Fujifilm X-Series Gear Tier List (Long) Locked

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DrSteveD New Member • Posts: 9
Fujifilm X-Series Gear Tier List (Long)

If you’re familiar with MMOs or the D&D community, you may have come across the idea of equipment or choice tiers lists. Starting with S (or legendary tier) these lists progress through A to D (generally useless). For photography, tier lists help where reviews may fail. A review might gush on about a 70-300 f4-5.6. No matter how good the review, it’s still a 70-300 4-5.6 (the Fujifilm version is notably good though). This tier list is based on the following definitions:

S (Legendary) Tier: A camera or lens that is one of the defining use cases of the system. You might buy into the system for this gear. S-Tier gear is not always the absolute best from a performance standpoint, but often has other design factors that push it to legendary status.

A (Professional) Tier: Gear that shows up and does work. In general the hallmark of a A-Tier gear is consistent good results without requiring active attention to handling from the photographer. This tier includes high quality lenses for specialty applications. Do not list a prime as A Tier unless there is some good reason a professional would choose it over a 2.8 zoom. Do not penalize portrait lenses for being in an APS-C system.

B (Consumer) Tier: It has a focal length, an aperture number and a price, once these are noted nobody is going to much think about the lens ever again. Equipment in this tier may be capable of professional results under the right conditions. A professional needs to be concentrating on taking the picture, not fighting with gear for best results. Professional gear can be downgraded to B-Tier (or lower) if it is overly finicky. If it is “difficult gear that gives great results once mastered” it’s B-Tier.

C (Poor) Tier: Equipment that can take a photo but imposes penalties to quality. Examples include many kit lenses and the lower end of Canon’s Rebel line.

D (Non-Functional) Tier: Equipment appears broken or so poorly designed as to be considered so. For example, third party lens that ceases functioning at random times.

The Fujifilm Tier List

S-Tier:

Cameras

(Camera) X-T(Single Digit Series)(X-T4): Most recently the X-T4 (especially the chrome styled version). This series of cameras utilizes an APS-C sensor to provide a compact, weather resistant, body with styling akin to a 1970s SLR. This series has a well deserved reputation as being one of the most fun cameras to go shoot with. Professional photographers with top of the line full frame systems will grab an X-T series camera to go shoot with for fun on their time off.

Lenses

XF 23mm f/2 R WR, XF 35mm f/2 R WR, and XF 50mm f/2 R WR. Some of the definitive lenses in the evolution of light lens photography. Light lens styles focus on use of lightweight and inconspicuous lenses for candidate portraits or greater mobility around the scene. These lenses are great for outdoor use and generally suffer if shot wide open at f/2.

It would be helpful for Fujifilm to offer these lenses in a bundle at a discount.

XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR: A lens noted for its sharpness. It’s also about a third cheaper than the equivalent focal length for a full frame system. This is a big deal as it brings pro-quality glass down to a more accessible price point.

XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR: An exceptional lens. Not only is this lens great for still photography it is one of the three recommended Fujifilm video zooms. An especially good 70-200mm equivalent might not, in itself, be enough to attract users to the system. On the other hand, the ability to cover the entire 24 to 200mm f/2.8 range at about half the price of other systems is a draw. Not only is it cheaper, but Fujifilm does it exceptionally well.

S(?)-Tier

XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD: Much of the discussion of this lens is not in English. This is a portraiture lens with special coating that enhances the quality of the bokeh at the cost of letting less light through at faster apertures. It seems well regarded by Asian photographers. It might be S-Tier. There simply isn’t enough English language material to evaluate, and the lens is a bit hard to get a hold of stateside.

A-Tier

Cameras

None (because T-4 is S tier).

Lenses

XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS WR: A great landscape lens. This is an extremely lightweight lens favored by photographers utilizing the APS-C system for expanded depth of field. While this lens isn’t perfect, when stepped down to f11 those imperfections are minimal. This is a major, system defining lens, based on being weight, affordability, weather resistant, and being handy in the field. This is also one of the three Fujifilm recommended video zooms.

XF 16 f/1.4 R WR: One of the three Fujifilm recommended video primes. It’s a favorite for vlogging. A notably good lens for astrophotography (I’ve heard best used at f/2.0).

XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS: For Video! This is one of the three Fujifilm recommended video zooms. It’s also a kit lens (noted for particularly good optics and usability during travel). If you are buying a kit, this is the lens you should get.

XF 23mm f/1.4 R LM WR or XF 33mm f/1.4 R LM WR. PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS: If all of your glass is f2.8 or slower, pick up one of these to make sure you have very low light situations covered.

The 35mm f/1.4 is on fujifilm’s video prime list. The 33mm, which is new at the time of this writing, is regarded as optically better than the 35mm for still photography. Assuming the 33mm has similar video characteristics to the 35mm, the 33mm may allow a wedding photographer to combine a low light “safety” lens with a video lens.

EVERYONE ELSE: If you have have the focal length covered by another lens, you are likely to only take one of these out of your bag once or twice a year.

XF 56mm f/1.2 R: An extremely good portraiture lens. It is one of Fujifilm’s three recommended video primes. If you’re looking for a low light lens, the 56mm f/1.2 may be substantially more fun than a 33mm f1.4 – or at least more likely to make it out of your bag on a regular basis.

XF 80mm f 2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro: This is the good Macro. The other one is OKish. Due to its extreme sharpness, this lens is not suitable for portrait work. Fujifilm recommends this lens for macro video (it’s the fourth video prime, but is not good for human subjects).

XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR: An extremely well regard portrait lens. This also has some macro ability. This focal length is notorious for rarely being used in the field, but being useful in the studio.

XF100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR. An excellent lens for nature photography. Particularly popular for taking photos of birds. This may even qualify as S-Tier as a result of birders buy Fuji for this lens. Heavy and expensive.

B-Tier

Cameras

(Camera) X-S(Series) (X-S10): A camera body lacking the distinct retro design Fuji is famous for. This body has IBIS but lacks weather sealing and a number of pro-features such a dual card slots or some high end video options. This can take images on par with the X-T4, but requires the photographer to pay more attention to gear usage. At about $400 less than the X-T4 it’s cheaper. Many prospective purchasers will opt for an X-T4 instead.

(Camera) X-Pro(Series) (X-Pro3): Based off a rangefinder design, this camera is kept out of S-Tier by its lack of IBIS. Current IBIS systems are too large to fit inside this camera’s body. This will take worse pictures because it lacks IBIS but may also take better candid pictures because of its small form factor.

Lenses

Demoted Lenses

XF 8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR: The lens is poorly positioned within the Fujifilm range. It’s trying to do the work of a 10-24mm f/2.8 which Fujifilm currently does not make. This is an ultrawide zoom that cannot accept standard filters. The photographer needs to spend money and energy messing with specialty filter systems. In addition, the range just isn’t as useful as 10-24. If Fuji wasn’t trying to cover the 10-24mm f/2.8 hole with the lens it would be A-Tier. Currently, it is just trying to do too much.

XF 50mm f/1 R WR: An extremely controversial lens. It can take stunning pictures of human models outdoors and falls down on everything else. The 50mm f/1 has pink tinged chromatic aberration in the foreground and green tinged in the background. Humans tend to have pinkish skin tones (though I wonder how this lens will do on a dark skinned model) and natural backdrops tend to have green predominate. At its best, this can really make a model pop against a natural background. Shot wide open this lens gives human subjects a noticeable pop when compared to the 56mm/f1.2. Just don’t try to submit the photos to a microstock site that uses AI to screen for aberration.

XF 200mmF2 R LM OIS WR: If you need to buy a super-telephoto lens for sports, you should probably consider switching to a Canon system. This is actually an excellent sport-telephoto, the system just lacks a camera that can use it to best advantage right now. Perfectly acceptable to rent one of these once or twice a year for a special event.

Catch-All

Everything not mentioned elsewhere. A boring zoom is a boring zoom.

XF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 R LM OIS WR: However, this boring zoom is being called up for notably good optical quality.

C-Tier

Cameras

X-T30 II: It doesn’t have IBIS. It will take worse pictures than a camera with IBIS. That makes it C-Tier.

X-T200: Same problem as the X-T30.

Lenses

XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR: Overly ambitious lens who’s reach has exceeded it’s grasp.

XF 35mm f/1.4 R: The X-Series equivalent of a junk 50mm with soft edges. The 33mm is much better.

XF 18mm f/2 R: An ultraflat lens for use on rangefinder bodies. The optics just didn’t work.

XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR: Another ultraflat lens. Better than the 18mm but still suffering from optical problems.

What Should I Buy?

  • means buy this at the same time.

→ means buy this next.

“For a class” (college credit, not photo major or minor)

X-S10

  • XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS (Can be purchased with camera as kit for a discount)

Vlogging

X-T4

  • XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS (Can be purchased with camera as kit for a discount)
  • XF 16 f/1.4 R WR

Birdwatching

X-T4

  • XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS kit lens
  • XF100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

→ 2x teleconverter.

Note, this is expensive and assumes that you are growing into photography as a second hobby.

“Beginner”

X-T4 or X-S10

  • XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR

If you can swing it, it’s cheaper to buy the 16-55 than three prime lenses covering a similar range. Pick subsequent lenses once you know what you want to do.

Yearbook Photographer

X-T30 or X-T4

  • XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS (Can be purchased with camera as kit for a discount)

→ XF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 R LM OIS WR

→ XF 35mm f/2 R WR

→ XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS WR

The X-T4 would render the entire kit weather resistant.

Hobbyist

X-S10 or X-T4

  • XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS (Can be purchased with camera as kit for a discount)

→ XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS WR

→ XF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 R LM OIS WR

→ XF 35mm f/2 R WR

Professional/Serious Hobbyist

X-T4

  • XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR

→ XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS WR (only because the 2.8 is so problematic)

→ XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR

→ XF 33mm f/1.4 R LM WR

→ (Optional) XF 56mm f/1.2 R

“I have small kids”

X-T4 or X-S10

  • XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS (Can be purchased with camera as kit for a discount)
  • XF 23mm f/1.4 R LM WR

→ XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR

→ XF 50mm f/2 R WR

Street Photography:

X-T4 or X-Pro3

  • XF 23mm f/2 R WR

→ XF 35mm f/2 R WR

→ XF 56mm f/1.2 R or XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS WR

→ XF 56mm f/1.2 R or XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS WR.

Street photographers who live in rainy climates may wish to get the XF 35mm f/2 R WR instead of the 56mm.

Landscape Photographer

X-T4

  • XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR

→ XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS WR (only because the 2.8 is so problematic)

→ XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR

→ (Optional) XF 16 f/1.4 R WR:

Wedding/Event Photographer

X-T4

  • XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR

→ XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS

  • (Optional) second camera body.

→ XF 33mm f/1.4 R LM WR

→ XF 56mm f/1.2 R

→ (Optional) XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR

→ (Optional) XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS WR (Venue establishing shots).

Wedding/Event Photographer Light Kit.

X-T4

  • XF 23mm f/2 R WR
  • XF 35mm f/2 R WR
  • XF 50mm f/2 R WR
  • (Optional) Second Camera Body

→ XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR

  • (at initial purchase) LuminarAI/LuminarNeo + Photoshop(and lightroom) + Noise Reduction Software. You’re going to need to be on the bleeding edge of post processing technology to make this work.

Portraiture

X-T4

  • XF 56mm f/1.2 R

→ XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS (Can be purchased with camera as kit for a discount)

→ XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS

→ (Optional) XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR

→(Optional and Controversial) XF 50mm f/1 R WR if you are doing a lot of outdoor shoots.

The 18-55 can be replaced with the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR. You should have something in this range, but it is not the most important for a portrait shooter.

Notes to Fuji:

The lack of a 10-24 f/2.8 is a problem.

We really need a fast portraiture prime optimized for photographers to take pics of their kids. I might start looking a payment options for a 50mm f/1.0 or f1.2 R LM WR that could pull a good shot of my eight year old in the average school auditorium (think dark, no flash allowed).

Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 R APD
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