A portrait session in Singapore’s Southern Islands with the Fujinon XF200mm f2 and XF23 f1.4.

Note: My full review of the Fujinon XF200mm f2 R LM OIS WR lens is here

From the experience back then when writing the review for this top league lens in Fujifilm X-mount, it was already quite clear that the extraordinary optical and auto-focus performance of the XF200mm f2 lens is an exemplar of what-can-be when Fujifilm decides to pull out all stops. 

Legend says that shooting it wide open devours all available light for a split second. 

Instead of the wildlife and sports genre that this lens is marketed for, today we will spend a bit of time looking at this optical monster from another point of view, in portraiture. 


  1. All images shared here are photographed by me using either the XF200mm f2 or the XF23 f1.4 lens on the Fujifilm X-T3. 
  2. Edits were minimal and were done to my personal taste.
  3. Being a visual review, I will attempt to keep text to a minimum 🙂

Getting to St. John’s and Lazarus island. 

XF200mm f2, X-T3

Reaching the Southern islands is not difficult, and there are boats available for private charter or for the public. Timings are available here for your planning.

XF200mm f2, X-T3

This was the ferry company we used for this occasion, the operator was super friendly and actually even allowed us to board even when I had carelessly bought the tickets for the wrong date. 

XF23mm f1.4, X-T3

XF23mm f1.4, X-T3

On the Island. 

XF23mm f1.4, X-T3

A bit of history of the island from 1874 can be found here, the island was only refurbished and parts of it rebuilt in the last decade and made open to the public a few years back.

In its past, St. John’s island was mostly used to quarantine infectious patients and later took on various roles such as a drug rehabilitation center, a detention center for political prisoners and today a campsite and holiday destination housing a few blocks that serve as research facilities too.

XF200mm f2, X-T3, abandoned jetty. 

The island has lots of open space, is surrounded by beaches and the sea, making it an excellent area for photoshoots provided great weather is assumed. 

XF200mm f2, X-T3
In case you over swim a bit and find yourself back in Singapore. 

Getting around the island is mostly by walking, and be prepared to do some walking with your own brought food and water supplies.

XF200mm f2, X-T3, Nicole’s sitting on an abandoned boat 

XF200mm f2, X-T3.

There are many forest trails for visitors to explore if you dare. A few research facilities are housed on the island and are protected by guard towers and barbed wire fences. 

XF200mm f2, X-T3.

XF200mm f2, X-T3.

Other than the break-waters surrounding the island, there’s actually a beach in the inner side that provides the picturesque fine sand and see-through waters view.

XF200mm f2, X-T3.

XF23mm f1.4, X-T3

XF23mm f1.4, X-T3.

Weirdly, the presence of wildlife is sparse here, and I guess probably due to the island’s history of being a quarantine center. 

XF200mm f2, X-T3.

Go in further, and one finds a perfect spot for the XF200mm f2’s operating distance haha, a long bridge connecting St. John’s island to Lazarus island. 

XF200mm f2, X-T3.

XF23mm f1.4, X-T3.

Parts of the previously out of bounds area is now open to the public too. Some of the buildings here were clearly designed to keep people in instead of strangers out. 

XF200mm f2, X-T3

XF23mm f1.4, X-T3

XF200mm f2, X-T3

XF23mm f1.4, X-T3

There are areas we did not manage to explore too, and I am sure if you do make time, you will be able to capture even more of the history and beauty of these two islands.

Thank you for reading.

Nicole, my partner for this article can be contacted for collaboration and projects at nic@facestm.com

Keith Wee

Photography Reviewer and Mathematics Educator. Writes for Fujifilm Asia Pacific, Fujilove and FujiXPassion and loves to share life as it is, with its sweet and bitter moments.

4 thoughts on “A portrait session in Singapore’s Southern Islands with the Fujinon XF200mm f2 and XF23 f1.4.

  1. I like the backstory of the island. First rule of portraiture, start with a beautiful subject and Nicole’s portraits were excellent. My favourite shot, and the one that I think shows off the IQ of this lens, is Nicole standing on the jetty. A wonderful soft falloff in focus.

    But this lens seems even more massive than the XF100-400mmF3.5-5.6.


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