25.12.2020 Jakub Cejpek

Mountain adventures with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS WR

Jakub Cejpek

Jakub is a worldwide amabassador for FUJIFILM X-T2 and a mountain enthusiast and traveller who is passionate about capturing elusive moments particularly in alpine and rock climbing all around the world. He also specializes in hiking, running and cycling photography and cinematography. 
In climbing, lightweight equipment is essential, therefore Jakub is really grateful to have the opportunity to test Fujifilm's mirrorless cameras, which are easy to carry and can save a lot of energy in comparison to heavy DSLRs.

In the last 15 years, mountains have played a crucial role in my life. Not only that I have been enjoying climbing them, but I have forged great lifetime friendships in this high-altitude environment. Together with mountaineering, I have also developed another passion: photography. Thanks to photography I can record all the memories, experience the adventures once more, and share the beauty of the mountains with others.

Fast and light

As my activities in the mountains evolved, from trekking to more serious climbing, I started to think about the equipment. The lightweight style was calling, and that didn’t only involve my climbing gear. Full-frame DSLR, I had been dreaming of for many years, suddenly became too heavy and bulky. Having lighter gear means faster and safer climbing and more energy for taking photographs.

I decided to try a mirrorless camera and started with Fujifilm X-T1. XF10-24mm/F4 replaced my previous 17-40mm/F4 very easily. Same focal length, same speed. With the introduction of X-T2, my hesitations were over,and I started to shoot only with mirrorless Fujifilm cameras. Even though I have been working with many other great Fujinon lenses in the following years, 10-24mm has been definitely the most used when shooting in the mountains.

One lens is just enough

There are some moments in the mountains when I am dreaming of having a telephoto lens with me. But the extra load in the backpack is intolerable and usually, even if I had it with me, there would not be a chance to change the lens. Time is rare and weather conditions are tough during many climbs. Therefore, one lens is just enough. With a single lens, there is also no unnecessary decision making. You just learn the angle of view, and you can concentrate on light, composition… and your safety. For that, and the following reasons, I am particularly pleased for XF 10-24mmF4 R OIS WR being Fujifilm’s first Mark II lens.

Versatile mountaineer

I like the versatility of the 10-24mm lens. It enables me to shoot ultra-wide with an object in the foregroundand still having plenty of space for the environment. At the same time, I can use 24mm and get more natural perspective with 36 mm equivalent. Most of the time, I shoot ultra-wide to fit both mountain scenery and the climbing action, but thanks to the zoom, I am able to return home with a set of photographs, which have desired diversity.

Snowstorm is not an excuse anymore

The new lens inherits the previous version’s qualities and boasts a few more innovations, making it even better. For me, weather resistant sealing (WR) is definitely the best improvement. In this set of photographs from sunny September, you may ask why, but winter climbing and mountaineering is a whole different story. Fujinon lenses are robust, and even the first version was fairly resistible,but in extreme scenarios, I could see some moisture getting inside the lens. With WR this won’t be an issue any more.

Sun stars easier than ever

I am also thankful for the new aperture ring. It is much easier to operate on a very sunny day, or when the camera is switched off. The aperture ring lock (familiar from GF lenses) prevents it from accidentally switching to auto-aperture, which is particularly helpful when using f22. Taking those sun stars is easier than before.

Sharp and stabilized

The image quality of the new 10-24mm is superb. It is, in my opinion, comparable with the first version.The lens delivers good sharpness even in the corners and minimum distortion, which makes it a great choice for architecture photography as well. I also enjoy using the 10-24 mm for time-lapses and videos. For the later, featured OIS optical stabilization helps a lot. Especially, when catching the breath in the thin air. Or in the low-light situation at dawn. Or when the frozen hands are shaking. Or any combination of those.

New autofocus, old methods

Innovated autofocus is fast and precise.Together with X-T4 camera; it creates a powerfulcombination for the sports photographyand other dynamic photography genres. Often, I just point and shoot during the climb and rely on AF entirely. Anyway, when shooting with 10mm combined with F8 I can easily achieve deep DOF with sharpness throughout the whole picture. It may sound like improper simplification, but sometimes, there is no space for delicate photography. Usually, aperture priority and auto ISO are my best friends, and my backpack is my sturdiest tripod.

-25 grams

To complete the list of innovations, I must mention that the new XF10-24mmF4 R OIS WR is a little bit smaller and lighter from the previous version. To be honest, you probably won’t be able to recognize that 25 gram difference, but in the mountains every gram counts. After an exhausting climb, you would be very grateful for 25g power bar. It is a small difference, but in case of such a wide zoom, which is weather sealed and so robust, you can’t ask for more.

Since 2014, when I started with mirrorless cameras, Fujifilm has introduced many new lenses. 10-24mm is neither the widest, nor the fastest, but it will stay my most beloved. And with the new version, even more appreciated.