Although it’s been on the X Mount lens roadmap since 2021, Fujifilm has finally launched the new XF150-600mmF5.6 R LM OIS WR super-telephoto lens. Fujifilm categorizes this lens as ideal for nature, wildlife, landscape and sports, and I did my best to test this lens with these genres in mind. If you currently own the FUJIFILM XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR, is this the lens to upgrade to? Let’s first look at the main specification and features of this brand new super-telephoto lens from Fujifilm:
- $2000 USD at the time of announcement (May 31st, 2022)
- Sales embargo July 2022
- Made in Japan
- 225-900mm 35mm equivalent
- 9 rounded blade diaphragm opening
- f/5.6-f/8.0 to f/22
- 24 elements in 17 groups including 3 ED and 4 super ED elements
- WR + Fluorine coating on lens
- 5 stops OIS with linear motor autofocus design
- Focus range select, focus preset /AF-L / AF-ON
- non-telescoping internal zoom design with minimal focus breathing
- ø99 x 314.5mm 82mm filter thread 1,605g
- 1.4x tele 210-840mm f/8-11 (320-1280mm 35mm equiv)
- 2x tele 300-1200mm f/11-16 (457-1828mm 35mm equiv)
- XF 1.4Xx TC WR $449 USD / XF 2x TC WR $449 USD
- removable tripod foot with built-in Arca-Swiss connector
- kit includes front lens cap, rear cap, lens hood, lens pouch, tripod collar foot, shoulder strap
The first thing I noticed was the price of the XF150-600mm compared to the XF100-400mm. At $2000 USD (at time of announcement), the XF150-600mm is only $100 USD more than the XF100-400mm (currently $1899 USD on B&H Photo). If you consider that by adding the 1.4x teleconverter to the XF100-400mm to get to 560mm f/8 at an additional cost of $450 USD, the new XF150mm-600mm starts looking like a bargain. I tested both teleconverters on the XF150-600mm and I would only recommend using them on bright sunny days. At 1200mm f/16mm with the 2x teleconverter (1828mm in 35mm equivalent) in bright daylight, having IBIS and OIS is not enough. You will need to up your ISO and make sure your shutter speeds are fast. I also noticed blurry images due to air temperature differences (heat waves coming off large bodies of water or the ground that blurs the subject). Overall, the teleconverters are useful if you need to go beyond 600mm (900mm in 35mm equivalent), but they were more of a novelty for me on this super-telephoto lens. This is a small point, but I wish Fujifilm would make white teleconverters to match the finish of the XF150-600mm. The black-finish teleconverters match every other lens that are compatible in the X Mount lens lineup, except this new lens.
Matching the new XF150-600mm lens with the new X-H2S with subject tracking, I could quickly switch between the various tracking modes, from birds to planes to cars. Face tracking is also improved, but this is due to the new X Processor V on the X-H2S and not the lens. I also tested the new lens with the X-T4 and it performs well, minus the subject tracking feature. I would highly recommend using this lens on a tripod or a monopod, but at 1605g, this lens isn’t that heavy considering how big it is. If you need to shoot handheld, just make sure your shutter speeds are high enough (above 1/1000 sec). Between the XF100-400 and the XF150-600mmm, there is only a 230g weight difference. In addition, the build quality on the new XF150-600mm is an improvement over the older XF100-400mm. In fact, in terms of build quality, I would compare the new XF150-600mm closer to the XF200mmF2 lens. It feels like a lens built for professional use (minus the plastic lens hood). This is why I’m still surprised by the $2000 USD price.
I have included plenty of photographs during my short time with the new XF150-600mm lens. I was able to take it to a few picturesque locations, including a nice nature walk with my wife to Burnaby Lake. The combination of the X-H2S + XF150-600mm and the Peak Design carbon fiber tripod wasn’t too burdensome for me to carry on my back for the 6km round trip walk. Although I appreciate having a sturdy plastic lens hood to keep the weight down, this lens deserves a slightly heftier, perhaps thicker hood. And although the 82mm front filter thread isn’t overly large, I would still appreciate a rear drop-in filter system for a lens like this, considering the smallest aperture is f/22 and the need for an ND filter would be necessary for some video work. The removable tripod foot that is Arca-Swiss compatible is an awesome piece of engineering, a huge improvement over the one on the XF100-400mm.
My first impression of this new super-telephoto lens from Fujifilm is positive. If you are looking for a lens that can reach 600mm without needing teleconverters, this lens is perfect. The build quality is top-notch, the design, ergonomics and balance are fantastic (no telescoping unlike the XF100-400mm), and I love the white finish of the lens. Although the 600mm focal length might seem crazy for some, I got used to it quickly and immediately started looking for far-away things to photograph. I love the compression you get with a super-telephoto lens, creating a unique look for cityscapes and landscapes. I enjoyed being able to pull in things and juxtapose elements that would be impossible with a standard focal length. According to Fujifilm, this lens is pre-production, thus the build quality, finish and image quality is not final. Please wait for a production copy for my final thoughts. Saying that, I’ve zoomed in and looked at these images and they look fantastic. Adding teleconverters does reduce the overall image quality but this is true with any lens. This is why I recommend this lens if you need to get to 600mm, instead of playing with teleconverters on other lenses. At $2000 USD, this made-in-Japan professional spec’d lens is a great deal. The sales embargo is July 2022 so if you really want this lens for the autumn bird migration season, I wouldn’t wait too long. Thanks for reading and happy telephoto shooting!