Lens Test: Fujifilm XF 55–200mm f/3.5–4.8 R LM OIS

Fujifilm builds out its zoom catalog

September 13 Fuji Main
September 13 Fuji Main
By APS-C standards, this XF lens is quite large. Canon’s comparable 55–250mm f/4–5.6 EF-S IS, for example, is shorter by more than an inch and lighter by almost half a pound. And it reaches 250mm!Satoshi

In April 2013, this 55–200mm f/3.5–4.8 OIS zoom ($699, street) joined the Fujinon 18–55mm f/2.8–4 zoom ($699, street) to round out a relatively fast and useful XF-series optical system for Fujifilm’s impressive X-series of ILCs. How good is it?

An 84–305mm full frame equivalent, the 55–200mm f/3.5–4.8 includes a built-in stabilizer, two ED and one Super ED elements for controlling chromatic aberration, and has a unique soft-sided lens pouch that doubles as a cleaning cloth.

Cosmetically, the 55–200mm is strikingly plain-Jane, with no subject distance scale, ornamental brand markings, or even f-stop numerals on its aperture ring (they appear on the LCD screen). It does, however, sport a unique auto/manual aperture switch that’s actually quite convenient.

In the field, the lens balanced awkwardly on our X-E1, espe-cially racked out to 200mm. Autofocus was wonderfully fast and very quiet, but manual focus, of the electronic sort, was compromised by a too-long turning radius (230 degrees) and no hard stop at either end.

In the Popular Photography optics lab, the lens put up Excellent-range SQF numbers, with sharpness and contrast slightly below that of comparable Canon, Sigma, and Sony APS-C zooms. In DxO Analyzer Version 5.0 tests of distortion control, however, the lens performed spectacularly, presenting the most impressive distortion control of any recently tested zoom. The same for edge falloff: none. Another bonus: the additional 3.3 stops of sharp handholding made possible by the on-board image stabilization system (OIS).

As Fujifilm’s only current XF tele zoom, this favorably-priced, optically excellent lens, while a little unwieldy, is almost a must-own optic for most X cam shooters. By the way, Fujifilm has announced a pending X-camera firmware upgrade that promises to significantly boost the already fast focusing speeds. Yes, defin-itely must-own.

(57.25–199.98mm tested), f/3.5–4.8 (f/3.57–5.14 tested), 14 elements in 10 groups. Focus ring turns 230 degrees. Zoom ring turns 50 degrees. Focal length marked at 55-, 70-, 100-, 135-, and 200mm.
Diagonal view angle: 29-8 degrees
Weight: 1.32 lbs
Filter size: 62mm
Mounts: Fujifilm X-mount
Included: Lenshood, lens wrapping cloth
Street price: $699
Website: fujifilmusa.com

At 55mm, 0.02% (Imperceptible) pincushion; at 100mm, 0.01% (Imperceptible) pincushion; at 200mm, 0.01% (Imperceptible) pincushion
Light falloff: At 55mm, none; at 100mm, none; at 200mm, none
Close-focusing distance: 40.33 inches
Maximum magnification ratio: At 55mm, 1:14.33; at 100mm, 1:8.04; at 200mm, 1:4.72