If there was ever a good reason to switch from a standard DSLR to a compact mirrorless system camera, Fujifilm is it.
Not only do the cameras themselves combine premium performance with excellent handling and retro chic styling, but there’s a fabulous range of Fujifilm lenses available to suit pretty much any shooting scenario.
To navigate the road map of Fujifilm X-mount lenses, it pays to learn the lingo. The two main classifications of lenses are XC and XF. XC lenses are designed to be compact and ultra-portable, and are generally cheaper to buy. XF lenses aim for the finest image quality and overall performance, and have a more robust construction typically based on metal barrels and mounting plates. At the top of the tree, there are currently three ‘Red Badge’ XF zoom lenses, which represent the best of the breed.
While Fujifilm’s X-mount lenses are designated XC or XF at the beginning of their titles, they often have a string of letters after their names as well. The letter ‘R’ signifies that the lens has a manual aperture ring, enabling quick and intuitive aperture control in manual and aperture-priority shooting modes. An ‘A’ position on the aperture ring enables automatic aperture control in program (auto-exposure), shutter-priority and scene modes. Additional lettering might include WR (Weather-Resistant), OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and LM (Linear Motor) autofocus which tends to be faster and virtually silent in operation.
Let’s take a closer look at the best lenses and some great-value alternatives in all of the most popular categories.
1. Fujifilm XF16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR
It’s a standard zoom that’s anything but ‘standard’
Mount: Fujifilm X-mount | Elements/groups: 17/12 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Twin linear motor | Stabilizer: No | Min focus distance: 0.6m | Max magnification: 0.16x | Filter thread: 77mm | Dimensions (WxL): 83x106mm | Weight: 655g
The best Fujifilm standard zoom: This top-drawer ‘red badge’ lens is Fujifilm’s answer to pro-grade 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses for full-frame DSLRs. The Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR actually beats them for zoom range, with an ‘effective’ 24-84mm focal length, and has a similarly robust, weather-resistant construction. Performance is fabulous in all respects, with super-fast and highly accurate autofocus enabled by a twin linear motor, plus a feast of glassware that includes three aspherical elements and three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements.
Sharpness and contrast are spectacular, bokeh is beautiful and there’s excellent resistance to ghosting and flare, thanks to dual conventional and nano-structure coatings. The only real minus points are that there’s no image stabilization, and the lens is relatively heavy for an X-mount standard zoom.
The best standard zoom budget alternative: Fujifilm XC16-50mm f/3.5-f5.6 OIS II
Better suited to Fujifilm’s smaller, lighter cameras, this lens is less than a third of the weight of the premium 16-55mm optic and about a third of the price. It pretty much matches the bigger lens for zoom range and, although it has a ‘slower’ aperture rating, it adds the bonus of an optical image stabilizer.
2. Fujifilm XF10-24mm f/4 R OIS
Extra-large viewing angles with a reasonably compact build
Mount: Fujifilm X-mount | Elements/groups: 14/10 | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: Stepping motor | Stabilizer: 3-stops | Min focus distance: 0.5m | Max magnification: 0.16x | Filter thread: 72mm | Dimensions (WxL): 78x87mm | Weight: 410g
The best Fujifilm wide-angle zoom: It can be a struggle to get really wide viewing angles on crop-sensor cameras, but Fujifilm XF10-24mm f/4 R OIS delivers a generous 110-degree maximum viewing along with a powerful 2.4x zoom range. It’s a brilliant lens for everything from sweeping landscapes to cramped interiors, benefitting from a constant f/4 aperture and 3-stop optical stabilization.
Some say you don’t really need stabilization in wide-angle lenses, but it definitely comes in handy toward the long end of the zoom range, and for handheld shooting at twilight or indoors. A complex optical path that includes four aspherical elements and four ED elements is reflected in the relatively high price, but performance and image quality are absolutely excellent.
The best wide-angle zoom budget alternative: Fujifilm XC15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ
Typical of Fujifilm’s ‘XC’ lenses, this one is very compact and lightweight. It’s actually only a third of the weight of the 10-24mm lens. Again, it features optical image stabilization but adds a dual-speed ‘power zoom’ feature which is great for movie capture. Naturally, the widest angle of view is much reduced, compared with the 10-24mm lens.
3. Fujifilm XF50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR
A pro-grade telephoto zoom with exotic features
Mount: Fujifilm X-mount | Elements/groups: 23/16 | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: Triple linear motors | Stabilizer: 5-stops | Min focus distance: 1.0m | Max magnification: 0.12x | Filter thread: 72mm | Dimensions (WxL): 83x176mm | Weight: 995g
The best Fujifilm telephoto zoom: Most professional and enthusiast photographers who use full-frame cameras grab a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens for telephoto shooting. The Fujifilm XF50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR is the equivalent X-mount lens with an effective 105-210mm zoom range and the same fast, constant f/2.8 aperture. It also happens to be full of ‘red badge’ finery. Like its sibling 16-55mm optic, this one has fully pro-grade build quality and high-grade glass including five ED elements and one Super ED element, plus dual conventional and nano-structure coatings.
Super-fast autofocus is driven by a triple linear motor and, this time, you also get optical stabilization with class-leading 5-stop performance. The focal length range and wide aperture result in a relatively heavy build but the lens is nevertheless only two-thirds of the weight of most 70-200mm f/2.8 full-frame zooms.
The best telephoto zoom budget alternative: Fujifilm XC50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II
Remarkably compact and lightweight for a telephoto zoom, this lens keeps things simple and only costs a quarter of the price of the much larger 50-140mm. Even so, it features an aspherical element and an ED element, and boasts an ‘effective’ zoom range of 75-345mm. A 3.5-stop optical stabilizer is also on hand to fend off camera-shake.
4. Fujifilm XF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
This lens gives you monstrous telephoto reach
Mount: Fujifilm X-mount | Elements/groups: 21/14 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Twin linear motors | Stabilizer: 5-stops | Min focus distance: 1.75m | Max magnification: 0.19x | Filter thread: 77mm | Dimensions (WxL): 95x211mm | Weight: 1,375g
The best Fujifilm super-telephoto zoom: The third and final ‘red badge’ zoom lens in the group, the Fujifilm XF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR has all the usual pro-grade attractions and weather-sealed build quality. It’s typically heavy for a super-telephoto zoom, although many on the market are substantially heavier, weighing up to twice as much. Highlights include twin linear motors for super-fast and virtually silent autofocus, a class-leading 5-stop image stabilizer, and top quality optics that include five ED elements and one Super ED element. The lens comes complete with a tripod mounting ring and an Arca-Swiss compatible plate is also available as an optional extra. And if 600mm of ‘effective’ telephoto reach isn’t enough for you, the lens is also compatible with Fujifilm’s 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters, which boost the maximum focal length to 853mm and 1,219mm in full-frame terms.
5. Fujifilm XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
An ideal travel lens with tremendous versatility
Mount: Fujifilm X-mount | Elements/groups: 16/12 | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: Linear motor | Stabilizer: 5-stops | Min focus distance: 0.6m | Max magnification: 0.27x | Filter thread: 67mm | Dimensions (WxL): 76x98mm | Weight: 490g
The best Fujifilm superzoom: Even though most Fujifilm X-mount lenses are comparatively compact and lightweight, it can still be a chore if you need to carry multiple lenses around with you. Ideal for travel and walkabout photography, this ‘superzoom’ XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR takes you all the way from wide-angle coverage to serious telephoto reach, equivalent to 27-206mm on a full-frame camera. Naturally, if you like to travel light, you won’t want to be lugging a tripod around either, so the 5-stop optical stabilizer is another bonus. Not just versatile in terms of zoom range, the lens is great for everything from landscape and architectural shots to action sports and wildlife, thanks to a very fast linear motor autofocus system. You needn’t let rain stop play either, as the lens has comprehensive weather-seals applied to no less than 20 areas.
6. Fujifilm XF35mm f/1.4 R
A fast lens with a standard perspective
Mount: Fujifilm X-mount | Elements/groups: 8/6 | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: Stepping motor | Stabilizer: No | Min focus distance: 0.8m | Max magnification: 0.17x | Filter thread: 52mm | Dimensions (WxL): 65x50mm | Weight: 187g
The best Fujifilm standard prime: One of the biggest attractions of APS-C format cameras is that they boost the ‘effective’ focal length of lenses, giving you longer telephoto reach for any given size of lens. The flipside is that it’s more difficult to get a tight depth of field when you want to blur the background, for example in portraiture or still-life photography.
With a similar viewing angle and perspective to using a standard 50mm prime on a full-frame camera, the extra-wide aperture rating of f/1.4 comes to your aid in the Fujifilm XF35mm f/1.4 R, enabling a tighter depth of field as well as boosting shutter speeds under dull lighting conditions. Contrast and sharpness are excellent and, equally important, bokeh (the quality of defocused areas within images) is pleasantly smooth.
The best standard prime budget alternative: Fujifilm XF35mm f/2 R WR
Marginally smaller and lighter than the 35mm f/1.4 lens, this one has an aperture rating that’s a full f/stop slower. It’s still a great lens and adds weather-seals, despite being substantially less expensive to buy.
7. Fujifilm XF56mm f/1.2 R APD
The perfect portrait lens for Fujifilm cameras
Mount: Fujifilm X-mount | Elements/groups: 11/8 | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: Stepping motor | Stabilizer: No | Min focus distance: 0.7m | Max magnification: 0.09x | Filter thread: 62mm | Dimensions (WxL): 73x70mm | Weight: 405g
The best Fujifilm portrait prime: The focal length and aperture rating of the Fujifilm XF56mm f/1.2 R APD is equivalent to using an 85mm f/1.2 lens on a full-frame camera. It’s an ideal combination for portraiture, enabling you to maintain a natural shooting distance from your subject, while also blurring the background with a tight depth of field.
Even so, the depth of field isn’t as tight as when using a lens with an ‘actual’ rather than ‘effective’ 85mm focal length. This lens fights back with a nanotechnology-engineered ‘apodization’ filter. This special element in the lens’s optical path smooths the outlines of shapes in defocused areas, making the bokeh look more soft and creamy. However, you have to pay a hefty price for the added attraction, as the non-APD version of the lens only costs about two-thirds as much.
The best portrait prime budget alternative: Fujifilm XF50mm f/2 R WR
This lens won’t give you such a tight depth of field as either edition of Fujifilm’s 56mm f/1.2 lens, but it’s relatively inexpensive lens and is the next thing for portraiture.
8. Fujifilm XF80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro
An incredible lens for extreme close-ups
Mount: Fujifilm X-mount | Elements/groups: 16/12 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Linear motor | Stabilizer: 5-stops, hybrid | Min focus distance: 0.25m | Max magnification: 1.0x | Filter thread: 62mm | Dimensions (WxL): 80x130mm | Weight: 750g
The best Fujifilm macro prime: This ‘full macro’ lens delivers 1.0x magnification when shooting at its closest focus distance of 0.25m. It therefore reproduces small objects at full life size on the camera’s image sensor, and gives even greater ‘effective’ magnification than when using a similar lens on a full-frame camera, thanks to the APS-C format crop factor. The ability to massively enlarge tiny objects and very fine detail is immense. Innovative features include a newly developed autofocus system that utilizes ceramic balls on a guide rail to ensure the greatest possible accuracy and fidelity across the entire image frame.
There’s also a ‘hybrid’ 5-stop stabilizer that corrects for horizontal and vertical shift as well as the usual camera vibration or ‘wobble’. This makes it much more effective during close-up shooting, although you’re still likely to need a tripod at or near the shortest focus distance.
The best macro prime budget alternative: Fujifilm XF60mm f/2.4 R Macro
Smaller, lighter and cheaper than the 80mm macro lens, this one actually has a longer working distance between the end of the lens and the subject, at its shortest focus distance. The main drawback is that it only delivers a maximum of 0.5x macro magnification, instead of a full 1.0x. It also lacks image stabilization.