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Friday, 10 April 2020


There's no rule which says you can only use a long lens to take small objects at great distances. They can also be used for more apparently intimate shots as well.

This was one of my favourite shots from a trip to Myanmar in 2017:


Taken on a Panasonic GX8 with the 100-300mm lens at full stretch (600mm-e), handheld, and I was in a boat as well!

As much as I'd like the Fuji 100-400 (I was thinking about asking how much you want for it), I have come to realize that I don't really like lenses that are that big and heavy. And I say that with full knowledge that the Fuji is far from the worst in its class in that regard.

If I want to shoot real telephoto, which I occasionally do, I default to micro-four thirds. I have the Panasonic 100-300 and the PanaLeica 100-400, which isn't that much smaller and lighter than the Fuji.

I've been thinking about selling off the 100-400 and picking up a Sony RX10 IV. The results from that camera are certainly more than acceptable to me despite its one-inch sensor.

I think you'll be quite happy with the Fujifilm 55-200; it's very compact and more than sharp enough. But the 100-400 is just a great lens for the money, the perfect companion for a trip to the zoo or other 'casual' long lens duties.

The 100-400 has been invaluable to me as it's getting harder for me to zoom in with my feet. A also have the 55-200 and it does get more use than the 100-400 but I wouldn't be without either lens.

You, sir, are an inveterate gear-flipper, afflicted with GFS.

Thoughts on the 90?

It’s a great birdied lens.


My Nikon AF-S 80-400 is probably my most used and favorite lens. I often use it on DX crop cameras like the D7200 and D7500, with a 600 mm equivalent view, to photograph wildlife. But I have also used it on full-frame cameras with good results, and took my favorite portrait ever of my dad with it a few years ago. As a matter of fact, I picked the 80-400 over my 70-200 so much of the time that I eventually got rid of the 70-200 because I was never using it, despite it being a great lens. It just didn't have enough reach. As they say, different strokes for different folks.

The Leica VLux 4 is my travel camera. Like AMEX, I don't leave home without it. Weighs like next to nuthin' despite it's impressive zoom range of 25-600mm at a constant f2.8 aperture.

I have used up to 600mm for bird photography quite a bit.

Previously available from B&H:

Mike, I own the 55-200 and it is a fine lens. From time to time I think about switching that lens for the 50-140 f2.8. That lens is big and heavy. I use my Fuji gear primarily for travel so size and weight are critical. The one Fuji lens I love and don’t plan on giving up is the 16-55 f2.8. That lens is like owning a whole bunch of primes. It is truly a desert island lens. Stay well. Eric

FWIW, I have both of these lenses and can state unequivocally that the 50-140 is better in every observable optical dimension. Plus it’s a constant aperture faster lens. Since “cameras are about lenses” in your view it’s the one YOU should have as a self-professed lens freak, especially if you don’t really need a very long lens at all. It’s heavier than the 200 but you don’t sound as if you’re carrying anything very far. If you find you need longer reach you can always get the 1.4 teleconverter which is optically excellent, BTW.

The 55-200 is very nice and handy but the 50-140 is the lens freak’s choice.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The fuji 50-230 is a really underrated lense with very little image quality difference, if any, between the 50-230, the 55-200 and most surprisingly the 50-150.
The build quality is a whole different story, but the tradeoff is weight, OIS,lack of weather proofing and limited bokhe. For me the 50-230 is a perfect light weight carry lens and the extra zoom length is used most often. The plastic bayonet mount requires extra care because it is fragile, no banging around as with a metal lens,(not recommended for wedding use).
My copy shattered the mount during a walk several weeks ago, when the camera and lens slid off my shoulder. Not that I recommend this, I was able the take the bayonet pieces and use a gelled super glue and the lense fortunately works like new. It's interesting because the breaking of the mount ended up with no damage to the camera. The event left me wondering if the XH-1 would have been damaged if it were a metal mount. The most difficult issue with the 50-230 is having to combat feelings of inferiority by not owning professional glass, having little to do with image quality.
I own a full frame kit with professional glass, both kits have value, but different purposes. When you are in need of a long lens nothing also do.

Mike, don't be to hasty in selling the 100-400 and replacing it with the 55-200. Copy to copy variation so far has been crazy. I am a Sony shooter but was putting together a Fuji X-T3 kit for a trip to Spain this May. Unfortunately, cancelled because of this virus.
Several years back I owned and sold another Fuji kit which included the 55-200 - it was ok - not good not great. My buddy was going to loan me his 55-200 for the trip and in trying it out I was a extremely impressed - it was 90%+ of my excellent Sony Fe 100-400. I went out and bought a copy thinking it would be just the same - boy was I wrong. I sold that copy and sourced and this time tested two other used copies both while somewhat better were fails. I then went to my favourite camera store and with my friend's lens in hand tested both if their new copies - one was just as bad as my recent purchase and the other was ok - no better than the other two used ones.
The problem with all of the others was varying degrees of softness both at the long and short end. The worst two were totally unusable with severe blooming on highlight edges, quite soft at the long end and they both gave about 1/2 stop darker images with a slight green cast.

I bought the kit 18-55 - very good and the 10-24 excellent.

Obviously, my friend has a one off copy and my search for this holy Grail continues.

Planes and contrails! I remember them.

Looks like an Atlas Air 747-400, probably a freighter. They're what's mostly flying these days.

Speaking of long lenses handheld, here's a handheld photo of the planet Venus, that I made from my driveway one evening. It's not the best astro-photograph you'll ever see, but the planet's shape is clearly visible, as is the terminator, the line between night and day. Venus is in a half-full state, similar to a half moon. It was Galileo's observation of Venus' phases that provided him with one of the most compelling arguments for a sun-centered solar system. This is an 82x82 pixel crop, even at 800mm equivalent the planet is tiny. Panasonic GH4 and 100-400.

Get the 50-230, keep either the 90 (for speed) or the 100-400 (for reach.)

Most folks who upgrade from the "consumer" 50-230 to the "pro-ish" 55-200 don't stay with it long, and move to the 50-140, for real "difference" (speed and "quality.)

50-230 can be had very cheaply, and is amazingly good. Light, too.

I thought you never "dumped" a "great" lens? 100-400 and 90 are usually judged to be in that category.

I have mentioned on here before my affinity for the Sony RX10 IV. I've been using it for a couple years, originally specifically for golf when I was still shooting Nikon. I had many days at PGA events where I left a D5 and 200-400 F4 in my hotel room and walked around with just the little Sony. If shooting at low isos, I find the image quality shocking - over and over again. If I am pixel peeping, of course that D5 combo or now my A9II with Sony 100-400 will beat the RX10IV. But I could use the RX10IV for an entire PGA event and my clients would not know the difference. The primary sacrifice is that you can't achieve creamy out of focus backgrounds if that's your thing. But sharpness of the subject is incredible across the entire zoom range.

Most importantly I would say this. The full-frame bodies with primes or less rangey zooms are certainly capable of "better image quality." But in most cases, the Sony RX10IV, because of the small size and 24-600 effective range, allows me to be a "better" photographer. More nimble. More mobile. It's a compromise that is worth considering when you have plenty of light. And also important: it is a fun camera to shoot. I've attached an image here as an example. Shot at iso 100, 214.72mm (580mm ff equiv.) at F4 (wide open at that zoom distance) at 1/800th. This image is uncropped.


Talking of Fuji, allow me to recommend one of the few meaningful photography Youtube channels, called Andrew and Denae. A lovely couple, based in Utah, doing professional portrait stuff and regular Youtube broadcasts as well. He is the gear-head of the two, but they look at the gear as practicing photographers. They work with Fuji, but without the fanboy tone. One of his recent pieces is his summary of why he likes Fuji, here:
I enjoy watching their videos, they are informative and he is a lovely person too, with warmth and always speaking as a photographer.

I absolutely loved the Fuji 100-400. The reach of that lens along with the 2x extender is able to easily get aircraft flying at 38,000 - 40,000 feet: https://prometheus.med.utah.edu/~bwjones/2017/02/c5-in-flight/

Image stabilization means movies or animated gifs too. :-)

I own the 55-200 and the 50-140. The 55-200 is a remarkable lens for its size and cost. One of its attributes is that it is unbelievably flare resistant. The 50-140 is a bit sharper and with the help of the 1.4x converter will cover a similar range at a constant f2.8 or f4. The fact is however that, especially for travel, the 55-200 is all you need.
Keep safe,

Why would you want to get rid of the 90mm f/2 ?
By all accounts a wonderful lens, even if it's 135 e is not your favorite focal length. I have a 135 /F2.0 for FF Canon and even though it is not as frequently used as other lenses, when I do, it never fails.
Even though it might not be a lens you would have bought , you have it, so I would suggest you make an effort to bond with that one, before you sell it.
I'd keep that one.
I do understand the 100-400, even though it is very good , it is sort of 'Long and Longer' and variable aperture.
Just an opinion.

We're all different aren't we. If you told me I could only use one of my lenses for the next year the 100-400 would be the one I'd choose without hesitation.

Bill Tyler: "This is an 82x82 pixel crop, even at 800mm equivalent the planet is tiny."

When cropped to pixel level, the "equivalent" is meaningless, and pixel density is what matters. If you shot with a GH5 instead, Venus would appear bigger. If you shot with an 80Mp full frame body and just a 400mm lens, Venus would appear bigger in your crop as well.

Chuck Albertson, you think it is a 747? That was the first thought that came to my mind, too. But I began to wonder if it could be an Airbus A340?

The 100-400 with and without the extender is a remarkable lens. I've had a few long tele's Canon, Olympus and Leica R over the last fifty years. The Fuji is without doubt the best I have ever used. Down the focal length scale the 55-200 is every bit as good and light to boot. At the small end I really love the 27mm, so cheap it almost comes in cereal packets. Fuji have always made good lenses I had a fifty on a Fujica for a while and I regret ever selling it, this current crop of Fuji lenses will have to be prised out of my cold dead hands. And I would humbly suggest you keep yours they are the best in many respects. You never know when you may need them!

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