Fujifilm XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR - A review with sample photos from around the world
A jack of all trades telephoto lens?
A switch from Canon to Fujifilm
For a number of years, I relied on Canon 70-200mm zooms for most of my telephoto work. In the digital era, the EF 70-200mm f/4L was my entry into Canon’s system back in 2004. Wow, time flies. For low light and shallow depth of field, I added the excellent EF 135mm f/2L and the f/4 zoom was upgraded to an f/2.8 version. For portrait sessions and mainly wedding photography I had the excellent, but bulky and heavy Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II. I used to shoot more sports and also dabbled at wildlife photography, and my telephoto setup was nicely rounded off with an EF 300mm f/2.8L IS. In 2015 my wife and I set a goal to travel to 50 countries in the span of 50 months. With this decision came a complete switch in camera gear. I sold all my Canon gear and swapped it for a lighter Fujifilm kit.
XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR, a versatile option
So how do you replace four excellent Canon telephoto lenses with one? You know the answer and of course, it is not possible. It came down to compromises. A compromise, which has been surprisingly easy to live with. Keep in mind my needs are not the same and my photography goals have changed. At this point, I have used the XF 90mm f/2 extensively over the past 3+ years in a variety of settings and situations. My goal was to have one telephoto lens do it all. 90mm APS-C, or the full frame equivalent of 135mm, I have found is a wonderful happy medium. It is a great focal length for portraits and produces superb bokeh. It has proven to be excellent for landscapes with sharp images compressing the scene just enough. I have used on rainy days, so nice to know it is weather sealed. It has silent and fast autofocus and tracks well. I have welcomed the IBIS (in body stabilization) in the X-H1 as the XF 90mm is not stabilized. This opens up new terrain and I am not worried about shooting it handheld at lower than usual shutter speeds. I have shot handheld video on the X-H1 and was baffled how well he footage was stabilized.
Alternatives in the Fujifilm lineup
I tried the XF 50-140 f/2.8 briefly but found it too big for my X-Pro2, which was the only body I had at the time. When I sold my Canon kit the 70-200 f/2.8L was the first lens to go as I always preferred the look and feel of the 135mm f/2L. It produced images, which had extra sharpness, pop and colour, and it was easier to carry. Much the same can be said about the XF 90mm f/2. What about the 100-400mm? Again, it is too big for my needs. I do not need the longer focal length and I was slightly disappointed after a one day test. Not really fair to write a lens off after one day but I never really seriously considered it an option. I the beginning of the year I considered swapping my XF 90mm for an XF 56mm f/1.2. Ideally, you would have both but I am sticking with the XF 90mm for now. I will be traveling again later this year. It will be a backpack only trip so I need to save as much weight/space as possible. As much as I like the 90, I may not bring it for this next installment of 5050 Travelog.
How about the full frame options?
Are the full frame files shots with my older Canon lenses, EF 85L and 135L different? I would say yes. The differences are subtle but noticeable. I doubt that clients or anyone, other than photographers, would notice the difference. Every time you make a step up in sensor size the photos become more lifelike. Especially the way a portrait is rendered and the sharpness changes depending on the depth of field chosen. For the APS-C sensor size, the XF 90mm does a mighty fine job though. The larger format cameras, however, are heavier, more expensive and can break your back. Does this mean I wouldn’t want a GFX? Not at all :)
We travel with Fujifilm X-Series cameras and lenses visiting 50 countries in 50 months. Tag along for Photography Inspiration - 5050 Travelog