I have been doing some Fuji bashing lately, well deserved bashing might I add, but I thought I would take a break from flogging the Fuji horse and talk about something positive with the Fuji X system. I am talking about the Fuji 55-210 3.5-4.8 R LM OIS!
We all know I have a huge issue with the claims that the new Fuji XT1 is a DSLR killer, which it is not by they way, but I digress. I was in Houston Camera Exchange about 3 weeks ago and was looking to buy something. Didn’t really care what, just knew I wanted to buy something, anything! After looking around I spotted a few used Fuji X lenses and I asked mi amigo Craig what he had on the shelf and low and behold a used 55-210! I asked how much. He gave a price. I scoffed and said, here is what I can pay today, and he said OK! My mission was accomplished. Plus I didn’t think I’d get hurt too bad at an out the door price of $350.00.
With my Canon 70-200 2.8 IS II long since sold I was concerned that when shooting weddings I did not have a lens that would be long enough to accommodate the Catholics. We fellow wedding photographer know how the Catholics love to put us photographers way in the back, turn out all the lights and say NO FLASH! With the lens costing a just $350.00, I figured it was a low enough price to take a calculated risk. An added bonus is the crop factor is 1.5x which make this a seriously long reaching lens. I must say I did feel more comfortable and confident knowing I had this lens in my bag. And now I could shoot a wedding without ticking off the Catholics LOL! So now my thoughts:
I was on my way to shoot a wedding at the end of March with my newest lens (yes latest firmware installed) and had my XT1, X Pro-1, XE-2 and X100s in my bag. The XE-2 held the 18-55 and the XT1 was adorned with my new’/used 55-210. Right away I noticed how smooth everything was on the lens. The autofocus was pert-near silent and actually pretty responsive. Now keep in mind, I was shooting in the prefect sun-setting, beautiful light. The zoom function was buttery smooth and the feel of this lens on the XT1 was substantial, in a good way. Everything felt solid and well balanced. Oh yea, you must use the new grip for the XT1 to get that balanced feel. All in all the lens felt good, no, felt great in my hands. But what about performance?
I must admit I had little to no expectations as to the image quality of this lens, after all it’s a “kit lens” and what pro would ever dream of using one of those things? As I snapped the first few test shots before the bride strolled down the isle I noticed the images on the back of the camera where sharp, I mean fixed lens sharp. The colors and contrast were what you would expect from the Fuji XF lenses. To be honest I was stunned with what I was seeing and crossed my fingers that the quality would be the same on my iMac. And so far so good!
Fuji XT1 with 55-210 3.5-4.8 OIS.
As you can see from the .jpeg images above (Lightroom did not have a RAW plugin yet) not bad. Not bad for a “kit lens and most of all not bad for $350.00! I will freely admit that I was spoiled by the Fuji 35mm 1.4 on my X Pro-1. That combo just may be the greatest lens/camera combo to date. Take that Leica lovers! All kidding aside, the image quality was not only more than acceptable it was down right fantastic! Will I use this lens more? I already have. in fact I use it at every event I shoot now. Understanding this lens is slow and therefore you will not do as well in low light, even with a superb OIS lens stabilization, but for what it is and for the price point, even new, this lens is a steal! If you are trying to decide what to add to your bad I implore you to take a long and lustful look at the surprise Fuji 55-210 3.5-4.8 OIS. You will be glad you did!