Photography News Issue 31

Photography News | Issue 31 |

41 First tests

FujifilmXF100- 400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OISWR £1499


Format APS-C (152-609mm equivalent in 35mm format) Mount Fujifilm X Construction 21 elements in 14 groups Special lens elements 5 extra low dispersion, 1 super low dispersion Coatings Fluorine Filter size 77mm Aperture range f/4.5-22 Diaphragm 9 blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes Minimum focus 21.75m Focus limiter 5m-infinity, 1.75-5m Maximummagnification 0.19x Distance scale Yes Depth-of-field scale Yes Image stabiliser Yes, 5EV benefit Tripod collar Yes Lens hood Yes, lockable and with slot for polariser use Weather-sealed Yes, 13 water and dust resistant seals Dimensions (lxd) 210.5x94.8mm Weight 1375g Contact

Smaller formats like APS-C and Micro Four Thirds have the advantage over 35mm full-frame when it comes to long telephotos. The smaller image area means lenses can be more compact for the same telephoto effect or a little bigger and have greater pulling power. Thus the new Fujifilm XF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR has the effect of a 152-609mm telezoom. Add a 1.4x teleconverter and it becomes a 213-853mm lens. That is serious pulling power, even if the maximum aperture of the lens/ teleconverter at 853mm is only f/8. The 100-400mm has all the bells and whistles you’d expect Fujifilm to pack into a top-end lens costing £1500. It is protected against dust and water, features exotic glass for leading optical performance, has a rotating (unmarked) aperture ring and an image stabilisation system with a claimed 5EV benefit. That covers most of the acronyms and initials in the lens’s name apart from the LM, which stands for linear motor, and this lens has two for fast, silent autofocus. In terms of physical attributes the 100-400mm is not that dissimilar to the Canon EOS full-frame lens of the same range. The Fujifilm weighs in at 1375g so is lighter by around 275g. Fit the lens onto a camera body (I tried it on an X-Pro2, X-E2S and an X-T1) and in every case the lens is the dominant partner, but balance is still good and hand-holding is very much a possibility. Strangely, the foot

of the tripod ring is really short – far too short for a lens of this focal length range. Comparing it with Fujifilm’s 50-140mm f/2.8 the foot is about half the size and that does compromise handling. A longer foot can help when hand-holding, with it fitting in the palm of the supporting hand and it also comes in handy as a carrying handle. I fitted a Wimberley tripod plate to extend the foot and make the lens more comfortable to carry. The good thing is that it is replaceable so perhaps an optional longer foot will be available – if not from Fujifilm, then almost certainly from a third party. The lens does have a lock to hold it in place at 100mm. Speaking of locks, the supplied lens hood also has a lock and should you need to use a polariser on this lens the hood has a slide window so you can rotate the filter without having to remove it. This is a good bit of design which makes the small tripod foot seem even more odd. Using a lens of a long telephoto range handheld is not ideal and a support of some sort is always to be recommended. However, in reality shooting handheld is often the only option so having an effective image stabilisation system is important. This lens’s proved remarkably skilful. If I’d read a review that said pin- sharp handheld pictures are possible at the long end of this lens at 1/25sec while standing on a sandy beach in a strong onshore breeze, I’d be more than a little sceptical of the findings.

Above Let’s be honest: hand-holding a 600mm equivalent lens at 1/25sec on a breezy day at the seaside is madness and blurry pictures are almost guaranteed. But the Fujifilm’s OIS system did a remarkable job and our shots were critically sharp.

But I managed exactly that using an X-T1 with its mechanical shutter and at 400mm, equivalent to over 600mm in the 35mm format, so I am seriously impressed. I am not for one moment suggesting this should be standard operating procedure but it does show it’s possible. Optically, this lens is a class act too. At 100mm, you get a high standard of sharpness from f/4.5 onwards at the centre as well as the edges and certainly good enough for critical use. At this focal length quality peaks

This is a very fine and highly capable lens that will appeal to nature and sports photographers. It is no lightweight and definitely not the sort of optic you would carry around on the off-chance of getting a picture, but for its focal length range the XF100-400mm is remarkably portable and compact. Optically it is very good too and perfectly useable at its wider apertures, which is a key quality with telephoto lenses like this where the smaller apertures are generally less important. And in regards to sharp handheld shots, the lens’s IS system is remarkably good at delivering sharp results at shutter speeds you shouldn’t really be using for a lens this long. All in all, a very fine lens and at a decent price for a long telephoto. The images Our test pictures were shot with the 100-400mm zoommounted on a Benro Mach 3 TMA38CLV3 tripod. The camera used was a FujifilmX-Pro2 and self- timer used to trigger the shutter. Resulting images were processed through Adobe Lightroom. relatively speaking, was at 400mm. Wide open sharpness was acceptable but matters improved at f/8 and f/11. Although less impressive than the 100mm and 200mm settings that is no real surprise and there is no reason why the 400mm setting can’t deliver critically good pictures. WC at f/8 before falling away. A similar performance is seen at 200mm although the best aperture was f/11 but no real complaints about thewider apertures. Only f/22 is disappointing. The weakest performance, Verdict




100MM, F/4.5

200MM, F/5

400MM, F/5.6


Features Great range, WR, OIS and swift AF


Performance Very useable wide open and even better one or two stops down Handling Only complaint is the rather strangely inadequate tripod foot

100MM, F/8

200MM, F/8

400MM, F/11



Value for money Good for the range on offer


Overall Fujifilm reputation for high optical quality upheld

100MM, F/22

200MM, F/22

400MM, F/22

Pros Image quality, very impressive image stabilisation system, WR build, great pulling power Cons Why such a small tripod foot?

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