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.


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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