Fujifilm XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 OIS - Review and user experience - Part 1 - Size, Construction and First Impressions.

As you can see from the above pictures and comparisons, this is a large (and long) lens. It's also reasonably heavy (580g) which has put me off buying it for a while. However, since my Photo Ninja discovery, it seems I'm going to be predominantly using Fuji X cameras for a while and I have really been missing a telephoto option. Plus with the cold weather coming, I'm less enthusiastic about fiddling about with manual focus lenses using cold fingers trying to adjust cold metal lens barrels and adapters. 

In the end it turned out to be far less cumbersome than I imagined. It actually balances really well with both the X-E2 and X-Pro 1. I carried it around for a couple of hours yesterday on a cold day and actually found the experience easier than I imagined it was going to be. However, just on the size and weight. I'm not sure why it's this chunky. It's faster at the telephoto end by 1/2 stop as compared to other similar lenses, but f/3.5 is pretty normal for the W/A end of a long zoom. APS-C sensors aren't that much bigger than in m4/3 cameras, so why this is SO much larger than the Panasonic 14-140mm f/3.5 - 5.6 I find it difficult to understand. However it is what it is and it forms a nice pair with the 18-55mm. 

As you will see from yesterdays gallery, I had a really good workout with it. Everything from birds of prey to autumn landscapes. Looking at the results yesterday and today, I must say that I wished I'd bought one sooner! It's nice to use and the zoom barrel is nicely weighted. All the weight is in the end near the camera so it does balance nicely. I haven't updated the firmware yet, but even without that it focused snappily and accurately on the X-E2. Telephoto end is nice and sharp and I haven't spotted any vignetting. CA and fringing seems very minor also. As other reviewers have pointed out the OIS is excellent. I was using it yesterday on full auto and ISO's from 200 to 800 with slowish shutter speeds and the images looked fine.

It isn't bitingly sharp BUT like a lot of other top class lenses it does respond very well to a bit of Photoshop sharpening. In many respects it seems to perform very much like a Nikon lens, and from me there is not much higher praise than that. And while it doesn't have that 'pro-spec' speed as a lens, in all other ways, from my initial use, it does seem to be 'pro-spec' in terms of results. 

Finally - here are three rather nice promotional video from Fuji on the lens, which are again what they are, with all the usual questions about how often do the photographers REALLY use this gear and what 'incentives' do they have to use it in the videos, but all show what it's like to use the lens.

So, preliminary impressions are very good and I'll be using it more in the next couple of days as there is supposed to be some sun, plus very cold temperatures which should make for a good test. More as and when.

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