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5 minute read

Be Versatile With Your Vision

Although it’s important to create with intention, storytelling can be an organic process, so you need to be able to change your story on the fly. We explore how zoom lenses can help.

Here’s a situation you might find familiar: you head out in the morning with your camera and a clear idea of an awesome image you intend to create, but when you return home you find that the best image from the day is actually the one you least expected to make. 

It is simply a fact that, when telling a story through photography, no matter how much you plan ahead and understand why you are making images, the story will always evolve. That’s why it is extremely important to be versatile.

How Zoom Lenses Can Help

The best way to avoid being out on location and missing that once-in-a-lifetime moment is to ensure you always have the right equipment with you, especially the correct lens.

Focal lengths play an enormous part in the look and feel of an image and the message it conveys. For example, you could photograph a moment with a telephoto lens that results in an intimate, frame-filling portrait of an elderly woman who seems overcome with sorrow. Whereas if the same moment was photographed with a wide-angle lens, it would result in an environmental portrait of a proud mother shedding tears of joy at her son’s wedding.

It’s for this reason you often see wedding photographers or press photographers carrying multiple cameras. Each camera body will have a different optic attached so they always have the correct tool at hand to tell the story they want to tell and don’t waste any time changing lenses.

Although a great way to ensure you’re always ready, walking around with endless combinations of gear around your neck can be impractical, not to mention expensive! This is where zoom lenses can help.

FUJIFILM Exposure Center Article - Be Versatile With Your Vision Using Zoom Lenses. Wide-angle photograph looking directly upwards in a pine forest, the straight tree trunks illustrating the perspective

Photo © Bryan Minear | FUJIFILM X-T3 camera and XF10-24mmF4 R OIS lens, 1/140 sec at F7.1, ISO 160

Zoom lenses pack a wide range of focal lengths into one body, so with a quick twist you can be ready for anything with no heavy bags full of gear, no time wasted changing lenses and a bit more money in your back pocket to boot.

In the past, benefiting from the convenience of a zoom lens has meant sacrificing quality, but with huge advances in optical science, modern zoom lenses are different beasts.

A good example of this advanced technology is the fantastic range of zooms in the FUJINON XF lens line-up. These lenses offer stunning quality, fast apertures, and compact designs to ensure you’re always ready.

We spoke to a few professional photographers from various disciplines to find out how FUJINON XF zoom lenses have made their jobs easier.

Using Zooms for Landscapes

Bryan Minear reveals how he uses XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR and XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR to create beautiful landscapes.

“Landscape photography for me is a constant ‘chase’ that gives me that same rush of adrenaline I get when I’m blazing down a mountain bike trail. The camera and lens give me a way to interpret any given scene in front of me so that I can share it with others.

“I prefer the extreme ends of the spectrum, so often in my bag XF8-16mmF2.8 is mounted on X-T3 while XF50-140mmF2.8 is on X-T4. These two lenses are the perfect counterparts, allowing you to capture pretty much everything a landscape photographer would be after.”

Using Zooms for Portraits

Portrait photographer, Caroline Tran, has been using XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR and XF50-140mmF2.8 to frame family portraits.

“The main thing I consider when choosing a lens is focal length. I think about how far from my subject I will be and what focal length I need to use to capture them from there. These zoom lenses were great, because they gave me a lot of flexibility. I had XF16-55mmF2.8 for wide photos and tight spaces, and XF50-140mmF2.8 for when I wanted flattering portraits or when I knew they’d be far away.

“With XF16-55mmF2.8 and XF50-140mmF2.8, that’s pretty much all I need for portraits. They cover the entire spectrum of focal lengths I would practically need.”

Using Zooms for Everyday Photography

Wedding photographer, Eric Kelley, used XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R M OIS WR to document everyday family life.

“XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 is an excellent choice for people who want a fantastic all-round lens that will give them great versatility. Whether standing on the side-lines of your kid’s athletic career or wanting to take portraits of your family, this will allow you to do just about anything you need to do.

“You can shoot just about anything at any time of day with it when paired with a camera that has great ISO range and grain, which all of the FUJIFILM cameras do. It goes fairly wide angle and zooms way in. Not much else will cover all the bases for you like XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6.”

Using Zooms for Travel and Documentary

Rebecca Gaal took XF16-55mmF2.8 on assignment to document the work of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network.

“Zoom lenses are ideal for a lighter kit, great for travel and perfect for walking around with one camera body and one lens. The XF16-55mmF2.8 is my go-to that I could easily use for everything. It’s my idea of the perfect lens. Always crisp, fast, and durable. I don’t have to worry about ghosting, flares or bowing. It’s ideal when I’m not sure what kind of situation I’m walking into.

“Working with animals is tricky, especially ones that are sick or injured. You don’t always know what’s going on with them and it’s critical not to frighten them, so you need to allow extra space, that’s why I like to go with a focal range somewhere in the middle. This lens is small on the scale, lightweight, easy to maneuver, quiet, and fast.”

Compare all the zoom lenses featured in this article below or explore the full FUJINON XF lens lineup here.

XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR

Construction
20 elements in 13 groups
Image Stabilization
No
Weather-Resistance
Yes
Filter Size
N/A
Close Focusing Distance
0.25m
Dimensions (DxL)
88x121.5mm
Weight
805g
XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Construction
17 elements in 12 groups
Image Stabilization
No
Weather-Resistance
Yes
Filter Size
77mm
Close Focusing Distance
0.6m
Dimensions (DxL)
83.3x106mm
Weight
655g
XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Construction
16 elements in 12 groups
Image Stabilization
Yes, 5 stops
Weather-Resistance
Yes
Filter Size
67mm
Close Focusing Distance
0.6m
Dimensions (DxL)
75.7x97.8mm
Weight
490g

XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR

Construction
23 elements in 16 groups
Image Stabilization
Yes, 5 stops
Weather-Resistance
Yes
Filter Size
72mm
Close Focusing Distance
1m
Dimensions (DxL)
82.9x175.9mm
Weight
995g