Last year I bought in to the Fujifilm system as a way to have a lighter kit while not sacrificing image quality. If you have read my other blog posts about Fujifilm or follow me on Instagram, you know I love shooting with my Fujifilm cameras. One of the first lenses I purchased was the Fujifilm 55-200mm XF f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS lens.
For my landscape work, I use the 16-55 lens the most often. That focal range is simply the most useful for the scenes I normally shoot. It allows me to go wide angle and provides enough zoom to get closer to subjects. Landscape photography is more than wide angle shots though. Telephoto lenses can also be used very effectively to get landscape shots. Especially in the mountains.
I have a few awesome telephoto lenses for Nikon including the legendary Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VRII and the fantastic Tamron 100-400. I always have one of these lenses with me when I’m out with my Nikon gear. But that makes my bag really, really heavy and a pain (literally) to hike with. So I needed a telephoto option for Fuji.
The obvious choice for super telephoto is the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens. This would give me plenty of the telephoto reach I need. But this lens is $1,899 USD so it’s a bit more expensive than I wanted to pay. The next choice is Fujifilm’s XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR. This would be a really nice lens to own as it’s the equivalent to a 75-210mm lens. But this lens is also expensive at $1,599 USD. In addition, these two lenses weigh about 3 lbs and 2 lbs respectively. That’s in the same ballpark as the Nikon 70-200 so that would kind of defeat the purpose of a lighter and smaller kit.
The Fujifilm 55-200mm is the perfect choice for my needs and here’s why.
Why I chose the Fujifilm 55-200mm XF f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS lens
First thing’s first, I wanted a telephoto zoom for my Fujifilm kit. This lens goes from 55mm on the short side to 200mm on the long end, which is a full frame equivalent to 82.5mm all the way up to 300mm. This is plenty of reach for most situations. Even with my 100-400 I don’t have too many landscape shots at focal lengths longer than 300mm.
The Fujifilm 55-200mm won’t have enough range for wildlife though. If I was going out to shoot wildlife specifically (like at Yellowstone), I would definitely have the 100-400 with me in addition to this lens.
It is physically small at only ~4.5 inches. So it fits easily in a small camera bag. In addition to looking for a lighter kit, I wanted a smaller kit so I could carry a smaller backpack. This lens gives you a lot of reach in a small package.
Plus it weighs only 1.28 pounds. That’s not bad! This is light enough to not weight down my bag. I can have this lens in my kit and walk around all day without any pain issues. With my heavy full frame gear, even a short walk with a full backpack is tiring.
I’m not a pixel peeper. I used to care about that stuff but I don’t have the time, energy, or interest to scour over photos at 300%. This lens is just fine in the sharpness category. At all focal lengths this lens is good enough to provide very good sharpness throughout the frame. Is this lens going to be as sharp as the 50-140? Of course not. But I am very happy with the performance and it definitely is sharp enough.
Most telephoto lenses these days have Optical Image Stabalization (OIS) so this isn’t really a unique feature to the Fujifilm 55-200mm lens. Since I am on a tripod for the most part I have this turned off almost all the time. But it works very well and I’m glad to have it when I don’t have a tripod or just need to hand hold my camera for a shot.
Finally, this lens is priced at a good spot. The regular price of this lens is $699 which is a very good value. Also, Fujifilm regularly has very generous instant rebates that will bring the price even lower. As I write this, there is a rebate of $200 off. That means this lens can be had, brand new with full warranty for only $499. That’s one of the best bang for your buck deals in the Fuji lens lineup!
This is a very good lens for your Fujifilm kit and I highly recommend it. Having this lens in your bag means you will have the telephoto reach with your whenever you need it in a small and light package. Here are a few more shots I’ve taken with this lens.