Thoughts on Lenses and a New Top-10 List

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Greg7579 Senior Member • Posts: 3,169
Thoughts on Lenses and a New Top-10 List

Teresa and I are traveling down in Chile for 7 weeks and two nights ago we got some fast Wifi for the first time.  We are in a cabin in Castro on the Isle of Chiloe and the weather is bad so we are holed up and I'm catching up on some LR work on about 6000 RAW files on a little Surface Pro.  The guy that owns this cabin used to work for IBM Chile and he has some kind of wicked satellite hookup with some fast upload capability.  I took the liberty of finally (after a month of shooting) uploading to Flickr about 300 15 to 20 MB full-size JPEGs from the RAW, which I developed fairly quickly in LR (much more post work to do later when I get home to my big 4K studio monitor).

Anyway, the shots from Easter Island, Atacama Desert, the Carretera Austral and some from here on the Island of Chiloe are posted.  I'm proud of them despite the sketchy weather and often directionless flat light.

My biggest disappointment is that I have yet to see a star in the best dark skies in the world -- Easter Island, Atacama and wilderness Patagonia.  Clouds every night, even in the desert North.  Amazing.  My bad luck.  I can't use my new Rok 12 and am shut out so far on Astro.  There was more rain in the Atacama Desert the week I was there than they have had in 40 years.  The driest desert in the wirld was so wet that they closed down the tourist sites because of mud-slides.  Anyway....

This trip I did not go primes.  Last year in Argentinean Patagonia I used the 16, 23, 35, 50, and 90 a lot.  I went prime.  This trip I have had the Brick glued to the camera and only take it off for the 50-140, sometimes with 1.4 TC.  That gets me from 16 to 140 at F2.8 with two fabulous zooms.  I always have those two lenses with me 100% of the time.  F 2.8?  I rarely shoot wide open anyway as I seek DOF on my travel shots and walking landscapes.  But I am sold on this two-lens combination.  It is world class IQ.  Great lenses.  Funny, because when I was shooting Canon all those years I didn't like the 24-70 F2.8 or the 70-210 F2.8..  Now I'm addicted to their equivalent with Fuji.  Maybe its just a phase....  I love my Primes and I will use them again a lot.....

But imagine the Brick with 5 stops of IBIS!  Hello XH-1.

Anyway, I will swing back to Primes when I get the XH-1 delivered because I have the 16, 23/35/50 F2s, 56, and 90.  Those will rock with IBIS. Oh and the 80.....  I have that but it has wonderful OIS.  Will that OIS be better with IBIS?  Or will it not work together?

OK ... I'm constantly telling guys who are starting out with Fuji and as travel photographers, don't be afraid of the three great travel zooms -- 10-24, 18-55 and 55-200.  They fit nicely in your small bag, have OIS and cover your needs well from 10 through 200!  That is 15 through 300 equivalent.  Why not?  Those are great little zooms.

I get PM'd all the time asking for lens advice, on this Board and Flickr, and today a guy wanted to know whether or not to get the Mighty 16 with his XH-1 or the Brick.  I told him to get the Brick.  Can you believe I said that? I would never have said that even 6 months ago.... He was also deciding between the 56 and 90.  I said 90.

The 16-55 is going to surge with the XH-1 and it will become almost everyone's go-to lens.

The non-OIS primes are going to surge too....Fuji is going to be printing money on their great lens lineup with this brilliant move -- the XH-1.

So, I haven't done a top-10 (really top-15) list in a while.  Here is my latest version.

1.  The Brick (automatic kit for the XH-1 - the Brick has never made the list and now it is Number One!)

2.  50-140 with 1.4 TC (the best 70-210 lens in the world.  Everyone need it.)

3.  The Mighty 16 (Fuji's best Prime -- Magical Quality.  Micro-contrast galore.  One of the best two or three lenses in the world.)

4. 10-24 (indispensable for travel - vastly underrated)

5.  The fabulous new 1:1 Macro 80. (This could be number 1 depending on your needs -- but it is niche, like the 16.)

6. 90 (Everyone needs the 90.)

7. 56 (Needs an update -- but great glass).

8. This could be much higher because everyone should buy them -- the 23/35/50 F2 Primes.  Great lenses -- so small and tight.

9.  The other two travel zooms that all newbies should have -- 18-55 and 55-200.

10.  The utterly fabulous 100-400.  This could be Number 1 depending on your needs.

Non XF lenses don't make the list.  Neither do the old primes (except the 56).  Certainly not the 60.  The old 14/18/23/35 and the pancake?  No.  But the 14 could be on there. I should perhaps add the 14.

Do I own all these lenses?  Yes.  Have I shot with them a lot?  Yes.  Does that mean I know more than you?  No.  We all have our needs and I could advise to go pure zoom or pure primes, depending on the person.  I think a mix is best.  More fun.

All the Fuji glass is great.  That's why we all love Fuji right?  The glass and the ergo.

And remember the new upcoming (supposedly) 6000 dollar 200 F 2.8 300 equivalent.  Ben, our resident world-class pro fashion-shooter schooled us three weeks ago on what a portrait can be at 300 equivalent (some distance involved) at F2.8.  Spectacular.  But he knows how to do it.  I'm going to try it.  And he says he didn't light that Super Model!  Natural light reflected from the concrete under her and the building across from her.  Incredible magical separation and perfect lighting....  But he is a top world-level fashion pro shooting Super Models.  Hey -- we all learn from each other.

Will I get that lens?  Maybe.  Probably.  Will it be on the list?  No.  Not practical.

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 Greg7579's gear list:Greg7579's gear list
Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 10-24mm F4 R OIS Fujifilm XF 16mm F1.4 R WR XF 90mm Fujifilm X-T2 +9 more
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