I have been professionally involved in travel photography for 25 years. I have always sought the greatest possible versatility in my photographic equipment without sacrificing high quality. For the past decade, I have found the answer to this demand in Fujifilm’s X series cameras and lenses.
One of the most important parts of taking on a new assignment is to choose the right lenses to take with me, which vary depending on the type of trip I’m going on. I usually decide between two configurations: on the one hand, the Fujinon zoom range, where I have the XF10-24mmF4 R OIS WR, the XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR and the XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR. On the other, when I know I’m going to have to walk quite a bit and carry a lot of equipment for many hours, I opt for the fixed lens series, consisting of the XF16mm, the XF23mm, and the XF35mm, all F1.4, and the XF56mmF1.2 R WR. With the zooms option I have covered from extreme wide angle to moderate telephoto, but with the fixed lenses I was missing the focal length of an ultra wide angle which is now perfectly covered by the new Fujinon XF8mmF3.5 lens -equivalent to 12mm in universal pitch-, allowing me to reduce a lot the weight thanks to the small size of the optics.
I’ve been testing the XF8mmF3.5 on different assignments, mainly doing a reportage in Rome and on a couple of subjects that have taken me to the Catalan region of Terra Alta and the Aragonese region of Matarraña, where I’ve also been able to shoot landscape images. For the assignment in Rome the architecture and interiors of the city were the main subject. On previous trips to the Italian capital I had not been able to fully capture the magnificence, breadth and depth of large spaces such as the Vatican, the churches of Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni Laterano, or museums such as the Borghese Gallery. Thanks to the lightness of the optics and the stabilization system of my X-T4 and X-T5 cameras, I was able to shoot handheld at very low speeds, without having to push the ISO too hard and without fear of blur. This has been a great advantage for me in those interiors that are not usually full of light and where the use of a tripod is not allowed. The Fujinon XF8mmF3.5 has a much wider angle of view than our own eyesight, which has allowed me to obtain images that are very striking. It is also an optic that has allowed me to go a step further in creativity, looking for slightly extreme vanishing points.
I have been very surprised by the high definition of the lens, even at the extremes of the image, at fairly tight apertures, and on the odd occasion when I have had to turn up the ISO a little more, which are usually situations where ultra wide-angle lenses tend to have some loss. The 40 megapixel files of the Fujifilm X-T5 camera, in combination with the Fujinon XF8mmF3.5 lens, allow me to make large enlargements, if necessary, in addition to being able to consider some cropping of the image or reframing in panoramic format, also obtaining a file with very good resolution. The lens has a 62mm diameter and I have had no problem using the most common filters, such as ultraviolet, ND or polarizer. Likewise, I did not notice any vignetting when adding filters to the XF8mmF3.5.
I value the focusing accuracy of my equipment above speed because of the type of photography I do, where reliability is more important than speed. But the XF8mmF3.5 has been fast and accurate in all kinds of scenes, with the contrasts that make life difficult for a camera’s focusing system or regardless of the focus point I choose. I really like to use the joystick on the camera to move the focus point and not have to vary the composition, but for that I need maximum reliability. Shooting with the Fujinon XF8mmF3.5 lens, both with the X-T4 and the X-T5, the focus has not failed me once. Moreover, I didn’t have to think that I would lose sharpness if I closed the aperture too much. Sharpness is still very good at those apertures.
When you’re sent out on a shoot, you’re often given very little time and sometimes you have to work in adverse weather, but you can’t come back without a report. It gives you a lot of peace of mind that the optics are sealed and resistant to those kinds of conditions or when you are working in watery or dusty environments.
In short, the experience with this new lens has been very satisfactory, it fills an important gap in the series of fixed lenses of my equipment and opens a wide range of opportunities when photographing architecture and landscape, expanding the creative possibilities.