Continuing the blog serialisation of my popular X-Pro Series lust/hate/love story:
Part 61: The X-Pro2 Review: Fuji XF Lenses: Part Three – The XF60
I think it’s high time that I continued my musings on Fuji’s lenses.
You might recall that I was fortunate that Fuji PT lent me a 56 APD for a while, but I’ve also written about the glass I actually own!
Now I think it’s time to talk about the 60!
Now originally I owned the X-Pro1 and the 3 “original” primes, which are the XF18/35F1.4/60 and I also had the 27
With the exception of the 35 F1.4, those other lenses weren’t always so highly regarded throughout the Fuji X community!
The reasons not to like the 18 and 27 are fairly straightforward…
The 18 is a bit soft in the corners and requires quite a lot of native software correction for distortion
The 27 is quite a slow lens (F2.8) and doesn’t have an aperture ring.
But the 60 is also derided, despite the fact it has an aperture ring, and is a sharp lens.
Sure the 60 is a little bit slow at F2.4, but that’s on 60mm (about 90mm FF equivalent) so the 60 is still capable of decent amounts of subject isolation.
The 60 is also quite small, not especially expensive when compared to some of the later prime lenses and comes with a metal hood.
It also offers 1:2 “macro” (as of March 2017, a feature that Fuji have yet to surpass with any other XF prime)
So despite being, small, well made, inexpensive, sharp and able to close focus, the diminutive inaugural mid-tele from Fuji isn’t everyone’s darling.
Well the 60 had (well has really) one bugbear, one sticking point that painfully jarred with the wants of the average modern photographer…
It’s dog slow to operate via Auto Focus.
Don’t get me wrong… none of the original 3 primes are exactly speedy Gonzales in the AF department, but the 60, the 60 really took the biscuit, in fact biscuits were probably the best subject for the 60, because the 60 focuses closely and biscuits don’t move! 🙂
Of course Fuji being Fuji, the lens was given FW updates and the camera bodies got better with AF, and now; 5 years later, the 60 isn’t anywhere near as S-L-O-W as it was back at the time of release.
But it’s still slow. It’s still not a true 1:1 macro. It’s still only F2.4
These days people are spoilt for better choice for mid length teles within Fuji’s range.
There’s the 56mm and 56 APD. There’s the 90mm and also the “pro” zooms make decent mid length lenses.
It would seem the last vestige of the 60 is price (and even that’s a lot more then it was when it was first released!)
So does that resign the 60 to the bargain basement? Suitable only for those tight of budget and impatiently waiting for Fuji to release a 1:1 macro?
Well… in a way… Yes..
I don’t think for a moment that the newer tele primes (the 56 and 90, and to a certain extent the XF50F2) aren’t better lenses; with faster apertures and faster AF, but this doesn’t suddenly make the 60 a poor lens, it just means that there’s now more dedicated mid-tele length lenses available from Fuji.
But the thing is… I’ve had a soft spot for the 60 from when I first got a copy (a copy I still have) 3 years ago!
To me the 60 is just a ‘jack of all’ decently performing lens.
It might not have the headline grabbing aperture of the 56, and certainly not the AF performance of the new XF50F2.
But it just gets on with the job of being a mid length tele with the ability to close focus.
It’s a sharp lens, the rendering is nice, due in part to the 60 having 9 aperture blades, which makes for a smoother out of focus area.
I can’t deny that on many occasions I’ve lusted after the 56 (especially the APD version), and thought about selling my 60 on, and putting the funds into the 56. Been very close to that a few times…
…and I can’t deny, I’m sure that I will one day
But as much as I like the 56 I also like the close focus of the 60 and I like how it renders, and the slower AF doesn’t bother me, and longer than 35mm (50mm equivalent) isn’t a length I use that much anyway
Still I can see a 56 in my future!
So as ever with these lens articles, I’ll show you what an uncorrected RAW file looks like, then share some shots taken with the 60
So with that said – let’s take a quick look under the corrected image!
I know this isn’t my usual tiles shot 🙂 – I’m not at home this week!
Anyway, as you can see without software correction the 60 exhibits some distortion and perhaps some vignetting.
OK, that’s the tiles now let’s see some shots!
I often champion the virtues of the X-Pro range for reportage, and happening upon the Royal Helicopter taking off was a shot not to be wasted. Again; a good focal length to fill the frame even from quite far back
So that’s the 60.
And for my opinion the question boils down to a simple one.
Can you live with slow AF? It’s not that bad on the newer cameras and with the very latest firmware. But make no mistake, it certainly can be ponderous, I’ve made it AF track SLOW moving things, whilst mounted on my X-Pro2, and it was appreciably quicker on my X-T1, than it was on my X-Pro1
Of course if you really need the light gathering and creative possibilities that the F1.2 of the 56 offers, then I suspect the 60 holds little interest for you.
But if you’re not so in need of the F1.2, and instead need a competent mid length tele, that in plentiful light can turn it’s hand to many subjects at varying distances; doesn’t take up a lot of space in the bag and doesn’t cost the Earth, then the 60 could just be worth a longer look.
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