Fujifilm 50-140mm f/2.8 Review
It’s no secret that I’m a diehard fan of Fujifilm cameras and lenses. They make incredible gear and I’m a huge hoarder… I mean lover… of it.
But even within the Fuji eco-system, there are some products that stand out from the pack. Amazing products that are leading the way in design, function, quality and performance.
Once such stand-out performer is the Fujifilm 50-140mm f/2.8 – one of the few Fuji red badge XF Zoom lenses.
As with children, you’re not supposed to have a favourite – but for me, it’s this one. It’s by far one of the best Fuji lenses available.
Aside from the constant 2.8 aperture, responsive autofocus, weather sealing and included mounting foot, it’s also solid enough to drive nails into wood.
With this lens in your kit, you have access to a great focal range of 50-140mm (76-213mm in 35mm format). You can do some serious stalking with this one.
Even though I’m a prime shooter, I recently invested in the Fujifilm XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 (check out my review here) and while it’s an awesome lens with great performance, it can’t compete with the quality of the 50-140mm!
Shooting with this lens is an absolute joy as you tend to spend your time looking for ways to trick the autofocus into missing a shot. (It doesn’t, by the way.)
To be honest, not much could compare to this stellar lens from Fuji. Let’s take a closer look at one of the seven wonders of the photographic world.
Fujifilm 50-140mm f/2.8 Review: Summary
The Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 edges impressively close to perfection, boasting quick, silent autofocus, exceptional low-light performance, and a super-solid build. Undoubtedly one of the best Fuji lenses around, its versatile focal length can capture portraits, landscapes or pretty much anything else. The only downsides? Its somewhat hefty weight and price.
Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 Specs
- Superb image quality
- Fast autofocus
- Handy focus range
- Heavy for a Fuji lens
- Focus range of 50-140mm (76-213mm in 35mm format equivalent)
- 23 elements in 16 groups
- Minimal focus: 1m – ∞
- Dimensions: 82.9mm x 175.9mm (3.26″ x 6.92″)(Wide / Telephoto)
- Weight: 995g (2.19lbs)
- Filter: 72mm
Build & Ergonomics
As I mentioned in my introduction, you could use the Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 as a blunt object perfect for DIY building projects – it’s a seriously solid lens.
With a full metal body and weighing in at just under 1kg, it’s certainly no lightweight nor is this one of those pocketable Fuji lenses.
Not only does it have a decent heft, but it’s also a sizable lens for Fujifilm: from cap to cap it’s almost 200mm (7.87″).
Throw on the considerable petal-shaped lens hood and you have a 265mm (10.45″) lens.
Drop this bad boy on a compact Fuji body like the Fujifilm X-T200 and you’ve got a comical-looking pair – granted that this pairing would perform just as effectively as if it were mounted to an X-T3.
Obviously, it’s a lens that feels more at home on a body such as the X-T3, X-T4 or X-H1 – the sizing is well balanced with these Fuji bodies.
Three rings control this lens beginning with an aperture ring that glides from f/2.8 to f/22 with 1/3 stops on its clicky travel.
Then there’s a broad zoom ring with a rubberized cover. The glide of the zoom is smooth with the right amount of resistance.
A big plus for this lens is that the zoom is all internal – there’s no barrel extension to achieve longer zoom.
Finally, the focus ring is all metal and textured for a sure grip – though this one’s a little too stiff on the travel and has to rotate quite far to reach focal caps.
The filter is 72mm and the lens hood is made from hardened plastic. This features a small gate that can be removed so that you can control a variable filter.
Closer to the lens mount, there are two screw threads where you can securely attach the tripod mount.
This is a bit like a leg with a foot that allows you to secure the lens, and not the camera, to the tripod. Fitting any camera to a tripod with a heavy lens can put undue pressure on the lens mount of the camera and lens.
There’s a third screw dial that allows you to loosen the collar that this mount fits too. That way, you can rotate the lens and camera 360 degrees without having to remove the gear from the tripod.
I like that you can use the attached foot as a handle to carry your paired camera and lens by.
Another wonderful feature of this lens is the OIS or Optical Image Stabilisation On/Off switch. For Fuji bodies that don’t have IBIS this is a brilliant addition.
So the Fuji XF 50-140mm f/2.8 looks and feels great – but let’s take a look at how well it performs.
During my time in Kyoto, I used this lens extensively as a street lens. I know, I know… the street purists out there will be screaming at their monitors over my blasphemy.
But there’s a very good reason for this behaviour and you’ll need to read on to find out what it is.
Regardless, I’m the kind of photographer that believes in shooting with what you have and in this case I had the Fuji 50-140mm f/2.8.
What’s more, I loved every minute of it. Scenes that I would otherwise not be able to capture or get close enough to in a timely way, I was able to quickly lift and shoot.
I also found that regardless of the lighting conditions, I was always able to instantly gain fast and sticky focus – it never let me down.
Thanks to its triple-linear focus-motors, the Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 is fast and silent to operate – amazing given how much glass it’s moving.
An important note on the use of the focus-motors: These will, of course, require power from the camera’s battery to activate and work – when not powered the lens feels like there is a loose object inside.
Fear not: it’s not faulty nor falling apart. This is part of the design and quickly disappears once powered. Pay no attention to the YouTubers screaming about a faulty lens.
I took the Sanyo Shinkansen from Osaka to Hiroshima one morning. It travels at up to 350kmh (217mph).
On the way, I was pointing the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 through the window and capturing amazing shots of the Japanese countryside as it sped by.
Rice fields, villages and farm residences were captured in crisp detail even at that speed and through a window.
The images produced by the Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 are of course going to also be a result of the camera in use at the time.
Even four years after I first used this lens, I’m still super impressed by the image quality.
When I picked up the lens in Kyoto back in 2016 I was shooting with the Fujifilm X-T1 – the flagship camera at the time.
While that doesn’t compare to the performance of the current-day flagship models, it produced exceptional image quality with the Fuji 50-140mm.
Shooting close-up images will require a minimal focus distance of 1m (39.4″) although with a zoom of this nature it’s the distant objects that catch your eye.
Wide-open and even stopped down a little, the Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 achieves great subject separation with creamy out of focus areas and crisp subjects.
What’s more, even without stopping right down, I was able to achieve edge-to-edge sharpness with no distortion of any kind.
Fuji have done an incredible job at correcting this lens prior to release.
Value for Money
At around US$1,600 the Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 is one of the pricier lenses in the Fuji line-up – though not the most expensive by far.
By comparison, the Fuji XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 is less than half the price!
Regardless, I think that even at that price the lens is exceptional value for money.
You’re getting one of the best, if not the best, lenses Fujifilm has ever produced for its X-mount system.
And when I say ‘best”, I mean best in every aspect – image quality, focus performance, low-light performance and focal range usability.
As I mentioned, this is a near-perfect red badge XF lens making it a premium image solution.
Furthermore, like me, once you drop it onto your favourite Fuji camera it’s not likely to come off for a long time. You’ll soon realise why this is such an incredible lens and will be lost in the delight of shooting everything in sight.
Fujifilm 50-140mm f/2.8 Review | Conclusion
I have a little bit of a story to share about the Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 I previously owned – but keep it between us.
I was on my second trip to Japan in 2016 and stayed in the centre of Kyoto. I’d spent a lazy afternoon in an Izakaya eating unknown grilled meats and drinking some of Japan’s finest beer with the locals.
This was all-important street photography research of course!
On my way back to my hotel, I stopped into Yodobashi Camera store. This was a big mistake.
Yodobashi is a giant camera store that you can find in most of the Japanese mega-cities.
They sell every kind of camera gear you could possibly describe – like a department store full of camera tech. There’s one in Shinjuku, Tokyo that has seven floors of camera gear alone!
I thought I’d check out the Fuji department (yes they had a whole department and not just a cabinet in the corner).
The next thing I knew I’d purchased the Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8!
I blame my bank for allowing my credit card to make such a reckless purchase after an Asahi-inspired afternoon. Turns out my bank were aware of it but chose to suspend my credit card after the purchase. That’s a whole other story!
Needless to say, I’d spent a handsome sum of money on the lens – plus survived 24 hours without access to my credit card – so I was intent on making the most of it.
As a street lens, the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 may leave you feeling a little stalkerish. But, it does allow you to capture priceless candid moments of people interacting with their world – from a distance.
And in this new world of social distancing, perhaps this will be the new path for street photographers!
For sport, wildlife and even travel, it’s a perfect fit for capturing distant and fast-moving subjects. I was able to comfortably track kite-surfers out on the bay.
While the price is a little steep, it’s certainly not unreasonable when you consider that you’re buying a lens that’s as close to perfect as you can possibly get.
Granted, I’m a Fuji fan – but even with my Fuji cap off, I would have to say this is one of the best lenses on the market and certainly one of the best I’ve tested.
With a lens like the Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 in your kit, you’ll beam with confidence in your ability to capture amazing images every single time.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.