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Fuji XC 50-230mm mini review

41 posts in this topic

Posted

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:

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Posted

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.

sharpness.png

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Posted

£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 :-)

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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

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Posted

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.

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Posted

I am happy about it.

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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 ? .

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Posted

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.

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Posted

£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.

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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!

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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.

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Posted

@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.

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Posted

@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.

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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.

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Posted

@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!

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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.

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Posted

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?

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