Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR

Categoria: English Pubblicato: Lunedì, 16 Novembre 2015 Scritto da Max Angeloni

Saying or affirming this is a macroscopic mistake.
With this I am not saying, nor have I ever said, that one cant make magnificent portraits with a 50mm, 35mm or even a 24mm.
But there are specific lenses that exist for specific uses with specific characteristics. Just like there are lenses that exist for macro photography or tilt shift lenses for architectural photography, there are lenses known as “portrait” lenses. These have two peculiar characteristics. The first is objective... that they don't suffer from prospective distortion in minimum focusing distance situations. The second is subjective and regards the capability to deliver a gradual transition from the focused and the out of focus areas. I personally love this characteristic, but could give irrelevant results to those who prefer the “hardness” of macro lenses for portraits.
The Fujinon 90mm has both these qualities, that is its does not distort and is very gradual in the focused and out of focus transition.
Before venturing on the testing it on the field, there is another premise. Seeing the angle of view equivalent of a 135mm and given the latest updates that the system X has had on the auto-focus, many users have hypothesized a dynamic and “sport photography” use of this lens.
Don't fall for false expectations. The Fujinon 90mm is a splendid portrait lens but its not thought for nor designed to be used as sport oriented lens.

Angelo: Fujinon X-T1, Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR: 1/200, f/2.2, Iso 2500


Paolo: Fujinon X-T1, Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR: 1/200, f/2.2, Iso 1250


Focal, sinister noise and framing
The first days of August were characterized by a wide spread alarm. I was drowned by mails and messages of users and shopkeepers who were worried about a sinister noise that came from the inside of the lens. In reality if the Fujinon 90mm is handled like a shaker, a noise can indeed be heard due to some optical elements that move within the barrel. This is quite normal. Once the lens is fixed to a camera that is switched on, the noises of the moving masses disappear. What is the reason behind this technical decision is still not clear to me, but fact is that at times, our Japanese friends adopt cryptical solutions that are not only hard to interpret but are not even communicated in any way.
A hypothesis could be that of a safety mechanism, that during transportation or in the event of an accidental impact, would limit the chance of the lenses getting misaligned. It just so happens that my X-T1 with the 90mm lens mounted on it fell from over one and a half meters without suffering any damages. Now... I cannot say if this is due to my good habit of never removing the lens hood or if its due to the “shaker” style solution... but that's how it went. The combination X-T1 Fujinon 90mm brilliantly passed the “field test” :)
A test that I will obviously be cautious not to repeat in the future.
Oh well... the camera works and the lens does top, so lets start shooting.
Taking pictures with an angle of field that is equivalent of a 135mm is not easy as one could think. One has to be accustomed to this angle of view. Just like 85mm are perfect for indoor portraits, likewise 135mm are perfect for outdoor ones. One does not find oneself pursuing the subject with a rifle at point blank range and at the same time has a wider rage of possible framing solutions.
Greater framing solutions are also given by, at an equal minimum focus distance, the longer lens is able to deliver a frame that is much tighter without evident optical distortions that could alter subject's somatic traits.
Another advantage of long range lenses is that to give to the image greater depth and three dimensionality. That is to say... in making a traditional portrait, with an angle of view equivalent to a 135mm, one achieves a pronounced three dimensional aspect with a very pleasant out of focus of the surrounding environment, leaving at the same time the essential traits of the face in focus (eye and nose). Obviously the results will vary based on various factors. But lets remember that in a portrait, even having only and exclusively an eye that is in focus..., leaving aside the usual and natural exceptions, is only an exercise in style that rarely gives optimal results when the picture is printed.
Even when the frame is widened, a longer lens continues to strongly preserve its general three- dimensional characteristic. Shorter lenses on the other hand, once they go beyond a certain distance start loosing this capability.
Naturally with all due exceptions, recognizing technical-artistic choices and so on and so forth.


Luca: Fujinon X-T1, Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR: 1/350, f/2, Iso 200


Adele: Fujinon X-T1, Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR: 1/5400, f/2, Iso 200


Tramonto al Giglio: Fujinon X-T1, Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR: 1/200, f/11, Iso 400


On the field
The Fujinon 90mm well adapts to the size of the X-T1. Take the 56mm and add a handful of centimeters in length and you will have an idea of its size. The construction is perfectly in line with the characteristics of Fujinon lenses. The chafing of the ferrule of the diaphragm has been improved with the consequent reduction of accidental movement. As usual the lens hood as far as size, shape and construction leaves me rather disoriented. The choice of adopting as a standard a piece of a drainpipe remains a mystery, seeing the excellent quality of the anti-glare treatment of the Fujinon lenses. By all means, the accessory is resistant (very resistant I must say) and has a refined milling on the inside that increases is efficiency. But lets be honest, once its mounted, the entire harmony of the shapes and the aesthetic aspect of the Fuji goes down the drain.
Drain pipes aside, the Fujinon 90mm appears right from the first few shots, a well designed lens. As I have always highlighted in my articles, Fujinon is very careful and capable in making lenses for the APSc system. One always has the feeling of having lenses that are actually framing the real angle of view and not a crop of smaller lenses.
Sharpness reaches the highest levels, harmonic out of focus and excellent three dimensionality. I am repetitive in this, I know, but till today I am still astonished at how Fujinon is able to make all these high quality lenses. Another characteristic that I like in a portrait lenses is the capability to deliver a gradual chromatic transition and a harmonic transition between focused and out of focus areas. The Fujinon 90mm appears well designed for this. For those who love, aside from color, black and white portraits as well, know perfectly well how important these characteristics are. If we absentmindedly observe these pictures, the overall harmony could induce the observer to feel that the Fujinon 90mm etches mildly. But when the image is observed carefully, one notices just how great the etching is without overflowing in excessive micro-contrast or in abrupt transitions between lights and shadows. This is called harmony and these are the characteristics of portrait lenses.


Mario: Fujinon X-T1, Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR: 1/320, f/2, Iso 200


"A"Mario: Fujinon X-T1, Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR: 1/800, f/2.5, Iso 200


Davide: Fujinon X-T1, Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR: 1/640, f/2, Iso 200


Pino: Fujinon X-T1, Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR: 1/32000, f/2.2, Iso 200 (electronic shutter... yessss)


I had promised it... I said that I would have been brief and I kept my promise.
The bottom line is that there is little to add. I don't want to run the risk to appear to be a complaisant “pen”, but its a matter of fact that Fujinon never misses a shot as far as picture quality is concerned. A bit more work could be done on aspects such as motorization and stabilization. Solutions that, for example, would make the 90mm an excellent tool for sport and naturalistic photography.
For other things, its always rather difficult to find weak spots in these lenses.
As always, the real assets of photography equipment are the lenses and Fujifilm seems to have interpreted this concept in an impeccable manner.


Ilaria: Fujinon X-T1, Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR: 1/200, f/2, Iso 640


Miriam: Fujinon X-T1, Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR: 1/680, f/2, Iso 200


Fujinon X-T1, Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR: 1/240, f/2.8, Iso 200


Fujinon X-T1, Fujinon XF90mm F2 R LM WR: 1/125, f/2, Iso 5000

Special thanks:

Mario, Adele e Ilaria Brandaglia
Pino e Miriam Catalano
Paolo e Angelo Stefanini
Luca Angeloni
Isola del Giglio