Fujifilm 100mm-400mm Initial Impressions

Fujifilm 100mm-400mm Initial Impressions

I just returned from a few days in the Olympic National Park and got to try out the new Fujifilm 100-400mm super telephoto lens on my mirrorless X-T1.  All I can say is WOW!!!!     

Having first hand experience with the outstanding build quality of the Fuji lenses, and, having read the reviews of the pre-production samples, I was eagerly anticipating getting a chance to borrow the lens from my friend Jack Graham who is a Fuji X shooter and who had a pre-production sample to test.  See his review HERE

Early one morning driving in to the Hoh rainforest, we stopped alongside the Hoh river as fog was developing across the river, over the tops of a stand of red tipped alders.  Jack offered up his lens to try and I jumped at the chance.  

Not having seen one in person, I wasn’t sure how I would react to the size of the lens, knowing that one of the advantages of mirrorless is compactness.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the lens wasn’t too large…..it was large as should be expected with this kind of reach.  But, it seemed reasonable for what it was.  Build quality was outstanding and felt solid and well put together.  In typical Fuji fashion, lots of metal, good action on all rotations and indents and overall it just felt like a super high quality lens.

Now, to the shooting.  It’s a variable aperture lens, from 4.5-5.6 along its range as you zoom in or out.  Typically for a lens like this I don’t mind variable aperture and, vary rarely, will I want for a wider aperture.  Heck, if this was a 2.8 lens, it wouldn’t fit in my camera bag and the price would be very high.  All things considered, the aperture is fine with me.  The zoom action is well controlled and smooth as you move from 100mm to 400mm.  Twisting the zoom ring gives a solid satisfying feel and I didn’t notice any “creep” once i set the focal length I wanted to shoot at.  I did not notice any light fall off or diffraction as I looked through the viewfinder and the way the lens integrated so nicely with the X-T1 made them both feel like two parts of a whole.

Here is one shot I took with the lens.  Looking across the river towards the stand of trees, I zoomed in to frame one particular stand of alders.

Hoh Alders

f/13.   3.1 sec.  260mm.  iso 320


The detail in this shot is simply amazing!   I am blown away by how sharp and detailed this lens is.  Comparing to my Canon 100-400 on my 5DII, I find that straight out of the camera, I achieve a better file with the Fuji.  It’s mainly down to this lens being such an incredible piece of glass.  

Fuji is famous for its lenses and this lens doesn’t disappoint.  After just 20 minute using this lens, it has made it on to my “must have” list!

(originally posted 1/13/16)


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