Switching Gears - Fuji 55mm-200mm walkabout

Taking a break from all this Austin City Limits concert coverage, Fuji recently sent me the newish Fujinon 55mm-200mm OIS Zoom to play with on the X-E1. I'll admit that this is not exactly the type of lens that I usually invest in, but I was still anxious to take it out for a spin.

With a 35mm equivalent range of roughly 82mm-300mm, this optic covers a lot of useful territory. in typical Fuji fashion, the construction is impressive and the optical quality outstanding. Metal, plastic, rubber and glass combine to form a substantial lens that feels good in the hand and on the camera. The OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) function helps keep your shot steady and is critical on the long-end when the speed slows down to f/4.8 (still much faster than your typical kit or super zoom). I won't bore you with technical evaluations but take a look at some samples from my walk around Town Lake / Zilker Park, here in Austin TX.

Depending on the FOV and distance from your subject, the bokeh (out of focus areas) can be either smooth or a tad nervous, but I found both to be attractive.

Color rendition is typical Fuji-tastic with greens and blues that pop.

Detail can be stunning. Claims that this lens is soft are way off-base. I found the detail to be almost overwhelming in some images.

What about operational speed? Focus varied from very fast in good light, to some occasional hunting. I wouldn't buy this lens to primarily cover fast action, but with some smart pre-focusing you can certainly come away with your share of keepers. I took the lens to my son's baseball game and was very pleased with the results.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the 55mm-200mm. Coming from a background of fixed, fast aperture zooms with shallow DOF and creamy bokeh, I was expecting to be disappointed, but that was not the result. The 55mm-200mm Fuji is priced competitively for what it offers and as an all-purpose zoom, it is absolutely capable in almost every regard.

Thank you very much to Fuji for sending the lens so I could spend some time with it and share my thoughts. Please feel free to post comments below and thanks to Thomas Menk for the Scoop It.

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