Fujinon XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR
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Lab Test Results
November 24, 2015
by Andrew Alexander
The Fujinon XF 90mm ƒ/2 R LM WR telephoto lens has been shipping since the summer of 2015, and we've finally had an opportunity to get it into our test lab. Up until now, our sharpest lens has been the Sigma 70mm ƒ/2.8 macro, but that crown is about to handed over to the Fuji 90mm.
The Fuji 90mm ƒ/2 was designed to fit onto the X-mount of Fuji bodies, where it provides an effective field of view of around 137mm, in 35mm film terms. It ships with a round lens hood, takes 62mm filters, and is available now for around $800.
After around eight years of reviewing lenses for SLRgear.com, there aren't many cases where one's jaw drops when looking at a blur chart. This was one of them.
There actually isn't much to report on in this category of the review: the lens is spectacularly tack-sharp, at all apertures, even wide open at ƒ/2. Diffraction limiting sets in at ƒ/11, where it still remains tack-sharp; only at ƒ/16 do we note a hint of image degradation due to diffraction.
In short, it doesn't get much sharper than this.
After the raving about sharpness, it's time to start raving about the lens' resistance to chromatic aberration: there is essentially no chromatic aberration to measure.
The Fuji 90mm ƒ/2 hit parade continues with corner shading, where we see an insignificant amount at the ƒ/2 setting, and it settles off to near-zero shading after that.
There is a tiny bit of pincushion distortion in the corners (-0.1%) that you are not likely to notice; it's correctable, if your straight lines are important to you.
Note: It should be noted that the X-E1, our Fuji test camera, does feature in-camera correction of CA, vignetting and distortion, and it's important to note that our results here were taken from RAW files. However, when converted with Adobe Camera Raw, as it our usual procedure, ACR carries over these in-camera corrections. It was only by converting the same RAW images with DCRAW (which does not convert the images with these corrections) that we were able to confirm this.
The Fuji 90mm ƒ/2 focus very quickly with an electrical motor housed in the lens. The lens focuses from infinity to close-focus in less than a second: it's fast, and locks on to your target easily. The front element does not rotate, making life that little bit easier for polarizer users.
The lens isn't designed as a macro lens, so don't expect amazing results here. The minimum close-focusing distance is 60cm (around 24 inches) and the magnification is 0.2x.
Build Quality and Handling
The Fuji XF 90mm ƒ/2 R is a well-built lens, harkening back to the days of metal rangefinder or SLR cameras, with a nice satin black finish. It's not as small and light as some of Fuji's other lenses -- there is a lot to pack into this one -- but it's not overly large. Mounted on our X-E1 test camera, you might have a combination that's a bit heavy our in front, but it looks like a perfect companion to the new X-T10. Better yet, the larger, weather-sealed X-T1 matches nicely with this lens, as it's also weather and dust resistant with seven seals around the lens and on the lens mount. It's also specified to operate in temperatures as low as -10C degrees. The aperture is made up of seven rounded diaphragm blades, which produce excellent out-of-focus background elements ("bokeh").
There are two rings for this lens: a focusing ring, and an aperture ring, something of a rarity in modern digital cameras. The aperture ring sits closer to the lens body, around 3/8'' wide, with one-third click-stops between aperture settings. The aperture ring also includes an "A" mode for automatic aperture, in case changing apertures isn't your thing and you'd rather the camera did it for you.
The large focusing ring is a generous 1 3/4'' wide, made of polycarbonate with deep grooves that offer excellent tactile feel. The lens uses a fly-by-wire system in its lens focusing method, so the focusing ring is not actually directly connected to the lens elements in a mechanical way. Rather, turning the focusing ring moves the elements electronically. In practice this means the focusing ring will turn forever in either direction, and you'll have to rely on the readouts to know if you have reached minimum or maximum focus. As it's an internal focus lens, there is no lens extension during focus operations.
There are no distance scales or depth-of-field information on the lens, but the camera body offers a distance scale on its LCD or viewfinder readout.
The 90mm ƒ/2 R lens hood is large, circular and made of metal. It does reverse for storage on the lens, which is nice, and attaches with a standard bayonet mount. The hood is 2 1/2'' long, adding a bit over 2'' of length to the lens when attached.
Currently, there are very few third-party lenses offered in the Fuji XF mount, and none that directly compete with this 90mm f/2 lens. The most applicable alternative that provides a 90mm focal lens on a Fuji camera is their own XF 50-140mm ƒ/2.8 R LM OIS WR zoom. However, the lens is not as bright (but decent at f/2.8), and is larger and heavier as well as more expensive than the simpler 90mm prime.
However, there are several lens adapters which allow non-Fuji lenses to be mounted on the X-Pro 1. Fuji's own M-mount adapter allows Leica M, Carl Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses to be used, but there are only a few lenses that would be comparable here: one that comes to mind would be the Leica 90mm ƒ/2.8 ELMARIT-M, but Tamron also produces a 90mm ƒ/2.8 macro lens.
This is definitely a lens worth gushing over: it's incredibly sharp, and combined with its resistance to chromatic aberration and corner shading, it is an excellent lens for the money.
The VFA target should give you a good idea of sharpness in the center and corners, as well as some idea of the extent of barrel or pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration, while the Still Life subject may help in judging contrast and color. We shoot both images using the default JPEG settings and manual white balance of our test bodies, so the images should be quite consistent from lens to lens.
As appropriate, we shoot these with both full-frame and sub-frame bodies, at a range of focal lengths, and at both maximum aperture and ƒ/8. For the ''VFA'' target (the viewfinder accuracy target from Imaging Resource), we also provide sample crops from the center and upper-left corner of each shot, so you can quickly get a sense of relative sharpness, without having to download and inspect the full-res images. To avoid space limitations with the layout of our review pages, indexes to the test shots launch in separate windows.
Fujinon XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR User Reviews
10 out of 10 points and recommended by coma (22 reviews)sharpness, color, bokeh, focus speed ...none
Didn't believe my eyes, when I saw the first pictures when I bought this lens. It's sharper than most of the glass I own, even when shooting wide open. Both sharpness and contrast are nothing but spectacular across the whole frame on all apertures.reviewed December 7th, 2015 (purchased for $900)
The bokeh is smooth but contrasty, the color is nice and the focus speed is good.
If there is one thing not to like this lens it is, that there are not many of it's kind
10 out of 10 points and recommended by jamesdike (9 reviews)sharpness, colors, bokeh at f2none
The color, the bokeh and the sharpness are all you get from this good-looking individual. I mostly use it for portraiture and wedding photography. I can not discover any flaw of this amazing child. The only thing I complain is the plastic hood. I hope there is a metal lens hood like the one comes with PanaLecia DG 42.5 mm.reviewed December 7th, 2015 (purchased for $799)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by TTPhoto (2 reviews)Extremely sharp, fast, builda bit pricey
This lens is ideally a longer portrait lens, however with its fast focusing, especially on the X-T1 a great lens also for street and event photography.reviewed July 25th, 2015 (purchased for $986)
On the X-E2 focusing is a little bit slower, but still very useable!
WR is a fine feature!