See the Lite and See the Light

on May 09, 2018
See? I happened upon a Fujinon XC 50-230mm f 1:4.5-6.7 OIS II lens in the storeroom and leaped on it with a glad cry. I have several small Fujifilm X-series bodies to hand and two airports within a reasonable proximity. What better chance to try the light-duty medium zoom from Fujifilm. The Fujifilm shooters who only buy the heaviest of their lenses...and the heaviest of their bodies...may sniff at this but I am not prejudiced. The lens is deliberately aimed at the starter in the Fujifilm X-series - the people who may have the XA cameras with the short 16 -50 or 15-45 kit lenses. The plan in Fujifilm may have been to equip them with simpler and cheaper options for expanded photography - the actual result is that a lot of us now have a better choice of lenses. The lens barrel and mount is plastic. You can't get away from that. There may be metal in there somewhere but it doesn't make its way to the surface. Even the back lens cap is a cheaper form of construction - the translucent push-on. But the lens elements themselves are glass and good glass at that - and there is sophistication in the construction that is not evident to the casual observer. Even I was fooled. The testbed was a Fujifilm X-E2 camera - fully updated, of course. It is light, handy, and actually a very good match to the XC lens range. It can also cross over to support their XF lenses as well. Customers who want to match this lens with a more modern body should think X-E3 or X-A5...but like the little black dress, really it goes with everything. And like the little black dress, once you have it on your body, no-one sees what is inside. Thank you, Coco Chanel... Back to the test. The lens was taken out to Jandakot airport and pointed in the direction of the aircraft. The first thing that was evident was that the normal setting for the camera's AF mechanism - a single point - was woeful. It hunted more than a yellow dog in a swamp. The camera was switched to full multi screen selection and left to its own devices and we were both much happier - there are times when being a control freak is not helpful. At that setting it nailed the aircraft every time. Jeepers, this is a good lens. It may be plastic mounted, but it is as sharp as anything I want to pay for. Whether the Cessnas were going from right to left or front to back the zoom got them in sharp focus. And fast. Once the wide-screen mode was selected, the computer machinery did the right thing. If I were an aerial train spotter...and I'll leave that thought out there for you to deal with as you like ...I'd have no hesitation in using this lens every time. It works good. It is light. It is inexpensive. To paraphrase Don..." Is Fujifilm. Is good " PS: Are you any good with figures? Read tomorrow...