There are a few routes you can take if you want an all-rounder zoom lens. Some cheap, some expensive, but if you have the cash, it’s always better to opt for a high-quality version every time, like the likes of the X-T range of cameras. In this respect, the Fujifilm FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR is a smart choice.
Covering the equivalent of a 76-213mm lens, other features include a wide f/2.8 aperture and the speedy Triple Linear Motor covering focusing duties. Aimed at the serious photographer, let’s dig in and see if the quality justifies the price.
High-quality lenses usually means high-quality glass and there is no exception here. The optics are arranged with 23 elements in 16 groups, which includes five ED and one Super ED lens elements. On top of this, a Nano-GI (Gradient Index) coating and HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating) is applied to all lens elements to reduce ghosting and flaring, and improve contrast and detail.
The FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR also features a rounded, seven-blade aperture and an image stabilization system with five stops of compensation. All these included features mean this lens isn’t exactly a compact design, as it weighs in at nearly 1kg. This means that the lens looks and feels huge on a compact Fuji camera body, but at least it comes with its own tripod mount, which is detachable.
As for the general build, the lens looks decidedly old school, matching the retro look of the camera body. The lens barrel itself is made from high-grade plastics and features a brass mount to keep out dust and moisture. The zoom ring takes up most of the space on the lens barrel, with the focus ring being wide enough to gain a substantial grip, but it doesn’t have any hard stops, rather continually rotating.
Counter to the modern fashion of a simple lens layout, the FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR has a standard aperture ring, which can be moved in third-stop increments. It runs from f/2.8 to f/22, with an auto setting and clicks for each change in aperture. The only switch on the lens barrel is for turning the image stabilization system on and off, and the five stops of compensation should provide plenty of handheld capabilities.
Another feature is a 72mm filter thread. It should also be noted that the included tripod mount, while being very useful, can be fiddly to reattach. However, there is a thumbscrew, which when released allows the camera to move from landscape to portrait view very easily.
The FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR In Use
It’s immediately apparent that this lens dwarfs the compact camera body, which means you will have to feel out the center of gravity on the lens barrel. Once an ample cupping of the barrel is achieved, the lens is very easy to use. At 50mm, the angle of view is 31.7 degrees and at 140mm, it’s 11.6 degrees.
Autofocusing is both quick and quiet, thanks to the internal focusing (IF) system, which also features a non-rotating filter thread, allowing for filters such as polarizers to be easily attached. The FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR also works well in very low-light conditions, with very little focus hunting. This is where the manual aperture ring comes into play, as once you get used to its workings, a simple turn locks in a wider aperture at a moment’s notice.
Moving on to the usual lens anomalies, distortion levels on this lens are extremely low, exhibiting very little pin-cushioning or barrel distortion. Chromatic aberration could be a problem here, especially at the widest apertures, but even on high contrast areas the FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR exhibited next to no purple or blue fringing from wide to narrow apertures. When CA did rear its head, it could easily be reduced in post-processing.
If you want to use this lens for portraits and the like, bokeh rendition is better than expected from the seven-blade diaphragm. Colors have a creamy look, with nice transitions, but bokeh balls are not as rounded as found on lenses with a nine-blade diaphragm. Overall, you won’t be disappointed in this area.
When it comes to sharpness levels of the FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR, at 50mm center and edges are sharp, but it’s really from f/4 upwards where the sharpest results can be found. After f/11 diffraction starts to creep in up to f/22. The same is apparent at 70mm, with peak sharpness levels starting at f/4, staying steady up to f/16. At the 140mm range, images are a little softer when the aperture is fully wide open, with sharpness across the frame being more acceptable from f/4 up to f/11.
Edge detail is usually the first to suffer on this type of lens, but clarity and detail were found to stay uniform across the frame. This showed in test images, where edge detail had the same high quality across the aperture range.
How Does It Compare?
For a more cost-effective solution there is the Fuji XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS. Coming in at roughly half the price of the 50-140mm, the 55-200mm has a longer telephoto reach and image stabilization, but nowhere near the same level of optics. It also has a variable aperture, which means it won’t be as good in low light as the 50-140mm.
As another alternative there is the Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD. This lens is also a cost-effective way to jump into an all-in-one zoom lens. The Olympus offers good quality optics for the price, but not in the same league as the Fuji 50-140mm.
|FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR||Fuji XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS|
|Optics||23 elements/16 groups||14 elements/10 groups|
|Diaphragm blades||7 rounded||7 rounded|
It’s very apparent that the Fujifilm FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR is a professional lens, with not just a usable focal range, but also the quality to back it up. It’s fast to focus, with the image stabilization system working extremely well to achieve low shutter speeds.
There is no faulting the image quality, with sharp detail across the frame. Although the sharpest results come in at f/4, f/2.8 is not that far behind in detail and you really have to zoom in to spot the difference. The seven-blade diaphragm works better than expected for producing creamy bokeh renditions, while other lens anomalies such as vignetting and chromatic aberration are kept to a minimum.
The current price for this lens is around $1599. Not exactly cheap, but considering the quality of results and large focal range, this zoom has a lot to offer. The addition of image stabilization adds to the package, with the only real downside being its weight compared to the compact form of the camera body. This may disappoint some who prefer more compact and lightweight lenses, but if you follow the lines of ‘heavy is good’ when it comes to high-end optics, the increased size and weight are inconsequential compared to the image quality.
If you need a zoom lens which covers the most useful focal lengths, produces professional images, features a large aperture and image stabilization, look no further. The FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR is highly recommended.