photographing one's kids) and will be making a LOT working pros VERY HAPPY with it's performance, weather-sealing, and most of all, superb image quality.

The black-out delay is affected by parameter selection and SDHC card speed for bursts (Fujifilm's Drive mode). Some X-Series bodies have slightly longer black out times than others as their CPU clock speed is slower. Having read X-Series bashing on multiple photography forums since the X100 arrived, the black-out delay is rarely mentioned as a problem. I suggest black out is a user created problem, as I have not experienced this with my X-T1 bodies.

The Nikkor 70-200/2.8 (87 mm x 205.5 mm),1540 g) is larger and much heavier than than the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 (82.9mm x 175.9mm, 995g). But this is an APS-C to 24x36mm sensor comparison. If you need the versatility the Fujifilm lens provides you are out of luck as Nikon offers nothing close in their DX lens line up. The 55-200 DX G lens is a f 4.0-5.6 zoom. Neither Sigma, Tokina nor Tamron offer a similar product in their APS-C lens offerings.

The phase-detection AF used for tracking subjects in motion is not as sophisticated as DLSR systems'. The Fujifilm XT-1 is not the best tool for action photography because it is less flexible than DSLR offerings. At the same time, if you set the camera up properly, use a newer XF lens with fast AF motors, and keep the subject in the center of the frame, the X-T1 focus tracking works. However success takes practice and faith. Faith because the XF lenses seem to be hunting hopelessly in PD tracking mode. But in fact they are tracking. Many people are put off by this hunting and give up right away. If you are not aware the subject must be centered, the tracking is not predictive, and the hunting is normal, it is easy to conclude PD AF tracking is a failure. I found it requires some practice to master PD AF tracking, but it does work.

@ Stephen Scharf is right on the money.

Physics determine the size of lenses not marketing. You can building compact camera bodies if you take out the mirror box but a 50-140mm constant f/2.8 lens still has to be "this big".

The upside is the camera is APS-C not 36x24mm. It would be 50% bigger and probably twice the weight if it wasn't.

Making "pro" zooms indicates that Fuji has an strategy for what they're doing.They're not just making cameras they're making a camera system. They even make clear in their Road Maps what they intend to do in the future.

Now if only they'ed admit that the XTRANS CFA was a silly idea and go back to Bayer CFA but for the potential pros shooting JPEGs that won't make a difference. :-)

@ JonA

You mean "they'ed better have good production engineering for this lens". You never test quality into a product. QC's job is to verify that the production engineering and production process is working to make products in spec.

These days the effort in designing lenses for mass production is mostly in designing for production. That is designing the product so you can build it in real life and it can work in a real environment where the temperature varies and people bump their lenses. Simulating static lens designs on ray tracing systems is fast today. Making sure you can assemble and move those groups lens without messing up the image quality is the major problem.

It's a pet irritation after working in software QA that people still seem to think QA puts the quality in the products. Only the devs can do that by writing fewer big. QA just keeps them honest and shows where they need to improve their process to improve quality.

@ Dean Silliman

You did have image review turned off didn't you?

William said, "Neither Sigma, Tokina nor Tamron offer a similar product in their APS-C lens offerings."

Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM - and it's not the first version for (some) APS-C DSLR's.

There's been an awful lot of love expressed for the Fuji's lately. And with most of the lenses offered I can see why. But am I the only person that found the buttons below the X-E1's (and on some other models) viewfinder a nuisance? Daftly located - you shouldn't have to move the camera away from your face to access the top ones. And as for the strange colour shift to blue/cyan in skies. Not to my taste I'm afraid. However attractive it may look, it doesn't look like reality.

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