Ever since I moved from Canon to FUJIFILM X Series in 2015, I have been wishing for longer wider aperture telephoto lens. Yes, there are the superb XF 50-140mmF2.8 and XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6, but for sports photography and especially in darker arenas here in Estonia and neighboring countries, every stop of light is priceless. Also other important thing in action sports is background separation for which photographers need wider aperture lenses.
With the new FUJINON XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, there is the reach and the wide aperture needed for action sports coverage. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the samples for UEFA Super Cup 2018 in Tallinn, Estonia to cover one of the biggest matches in European football with my FUJIFILM combo.
Mounted on my trustworthy gripped X-H1, it feels remarkably balanced, which is important for shooting both handheld and on monopod. At around 2300g the new XF200mmF2 is light enough to shoot the whole game without a need for monopod. Also the build quality and the feel of the lens is up to the high standards that FUJIFILM X shooters are used to.
Shooting with the lens is pure pleasure. Having used all longer FUJINON lenses, I can say that the new XF200mmF2 is the fastest focusing lens in the lineup. Using my customized AF-C settings for football and single point focusing, the X-H1 and the XF200mmF2 combo hardly misses any shot. Usually I find zone focusing with the 3×3 grid faster to focus but on this one, the single point seems to be just as reliable.
Talking about sharpness and overall image output this lens excels anything else I have tried from the whole FUJINON lineup. First, the sharpness of the image is outstanding. There is so much detail in the photos that even hard cropping, which might be needed in some situations in sports photography, can be used without sacrificing the output quality. Secondly at F2 and such a long focal length the background separation is on par with longer lenses on full-frame cameras. Bokeh is silky smooth and even a bit circular which portrait photographers would especially appreciate.
The best part of the new XF200mmF2 is the fact that it comes with 1.4x teleconverter, so you get two different focal lengths which both are good for sports photography. Good thing is that this converter is made for this lens so they work together very well. I didn’t notice any decrease in quality of the photos nor speed of autofocus using the converter which is astonishing.
In summary I can say that FUJINON lens lineup is ready for my needs as sports photographer. The new XF200mmF2 is even better than I hoped for and with newest FUJIFILM X Series bodies I’m feeling confident tackling even the toughest situations my work has to offer! This lens is really a must for every sports shooter!