Fuji XC 50-230mm mini review
  • roryproryp
    Posts: 72
    I saw a great deal on the XC 50-230 at the Photography Show in Birmingham earlier this week, so I decided to take the plunge as I've been missing having a lens with longer reach since ditching my DSLR. CameraWorld were selling it for just £199!

    I know the XF 55-200 has been well received but it's pretty expensive given the only moderate aperture and focal range. The XC 50-230 on the other hand is a bit of an enigma, there's one review for it at the Photography Blog (who I don't hold in terribly high regard) and no one else has touched it. There wasn't so much as a Flickr group for the lens until I created one this evening.

    So is this lens awful, is that why it has so little coverage? Absolutely not - I've been really pleasantly surprised, the 50-230 is definitely a keeper. It's sharp, lightweight and focuses quickly and silently. Unlike its kit lens sibling, the XC 16-50, it doesn't overly rely on software distortion correction and produces little in the way of chromatic aberration. I know some people balk at the thought of a lens with a maximum aperture of f6.7 at the long end, but I find in reality I usually shoot f8 or f11 with this kind of lens as you usually want more depth of field not less. Even f6.7 is enough to safely blur the background to nothingness if you position yourself correctly in relation to your subject. The OIS seems to work really well, the focusing is fast and totally silent. It uses internal focusing so the lens doesn't pump in and out while it finds focus. Sadly the lens does have a plastic mount and Fuji only gives you a crap push on end cap rather than the usual screw on sort, but never mind. It still does the job!

    I've not had a chance to take a great number of pictures with the lens yet, but hopefully after a couple of months I'll have enough to offer a proper review on my blog. For now here's a few:



    X-E1, 14mm f2.8, 27mm f2.8, 50mm f2 Pentax, 50mm f1.4 Takumar, 55-200mm f3.5-4.8 135mm f3.5 Takumar, Lens Turbo

    www.lightpriority.net
  • roryproryp
    Posts: 72
    Also here are a couple of 100% crops from the Canada Goose shot above. This was processed in Iridient Developer so I could turn off distortion correction but it looks damn good in Lightroom too. This is at 230mm.

    X-E1, 14mm f2.8, 27mm f2.8, 50mm f2 Pentax, 50mm f1.4 Takumar, 55-200mm f3.5-4.8 135mm f3.5 Takumar, Lens Turbo

    www.lightpriority.net
  • £200 ... How much more is the 55-200 ?

    I don't normally use long zooms my last one was an old 70-210 f4 from Nikon and before that the uber cheap 70-300 f3.5/5.6.

    How would you say the 50-230 stacks up against those ?

    I've actually got a 200mm f4 Nikkor prime that I use on my Fuji's but without OIS and AF my shutter speeds have to be quite high a cheap (cheaper) zoom and lightweight would be quite nice to own :-)
    I just like to take photos im no pro - http://www.flickr.co...s/98279477@N05/
  • roryproryp
    Posts: 72
    The best price I saw for the XF 55-200 at the show was around £530, street is about £550. So over £300 more expensive for a slightly faster max aperture and moderately better build quality. The XC lens is lighter and has a better overall range too so I'm not quite sure how Fuji justifies such a premium for the XF model.

    I've not shot the 70-210 f4, but I had the 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 in both it's VR and non VR versions. I'd say the quality is as good or better than the VR version. It's much better than Nikons 55-200 f4.5-5.6 as well which I owned briefly.
    X-E1, 14mm f2.8, 27mm f2.8, 50mm f2 Pentax, 50mm f1.4 Takumar, 55-200mm f3.5-4.8 135mm f3.5 Takumar, Lens Turbo

    www.lightpriority.net
  • Cool thanks , I'm not in the UK until sept so I guess that £200 deal will have gone by then , the 55-200 where I am is £450 brand new here and the 50-230 isn't far behind. But there doing deals with the XA1 with dual lens package (16-50+50-230) for about £470
    I just like to take photos im no pro - http://www.flickr.co...s/98279477@N05/
  • turpisturpis
    Posts: 1
    50-230 is currently on offer at fuji. If you buy x-a1 or m1 you can get it for free. It is enough to send claim form with receipt attached. I have just received one. I must admit lens is performing very well with my x-a1. I din't had time to it for longer walk, but after few shots at home I can tell is good enough for me.

  • I am happy about it.

  • PhoTomPhoTom
    Posts: 511
    Thanks for posting your observations Rory. There are some nice images here. IMO, the best way to pick this lens up is through the double lens kit deal where one lens is practically free. Optics may be on par with the XF zooms, the build quality is a question mark though, without knowing what grade of polycarbonate was used. A good grade of PC may be preferable to the heavy metal of the XF lenses for impact resistance. The thin mount is what concerns me a little.
    Fuji X100©
    Fuji X-A1 - XC16-50mm - XC50-230mm
    Fuji F505EXR
  • roryproryp
    Posts: 72
    Well what do you want to break if you drop your camera PhoTom - your cheap lens or your expensive camera body? :) I ultimately decided to part with the XC50-230 because I wasn't super happy about the way it rendered colours and contrast vs my primes.
    X-E1, 14mm f2.8, 27mm f2.8, 50mm f2 Pentax, 50mm f1.4 Takumar, 55-200mm f3.5-4.8 135mm f3.5 Takumar, Lens Turbo

    www.lightpriority.net
  • Hi thanks for the review, I am getting this lens for free as part of a promotion Fuji are running at the moment, so glad to see it's not free for a reason, so it might not be going straight on eBay.
  • I have just purchased an x-e1 with one of these Len's which I find excellent ,it took a bit of getting used after my cannon .The problem I'm finding is there is no "A" on the aperture ring so I am unable to use the shutter-priority AE(S) mode! only AE(A) & manual .Any suggestions please ? .
  • veejayceeveejaycee
    Posts: 2,383

    I have just purchased an x-e1 with one of these Len's which I find excellent ,it took a bit of getting used after my cannon .The problem I'm finding is there is no "A" on the aperture ring so I am unable to use the shutter-priority AE(S) mode! only AE(A) & manual .Any suggestions please ? .



    Use the control wheel to change the aperture. You need to read the manual for the lens which is one of 3 Fuji lenses which are operated this way.
    Nikon D700/D300, 17-35mm, 24-70mm, 28-300mm, 50-500mm, 35, 50, 85, 135 and 180mm primes. Fuji XPro 1, Fuji XT1, Fujinon XF lenses - 14mm f2.8, 35mm f1.4, Fuji XF 60mm f1.4, 18-55mm f2.8-4 OIS, 55-200mm f3.5-f4.8 OIS.
  • £200 ... How much more is the 55-200 ?

    I don't normally use long zooms my last one was an old 70-210 f4 from Nikon and before that the uber cheap 70-300 f3.5/5.6.

    How would you say the 50-230 stacks up against those ?

    I've actually got a 200mm f4 Nikkor prime that I use on my Fuji's but without OIS and AF my shutter speeds have to be quite high a cheap (cheaper) zoom and lightweight would be quite nice to own :-)



    I too owned the 70-300mm Nikon and paid less than $100 for it. It was a great lens as long as you kept your aperture above F/8.0 and your shutter speed to about 1/320". Without Image stabilization your hand holding technique or use of a tripod was necessary for tack sharp shots. The Fuji 50-230mm is so light and it's OIS is really excellent although its discount price is still far about the older Nilon. Plus, remember the 70-300mm Nikon was a full frame lens at a bargain price.

    Bob ungawa.tumblr.com
    Fuji X-E1 18mm, 35mm, 60mm, 18-55mm, 55-200mm
  • roryp said:

    I ultimately decided to part with the XC50-230 because I wasn't super happy about the way it rendered colours and contrast vs my primes.



    So you didn't keep this lens, but you didn't replace it either? It seems like the sweet spot for Fuji long-zooms at this point, do you just not need a long-zoom?

    Right now I'm torn between the 50-230 and just investing a couple hundred in a 135mm f/2.8 prime in Minolta MD mount (which would give me reach and bokeh but lack IS obviously).

    I'm finding the 50-230 a little extra-appealing considering the super-expensive but perfect new 50-140 f/2.8 constant zoom. I definitely don't have 1600$ to buy it now, but if I plan to some day, getting the cheapest interim lens makes sense, and if I'm going to own the 2.8 some day then having the extra 30mm reach on the long zoom will be a lot more useful than a 200m lens with an extra stop of light. Would even make sense to have both so I could use the 2.8 for events etc, while still having something cheap to bring on dangerous outdoor trips.
  • veejayceeveejaycee
    Posts: 2,383
    First thing to ask yourself - do you need a lens with that long a reach? If you hope to shoot wildlife it is not long enough (that's why I'm keeping my D300 and 50-500mm lens). You'll be surprised how often you need only a short prime or standard zoom.When I'm out and about with my wife, say on holiday, 95% of my pictures are taken with the 18-55mm and most of those towards the wide end.
    Had you thought about the 18-135mm. That one lens will cover most of your needs I suspect. If you have the chance to buy an XE2 body and standard zoom with a free zoom or voucher offer then go for it. Find out which way your photography is going to take you before you decide which "special" lenses to buy - not everything requires fast lenses and you may even find you can shoot happily all day with one or two primes. Remember size is not everything!
    Nikon D700/D300, 17-35mm, 24-70mm, 28-300mm, 50-500mm, 35, 50, 85, 135 and 180mm primes. Fuji XPro 1, Fuji XT1, Fujinon XF lenses - 14mm f2.8, 35mm f1.4, Fuji XF 60mm f1.4, 18-55mm f2.8-4 OIS, 55-200mm f3.5-f4.8 OIS.
  • roryproryp
    Posts: 72
    I found myself often using the lens at 50mm when out walking and as Veejaycee said, it's not really long enough for wildlife. It was always a bit frustrating to see something interesting, zoom in to 230 and still only have it tiny in the frame. When I tried using it for street and event stuff I ran into the pedestrian max aperture at 230mm not providing shallow enough depth of field. All in all it was just a poor fit for my needs.

    I think the 90mm f2 (provided it isn't too stupidly big and expensive) would probably be ideal for me for 90% of my telephoto needs. Something longer for a big of wildlife work would be nice, but in the meantime I've picked up a cheap 200mm f4 manual focus lens so I've still got access to bit more reach when I desire it.
    X-E1, 14mm f2.8, 27mm f2.8, 50mm f2 Pentax, 50mm f1.4 Takumar, 55-200mm f3.5-4.8 135mm f3.5 Takumar, Lens Turbo

    www.lightpriority.net
  • roryp said:

    I think the 90mm f2 (provided it isn't too stupidly big and expensive) would probably be ideal for me for 90% of my telephoto needs.


    @roryp, based on available pictures, I have the impression that indeed the 90mm f/2 is going to be very stupidly big and I guess very expensive too.

  • roryproryp
    Posts: 72
    @MarcoDebiasi yeah it's not looking very promising, crazy for an f2 90mm lens to be that big when you can get smaller 85mm f1.8!. I think I read somewhere that the one shown at Photokina was only an mockup so the size could change. That was the case with 27mm pancake which was originally shown with an aperture ring for example.
    X-E1, 14mm f2.8, 27mm f2.8, 50mm f2 Pentax, 50mm f1.4 Takumar, 55-200mm f3.5-4.8 135mm f3.5 Takumar, Lens Turbo

    www.lightpriority.net
  • @roryp, let us keep our fingers crossed. Personally I would hame much preferred a somewhat slower (e.g. f/2.4) but small lens, better still if with some good close-up capability; in other words, a longer focal length equivalent of the excellent XF 60mm /2.4 macro.
  • I just purchased this lens from eBay for $179 new. For the price I had to try it and am glad I made the purchase as this is a sharp, contrasty and light weight optic that is a sleeper. I don't often use a tele on a camera like the xpro-1 but I will be looking for ways to use it now that I've seen what it can do. Neither the aperture, the chrome finish, the shade or that it is made in China bother me and it maintains the 58mm filter thread that my 14 and 18-55 have. The lens came out of a kit a guy bought and he wanted the 55-200 and sold the lens without ever using it. I'm glad he did as he probably would have kept it if he saw the image quality. There was no manual with it but using the wheel, to adjust aperture, was easy to figure out. The one thing I can't find is why the focusing square in the viewfinder turns red when it is zoomed out and if the viewfinder is supposed to magnify to show the coverage. My firmware is all up to date so that isn't an issue.
    Thanks in advance for any help.
  • veejayceeveejaycee
    Posts: 2,383
    I think it's telling you the focus square is too small to be of any use. I automatically switch to EVF when I fit my 55-200mm. I think that lens is a very wise buy since the XP1 is not ideal for use with long tele zooms and most of us don't buy the XP1 for that use. It is a great lens for occasional use or for vacations and the same goes for the 16-50mm. You seem to have everything covered in FLs and if you haven't missed a fast lens you obviously don't need one and are well set.
    I prefer to use my primes and if I hadn't already bought the XF zooms I'd have been happy with the XC series.
    Nikon D700/D300, 17-35mm, 24-70mm, 28-300mm, 50-500mm, 35, 50, 85, 135 and 180mm primes. Fuji XPro 1, Fuji XT1, Fujinon XF lenses - 14mm f2.8, 35mm f1.4, Fuji XF 60mm f1.4, 18-55mm f2.8-4 OIS, 55-200mm f3.5-f4.8 OIS.
  • MarcoDebiasiMarcoDebiasi
    Posts: 197
    @xproron, like other X-cameras buyers I also received the XC 50-230mm for free and I was thinking to sell it to make some cash. I did not because apparently the market is flooded by people having the same idea and thus such sale can only buy you peanuts. Which, together with this mini review and last-but-not-least you opinion above, made me change my mind. I will just keep the lens and enjoy it!
  • jeremyclarkejeremyclarke
    Posts: 271
    Got mine recently and like others have no complaints at all. It's slow at f/6.7 but I knew that was the case and as far as I can tell there is nothing else to complain about.

    On a tripod the images are sharp, detailed and high contrast, definitely much better than my Minolta MD 135mm lens which isn't an important comparison but a true one. The quality seems to be just as good as the 18-55 but for 50-230.

    Works great for my main goal which is as a macro zoom when combined with my Raynox DCR-250 adapter.
  • Just received my free lens and was very pleasantly surprised at the results from a few quick test shots fired off in the garden today. For the size and weight it is a good little performer provided you stop it down to about f11 at the longer end. Image stabilisation seems very good, too.
    Barwick Green
  • MyceniusMycenius
    Posts: 33
    Hi All,

    Keen to here updates from anyone who's used this lens for a while? Did you end up feeling the same as #roryp after a few months?

    Anyone been able to compare it directly to the XF 55-200mm or XF 50-140mm or similar?

    Also I see there is an OIS II version due this year - assume that's just an OIS upgrade and otherwise identical?

    I have a solid kit of primes - but occasionally like a medium length zoom and as I might be able to get one of these 'as new' locally for around US$350 + Tax I'm thinking the 50-230mm might make an economic (and light weight) medium-term solution?
    Part of the compelling reason I converted from DSLR to a FujiFilm X-E2:
    - Should I sell my DSLR and buy a Fuji? by Doug Chinnery
    - The Fujifilm X-E2: Evolution or Revolution? by Tony Bridge
    FujiFilm X-E2 | Fujinon 14mm f/2.8 R | Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 R | Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 R | Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 R | Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 R Macro | FujiFilm EF-42 Flash | B+W MRC Nano Filters
  • redsim74redsim74
    Posts: 221
    I bought the 50-230 last year while I was holidaying in Australia. Ted's Camera had an online deal which meant I paid only AU$275 for it.

    It's perfectly fine for what it is, a fair weather kit zoom. The 55-200 is faster, but I'm not sure that the image quality would be much better.
  • xproronxproron
    Posts: 22
    This was published on another thread here and is a comparison by Fuji of their lenses. I find very little difference in sharpness to warrant the added cost of the 55-200 with the exception of a wider aperture.
    http://fujifilmxmount.com/comparison/en/
    The images I've taken so far have been sharp, detailed with excellent contrast and I've yet to shoot on a tripod.
    As in all things lenses are a matter of personal choice and or application. Well, sometimes finances play a role.LOL!
  • redsim74redsim74
    Posts: 221
    xproron said:

    Well, sometimes finances play a role.LOL!



    I know that was my main concern!

  • Analog6Analog6
    Posts: 1
    Very useful review and comments. I purchased the Fuji X-M1 & 16-50 lens at half price ($AUD315) from someone on Facebook who received t as an 'unwanted' gift. It was to replace my 'handbag' camera, a Lumix FZ30. I also shoot Canon full frame and crop, and have both Mamiya & Hasselblad MFD kits.
    I have to say I am delighted with the camera and was looking at lenses when this page popped up in Google. I now have my eye on one that ends soon on eBay, and I'll definitely be buying one. The quality of the lens I have is remarkable for the price and I find myself using it more and more.
    As I age (I'm 61 now, and have been taking photos for 54 years - yikes!) arthritis from an old ankle break and a not too wondrous back (when it comes to carrying) see me seriously thinking of downsizing. The Mamiya kit is for sale, and I may even sell the full frame Canon, as I find myself more and more reluctant to get it out of the bag, it's so heavy.
    Ill come back and report once I get and use a copy of this lens, and thanks again everyone who contributed.
  • redsim74redsim74
    Posts: 221
    Here's a sample image at 230mm, f/7.1, 1/100s of a Potoroo. I wouldn't have been more than 3 metres away.

  • Just got back from a month in asia and am completely satisfied with the 50-230mm!

    Had very few situations where the faster aperture of the more expensive lens would have made a difference, and was constantly glad to not be carrying twice as much weight. Images were great when visibility was good, though I'm learning that at 230mm smog has a really bad effect on far-away subjects.

    FWIW someone asked about the mkII version that was announced: The main difference AFAICT is that the near-focus distance will be a lot shorter, so you can focus a lot closer, which practically makes it a macro lens considering how big you can already make large insects just by zooming to 230mm and getting as close as possible.

    Also used the lens some more for macro work (with Raynox DCR-250 clip-on adapter) and it performed wonderfully, and of course (as already stated) the relatively narrow aperture is irrelevant at that range since you NEED at least f8 for macro.
  • Also: In addition to almost never needing a faster aperture, I was constantly shooting at 230mm and depending on cropping to get the image I wanted (for birds and other wildlife). I'm confident that the 200mm lens would have given me worse overall cropped photos with the limited 16mp files than the 230mm did.

    It's definitely not a GOOD wildlife lens in the grand scheme of things (which should be 300mm or more obviously) but it's the best one Fuji sells at this point, and also happens to be shockingly affordable while we wait for the 140-400mm (which I am already saving up for so I can buy it when it comes out ;)
  • xproronxproron
    Posts: 22
    I ran into an issue with the lens yesterday while trying to photograph waves breaking at a distance. The lens had no problem focusing but I found framing the subject was hit and miss. Is there a way to frame using this lens all the way out at 230 mm for distant subjects? I've had no problem with close subjects at 230, especially birds.
    Also is anyone planning on using the 1.4 TC with this lens when it is available. I understand it will make it ponderously slow but a 420 at F8 with IS and good image quality at high ISOs might be tempting.
  • BrucieNRSBrucieNRS
    Posts: 115
    @xproron according to the updated lens roadmap, the 1.4x TC will only work with the 50-140, and the 100-400 and 120 macro lenses when they're released.

    http://www.fujifilm.com/news/n150210.html

    ps 230 x 1.4 = 322mm ;)

    Nigel
  • xproronxproron
    Posts: 22
    Thanks BrucieNRS for the info on compatibility. I was referring to the equivalent focal length for the sensor.
  • demdem
    Posts: 140
    xproron said:

    Is there a way to frame using this lens all the way out at 230 mm for distant subjects?


    A sturdy tripod would be the best solution. Most video tripods would do a good job as they allow for smooth panning and very fine control of the framing.

    What image stabilization mode are you using? The continuous mode makes it easier to frame than the "shooting only" IS mode.
  • xproronxproron
    Posts: 22
    Dem I'm not certain what is happening as the center box that turns green when the camera focuses was not in the screen when I was photographing the waves. Yesterday I was photographing butterflies at a distance at the long end of the tele and the square was visible and working just fine for framing. I had made no changes to camera settings and all the images were where I saw them in the viewfinder. A strange quirk?
  • veejayceeveejaycee
    Posts: 2,383
    xproron said:

    Dem I'm not certain what is happening as the center box that turns green when the camera focuses was not in the screen when I was photographing the waves. Yesterday I was photographing butterflies at a distance at the long end of the tele and the square was visible and working just fine for framing. I had made no changes to camera settings and all the images were where I saw them in the viewfinder. A strange quirk?



    I'd say it wasn't attaining focus (moving water not the best subject for focus especially at a distance) so it didn't turn green.
    Nikon D700/D300, 17-35mm, 24-70mm, 28-300mm, 50-500mm, 35, 50, 85, 135 and 180mm primes. Fuji XPro 1, Fuji XT1, Fujinon XF lenses - 14mm f2.8, 35mm f1.4, Fuji XF 60mm f1.4, 18-55mm f2.8-4 OIS, 55-200mm f3.5-f4.8 OIS.
  • xproronxproron
    Posts: 22
    Veejaycee locking on was not the issue, the box was not visible and trying to get the image aligned was the problem. I tried both screens but no box was visible, it was like the screen you get when the lens cap is on. The images that I got when properly aligned were nice and sharp. Last year I had a similar issue for several months where the lever to change the screens wasn't working. I was ready to send the camera in but the firmware upgrade started it working again.I've been trying to figure out which settings affect other settings but the manual isn't real clear. After selling camera equipment for 17 years I know that 99% of camera problems are OE so I'm pretty certain the issues are due to something I either done or not done.
  • veejayceeveejaycee
    Posts: 2,383
    If you use continuous focus there will be no box.
    Nikon D700/D300, 17-35mm, 24-70mm, 28-300mm, 50-500mm, 35, 50, 85, 135 and 180mm primes. Fuji XPro 1, Fuji XT1, Fujinon XF lenses - 14mm f2.8, 35mm f1.4, Fuji XF 60mm f1.4, 18-55mm f2.8-4 OIS, 55-200mm f3.5-f4.8 OIS.
  • xproronxproron
    Posts: 22
    Thanks veejaycee, I knew it was OE.

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