Monday, April 4, 2016

The Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4: the twin personality lens !



Apparence
The Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 lens is part of the initial line-up of the Fujifilm X-Mount optics. Its firmware has been improved extendedly to meet the requirement of the newest camera additions from Fujifilm.

The Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 receive a very classic presentation that will recall for some of us the classical lenses from the 35mm film era. Aperture and focus controls are traditional (although they are in fact simulated mechanical adjustments). It is not a small and light lens but without optical image stabilization option (no OIS) its heaviness add some inertial weight that can help to prevent shakeness. Yes it is a "made in Japan" product. An imposant metallic and nicely crafted lens hood is included with the lens that can prevent some flare phenomena under certain light conditions.

A double life
The twin personality of the Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 lens is relating about its portrait and macro vocations. In fact it more a small telephoto with a very near close focusing ability. So it gives you the possibility to take picture of your main subject at a very short distance and cutting down the deep of field a lot. Those qualities are rightly appreciated in portrait purpose.
As a small telephoto lens my preferred aperture setting is to select the maximum opening (F2.4) as often it is possible. The Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 had respond beautifully to that (ab)use of its largest aperture. Thus F2.4 appears to be modest but in reality it is easily comparable to the traditional Leica Elmarit 90mm F2.8 or the Nikkor AI-S 105mm F2.5 lenses of the time.

Action photography can be a challenge as usual for that kind of lenses. Snap Sport Shooters will definitively have problems to get full proofed on-focus subject by simply snap and follow the subject mobility. Prefocus (Auto or Manuel) setting is highly recommended but I have discovered that the Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 in normal lightning condition got its own ability with close distance action subjects. Panning your subject may be the more successful way of getting in-focus action subjects. Predictive manual focusing is another way of doing action photography with that lens but experimentation may be frustrating.

Kiki Piccolo is our "impossible" subject for action
photography. But through the small bars the
XT-10 / XF 60mm manage to focus rightly and
be able to freeze most the movement.


No stabilization on this lens mean you will need to be careful about your own ability to hold your camera very steadily and following action by panning your subject. In low light or interior conditions that will be a challenge since we are now more and more relaying on stabilization options over lenses or cameras. Your rate of success will decrease as you will find in selecting your final choice of pictures during the editing session. For that point of view it is always better to review your results on the spot by using the camera rear screen.

Accurate focusing is another challenge in particular with short distance subject. A small movement from the part of the subject or from your part will result in a visible out of focus of the interesting point of view.



Fujifilm Classic Rendering
With a macro lens of this type we are looking for higher quality results if not the best available. On the optical point of view the Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 will deliver very fine and detailed images. Closing down a bit your aperture will optimize yours results corner to corner but you don't need to go too far to get that. 

Fujifilm color output is outstanding as usual. The last lens series that I have worked that was so distinctive was the Leica one during the eighties because I was mainly relying on slide films for colour projects. Fujinon X-Mount lenses will give you good colour and tonal separations. So editing your pictures will be more a fine tuning experience if your composition has been done carefully.


Even if the Fujinon XF 60mm F2.4 lens is not really a snap shooter optic to say the least, it stays a wonderful selective tool if you are ready to invest the effort (and persistence) in your photography. And at the end you will obtain something different of your own originality.


Ok Kiki it's finish!