Field Test: Shooting with the Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8 + XF1.4X TC WR Teleconverter

The Fujinon XF1.4X TC WR Teleconverter came out at the end of last year. At the moment, it is only compatible with the XF50-140mmF2.8 zoom lens, but the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 telephoto zoom and the XF120mmF2.8 macro will also be compatible when they are released.

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When you add a 1.4x teleconverter between your lens and your camera, you lose one stop of light (due to the almighty laws of physics). Therefore, the XF50-140mmF2.8 + XF1.4X TC will be equivalent to an XF70-196mmF4 lens. You need to update the firmware of your camera (X-T1 in my case), something We have gotten used to do, but you also need to update the lens firmware (something we do less often) before you start using the teleconverter. Once both the camera and the lens firmware so are up to date, your camera will be able to understand to which lens you have attached the teleconverter, and from there will be able to calculate the correct values of focal length and aperture.

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In order to test the XF50-140mmF2.8 + XF1.4X TC combo in real-life conditions, I decided to use it for most of my portraits of the last Coming of Age Day, mounted on the X-T1, only switching to the XF56F1.2 prime at the end of the day. Knowing that I was losing one stop of light, I raised my ISO to 400 before I started shooting but apart from that the experience was completely seamless. In particular, shooting during daytime in good weather condition, I did not feel any difference in terms of auto-focus performance compared to using the XF50-140mmF2.8 without the teleconverter. I would assume there should be a more pronounced impact when auto-focus conditions are intrinsically more difficult (in low light for example), but this is not something I tested as in such conditions I would by default take only faster primes with me anyway.

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In terms of image quality, adding a piece of gear, no matter how well designed, between your lens and your camera body is going to downgrade the image quality. If you zoom enough on the files and do some comparisons, you will without a doubt find some differences, but the important thing to define a good teleconverter, in my opinion, is to make sure that these differences are not visible if you are not looking for them. Mission accomplished for Fuji. When you look at portraits like these ones, the fact that it might have been shot with a teleconverter which would have slightly downgraded the image quality is not the first thing that comes to your mind (not the second either!):

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Conclusion: the XF1.4X TC WR Teleconverter is a piece of gear that does well what it is supposed to do, and will come very handy in various situations for the nature and wildlife photographers. Unfortunately, you cannot use it with any lens, and the number of compatible lenses is very small at the moment. I am looking forward to see how it performs with the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 zoom when it comes out in February.

 

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