Reviews |Fujifilm Fujinon XF 150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR Review

Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR review
Review

Price when reviewed

£1899

$1999

Our Verdict

It might take photographers a little time to come to terms with the maximum aperture of the Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR at its longest point, but it brings the convenience of an 229-914mm lens without the need to use a teleconverter. It might not be the ideal choice of optics for shooting motorsport in the depths of winter, but it’s an excellent lens for enthusiast wildlife photographers during the brighter months of the year.

For

  • Attractive focal length range for wildlife photography
  • Internal zoom and focusing
  • Weatherproof

Against

  • Maximum aperture f/8 at the 600mm end
  • Long and heavy
  • Aperture ring not 'declickable'

What is the Fujifilm XF 150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR?

The Fujifilm XF 150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR is a super-telephoto lens designed for use on Fujifilm X-Series camera like the new Fujifilm X-H2S and the existing Fujifilm X-T4. As these cameras have APS-C format sensor, the XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR has an effective focal length of 229-914mm on them, making it very attractive for wildlife and sport photography.

Specification

  • Product type: Telephoto zoom lens
  • Mount: Fujifilm X
  • Focal length: 150-600mm
  • Effective focal length: 229-914mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/5.6-f/8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 24 elements in 17 groups (3 ED elements and 4 super ED elements)
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Minimum focus distance (from focal plane): 2.4m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.24x
  • Stabilisation: Yes
  • Filter size: 82mm
  • Dimensions (diameter x length): 99mm x 314.5mm
  • Weight: 1,605g without the lens foot, hood or caps
Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR review

Features

Fujifilm constructs the XF 150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR from 24 elements arranged in 17 groups including 3 ED (extra-low dispersion) elements and 4 Super ED elements. The special elements are designed to deliver edge-to-edge sharpness throughout the zoom range.

Fujifilm outlines the technology within its lenses with the letters included in its name. That means that the XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR has an aperture ring (R), linear motor focusing (LM), image stabilisation (OIS) and is weather-sealed (WR).

The linear motor is designed to deliver fast, silent focusing and in this case it’s claimed to get subjects sharp in as little as 0.15sec. The focusing is also internal so that the lens doesn’t change length nor does the front element rotate during focusing. But that’s not all, the zoom is internal too so it also doesn’t change length when you zoom from one end of the focal length range to the other.

Fujifilm is claiming a 5-stop shutter speed compensation for the stabilisation system when the lens is at the 600mm (914mm) end. That should mean it’s possible to shoot at around 1/30sec and get sharp images. As the range of compensation movement is greater with a lens when you’re dealing with long telephoto optics, Fujifilm cameras with in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) will prioritise using the lens’s stabilisation when it’s mounted.

Another thing made plain by the lens’ name is the maximum aperture range, f/5.6 at the 150mm point and f/8 at the 600mm end. A maximum aperture of f/8 will raise a few eyebrows, but that’s the same as the XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR with a 1.4x teleconverter which boost the effective focal length from 560mm to 853mm. And let’s not forget that Canon has the RF 600mm F11 IS STM and RF 800mm F11 IS STM which are designed for its full-frame mirrorless camera like the Canon EOS R5 and R6.

It’s great to see that Fujifilm has made the tripod foot that’s mounted on the integrated lens collar Arca-Swiss compatible. That means you can mount the lens directly in an Arca-Swiss compatible tripod head without the need for a release plate.

The tripod foot also has a neat release mechanism with a large rectangular button and a knob that can be screwed tight to prevent it from being unlocked accidentally.

Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR review

Build and handling

At 99mm in diameter and 314.5mm long, the Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR is a big lens, but it still seems quite compact for a 150-600mm optic, and the fact that it doesn’t extend at all is a major bonus. It means that you don’t have to adjust how you hold the camera or compensate for a change in balance.

It also weighs 1605g, which isn’t to be sniffed at, but it’s 325g lighter than the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | C which, though designed for use on full-frame cameras, is a popular voice for use on APS-C format models. This weight proved fine for a day’s shooting at Beale Wildlife Park and another at WWT Slimbridge. On both occasions I had the option to use a tripod or a monopod, but I generally found it easier to rest the lens on a fence or prop my elbow on a fence or wall and support the lens from underneath. I also chose to hold the lens ‘freehand’ on several occasions and although the stabilisation is very good, it can be difficult to maintain the precise composition that you want when the lens is at its longest point.

Incidentally, the 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | C  is the lightest of Sigma’s three current 150-600mm lenses.

Fujifilm has positioned the broad zoom ring around the middle of the lens, which is the perfect point for supporting it with your left hand, so it’s easy to zoom in or out quickly. The aperture ring is immediately next to the zoom ring, but closer to the camera mount while the focus ring sits further forward and within reach of your fingers and thumb as you support the lens at the zoom ring.

The aperture ring works by wire, which means that it doesn’t have end points and there are no markings to indicate which aperture value is selected, instead you read the value in the camera’s viewfinder or on the screen. Click stops make it clear when the aperture is being adjusted and it’s easy to rotate the ring with your left thumb while your fingers are under the zoom ring and supporting the lens.

As I mentioned earlier, the focus and zoom mechanisms are internal. The focus ring is considerably looser than the zoom ring but that means it can be rotated using your thumb and/or index finger while the rest of your hand is on the zoom ring. I found the focus ring a comfortable reach from the  zoom ring.

A distance scale pops up in the viewfinder and on the screen in Manual Focus (MF) mode, or when the focus ring is rotated while the shutter button is depressed when AF+MF is On in the camera’s menu. Also, if ‘Focus Check’ is turned on in the menu, the image under the selected AF point magnifies as soon as the focus ring is rotated in MF or AF+MF mode.

Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR review

There are three switches on the left side of the lens as you hold it on the camera. At the top there’s a focus limiter with two options, full or 5m to infinity. The latter is useful when shooting through foliage. Below that is a switch to set the aperture ring to select aperture values or for it to be set by the camera – I prefer to use the ring.

There’s also an AF lock switch with three settings, AF-L, Preset and AF, and four focus-control buttons towards the end of the lens at the 90° points. Coupled with the buttons, this switch allows the focus to be locked to particular distances for recall in an instance.

Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR review

Performance

Most photographers who invest in the Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR are likely to do so primarily for the 400-600mm range, although those without the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR, may want it for some of the wider end as well.

Shooting with an effective focal length of 914mm brings a few issues. One of these, camera shake, is addressed very well by the lens’ stabilisation system. In fact, when the Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR was at the 600mm (914mm) end, I was able to get 90-100% of my images sharp at a shutter speed of 1/30sec. This demonstrates that Fujifilm’s claim of 5EV shutter speed compensation is accurate and I’m impressed by the consistency. Dropping to 1/15 sec, however, resulted in all of my images showing significant motion blur.

Of course, a stabilisation system can’t correct for subject movement, and it’s probable that the XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR will often be pointed at subjects that move. This means that fast shutter speeds are required and the relatively small maximum aperture setting demands that the sensitivity (ISO) is often pushed up. When I was shooting at 600mm during a bright sunny August day in the UK, using a shutter speed of 1/640 sec required an ISO value of 320, and pushing to 1/1,250sec (which isn’t quite fast enough to freeze a squirming otter) took the ISO to around 1600. The ISO value is likely to be pushed significantly higher in the darker months of year and that will have an impact on image quality.

However, provided that you are able to freeze the subject, the Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR is very good. It’s not Fujifilm’s sharpest lens, but it’s still very good and the sharpness is maintained well across the frame. It performs best when its aperture is closed down a stop. The results are best at f/11 at the longest point, for instance, but I’d happily shoot at the widest aperture to keep the ISO down and boost the shutter speed. The impact of diffraction is apparent as the smallest apertures.

Vignetting, chromatic aberration and distortion are all controlled very well and out of focus areas, are attractively soft with circular highlights.

Whether it’s mounted on the Fujifilm X-H2S or the Fujifilm X-S10, the XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR focuses quickly and quietly. Its closest focusing point is 2.4m, but that’s close when you’re shooting at 600mm/914mm and it doesn’t struggle unduly near to that distance.

Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR review

Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR sample images

Follow the link to browse and download full-resolution sample images from the Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR. Copyright applies.

Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR image gallery

Verdict

A 150-600mm lens that translates to a 229-914mm on an APS-C format camera holds lots of appeal to wildlife and sports photographers, but it brings a few challenges. Even with a monopod, it takes a steady hand to keep the composition just as you want it at the longest end, especially when the subject is moving. And although the Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR’s stabilisation is very good, fast shutter speeds are needed to freeze subject movement, which with a maximum aperture range of f/5.6-8 means that you may have to push the ISO up more than you’d like.

However, provided that you are happy to tackle these inevitable handling issues, the Fujifilm XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR is an excellent choice of lens for enthusiast wildlife photographers. It’s pretty heavy and long, but it’s still manageable and the fact that the zoom and and focusing operate internally is a nice bonus. Plus it’s weather-sealed.

While a faster maximum aperture would be nice, that would make the XF150-600mm F5.6-8 R LM OIS WR much bigger, heavier and more expensive. Fujifilm has found a nice balance.

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