A 2019 Review of the Fujinon XF200mm F2 | Monster Performance

There are a few lenses that users have repeatedly asked Fujifilm to make, such as the Mark II versions of the classical XF35mm f1.4 or the XF18mm f2 lenses and of course it was a forgone conclusion that when the XF200mm f2 R LM OIS WR was released in end 2018, some were left scratching their heads why would Fujifilm focus on a lens priced at a premium (USD6000) where probably lesser than 8% of its users will ever be an owner of.

 

The XF200mm f2 lens is built for professionals who do not accept compromises, a lens that a manufacturer makes to say: “We can do it.”

But before we criticize the practicality, take a step back and ponder: The XF200mm f2 is a piece of glass with an amazing close focusing distance of 1.8m, weather sealing, optical image stabilization. Include the ability to use the renowned Fujifilm film simulations, you’re going to get a product that is going to deliver photos for the most demanding of photographers.

It is truly a telephoto prime lens for Fujifilm’s X-series cameras that one can say is built for the professional in mind. Note I am referring to the league of users that will consider purchasing a Nikon 300mm f2.8G VR II or a Canon 300mm f2.8L IS lens, photographers who shoot sports, wildlife where they demand nothing short of the best the manufacturer can offer, not users who quibble over the extra they have to fork out when they upgrade from the XF23mm f2 to the XF23mm f1.4 lens. 


The XF200mm f2 comes with a filter size of 105mm, designed to gobble up every possible bit of light for imaging excellence. 

The XF 200mm f2 lens offers an angle-of-view similar to that of a 305mm lens in a full-frame system, which can be extended to 427mm using the XF 1.4x TC WR teleconverter that’s supplied together. Note that every piece of the XF200mm f2 comes with its own personal tuned piece of the teleconverter. 

Built with a full-metal construction and the very first Fujinon lens to offer a matte silver coating to minimize loss of the image quality due to heat transmission, this monster includes a twin linear motor that enables quiet and fast auto-focusing and a full 5-stops optical image stabilization system.


I map the autofocus half-press function to the built-in Fn buttons around the barrel actually for better ergonomic function. 

The XF200mm f2 comes with a no effort spared optical construction with 19 elements in 14 groups including one super ED element and two regular ED lens elements, weather sealing, fluorine coating on the front lens element to repel water and dirt, nine rounded aperture blades for a smooth circular bokeh, a 1/3EV step aperture ring and of course built-in rotating tripod collar. In fact, the collar has its own attachments for a camera strap since I guess the user should be more bothered with dropping the lens vs dropping the camera body should the unfortunate happen. 

Usage and Auto-focus.

The Fujifilm XF 200mm f2 R LM OIS WR (WR for weather resistance, LM for linear motor and R for Aperture ring) is without a doubt a massive lens, especially with the huge lens hood attached, weighing in at 2,265g and making the X-T3 that I mounted it on look like a back lens cap in comparison.

The XF200mm f2 mounted on the X-T3 with Lynn. No, she can’t carry it at 3 years of age.

Note that although if you compare this combination to the Canon or Nikon DSLR equivalent, it’s still significantly lighter and smaller overall. In fact, I didn’t even need to have it mounted on a monopod for usage and simply used it handheld.

Isolation and bokeh are unsurpassed within the Fujifilm X-system. You are paying for the best of what the X-mount can offer coming to a telephoto focal length and this lens truly delivers. 

Auto-focus, face and eye detection all worked as promised, with the setup nailing the eyes most of the time easily and fast. After all, this is a piece of optics designed for shooting wildlife and sports. Details, sharpness are all non-negotiable and the XF200mm performs admirably well. 

Conclusion.

The Fujifilm Fujinon XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR is not a piece of optics that every photographer will own, even if most will lust after it for its performance. The price, close to USD $6,000, means the XF 200mm is destined to be in the hands of very serious hobbyists and professionals who earn a living from their photography.

However, its performance will please the most demanding photographers, giving X-system owners a true professional telephoto prime, one that shoots at a constant aperture of f2 versus having to compromise with a variable aperture. 

I have used the GFX system for some time, and have done a review of the exceptional GF250mm here, and a conclusion is that the XF200mm f2’s performance is unparalleled within X-mount and is not very far off from the GF250mm except for the additional details and of course separation that the GFX system can deliver.

The Fujifilm Fujinon XF 200mm f2 lens delivers exceptional image quality, excellent stabilization, and a bright f2 aperture housed in a robust weather resistant full metal body. One will have to fork out good cash for this quality but my take is that every cent invested will be worth it. 

Thank you for reading.

*Disclaimer. 
1. All the images shared here are shot by me on the X-T3 and XF200mm f2 set-up. 
2. I was not paid in any form for this review and the opinions shared are my personal views, and the lens was loaned with the generosity of Fujifilm Asia Pacific and returned at the end of the review. 
3. I reserve ownerships to these images, I am generally very easy-going with ownership as I believe photography should be generous but there have been a few cases where readers have notified me of others who have used the images for purposes of profit.

keithwee

Keith Father, Teacher and Life Photographer. Lives a life of positivism & seeks to photograph Life & his 2 toddlers Kei & Lynn.

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