It all started with prime lenses for the X-Series, and while Fujifilm has now also released zooms covering the whole range the family of primes has kept on growing. The XF 90mm F2 is the latest member of the family, the second-one graded weather-resistant (WR) after the XF 16mm F1.4 released earlier this week.
The Awaodori festival of Shimokitazawa was held last week-end (more on that later, but in the meantime you can see dozens of preview images on my Instagram feed), so I rented the XF 90mm F2 at the Fujifilm service center for the occasion.
As soon as I got home with it, I tested it on my traditional model who never complains when I ask him to pose for me at the last minute: Chopper 😉
As you can see on this first sample, this lens will be perfect for portraiture, and produces a pleasing and smooth bokeh.
Here are a couple of samples I took in the streets of Shimokitazawa before the Awaodori started:
There is not much I could say about this lens that images would not say better, so I won’t quibble too long. You could always wish that it had an F1.4 aperture (especially if you own the XF 50-140mm that you can use at F2.8 at 90mm but with optical stabilization), but this is the price and size compromise that Fujifilm decided to go with, so it is what it is….
The one thing I would say though, is that while this lens is a great piece of gear, you are the only person who will know if you really shoot often enough at his focal length to justify its purchase. In fact, I ended up using it less than I had planned, as the streets of Shimokitazawa are quite narrow so I was too close to the dancers for this focal length. If you are a portrait photographer and you shoot this focal length all day long, then it is a no-brainer. But if you only shoot the occasional portrait amid other things, then you might end up being better served by the versatility of the 50-140mm zoom. Also, while professional models are used to photographers using a 135mm equivalent focal length (if not longer), it might not be the case of your subject if you photograph every-day people. As an example, every time I asked one of the dancers or musicians if I could take their portrait on the side of the street, I would then have to back off after I positioned them somewhere in order to get them framed properly. But every time I did that, they would move towards me instead of letting me “unzoom with my feet”, because you have to understand that most people nowadays are used to taking pictures with their smartphones, so they are used to a wider focal length. But that has nothing to do with the quality of the lens, this is about what kind of photographs you want to take, and you are the only one who can answer to that question for you. Just thought I’d mentioned it here anyway… Personally I will happily rent this lens for the few times it will be the one I really need.
Talk to you soon with more images of the Shimokitazawa Awaodori festival 😉