A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

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FTOG Contributing Member • Posts: 991
A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)
36

Hi all,

after a recent travel, I felt like sharing some thoughts about Fuji's lighter weight zooms and zooms in general. For a bit of context, I tend to overwhelmingly shoot prime lenses. So much so, in fact, that I've not owned a zoom lens in 15 years. Until recently that is.

The outset

My core gear normally consists of a number of primes ranging from 14mm to 50mm, and for the past few years, there have been few occasions where I felt I was lacking coverage. On such occasions where I found an arrow missing in my quiver, it tended to be on the long end. Had there been a small, light-weight prime option around 75mm to 150mm from/for Fuji, maybe that's what I would have picked up. Lacking that option, I thought about splurging on the XF 70-300. Considering I was going to (initially) experiment with the focal range, the price tag was a mild deterrent - and the limited availability did the rest.

The XF 55-200 seemed like the obvious alternative, which is when I had a closer look at the XC 50-230. The value for money seemed appealing, as did the very low weight. With my primary use being landscape, I didn't mind the slow max aperture. My shooting conditions (for now) tend to be rather harmless, so the lack of WR also wasn't an obstacle. So, the lack of aperture ring, then? Well, with the lens being a variable aperture zoom, I was willing to give it a shot. To cut the story short, I pulled the trigger.

In the course of my investigation/GAS attack, I also ended up picking the miniscule XC 15-45. It seemed like a nice lens to put on a secondary body, when I don't care to bring a bag of lenses, e.g. social photography or casual travel snapshots.

The challenge

After a long time without travelling, I had the opportunity to travel to Finland and spend some time in Germany. Both regions I had been to and am likely to return, so the thought grew to put myself outside my comfort zone. Rather than carrying my usual kit (XF 14/2.8, XF 23/2.0, XF 50/2.0), I considered only bringing the XC 15-45 for the wide-to-normal range. Bringing the XC 50-230 was a given. I also vowed to leave a second body, my carbon tripod and square filters at home, committing to travelling light as much as I felt comfortable.

I'd say I moderately failed at minimizing my gear, ultimately travelling with:

  • X-E3 with a grip
  • XF 14/2.8: I really struggled trying to not bring this lens and didn't succeed
  • XC 15-45
  • XF 23/2.0: For low light scenarios, and maybe shallow DOF, I figured
  • XC 50-230

The outcome

My two week travel was divided into one week in Finland (Kainuu region) and one week in Germany (black forest area). After on-the-go culling, here's the shot distribution (incl. shots for the bin) returning home:

  • XC 50-230: 176 shots, 81%
  • XC 15-45: 39 shots, 18%
  • XF 23/2.0: 1 shot, <1%
  • XF 14/2.8: Unused

Certainly, there will have been a strong honeymoon effect with the new focal range of the XC 50-230, and certainly subject matter comes into play. With an emphasis on static subjects and shooting primarily during daytime, the slower apertures in combination with OIS eliminated many scenarios in which I would have used a faster lens. Knowing the areas I travelled to, and knowing I am likely to return, I may have also been a bit more reluctant (read: lazy) to change lenses.

That being said, I still was pleasantly surprised with my relative success in shooting with just two lenses. In the future, for trips with moderate-to-high repeatability, I might attempt again to travel with the two XC lenses and just one add'l prime - which doesn't look rosy for the XF 14/2.8.

For any once-in-a-lifetime travel, I expect to return to bringing my bag of primes, though.

The images

Now, I don't want to bore you with just waffle - and I appreciate anyone taking the time to read this! So here are some shot from the trip, with some massaging in C1 12 (exposure tab, cropping in some images, resized).

Note that the XC 15-45 might be slightly underrepresented in this selection, but I did find it very useful for wider views and capturing social moments.

I'm sure I still have some ways to go to get the most out of these new-to-me lenses. I also wouldn't be too surprised for an ISO value to be suboptimal here or there. But here goes anyway.

Finland, Kainuu

The fall colours were pretty spectacular, this trip. The above shot is basically untouched. While I didn't miss my square filters often, I would bring a circular polariser and step down rings, next time.

Local swamp site

Parrot crossbill (Loxia pytyopsittacus)

If it isn't already evident from the shot, I am not a bird photographer. Still, I was reasonably satisfied with this shot of a parrot crossbill (Loxia pytyopsittacus). When looking at the full resolution, the details in the feathers are weak. It's satisfactory for my casual and occasional use, but if I was more interested in photographing birds, the 70-300 or 100-400 would be on my shopping list.

Paljakka National Reserve, swampland

While Finland has many local elevation changes, there are few places with significant topographic prominence. Often, the vast tree coverage can also get in the way of what would be an interesting shot from altitude. Moreover, depending on the region, there are many lakes and swamps. A longer tele conveniently enables shots across bodies of water or on such occasions where there are higher vantage points.

Germany, Black Forest area

I was particularly impressed by the dynamic range captured in this image. The light was a bit harsh, and maybe my square filters could have helped somewhat. But for a handheld shot, without any filters, I am satisfied with how the shot came out.

There was little time to grab a shot of this red kite (Milvus milvus) before it disappeared from view. This shot is heavily cropped, so much so that there's hardly more resolution available than the output resolution here. The exposure isn't quite right, so the file needed some work. But under the circumstances, I didn't expect to recover as much as I did.

The verdict

We're all creatures of habbit and certainly I felt some discomfort slimming down my gear for this trip - although I didn't even manage to fully commit to the challenge. That said, I am glad I put myself into this situation.

To summarise in broad strokes what I learned:

  • Especially when carrying zooms, we tend to be able to capture quite a wide range of scenarios with a lot less gear than we are used to. While this certainly is somewhat common sense, it did make quite the difference to experience it, rather than know it to be so.
  • We tend to carry too much gear. An adjacent thought to the above, but it did genuinely surprise me to return home to realise there were two lenses in my bag that essentially saw no use whatsoever.
  • A particular kit of gear will not satisfy every photographer and won't be suitable for all scenarios. Certainly, on this trip, the opportunity to return and take some of these shots with different gear, instilled some comfort in me, where otherwise I might err on the side of caution while travelling to new places.
  • While the XC 15-45 will often play second fiddle to my primes, I certainly expect myself to use the XC 50-230 a lot for landscapes going forward.
  • Plastic mounts, lack of WR, slow apertures, missing aperture dials, occasionally powerzoom - you name it, there are reasons to overlook Fuji's XC lenses. But - outside of the XC 35/2.0 perhaps - I find that Fuji's line of XC lenses is criminally underrated. They are great and lightweight lenses from a manufacturer that isn't always known for the most affordable lens selection.

Whew. That ended up being a longer post than expected. I hope I didn't bore anyone to sleep. If you're still awake reading this line, thank you for taking the time to read about my experience.

Good light!

 FTOG's gear list:FTOG's gear list
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XiMenQing New Member • Posts: 2
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)
6

I really appreciate the effort you put into this post. It is interesting hear someone's musings on a travel set up and the rational behind it plus their results. It was a timely post for me as I am starting to move towards zooms a little more now (16-80 + 50-230), whilst keeping the odd prime or two at most (18mm f2 + 35mm f1.4).

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OP FTOG Contributing Member • Posts: 991
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

XiMenQing wrote:

I really appreciate the effort you put into this post. It is interesting hear someone's musings on a travel set up and the rational behind it plus their results.

Thank you. Indeed, it's interesting to hear about others' rationale. This was an internal flow of thoughts for a while, and more than once I asked myself: Surely, I can't be the only one thinking about this?

It was a timely post for me as I am starting to move towards zooms a little more now (16-80 + 50-230), whilst keeping the odd prime or two at most (18mm f2 + 35mm f1.4).

That sounds like a fine kit of four. Particularly the 35/1.4 seems like a sensible supplement to two slower aperture zooms.

Were I to travel more with just two zooms, indeed the 18-55 or 16-80 might be worthy of my consideration. The extra reach and WR of the 16-80 are interesting, but so is the value proposition and weight of the 18-55. It would be a tricky choice for me.

Ultimately, for me a standard zoom is a secondary lens, so the low price tag and low weight of the 15-45 tipped the scale in that direction.

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Fujijitsu
Fujijitsu Senior Member • Posts: 1,140
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

Thank you for the interesting real-world review of the XC lenses.

I have a decent range of f1.4/f1.2 and f2.0 Fuji primes, plus the XC 50-230 and the old XC 16-50.  I agree completely about their versatility and light weight, although for me the main shortcomings are highlighted when compared to my most used lenses (23 and 35 f1.4).  The limited max aperture is not such a huge issue if I compare the XC's to my f2.0 primes, but it's a big issues compared to an f1.4 prime.

The 50-230 can almost redeem itself at longer focal lengths, but I really miss f1.4 when I want to control depth of field.  For that reason alone, I would never leave the trusty 35 f1.4 at ho.e and rely on zooms alone.  However, I don't own a 16-55 f2.8, so that could break my prime addiction.

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OP FTOG Contributing Member • Posts: 991
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

Fujijitsu wrote:

I agree completely about their versatility and light weight, although for me the main shortcomings are highlighted when compared to my most used lenses (23 and 35 f1.4). The limited max aperture is not such a huge issue if I compare the XC's to my f2.0 primes, but it's a big issues compared to an f1.4 prime.

The 50-230 can almost redeem itself at longer focal lengths, but I really miss f1.4 when I want to control depth of field. For that reason alone, I would never leave the trusty 35 f1.4 at ho.e and rely on zooms alone

The 35/1.4 is awful between 50 and 230mm. I jest, of course. I recognize the strengths of a fast aperture lens, and it's why I'd probably supplement the duo with at least one fast(er) prime. The 35/1.4 is a great lens, nice and compact for its fast aperture, but I simply don't connect with the FOV as much as I do with more accentuated FOVs that are wider or narrow. Thus I don't own a 35mm option currently, and would be inclined to bring my 23/2.0 or 50/2.0 instead.

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kierenlon
kierenlon Contributing Member • Posts: 989
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

I really enjoyed the OP's post.  You should perhaps write a blog

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OP FTOG Contributing Member • Posts: 991
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

kierenlon wrote:

I really enjoyed the OP's post. You should perhaps write a blog

Thank you for your kind words.

I do enjoy talking about photography. However, I'd need to work a bit harder on actually consuming and taking images more frequently, in order to be able to produce the amount of content necessary to attract even a modicum of readership. I also really don't enjoy advertising for myself.

I might not be the most suitable candidate for a blog, but I might consider sharing more here, at least.

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Mikegee Regular Member • Posts: 189
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

FTOG wrote:

Hi all,

after a recent travel, I felt like sharing some thoughts about Fuji's lighter weight zooms and zooms in general. For a bit of context, I tend to overwhelmingly shoot prime lenses. So much so, in fact, that I've not owned a zoom lens in 15 years. Until recently that is.

The outset

My core gear normally consists of a number of primes ranging from 14mm to 50mm, and for the past few years, there have been few occasions where I felt I was lacking coverage. On such occasions where I found an arrow missing in my quiver, it tended to be on the long end. Had there been a small, light-weight prime option around 75mm to 150mm from/for Fuji, maybe that's what I would have picked up. Lacking that option, I thought about splurging on the XF 70-300. Considering I was going to (initially) experiment with the focal range, the price tag was a mild deterrent - and the limited availability did the rest.

The XF 55-200 seemed like the obvious alternative, which is when I had a closer look at the XC 50-230. The value for money seemed appealing, as did the very low weight. With my primary use being landscape, I didn't mind the slow max aperture. My shooting conditions (for now) tend to be rather harmless, so the lack of WR also wasn't an obstacle. So, the lack of aperture ring, then? Well, with the lens being a variable aperture zoom, I was willing to give it a shot. To cut the story short, I pulled the trigger.

In the course of my investigation/GAS attack, I also ended up picking the miniscule XC 15-45. It seemed like a nice lens to put on a secondary body, when I don't care to bring a bag of lenses, e.g. social photography or casual travel snapshots.

The challenge

After a long time without travelling, I had the opportunity to travel to Finland and spend some time in Germany. Both regions I had been to and am likely to return, so the thought grew to put myself outside my comfort zone. Rather than carrying my usual kit (XF 14/2.8, XF 23/2.0, XF 50/2.0), I considered only bringing the XC 15-45 for the wide-to-normal range. Bringing the XC 50-230 was a given. I also vowed to leave a second body, my carbon tripod and square filters at home, committing to travelling light as much as I felt comfortable.

I'd say I moderately failed at minimizing my gear, ultimately travelling with:

  • X-E3 with a grip
  • XF 14/2.8: I really struggled trying to not bring this lens and didn't succeed
  • XC 15-45
  • XF 23/2.0: For low light scenarios, and maybe shallow DOF, I figured
  • XC 50-230

The outcome

My two week travel was divided into one week in Finland (Kainuu region) and one week in Germany (black forest area). After on-the-go culling, here's the shot distribution (incl. shots for the bin) returning home:

  • XC 50-230: 176 shots, 81%
  • XC 15-45: 39 shots, 18%
  • XF 23/2.0: 1 shot, <1%
  • XF 14/2.8: Unused

Certainly, there will have been a strong honeymoon effect with the new focal range of the XC 50-230, and certainly subject matter comes into play. With an emphasis on static subjects and shooting primarily during daytime, the slower apertures in combination with OIS eliminated many scenarios in which I would have used a faster lens. Knowing the areas I travelled to, and knowing I am likely to return, I may have also been a bit more reluctant (read: lazy) to change lenses.

That being said, I still was pleasantly surprised with my relative success in shooting with just two lenses. In the future, for trips with moderate-to-high repeatability, I might attempt again to travel with the two XC lenses and just one add'l prime - which doesn't look rosy for the XF 14/2.8.

For any once-in-a-lifetime travel, I expect to return to bringing my bag of primes, though.

The images

Now, I don't want to bore you with just waffle - and I appreciate anyone taking the time to read this! So here are some shot from the trip, with some massaging in C1 12 (exposure tab, cropping in some images, resized).

Note that the XC 15-45 might be slightly underrepresented in this selection, but I did find it very useful for wider views and capturing social moments.

I'm sure I still have some ways to go to get the most out of these new-to-me lenses. I also wouldn't be too surprised for an ISO value to be suboptimal here or there. But here goes anyway.

Finland, Kainuu

The fall colours were pretty spectacular, this trip. The above shot is basically untouched. While I didn't miss my square filters often, I would bring a circular polariser and step down rings, next time.

Local swamp site

Parrot crossbill (Loxia pytyopsittacus)

If it isn't already evident from the shot, I am not a bird photographer. Still, I was reasonably satisfied with this shot of a parrot crossbill (Loxia pytyopsittacus). When looking at the full resolution, the details in the feathers are weak. It's satisfactory for my casual and occasional use, but if I was more interested in photographing birds, the 70-300 or 100-400 would be on my shopping list.

Paljakka National Reserve, swampland

While Finland has many local elevation changes, there are few places with significant topographic prominence. Often, the vast tree coverage can also get in the way of what would be an interesting shot from altitude. Moreover, depending on the region, there are many lakes and swamps. A longer tele conveniently enables shots across bodies of water or on such occasions where there are higher vantage points.

Germany, Black Forest area

I was particularly impressed by the dynamic range captured in this image. The light was a bit harsh, and maybe my square filters could have helped somewhat. But for a handheld shot, without any filters, I am satisfied with how the shot came out.

There was little time to grab a shot of this red kite (Milvus milvus) before it disappeared from view. This shot is heavily cropped, so much so that there's hardly more resolution available than the output resolution here. The exposure isn't quite right, so the file needed some work. But under the circumstances, I didn't expect to recover as much as I did.

The verdict

We're all creatures of habbit and certainly I felt some discomfort slimming down my gear for this trip - although I didn't even manage to fully commit to the challenge. That said, I am glad I put myself into this situation.

To summarise in broad strokes what I learned:

  • Especially when carrying zooms, we tend to be able to capture quite a wide range of scenarios with a lot less gear than we are used to. While this certainly is somewhat common sense, it did make quite the difference to experience it, rather than know it to be so.
  • We tend to carry too much gear. An adjacent thought to the above, but it did genuinely surprise me to return home to realise there were two lenses in my bag that essentially saw no use whatsoever.
  • A particular kit of gear will not satisfy every photographer and won't be suitable for all scenarios. Certainly, on this trip, the opportunity to return and take some of these shots with different gear, instilled some comfort in me, where otherwise I might err on the side of caution while travelling to new places.
  • While the XC 15-45 will often play second fiddle to my primes, I certainly expect myself to use the XC 50-230 a lot for landscapes going forward.
  • Plastic mounts, lack of WR, slow apertures, missing aperture dials, occasionally powerzoom - you name it, there are reasons to overlook Fuji's XC lenses. But - outside of the XC 35/2.0 perhaps - I find that Fuji's line of XC lenses is criminally underrated. They are great and lightweight lenses from a manufacturer that isn't always known for the most affordable lens selection.

Whew. That ended up being a longer post than expected. I hope I didn't bore anyone to sleep. If you're still awake reading this line, thank you for taking the time to read about my experience.

Good light!

If you gave Fuji a map on how to made a bad lens they would mess it up and make a good lens. The FX 18-55mm and FX 55-200mm combo are  are outstanding.

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Neil Chalk
Neil Chalk Forum Member • Posts: 84
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

Great post, thanks for sharing!

i don’t mind the optics on the XC 15-45 but I can’t get on with the power zoom. Otherwise it would be a neat little travel lens with the long zoom setup you have.

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OP FTOG Contributing Member • Posts: 991
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)
4

Neil Chalk wrote:

Great post, thanks for sharing!

i don’t mind the optics on the XC 15-45 but I can’t get on with the power zoom. Otherwise it would be a neat little travel lens with the long zoom setup you have.

Thanks Neil. The "rocker" style PZ isn't the most intuitive, but - unless in MF mode - the manual focus ring can be used similar to a regular zoom ring. The latter method of zooming feels more natural and made the PZ more stomachable for me.

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robert1955 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,287
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

very interesting post [and pics!].

have you got any ideas on why  the 23 saw [almost] no use?

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biza43 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,097
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

Zooms are pretty convenient and flexible for travel, especially in natural surroundings. High IQ at high ISO, image stabilization, have revolutionized the way we take photos. Back in my film days, roughly between 1990 and 2004, I used a lot of zooms, f/2.8 and f/4. This was shooting 100 ISO slide film. I remember the first lens I used with IS, Canon's EF 75-300, it was a revelation.

Even then, reviews would diss slow zoom lenses, and experts would say only Canon's L zooms were capable of top IQ. A load of BS honestly, but this mantra or dogma is repeated even today. So thanks for a refreshing take, and good images to prove it. In 2008 I went to the Empty Quarter of Oman with a Canon 18-55 kit zoom, the cheapest one you could buy. For landscapes, it was great, as f/8 is a nice equalizer of IQ.

Today, I am ok with primes only, but that is because I sometimes accept the limitations; what I regret I gain on the learning side, and I really enjoy using primes mostly. But I do miss a telezoom now and then:)

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OP FTOG Contributing Member • Posts: 991
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)
1

robert1955 wrote:

very interesting post [and pics!].

Thank you

have you got any ideas on why the 23 saw [almost] no use?

Ultimately, most subjects on this trip where static or shot in good light. With the kind of gatherings and activities that I undertook, I wanted to capture friends and family within the context of the situation rather than isolating them with shallow DOF. Social documentary, rather than candid portraiture, so to speak. As a result, the stabilised 15-45 filled in for the 23/2.0 in most situations.

There was also a subconscious/semi-conscious intent to see how well I could do with the 15-45, so that certainly also came into play.

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OP FTOG Contributing Member • Posts: 991
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

biza43 wrote:

Zooms are pretty convenient and flexible for travel, especially in natural surroundings. High IQ at high ISO, image stabilization, have revolutionized the way we take photos. Back in my film days, roughly between 1990 and 2004, I used a lot of zooms, f/2.8 and f/4. This was shooting 100 ISO slide film. I remember the first lens I used with IS, Canon's EF 75-300, it was a revelation.

After some time with the first generations of DSLRs, I shot a lot of film, because I appreciated the smaller size of 1970-80s SLRs - a good decade before the first mirrorless Fujis would be released.

So I'm definitely familiar with more grain/noise from those days, and more limited dynamic range, too. While it was a great camera in its day, my 5D Mk I managed just over 8 stops of DR - at base ISO! APS-C sensors delivering 8 stops of DR at ISO 1600 - and in excess of 10 stops at base ISO - really shows how far even smaller sized sensors have come. Not to mention that this is despite a substantial increase in resolution/pixel density.

Even then, reviews would diss slow zoom lenses, and experts would say only Canon's L zooms were capable of top IQ. A load of BS honestly, but this mantra or dogma is repeated even today. So thanks for a refreshing take, and good images to prove it. In 2008 I went to the Empty Quarter of Oman with a Canon 18-55 kit zoom, the cheapest one you could buy. For landscapes, it was great, as f/8 is a nice equalizer of IQ.

I think the fallacy/distortion comes from faster zooms traditionally being better not for being faster zooms, but for being better corrected premium lenses and being stopped down at any comparative aperture.

Once the 'precedent' is set, it can be difficult to not perpetuate outdated 'truths'.

Stopping down certainly does some lenses favours, but even wide open modern slower zooms have come a long way. These days, f4.0 zooms or even variable aperture zooms starting at f4.5 can outperform older designs with faster max apertures.

None of which is to say that faster apertures - in primes or zooms - don't have their place. The convenience of having a faster aperture available where necessary can't be discussed away. Although it comes at a price both monetary and in weight/dimensions.

Today, I am ok with primes only, but that is because I sometimes accept the limitations; what I regret I gain on the learning side, and I really enjoy using primes mostly. But I do miss a telezoom now and then:)

Unfortunately, there is no moderately fast tele prime available for Fuji, say a 135/2.8 or 200/2.8. Probably Fuji fears it would cannibalize the 50-140/2.8 or the 200/2.0. But a light-ish tele prime, ideally stabilised, would be a lovely lens indeed.

So, on the tele end, I find it hard to look past zooms, at least when it comes to Fuji. For wide to moderate tele (the 50/2.0 is a phenomenal lens), I also tend to favour primes over zooms, where I don't need the instant flexibility of a zoom.

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biza43 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,097
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)
2

FTOG wrote:

Unfortunately, there is no moderately fast tele prime available for Fuji, say a 135/2.8 or 200/2.8. Probably Fuji fears it would cannibalize the 50-140/2.8 or the 200/2.0. But a light-ish tele prime, ideally stabilised, would be a lovely lens indeed.

Indeed, I can not think of a single system today that still features a 135 f/2.8 in its catalogue. Fuji has the 90 f/2 of course, but for travel and landscapes is a bit of overkill IMHO. Pentax got it right for APSC with the small 70mm lens.

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 biza43's gear list:biza43's gear list
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OP FTOG Contributing Member • Posts: 991
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)
1

biza43 wrote:

FTOG wrote:

Unfortunately, there is no moderately fast tele prime available for Fuji, say a 135/2.8 or 200/2.8. Probably Fuji fears it would cannibalize the 50-140/2.8 or the 200/2.0. But a light-ish tele prime, ideally stabilised, would be a lovely lens indeed.

Indeed, I can not think of a single system today that still features a 135 f/2.8 in its catalogue. Fuji has the 90 f/2 of course, but for travel and landscapes is a bit of overkill IMHO. Pentax got it right for APSC with the small 70mm lens.

The Pentax 70/2.4 and 77/1.8 are nice small teles on a K-3 IIi.

The Olympus 45/1.8 and 75/1.8 also have great equivalent FOVs in a very small package. Obviously at the price of a smaller sensor.

 FTOG's gear list:FTOG's gear list
Fujifilm X-E2 Fujifilm X-E3 Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R Fujifilm 50-230mm II Fujifilm XF 23mm F2 R WR +3 more
noahwc New Member • Posts: 14
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I'm currently working out how to build out my Fuji kit so this type of insight is super useful.

I currently have the XC 35mm which I'm quite happy with and an XC 50-230 ordered that I'm looking forward to even more now. Still struggling with how to fill out the wide end of the range. The XC 15-45, XC 16-50, and 18mm f2 are all contenders so if anyone has an opinion on any of those I'm all ears.

 noahwc's gear list:noahwc's gear list
Pentax K-3 Fujifilm X-T1 Pentax smc DA 16-45mm F4 ED AL Pentax smc DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR Pentax smc DA 50mm F1.8 +2 more
OP FTOG Contributing Member • Posts: 991
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)
1

noahwc wrote:

Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I'm currently working out how to build out my Fuji kit so this type of insight is super useful.

I currently have the XC 35mm which I'm quite happy with and an XC 50-230 ordered that I'm looking forward to even more now. Still struggling with how to fill out the wide end of the range. The XC 15-45, XC 16-50, and 18mm f2 are all contenders so if anyone has an opinion on any of those I'm all ears.

I found the 18/2.0 very good for travel, street and documentary. The extremely compact dimensions make for a nice overall package. For landscape, I wasn't as convinced by the edges.

Especially when you're still building out your kit and/or learning about your preferred FOV, a standard zoom is a very safe and flexible bet.

I never owned the 16-50, so I cannot comment on its qualities. From a focal range, I think there will be little practical difference, especially because the 50-230 can cover 50mm. So perhaps decide on availability and price where you are, and based on how much you might enjoy (or not) the powerzoom mechanism (on the 15-45: regular zoom switch/ring and rotational zoom via focus ring).

 FTOG's gear list:FTOG's gear list
Fujifilm X-E2 Fujifilm X-E3 Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R Fujifilm 50-230mm II Fujifilm XF 23mm F2 R WR +3 more
noahwc New Member • Posts: 14
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

My photography has transitioned recently from almost exclusively landscapes to now a mix that includes a fair amount of street photography. I think you're likely right in saying that a zoom is the way to go, at least for now until I figure out my new set of needs better. Thanks for your reply!

 noahwc's gear list:noahwc's gear list
Pentax K-3 Fujifilm X-T1 Pentax smc DA 16-45mm F4 ED AL Pentax smc DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR Pentax smc DA 50mm F1.8 +2 more
Claes Regular Member • Posts: 393
Re: A prime shooter's musings on light zooms (XC 50-230,XC 15-45)

The crosbill picture, where you say that details in the feathers are weak, indeed they are, but maybe you missed focus on that one? The branch closer to "you" is in focus, more so than the branch the bird sits on, so it might just be that.

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