The Underappreciated Fuji XC 50-230mm

20150820 215354 IMG_9435 G15_Crop_DCE

After reading this, you might think my blog should be titled The Frugal Photographer.

If you make your living on you photography*, this post is probably not for you. If you have ample pocket change to buy all the equipment you want, why not send some my way. 🙂

*You probably need features and performance beyond the 80% in the 80/20 rule.

Price

Fuji has two grades of lenses in the slightly long telephoto range. The two XC lenses are starter, mostly plastic consumer lenses, and the XF are pro, mostly metal lenses. *Update* Plus, there are red label XF lenses which are the really good lenses.

  • Fuji’s pro XC 55-200 runs $700 ($550 on sale) (a little cheaper on eBay).
  • Fuji’s consumer XC 50-230mm runs $400
    • About $300 on eBay new (mostly gray market)
    • About $200-250 eBay used (silver is currently cheaper than black)

Image Quality

I don’t have the XF 55-200mm or XF 50-140mm to compare image quality, but the XC is at par or better than my Canon 7D with 70-200mm f/4L IS!

20150821 155042 IMG_9948 7D 200mm 1024th f9.0 ISO200_Crop_DCE_DCE 20150821 155614 DSCF4484 XT1 230mm 1024th f6.7 ISO200_Crop_DCE_DCE

20150821 120121 IMG_9920 7D 70-200 f4L IS 200mm f4.5 ISO320 1579th_Crop_DCE 20150819 130048 DSCF4315 XT1 230mm ISO250 f6.7 512th_Crop_DCE

(Fuji! Why didn’t you have the X-E2, X-T1 or X-T10 years ago before I bought Canon??? I could have saved a lot of money and frustration!)

XC vs XF

  • The XC is only about 1/2 stop slower than the XF.
  • The XC is almost a 1/2 pound lighter than the XF (13.28oz vs 20.46oz). (Great for travel.)
  • If you don’t shoot 50-230mm much, a used XC could give you that extra range for much lower investment. You could replace a used XC 2-3 times for the cost of one XF.

The XF is probably a wonderful lens to shoot. I like the XF 18-55mm that came with my X-T1. I would probably be in heaven shooting the XF 50-140 f/2.8… f/2.8… *drool* But:

  • If you don’t need extra durability
  • If you don’t use the lens that often
  • If you don’t need an easier to turn zoom ring
  • If you don’t need an OIS switch or aperture ring

…for the most bang for my little bucks, this lens works great.

(80% of the XF performance and features at almost 30% the price (new XF vs used XC). Definitely in the spirit of the 80/20 rule.)

*Update* The slightly loose connection on the XC lens can be an issue shooting sports. At a recent soccer game, turning the zoom ring quickly in either direction caused the lens to lose communication with the camera and blank out the screen. A quick cleaning of the contacts helped the connection, but this may not be as much of a problem with other XF lens (my XF 18-55 has a firmer connection than my XC 50-230mm, but the XF also wiggles a little).

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