Fujinon XF200mm f2 lens at Work - Joe Ng

2019-01-09

As a sports/actions photographer, a fast telephoto prime lens is a must have item in the bag. The Fujinon XF100-400mm lens has been one of my workhorse lenses. It was a very nice addition to the Fujinon line up since 2016. However I still underline the needs for a fast telephoto prime lens from Fujifilm.



Why do we need a fast telephoto prime lens?

There are two key benefits for having a fast aperture when shooting sports, actions and wildlife. The first one is to keep the shutter speed at an action-freezing level with low ISO. To stop action, a fast shutter speed is needed; the exact shutter speed needed depends on the subject you’re shooting. For example; to avoid blur in figure skating, 1/500 should be the minimum and 1/1000 or above is even better, while keeping the ISO as low as possible at the same time. I will give you an example.

Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE (ITA)

Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE of Italy compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

I shot the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre in Vancouver. Under the challenging indoor lighting, with a maximum aperture of f/5 to f5.5 from the Fujinon XF100-400mm lens at around 400mm focal length. To maintain a shutter speed of 1/1000, I have to crank the ISO up to at 8,000 to 10,000 depending where the skaters are on the rank.


Some of my fellows are shooting with their 300mm and/or 400mm f2.8 lenses with a 2 stop advantage, so they can maintain a shutter speed of 1/1000 with the ISO in between 2,000 to 4,000 range for a cleaner shot. Don’t get me wrong, the X-Trans III and IV sensors are pretty good at handling high ISO settings but if I could keep the ISO at 1,000 to 2,000, that would be so much better.


The second benefit for a fast aperture prime makes your subjects stand out with shallow depth of field and background separation. Similar concept in Portraits photography. Although, the XF100-400mm does throw the background out of focus but not to the same extent as a 300mm f2.8 or 400mm f2.8.

Satoko Miyahara (JPN)

Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec 2018. Satoko MIYAHARA of Japan competes in the Ladies Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

Fujinon 200mm f2 at Work

When Fujifilm announced the XF200mm f2, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I have been able to use it at the Odlum Brown Vancouver Tennis Open and Crankworx Whistler in August with the Fujifilm X-T3 prototype.

The Fujinon XF200mm is the equivalent of a 300mm in 35mm film format and the maximum f/2 aperture gives a one-stop light-gathering advantage over all the full frame 300mm f2.8 lenses in the market.


The lens also comes with a new designed 1.4x converter as bundle that is matched to the lens to extend the focal length up to 280mm or 420mm in 35mm film format, my favorite focal length for sports and wildlife. Even though there is a one stop loss of the maximum aperture f/2.8, but I don’t see any loss in image quality and AF performance on my X-T3 or X-H1 that I used on my daily assignments.


The Fujinon XF200mm is a big lens but not crazy big as Nikon or Canon 400mm lenses. It is not as heavy (slightly less than 5Ib) as you would imagine. The lens is also well balanced on the X-T3 and X-H1. I do recommend having a battery grip on the camera as a counter balance, especially while handheld shooting.


I am glad Fujifilm decided against white, as other camera manufacturer that is favoured by sports photographers has white lenses, so the silver finish with the green band distinguish that is a Fujinon lens. Because I was using a pre-production lens (I ordered mine and waiting for it impatiently) that didn’t have the green band on the lens hood or ‘FUJIFILM’ emblazoned on it. It was sad that the XF200mm pre-production lens was buried in the sea of white big guns around me at the front roll seats : (

Autofocus performance

You might have concern about whether the X-T3 and X-H1 AF system could handle the big chunk of glass as it has to drive quickly and accurately in a fast moving environment like cycling race or figure skating.


So I can clear your doubt, the AF X-T3 and X-H1 were quick and accurate with or without the 1.4x converter mounted. The focus tracking nailed at the skater who was thrown into the air.

Satoko Miyahara (JPN)

Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec 2018. Satoko MIYAHARA of Japan competes in the Ladies Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

The only small disadvantage I found was the batteries were draining slightly faster when using the XF200mm lens in comparing to XF50-140mm lens. I don’t surprise that as there are lot of big glass to be driven with the excellent OIS. I don’t mind to pay for a small price by carrying more spare batteries as I always do. The bottom line is that I do get around over 400 shots per battery, not bad at all.



Image quality

So the XF200mm lens offers a quick snappy and accurate autofocus and the OIS keeps everything steady when using X-T3, but how does the image quality compare to XF100-400mm lens? Well, the image quality of the XF100-400mm lens is very good, but the XF200mm lens takes it to the next level.

Victoria SINITSINA / Nikita KATSALAPOV (RUS)

Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Victoria SINITSINA / Nikita KATSALAPOV of Russia compete in the Ice Dance Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

The XF200mm is bitingly sharp when shooting wide open at f/2, it better be at this price tag : ) The bokeh is smooth and the subjects just pop out of the screen when shooting at wide open. Check out the images from this post and you will see immediately that is a very different lens to the 100-400mm zoom. It is not fair to compare it to the XF100-400mm lens as prime vs zoom but it is the lens I have been waiting for. It is razor sharp and stunning for video work as well. Check out the 4K video that I recorded at the press conference of the Rika Kihira who win the ISU Grand Prix Final champion in Vancouver.

Rika KIHIRA (JPN)

Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec 2018. Rika KIHIRA of Japan competes in the Ladies Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

Rika KIHIRA (JPN) @ the 2018 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final

High performance with a High Price Tag

It is a very expensive glass ($7,799) but the performance and image quality worth every penny, especially when you compare it to similar lenses from the other manufacturers.


Also, keep in mind that this lens comes with a newly custom design 1.4x converter, so that means you get two lenses for the price of one – a 300mm f2 and a 420mm f2.8 equivalent lens in 35mm film format. You are certainly getting a lot of lens for your money.



Conclusion

The Fujinon XF200mm f2 is one lens that will definitely be in my camera bag (ordered and waiting for it impatiently) and I would highly recommend it for anyone shooting sports, actions and/or wildlife with the X-T3, X-T2 or X-H1.



PLEASE NOTE: Some of the images here were taken on a pre-production model XF200mm f2 lens and not a final production version. Others were taken by my trusty XF50-140mm f2.8 lens. You can find out all the metadata from the photos information icon.

  • Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES (FRA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES of France compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE (ITA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE of Italy compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI (ITA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI of Italy compete in the Ice Dance Skating Program at the ISU Senior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Rika KIHIRA (JPN)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec 2018. Rika KIHIRA of Japan competes in the Ladies Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Victoria SINITSINA / Nikita KATSALAPOV (RUS)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Victoria SINITSINA / Nikita KATSALAPOV of Russia compete in the Ice Dance Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Sofia SAMODUROVA (RUS)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec 2018. Sofia SAMODUROVA of Russia competes in the Ladies Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Cheng PENG / Yang JIN (CHN)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Cheng PENG / Yang JIN of China compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Nathan CHEN (USA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 7th Dec, 2018. Nathan CHEN of the United States competes in the Men Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 7, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE (ITA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE of Italy compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Tiffani ZAGORSKI / Jonathan GUERREIRO (RUS)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Tiffani ZAGORSKI / Jonathan GUERREIRO of Russia compete in the Ice Dance Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES (FRA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES of France compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI (ITA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI of Italy compete in the Ice Dance Skating Program at the ISU Senior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Tiffani ZAGORSKI / Jonathan GUERREIRO (RUS)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Tiffani ZAGORSKI / Jonathan GUERREIRO of Russia compete in the Ice Dance Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE (ITA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE of Italy compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI (ITA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI of Italy compete in the Ice Dance Skating Program at the ISU Senior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Evgenia TARASOVA / Vladimir MOROZOV (RUS)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Evgenia TARASOVA / Vladimir MOROZOV of Russia compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE (USA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE of the United States compete in the Ice Dance Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE (ITA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE of Italy compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Evgenia TARASOVA / Vladimir MOROZOV (RUS)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Evgenia TARASOVA / Vladimir MOROZOV of Russia compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE (ITA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE of Italy compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Cheng PENG / Yang JIN (CHN)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Cheng PENG / Yang JIN of China compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES (FRA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES of France compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Alexandra STEPANOVA (RUS)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN of Russia compete in the Ice Dance Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Satoko Miyahara (JPN)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec 2018. Satoko MIYAHARA of Japan competes in the Ladies Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Nathan CHEN (USA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 7th Dec, 2018. Nathan CHEN of the United States competes in the Men Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 7, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE (USA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE of the United States compete in the Ice Dance Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Satoko Miyahara (JPN)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec 2018. Satoko MIYAHARA of Japan competes in the Ladies Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES (FRA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES of France compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE (ITA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE of Italy compete in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE (USA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec, 2018. Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE of the United States compete in the Ice Dance Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Rika KIHIRA (JPN)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec 2018. Rika KIHIRA of Japan competes in the Ladies Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Pairs Ceremony @ the 2018 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec 2018. Cheng Peng & Yang Jin (Left) of China, Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres (Centre) of France, Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov (Right) of Russia, win silver, gold and bronze respectively in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the 2018 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Ice Dance Ceremony @ the 2018 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec 2018. Ice dancers Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov (Left) of Russia, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (Centre) of the United States, Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (Right) of Italy win silver, gold and bronze respectively in the ice dance couples' competition at the 2018 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Pairs Ceremony @ the 2018 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec 2018. Cheng Peng & Yang Jin (Left) of China, Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres (Centre) of France, Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov (Right) of Russia, win silver, gold and bronze respectively in the Pairs Free Skating Program at the 2018 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

  • Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE (USA)

    Vancouver, Canada. 8th Dec 2018. Madison Hubbell (L) and Zachary Donohue of the United States win gold in the Free Skating Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Joe Ng/Alamy Live News

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