FUJINON XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR is currently the longest Fujifilm lens for mirrorless Fuji cameras. I had to give it a try – no other option 🙂
The big advantage of this lens is it’s size and weight – both much lower than for Full Frame lenses of comparable field of view. The range of 100mm to 400mm of the focal length for APS-C sensor translates to field of view of the 150mm – 600mm full frame lens. Comparable Nikon lens – the Nikkor 200-500 f/5.6 is heavier by ca 1kg and longer by ca 6cm. The difference in length has shown up during packing the gear to the bag, and the difference in weight was really apparent after several hours of hand-hold shooting. And these differences in weight and size were the main reason why I was interested in this lens at all – finally I can put APS-C lens on the APS-C body instead of using full frame lens – much heavier and bigger.
To be honest, my first impressions were not as good as expected. Slightly (but only slightly) disappointed me the quality of the mechanical design of this lens. Focus ring rotates hard, but it has a minor axial clearances – something that I even did not expect to be present in the Fujifilm lens. A focus ring has this axial clearance even a little higher. This is not the precision of the workmanship, which I expected. But the worse thing is the design of the tripod foot. The manufacturer came up with the foot bolted to a ring on the lens body with two screws. In principle, a very convenient solution, because you can easily unplug the foot, so that the lens is more convenient to handle and even a few dozen grams lighter. But this foot mounted, moves slightly together with the ring to which it is screwed! This unfortunately is a serious flaw in case of telephoto lens.
But let’s get to the photos. And let the optical quality of the lens speaks for itself. All of the following pictures, except of one, which is a heavy crop from an original picture, are jpgs, imported from the memory card to Adobe Lightroom, where they were only scaled down for screen without any modifications. That mentioned cropped image also has not been modified in any way other than just cutting out the interesting fragment out of the whole picture.
My impressions: generally using this lens is a very good experience, but there are some issues as well. Zoom ring needs too much of force to turn it. It is very disturbing when during quick action you need to change the focal length fast. Image stabilization works really well – there’s nothing to complain about. The speed of focusing is very good, though not as good as in the case of Nikon lenses on professional bodies. Fujifilm focusing system with telephoto lenses like Fujinon 100-400 requires refinement, especially at the longest focal length. Many times during this session I got the impression that the system did not predict, where the tracked object will be in a moment, just trying to focus on the current position of the subject. In the case of horses, galloping around 50km/h towards the lens, very often the focus on the picture was set too far.
Taking all the above together, I strongly recommend this lens. It (or maybe the whole system) requires some improvements, but it is already great tool if you need to travel light, having some more reach at the same time.
And finally a movie, made through the Fujinon 100-400 – here is clearly visible the issue with fast and fluid change of focal length, but also the quality of image stabilization – this movie was taken hand-hold and most of the time with the focal length of 400mm: