One of the strengths of the Fujifilm X system is its extensive lens collection, but until now, Fujifilm's longest lens for the X-mount has been the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR. With the release of the high-speed Fujifilm X-H2S – a camera that is aimed at wildlife and sport photographers – the launch of the FUJINON Lens XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR complements the new camera, and the subjects that users will likely shoot with it.
The XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR covers the focal length of 229mm – 914mm in equivalent 35mm film terms, but it does also support – noted as a point of awe if nothing else – teleconverters. This means that if you fitted it with the XF2X TC WR, the range would extend to up to 1200mm (equivalent to 1828mm). Not bad for a lens that weighs just 1605g (albeit without the lens hood, lens cap, and tripod collar foot) and costs under £2000/$2000! For the sake of a rough comparison (as it isn't an X-mount fit lens) the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | S weighs around 2,860g.
On paper, this lens should be equally capable of tracking small birds and wildlife to athletes on the sports track. Its mega focal length range expands the versatility of the X-mount system by a long stretch and opens it up as an option to users who might not previously have considered it. But what about the real world use?
Fujinon XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR: Specifications
Focal length: 150-600mm
Angle of view: 10.8°-2.7°
Max. aperture: f/5.65.6
Min. aperture: f/22
Lens configuration: 24 lens elements in 17 groups (3 ED and 4 Super ED elements)
Aperture blades: 9
Minimum focus distance: 2.4m
Max. magnification: 0.24x
Dimensions: 99mm x 314.5mm
Weight: 1605g (lens only)
Filter size: 82mm
Fujinon XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR: Key features
The Fujinon XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR doesn't extend in and out to zoom, but features an inner zoom to retain balanced handling. An inner focus mechanism drives the AF swiftly and silently thanks to a linear motor, at a quoted speed of just 0.25 seconds.
On the lens barrel itself there's a focus limiter to restrict the focus range, which is useful if you've got a target that's going to stay a certain distance away, plus a SET button that can be used to program the lens to stay at a pre-defined focus distance.
Chromatic aberration (caused when light rays pass through the lens at different points) is often more prevalent in telephoto lenses, and Fujifilm says that the lens' construction of 24 lens elements in 17 groups should suppress axial chromatic aberration. A broadcast-quality coating called HT-EBC has also been applied on all elements to lower light reflectance and reduce aberration further.
As we've already mentioned, the lens can be used alongside Fujifilm's 2x and 1.4x teleconverters, the former of which maxes the focal length range from 300mm to 1200mm on the APS-C sensor (457mm – 1828mm in 35mm film terms).
This is now the longest lens in the Fujifilm line-up, and as such as 600mm the degree of camera shake is too much to be controlled with the camera's in-body image stabilization. Fortunately the XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR sports a "sensing and control system," a mechanism which effectively delivers its own 5-stops of optical image stabilization. We genuinely noticed this in action when we took the lens for a handheld spin, and were surprised at just how sharp the results were at 600mm on a dull and rainy London day.
Fujinon XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR: Build and handling
The super-telephoto XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR is a non-extending inner zoom, and Fujifilm is particularly marketing its lightweight design – something that's important for pros who are going to be lugging it around a field chasing birds, or chasing (metaphorically) the fastest athletes.
Despite its length, we were immediately surprised by how at home (and well-balanced) the lens feels when mounted on the new Fujifilm X-H2S. Because of the internal zoom, the barrel has a fairly plain appearance, and there's very little shift in weight distribution throughout the focal length – to keep shooting steady. We were shooting handheld during our testing and found that we could get a stable platform when holding the lens underneath.
Build-wise the lens is made from a magnesium alloy, and it is sturdy but not too cumbersome – without the plastic feel that you get on some longer modern mirrorless lenses in a bid to reduce weight. Thanks to weather-sealing at no less than 19 locations, you should be able to operate the lens in rain, dust and chilly conditions down to -10 degrees Celsius.
Fujinon XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR: Performance
Sheer reach is the name of the game with the Fujinon XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR, and on that front, it delivers in spades. The zoom mechanism feels smooth throughout the entire range, and it's near silent, which is exactly what you want if you're stalking skittish wildlife in the field and don't want to alert it to your presence.
The 5-axis stabilization mechanism does a very decent job of keeping shots sharper towards the far end of the zoom range, and our results were acceptable at 600mm even when the light levels were poor – and the rain was pouring too.
Obviously this is a slower lens, at f/5.6-8, so we can't deny that's a very limiting factor in many situations. It means that you need to boost your ISO or slow the shutter to work in challenging light – but when doing the latter, the aforementioned stabilization (made brilliant-er when using a stabilized Fujifilm body) should generally make a difference.
Fujinon XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR: Lab results
We run a range of lab tests under controlled conditions, using the Imatest Master testing suite. Photos of test charts are taken across the range of apertures and zooms (where available), then analyzed for sharpness, distortion and chromatic aberrations.
We use Imatest SFR (spatial frequency response) charts and analysis software to plot lens resolution at the center of the image frame, corners and mid-point distances, across the range of aperture settings and, with zoom lenses, at four different focal lengths. The tests also measure distortion and color fringing (chromatic aberration).
Firstly, let's address the elephant in the room: we couldn't lab test the XF 150-600mm at the full 600mm. Most 150-600mm are full-frame optics, whereas the XF 150-600mm is made for APS-C cameras, meaning that '600mm' translates to around 900mm in full-frame terms. Consequently, even utilising the maximum length of our test facility - 20 meters - we could only zoom in as far as 580mm while still maintaining the correct framing of our test chart.
Even so, this was enough to reveal that the Fujinon XF 150-600mm (or at least our test sample) isn't the sharpest when zoomed right in, although shots taken at this focal length aren't distractingly soft. In the 150-400mm range the lens is satisfyingly sharp in the central region. Corner sharpness is a little softer, but if you're shooting sports or wildlife, where the subject only fills the centre of frame, you're likely to have a blurred background anyway.
Color fringing is well controlled at all tested focal lengths and apertures, staying well below a level that would be easily noticeable.
Since Fujifilm bodies automatically correct optical distortion, and this cannot be disabled, it's little surprise the XF 150-600mm generates no noticeable distortion at any focal length.
Fujinon XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR: Early verdict
The XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR has really opened up the playing field when it comes to the X-mount. The professional (or advanced amateur) photographers that Fujifilm is aiming at don't just want a long lens – they want an easy to carry, affordable and fast focusing long lens. On the whole, the XF150-600mm is exactly that, and it's even priced accessibly.
The lens is designed to get you closer to subjects that are small, speedy or downright elusive. It is a fantastic super telephoto for the X-mount, though it's not perfect. The maximum lens aperture isn't a little slow, placing extra reliance on image stabilization, and the sharpness of our test lens was disappointing when zoomed right in.
Nevertheless, if you're an X-mount shooter wanting a lens that can get you closer than ever to sports action or wildlife, the XF150-600mm is great value for the sheer reach it offers in such a portable package.