Fujifilm XF100-400mm Lens: Arrival & First Impressions… - Joe Ng
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  • Fujifilm XF100-400mm Lens: Arrival & First Impressions…

2016-04-11

My demo copy of the new Fujifilm XF100-400mm lens had finally landed on my hands 3 weeks ago. While I had a crazy busy weeks (covering the FIFA 2016 world cup qualifier game Canada vs Mexico right between the back to back weekends wedding assignments), I have begun testing the lens – covering the soccer game and Whistler Cup Skiing Race. I haven’t had a chance to fully study the results yet. Note that my initial testing was mainly done using a X-Pro 2 body – the logic behind this is that my X-Pro 2 is now my primary tool for sports shooting (thanks to the enhanced features, ie. expended focus points with more phase detection AF pixels coverage, new processor that shorten the EVF blackout time really help during the burst mode. I am so keen to find out how the lens performs with the X-Pro 2 for sports photography.


Do I have any early impressions? Yes.


First…build quality


On the positive side…the build quality seems great – along the lines of Fujifilm Red Badge XF16-55 and XF50-140 zoom lenses. Simply put – it feels bombproof. The zoom action is exceptionally smooth but a bit tight passing over 200mm. I am not sure whether it is a demo lens. I like the lens hood comes with a locking mechanism to keep securely attached to the lens. It feels much smoother than the hood comes with the XF50-140mm lens. I love the big sliding window so a polarizing filter can still be accessed even when the hood is in place even with gloves on while shooting the Winter sports. I also like the fact that the zoom can be locked and wish it can be locked at any focal lengths.


On the negative side…


There is a reality check required here. Anyone moving “up” to this lens from smaller lenses, ie. XF55-200mm, will likely instantly notice and “focus” in on how heavy it seems. But, many others – like me – who are moving “down” (at least in size) to this lens from a full frame super-telephotos, ie. 400mm f2.8 or 500mm f4 lenses, will appreciate the lightweight and compact for a 600mm lens!”.


What about lens length? Real world carrying length (with the X-Pro 2 attached and hood on) is about from 13.5 inches to 16 inches. It is not a problem if you carry it on a backpack. I would like to carrying it in a hip-mounted photo holster or sling strap for quick access while working at the field. You just have to remember to lock and unlock the lens in order to avoid the extended physical lens body length. It bothers me sometimes as I forgot either way.

Any “performance” first impressions?


Nothing firm yet, but after my first 2,000 or so shots I have the gut feel that the AF is faster (and better able to track fast moving subjects with the X-Pro 2 than the X-T1).


Any other early observations? Yes.


I have done some testing of optical performance and autofocus tracking at 400mm with the XF1.4X attached (focal length at 853mm – 35mm format equivalent). One of my favorite is that the phase detection AF shooting remains possible, even at f8. The one second burst of images (captured with AF-C mode) are below for your viewing and you can also pixel-peep the full size jpegs from my Flickr album here.


Stay tuned…I might have more to say about it in the coming weeks!

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