Fujinon XF90mmF2 – First impressions

Flood sticker sunsetThis week I added the first lens to my Fuji ecosystem, the Fujinon XF90mmF2 R LM WR. Well, not exactly the first since I did get the body with the Fujinon XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS kit lens. My original goal was to go with prime lenses only. The only thing was that my wallet didn’t agree with me on that when I purchased the camera in December. With this goal in mind, I’ve been scouting the Finnish for sale forums and gathering up funds for lenses since I got the camera.

From buying to trading in under five minutes

Last Tuesday I spotted a for sale post for the Fujinon XF90mmF2 lens. And on top of everything the seller was located in my home town. Although my plan was to start with something wider like the XF23mmF2, this was too interesting to ignore. So I contacted the seller and we arranged to meet up on the same evening.

Colorful cracked rock

Once I got there, we went straight to the point and I started to check out the lens. The lens was in fine condition and everything felt nice and smooth. I also wanted to test the lens on my camera to make sure it functioned the way it was supposed to function. To be able to do this, I had to dismount my kit lens and swap it for the XF90mmF2.

While I tested the lens, we continued chatting and I found out that the seller had owned the same XF18-55mmF2.8-4 lens in the past. He was also somewhat regretting selling his copy, so I thought for a moment and made him a trade offer including my lens and cash. He in turn thought about it for a moment and accepted my offer.

So in the end I went home with the XF90mmF2 and he got my lens and a cash payment. And since this is now my only lens for the X-T20, more spending in the near future is sure to happen.

A ship lantern in black and white

Fujinon XF90mmF2 R LM WR

The XF90mmF2 is the longest prime lens Fuji offers for the X-series mount at the moment. With the APS-C crop factor it is equivalent to a 137mm lens on a full frame camera. The maximum aperture is quite bright at f/2 and it has seven rounded aperture blades for smoother out of focus areas (bokeh). It also sports a Quad Linear Motor with four magnets for faster focusing. The weight of the lens is 540g.

My first impression is that while the lens has some heft to it, the build quality is excellent. The manual focus is smooth and the aperture ring, while smooth, has also positive clicks every 1/3 stop increments. It also balances quite nicely with my X-T20 with the optional MHG-XT10 hand grip.

When shooting the focusing is nice, snappy and accurate. It gives confidence because if the photo isn’t in focus, you know you messed it up yourself somehow. The color, sharpness, out of focus areas and contrast are top notch. The only thing you need to keep an eye on is the shutter speed. A long(ish) lens without stabilization isn’t the most forgiving thing.

A pigeon in front of a ship

This lens truly delivers when it comes to sharpness, bokeh and color reproduction.

Fuji “holy trinity” and beyond

While I mentioned that I wanted to get something wider first, this lens has definitely been on my radar as well. Other lenses on my “short” list are:

  • XF16mmF1.4
  • XF23mmF2
  • XF35mmF1.4
  • XF56mmF1.2
  • XF80mmF2.8 macro.

The closest lens to the XF90mmF2 from the Canon lineup would be the EF 135mm f/2.0L, which is a part of the “holy trinity”. The two other lenses of the aforementioned trinity are the EF 35mm f/1.4L (II) and the EF 85mm f/1.2L (II).

It’s not a surprise that I have the Fuji equivalents on my list. With the crop factor accounted for, the lenses are the XF23mmF2, the XF56mmF1.2 and the XF90mmF2. Although the 23mm lens should probably be the XF23mmF1.4 variant, but it seems to have a few problems. I’d rather not deal with those issues, but I need to research this a bit more before buying anything.

Statue of Jarno Saarinen in Turku

Separation from the background at f/2 is amazing.

Trees reflecting from a glass wall

The lens is a bokeh monster, but works as well stopped down.

Closing thoughts

This week I was able to go out and shoot with the lens two times and so far I’m beyond impressed with the image quality. The focal length is a bit longer than my preferred 85mm (full frame equivalent), but I’m warming up to it fast.

Orange ceiling lamp under a terrace with XF90mmF2

Such creamy bokeh…

I’m certain that this lens will be well used and loved by me in the future as well.

-Janne

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