As the title states, what follows is merely my personal thoughts on Fuji’s latest lens. This is NOT a review.
For quite a few years now, many X shooters (myself included) have been waiting for Fuji to produce a telephoto lens that would go beyond 200mm.
From the beginning, Fuji seemed to concentrate all to much on producing primes. When the X-Pro1 was introduced, the only three lenses that you were able to buy, were three prime lenses: 18, 35 & 60mm. From there, they somewhat broadened their horizons with some zooms, but there still seemed to be a focus on primes.
After a few years, people were scratching their heads and asking, “Fuji, what about the long telephotos?”.
If you know anything about Fuji, they tend to put a lot of work into their lenses and they don’t produce any duds. They put a lot of thought into the entire line of XF lenses, as well as the two XC lenses that are out there. In short, Fuji makes awesome lenses.
With that being said, i was quite sure that when Fuji did produce a telephoto/telephoto zoom lens, it would be one that was well worth the time waiting for.
Why the demand?:
Simply put, you can’t have a camera system and call it “complete” without zooms or telephoto lenses.
Take a look at the two largest names in the camera industry, Canon and Nikon, and you will see how well rounded their lens line-up is. Of course, both companies have been around for well over 100 years combined; so needless to say, they no doubt have been able to develop a lens line-up with great depth.
When you’re Fuji, who is not new to the camera market by the way, you have no choice but to notice what other camera manufacturers are doing or have already done. Seeing what the competition has in their arsenal, you can’t ignore the fact that having a lens line-up with depth is the only way you will be able to compete, let alone survive in the market.
Enter the 100-400mm:
After 4 years of developing the X series of cameras, Fuji has (finally?) come out with their most ambitious and furthest reaching lens yet: the XF 100-400mm.
Would i like to own this lens? Yes, i would love to have this lens on my X-Pro1. However, i would never be able to justify paying the cost. I’m not a professional photographer and i don’t have the disposable income to waste on something i may only use a handful of times. As it stands now, i only use my 50-230mm a few times a year.
Plane spotting……. mmmmmmmmm, i am drooling just thinking of how nice this lens would be to use to take photos of aircraft.
Plane spotting, birding, nature photography, this is what the 100-400mm lens would be great at doing. Really, any photography where you want to get close, but can’t physically do so, is where this lens will be the most welcome. You can’t always, “zoom with your feet”.
One big bonus for anyone buying this lens, is that it is weather resistant! This will only make it more appealing for those photographers who want to take it out into the elements and shoot nature or do some plane spotting.
Of course, coupling the lens with an X-T1 or an X-Pro2 is going to give you a completely weather resistant set up, ready to take on anything that mother nature may throw at you (it is highly recommended to use this lens with a weather resistant camera if you want a fully weather resistant package. Only having a WR lens will not protect your camera from water damage if it is not WR).
If you need more reach, the 100-400 is compatible with Fuji’s new 1.4x teleconverter, which is also weather resistant. Adding the teleconverter to the lens will give you a focal range of 140-560mm at f/6.3 – f/8. Now that is looong!!
If for some reason you are after more reach, Fuji is in the process of developing a 2.0x teleconverter. That would give the 100-400 a maximum focal range of 800mm!! Very nice indeed.
But, the size?:
Sure, it’s a big lens and many people will start to wonder, “what happened to the lighter/smaller hype that was so rampant with mirrorless marketing?”.
I think at this point, marketing mirrorless cameras solely based on size & weight, is a thing of the past or at least it should be. Yes, the cameras themselves are still smaller compared to their DSLR counterparts and they are even lighter in comparable set-ups. But, to continually go on about size & weight as the top benefits of mirrorless, is really just shooting yourself in the foot.
Personally, i see mirrorless cameras as a different “form factor” or a “progressive technology”. Mirrorless cameras have proven that you don’t need the bulky mirror box of a DSLR, to get DSLR results. It’s a technology that will continually progress to the point that DSLRs will be seen as redundant, not to mention “old technology”.
Though, in the end, the whole “size & weight” debate is usually played out by people who are camera snobs on one side of the debate or the other. What it comes down to, is using the right tool for the job and choosing a camera that fits your personal style of photography.
I am very pleased to see Fuji move along at the pace they have been. This latest lens release shows that they are committed to their camera system and want to produce a lens line-up with lots of depth. It also shows that they listen to their customers, who have been wanting such a lens for a while now.
Listening to customers aside, the release of the 100-400 shows that Fuji is not idly sitting on the sidelines and watching the camera market go by. They have looked at the playing field and have determined that if they want to be a serious competitor, they need to elevate their game.
More to the point, Fuji has started to realize that if they want to attract new photographers or even take photographers away from the DSLR market, they need to continually develop their X camera system and make it well rounded.
Who dares wins.
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