Focal Length: 55-200mm (84-305mm in 35mm format)
Angle of View: 29.0o-: F/3.5-F/4.8
Minimum Aperture: F/22
Aperture Control: 7 blades (rounded diaphragm opening); 1/3EV (17 stops)
Focus Range Normal — 1.1m – (whole zoom position); Macro — 1.1m – 3m (whole zoom position)
Weight: Approx. 580g
Filter Size: ø62mm
- Excellent build quality and handling
- Wide zoom ring
- Non-rotating fi lter thread
- No chromatic aberration
- Minimal barrel distortion on wide end
The high-quality construction will have you sold, although images do come out sharp, without unwanted distortion. The aperture ring is a nice touch.
At a focal length of 55mm on the wide end and 200mm on the telephoto end, the Fujinon XF 55-200mm F/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS provides users of Fuji lm’s X-Series mirrorless cameras with greater range.
Like all XF lenses, this one uses the metal X-Mount to communicate electronically with the camera body. The barrel is also made of metal, which makes it heavy, but also very solid. Even as you warm up, you’ll already come to notice how superbly constructed it is.
The barrel is understandably large since it’s a telezoom lens, but its bulkiness keeps the camera body suspended— meaning, if you set the camera down on a table in an upright position with the lens attached, the bottom of the body underhangs, not touching the surface. I experienced this with the X-E1, which I reviewed in our last issue, and I suppose you’d have the same concern with the X-Pro1, despite having a slightly larger build.
The zoom ring sits in the middle of the barrel and it features a ribbed rubber coating. What I like about it is that it’s nice and broad—37mm to be exact—so you have more room to maneuver it. It’s a bit tight, though, so it isn’t perfectly smooth in action, but the good thing about it is that there’s no zoom creep, which means you can use it at any position you need to shoot in.
A manual focus ring sits on the far end of the lens. It has a 15mm-wide metal grip and rotates smoothly upon handling. It has a 62mm filter thread that doesn’t rotate on focus, which is good news if you’re planning to attach a UV filter. Unfortunately, though, the size of the filter thread isn’t shared with any of Fuji lm’s existing XF lenses, so if you have any accessories for those, you won’t be able to use them on this lens.
What’s peculiar about this lens is that it has an unmarked aperture ring along the end of the barrel that attaches to the camera body. Although focus and aperture are actually set electronically (if the lens isn’t attached to the camera body, neither can be adjusted), the aperture ring is a nice touch that adds to the prevailing analog-reminiscent feel of Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras. The ring gives you more hands-on control over your aperture value. It even makes a distinctive click when you rotate it from one stop to the other, resulting in a one-third difference (1/3 EV step).
On the side of the barrel is a switch that toggles how aperture is set. Sliding the switch towards the aperture blade symbol allows you to manually adjust aperture values using the ring on the lens, thus enabling aperture priority or full manual, depending on the shutter speed value you set on your camera (the X-Series cameras have dedicated shutter speed dials). On the other hand, sliding the switch towards the letter ‘A’ triggers automatic aperture setting, enabling either shutter speed priority or full automatic.
Next to the aperture switch is another one that toggles the in-built optical image stabilization on and off.
The lens comes with a cylindrical hood that’s 65mm deep and has internal ribbing to minimize the tendency of stray light being reflected into the lens. Yes, you can slip it onto the lens backwards when you don’t need it, but then you won’t be able to handle the zoom ring well if you suddenly need to fire a shot, so it’s best to just tuck it away in your utility bag when not in use.
Fujifilm’s AF system isn’t the best in its class, but still, it performs capably with this lens. I especially appreciated the silent operation of its focusing system, particularly during video recording, owing to the linear stepper motors it uses.
Manual focus performance is equally commendable, and focusing in low light is a bit difficult, but nevertheless manageable. Macro focus, as you would expect from a telezoom lens, can be frustrating with this lens, but Fuji lm provides other options in its array of XF lenses.
The angle of view at 55mm is 29 degrees; at 200mm, it narrows down to 8.1 degrees. No distortion is noticeable at the telephoto end; however, there’s a tendency of slight barrel distortion on the widest end. Thankfully, I did not experience any instances of fringing and vignetting.
The lens unit has an iris diaphragm that has seven rounded blades, which allowed the lens to produce lovely Bokeh in the images I took.
Center and edge sharpness decreases as you increase focal length; the edges become softer at 200mm than they are at 70mm.
The star of the show, really, is the aperture ring, but high-quality construction and good handling are the main reasons why this lens gives you the best value for your investment on an additional set of optics for your X-Series body. The best part is that you get superb results—appropriate sharpness in images, paired with the absence of chromatic aberration and unwanted distortion.
Words by Racine Anne Castro
First published in Gadgets Magazine, September 2013