Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II Review

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Introduction

The Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II is a follow-up to the original lightweight, affordable telephoto lens which has been designed for the X-system. The XC in its name, as opposed to XF of other Fuji lenses, denotes that is intended to be more affordable, particularly for users of Fuji’s cheaper models, such as the recent X-A10.

Mounted on an APS-C sized sensor, the equivalent focal length of the lens is 76-350mm, making it ideal for wildlife, sports or anything where the subject is some distance away.

Compared to the older model, Fuji says that this version offers better build quality, smoother operation and an improvement in optical image stabilisation. It now offers up to 3.5 stops of exposure compensation, compared with 3 for the previous model.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

The lens features 13 all-glass elements in 10 groups, including 1 aspherical lens and 1 ED element.

Although it is likely to appeal to XA users, it can also be used on any of Fuji’s other X-series cameras, such as the X-E2S, XPro2 or X-T2.

The Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II costs £329 / $399.

Ease of Use

Considering the focal length this lens offers, it’s very lightweight, and not too oversized. When using it with one of the smaller cameras in Fuji’s line-up, such as the X-A3, it manages to stay reasonably well balanced – although you may find you need to use your free hand to secure it for the best experience.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

Cameras like the X-A3 don’t have an inbuilt viewfinder, so you will have to use the screen to compose your images. This can be a little trickier when you’re using a long telephoto length lens on a small body, but the image stabilisation does a good job of helping to keep the subject steady enough for you to compose your shot, even at the furthest 230mm reach.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

The lens itself is very minimalist in approach. There are no buttons or switches on the lens. Unlike some XF lenses, there’s no aperture ring either, so you’ll need to make any adjustments on the body of whichever camera you’re using. On some older models, you may need to perform a firmware upgrade to be able to use the command dial on the camera to adjust aperture.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

Despite being one of Fuji’s cheaper models, the build quality still feels well put together, although it doesn’t match the highest quality of Fuji’s XF lenses. The lens has a plastic mount and barrel, but the silver finish of the sample we were provided with looks stylish enough.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

In the middle of the lens is the zoom ring, which is fairly wide and has a ridged, rubberised grip. Just behind this you’ll see markings for different focal lengths throughout the range to help guide you to the focal length you want. Zooming is not internal, so the lens will extend as you zoom in – the lens reaches its longest point at 230mm, but compacts away relatively well when in the 50mm position.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

Just in front of the zoom ring is a manual focusing ring. It is ridged, but it doesn’t feature the rubberised coating. Its movement is fairly smooth and fluid, but with just enough give to make precise autofocus adjustments easy. There are no hard stops at either end of the focusing ring.

Optical image stabilisation needs to be turned off in-camera, as there’s no switch or button on the lens itself.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

The Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II comes with a supplied plastic bayonet hood to be used to prevent flare in bright sunlight. You also get the front and rear caps.

Auto-focus

For focusing, the Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II uses a high-precision stepping motor. Most of the time, the lens locked onto the target quickly, efficiently and quietly. Some hunting took place at the full 230mm focal length, especially if the subject was low contrast or erratically movement. The front of the lens does not move when focusing, which makes it suitable for use with various filters.

Focal Range

At the 50mm end of the zoom range, the Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II has an angle of view of 31.7 degrees. The 35mm equivalent focal length is 76mm.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

50mm

At the 230mm end, the angle of view is 7.1 degrees. The 35mm equivalent focal length is 350mm.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

230mm

Chromatic Aberrations

Typically seen as purple or blue fringes along high-contrast edges, chromatic aberration can be an issue for some lenses. It doesn’t seem to be particularly prevalent with the Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II lens. There is some light fringing along some areas of high-contrast, if you examine at 100% and are scrutinising the shot – it’s generally unlikely to be noticeable at normal printing and web sizes.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II
Light Fall-off

At the widest focal length of 50mm, and at the widest aperture available at this point (f/4.5) it’s possible to see some light shading in the corners of the image. This is likely to be less noticeable when photographing an ordinary subject, and not a white wall. By the time you shoot at f/5.6, the drop-off has pretty much vanished, while at f/8 there’s no perceptible drop off. The widest aperture available at the full 230mm focal length is f/6.7. At this point, light drop off is almost  unnoticeable, and completely fine by f/8.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

50mm

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

230mm

Distortion

At the 50mm end of the lens, there is some ever so slight distortion, but it’s unlikely to be noticeable in most shooting scenarios.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

50mm

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

230mm

Macro

The Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II is not designed as a macro lens, but its focal length does make it suitable for some typical macro subjects, such as flowers. The closest focusing distance is a relatively long 1.1 metres, with the maximum magnification (at 230mm) is 0.2x.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II

Close-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word which is used to describe the out-of-focus areas in an image. It is usually described in qualitative terms which could include smooth, creamy, harsh and so on. This lens uses a 7-blade rounded diaphragm, which results in an overall pleasing bokeh. Recognising that the quality of bokeh is very subjective, we have provided a few samples for you to see for yourself.

Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II
Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II
Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Sharpness at 50mm

For this review, the sharpness test is carried out by photographing a real-world sample, rather than a test chart. The Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II was mounted on a Fuji X-A3, which was in-turn mounted on a sturdy tripod. Exposure delay was activated to prevent camera-shake. Any changes in tone you might see across the crops are due to natural light changes during the shooting session.

The full frame

The full frame at 50mm

At 50mm, the centre is sharp at f/4.5, but the best performance comes at f/5.6 up until f/11. From f/16 we can see diffraction starting to become an issue, with the centre being a little soft, while at f/22 it’s even more noticeably soft.

Some softness is visible at the edges at f/4.5, but it’s still reasonably sharp. It gets sharper at f/5.6 and f/8, with f/11 being the sharpest.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
f/4.5
f/5.6
f/8
f/11
f/16
f/22

Sharpness at 100mm

For this review, the sharpness test is carried out by photographing a real-world sample, rather than a test chart. The Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II was mounted on a Fuji X-A3, which was in-turn mounted on a sturdy tripod. Exposure delay was activated to prevent camera-shake. Any changes in tone you might see across the crops are due to natural light changes during the shooting session.

The full frame

The full frame at 100mm

At 100mm, there’s good sharpness at f/5.4 (the widest aperture at this focal length), being best between f/5.6 and f/11. From f/16 diffraction causes some softness, with it being most apparent at f/16. At the edges, the best sharpness can be seen at f/11.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
f/5.4
f/5.6
f/8
f/11
f/16
f/22

Sharpness at 135mm

For this review, the sharpness test is carried out by photographing a real-world sample, rather than a test chart. The Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II was mounted on a Fuji X-A3, which was in-turn mounted on a sturdy tripod. Exposure delay was activated to prevent camera-shake. Any changes in tone you might see across the crops are due to natural light changes during the shooting session.

The full frame

The full frame at 135mm

At 135mm, sharpness is good wide open (f/6), being sharpest at f/8 and f/11. At f/16, it’s a little softer thanks to diffraction, while at f/22 it’s softer again. At the edges, the optimum sharpness can be seen at f/11.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
f/6
f/8
f/11
f/16
f/22

Sharpness at 230mm

For this review, the sharpness test is carried out by photographing a real-world sample, rather than a test chart. The Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II was mounted on a Fuji X-A3, which was in-turn mounted on a sturdy tripod. Exposure delay was activated to prevent camera-shake. Any changes in tone you might see across the crops are due to natural light changes during the shooting session.

The full frame

The full frame at 230mm

At 230mm, sharpness is good wide open (f/6.7), but is best between f/8 and f/11. There is some softness at f/16 due to diffraction, while it is softer again at f/22. At the edge, optimum sharpness can be seen at f/11.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
f/6.7
f/8
f/11
f/16
f/22

Sample Images

The thumbnails below link to full-sized samples taken with the Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II lens mounted on a Fujifilm X-E2S.

1/220s · f/6.7 · ISO 200

1/950s · f/4.5 · ISO 200

1/480s · f/6.2 · ISO 200

1/950s · f/6.4 · ISO 400

1/1600s · f/5.4 · ISO 400

1/420s · f/6.7 · ISO 200

1/60s · f/6.7 · ISO 500 – 345mm (35mm)

1/125s · f/7.1 · ISO 200 – 152mm (35mm)

1/60s · f/7.1 · ISO 250 – 191mm (35mm)

Specifications

Type XC50-230mmF4.5-6.7 OIS II
Lens configuration 13 elements in 10 groups
(includes 1 aspherical and 1 extra low dispersion elements)
Focal length
(35mm format equivalent)
f=50-230mm
(76-350mm)
Angle of view 31.7°-7.1°
Max. aperture F4.5-6.7
Min. aperture F22
Aperture control
Number of blades
7(rounded diaphragm opening)
Step size
1/3EV (15 steps)
Focus range
Normal
1.1m – ∞
Macro
1.1m – 3m
Max. magnification 0.2x (Telephoto)
External dimensions : Diameter x Length* (approx.)
*distance from camera lens mount flange
ø69.5mm x 111mm(Wide) / 177mm(Telephoto)
Filter size ø58mm

Conclusion

If you’re after an affordable telephoto lens, the Fujifilm XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS II is a good option. It would complement the 16-50mm kit lens often sold with cameras such as the X-A3 and X-A10. It’s not too large and heavy, so a twin lens kit would make sense for travelling light.

The 50-230mm arguably makes it reasonable to use as an everyday walk around length, but the crop factor making it start at 76mm means you’re probably likely to want to have something wider with you most of the time.

Results from the lens are pleasingly sharp throughout the focal length range, and while it’s not perhaps as stunning as some of the XF lenses in Fuji’s line-up, for the price you pay, you can get some lovely results, especially if you’re only printing at normal sizes. Vignetting is almost non-present, while chromatic aberration doesn’t seem to be a particular issue.

There’s a tiny bit of distortion at the widest point of the lens, while the macro performance of the lens is nothing to write home about – especially as you can’t get particularly close to your subject for focusing. Still, that’s probably not the intended use of this lens, so for most users it may not be that much of an issue.

Focusing is quiet and fast, and the lens construction is of a good standard, if not as high as more expensive XF lenses. It seems reasonably unlikely that somebody shooing with one of Fuji’s more premium bodies would be in the market for this lens, but if you’re on a strict budget, it’s a decent-enough option.

In terms of the upgrade, if you already own an existing 50-230mm OIS lens, it’s probably not worth spending money to replace it as while the updates are welcome, they’re not revolutionary. You’ll probably be hard pushed to find the original lens on the market though, so if you’re in the market for a telephoto optic – we’d opt for this one.

Overall, the Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II is a good choice for those looking to take photos of distant subjects but don’t want to spend too much money. If you can stretch your budget though, take a look at the XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS lens.

(photographyblog.com, https://goo.gl/pWDjAu)

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