Fujifilm XF55-200mm Lens: The Zoo Report

I was lucky enough to get hold of this lens within a week of getting my Fujifilm X-E1. Stocks were generally low, and I’ve noticed it being sold for £50 more than I paid. No doubt this will settle down in time.

Anyway, what we have here is a nice companion to the 18-55mm lens that came with the X-E1. Bearing in mind the APS-C crop factor, it’s equivalent to 300mm at the long end on a full frame camera, so it’s a quite useful zoom. I’ve used it here and there for a number of shots, but Saturday’s visit to Chester Zoo was its first serious outing. Knowing that most of the animals would be at a moderate distance, I fitted this lens right from the start, and didn’t use the 18-55mm at all.

So, how did it perform? Well, you can have a look at the unedited (other than some cropping) JPGs in the gallery below for some examples. I’ll be able to improve on these when I can see them on a full-sized screen, but I think they’ll do for now. I had a few issues with the autofocus – not really surprising, as I was trying to focus on animals behind various kinds of fencing, and the camera did have a slight tendency to lock on to the fences sometimes. This was more of an issue when the animals were closer to the fence. I suspect with a bit more fiddling of the focus settings, it might have done better, but I was able to use manual focus when necessary, so it wasn’t really a problem.

Walking around with the X-E1 and this lens on a wrist strap all day reminded me of how much lighter and easier to carry this kit is compared to the Canon 5D Mark III and the 70-200mm lens, which would have been the nearest equivalent.

While autofocus and image processing is slower than on the Canon, it’s still quick enough for just about everything I need to do, so I’m happy with using it, as well as happy not to have so much weight hanging off my shoulder when it’s in the bag. But most of all, I’m happy with the images. Except in cases where the camera has struggled with the exposure due to awkward lighting conditions (dark object against a bright background, shooting into the light, that kind of thing), the out of camera JPG files are generally very good. I’m still in the habit of shooting in JPG+Raw, which has rescued a few shots for me, but I may start to take that on a case-by-case basis, and shoot in JPG only when it seems reasonable.

Anyway, enough of that, and on to the pictures. Most of these were taken at the full extent of the zoom.

3 thoughts on “Fujifilm XF55-200mm Lens: The Zoo Report

  1. Steve

    I hate to say it… (I have this lens too) but almost all of these images look soft. Some of them, like the blue crane, are very soft.

    1. Les Post author

      Thanks for the comments – the softness in some cases may due to shooting through fences and struggling to focus accurately (I’m looking forward to getting focus peaking in the firmware update) – certainly the blue crane was tricky to get even slightly right.

      I’ll revisit these images in a few days, when I can see them on a full-size screen rather than my tiny laptop. I might actually be able to see their flaws then!

  2. Pingback: Samyang 300mm f/6.3 Mirror Lens | Losing it

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