fuji x series lens buying guide

This is part two of my three part Fuji X Series Buyer’s guide. Please visit part one to read my introduction to this series and read my thoughts on the wide array of Fuji X cameras that are on the market. As stated in my camera post, the following information is simply my personal opinion on the Fuji lenses that I have used thus far. This isn’t going to be a comprehensive look at every Fuji lens made or third party lenses simply because I haven’t used every single lens out there on the market. I have used a good number of them, though, so I feel this will be a pretty good overview of what’s available along with some information about why I haven’t used some of the others. I’ll give some links at the end of this post to other resources for you to research this topic more if you choose to.

When Fuji developed their interchangeable lens system they brought with them years and years of experience in lens design and manufacturing. Fuji has always made fantastic glass. From high end $62,000 video lenses, to satellite and medical optics, to designing and manufacturing Hasselblad lenses. Then there were all the Fuji cameras and lenses they’ve been making for years and years. To put it simply, Fuji knows glass.

Their first three lenses into the X series were the 18mm 2.0, 35mm 1.4, and 60mm 2.4 Macro. Their line up now includes a number of options for you. I’m going to list the lenses I’ve used, provide a sample photo or two made with said lens, a few thoughts on each of them, and then give my personal opinion to those of you trying to figure out which may or may not be right for you.

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Fuji 14mm f2.8 :: This is a fantastic wide lens. It’s lightweight, sharp at the corners, and while it technically is not a rectilinear lens, it has very little distortion (important for those of you who shoot architecture and the like.) It’s a fast focusing lens, feels great in the hand, balances well with X cameras, and has solid build quality. Head over to Fuji vs. Fuji for a full review of this lens. I highly suggest this lens to wedding and event photographers for the 2.8 speed. The 10-24 at f4 is a stop slower but has image stabilization. I’ll get more into that in that lens description.


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Fuji 18mm f2 :: The 18mm is probably the most underrated and most forgotten lens in the X lineup right now. It’s small. It’s light. It’s sharp. It’s fast. While it isn’t quite as quick in the AF department as the newer lenses tend to be, it still isn’t a slouch. Once the 14mm hit my bag the 18mm has seen very little love. However, that’s not a critique against the lens and more just a statement of how I shoot. If I’m going wide then I typically go w-i-d-e and I naturally reach for the 14 over the 18.

That said, I wonder why I don’t shoot with the 18mm more often? It really is a great little lens. It’s a good choice for folks looking for a wider lens for street photography, and prime lens shooters looking for a sharp fast lens, that is about $175 cheaper than the 14mm. Take a look at used ones as well as I’ve seen them for some fair prices on the used market.


 

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Fuji 23mm f1.4 :: I love this lens. This is one of my favorite primes for the X series. It’s 1.4 aperture is fast. It’s sharp. It focuses quickly. The build quality is top notch. It is a bit on the large side as far as Fuji X lenses go but it is a beautiful lens. I get a lot of questions about people trying to decide on the purchase of this lens or the purchase of an X100 that has the 23mm f2 lens. I’ll talk about that at the end of this post.

This lens is great for wedding and event photographers and low light street shooters. I use it quite a bit for environmental portraits and detail shots as shown above. If I’m heading out to a show I will usually take the 23mm 1.4 if it’s going to be a small venue that allows me to get close to the stage.


 

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Fuji 27mm f2.8 Pancake :: I was never really interested in this lens until I saw it on an X-T1 hanging on Eric Kim’s neck. At first I thought it was a large body cap or one of those toy lenses built into a body cap. Nope. It was an honest to God Fuji lens. While not particularly fast in aperture for a prime lens it’s a great lens with good focusing and it’s sharp. I asked Fuji if I could test one and, ummmm, they haven’t gotten it back. Nor will they.

This lens on an X-T1 body isn’t much larger than an x100 and it has become my every day carry sort of lens for a garden variety of picture taking. I shoot with it on the street and I’ve pulled it out on a job or two. 27mm was a bit odd of a focal length for me to get used to but I’ve shot with it enough now that I’m comfortable with it and can pre-visualize pretty well with this tiny ass lens.

My biggest gripe with this lens is the price. While I do love this lens I feel the $450 price tag is a little much. That’s only $50 less than the 35mm 1.4 and pancake lenses for mirrorless systems seem to run in the $350 area most of the time. This lens is for an X shooter who wants as small of a camera as possible for travel or being discreet while not wanting to sacrifice image quality. A maximum aperture of 2.8 is going to mean you may push your ISO up a bit more than usual for low light work. While I wouldn’t say that it’s a “must have” lens it sure is a “nice to have” lens.


 

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Fuji 35mm f1.4 :: There are lenses that I love and then there are lenses that have magic inside of them. This is one of three lenses I’ve owned in my life that I feel have that magical quality. Those lenses are the Nikon 105mm f2 DC, the Panasonic Leica 42.5 f1.2 for M4/3 cameras, and this Fuji 35mm 1.4. I. Love. This. Lens. The photo above is pretty much the moment I fell in love with this lens. The color. The feel. The angle of view. I love everything about this lens. It’s a bit slow on focusing as this was one of the first X lenses. I think it’s time for Fuji to update this lens but I don’t want the image quality or character to change. This lens does have character.

If you are getting into the Fuji X series this is a must have lens. IMHO.


 

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Fuji 56mm 1.2 :: I consider this lens to be Fuji’s first serious X series portrait lens. Yes, the 60mm lens was first but this one is the real deal. It’s a pretty hefty sized lens for what it is but it is a fantastic performer. It’s sharp as a tack and it focuses well. If portraiture is your thing this is a must have lens in your bag. I shoot with this lens on nearly every job. Last week I shot for a clothing company’s print catalog and shot 90% of the entire job with this lens from studio to location. Pairs well with the X-T1 with a vertical grip attached to the body. That balances the whole rig out quite nicely. I can confidently say that this is a must have lens for the X series.


 

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Fuji 60mm 2.4 Macro :: There are a couple of lenses in my photographic life that I’ve hated. This 60mm is one of them. I hate this lens. Hate it. The reason you do not see it pictured above with the rest of the lenses I use is because I sold the damn thing. Autofocus and manual focus was hell and it just never “felt” right to me. The entire lens pissed me off pretty much from day one. Firmware updates made things somewhat better but never enough that I wanted to keep the thing. It’s my opinion that Fuji needs to retire this lens and build a version 2.0.

When it focused it was nice. It’s a sharp lens. It’s also a macro if that’s important to you but I can’t confidently suggest you buy this lens. I wouldn’t be able to  sleep at night if you thought I recommended this lens. The 56mm is out now so there’s no need for this lens. If you need macro, Fuji has announced two X series extension tubes. Get the tubes and skip this damn lens. The other lens I hate is v1.0 of the Canon 24-70 2.8 zoom. I’ve had three of those in my life. Hated them all. I hear v2.0 is better but since I’m no longer a Canon shooter I don’t care any more!


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Fuji 10-24mm f4 OIS :: The 18mm was pretty much shelved when the 14mm came along. The 14mm has nearly been shelved now that the 10-24mm is in my bag. “But Zack! Effff two OMGBOKEH!” you might say. Here’s the deal, when I’m reaching for a wide angle lens it’s not to get buttery smooth out of focus details in the background.

A wide angle lens already has a deep depth of field unless you’re right on top of your subject. 18mm at f2 isn’t going to be a dramatic change from a similar shot with a 14mm 2.8. When I’m shooting wide I’m typically looking for that deeper depth of field so that’s why f4 doesn’t scare me off of this lens. Where the f4 does scare me off is when light is dropping and I need that f2.8 or f2.

This lens also incorporates Fuji’s Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) that does a damn good job at keeping the image steady as the shutter speed drops. That helps when light drops but if subjects are moving then OIS isn’t going to stabilize them.

This lens is great for nature photographers (from what I hear), architecture photographers, and anyone who loved your CaNikon 16-35’ish zoom. I didn’t think I’d ever shoot street with this lens but I have taken it to the streets numerous times. It’s sharp and fast and that 10mm is a pretty interesting point of view on the world.


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Fuji 18-55 2.8/4.0 OIS :: Typically this is considered the Fuji kit lens as it has been packaged with a number of X cameras. I got mine when I bought an X-E1 packaged with it. I would typically use this at the 55mm range for portraits in lieu of that 60mm. It’s a nice enough lens but I don’t love, love, love it. A lot of folks do so please don’t take my lack of love for it as a critique. My main gripe is with the variable aperture. I tend to shoot in manual on most paying gigs and in portrait situations most of the time and a simple twist of the zoom ring can change the aperture.

I typically think of variable aperture zooms as set to the maximum aperture at the maximum zoom. For this lens I treat it as an f4 lens when I’m shooting in manual. So no matter where I zoom I’m keeping a consistent exposure as long as I’m at f4 or slower on the aperture. It’s a nice lens but… I don’t use it often. I haven’t shot this lens once since getting the 56mm. It’s time for me to sell it.

This lens is good for folks wanting a jack of all trades kind of lightweight zoom that’s easy to travel with. I really wouldn’t consider this for a pro kit but for every person who reads this there’s a pro out there using this lens regularly.


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Fuji 55-200 3.5/4.8 OIS :: The sole reason I own this lens is for the 200mm reach that I sometimes need on jobs. Once I sold my Canon 70-200 I no longer had a lens that had any decent reach or heavy compression if I needed that. My options were getting adapters for third party lenses or get this thing. It’s a nice lens but now that the 50-140mm is out this one is hitting ebay soon. It’s a variable aperture lens as well as an external zooming lens. It’s difficult for people to not make some sort of “your lens is happy to see me” jokes when you start zooming this thing.


fuji_50-140mm_01Fuji 50-140mm 2.8 OIS WR :: For you 70-200 2.8 DSLR shooters out there Fuji now has you covered with a gorgeous new zoom. I’m a prime shooter. I just like primes. I’m not an elitist about it. Joe McNally has handed my ass back to me on a number of occasions to learn that it doesn’t matter if you’re a zoom person or a prime person. As long as you’re a person.

This is the newest Fuji lens in my bag and I haven’t had a ton of time with it but my initial reaction is two thumbs up for this thing. It’s sharp, fast, has awesome image stabilization, it’s 2.8 all the way through, and it’s weather resistant. It’s also an internally zooming lens so penis jokes on set have dropped considerably.

Looking at the size of this lens one would think it’s going to be completely out of balance on something like an X-T1. It’s a big lens. Actual use of the lens though finds the whole rig to be very well balanced in the hand. Surprisingly so. The vertical grip on the X-T1 rounds it out nicely as well.


fuji_WCL-X100_01 copyFuji WCL-X100 :: This bolt on lens converter is just for the X100 series of cameras. It takes the 35mm (equiv) lens to an equivalent of a 28mm lens. It’s sharp. It feels great on the camera. It’s a very nice addition to build up an X100 series into something a little more versatile. Yes… we all want it to be w-i-d-e-r but it is what it is. I really didn’t think it was going to be that much of a difference but that little extra wider field of view is helpful. I’ve got nothing bad to say about it really. These are great for those of you who want to specifically build your X100 into a small system for travel and work.


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Fuji TCL-X100 :: It has taken me a good bit of time to get used to this tele-converter. It takes the beautiful and perfect X100 and turns it into a bit of a Frankenstein rig. This lens really throws the feel and balance off BUT it turns the X100 into a decent little portrait camera with a normal perspective on the world. Or close to it. From a look and feel point of view you might not like this at first but you’ll love the results it gives.

Since I’ve been shooting with the X100 and WCL and TCL I’ve found that an X100 can be a solid working kit for a variety of shooting assignments. A few months ago I had a freeing experience of riding my bicycle to a job with one shoulder bag on me. In that bag was an X100T, an X100S, the WCL and TCL, and a few batteries. That was it. It was a beautiful thing and I’d love to have more jobs like that.

Now that I’m off social media until sometime in 2015 I’m trying to dedicate my time to personal projects. I started a new one about a week or so ago and I’m shooting this whole project with the X100T native lens and the TCL and I really could not be happier. I thought I was going to shoot this project on the Phase and shoot tethered and all that. On the first session I decided to grab a few images with the X100T using the modeling lights on the strobes just so I could print out a few images on the SP1 Instax printer. I then shot the rest of the session with the X100T and the modeling lights. Then I shot the next session with… the X100T and modeling lights. The next one I book? X100T and modeling lights. Kind of love it. A lot.


Leica_on_Fuji_90mmThere are a number of adapters on the market today that will allow you to mount any number of third party lenses on to an X series camera. The one I have used the most is the Fuji M mount adapter in conjunction with some Leica lenses that I’ve rented and a few M mount Voigtlander lenses I own. I nearly bought a Leica 90mm f2 Summicron APO but the $3,700 price tag was just something I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on. It’s a gorgeous lens and with focus peaking available on X cameras now it’s a great little lens to shoot with. I’ve decided I’m just going to wait for the upcoming Fuji 90mm f2, which, bee tee dubs, is the lens I have made the most requests for from Fuji for two years now. It’s finally in development and should be released at some point in 2015. That is the portrait lens I want.

I’m not going to get into adapters and legacy lenses with this post because it’s a rabbit trail that can run in a hundred directions. If you want to mount your Nikon lenses to a Fuji you can do that. You can mount your Canon lenses to your X series. You can damn near find any combination of adapters and speed boosters to mount damn near anything to an X series. I’ll leave those decisions to you in how you’d like to Frankenstien your camera. Just remember that you lose autofocus and aperture control unless you find an adapter that has iris control.

Third party lenses like the Zeiss Touit line and others that are now being built and/or adapted for the X series. I haven’t used any of them so I can’t speak to them. While I have personally handled the Zeiss lenses and found them to be of the highest build quality and optically wonderful I’ve had zero reasons to add them to my bag.

They are beautiful lenses but you are going to pay a premium for these lenses. If you are up for that, go for it. Have I seen a remarkable and undeniable difference between the Zeiss and their Fuji counterparts? Not really, and not enough to justify my purchase of them. In my opinion Zeiss should have jumped out of the gates with a 90mm’ish portrait lens right from the start. I’m sure I’d have bought one without hesitation. Fuji had the 14 and 35 and Zeiss entered this system with a 12 and a 32 when Fuji didn’t have anything decent to offer in the 50 to 90mm range. That just don’t make no damn sense to me. They have the 50mm but Fuji has the 56mm so… Again. Why didn’t they make a 90 from day one?


fuji x series lens buying guide

Here are the lenses again and my personal suggestions for which ones to choose based on who you are as a photographer. Again… these are just my opinions and I’m sharing all of this because I’m asked over and over and over again.

Casual Enthusiast :: I think you’ll be happy starting off with the 18-55mm kit lens or the 18-135 OIS WR. (I’ll talk about that lens near the end of this post) Add the 35mm f1.4 to your bag next for a beautiful fast prime that will be a good field of view for a number of situations you might find yourself in. Or get the 18mm and the 35mm. Use those two lenses for awhile and consider the 56mm down the road.

Serious Enthusiast on a budget :: Let’s say you started with the 18-55mm kit lens. Get that 35mm next and then consider the 14mm f2.8 if you like using that kit lens on the wide side more. If you like the 55mm side of that kit lens more then sell the kit lens and get the 56mm f1.2. Then work for the 14mm f2.8. The 14mm, 35mm, and 56mm is a great kit of gear.

Serious Enthusiast with a budget :: Sell your kit lens if you have it and get the 10-24 f4, the 35mm 1.4, and either the 56mm f1.2 or the new 50-140 f2.8. Get the zoom if you want the reach that it affords you and is still a great portrait lens. The 10-24, 35, 50-140 is a kit that kind of does everything for you. Go with the 35mm to strip down to a small camera to carry with you on your daily travels and you’ll have the other two lenses to shoot just about anything you want. Consider that 27mm pancake at some point to make a really small every day carry camera if you have the budget and desire to pursue that.

Emerging Pro / Pro secondary system :: I think the 14mm, the 35mm, and the 56mm is solid kit that will take care of a lot of situations you will find yourself in. I’d also suggest the 23mm in here somewhere but see my note about the 23mm prime vs an X100 series camera below. If I was starting with one lens, and one lens only I’d get the 35mm 1.4. That’s a must have lens. If the X series is supplementing a full DSLR kit you already own then I think you’ll fall in love with the 35mm on an X body. Watch out, though, your DSLRs might get a little dusty.

Wedding / Event photographer :: 14mm, 35mm, 56mm, and 50-140mm. Get that system built and I think you’d be happy to expand your kit to include the 23mm next and then the 10-24mm. Note that there is an upcoming release of a 16-55mm f2.8 (24-80’ish equivalent) zoom that will be a great event lens. You could go 14mm, 35mm, and 50-140mm to start. Then maybe you sell the 14mm and get the 16-55mm when it comes out. You will be lacking a macro lens with this recommendation and that can be quite important to you for details. Maybe one of the extension tubes paired with the 35mm would work well for you. That or an adapter and an old Nikon 55mm macro or some other legacy lens.

Pro Portrait photographer :: 35mm, 56mm, 50-140mm. The 23mm would be a good consideration for environmental portraits. The 35mm and 56mm should be your first two purchases IMHO. If I had to strip my kit down to two lenses it would be the 35mm and 56mm. No question about it.

Travel / Documentary :: 10-24mm, 35mm, 56mm. Consider the 27mm pancake to be able to strip down to a very small camera that can fit in a large coat pocket. You may find you prefer the 14mm over the 10-24mm. My first reaction would be to go with the 14mm but after shooting with the 10-24 in a wide range of travel situations, I really do like that zoom lens and can highly recommend it.

Jack of all Trades Pro on a budget :: 10-24mm, 35mm, 50-140mm. After this consider the 56mm. Also note that the 16-55 f2.8 zoom is on the way at some point. That’s going to be a solid lens for a number of assignments.


fuji_23mm_or_Fuji_x10023mm f1.4 or an X100 with the 23mm f2.0 lens? I get this question A LOT. There are a number of ways to approach this dilemma and I’ll give you my two cents. The 23mm is about $700. For that money you can pick up a nice used X100S or close to it. If you are building an X series kit and have one camera body and a few lenses then getting an X100 makes sense for a few reasons. It gives you that 23mm perspective you are wanting AND you now have a backup / second camera to round out your kit. There are a lot of good things about that. While the lens on the X100 is a stop slower than the Fuji prime it’s no slouch at f2.0. Also, you now pick up the ability to go highspeed sync with external flash with an X100 thanks to the leaf shutter. X100 also has built in ND.

The 23mm prime for the X series is fantastic and I highly recommend it. I think if you are a serious enthusiast with a budget and an X100 you might find a place in your bag for the 23mm prime but you need to know why you really need that lens when you already own something in the X100 series. If you are a working pro you’ll find more justification to have the 23mm prime lens instead of having an X100 or in addition to already owning an X100 series. That 1.4 has been important to me from time to time as well as carrying two identical bodies on my person with two different lenses. The 23mm bolted on to one X-T1 and the 56mm on another body is a great, great, great working kit. I could do 60% of my work with the 23 and the 56. You won’t find me without the 35mm on hand though. 23, 35, and 56 is a minimal but very capable kit.

In case you haven’t seen this before or haven’t seen it in awhile, here is the current Fuji lens road map.


 

fuji lens map


A lot of people are excited about the 18-135mm f3.5/5.6 lens. I’m not all that hot to trot for it myself. First it’s a variable aperture zoom and I far prefer fixed aperture zooms as I stated above. Also, I look at wide to telephoto zooms kind of like cartrucks like an El Camino. It’s kind of a car. It’s kind of a truck. It isn’t perfect as either one. It is perfect for those wanting one lens that can sort of do everything and variable aperture isn’t something that bothers you at all. You could carry this on a vacation and not need any other lens sort of thing.

It has OIS and is weather resistant and it comes in a small package for easy travel and it’s a lightweight lens. That’s a lot of great things to say about the lens. I’ve not touched one so I can’t say yes or no to how good of a lens it is. I can say that there isn’t a need for it in my bag. Same goes for the 16-50 f3.5/5.6 zoom. I have no need for it so I won’t be getting that. All that said, the reviews I’ve read and the folks I know who have the 18-200 lens have all said it’s a nice zoom that performs well. It just isn’t for me.

I can’t say that I’m chomping at the bit for the upcoming 16mm f1.4. For what I shoot I don’t see that being an addition to my bag. Wedding and event shooters are probably salivating for that lens. I am interested in the 16-55mm 2.8 zoom. That will find a home in my bag. I could see building a shoulder bag with the 16-55 and the 50-140 or 56mm for a wide range of situations. I am most excited for the 90mm f2. That can not get in my bag soon enough. I need that lens NOW. No idea what the range or specs on that upcoming Super Telephoto is. The prototype I saw in a glass case at Photokina was marked 140-400mm f4 / 5.6 but I’m not sure those are the final specs. Some want to see a 300mm f2.8 equivalent on that road map. I personally don’t need one of those for what I shoot but I know many who would love one.

There have been murmurs that Sigma might maybe possibly probably not but who knows bring some of their glass to the X mount. I was sort of eyeing the Rokinon 85mm 1.4 for the X mount. I could use that lens right now and at $300 it’s a good price but I know it will get sold as soon as the Fuji 90mm is out. I just don’t know how long until that 90mm actually hits the streets. Reviews for the Rokinon seem to be a mixed bag of “This is great!” and “This isn’t too bad.” I think I’ll just wait. I’ve got the 50-140 and 56. Yeah. I’ll wait for the Fuji. None of the other Rokinon lenses appeal to me.

Lastly, I want to make a case for keeping your glass “in the family” so to speak. When I shot Nikon I shot Nikon glass. When I shot Canon I shot Canon glass. Same pattern is going on with my Fuji kit. Each lens manufacturer has a character and they keep their family of lenses fairly homogenous in feel, design, materials, glass, and most importantly, coatings. Glass and coatings affect a number of things and for me the most important I keep in mind is color. I want to go on a job and have all of my lenses living in the same color family. Keeping a consistent line of lenses is a key part of that for me. None of that may be important to you but I get asked about it enough that I figured I’d address it here. Start mixing brands of lenses on one job, even if shot on the same camera, you can start to see some color and contrast differences from one manufacturer to another. I’d rather keep things consistent then deal with that. Just a personal preference sort of thing.


There’s a pretty good run down of these lenses over at Phoblographer if you want a different take on some of them. Bill Fortney has switched from Nikon to Fuji and has released a field guide e-book ($9.95) for the Fuji system based on his experience with it. Tony Bridge has a review of the 50-140 on his blog. Derek Clark says the 50-140 thinks it’s a prime lens. Fuji vs Fuji has a good comparison of an X100S and the 23mm f1.4 prime. Ben Cherry has a take on these two as well. Dan Bailey has a full review of the 18-135 OIS WR lens if you’re interested in that lens. Leigh Miller has a solid review of the 10-24mm. Also check out Patrick La Roque’s take on the 56mm f1.2 APD and his thoughts on this versus the standard 56mm lens. Photographylife has a comparison between the Fuji 35mm and the Zeiss 32mm.


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I hope these posts are useful for those of you looking at the Fuji system or are just getting started with it. If you have any questions about lenses right now please hit me in the comments below. If you have differing opinions I’d love to hear them. It’s helpful to hear the experience and opinions of others. Even if you’re going with a small system from Olympus, Sony, or others. How have you built your lenses and what kind of stuff are you shooting?

The next post covers accessories and is now online.

Cheers,
Zack

PS – Since I’m off social media, if you like this post can you help spread the link around a bit? Thank you! Here’s a short link for twitter – http://dedpxl.com/?p=6758

PPS – The sample images above have not been posted at full res for pixel peeping purposes. There are plenty of those images all over the web. Most of the images above still have all the metadata attached for your viewing if you want. They are pretty much straight from camera and cropped and compressed for the web. Note… cropped AND compressed. Don’t start trolling me with “That lens sucks! I see artifacts and stair stepping!” Yeah. Cropped. Compressed. Web. We’re all going to survive. I promise. #smileyface

Zack Arias

A full time commercial and editorial photographer, Zack shoots everything from bands to CEOs to ad campaigns. A gifted teacher and communicator, he has an uncanny ability to meet and connect with all types of people.

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285 Comments

  1. Arham Md Ali

    I’m with you, I absolutely adore my 35mm F1.4 lens. Funny how I almost sold it a week after buying ( I used a Fuji X100 before jumping to an XT-1, and the 35mm lens seemed to tight when compared to the 23mm focal length.)

    But boy am I grateful that I did not do that, 4 months in and I wouldn’t trade this lens with any lens in the world.

  2. Joshua Thamin

    Wow I got the jack of all trades set up before this guide was even written!
    The Fuji system is amazing!!! So glad I got rid of Nikon. Not to say Nikon wasn’t good. It’s fantastic. If anything it’s slightly better.. Only problem is that it’s just heavier.

    50-140 is optically superb but sometimes I wish I had the lightness of a 56mm prime

  3. Vernon

    Just curious Zack, what are some good hot-shoe flashes you’d recommend for the Fujis? I currently have an X100S but was wondering if there are any good flashes that are “better”.

    • Zack

      I’ll be talking about flashes in part 3.

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Ian

        I just got the i40 from Nissin and used it at a wedding both on camera and on a stand. Very nice indeed and easy to use. Comes with everything I want and so small that it fits in a trouser pocket when you don’t need it. Only single problem was that it is so small (for a serious flash) that rotating it backwards often meant my head was in the way.

      • Phillip

        Thanks for asking question. Flash is the only thing that stopped me from investing in Fuji system. I cannot wait to see what you, Jack, say about TTL flash on X cameras and how reliable it is when using bounced flash, etc. Also interested to find out which flash you’re using.

        As far as I know, there is no change in X-T1 regarding the flash sync (1/180s) support so is the flash any useful except in studio? I’m shooting portraits with small lights, bounced, off-camera flash outdoor and with high-speed sync.

        Thanks

    • Joe

      Hi Vernan, just wanted to chime in and say I just sold my canon 600 rt’s (4 of them) and actually picked up 4 yongnuo 560mk3’s, yongnuo yn-tx and a pair of yn-603’s for less than what I paid for one of my canon flashes and I’ve used them on both my fuji xt-1 and x100s and so far they have worked great and I put $1200.00 back in my pocket.

      • Jon Sharman

        See, I’ve got Yongnuo RF-603N and YN-622N triggers, and neither work on my X-T1.

        Wonder if it’s something to do with the Nikon/Canon pin configurations?

        • Lee

          I have 603C’s they work with my xt1 but i have to have the one on-camera set to TX, the other set to TRX. This way they work with every flash mode option that can be set using the cameras flash setup menu

    • Jørgen

      Same as Joe, I’m using 2x YN 560 III’s + the YN 560-TX trigger. They are cheap as dirt (200$ for the lot), reliable and surprisingly well built. I’ve used a bunch of Canon 580exII’s in the past, these are very similar.

      You can always pick up a few used SB-26’s and a remote trigger and save a few smackeroos, but I’d go for the Yongnuos every day.

  4. Scott Sherman

    Zach:
    Thank you. I appreciate your style of writing and your photo vision equally.

    I am about to make the transition to Fuji from Canon full frame and your words of wisdom are helping a business professor who uses photography as therapy to better ease into that transition. Giving up photography as weight lifting is hard after 35+ years of Canon-ization.

    Be well and let me know if you have need a free gaffer/roadie/volunteer in South Texas.
    Scott

    • Zack

      Glad to be of service!

      Cheers,
      Zack

  5. Jonavin

    The 14mm and 35mm are my two favourite X lenses. Great review.

    Have you ever played with the Samyang 8mm/2.8? Maybe fisheyes aren’t your thing but I am really glad I picked up this lens. Lots of fun.

    • Zack

      I have not played with the fisheye. I used to have one for the Canon system and only used it once or twice a year so I sold it. For me and what I do I just can’t justify owning one. I think David Hobby has that lens though and likes it. I think it was Hobby. Someone showed that to me recently and was speaking highly of it.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  6. Noel

    Got the X100S which led me to the X-T1 with 14, kit lens, 35 and 56. I love going out and about with the X100S and the X-T1 w/ 14 mounted. For portraits, nothing beats the 56. I have shot some events with the kit lens and it has done a nice job replacing the Canon 24-70L on a 5D. Overall, I am happy I bought an X100S in June of 2013 and have not once regretted replacing my 5D with the X-T1!

    • Zack

      Thanks Noel. I appreciate you and everyone else giving feedback as to what is working for them.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  7. adam

    i had the rokinon 85mm for a week. its a fine lens – sharp and god colour. what i didn’t like about it was its size. its pretty hefty, and the picture of the lens on the box is nothing like the lens inside. its like they welded the largest adapter – the nikon to fx – to it and hoped nobody would notice. i used for a day at the NAB expo in las vegas and got some very nice results from it, but at the end of the day, i could feel its weight. the lens was returned and replaced with a canon fd 85mm f1.8.

    as for the zeiss glass, for about a month all i shot with was the 12mm – street, landscape, snapshots. its a wonderful lens, albeit a big large at the front with the hood.

    and on a final thought, i bought fortnoy’s fuji book and in all honesty could not recommend it. its light on informative content and very heavy on fortnoy’s photographs as well as those of the fuji users he highlights. for a system book you expect information on all the pieces to the system, but not here. you nly learn about the equipment fortnoy uses.
    and now i’m thinking about it, when will zack’s fuji system book be out?

    • James

      I tried their 14 2.8 (hoping to save a little $$) and it was like they attached a adapter and called it “good enough”. I ended up springing for the 10-24 and love it.

  8. Martin McPherson

    I appreciate the honesty with all this, but if I’m dying for a macro lens what are the benefits of the extension tubes over the 60mm?

    • Jon Sharman

      It’s a cheaper investment really, the extension tubes turn a lens you’ve already got into a faux-macro. Saves you lugging a whole ‘nother lens around. The 60mm is really slow, I think a new macro will be next on the lens map. I don’t even like the Zeiss macro.

    • Zack

      If you are dying for a macro lens… it’s still hard for me to recommend the 60mm from Fuji. It would be great if they had something like the 100 macro from Canon. That’s such a great multipurpose lens.

      If you are dying for macro work extension tubes are a great thing or an adapter with an older Nikon 55mm macro or something. The 60 from Fuji is best used in manual focus anyway so it’s not like manually focusing an old Nikon or similar would put you out that much. You’d just have to manually control the aperture on the lens.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  9. James

    I could probably shoot everything with the 23mm and 56mm but boy do I like the 10-24.

    The 35mm was one of my first lenses and I never cared for it my images always seemed soft and a bit washed out IMO. I’m starting to think I may have gotten a lemon, I guess I’ll have to rent it to check out another copy.

    Oh and they need to release the 90mm NOW!

    • Jon Sharman

      Funny you say that, I feel the same about my 35mm – just doesn’t have the same snappy contrast that my 23mm and 56mm have.

      • Mark

        I agree with this also. It’s all “to each his own,” and for my own, the 23 gives the angle of view I want, the speed I require, and the contrast to make it all look good.

        For me, not a worthwhile separation between 35 and 56mm. ..and not interested in carrying three lenses around.

        But I suppose that’s why there is variety.

      • Zack

        The 35 seems to have less contrast than the other lenses but I love that about it. There’s something to that 35 that I just love.

        Cheers,
        Zack

  10. Clive C.

    Do zoom lenses work all that well with the X-Pro1? I understand framelines to scale and shift, but at 150mm or 200mm, you’d be relegated to the EVF right?

    • Zack

      Yep. You’ll be going EVF.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  11. Juan Carlos Gonzalez

    Thank you very much for breaking down this. I’m about to pull the trigger for the 35mm and the 50-140mm. I got to test the 50-140mm f/2.8 at a Fuji event in Austin, Texas with Drink and Click and fell in love it it.

    Cheers

  12. desolate|metropolis

    The 10-24 must really be something if you’re a prime guy and have almost shelved the 14. The 14 is easily the sharpest Fuji lens in my book, and that’s saying a lot.

    Then again you were a Canon shooter who didn’t like the 24-70 so maybe you just have unique preferences. Is it even legal to shoot canon and not love that lens?? 🙂

    • Zack

      Hahaha! Canon shooters always raise an eyebrow and give me a “Da fuq?” look when I say I hate that lens. At 2.8 if you were more than ten feet from your subject it was about as sharp as a hot stick of butter. The corners fell apart like a house of cards in an earthquake. I’ve owned three of them and they were all crap under 5.6. They ended up living on product photography sets where everything is shot between f8 and f14 and they are fine in those conditions.

      The 14 is sharp as a tack. Beautiful in the corners. Very very little distortion. While I don’t use it as much as I did since getting the 10-24 I’m not selling it. It still has a place and purpose in my life.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  13. Rico Laurel

    Hello Zack! My name is Rico Laurel from the Philippines. I am one of those who has been smitten by the mirrorless virus and i’m now crazy about my X-T1. I have been a Nikon user for many years now but I’m about ready to jump over to the mirrorless cliff and sell out my old dslr gear! However there is one issue that is holding me back from selling out my old dslrs and going into a full line of X gear for my work. The question: Does the mirrorless system like the XT1 have a maximum shutter life? I know it should be a “no brainer” as the mirrorless does not have the regular reflex system that dslrs have, and are subject to the so called “max shutter count”… But just how far will a mirrorless shutter go? Can it go the long hawl of high volume pro shooting? Bottom line, will it not just die on me after a year or so of shooting with it, and my investment goes down the drain??? Help!

    • Zack

      Hi Rico,

      I honestly don’t know what the life of these are. I can say that I do not baby my cameras. They’ve been all over the world with me and have dropped on floors, been rained on, banged into more walls than I can count, and I’ve had very few issues with needing service or repair. I had one X100 go in for a sticky aperture and my X-Pro1 had to go in once to get the hotshoe replaced because it fell off.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  14. Jon Sharman

    Brother, like so many other people, you got me into Fuji earlier this year – I hadn’t heard someone talk as passionately about a camera system as you did about Fuji in years. So THANK YOU – I have loved this system since the very first day I got it, and truthfully I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near a crop-sensor before I read your common sense writings.

    I’ve currently got the X-T1, 23mm, 35mm, 56mm, and I primarily do weddings/portraiture. Seriously thinking about selling the 23mm and picking up the X100T, so your comparison above was good. I rented the X100S earlier this year and shot a test session with it, but didn’t love the viewfinder at the time – looks like the T may have erased that doubt from my mind.

    ANYWAY (sorry!), to my questions. (1) the point above, what would you go with? (2) what are you doing RAW conversions in?

    Cheers for all your Fuji info Zach, appreciate it!

    • Zack

      I’ll talk about RAW conversions in the next post since I’m getting that question a lot.

      It’s so hard to answer the X100 or 23mm question. I can give some things to think about but at the end of the day you will ultimately know what you need or want more than I will. You could sell the 23mm, get the X100T and I bet you anything that a week later you’ll be wishing you had the 23mm for something so just own both of them.

      Apologies to your partner / spouse / bank account. 🙂

      No but really… there is an argument that could be made for having both. While they give the same point of view they are different enough that they can find a home in a working pro’s life and be fully justified.

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Jon Sharman

        Cheers Zach, I was afraid you were going to $ay that!

        Jon

  15. Richard

    Commenting here on both. Cameras and lenses. I have just taken X-T1 with 14mm over 6300m altitude. Love the small form factor of 14mm. Yet to check the photos on big screen as I am still on the road but I am sure I will not be dissapointed. For 14 mm not being weather sealed I have to say I long failed (frozen hands) while lens and camera still worked like charm in those harsh conditions. I also had 56mm for portraits in Kathmandu. Used X100S on the streets of Kathmandu too. That camera was made for this purpose. Nice, small, quiet, perfect.

    • Zack

      Sounds like an awesome trip! Congrats!

      Cheers,
      Zack

  16. E.P. Scott

    Once again I find myself disagreeing with you on a number of things and I feel your omission of the 18-135 is just shameful lol. I still love ya. I have 2 fuji lenses for my X-T1. The 35mm and the 18-135mm and they are both fantastic. Here’s how I rounded out my bag. I got the Rokinon 12mm f2.0 for my astro photography. It’s wide and fast and sharp. This is where I take a huge departure from the rest of ya’ll. I have the Helios 44-2 f2 58mm for portraiture because it’s fast, and the bokeh is to die for due to the defects in the lens. That lens is a Russian Zeiss formula copy and its badass. Built like a tank and you can get them for $30-80 on eBay for a solid fungus free copy. That lens kills the need for me to waste money on a fuji 56mm. The next must have prime focal length is the coveted 23mm. Why waste hundreds of dollars on a Fuji prime when you can get a Minolta MD Rokkor-X 24mm @ f2.8 which is a truly legendary lens because of Minoltas relationship with Leica back in the day. It’s sharp sharp sharp and is truly a stunning piece of glass and again, built like a tank. You can find them on eBay for $150-250. Yes, you will NOT get autofocus but at those two focal lengths…24mm for landscapes and 58mm for portraits…why do you need it? Nothing is moving during those two scenarios. And if your use is outside of those two scenarios, then move your little fingers that God blessed you with and focus the damn lens the old fashioned way lol. And while I’m here…for all you kids since I’m a child of the 60’s…the X-T1 is just a reincarnated Minolta X-700.

    • monkey

      what adapter is required to use the Helios 44-2 f2 58mm on a fuji x body?

      • E.P. Scott

        m42 to Fuji X. I use the FotodioX brand for all of my adapters. Well built, no play in the mount, and relatively inexpensive which is the whole point in recycling old lenses. You can check Metabones for their speed boosters which when available for any particular mount, can give you a stop of light advantage but you’re going to pay for it in the hundreds of dollar range which negates the use of old glass imo. FotodioX adapters are like $26-42 depending on the mount and who you buy from. I’ve found Amazon to be the cheapest.

      • E.P. Scott

        This is an example of the bokeh you can expect from this lens.
        https:[email protected]/15852795989/

        • Ben W

          Quit it! E.P. Scott, knock that off right now! Don’t let everyone in the world in on the secret, dude – you’re going to cause a spike in eBay prices. 🙂

          All joking aside, I second the Fotodiox M42 adapter; it’s as well built as the X-T1 that it is mounted on. And I also second the Helios 44-2 as well. If you’re going to pick one up, make sure it’s the 44-2 or 44-3. Later versions of the lens (44-4 and on) reportedly fixed the flaw that gave the bokeh it’s uniqueness.

          My kit at this point is my X-T1, an x100s that I just picked up for $300 and an AB800 (SCORE!), the 18-55 “kit” lens, and a metric shizzle-ton of M42 lenses. I’ve only butted into the limitations of the kit lens on a couple of occasions. I rent the 56 when needed, and I’m sure I’ll buy the 35 and the 50-140 eventually. I’ve rented the 10-24 and it is a freaking amazing lens, just not one that I have much need for with my work.

          Some of my favorite M42 lenses include the Helios 44-2, the Jupiter 9 85mm f/2 (another pre-war Zeiss clone), some Super Takumars: 50mm f/1.4 (there’s an 8-element one and a 7-element one, there’s reportedly a difference in IQ but I own both and can’t see it), 28mm f/3.5, 35mm f/2, 85mm f/1.9, 105mm f/2.8 (OMG this lens), and a Carl Zeiss Jena 135mm f/4 (the “zebra” one). In all honesty I use the Takumar 50mm and the 105mm the most. I’ve owned them for nearly twenty years and I know what they are going to do all the time, every time. If you are a “creamy bokeh uber alles” kinda shooter, that Helios will knock you out faster than 1986 Mike Tyson.

          These are lenses I own and use for both personal and paid work. You can find any of these for under $200 (except maybe the Takumar 85), and they are built to last. They aren’t perfect – vignetting and soft focus can be issues in just about all old glass, but vignetting is less of an issue for these 35mm-frame lenses on APS-C chips (like Fuji), and there’s something to them – call it charm or funk or whatever – that makes them fun to shoot with.

          With focus peaking on, in low-light situations I can focus faster manually (especially with these old lenses that have that buttery focus throw) than if I relied on AF. Not to mention it just feels good to focus the old-fashioned way sometimes.

          Didn’t mean to hijack this thread but M42 lenses are some of the best bang for your buck out there and everyone I’ve ever loaned them out to has gone on to buy some.

          Zack, if you really do want to research these lenses, go to mflenses.com (mf for manual focus, not medium format) and just dig around. I’m sure there are other dedpxl-ers besides E.P. and myself that could chime in here, too.

    • Zack

      I don’t even know where to begin to research those kind of lenses!

      Thanks for sending me off to ebay to look at them. Thanks a lot. At least you are talking about affordable options. 🙂

      Cheers,
      Zack

    • Mich

      Also being an owner of the X-700 and XT1, I can agree that each camera is interchangeable in the hand, as everything is where it should be. Could not be happier with either. These cameras are what keep me shooting.

    • christine

      E.P. SCOTT and Ben W, thank you for adding this dimension to the story. This badass Russian tank of a faux Zeiss that you speak of really interests me. And any lens once in bed with Leica is worth checking out, too. Great info, thanks for sharing!

  17. Tim L

    Interesting read, Zach. I’m moving over from Canon and zooms to an X-T1 and primes. Started with the 14, 23, 56, and 55-200. Love the 23. Love it. Love the 14 too. Impressed with the quality of the 55-200 given the price. So far the only lens that I don’t really use is the 56 though that is not a comment on its quality.

    I’m really looking forward to that 16 for astrophotography.

  18. Matt Kirschner

    I’m just getting my feet wet with architectural photography, and have been torn between the 14 and the 10-24. I’ve rented them both, but still couldn’t decide. Thanks for this write up – I’ve finally decided on the zoom! Cheers Zack!

    • Zack

      I think you made the right choice. The 10-24 for architecture is great. If you do get a bit of distortion it isn’t anything to pop that back into line in post. The 14 is great too but you have a little less diversity in focal length and it’s not like you need 2.8 to shoot architecture. The 14 is great for events and moving subjects when you need that extra stop of light.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  19. Chip Quinn

    Unlike a number of technical guys you are a really fine photographer.

    • Zack

      Awww thanks. Appreciate that. I have soooooooo far to go still though. So far.

      Don’t we all?

      Cheers,
      Zack

  20. Mark Juliana

    Hi Zack,

    Thanks for these articles–they’re fantastic and I really appreciate how much you’ve shared here.

    I’m considering switching from the Olympus OMD E-M1 to the XT1. I shoot a variety of stuff but have mainly been doing studio shots of handmade furniture.

    I shoot using an iPad to control the camera as I have live view with me as I arrange objects and lights and can take test shots without having to go back to the camera. Also, the clients love seeing the images pop up on the iPad.

    I have the X100S and just got the X100T (to try the wifi connection with the iPad) and I have to say I really think the images out of the X100 are better than the E-M1.

    Any thoughts or comments would be much appreciated!

    -mj

    PS You can see the sorts of things I’m shooting here:
    https://lightroom.adobe.com/shares/9afb246e6f8f43cd9a5394fad7ba8639/albums/4c175c9c7ff69597369335f162959fb1/assets/63cdb73e5bb403685f939ca278c2984f

    • Zack

      I really like a lot of the M 4/3 cameras out there. This year I built a full GH4 kit with two bodies and a fine assortment of lenses. I even got that 42.5 Panasonic/Leica lens and that thing is GORGEOUS!

      Do I shoot stills with it?

      No.

      Why?

      The Fuji stills quality is superior. I can’t comment on the Fuji vs. Olympus but from sample shots I’ve seen online I’m putting my money on Fuji. I’ll talk more about this in the last post of the series. I know that people ADORE the M 4/3 systems. I get it. They are great. They are. I know pros rocking them. I know they have some better features and specs in certain areas. I get that.

      I still pick Fuji.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  21. Winston

    Zack, have you got any experience with the XC series lenses? Fuji have the 16-50 and 50-230 as “cheap” kit lenses for the XA1 and XM1 but some stores sell them separately too.

    They’re rather cheap, plasticky and have small apertures, but do they have a place in anyone’s kit? I’m thinking they might be suitable for a beginner or someone who wants cheap and light zooms but aren’t too concerned about quality (image or build). What are your thoughts?

    • Zack

      I had the little 16-50 XC for a minute. Those lenses have no place in my kit. I need quality glass, quality build, and faster lenses (speaking of apertures.)

      Do they have a place in the world? Sure. They are inexpensive and can take a casual enthusiast and inject the love of photography into their hearts that will lead them to research the craft more and lead them to better lenses. Hopefully.

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Grant S.

        Yeah, that would be me. 🙂
        Zero budget, I mean really “developing nation workers wages” restricted, and I managed to get a new XE1 with this (horribly plastic, but optically surprisingly OK) lens for under $500. Same price as an XA1, which I tried and, well, its a toy camera without a viewfinder.
        If I save diligently, I can get myself the 27mm for walkabout, and that’ll be good enough for this “casual, but learning, wannabe enthusiast.”
        At least it got me out there and shooting! 🙂

    • Dis

      XC 50-230 is a vacuum cleaner. Zoom out and you feel the WIND through the back of the lens barrel. One can even feel the air movement through the viewfinder of the x-t1. I expect it causes some dust to settle on the sensor. Everything else about this lens is well known. Sharpness meduim like 55-200, low weight, low price, medium grade construction, af is slow like 55-200, no aperture ring.

  22. Khechog

    Hi Zack – is it less important for lenses to be weather sealed than cameras? I live in a wet country and am very interested in the XT1 for its weather sealing, but that leaves most X lenses unsealed – are lenses more resistant to wet than bodies? Or is having a weather sealed camera with unsealed lenses pretty useless because you still end up needing some sort of cover? Thanks for your response.

    • Zack

      An argument could be made that lenses have less electronic stuff going on inside of them so maybe it isn’t as important to have them weather sealed but you get fungus or mold starting to grow in one and its toast.

      People have lived in wet countries for centuries. They’ve been taking photos with non weather sealed cameras and lenses for decades and decades and decades. Right?

      WR bodies and lenses are best suited when you know for damn sure that you’ll be standing, in the rain, taking photos and your gear is straight up getting rained on. If I was dealing with humid and wet living conditions all the time I’d look into one of those dry boxes / dehumidifiers / something that I see a lot of in Asia. That will keep the fungus and mold at bay.

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Khechog

        Thanks 🙂

  23. JerryR

    Thanks for taking the time to put this together and to put it out there for free. It’s very useful not just for people starting out with Fuji and for those of us already immersed and looking for a direction to go with what we have.

    One other way I categorize lenses is by the camera body I’m using them with. The X-Pro1 is still my favorite form factor but I have just a small subset of lenses that I like with it. The 14mm, 18mm, 35mm, and maybe the 23mm–I’m on the fence. I don’t really like the way any of the zooms feel on the X-Pro1 and I think the 56mm is just a bit too large and bulky (even though I love this lens).

    On the X-T1 however, I think the zooms just handle better in both balance and function. The new larger, faster zooms really only make sense with the X-T1 in my opinion. And both the 56mm and 23mm feel great!

    I’m going to be in trouble when the X-Pro2 comes out and I have to make a choice between setups (since I won’t be able to afford both). At this point I would probably sell my X-T1 and zooms and grab an X-Pro2 with my 14mm, 35mm and 56mm. Paired with my X100T I think I could be happy with this tidy little kit. I really enjoy the X-T1 but it just doesn’t grab me like the X-Pro1.

    Thanks again for putting it all down on paper to help the rest of us work out what we “need”. 🙂

    JerryR

    • Zack

      Couldn’t agree with you more Jeremy. I decided not to go that route with this post though because how one “feels” a system is right or wrong is hard to describe and is personal. But yes… I agree with pretty much everything you just said. Some lenses just feel “right” on one camera and not on another.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  24. Sebastian

    Hello Zack,

    Excellent review of the Fuji X range, both for the cameras and the lenses. I was expecting that kind of personal insight, with a touch of humour…. especially on lenses. It’s nice to see the opinion of an artist, the emphasis on certain aspects and products (lenses / cameras). The web is already full of tech specs.

    I’ve seen you put the accent on the future XF 90mm and XF 16-55mm. And you’ve mentioned the Samyang 85mm. On my tight budget, I just don’t see myself getting the XF 50-140mm. I have only the XF 18mm and XF 35mm (plus other manual focus legacy lenses). I’d like to get the XF 56mm, the XF 16-55mm and XF 90mm, but it’s too much for me.

    I think of this kit : Samyang 12mm F2.0 (would you use it? – I hear it’s great for the price), XF 16-55mm F2.8 (the only zoom lens), sell the XF 18mm and XF 35mm (great IQ on the 35mm, but a bit slow on AF and it seems I prefer more the 35mm FF FOV, than the 50mm FF FOV), get the XF 23mm F1.4 and then, the XF 90mm F2.0. No more than 4 lenses – that’s what I’d get. 12mm + 23mm + 90mm + 16-55mm. What do you think of this kit? Do you consider it as a capable one?

    Thank you for your opinion and thank you for this lovely bookmarked review!

    With great admiration,

    Sebastian, 39, Romania
    (travel, portrait, landscape, street)

    • Zack

      Hey Sebastian,
      I don’t know anything about the Samyang 12mm so I can’t speak to that but if you have done the research and think it’s a good fit for you then go for it.

      I think the kit you are planning to build would be a great kit indeed. You’d have 12 to 90mm for a lot of shooting situations and the 16-55 would be a good Swiss Army knife lens when you just need one thing mounted on your camera. Yeah. I think that’d be a great kit to have.

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Sebastian

        Hello Zack,

        Thanks for your reply.

        I’ve seen on the internet a well-made comparison : XF 18-55 vs XF 16-55. For budget reasons (and OIS) I would incline to buy the cheaper XF 18-55. I’ve heard the sharpness and IQ differences are not so big. Did you have the chance to see how they work, both of them, and then have a comparison conclusion? I just want to know that XF 18-55 doesn’t mean a serious drop in sharpness and IQ over the XF 18 and XF 35.

        My idea of a kit has changed a bit. Instead of a new XF 23mm F1.4 (I just love this FL) I could get, for the same money, an X100S (second camera – big advantage). Sell the XF 18mm, the XF 35mm, the EF20 flash (I use Yongnuo triggers and flash – they work like a charm), sell the X-Pro1 (the budget is really small) and get the X-T1 + 18-55 and the X100S (plus a new XF prime in the future). Or dump the XF 18-55, put some money and get the X-T1 with XF 10-24 or XF 56 and the X100S. What would you do? I am kind of lost in the haze and your opinion will worth a lot.

        Thanks!

        • Zack Arias

          XT1 + 10-24 + 56 + x100s = awesome kit. That’s what I’d do.

          Cheers,
          Zack

  25. Matt

    Hi Zack.

    Thanks for this article, it’s really great.

    Regarding the TCL: I’ve owned one but sold it after a month. In my opinion, the X100 (X100T in my case) gets too bulky and badly balanced. I prefer the 35/1.4 on the X-E2, as it is faster, lighter and better balanced.

    The buttons on my X-T1 are driving me mad: tiny, bad to press, not sticking out enough due to the weather sealing (if guess). But the gorgeous EVF and the tiltable LCD would be missed. I hope the upcoming X-Pro2 will feature the near perfect D-Pad from the X-E2 or X100T.

    Best wishes to you and your family for the holidays and the next year, best regards
    Matt

    • Ian

      I was looking at the 50-140 but came to the conclusion that I’m never going to carry it round. The only lens I really wanted was the TCL (esp after Zack’s post above) as I’m a 50 shooter at heart but now Matt you’re making sense and an xe-2 with a 35 sounds good. Hmmm confused.

      • Zack

        The TCL is a nice little accessory to have in the bag to pull out every now and then. If you plan on shooting that specific focal length all the time then I’d go with the 35mm and be done with it.

        Cheers,
        Zack

    • Zack

      Dear Fuji…

      See note about D pad!

      Must. Find. Perfect. D. Pad!

      Best wishes to you as well Matt!

      Cheers,
      Zack

      PS – Agreed with the feel of the TCL. It wrecks the balance, feel, and look of the camera but I like the results so I’m just going to live with it.

  26. wilf

    thanks Zack for the review! one thing i’d like to know: with the sun IN the picture, how are the wide angles performing? I do that a lot in outdoors, lifestyle, landscape, therefore loooove my Canon TSE 17mm. Any experience with your Fuji glass (and sensors i guess) ?
    thanks,cheers
    wilf

    • Zack

      I have no complaints. Can’t say that I’m in tons of situations where the sun is directly in my photo but on the occasions I have shot like that I have not had any complaints with these lenses.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  27. Daniel

    Zack, what a brilliantly well timed and well written article!

    I was about to dive in and buy a the 23mm and the 56mm since there is an awesome cash back offer here in the UK. At the moment I have an X-E1 and 27mm for carry around but I want to upgrade the body in the future (poss XT-1). Now you’ve made me think along the lines of 35mm, 56mm, and a wide angle and maybe leave the 23mm for an X100s/t later on as a second camera. I mainly do event / documentary photography.

    The question is the 10-24mm is only £150 more than the 14mm, is it better/ worth it in the long run? I’d mainly use it for travel / landscape work or possibly indoor.

    • Zack

      It’s hard to pick between the 14mm and the 10-24. My gut reaction is to tell you to go with the 10-24. I pick it out of my bag more than the 14 and I LOVE the 14.

      The 10-24 is effing awesome. A little bigger. A little slower in aperture but that 10mm viewpoint is awesome and the OIS is fantastic.

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • jack b nimble

        i have the 14, i bought the 10-24, i sold the 10-24. it just bugged me, it’s a (relatively) big lens. i bought the fuji system for small, lightweight alternative to my canon 5d mk2’s… i have the 23 as well, and wish it were an f2 so it could be smaller, like a leica 35f2. or even 1.8.

        i’m leaving the canons home more and more, but do really believe they provide a nicer file, especially when a client asks for a photo for a 2 page spread.

        anyhooo

        • Andy

          Except that Zack mentioned in part 1 that his XT-1 files kicked his 5D2 files to hell and back. This very thing is what perplexes me. ARE the files truly more deep and rich and more full of “resolution” from the Fuji compared to the 5D2 – math aside; like, when taken to big prints. Is it just the weight difference that people perceive as the advantage over a FF Canon or Nikon?

          Going back to “Crop or Crap”, image resolution or quality is apparently negligible. I was sold on x100s by scoping out image quality coming from people who knew what they were doing with it.

          I mean, what constitutes a “nicer file” for a 2 page spread when comparing the XT-1 to the 5D2. Is it dynamic range? Cuz I know the Fuji has more. Is it the number of MP’s? Cuz we know that it’s the sensor, not the number of MP’s that lend to incredible image making.

          That said, if the difference is negligible then what IS the advantage of going Fuji, other than weight? This is the shit bouncing around in my head that has me chasing my tail in circles.

        • Zack

          Great questions. I’ll answer them in part three. Hell, I may have to make a part 4.

          Cheers,
          Zack

        • Richard Earney

          Fuji photographer Pete Bridgwood has done lots of printing experiments with Fujis and has no problem with the resolution of the files.

  28. Marcin

    Hi Zack,

    Just one note, did you notice your 35mm f1.4 can have a garish sharp bokeh when under sunny conditions? I’m looking at sun through foliage type of thing. I noticed that on mine and I can’t quite enjoy it as much as I want, compared to my Sigma 50mm 1.4 on Canon 6D.

    • Zack

      I study my bokeh like I study mid century tax reforms. I look for sharpness for my intended subject of the photo and I keep an eye out for CA. I honestly don’t pick bokeh apart and compare it from lens to lens. It’s not a priority for me like it is for some.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  29. Michael

    Zack, great round-up. I am surprised at how much I love the 18mm. This has turned into my favourite lens for street shooting. I also love the 35mm, absolutely stunning images. Also have the 28mm for size. Next on the list is the 56mm, but it ain’t cheap, so no rush

    • JamesP

      I’m looking at the 56 too. The way I see it, the roughly equivalent 90mm f2 from Leica is about $4 Grand… so at least it makes the 56 look cheap 😀

  30. gnondpomme

    Zack

    I’m not thanking you ! I want them all !!

    More seriously I have an X-E1 and 18-55 as a starting kit (that’s what I was able to buy after selling my old nikon gear) and now I’m seriously considering a prime lens. But the choice is really hard between the 23, 35 and 56 … Any way that’s one hell of a great post (as usualy on your blog !)

    • Zack

      Go through your meta data with that 18-55 lens and find out where you end up on the zoom range most of the time. I’d bet you find yourself to shoot more at one area of the lens than another. Let’s say you end up in the 18-25 range a lot then get that 23mm. If you fall in the middle a lot then get the 35mm. If you are always shooting at 55 then go with the 56.

      If you can’t decide… get the 35. 🙂

      Cheers,
      Zack

  31. Derek

    Does anyone know if the 56mm prime focuses as fast as the 18-55mm kit lens or is it slower. In other words, would you use it to photograph kids?

    • Zack

      I’ve photographed my kids with the 56 on an XT1 and in decent light and have had no complaints.

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Derek

        I bought it yesterday and have absolutely no regrets.

  32. Markus

    Thank you so much for this Zack. Really insightful and contrary to what I had expected it has helped me appreciate the kit I have got by contextualising it rather than making me lust after shiny, new and bigger.

  33. Gil

    Zack,

    To me lenses like the 50-140 2.8 are not good for the Fuji X system.

    The main reason to switch to a mirrorless system is to carry lightweight high quality gear. Top notch lightweight primes make a lot of sense on such small cameras, but I don’t find reasonable mounting a monster like the new 50-140 2.8 to a X-T1.

    I believe those who need and use big lenses should still carry DSRLs that are much more on par with them.

    What do you think about this?

    • Mark

      I second this… These new long lenses, like the olympus counterpart, is akin to showing up at the miniature golf course and swinging a full-on driver club.

    • Winston

      I had the same thoughts. I bought my Fujis because they were so small and light. If I want huge and heavy I’d use my Nikon FF gear. I still keep them due to the size, weight and cost of huge Fuji lenses like 50-140, which are not hugely lighter or smaller than the Canon/Nikon equivalent. I’d be interested to see how much of a difference this makes in practice.

      For me personally, I use the Nikon for heavy glass and demanding jobs, but Fuji for when I want to go light and easy. Each system to their own strength.

    • Jon Sharman

      They don’t actually make you buy this lens if you don’t want it.

      The only reason I hold on to my D800 is because I need the reach of a 70-200. Now that Fuji has come out with their version, and it’s spectacular, I can go 100% Fuji – which (a) will lower the amount and weight of equipment I carry to a job, and (b) will speed up my editing and make it more consistent.

      I don’t understand why anyone – particularly someone who doesn’t even want the lens – would complain about that.

    • Zack

      I totally know what you are saying and I’ll be addressing that in my last post in this series.

      As vertical grips and large zooms started showing up my first thought was, “Oh great, here we are going right back to the DSLR. The very thing we seemed to be moving away from.”

      Here’s where I’ve found I was wrong in my own perspective… From a working professional viewpoint there are times you need something like a 70-200 2.8 lens. There are specific types of images or jobs that require that and what happens is a number of people build a small mirrorless system and then have to keep a DSLR around with one or two specific lenses because they aren’t available in the smaller system. I had a 5D2 and a 70-200 sitting around for just those occasions. For me though, I rarely used it so I went ahead and sold it knowing this 50-140 was on the way.

      I’m not going to be walking the streets or traveling with an XT1 and the 50-140 and a vertical grip. XT1 and the pancake? Yes. Great walk around camera. Small. Light. Great image quality. Everything I want in a mirrorless system like this. BUT… then a paying gig comes along and I need something like the 50-140 and now I don’t have to have a second DSLR system for that lens. I have it for Fuji. So it gets packed for that job.

      I’ve also talked to a lot of wedding and event photographers who rely heavily on three things… 70-200 2.8, 24-70 2.8, and TTL flash. Many are dipping their toes into small cameras like the Fujis but they are holding on to their DSLRs for those three specific things. They’d love to cut the weight and not sacrifice quality. They love these cameras. They love the primes. But it just isn’t a full system for them yet. As Fuji rounds out this line to have similar lenses and features then we’ll see more people buying into the system. More people buying into it the better Fuji does. The better Fuji does the more they have for R&D. The more R&D they have the closer we might get to a Fuji medium format system!!!

      YOU SEE!!! It’s all about getting my medium format camera that I want!!!! 🙂

      Also note… Even though something like the 50-140 is a big lens for the Fuji… it’s still a good bit smaller and lighter than a Canon or Nikon counterpart. I can pack the 50-140 in my current backpack of Fuji gear. It’s a big lens but it isn’t THAT big. On a job, it’s no big deal. On a romantic walk with my wife through the streets of Paris? No way in hell I’d pack that lens. That’s what the pancake is for. XT1 with a pancake? Nothing the DSLR can touch. Need a 2.8 telephoto? Guess what, you have that option if you need it.

      So you see… You get the best of both worlds. You get the small compact and discreet camera and you can build it to a working pro rig. The Fuji can get larger but a 5D3 can’t get much smaller.

      These larger lenses totally have a place in the system. Do they have a place in YOUR system? Maybe not. But in some people’s line of work they are a crucial component for what they do.

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Matt Searles

        Great post Zack. For me this is what moving to X series from Nikon FX has been all about. I’ve got a high IQ, small, discreet camera when I need it, but if I want the battery grip, L-plate, fast prime tele or 2.8 zoom then I have that too – and it still weighs in much lighter than the old rig. As you say, a FF DLSR won’t shrink, but my backpack full of lenses and an X-T1 and X-E1 has though, both in weight and size. And I’m loving it.

      • Chris

        Exactly.

        I’m all in on Olympus and some people were asking when I bought the new 40-150 f/2.8 isn’t that defeating the purpose of going m43. No.

        The size and weight difference between the Olympus offering and a Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 is substantial. For what I shoot (everything), at times you simply need the reach.

        CS

        • Zack

          Agreed. And when you need that reach you can only make a lens so small at some point.

          Cheers,
          Zack

      • Steve Wylie

        I’m that guy. The 50-140 is a godsend for me. I shoot performances in low light where I can’t get up close (cathedrals, TV productions where I can’t be in the field of view, etc.). 90% of what I shoot has been with the Canon 5D3 and 70-200. I’ve now shot the X-T1 & 50-140 combo side by side with the Canon kit and I much prefer the Fuji files. The only thing I can’t get superior results with the Fuji rig is dance, where absolutely critical timing is key.

    • jack b nimble

      i third this. i really am looking for small, light, responsive.
      love the 35, like the 14, like the 23 optics, don’t like its weight.

  34. Tom H.

    Thanks for this informative interview. I received an X100T upon release as a prize in a contest. Within a month, I had acquired a second hand X-T1 and the new 50-140mm. I simply fell in love with the rendering and the quality of the Fuji files. I sold my Canon stuff last year, after 3 years in hellish pain from knee and ankle injuries. Dragging all those L lenses around was just too much for me. And upgrading from my decrepid 500D would mean an even heavier body on top. I decided to move onto a lighter mirrorless system. I got an Olympus E-M1 in February, after having doubts about the X-T1 when I tried it in a store. While I like the E-M1’s rugged build quality and IBIS, I never fell in love with it. It’s a great backup body and I’m keeping it for the fact that I can put a 600mm equivalent lens on it and still carry it single handed. Also, my wife finds it easier to use than the Fuji’s. But boy did I fall in love with the X100T. I purchased the teleconverter for it within a week and that is a gorgeous piece of glass too. Equally so with my X-T1 and 50-140mm combo. I had lots of requests for portrait work piling up, and now I have a magnificent kit for my purposes: 35mm, 50mm, 70-200mm equivalents. The only thing I have left on my wishlist is the 56mm for bokehlicious shots and travelling light. The 50-140mm definitely is staying at home for studio work. I can’t see myself picking up any other lenses, as I don’t have a need for wide angles, and the faster 23 and 35 lenses are gorgeous, but I already have those lengths covered. I look forward to the piece on accessories.

  35. Pat Morrissey

    What an excellent, thorough and informative post.
    I find I’m using the 18mm a lot since getting the X-T1 and you’re spot on about its advantages. Mine has quite a lot of CA but that’s not a problem as I shoot mostly in mono. I’ve used Nikon 50 and 60mm lenses on a cheap converter and they’re great if you don’t mind manual focussing. Like you, can’t wait for the 90. Thanks for this really helpful survey!

  36. Ross

    Thank you for doing this Zach – love your honesty and insight in these.
    I think you should just add the 56 as a must have for every Fuji option – I love that damn lens so much it’s just a shame that anyone with a Fuji system wouldn’t have one.

  37. Jang

    After using your 56mm, I went out and bought one. I love it. I use it majority of the time.

    I still kept the 60mm though because I could get really tight shots of the face. The 56mm won’t focus that close. I guess that would be fixed once the 90mm lens comes out with the macro tubes. I can’t wait to get rid of it!

  38. Danillo

    I’m pretty new to Fuji, but so far I’m pretty much in love with that 18-55. Sure, I give up some things compared to primes, but it’s the best combination of small size, great build, useful zoom range and good image quality that I’ve ever had. I’ve added the 10-24 and 55-200, and it’s a kit I can take on a long hike and shoot anything with. Then again, I haven’t used the Fuji primes yet…

    I do have a collection of old Minolta MD glass, along with both Fotodiox and Metabones Speedbooster adapters. Fun stuff. The Minolta 24mm 2.8, which is one of my handful of lenses that I’ve ever truly loved, isn’t doing great on the Fuji. I can use it, but the corners are pretty poor. By the 35mm 2.8, things are looking better. The MD 50 1.4 is performing exceptionally well, I think, with either adapter. Very fun lens and the experience of manual focusing the Minoltas beats the Fuji zooms (which isn’t terribly surprising). Another lens that I’ve loved, which I sold years ago and need to replace, is the MD 85 f2. I fully expect that to work very, very well on the Fuji bodies. Finally, I have a MD 135 2.8 that I am pleasantly surprised with… seems almost a better lens on the Fuji than on my Minolta X-700. I have a MD 50mm macro too, but haven’t used it enough to say anything about it.

    At any rate, for most of situations the Fuji zooms are more than up to the task for me. In some special situations, the Minolta glass lets me do some extra, useful things. Then, sometimes, it’s just FUN to shoot with these old primes that I learned photography with, and if nothing else I think it’s very cool to be able to use them on a modern body.

    Thanks for your reviews, Zack, and I am really enjoying your perspective on photography.

  39. Phil

    Thanks Zack…. You made me switch my plans from buying the 23mm to get some extra money to spend on a x100t…

    Brilliant post, made me think about my style of photography and how to support that with the specific gear. Very very useful and a joy to read and watch.

    Thx man!

  40. Raymond Wardenær

    This is the most interesting review of the Fuji lenses I have read so far! I agree strongly on you comments about the lacking of a 90mm lens from Fuji. This is the lens I am waiting for. I only wish it would be smaller and lighter, but think I will get it anyway.

  41. Sebastian Fainbraun

    Zack – I am using the 50-140 as a studio and portraiture lens. The quality wide open is astonishing. I mostly shoot primes and this is my only zoom. If you had this lens (or if u do) what is your opinion on the 90 f2. Will that one stop in aperture make a huge difference to warrant a new lens given that 90 f2.8 on the zoom is pretty darn good?

    • Tom H.

      I’m interested in this too. When I shot Canon, I loved my 135mm f2. Almost all my favourite shots are taken with that lens. It just makes everything pop. If the Fuji has that quality, it will make a great travel alternative to the 50-140mm.

    • jack b nimble

      the 90 f2 will be equivalent, sort of, to the canon 135 f2 (but with a bit for DOF ’cause it’s a 90) and the canon 135f2 is really special compared to the canon 70-200 2.8.

      so i think you will see a difference. that 135f2 makes ANYTHING look good.

  42. Phil

    Hey, Zack, I’m an Olympus guy myself. I looked at the Fuji system at GPP last year and while I really like it, I don’t see enough advantage to switch overall. I may pick up an X100s/t for a carry around. I’ve heard Capture One does a nice job with Fuji’s raw files. Have you played with that combination at all?

  43. Colin

    I have been considering buying into the Fujifilm X system ever since the X100 was announced. But there’s one thing that just scares me off – the focus-by-wire manual focus system. Do you have any thoughts on that?

  44. Alex Reusch

    Great information about the lenses for the Fuji X cameras! Thanks for sharing your opinion. I am looking forward to the 16mm 1.4, because I think it will be a great lens for landscape photography as well as useful for astro photography. Yes, it is not as wide as the 14mm or the 10-24mm, but I believe that it offers a very nice angle for standard landscapes.

    I can however also recommend the Rokinon 12mm f/2. A great lens that goes wide (but not too wide) which I also use today for landscapes and astro. It is my preferred lense for astro today. And on the budget side, it is not a very expensive lens as well.

    Cheers,
    Alex

    • Zack

      Thanks for your feedback on that 12mm! It’s difficult for me to speak to landscapes and astro photography and the like since I don’t shoot that genre much, if at all.

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Axel

        One more pro Korean 12 mm: it can do beautiful sun stars with the aperture fully closed. Fujifilm’s 2/18 can’t do that…

  45. Vince

    Thanks for sharing your impressions. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my switch from Nikon FF and fast glass to the Fuji system. Really looking forward to tomorrow’s big XT1 update! Also looking forward to your accessory write-up. Nikon’s extraordinary flash system is really the only thing I miss, so I’m hoping you shed some light on what I’m missing there. See what I did there?

    • Tom H.

      I second that flash system. That should be a priority. I love shooting manual flash, but I take a lot of snaps at work in a hurry and would love a decent off camera ttl system that works properly…

  46. Pulkit Mukesh Sharma

    I want to buy the 56 1.2… is the new lens worth the premium? I am not a professional… but, I like using the latest gear… the focal length does not change, but there is weather sealing!

    I love your work (lessons and art) Mr Arias!

    Best wishes,
    Pulkit

    • Zack

      The new lens is worth the price. I wouldn’t get the APD version though. I don’t think that is worth it. Also note that the 56mm is NOT weather sealed.

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Pulkit Mukesh Sharma

        Thanks Zack! If you are ever in the UK and there’s anything I can do for you… please let me know 🙂

      • Grant

        I have a comparo of the 56mm 1.2 R and the APD on my site: http://bit.ly/1cmR4yI

        I love the APD….but sticking with the R

    • Jesus

      I personally want to get the APD version though. Saving up for it. I like the weather sealing, I like the half-stop gradient filter when at wide open apertures so I can shoot in bright outdoor conditions (and maybe strobes) and not worry about shutter speed and aperture not coinciding well at ISO 200 (on my X-E2 mind you, but will purchase an XT-1/2 later on). I like the added contrast and sharpness at wide apertures thanks to the APD filter that they mentioned. Maybe the bokeh is not all that different. But to the things I mentioned I think it’s worth it “to me.” In the end it’s up to you, I don’t think Fuji would have created such a lens without something in mind. The price though is quite up there, but to me I think it’s worth it.

      • Justin

        I don’t think the 56mm APD has weather sealing. The 18-135 & 50-140 are weather resistant and get the letters WR in the lens name.

  47. Lewis @ Custom Fittings

    This was a stunning guide, thank you so much, I’ve been wondering where to go for a portrait lens and your pictures really illustrated the strengths of each lens. Thank you.

  48. Logan Wade

    As always, I appreciate the honesty. Good little run down.

    I’ve got the 35 and the 10-24. Really like cityscapes and street photography with the impression that I’ll have to start in on portraits to make any real money with my toys. Considering the 23 as my next purchase but the 56 (like the 55-140) is on my mind as well as it seems like the logical “tool” that needs to be added for “work”.

    Think the 23 would be my passion with street while the 56 (or 55-140) would enhance my ability to deliver a different perspective on quality portraits.

    Working 9-5 in a cubicle and traveling as much as I can. This hobby has turned into love and I’m still not sure I want it to be work long term but would like the feeling of being appreciated by companies rather than solely by friends/family at this point.

    Any suggestions are more than welcome and will thoroughly be over-read into.

  49. Will

    Dual XT1 bodies with the 23 and 35mm on most of the time.

    When the “X100s” form factor is needed, I put a 27mm on one of them.

    For wide angle the 14mm. For serious portraiture the 56.

    That bag, right there, can do sooooo much, and is a true pleasure to work with. Best bag I’ve ever owned, and you couldn’t pay me to go back to the big form factor of my old Canon bag (even though the L glass is excellent).

    Only zoom that is tempting is the 50-140 because of the quality, but it changes the form factor back to “big bag”.

    Fuji has really done an amazing job of putting out equipment that can be used at all levels–including professionally–and is a pleasure to use.

    • Zack

      That is a gorgeous bag right there. Well said. Thanks for the comment.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  50. Jesus

    My thoughts EXACTLY on the Zeiss Touit line. They should have released a 90mm f/2. That lens would have been invaluable and of great quality. But chances are there must have been an agreement in particular to working with the X-Mount line when it comes to focal lengths. I guess we’ll see what happens. I own 2 of the 3 Touit lenses and I love them. They needed a portrait lens of sorts. Maybe they will make a 100mm f/2 lens for the line with OIS. That I would drop green for.

  51. Tom Levenson

    I’m in the casual enthusiast category, and I use my Fuji X-E1 mostly as a travel camera, and especially as a hiking camera. To that end, I use the 18-55 kit, and last summer, bought on slight discount the XC 50-230, for reach at altitude in the lightest possible package. For that purpose, it’s a really nice solution. Layers of mountains (Shasta from Lassen Park, for example) in positions that took some serious rock hopping to get to. It’s slow, a variable aperture lens and all that. But within its constraints, it has nice optics and, did I mention? It’s really, really light. I had the choice of this or the 55-200, when the latter was discounted enough to remove the price difference between the two from the decision. In the end, for this purpose, for me, the cheaper, slower lens was the better choice.

    Which is to say, horses for courses.

    PS — would I love the 10-24 as my next lens. Yes indeed. Saving nickles. Add a 35mm when the time/budget is right as well…

  52. Justin

    Great whistle-stop review.
    Agree about the 35mm – photos with it just makes me smile (despite the slightly slow AF).
    I have the 60mm and use it for macro quite a bit. Its quirks are frustrating, but it produces great photos. Hoping that tomorrows Firmware update on X-T1 that adds phase detect to the MF 1 shot AF helps.But I would be 1st in line for a replacement Fuji macro (70mm f2.8 WR with OIS?).

    I was looking forward to the 16-55 f2.8 but I am not sure as it will be non-OIS. For Landscape / architecture it would cover most of my preferred focal range but no OIS may force carrying of a tripod. Hopefully it means Fuji are planning a 16-70mm f4.0 WR OIS zoom, that could be used for video as well. I tried the 50-140 for hand held video yesterday and the OIS was miraculous.

  53. AP

    Zack,

    You may have covered this before, but I forgot. Do you shoot RAW or JPEG? If you shoot JPEG, what settings do you have them tuned to? Film simulation, color, sharpness, shadows, highlights, etc?

    Great article. I need a wide angle lens and there were many occasions in the past when 18/28mm felt cramped. I’m torn between the 14mm and the upcoming 16mm. Dynamic perspective or two stops more light intake? When doing landscapes having a wide lens can push background details too far away, but I really love dynamic perspectives. I shoot landscapes, concerts, street/events and some portraits. I currently have an X100S, an X-Pro1, the Fujinon 35mm and a Minolta Rokkor 55 f/1.7 and 135 f/3.5, adapted.

    After I switched to Fuji I told myself I would never shoot with any lens slower than f/2, but to be honest, I think it will come down to whatever is cheaper and smaller. I’ve ruled out the 10-24 because it won’t balance well with the X-Pro body, it’s expensive and the OVF won’t accommodate the wide field of view. What do you think? 14 or 16?

    Thanks,
    AP

  54. Alan Paone

    I’d call myself an enthusiast and you recommended exactly what I’ve put together for myself. x100s, XT-1 with 10-24, 35, 56 and a 50-140 on the way. There’s almost nothing I can’t shoot with these 2 cameras & 4 lenses. When the 16-55 and 90 come out, I’ll have a bit of soul-searching to do to decide if I need them, and it’ll probably just come down to the price/quality. It’s a little odd to me that 3 out of 4 of my lenses were released this year.

  55. Adrian

    Hi, i have enjoyed the first Fuji camera in 1977, was a Fujica ST801, a camera that i have loved. The Fujinon lenses that i have added in the course of the years was the 19, 28, 55, 135, 200, and also the zoom 43-75. The affair fineshed abruptly in the 1988, when my photo-studio was ransaked. Now are 5 months that i have bougth the X-E1 with the 18-55, and although i am again in the learning curve, (before i had Nikon reflex that behave differently with the raw processer) i can say that i like very much the X system. Now i would like to buy a lens but i seen that there is not what i need. I mean a short tele-zoom, something like a 50-90 2.8 (or 3.5) or a 55-120 2.8-4. You can tell me that there are avaible something that is similar, the 55-200 or the 50-140 2.8 and the 55-230, but they are too much long and big. The camera fit well in my hands, (i have small hands) but i see that many of those lenses are too big referred to the size of the camera, X-T1 too. I thought that small size lenses can be a must for the X sistem, for example a 55 1.8 like the one that i had before, that was small but sharp, good quality and not expansive. In my idea, the zooms don’t must have too much escursion, both for contain size and weigth and for have more quality too. My ideal line would be: 12-20 2.8 (or 3.2 or 3.5), 20-50 2.8, 50-90 2.8 (or 3.2 or 3.5), 90-200 2.8-4 (or 3.2-4,5). For prime lenses with a good compromise of small size and max. aperture, would be ok a 16 2.3 (or 2.8), 35 1.8 (or 2), 55 1.8, 120 2.8, zooms starting the 20-50 and more and the 120 prime with OIS.
    I hope that my suggest could sort something.
    Thank you very much, Adriano.

  56. Tom

    Hi Zack,

    I enjoyed reading your article, your writing style is clear and straight-forward, and shots are excellent. After using compacts I’ve just entered the X system with the X-E2 + 18-55 and I’m looking at getting a first prime.

    Just curious as to why you’ve quit social media? I just quit FB myself.

    Cheers!

  57. Kevin B

    I’m surprised you didn’t include in your list of possible packages:

    Just get an X100*

    (he says on a very rainy day in San Franisco, carrying his bag-wrapped X-T1)

  58. Ted

    Great write up Zack. You mentioned the Rokinon 85mm, but you failed to mention the 12mm f2 lens they make. I bought this on my last trip to NYC at B&H and it rocks on the X-T1. Yeah, it’s manual only, and having to set the ‘SHOOT WITHOUT LENS’ setting on the camera every time I put it on/take it off is kind of a pain. But for the money, it’s sharp all around, almost no distortion, and it’s small and light too. For $350, it’s a great option for those wanting a wide angle lens (best for landscape/architecture) and not wanting to shell out the $800 for the 10-24 f4.

  59. Anthony Hereld

    Zack:

    Thanks for this series of articles. I tossed my DSLR kit (D800) a few months ago in favor of the Fuji X system, and I couldn’t be happier. I feel like I’m far ahead of the curve every time I read one of your posts, which only re-affirms my decision. The X100S has reawakened my love of photography and made a go anywhere type of kit possible.

  60. Harry

    A note about the X100 vs XT-1 w/ XF23.

    I owned a X100 original. And I also own the XT-1 and XF35 for the curious ones. So, I had the oppurtunity to buy a new XF lens for my XT-1. And was jumping between the XF14, XF23 & XF56. Living and shooting extensively with the X100 for 3 years, I have grown accustomed to the 35mm FOV, and love it. And I got the XF23 and never looked back. Why? Because for one, I LOVE the 35mm focal length, and since the X100 is 3 years old, it does not have the tech the XT-1 has, like the latest firmware (with Classic Chrome), Wifi, faster autofocus, higher megapixel count and by getting the XF23, I get all these new functions, without heading up to the X100T which is more expensive than the XF23.

    So, for those who own the X100(original) and a XT-1, and is considering to whether to get a XF23, I say go get it, if you love the 35mm focal length, it is sharp, beautiful and that f1.4 aperture…… wow…… X100s/t owners, go get a XF56 or XF14.

  61. Jonathan

    Enjoyed reading the article. I’m really interested with both the 35mm and 56 mm primes. But also thinking of just waiting for the 16-55mm f2.8 zoom. Too bad that lens is not out yet. Would really like to ask your opinion if having two primes or this one zoom better alternative for a “casual enthusiast” like me.

    • Zack

      For a casual enthusiast I honestly think one nice 2.8 zoom will make you happy. I can make plenty of justifications to go with the 35 and 56 as a combo as well but at the end of the day… a nice zoom makes a lot of people happy.

      I could say that you get the 35 now. Shoot with that until the zoom comes out and then you’ll have a nice zoom for everyday stuff and one nice fast prime if the need arises. Pretty much everyone I know who has that 35mm would not trade it for anything.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  62. c.d.embrey

    I’m not a zoom lens kinda guy. I won’t buy a 10-24mm f/4 lens because I think that zooms suck for how I work. They now have most of that range covered by primes. So why not add a 10mm f/2.8 to complete the set?

    • Axel

      Same here. I just don’t like working with zooms – and this is what got me hooked on the Fuji X system (the other option I considered was Oly/M43).

      Samyang has a 10/2,8 for the X system. I can’t say anything about that one, but I’m happily shooting with the 12/2,0. With such a short focal length MF only works for me, and the IQ is great.

      (It is possible that the 10 mm is designed for SLR bodies and uses a retrofocus layout. I know that the 12 is developped for mirrorless specifically, so it might have an edge over the 10 in the IQ part.)

  63. Michael Sladek

    Zack,

    These guides are wonderful! Thanks so much. I am really close to pulling the trigger on the Fuji switch. One thing holding me back (besides $$$) is some of the reading I’ve done suggests that Lightroom is not great at rendering Fuji RAW files. I seem to recall you use LR. What’s been your experience with LR and Fuji RAW files?

    Thanks again, and blessings on your holiday social media sabbatical!

    • Zack

      I’ll speak to that in part 3 or it’s own post maybe.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  64. Mark Zelinski

    I hate this website, and I hate you, Zack Arias!
    You have forced me out of my comfort zone, which as the name stated, is an uncomfortable place to be.
    I purchased OneLight last winter, and all I can do is pick apart my own work and make the next shoot that much better. I am never happy with the present state of my work.
    I traded in half of my Canon gear for the Fuji X system, and it has forced me to slow down and think, something which doesn’t come easy to me.
    Outside of your comfort zone… The scariest place to be. As well as the safest!
    So for those reasons, I hate you with all the affection in the world. You and your perfect website.
    Keep it up!
    Sincerely,
    MAZ

    • Zack

      My job here is done. 🙂

      Welcome to photography. This struggle you mention… it never ends.

      That’s what’s so great about it.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  65. Matteo

    Hi Zack!

    Last Year I’ve been traveling Morocco wit:
    X-E1, Fuji 14, Fuji 27, Adapted Olympus 50 1.4 and 135 2.8

    This Year I’ve been traveling Perù and Bolivia, X-E2, same lenses

    I just bought an X-T1 and I’m sooo forcing myself into traveling with just THREE primes…I just can’t decide…can’t leave home 14 or 27…I like both 50 and 135, but 135 much more…but those are manual lenses and old ones!

    Now…should I buy the 56 and do 14+27+56 (but then I’d be so tempted to bring the 135 too, I really love it! But no, please…3 lenses! Should I wait for the 90 f2.0 and skip the 56!?

    Thanks!!!

  66. Axel

    Interesting articles, thx! I’m looking forward to part 3.

    As for my own way and kit: Coming from Canon full frame and 1,3x crop I started with a X100s. But what really sparked my interest in the Fuji system was a display of the 1,2/56 in January this year. This lens was exactly what I’ve been looking for! Just the right package. And so much sexier than my enormous 1,2/85 II L. The moment I saw the 56 I knew I had to seriously consider changing system.

    Much reading followed, then a first try with the Xs. Love it! I’ll keep it, no matter what. The next purchase was the TCL for high-speed flash portraits.
    I got an X-M1 kit when I saw a good deal. My plan was to use the X-M to brifge the gap until the X-Pro2 comes out. But that plan is kinda flawed. I’ll buy the X-T1, even though I much prefer the viewfinder layout of the other X bodies. But the EVF is just SO good. And after many shots with the X100s I have to admit that I don’t really need an OVF. It’s nice to have – but I can live without it. Even more so when my focal lengths get more extreme.

    Speaking of that, the 16-50 of the X-M kit never really saw action with me. I’ve lent it to a friend, and he’s going to get the whole kit. Good riddance!
    Next in line was the 56, and it is gorgeous. Followed on the heel by Samyang’s 2,0/12. And that inexpensive ultra wide is a keeper, too. I have to get used to MF again, and boy do I wish for more custom colours for focus peaking in X bodies. White is just not good here.

    Two days ago I got the 2,0/18 and really like it. Paired with the X-M it fits in the same tiny belt pocket (actually a lens pouch) I use to carry around my X100s. With kust the bit of extra width that I like when things get crowded.

    I’m tempted to look at the 27 as well, but the 35 was on my list long ago already. Damn, so many Fuji XF lenses are sexy…

    And, yes, like Zack I just can’t wait for the 2/90 to come out. That one, the 56 and the 18 are my preferred kit, supplemented by the X100s’s 23 mm.

    • Axel

      Oh, I forgot: Flashes, since they have been mentioned here as well. Yongnuo 560 IIIs and a first IV. Great light! Love it. Paired with RF-603 IIs and a 560 TX (kinda redundant, but I got it before I bought the 560 IV).

      My flash system produced the one flaw in the X-M1 I really hate: It doesn’t fire the hotshoe pin. Won’t do it! Damn thing, I was ready to smash it into the wall two days ago. (Silent mode turned off, single shot mode etc., “Commander” flash mode – I can’t see any reason why it shouldn’t fire that damn hotshoe pin! I can only blame the updated firmware, and some comments I found point in the same direction.

      No more amateur bodies with crippled functionality for me, thanks. I’ve had it. And Fuji: shame on you for that – the X-M1 could have been a nice backup/third body in my bag, but not crippled like that. (The annoying user interface is another story.) Nice move to offer such a great sensor in a cheap body, but it doesn’t live up to my expectations.

      • Axel

        Another remark, and something Zack didn’t mention: The X-M1 one is kinda noisy. Doing a lot of street I learned to love the X100s not only because it’s unobtrusive and reliable, but also because it’s SO silent. Perfect stealthy package! I can stick it into someone’s face and shoot, without that person really noticing.

        The X-M1 is a different story, here you can clearly hear the shutter operating, and probably some more gears. How does the X-T1 compare to that?

        • Zack

          It makes more noise than an X100 but on a street you can’t hear it. It’s like the X-Pro1. There’s no clacking of a mirror that’s for sure. 🙂

          Cheers,
          Zack

    • Zack

      Nice kit! Thanks for sharing your thought process!

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Axel

        Thank you, Zack!

        I got the X-T1 and the 35 mm today. The latter pretty much because you say it’s magic – I couödn’t wait much longer after having read that. Shame on you. 😀

        But if I may abuse this comment section for a cry for help:

        The brand new X-T1 shows the same strange behaviour I got from my X-M1! Not F***ing flash! Not at all! I just blew a shooting, partly because of that issue. What is wrong here?? The shop clerk updated the X-T to firmware 3.00 for me. Silent mode is off, AF illuminator is off, single shot mode, forced flash, manual ISO, manual aperture, shutter speed 1/180 – and no YN-560 is firing. No RF603 II is firing. Nothing. Should I return that thing tomorrow and turn my back to the X bodies?

        On my trusted X100s everthing works as it should. And that one is on the newest firmware as well.

        Thanks for any help, I’m travelling and need that thing to just work!

        • Axel

          Ooops, found it. Electronic shutter activation cancels any external flash. Duh.

          The X-M1 still won’t fire any external flash though. But that’s going away soon anyway..

        • Zack

          I have asked Fuji that they fire the center pin of the hotshoe NO MATTER what effing mode the camera is on. Always. Fire. The. Hotshoe. Always. Forever. Always. Macro. Silent. Drive. Film simulation bracket. Electronic shutter. No. Matter. What. Ever. Always. Always. WTF?

          To this day I have found myself trying to fire a pocket wizard and menu diving to find what GD function is on or off keeping the camera from firing. Ugh.

          The newest one? Electronic shutter. 🙂

          Cheers,
          Zack

        • Axel

          3 weeks later in Thailand it’s time for an update: I love the 2/18! Great little lens! Attached to the X-T1 the kit is not much bigger than my X100s, but the wider angle is so useful over here. I often started my day trips with just the 18 and the 35 (for the night), and always felt well equipped. The 27 also found its way into my bag now, but this is not the place for that. Maybe it can shine more at home in Germany, where people are so shy that I have to keep a much bigger distance.
          Oh, and surprisingly I found the WiFi very useful to give away pics on the spot. And the tiny slip-on flash for the X-T1 is a very nifty gadget.
          But the biggest surprise was the 18. It’s a hot candidate to become my second favourite (after the 56), even though I always considered the 28 equivalent focal length boring. It isn’t. Just like the X100s’ 23.

  67. Alan

    Thanks Zack. Love your articles. But this one has messed with my head. I’d call myself an enthusiast on a budget and have an XE2 and 18-55. I was just about to add a 14 for an upcoming trip to India. But now you have me wondering about a 35. I’ve seen some of your great images of India. So what do you think; 14 or 35 to go with the 18-55. Thanks again.

    • Zack

      That’s like standing in line at your favorite takeout joint and trying to decide between two things you really like.

      The 14 would rock in India.

      So would the 35. I fell in love with the 35… in India. I feel like such a douche bag for even saying that right now. Picture me in a velvet smoking jacket with a glass of very expensive bourbon (neat) while explaining the subtle nuances of the Fuji 35mm lens while photographing a beautiful South African model named Gabby in the back of taxi in Mumbai.

      🙂

      Let me ask you about that 18-55. Do you end up using it more on the 18mm side of things a lot or are you more on the 55mm side of that lens a lot. Without thinking about where do you instinctively push that zoom? If you live on the wide side then I could tell you to go with the 14mm prime. You’ll get a little wider than you can with the 18mm and it’s sharp in the corners and everywhere else and you’ll probably love it.

      BUT… you already have an 18mm f2.8 so… adding that 35mm 1.4 will give you a smaller lens/camera combo and a faster lens than you already own and it will be great for walking around stuff from details of food you eat to street portraits to whatever. When you come across that vista or some interesting architecture you do have an 18mm 2.8 ready to go for that. If you need a bit more reach for something you have the 55mm.

      OR… you keep the 18-55 bolted on your camera and you buy a used X100 or X100S to give yourself a backup camera and a silent street shooter. I might have just made your life worse. Sorry.

      OR… You just keep the 18-55, enjoy the hell out of India with that lens and that lens alone and save your money for the 16-55 2.8 lens that is coming out in 2015 and sell the 18-55 you have now. You’ll be close to that 14mm you are looking at AND get 2.8 all the way through the zoom.

      OR… Keep the 18-55 and get the pancake! Then you can put your XE2 in a vest pocket or tiny ass shoulder bag when you just want to walk around with a very small rig.

      UGH. This is what is so nice about something like an X100 when there were no conversion lenses for it. One camera. One lens. Small. Silent. You make it happen with what you have and be happy with it. No crazy options that can be justified one way or another.

      I probably didn’t help. Sorry.

      If it were me…

      I would…

      ummmmm

      errrrrr

      (coin toss)

      (Another coin toss)

      (best two out of three)

      (three out of five)

      18-55 and the 35mm.

      I think. Or I’d sell the 18-55 and get a 14mm and a 35mm.

      EFFFFFF!!!

      Whichever one you pick you’re going to get there and wish you had the other one. Right? If you take all three of them you’ll end up only using one of them.

      XE2 and the 18-55 and a used X100 or X100S.

      That’s what I’d do. Right there. And I’d probably end up using the X100 most of the time.

      Sorry.

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Alan

        No you didn’t help but your wonderful reply made my day. I just couldn’t stop grinning. Of course I now have 5 options to consider! Aghhhh.

        • Zack

          I stopped at five figuring six would send you over the edge. 🙂

          Cheers,
          Zack

      • Jim

        I finally had the balls to do a trip with just the X100s (now upgraded to the X100T). Like most of us, I fretted over gear. In the past, I had fallen into the trap of trying to cover every option…every focal length. If I used a zoom, I used it mostly at the short end, or the long end, seldom in between. Should I use a wide angle, a telephoto??? I missed shots because I argued with myself over which gear to use.

        I discovered that it’s liberating to use the X100s/t as an only travel camera. When one is left with one choice, the decision is made for you. I make it work.

        The most useful feature for me on the X100 is the macro option. Folks, this really changes the game when you’re traveling. It’s like having another lens. That, and the ability to blur the background…and the built-in flash when you need a little pop. The X100T implementation of the macro mode is so fast & easy to use…just assign the function to the button of your choice.

        I hate to sound like a Fuji shill but this really is a brilliant camera for travel. I’ll be taking a trip from Istanbul to Venice in a few months. All I’m bringing is the X100T and a Gropro Hero 4 for some video.

        • Zack

          Clap clap clap clap clap clap!

          Yep. I love the X100 series for this stuff. One camera. One lens. Go forth and see the world. It really is liberating and you end up sounding like a Fuji shill because… it’s so damn good at what it does! OMG! Thanks for sharing your story!

          Cheers,
          Zack

        • Jonathan

          Can’t agree enough. I took the X100S on a recent trip to Hawaii as my only camera and never felt constrained. Like you, I found it deeply liberating to have so few choices to make.

          It’s interesting, because I gave up photography for a few years because I felt like photographing life was getting in the way of my actually experiencing it. I saw more countries without a camera in my hand than I had ever seen with one. But after that trip to Hawaii, I now think it’s only a certain mindset about photography that had been responsible for that feeling of detachment, not photography in itself. It’s that geeky perfectionist “So many choices and I must make ALL OF THEM RIGHT” mindset that gets in the way of actually being there, in the moment, in the place. With fewer choices, I found myself completely present. In fact, practically AT PLAY in the moment.

          Now, I am seriously contemplating spending my upcoming trip to Paris & Barcelona shooting nothing but either the X100S or an XT-1 with the 23mm/1.4. Two cameras, but only one view. Fewer choices, more creativity.

        • Zack

          GREAT quote! Thanks for sharing that.

          Cheers,
          Zack

        • Ian

          Agreed. I took the x100/s as the only camera to Hong Kong, New York, Volgograd and Istanbul and was very happy with the pictures. But recently I took an xt1 to the desert and love the 56mm landscapes.

          I think with family in holiday as well the x100s is the way to go – a serious camera that doesn’t take over the whole show.

      • Robert L

        I’ve found an XE-2 + 18-55 and an x100s to be a great travel combo- the 55-200 is shockingly good for what is, too. Even the silly popup flash on the xe2 can be held back to bounce of the ceiling(I’m going to design a 3d printed doohickey to do that, one day) – the fujis are small and light enough I don’t have to think hard before a trip.

  68. Keith Maguire

    Thank you for this article. I have recently sold my Canon gear to fund my switch to Fuji after shooting the X Pro-1. I love portrait photography so I made sure to purchase the 56mm f/1.2 in that switch. I am so glad I did. I’ve found some work arounds, using Iridient Developer in lieu of Lightroom for RAW processing, etc.
    One day I hope to be a pro photographer. When I am, I see myself using Fuji. Most people I know shoot Canon and Nikon. As a result they seem to think that Fuji can’t handle pro level assignments. I am convinced otherwise. Seeing your work with the system is just another proof of that. I enjoy your work, regardless of the system you use, but it is nice to know you’re shooting Fuji as well. It really does inspire me to push my own boundaries and raise the bar that much more. Thank you.

    • Zack

      Just heard back from an editorial job I did two weeks ago. Shot the whole thing with Fuji’s. Just made the cover. Too bad it can’t shoot pro level work huh?

      🙂

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • adam bucci

        what magazine?

        • Zack Arias

          Financial Planner. Industry magazine.

          Cheers,
          Zack

  69. Jonathan

    Zack, it cracks me up that you talk about how the 18mm is the “most underrated and most forgotten lens” and then you recommend it for….no one. 😀

    I kid, I kid.

    But I do think that for the travel/documentary shooter the bonus lens could be either the 27mm or the 18mm depending on personal style. Both are nice, light, compact lenses. For the Cartier-Bresson style of shooter – a little further back, watching from across the narrow lane – the 27mm would win out. But for the right up in people’s faces Bruce Gilden type of shooter, I’d think it would be 18mm all the way for a coat-pocket rig.

    • Zack

      Could not have described those two better myself. In fact… I didn’t describe those two better myself. Thank you.

      Cheers,
      Zack

    • christine

      “it cracks me up that you talk about how the 18mm is the “most underrated and most forgotten lens” and then you recommend it for….no one. :D” +1 Jonathan, I was thinking the exact same thing! Funny.

  70. EP

    Solid post, Zack. Thanks for the rundown on all the glass I want.

  71. Jeann Smith

    @Zack, I’ve got that Rokinon 85mm 1.4 for my Nikon. The DOF at 1.4 is ridiculously shallow (even on DX) and it has a minimum focus range of about 4 feet. But otherwise it’s a great lens if you don’t mind manual focus…. and it’s $900+ cheaper than the Nikon.

  72. Paul Griffiths

    Zack this is an outstanding cover/commentary of Fuji glass. Thanks for putting this all together. Part 1 wasn’t too shabby either!
    FYI I have Fuji X-E1 with 18-55 and 35mm lenses, I used to own the 27mm pancake but sold it to part-pay for the X100s (used) gem. That’s my kit for street photography use. And I aint changing! Thanks..

    Merry Xmas and a Happy NewYear to you and your family…

  73. Al Downie

    I gotta disagree with you about the 60mm! Yes, it’s the reason I sold ALL my Fuji kit (apart from the x100 of course) and bought Canon instead, but… it’s also the reason I’d buy it all over again if I won the lottery. It was a pain the the arse to focus for sure, and utterly *useless* for anything that moved, but when all of its planets aligned, every once in a blue moon, it was amazing!

    • Marius Masalar

      The 60mm is such a bewildering lens.

      I just got back from a trip where I had the opportunity to review the X-T1 + 10-24 + 60mm and the 60mm is definitely one of the most bizarrely polarizing lenses I’ve ever used. I alternated between hating it and adoring it, and it’s a lens I would be very happy to see revamped. Granted, I was using it outside its comfort zone to shoot some wildlife, and while it was a pain, it worked surprisingly well with enough effort.

      I found the same thing you did: when it hits, it hits HARD. Like counting-nose-hairs-on-a-butterfly hard. But it misses a lot, hunts for focus way too much, and doesn’t feel at all reliable if you don’t have time to set up a shot carefully.

      • Richard Earney

        A macro that doesn’t do 1:1 isn’t a macro in my view! Maybe it is a 60mm portrait lens? 🙂

  74. Mark L

    The camera & lens posts are terrific (as usual) and form an invaluable reference point for our photography students who show an interest in the X series. (I’m an assistant at those courses, not the Big Kahuna. That’s my friend’s role). I also refer our students to “Transform”…just to prove to ’em that it’s not only us at ground level who have doubts. That video still encourages me more than any other – I think you just hit an emotional sweet spot somewhere. I know I’ll never reach Dan Winters-like levels of accomplishment (i do resemble him in some pics though, that counts for something) but damn it I’m gonna try. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’, the Signal appreciate it, we really do. And the “can Fuji really produce professional results” stupid question? May I refer you to Brit snapper Tim Wallace, whose shots of ghost town Darwin in Death Valley are TO DIE FOR. X-Pro1. Mono. OMG.
    Thanks again, you & yours have a wonderful Christmas and New Year 😉
    Love from Downunder

  75. Jim Robertson

    These blog posts are just winding me up more & more, tighter & tighter, for an explosive conversion from Nikon to Fuji! I’m planning to rent an X100T when I get to Japan next week from a Fuji store in Osaka. For some reason I can’t find any other photo retailer renting them.

    I occasionally try to temper my enthusiasm for this transition wondering if it truly is warranted or just a case of GAS, do I just want something new? I love my Nikon gear. But when I look at this honestly, I see Nikon as just real honkin’ big. Is size enough of a reason to switch to Fuji? It probably is.

  76. Drew Stauffer

    Hey Zack,

    Thank you so much for doing these reviews. I’ve read both of them many times and can’t wait for the accessories post.

    When “they” say the 35 AF is slow..or at least not as snappy as others, does it have anything to do with the body…xt1 vs xpro1 vs etc? Or would you get the same experience no matter what body?

    I’m an xt1 user now and I’ve been reading a lot about what you, David Hobby, and Kevin Mullins are saying about the x100s/t. I’m so torn. I don’t want multiple bodies (mainly enthusiast, but love the art) and low light is where I play the most, but I’m worried about the f/2 being fast enough, but man is that x100t sweet. The aesthetics are soo much smoother than the xt1. I know it shouldn’t matter, but it does. There’s not really a question here, at least that you can answer. I’m just rambling. Like you said…I guess I just need to get some balls and take the plunge. Or of course wait for the probably much pricier xpro2, hmmmm???

    Anywho, great posts. Checking back many times a day for more info 🙂

  77. Raymond

    Thank you Zack, I had Fuji X-T1 with 18-55, 18, 35 and a Sammy 12mm NCS. I am looking for an upgrade on my lens line up. Thats a good recommendation! Raymond

  78. Andy

    Hell of a writeup Zack and I’m not even an X-shooter. My favorite photos in the post, hands down, were taken with the X100-TCL. Killer stuff man and I can’t wait to someday see the personal project you are working through with that kit.

    Cheers,
    Andy

  79. Richard Marsh

    I have the Rokinon 12 F2 a sharp lens so far. As Im not a wide guy this will cover what I need.

  80. Tenisd

    I like the X100 TCL shots the best. Something something about them.
    How does the X100+TCL compares with Fuji X body + 35mm F1.4?
    Or a Canon 50mm?

    • Zack

      The Fuji X body with the 35mm is better in form and function but the TCL turns the X100 into a small silent portrait camera if someone just wants to do an upgrade instead of buying a whole new camera and lens.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  81. Dhiman

    Lovely guide, just hoped was a bit early, so that I could have chosen a better array of lens.
    Very happy with 35mm as of now 🙂

    Thanks for the in-depth guide.

  82. Richard Earney

    I’m a huge macro fan as well as landscape, so i’m staying with the 18-55 kit lens for wide to mid, but the macro option had me concerned. I tried to keep my Canon 100mm macro and adapt, but there is no aperture control, so I have sold it and gone for the Zeiss Macro.
    I have also adapted an old 50mm f1.4 Minolta Rokkor lens, still superb. So nice to be able to still use a 40 year old lens!

  83. Pierre Puget

    Hello Zack,

    I just wanna say that your onlice presence is very helpful for photography / Fuji enthousiasts. So, thanks!

    For me it’s just a hobby and I don’t have the time and budget nowadays to really get into it unfortunatly. I only have a XM1 for travel pictures for now. But I do enjoy it and my old 50mm Canon prime lens on it makes for great portraits!

    I was thinking about getting that 27mm pancake to make it a very transportable and almost pocketable street photography gear, even though I don’t have the best prime lenses around, I think that will make me take more pictures, which is the goal, right?

    Anyway, thanks!

  84. Jorge

    Hi Zacks,

    Thanks for the article, very informative!!!!

    I would like to listen your advice about Baby-lens.

    I own a the 35mm and I know that XF35mm are going to make an excellent job in baby portrait. But in the photographic world is “accepted” the 56mm like the typical portrait lens(APSC).

    I would like to try my best to capture my imminent newborn and I’m not sure if the 56mm are going to work well/better in close distances (home) than the 35mm.

    I’m just a hobbyist that want a wide lens as well and this year I have to decide between 14/16 or 56. So to know if the 56 is going to make the difference about the 35mm or not can help me to decide which one acquire first…

    doubts doubts doubts.

    Thanks!

  85. Toon

    Hey thanks for this! A really informative read.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about how I shoot and the lenses required to make it happen. I’ve gotten the 23 and 35 but still deciding on the 56 or 14. I primarily started photography for portraits, but I currently find my self shooting non-portraits more nowadays. So maybe the 14? Crap…still deciding.

    Thanks again for this article.

    • Toon

      Then there’s the 16 f1.4 that’s coming out soon…..more decisions.

  86. Stan

    I tried most of the lenses above and agree with everything except your death sentence to 60mm. It’s a fantastic lens which needs time to fall in love with. Before 56 it was my favourite lens of the system

  87. ian

    Time for Part 3?

  88. ardi jm

    I am new to fuji x100t, what is the best flash for x100t? What about ef-x20?

    • ardi jm

      Zaaaaaack

    • ian

      nissin i40 ttl – fantastic and small.

  89. babi

    i bought xe1 used for cheap price and for the lens i bought brand new xf 55-200, i’m quite happy with it, but i need something longer like 300 mm or something but the size should be exactly as the xf 55-200, i don’t like the size of 50-140, too big for me.

  90. Matthew Thomson

    Zack Arias, thank you!!

    I am a young photog, on my gap year and have been soley using my X100s (beginner level Canon was left at home). And you have completely sold me!
    I had been tossing up between a X-T1 or a 5Dmk… system, but looking at the quality of Fuji glass, I am done!

    p.s Your India trip also sold me onto the X100s!

    • Matthew Thomson

      PPS. Hope you and the fam had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

  91. Christoph

    Dear Fuji, please make a X100T with a 35 f2 and the WCL and TCL fit it.

  92. Jay

    This blog made me get a X100S instead of the 23mm 1.4. Thanks Zack! I am enjoying my new to me X100s.

  93. As the year ends, so does an era....

    Thanks for a great rundown and a very personal approach to describing lenses. A few weeks back, I started dismantling my Nikon system, selling it all off bit by bit. It started with the Dakar rally, where all my cameras were stuck in Bolivian customs, apart from my X100s. I spend five months with that thing, and no dSLR:s, and it is now clear to me it is time to move on. And I have never been more excited, because I think it will affect my whole approach to people photography. Where I live (Bolivia), if I whip up a Nikon D800 with a 135mm f/2 DC on it, everyone wants to either rob me, get paid for the photos I take of them, or both. My fujifilms just sneak below the radar. The 23, 35, 52 and 50-140 are all waiting for me when I come home, and at the same time I will follow your lead and take a time-off from social media, to really get in to the mood of documenting the strangest place I have ever lived, La Paz, Bolivia. I will shoot it all with my XT-1 and my new member of the family, a Leica M3…
    Thanks again, and have a happy new year.
    Anders

    • As the year ends, so does an era....

      Oh yeah, and I really want to swap my X100s for an X100t, but I had Luigi at Leicatime make me a beauuuutiful leather halfcase for my S, and that will not fit the T….damn.

  94. Steve

    Brilliant article. Made the Canon-Fuji switch last year and no looking back!

    Can I ask you what bags/ cases you are now using for 1. casual day-to-day shooting and 2. full-on I need to take all my 7 lenses and 2-3 bodies assignments. The bags specifically designed for mirrorless usually cater for the former and not the latter (understandably). If you put mirrorless lenses in a big pro bag they are a usually a bit less snug and rattle around a bit in the larger compartments. I guess I can cut out foam but I’d just like to have a more dedicated option. Any thoughts?

    • Anders

      Bags…. Sooo important! I use the billingham Hadley pro as a daily casual, and a clik elite contrejour 35 for when I need to bring everything, and carry it far. The rucksack is the best I have ever tried. He billingham is also very very good, but shoulder bags is not for long carries for me.

      • Steve

        Thanks I’ve not tried the contrejour series before – looks epic! Currently using a Tenba messenger for my walk-about and I love it.

        • As the year ends, so does an era....

          I got mine from a contrejour rep about five years ago, to test and suggest improvements. I have used it in the desert,in the jungle, in the rainforrest, climbing mountains, skiing, and as my carry-on for crucial equipment when going on jobs. It has never failed me, and when checking on to flights, nobody bothers to check how heavy it is, since it doesnt look heavy and bulky. If you get one now, it does feature some improvements suggested by yours truly, which is pretty cool. Not a zipper has broken either, it seems to be pretty indestructible. Also, most of the rucksacks I have had are seriously uncomfortable. I am 6’5″, and they are all so short in the back that I get the buckles of the shoulderstraps in my armpits. I have actually arrived on locations with bloodstains on my t-shirt twice! Until I found the contrejour, that is. This one can handle my height. The camelpak compartment takes a big hydration pouch, alternatively serves as a perfect compartment for travel documents. I also like that I can separate things up, dirty clothes and food in the big compartment, and the heavier and more sensitive camera gear close to my spine. Great centre of gravity. Once I dug myself in to the snow up to my elbows, and used the backpack as a table in front of me to work out of, and to hide behind when the “ski models” got a bit too close. The camera compartment is also reasonably air-tight, enough that I can stuff a few silicagel cassettes in there to keep things nice and dry if I am in the jungle or rainforrest. In short, it is a bag I will never get rid of.

    • Frank Bell

      Hello Zack,

      Thanks very much for taking the time to write this – it gave me the final encouragement needed to sell the 5d3 and order an X-T1. I also looked at the Sony alpha 7, but the range of Sony lenses is uninspiring, and I get your comment about keeping to glass that’s matched to the body. Sure, I could have held on to my investment in the Canon L lenses by using a metabones adapter, but a big part of the appeal of the Fuji X system lies in reducing the bulk and weight – so keeping the Canon glass would have been defeating the purpose. I’m off to Barcelona in three weeks and I’ll be taking the X-T1 with me, I never felt able to shoot with the Canon there because pulling out a Canon “L” lens in Barcelona just about says “rob me now” but the X-T1 with the kit lens is about as “stealth” as it gets; the weight, (750g for the body and lens) is less than the body-only weight of the Canon. Plus the current UK cashback of £500 for three lenses was just the icing on the cake 🙂

      Thanks again and keep the articles coming,

      Frank

  95. Davin

    Let’s see that part 3. 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

  96. Bayer

    Tried to warn you on twitter, but I’ve forgotten about your sabbatical…

    Someone uploaded the OneLight 1.0 DVD on YouTube. I’ve tried to post your Karma video to the guy on the comments, but they are disable.

    Maybe you can flag it on Youtube or DMCA his ass.

    Here’s the links:

    http://youtu.be/hh1SHB6ENHM

    http://youtu.be/7IPgzcQpwCQ

    Cheers, mate.

    • DEDPXL Admin

      Thanks for bringing this to our attention Bayer – we have contacted YouTube to try and get them taken down. Hopefully they will comply.

  97. Bayer

    Tried to warn you on twitter, but I’ve forgotten about your sabbatical…

    Someone uploaded the OneLight 1.0 DVD on YouTube. I’ve tried to post your Karma video to the guy on the comments, but they are disable.

    Maybe you can flag it on Youtube or DMCA his ass.

    Here’s the links:

    youtu.be/hh1SHB6ENHM

    youtu.be/7IPgzcQpwCQ

    Cheers, mate.

  98. T WHYTE

    1st off Zach, Happy New Years to you and your family.

    I want to thank you for writing this article and keeping your personality alive within the paragraphs.

    Do you think you will ever come to Holland to conduct a training? If so please keep me and the rest of my dutch friends posted.

    Thomas

  99. Joona

    I own a X100s, WCL, xt-1 and 18-135. I think i’ll buy the 35mm and 56mm next. I think that should cover all my needs at the moment. Or should I get the 23mm too?

  100. Tom Poirier

    Thanks for all your insight. Always appreciated. I shoot on the X- E1 and love the versatility of able to use just about any lens that is out there with the correct lens adapter. I wish to own the x100t one day along with the XT1. but your comments on the x100 might just have me try that for cheap. Thanks again

    Tom

  101. Mandy Sierra

    Zach is in MAJOR M.I.A….and im not talking about Miami Intl Airport……LOL

  102. Jackie D'Elia

    Hi Zack,
    Thank you for this post. It has helped me tremendously. I bought my first Fuji (x100s) about a year ago. I am not a professional photographer, just an enthusiast. I’ve watched your videos and those by David Hobby too. (BTW, I really enjoyed your BE HONEST video). I fell in love with my x100s and just bought a X-T1. This week, I’m selling all of my Canon gear (5Dm3 and L lens collection) – and with the proceeds – I can pay for my all my new Fuji gear. While Canon was great in the beginning for me, I just got so tired of hauling that heavy gear around. I found myself never wanting to go through the trouble of carrying it – so I just left it home.

    Now, I’ve fallen down the Fuji rabbit hole – I’ve got my X100S and my X-T1 with the 23mm, 35mm, 56mm and 10-24mm. Looking forward to your next installment about flash options.

    Thanks again.

  103. Pulkit Mukesh Sharma

    Hey Z-man!

    When’s the flash guide coming out?

    Yours sincerely,

    Pulkit

  104. james

    Go read my post in the medium format thread where I tell zach how to be a photographer and not a consumer culture salesman.

  105. Den

    I do love the 56 like anyone in their right mind would, but in the studio that thing is already at it’s optical fringes by F8 and pushing it by F11 – so not really a brilliant choice if you are shooting strobes, unless you want to slap an ND on. Just saying.

    The 23 is great but a bit mushy on image quality at F1.4 – stick to F1.8 on that one, and likewise drop to 1.4 on the 56 to avoid that same smudge.

    The new 90mm will go out to F22 – so more fit for studio work……and yes they absolutely need to introduce a new macro lens with proper 1x magnification and IS.

    Waiting for the 16mm myself, that will be optically epic.

  106. Kevin Laycock

    Zack and commenters:

    Great blog post and conversation – it helped me narrow my focus on a plan going forward. I have the X-E2 and the 18-55. I was toying with the idea of the XT-1 as the X-E2 is a bit hard to handle for me (feels too small as I switched from a more robust D300s). I think I’ll let my stubby fingers deal with it till the X-Pro2 comes out. The X-Pro1 was my initial goal as I loved the feel and handling but wanted the newer tech in the X-E2. Maybe picking up a 35mm will temporarily easy GAS till the Pro2 comes out.

    Cheers – Kevin

  107. Andrew McDonald

    I bought a XE-1 with the kit lens in the summer, and have been using as my goto travel camera.

    Out in Snowdonia it has been excellent for landscapes, and the thing that gets me is how easy it is to manual focus compared with DSLRs

    And even this kit lens can be tack sharp, and being so lightweight makes an excellent travel combo.

    It looks like you’re carrying a toy camera, but the results are worth it

  108. Llewellyn Annandale

    Thanks so much for the insights… bought an old X100 a few weeks ago, haven’t picked up my Canon 7D since then, it’s being sold now!!!

  109. carrie scruggs

    Loved this review, the pictures help so much as well as your comments. Very helpful!!!!!

  110. Izzy

    How’s the autofocus speed of the 35mm after the phase detection firmware update? Compared to the 56 1.2?

  111. Jorge Clark

    Hi Zack.
    First of all, I wanted to thank you for the impact you make through your lessons in photography. No words to thank you enough!!!!

    I have some particular questions (2) ,

    I am a father, husband, a 40 hours employee as well (to support the family). I LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY SINCE CHILD AGE.
    I invested some of my earnings into a Canon T3, 3 years ago, and some other lighting equipment with my small budget. I jump into the water and started charging after my first clients (with the T3) I managed to saved and jump into the Canon 6D with the 24-105 and the 50mm 1.8 (that’s all I have).

    Since my early beginnings I learnt from your classes and adapt your advice to my personal style of work.

    I don’t have a second body camera at all, questions are:

    1- Is it worthy changing from DSLR into a X100t?
    Why I am asking?? 2 reasons:
    1.1- I am aware about full frame and crop censor, I studied your contradictory point of view, (you were all about full frame and then switched back to Crop), that’s fine. Would you show up before a client with a X100t to do a portrait Job without any fears? I know you wont have fears, as it is all about what you know rather than what you have, but in the back of your mind, you might be thinking that the paying clients would think something different about you???

    1.2- Psychology speaking “CLIENTS” think that the bigger the rig the better the photographer, (they can’t be more wrong) but sometimes it is about showing up.

    Question 2:
    Will changing from DSLR to X100T career kiiling???

    I personal would love to change or at least have the Fuji X100T as a 2nd body, but I feel I wont like to risk selling my DSLR for a X100T.

    If it were you? and you had the money to buy an X100T would you buy it or would you buy an Alien Bees B1600 plus some triggers and a 85 mm 1.8 for the same amount of money??? or go for the X100T?

    I honestly would like to hear your thoughts about it. And I do thank you for at least reading my comment. (I am working at the moment I am writing this LOL) everything for photography.

    I believe you should do some workshop here in Miami.
    I apologize with anyone that might dislike my comments.
    But XZackT (next Fuji) LOL is the BEST.

    Cheers.
    JC

    • Zack Arias

      Hi JC,

      I don’t fear showing up to a paid shoot with my small Fuji cameras. People hire me for me and not my gear. I have one regular client that does request medium format specifically for their jobs based on their needs. I shoot medium format for the hero shots and any secondary photos I need to shoot I do so with my Fuji cameras and that client is happy with my Fuji cameras.

      If your client is put off by your camera then that’s their problem. That’s the attitude I have. I’m not a jerk about it. I’m not a snobby “artist” about my tools. I just don’t want clients that worry about my gear. When I shot weddings I didn’t have the top of the line pro gear for a long time. I would regularly have a member of the wedding party or a family member walk up next to me with superior equipment to mine. I’d have a Nikon D200 and they would have a Nikon D3 kind of thing. Yet I was the hired pro there that day. Some were snobs about it. Others didn’t care. It just pushed me to make better photos to prove to them and myself that the camera wasn’t the main part of the process of making a photo.

      Switching to Fuji is a personal choice. You have a fine camera and some fine lenses and you can do whatever you need to do with what you have right now. You don’t have to have a Fuji to get better. You do need a second camera though if you are taking paid jobs. So maybe an X100 series is your second camera and you just pull it out every now and then to have fun with it on a job and see if A) you like it and B) your clients don’t revolt over you using a small camera.

      I also think that people who think bigger cameras mean better photos are clueless people. They don’t understand anything about the process. Maybe you can educate them about it.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  112. John

    The 18mm shot of the boy under the umbrella is breaking my heart. I hope it’s not as tragic as it looks. 🙁

  113. Susie

    Ah my brain hurts and I’m salivating to try the Fuji kind of scary and exciting…too bad I just bought this &300 ND filter for my Nikon

  114. Louis

    I read that the AF of the Fujinon XF 60mm f2.4 is slow but accurate. Was this your experience?

    • Zack Arias

      Once it finds focus it’s usually accurate.

      Cheers,
      Zack

      • Louis

        I think it makes sense that a macro lens would be optimized for accuracy rather than speed.

  115. Tim

    Zack, as always you have written a great article and your passion shines through. I just got my Fuji X-T1 GSE the other day and the Fuji Battery Grip. I’m waiting my XF 35mm to come in. My next lens will be the 56mm and I’m trying to decide on the 14mm or wait for the 16mm.

    What are your thoughts on the wide end?

    Thanks,
    Tim

  116. john

    Don’t normally comment on things like this. Just wanted to show my appreciation for all the work you put into this. Thanks.

    • Zack Arias

      Glad to be of service John!

      Cheers,
      Zack

  117. Alex

    Zack,
    I hate to admit this but….you sold me on the XT1, now with this post you have me sold on 3 lenses. 35mm, 56mm 50-140mm.
    I have a feeling I will be purchasing a Fuji XT1… before I add a Canon 16-35 F2.8 to my kit.

  118. David Aspinall

    Hi Zack
    With you most of the way, I also like you flirted with the OMD which make great quality fies.
    Leica for me lost the plot in the shift to digital so I heartily welcomed the X100.
    I use 2 X1 pros plus 14/35/56 accompanied by an X100s for city and town and an Xe2 and Xe1 with 10-24/ 27and 55-200 in the landscape when I want to be light weight and change to FF for the type of work I used to use 5 x 4 for,
    I am in love with the X1 pro and passing on XT1 to await the X2 pro.
    The only problem I have had was white specs inside the X100 lens and the 10-24 lens.
    Davdv

  119. faline

    hi, thank you very much for this review, i have learn a lot!!! look, i’m going to travel in india, i don’t already have a fujifilm camera but I have few days to choose and buy me one because no way for me to take my big nikon reflex camera!!! i tried some cameras of the x series and i loved them.. but i can’t decide myself, to buy a fuji x pro1 + 27 mm + 35mm , or x100S + tcl x100 ..please help me, you have try all, what do you recommand me ??? thank you very much !!!!!

    • Zack Arias

      Either of those will be a nice kit. I’d have a hard time telling you why one would be better than the other.

  120. Li

    Is X systems good for music photography. As in concerts & in studio situations. ?
    Regards

  121. lorraine

    Hi zack! I loved your post. Very informative. Although after reading your i cannot decide which one to get for my second lens- the xf23 or xf35? Btw i only have a 18-55 kit lens as of the moment, love it but thinking of getting a prime.

    • Zack Arias

      I’m quite partial to the 35mm. It’s small and fast and beautiful. One of my favorite lenses ever.

      Cheers,
      Zack

  122. Brent Ross

    Zack, thank you. This is the best damn lens review for the Fuji system I’ve seen across the web, and is really helping me see the differences between these lenses. I’m just getting back into photography more seriously after a long lapse (haven’t shot on anything resembling a serious camera since my Canon A1 was stolen in ’04). Anyway, Fuji is quickly winning me over in the decision making process.

    I also really appreciate you filling in the holes for stuff I haven’t read on the web yet. Very good of you to give your esteemed photo-bloggers a nod here.

    Please keep this kind of stuff coming.

  123. Jason

    Thank you Zack for putting this (and the other two reviews) up. It’s helped me make the decision to trim down my kit to something manageable to take with for paid and personal work. A full sized DSLR was too much for me after three back surgeries and all the “Kid” gear you need as a new parent.

    Picked up the x100t and now selling off my Canon gear to pay for a used X-T1, 10-24mm, 56mm, and 50-140mm through a trade in program at a local camera shop. Will be picking up the 35mm too as the shop does not have one used currently.

  124. Adam Kinzer

    Very informative article, thank you! I switched over from canon about two months ago and I’m still in the experimental phase. I haven’t fallen in love with the 35. It’s been too tight for me in most situations and I’ve been thinking of trying the 23. You’re passion for it has got me wavering though.

  125. Harry

    Thanks for such a detailed review, definitely some food for thought!

  126. Jorge

    Wish I ran into this post when I switched over to fuji. I bought the xt1 along with the 23mm a few months ago. I love this lens. It’s perfect for what I shoot which is mainly street photos. I’m getting into landscape and recently purchased the 14mm. The 14mm performs great but I find myself wishing it was a bit wider.

    Now comes the dilemma; should I get the 10-24 and keep the 23mm (I’m still under the 30 day return for my 14mm)? Or get the 10-24, sell my beloved 23 and trade it for 35mm?

    I’ve had a 35mm on a APS-C camera before and had a love hate relationship with that combo. Loved the bokeh but wished it was wider at times.

  127. Jordan Plahn

    Hey Zack,

    As somebody getting into photography more seriously, these posts have been amazing. With that, I’m looking at my options for an everyday / travel camera. I feel like I’m deciding between the X100T and an X-E2 with either the 35mm or the 18-55mm lens. Considering this will be my only camera for the time being, do you have any recommendation either way? I’ve kind of fallen in love with the X100T, but I’m wondering whether the X-E2 is better long term with increased upgradeability with regards to the lenses.

    Thanks,
    Jordan

  128. Vlad Busuioc

    Wow, i was really impressed with this fuji lens list, very well done. I’ll start sending people your way from my site when they ask about fuji lenses. I would love some examples from the 16-55 2.8 however.

  129. Grant

    I posted a comparo of the 56mm 1.2 R and the APD version on my site yesterday. There are 3 parts covering 3 different shoots. Corporate, Model, and Wedding. Hope it helps if you are deciding between these: http://bit.ly/1cmR4yI

  130. Chigwells

    Zack, I just had to laugh!

    I’m reading your post as a long time “Serious Enthusiast on a budget”, so when I read down to your personal suggestions for the various photog categories, I was interested to see if your world experience coincides with mine.

    And it does! 🙂

    I bought a refurbished X-E2 along with the 18-55mm zoom, my ticket into the world of Fuji (Fuji-refurbished btw, thoroughly recommended). After a time and finances permitting I’ve moved over to the real deal, Fuji primes.
    And my choice? Two lenses, the 35mm for it’s shallow DOF and bokeh, and the 14mm for the world of clean wide-angle abstracts.

    Exactly as you suggest/predict!

    Now that you’re a personality, you are perceived to have some extra inner ‘wisdom’ which allows/demands you to call such suggestions. I’m sure it’ll come as something of amusement/relief to know that with me you were spot on.

    I have to agree with your reasoning, the X-E2 is the budget Fuji, I couldn’t go for one of the smaller models, I wanted ‘Fuji proper’.

    On a side note, I’d read on a couple of forums about Fuji Refurbished being a great and recommendable entity, and wholeheartedly endorse this view. I’ve just last week bought the 35mm f1.4, again refurbished from Fuji. With this particular model, being one of the very first X-Series lenses, I bought it with real confidence knowing I’m buying an older lens but one which is straight off the test bench. Yet another reason to stick with Fuji.

    I enjoy you online personality very much, thanks, Chigwells.

  131. Chris

    The 50-140 F2.8 is actually an F4 on a crop sensor so how can it equal the Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS II. I don’t understand why experienced photographers multiply the focal length but not the aperture.

    • Stealthy Ninja

      Because sensor size only affects the apparent DOF (which is more like what you’d get from a f4 lens as you suggested). However, the aperture is still 2.8 and the light coming through (and therefore the exposure) is the same as with full frame.

      So you could say it’s like a 70-200 f4 but that would suggest your shutter speed is going to be slower, however it’s not, because it’s still a 2.8. The exposure settings will be the same. Adjusting what you call the aperture for DOF comparisons only is quite confusing.

  132. J Danielle Wehunt

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have been going back and forth over this for days and trying to decide if i should switch from Canon to Fuji and what kit I should put together. This has helped tremendously!

  133. Yuletide

    Would love to see an update now that the 16-55 2.8 is out! Trying to decide between that and the kit lens + a prime as a first setup…

  134. Jarle

    Hello.

    Have you by accident tested the new 90mm? I’m thinking about selling my 56mm (The first one) and replacing it with the 90mm. What do you think? Any advice?

    Kind regards Jarle

  135. Marcus

    Hi, I currently just own 2 lenses. The 23mm and 35mm. I like both lenses but I think I prefer the IQ and FOV of the 35mm over the 23mm (this was unexpected consdering the price tag attached to the 23mm). Therefore, I thinking about selling the 23mm on and purchasing the 56mm. I’d appreciate your view on the decision? My shooting style is fairly varied, from portraits of my kids to macro – less of the wide angle landscapes. Thanks, Marcus

    • Francisco

      Hi Zack, thanks for sharing!

      I have a Fuji XT1 with a 35mm 1.4 and a 56mm 1.2, but now i want more reach. I was thinking between the prime XF 90mm f2 (love the bokeh) and the XF 50-140mm, because de OIS and versatility of the zoom… i would like fast focus and good bokeh, the photos i saw the 50-140mm is not the best in the background… my main photos are Portrait.

      What is your advice?

      Thanks, keep the good work!

  136. Lance Oller

    Hi Zack,

    I’m a retired commercial photographer pursuing a life-long dream to do “photography as art” (i.e. to satisfy myself). You have been instrumental in getting me hooked on the Fuji X system, Thank You :-). I started out with a Fuji X10, which I still use (believe it or not). I now have 2 X-E1 bodies, the 27mm f2.8, the 35mm f1.4, the 18-55mm kit zoom, the Rokinon 12mm f2.0 for Fuji X mnt. and an old Leica 90mm f4.0 on a M to Fuji X mnt. adapter. I also have a Nikon F to Fuji X adapter to use my old Nikon glass (55mm f3.5 Micro-Nikkor, 105mm f2.5 Nikkor and a 135mm f2.8 Nikkor).

    What would you advise me to get next to round out my Fuji Kit?

    – Lance

  137. Bernie Hunt

    Thanks for all your work Zach. I’m trying to become a dslr converted X shooter. Just picked up the XT10. Have the 18-55 kit and the 27 pan.Im going to Peru in December. Hoping to get the 10-24 too. Any other mu SD t haves for the trip? Lima streets and many landscapes.. Thank you…

  138. Del Duncan

    This is a fantastic series! I’ve been considering the conversion from Cano to Fuji for a bit now, and I’m 95% there. This series is the capper. I have fantastic Canon glass, including the 70-200 mark ii, but I just don’t feel like lugging it around anymore. This is really useful in helping me decide what my final configuration is going to be!

  139. Yumiko

    Hi! I’m getting an x-t10 18-55mm kit in awhile and was wondering if I should get the 27mm f2.8 or 35mm f1.4 or wait for the 35mm f2 lenses? I have limited budget as I’m still a student and am just starting out photography! Thank you in advance! 🙂

    • Arthur S

      I think you’ll be very happy with the 18-55 ‘kit’ lens. I’m an old ‘hack’ – I love my gear and luckily have no issues with budget, but that lens is the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of the Fuji system and one that I wouldn’t be without. It’s mostly made of metal and optically is waaaaay above the kit lens quality you get from the likes of Canikon and it’s stabilised… what’s not to like?

      No need to spend money you don’t have on something you’ve not (yet) identified a need for, so enjoy the zoom.

      Having said all that, the next lens I wouldn’t be without is the 35mm f1.4. That lens adds a super-fast aperture for low light shooting and for lovely out of focus ‘bokeh’.

      PS. Thanks Zach for these gear threads – written like an actual real-world user and not a bedroom theorist.

  140. Josh

    Zack! Just wanted to leave a note of gratitude to you. Thanks to your posts, I have ditched my Nikon D90 + vertical grip + lenses that I noticed I just wasn’t using as much because of how big and heavy it was to carry around everyday for a X-E2 + 27mm. It’s in my little messenger bag every day which leads to more pictures taken. And thanks to your guide, I’ve recently purchased an 18-135mm for travel and a “jack-of-all-trades” lens Hoping to purchase a 35mm or a 56mm in the future (probably 35 because of you).

    I found myself coming back to your site so often that I figured it’s past due that I drop you a note of thanks and encouragement. Thanks for all you hard work. Looking forward to more. Cheers!

  141. Kat Datuin

    Hi, i need ypur advice on some things… I hava the fuji x100t roght mow amd im plannimg on buying tje tcl… I love street and travel photography… Do you think I should go for it?

  142. Carrie

    Hey Zack! Just wanted to say hi and let you know that I have referenced this post so many times – really appreciate all the info. Would love to have a brief update on your go to – if they have changed at all in the last year – Thanks!

  143. Sate

    Thanks for the article. It cleared my mind. I’ve been wanting to use Fuji but I wasn’t sure whether to purchase the kit lens or not. It’s Dec 15 now and the XF 35mm F2 WR is out and I will be getting that instead. A lot of articles swear by the 18-55mm but I’m abit skeptical. If I can save some cash for the future, why not?

  144. Lee

    Very enjoyable reading. Thanks!

  145. domain

    I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else experiencing issues with your
    blog. It appears as though some of the text within your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well?
    This might be a problem with my browser because I’ve had this happen previously.

    Thank you

    • Keith David

      I am looking into getting the XT1 with either the 35mm 1.4 or the new 35mm 2. Which would you go for out of the two? I understand from a little research that the 35mm 1.4 is generally sharper across the range, but the 35mm 2.0 is weather sealed, smaller with better quality focusing rings. Baring in mind I shoot a lot of landscape and the 35mm 1.4 is supposedly sharper would it be better? Which would you choose?

      • Saugata

        I recently shifted from Nikon to Fuji XT1. I used several Nikon DSLRs with prime + zooms over the last 10 years. So far I have only used the xt1 with 18-55 kit lens. The main difference I am enjoying most is the feel of the camera, its all-metal construction with so many dedicated dials and the classic retro look. It is much more satisfaction to hold the camera in your hand than the plastic DSLRs. Image quality wise, I think its at par with DX format Nikons if not better. Full frame Nikon DSLRs are probably better (mainly ISO performance). I am not a pro but a hobbyist. I am not saying that I would entirely stop using DSLRs, but my go-to camera would be this Fuji xt1 along with my iPhone 6sPlus which is a hidden gem.

  146. Richard

    Zack thanks so much for writing such a great comparision of the different Fuji lenses and how different kits could fit together. It was especially helpful as I’ve been trying to prune down too many lenses into sensible groupings.

    I hope all is well with you, that your mojo is back full of beans, and your face is straining with a big smile.

    Thanks again, Richard.

  147. Knut Skarsfjord

    Hi Zack, thank you for your outstanding lens review.

    However, I’am not satisfied with the big heading on the webside because I cannot se the whole pictures without scrolling.

  148. Tony

    Great write-up. I just bought in to the Fuji X world, and would love an opinion. First, here’s what I got:

    * A slightly used X-T1 (graded 9+ by B&H) with 18-135mm lens (also 9+)
    * 27mm f/2.8 (also used, 9+)
    * 14mm f/2.8 (new)

    I was originally (heavily) considering the 35mm f/2, but the price on the used 27mm was just too good. BUT, since Fuji is running their spring sale right now, I could pick up the 35mm f/2 for cheap enough. Question is, do I need it if I have the 27? Are they too close that I shouldn’t bother? The reviews on the newer 35 have been stellar, and many are calling it a “must have” lens.

    I’m not a pro or semi-pro. My entire kit will be for travel, which will include walk-around (ex: NYC, Florence, Venice, etc.), landscape (hills of Tuscany, Napa Valley, etc.), and architecture (both interior and exterior – churches/cathedrals and the like). There will be some indoor and/or night time “party” type shots as well.

    I know, I know…there’s no “correct” answer, but I’d love another opinion from someone who’s used many of the different lenses.

    Thanks.

  149. yingman

    Dear ZACK ARIAS

    After I read your blog posts, FUJI X BUYER’S GUIDE, I bought X-T1, and 18-55, 35 / 1.4 56 / 1.2

    May I ask are there any other fixed focus lens that is your favorite and recommended to purchased?(Regardless of whether the duplicate focal lengths, weight and price)

    Your opinion is very valuable to me.

    Thank you!

  150. Racer

    Hi Zack,
    any advice on xf 35 f1.4 or 35 f2.
    I can’t really decide – heard a lot of good things reg. the 1.4 but the 2.0 is weather sealed and has the faster AF.
    Thx
    Racer

  151. Jim Fenner, Canberra

    Hi Zack,
    I am an X100S owner who has taken the plunge on X-Pro2. I also settled on 10-24mm, 35mm 1.4 and 50-140mm zoom as my lens set. You can imagine how chuffed i was to see this matched one of your suggestions for an amateur in my position.

    But to see what the fuji really can do, I still have to surf, so thanks for those beautiful photos.

  152. Souelle

    Hi Zack, have you tried the new XF35mm f2 and the XF16mm f1.4?