With over 25 years of experience as a professional photographer Andrew has enjoyed an award winning career in a wide range of photographic genres from the high speed world of Motorsport to Landscapes and Specialist portraiture. Based in Sydney Australia Andrew is fortunate enough to travel the world pursuing his passion for photography and is always keen to utilize the latest technologies to capture images in situations previously out of reach.
My main photographic genre is sport, motorsport in particular. Obviously with the current COVID situation my ability to travel the world covering my usual motorsport events is severely restricted. When the opportunity came up to use the new XF70-300mm I had to find another sport to test the lenses action photography capabilities.
Many many years ago I used to race 16ft sailing skiffs on Sydney Harbour so I thought that these spectacular boats would make the perfect subject. We arranged to be on one of the boats that chased the fleet during the race and set out onto the harbour on a beautifully sunny Saturday afternoon.
The XF70-300mm is a great all round lens for sports, lightweight, sharp and the extra focal length over the XF55-200 gives it more versatility without a noticeable increase in size. I used the lens on an X-T4 with a battery grip but due to its small size the XF70-300mm would still be very balanced on any one of the X Series cameras.
The lens was very easy to use. I was taking photographs of the fast 16ft sailing Skiffs from a moving boat and even when zoomed out to 300mm the lens remained well balanced on the camera and the optical image stabiliser compensated for any movement, whether the movement came from me, the boat or both!
The zoom action was smooth and quick with just the right amount of resistance. Autofocus performance was very accurate and fast all the way through the focal range and there was no significant difference in the AF performance when the lens was combined with the 1.4x teleconverter.
As with all Fujinon lenses the resolution is superb. The optical quality is excellent right through the focal length range. Crisp and clear with nice colour balance and contrast.
As a FUJIFILM X photographer I am always aware that the Fujinon name is held is very high regard in the industry and the XF 70-300mm is a worthy addition to the carry the Fujinon name.
I see no disadvantage with range of F4.0-5.6 compared to the F3.5-4.8 range of the XF55-200mm. At F4.0 the bokeh is smooth and at 300mm at 5.6 there is excellent separation of the subject from the background.
For a lens with a 300mm focal length (450mm in 35mm equivalent) it is surprisingly compact and is only slightly bigger than the XF55-200mm. The build quality is excellent and the addition of weather-resistant seals is another great feature.
I tested the weather seals while out photographing the 16ft skiffs as there were one or two waves that crashed against our chase boat during the course of the afternoon The lens got splashed a number of times lens but I was safe in the knowledge that the weather resistant seals meant that lens would be undamaged and I was able to continue shooting with confidence.
One of the more useful features of the XF70-300mm is the small minimum focusing distance of 80cm which is much closer than lenses of similar focal length that I have used. It means that I could isolate details and shoot close up even while at the 300mm. It made the lens very versatile while I was photographing the sailing skiffs while they were rigging up on the beach prior to the race.
I also had the opportunity to use the XF70-300mm to photograph surfing at my local beach. Once again the AF performance was excellent and the optical quality was superb with high detail. The lightweight nature of the lens meant that I could easily track the surfers on the waves without using a monopod.
With its compact size, smooth zoom action, fantastic image quality and excellent AF performance the XF70-300 is a great addition to anyone’s camera kit, especially those photographers who are looking to get involved in sports / wildlife / action photography at an affordable price point.