Pixel Peeping on Fujifilm XF 55-200mm

The last time I was testing tele lens was when I first got my 70-200, comparing it with my previous tele lens – EF-S 55-250. It has serve me really well paired with the 5D classic but the image quality of crop sensor has improved so much that I’ve picked up the X100S and now the X-T1 for my travel photo needs.

I was deciding between the cheaper Fujifilm XC 50-230, the XF 100-400 and XF 55-200. I am really reluctant to pick up the 55-200 due to its higher price and not-that-fast aperture at tele-end. The other 2 are even slower at tele end but the 50-230 is half the price while the 400 reaches twice as far.

Recently I bump into an ad at Mudah.my which someone is selling a used 50-230 at just RM1500. New one after getting Fujifilm cash back promo still sell for RM2000. With a bit of negotiation (I wasn’t pushing it, like seriously), he sold me at just RM1300. I paid for it and now I can test how does it compete with my other two tele-lens.

First thing first, the 70-200 on the 5D just cannot reach as far as the 40D with 55-230 and X-T1 with 55-200 combo. However, the 40D with its 10 megapixel manage to resolve as much details at the 230mm end as the X-T1 at 200mm. That’s mean I can reach as far on the Fuji combo even though I’m short of 50mm.

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40D+55-250 vs X-T1+55-200

At broad daylight, the cheaper Canon crop sensor combo may be able to match the more expensive Fujifilm combo, however when it comes to low light situation, Fujifilm will simply win hands down with its much better sensor.

I am not not that pleased to see some softness at the lower left corner from the Fuji’s image, it is a more expensive lens compared to Canon. The time of the photo being taken isn’t that ideal as there a lot of thermal in the hot afternoon which really distort fine details far away especially when a tele-lens is used. I will see how my day to day shoot turns out with the lens, I reckon it won’t disappoint me.

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40D+70-200L II vs X-T1+55-200

An honorary mention will be using a full frame pro-lens like the EF 70-200L f/2.8 II on the 40D will churn out very sharp image which look very pleasing even comparing with the X-T1’s extra 6 megapixel of data. The lens is simply pin sharp corner to corner especially so in low contrast area. That’s why I’m still keeping the lens and waiting for the next 5D MkIV.

With this, I can finally retire my 40D combo and the Fujifilm X-T1 with 10-24, 55-200 and X100S will cover all the range that I need during travel. 5D with 24L and 70-200L will still be my go-to combo for events.

Pixel Peeping on Fujifilm XF 55-200mm

Getting into Fujifilm System

I’ve been reluctant to join a new system after investing so much into Canon’s ecosystem. Two years ago I got myself a Fujifilm X100S mainly because reading lots of review regarding how great it is. The initial plan was using it an everyday camera and a second camera for the gap between my 24mm and 70-200mm lens.

The camera is so small that it doesn’t attract too much attention, it take photos without making any sound, and it take really good quality photos! Even though it cost a lot for a camera which lens can’t be swap out and not even zoom, I say it is money well spent. It has been my go-to camera for both work and play for the past two years. My neck definitely thank me a lot for not lugging my 5D and 24mm combo so often.

My 5D only see day-light during event and some oversea traveling. Heck, I decided to bring my older 40D instead of the 5D for my Europe trip to prevent my expensive full frame lens from getting stolen. Occasionally the 5D still see its uses. For events, the 24mm and 70-200mm are extremely useful while the UWA 17-40mm is mostly used for traveling.

I wasn’t really happy with the photos that comes out of the 5D and 17-40mm combo on my previous trip to New Zealand’s south island. The 17-40mm exhibit quite some corner blur even at f/11. The 5D’s 10 years old sensor is seriously old that the X100S APS-C sensor beats the heck out of it in terms of resolution, noise and especially shadow recovery from RAW files.

Being able to recover tons of shadow data from the X100S’s ISO 200 RAW file is nothing short of amazing. Suddenly the Lee gradient ND filter isn’t that useful anymore when I just underexpose the shot and pull the shadow out during PP. I wanted to upgrade from the 5D, but the Canon system isn’t what I expect it to be at the moment.

The 5D Mark II has a higher resolution sensor with amazing high ISO performance, the 5D Mark III improved the high ISO performance even further. However Canon has not make their sensor ISO-less, unlike what the Sony has done. Since I capture a lot of landscape, and not so much of portraits, the 5D Mark III doesn’t interest me that much and it is really expensive.

Then there’s the lens. The 17-40 is quite a terrible L lens, the 16-35 f/2.8 II isn’t that good for the price either. Nikon clearly has better UWA lens with the 12-24 and 16-35 VR compared with Canon’s flagship zoom. After that Canon did came out with its own version of 16-35 f/4 IS, which is probably the best UWA zoom Canon has right now, but to buy that and a new 5D Mark III will cost a bomb and still being disadvantaged by the 5DIII’s sensor.

My X100S really open my eyes of how good Fujifilm’s sensor are and the JPEG SOOC are really nice. At one point I was seriously considering buying an old X-Pro1 and 14mm to fill the wide-angle gap that my X100S is lacking. I changed my mind and get a wide angle adapter lens for the X100S instead. I figure the 14mm (or 21mm equiv.) isn’t as wide as the 17-40 that I have, and buying another camera just for wide-angle just sound dumb to me. I’m so used to just bringing the small and light X100S.

Then Fujifilm released the 10-24mm and it has got a lots of positive reviews. That really got me thinking whether I should try it out. The high price of the X-T1 put me off. I don’t like the design of the X-E2 and its similar AF system as the X100S (read: slow). Fujifilm once again tried to lure me by releasing the X-T10. And just recently they had this cash-back promotion that I finally lost to the temptation.

I got the 10-24mm for RM3300, with the RM550 cash back, the lens only cost RM2750. And then at Mudah.my I found someone selling a used X-T1 and 56mm combo for RM5300. Apparently it’s the same guy that sold me the X100S’s wide angle adapter. He’s quite happy to see me showing up at his shop again, and told me the story of the combo.

A chap need cash to get married, so he borrowed some money from him while leaving the camera at his shop. After a while the shopkeeper tried to contact him on whether or not he has the cash to pay back or should he sell the camera. There was no reply from the chap for quite a while so the shopkeeper decided to just sell them off.

He actually sold the combo to me for just RM5000. Yeah it doesn’t come with box and body cap, but I still get the included flash, charger, strap and lens cap. On top of that, he gave me a used Zeiss UV filter and a Hoya HD Protector filter after I mentioned I need a new filter for my 10-24mm. Those two filter probably cost like RM500 in the market. So there you go, I got a pretty good deal and I will be an idiot for not buying it. If I were to buy a used 5DIII + 16-35 IS + 85 f1.8, it’ll probably cost me almost double the price.

I’ll come up with a comparison soon.

Getting into Fujifilm System