Fujifilm has finally filled the 1:1 macro void in their lens lineup, but how well does it stack up? We were lucky enough to get a pre-release version of the new lens to test out for a few days - just enough time to get some real world use out of it.

 

The Fuji XF 80mm is a beefy lens (16 elements in 12 groups), the largest of all their primes and looks like it would almost be more at home in the GFX lineup. When mounted to an X-T2, it is quite front heavy and makes shooting handheld a bit more difficult, though adding the grip makes it feel more balanced. Fortunately, the lens has OIS (with 5 stops of stablization according to Fujifilm) to deal with a bit of movement. It is also weather and dust resistant, and when paired with a weather sealed body like the X-T2, shooting outdoors in all sorts of weather conditions is no problem at all.

 

Just like most of Fuji's higher end lenses, image quality is fantastic. It is nice and sharp wide open, and the combination of ED, Super ED, and Aspherical lens elements helps minimize any chromatic abberation. The focusing system and OIS are fairly quiet - not noticeable in most conditions when holding the camera away from my face. When using the EVF the AF noise is very similar, if not exactly like the 50-140mm f/2.8 (a little bit of hum from the OIS, and a quiet mechanical sound of the focus motors).

One of my biggest questions about the lens was the autofocus performance. For the serious macro shooters, AF performance may not be a big concern as many of them are far more comfortable using manual focus/peaking, or using macro rails. I'm far from a macro photographer, and only dabble with it here and there so I decided to put the AF system through its paces. When focusing within a foot or so of the lens hood, AF speed was pretty respectable compared to macro lenses I've used from other lens manufacturers. It does tend to hunt a bit when the lighting isn't great, and using the focus limiter definitely helps cut down on the time it takes to acquire focus. With a close focus distance of only 25cm, I was able to focus on objects just over an inch away from the lens hood. For those thinking of using the lens as a dual purpose lens (and potentially passing on the 90mm f/2), the AF performance is great. I had no problems locking on and tracking some birds, people, and even a fire performer/dancer. 

While I didn't get a chance to test it out, the XF 80mm Macro is compatible with both the 1.4x (112mm f/4) and 2x (160mm f/5.6) teleconverters.

Sample Images
All sample images below were taken with a Fuji X-T2, handheld.

 

(Crop of above image)

 

Images below were taken during the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk (Cleveland) hosted by Pixel Connection and Sam Young Studios.

 

Overall Thoughts

Fujifilm has been gaining a lot of traction here in NE Ohio, and there were many photographers that have the 60mm f/2.4 "macro". While it was small, and you could get close to whatever you were shooting, there was still a hole in the lineup for true macro lens. Not only does this lens fill that hole, but with its versatility it allows photographers to quickly go from shooting insects and flowers with great detail to shooting beautiful portraits and more. This lens is bound to be a great seller for Fuji, though the price does seem a bit steep and it is a bulky lens, especially for a mirroeless system like Fuji. 


Likes:

  • True 1:1 macro lens that can double as a portrait or even wildlife/sports/event lens.
  • Solid build quality
  • OIS works great for handheld shooting
  • AF is fast and accurate when using focus limiter.

Dislikes:

  • Bulky. Dwarfs the 90mm f/2, and is larger than some DSLR macros of similar focal lengths.
  • Focus by wire. Push/pull clutch like some of Fuji's other lenses would've been a great feature. (In general I'm not a fan of focus by wire at all)
  • Price. Several hundred more than Canon/Nikon macros of similar focal lengths, and $100 more than Sony's 90mm f/2.8 Macro. 

 

Click here to view the images on our Flickr page.

The Fujifilm XF 80mm f/2.8 macro will set you back $1,199.95 and should start shipping sometime in November. You can pre-order yours here.