Fuji debuts two new lenses, preps significant firmware updates for X-mount mirrorless cameras


posted Monday, June 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM EDT

One of the challenges faced by every new lens mount is the difficult task of building out a brand-new lens lineup, and providing your customers with a healthy selection of optics to mount on their shiny new camera. It's something we've seen over and over with new mounts such as Olympus and Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds mount, Sony's E-mount, Samsung's NX-mount, Nikon's 1-mount and more.

With its fledgling Fuji X-mount only on the market for about 18 months, Fujifilm still has work to do on expanding its lineup, which currently sits at just six lenses, something we noted in our recent review of the Fujifilm X-E1 mirrorless camera. Today, the company increases its X-mount options by one third, in one fell swoop, with the introduction of two new lenses to accompany its brand-new X-M1 compact system camera body.

The Fujinon XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS zoom is the first optic in the new, affordable XC series.

One of those two lenses kicks off a new, more affordable XC-series of X-mount optics, and will be available in a bundle with the X-M1. The other belongs to the existing XF-series lens lineup, but notably lacks the aperture ring of all other XF-series optics, simply because as a pancake there's no room for it.

Supporting manual aperture control on that optic will involve a firmware update for your X-mount camera body. In fact, two new updates are planned. The first -- available tomorrow -- will add focus frame selection to the Function button, let the multi-selector down arrow serve as a second Function button, and enable aperture control on both new lenses. The second firmware update, coming in a month, will improve autofocus speed on all existing lenses, add focus peaking for manual focusing, and change the method of performing focus zoom through a range of 3-10x, for better ease of use.

The new Fuji X-M1 kit lens is the Fujinon XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS zoom, and like the X-M1 body it is announced alongside, it uses more plastic to reduce weight. Its 35mm-equivalent range zooms from a 24mm wide angle to a 76mm telephoto. Unlike XF-series optics, it doesn't feature any aperture markings on the lens barrel, as it lacks an aperture ring. It's an external zooming design with 2.5-stop image stabilization.

The optical formula features 12 glass elements in 10 groups, of which there are three aspherical elements and one extra-low dispersion element. There's also a seven-bladed, rounded aperture which allows a 17 stop range in 1/3 EV increments. No information on separate pricing or availability had been disclosed at press time -- for the time being it seems to be available only with the Fuji X-M1 camera body -- but we do know that this optic adds just US$100 to the cost of the Fuji X-M1 bundle. That bundle will ship in July or August 2013, depending on the color scheme.

The Fujinon XF 27mm F2.8 prime lens is the first XF-series optic without an aperture ring.

The second new lens is the FUJINON XF 27mm F2.8 prime, with a 41mm-equivalent focal length. A pancake type, the lens is just 0.9 inches (23mm) in length and weighs only 2.75 ounces (78g). It features seven elements in five groups, including one aspheric, along with a seven-bladed round aperture diaphragm. Other features include a high-torque DC autofocus motor, a metal focus ring and a Super EBC coating -- but to keep the size down, there's no aperture ring. Pricing for this optic is set at US$450, and it likewise ships from July 2013.

If you want to get your hands on these lenses as soon as possible, place your pre-order with Imaging Resource affiliate Adorama now: