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What Lens Should I Buy Next?


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#1 SpikeHK

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 01:56 PM

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Of course, when someone asks that question, the proper response should be, "I don't know, what do you have now and what do you shoot?" 

 

I'm not a professional - though I did some pro work in the past, and for seven years was one of the co-owners of Hong Kong's PASM Workshop photo studio, shooting musicians, models, head shots, and events. I'm someone who recently sold off all my Nikon gear and went with Fuji and I'm not looking back.

 

The most demanding stuff I shoot these days is bands - mostly independent musicians playing in small dark clubs in Hong Kong and Manila. I also love to shoot just general purpose walking around in Manila and Hong Kong kinds of stuff, and also portraits of friends. 

 

I have the X-T2. So far I have 3 prime lenses - 23mm F2, 56mm F1.2, 90mm F2. I love them all.

 

I also have the "kit" lens, the 18-55mm F2.8-F2.4. I wanted to get the 16-55mm F2.8 but was trying to save some money and concerned about the weight. The 18-55 has consistently surprised me (in a good way). 

 

What I'm thinking about:

 

27mm F2.8 lens because it's tiny, relatively cheap, and while not in the top range of Fuji's lenses would likely be "good enough" for my purposes - something small and compact, making it easy to toss my camera in a day bag for walking around. 

 

60mm F2.4 because a macro lens would be useful for me - I've got a lot of collections of little stuff that I'd like to document.

 

18-135mm F3.5-5.6 lens so that I'd only take one lens with me when traveling, albeit a big one.

 

Any thoughts on any of these choices? Are there other lenses that I should be considering? I'd love to have the 16-55 F2.8 and 50-140 F2.8 but those are both out of my budget for now. 

 

Thanks!



#2 drandyperry

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 06:11 PM

How about a cheap Samyang 50mm f/1.2 for your dark and dingy clubs. That's my latest one and I love it!

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#3 Larry Bolch

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 06:22 PM

No definitive answer, but you may weigh my opinions against your own. The neat thing is that whatever you choose, you know you are buying a premium quality lens. The lower priced lenses, of course, involve compromise but optical quality is not compromised. 

 

"Small dark clubs" screams for an f/1.4—I have the 35mm and regularly get blown away by how sharp it is wide open when shooting in available darkness. You have the f/2.0 23mm so an f/1.4 would be redundant. I have not used it, but I read much praise of the 16mm also at f/1.4. It would give you enormous capability at the wide end.

 

I am a big fan of the 60mm as a general purpose medium telephoto. The close-up feature is a big bonus. However, there would be a degree of redundancy with your 56mm. It serves my needs so well, that I have never considered the 56mm. 

 

No experience with the 27mm, but it achieves its low price via being f/2.8 and skipping the aperture ring. I understand from reviews that it is very sharp. The difference in focal length between it and your 23mm lens is really not significant. Again a degree of redundancy.

 

I shoot primes on my X-Pro1, so don't have experience with zoom Fujinons. However, I do have zooms on other cameras and the 18-135mm would be an excellent choice for travel simplicity. Great for working outdoors, a bit slow for available darkness. However, Fuji noise is quite pleasant and worth shooting at higher ISO settings if it means getting the image or not. Fuji claims a five stop image stabilisation capability, which would help a bunch in low light.



#4 SpikeHK

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 06:27 PM

How about a cheap Samyang 50mm f/1.2 for your dark and dingy clubs. That's my latest one and I love it!

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I hadn't thought about non-Fuji lenses but definitely interested to learn more. But I think the 50 is too "close" to the 56, no? 



#5 SpikeHK

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 06:29 PM

No definitive answer, but you may weigh my opinions against your own. The neat thing is that whatever you choose, you know you are buying a premium quality lens. The lower priced lenses, of course, involve compromise but optical quality is not compromised. 

 

"Small dark clubs" screams for an f/1.4—I have the 35mm and regularly get blown away by how sharp it is wide open when shooting in available darkness. You have the f/2.0 23mm so an f/1.4 would be redundant. I have not used it, but I read much praise of the 16mm also at f/1.4. It would give you enormous capability at the wide end.

 

I am a big fan of the 60mm as a general purpose medium telephoto. The close-up feature is a big bonus. However, there would be a degree of redundancy with your 56mm. It serves my needs so well, that I have never considered the 56mm. 

 

No experience with the 27mm, but it achieves its low price via being f/2.8 and skipping the aperture ring. I understand from reviews that it is very sharp. The difference in focal length between it and your 23mm lens is really not significant. Again a degree of redundancy.

 

I shoot primes on my X-Pro1, so don't have experience with zoom Fujinons. However, I do have zooms on other cameras and the 18-135mm would be an excellent choice for travel simplicity. Great for working outdoors, a bit slow for available darkness. However, Fuji noise is quite pleasant and worth shooting at higher ISO settings if it means getting the image or not. Fuji claims a five stop image stabilisation capability, which would help a bunch in low light.

 

Thank you Larry, a lot of food for thought there and I appreciate your pragmatic approach in your response. I am going to give more thought to both the 35 and 16.



#6 drandyperry

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 06:30 PM

Oh yes, sorry, I hadn't picked up you had the 56.
In terms of other non fuji ones, you can get 8mm, 12mm, 20mm, 85mm. Have a look on ebay / amazon.

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#7 drandyperry

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 06:35 PM

Thank you Larry, a lot of food for thought there and I appreciate your pragmatic approach in your response. I am going to give more thought to both the 35 and 16.

I have the 16 and the 35 f/1.4 and both are lovely lenses but the 16mm really stands out. Reminds me of the nikon 24mm f/1.4 in its quality.

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#8 SpikeHK

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 06:37 PM

Oh yes, sorry, I hadn't picked up you had the 56.
In terms of other non fuji ones, you can get 8mm, 12mm, 20mm, 85mm. Have a look on ebay / amazon.

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I do hope to have the full range eventually, it's just what order I buy them in!  

 

I can't do eBay or Amazon. On top of international shipping charges, 30% import duties in the Philippines (which also impacts the prices of new gear in retail shops). I do all my buying in Hong Kong, which is duty free and tax free. Fortunately I get there at least once every two months. (As one example, the price of the X-T2 and kit zoom lens was lower in Hong Kong than the price of the X-T2 alone in Manila.)



#9 SpikeHK

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 06:38 PM

I have the 16 and the 35 f/1.4 and both are lovely lenses but the 16mm really stands out. Reminds me of the nikon 24mm f/1.4 in its quality.

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Good to know, thanks!  The 16 moves up a few notches on my list!



#10 Evanstheframe

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 05:17 AM

Love my 16mm, sharp and fantastic in low light, not forgetting its sudo macro capabilities.
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#11 SpikeHK

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 05:23 AM

Love my 16mm, sharp and fantastic in low light, not forgetting its sudo macro capabilities.

Another vote for the 16 - thank you!



#12 martintreacy

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 01:20 PM

Although I don't own this lens myself, the 16mm f1.4 has outstanding reviews, and would fit in well to your existing lens system (as other postings have said).

 

Another option - which I do own - is the Samyang (or Rokinon - same lens) 12mm f2. Note this is a manual lens - so you'll need to be happy doing manual focus (not a problem for the contexts I use it, and I grew up with 35mm cameras which involved manual focus). Possibly that may not work for your club settings, where autofocus could be important. But this lens has several advantages over the 16mm f1.4:

 

1) It's a LOT cheaper! But still excellent image quality. I bought it second-hand for about £250 (UK). About a third of the price of the 16mm f1.4.

 

2) It offers a significantly different framing from the lower end of your kit lens. 

 

It's also one of the top lenses for astrophotography (e.g. shots of the milky way) with its combination of wide field of view, very low coma, and wide aperture. Though of course you may not be interested in such shots. 

 

One other option, looking at telephoto, would be the 55-200mm zoom. Offers the equivalent of 300mm full frame (so a pretty good telephoto reach), and is fairly lightweight and inexpensive for the quality it offers, and excellent image stabilization, and fairly fast for a relatively lightweight telephoto zoom (from memory, f3.5 to f4.8).. Though not sure this would be useful to you for the kinds of photography you do. 

 

On balance, I'd go with the recommendations of several others to go with the 16mm f1.4, from what I've heard you definitely won't regret it. Some reviewers have said they consider it Fuji's best lens.



#13 SpikeHK

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 04:38 PM

Although I don't own this lens myself, the 16mm f1.4 has outstanding reviews, and would fit in well to your existing lens system (as other postings have said).

 

Another option - which I do own - is the Samyang (or Rokinon - same lens) 12mm f2. Note this is a manual lens - so you'll need to be happy doing manual focus (not a problem for the contexts I use it, and I grew up with 35mm cameras which involved manual focus). Possibly that may not work for your club settings, where autofocus could be important. But this lens has several advantages over the 16mm f1.4:

 

1) It's a LOT cheaper! But still excellent image quality. I bought it second-hand for about £250 (UK). About a third of the price of the 16mm f1.4.

 

2) It offers a significantly different framing from the lower end of your kit lens. 

 

It's also one of the top lenses for astrophotography (e.g. shots of the milky way) with its combination of wide field of view, very low coma, and wide aperture. Though of course you may not be interested in such shots. 

 

One other option, looking at telephoto, would be the 55-200mm zoom. Offers the equivalent of 300mm full frame (so a pretty good telephoto reach), and is fairly lightweight and inexpensive for the quality it offers, and excellent image stabilization, and fairly fast for a relatively lightweight telephoto zoom (from memory, f3.5 to f4.8).. Though not sure this would be useful to you for the kinds of photography you do. 

 

On balance, I'd go with the recommendations of several others to go with the 16mm f1.4, from what I've heard you definitely won't regret it. Some reviewers have said they consider it Fuji's best lens.

 

Thanks. I think my eyes are no longer good enough to do critical manual focus so I'll take this as 3 votes for the 16mm.



#14 etomcat

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 05:20 PM

I can second the XF 55-200. I just bough my X-T2 a week ago and went with the kit option (XF 18-55) + XF 55-200 and the vertical booster grip.
The lens has really good OIS and I have no issues using it handheld inside a dimly lit room at 200 with Auto ISO set to 3200 max (speeds around 1/20").
Amazing IQ and is amazingly sharp at both ends, regardless the aperture (that is my observation from real life shooting - I have not done any specific testing)

Regards

#15 drandyperry

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 06:29 PM

Thanks. I think my eyes are no longer good enough to do critical manual focus so I'll take this as 3 votes for the 16mm.

Don't forget the focus peaking available on the xt2 and family. Try it with lenses you already have (you have to enable focus peaking and choose the colour in the menu) it's fantastic and you should find it easier than a dslr. I would never consider it with my d810, but have no qualms taking a manual lens out when taking pics of the family.

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#16 drandyperry

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 06:34 PM

I can second the XF 55-200. I just bough my X-T2 a week ago and went with the kit option (XF 18-55) + XF 55-200 and the vertical booster grip.
The lens has really good OIS and I have no issues using it handheld inside a dimly lit room at 200 with Auto ISO set to 3200 max (speeds around 1/20").
Amazing IQ and is amazingly sharp at both ends, regardless the aperture (that is my observation from real life shooting - I have not done any specific testing)

Regards

Don't want to hijack the thread but I'm going to Le Mans in a few weeks and am umming and arring between the 55-200 and the 50-140 with a 1.4x TC. Just thinking I might get more use out of the 50-140 in every day use. Although the cost may drive me one way.
I've previously had a sigma 150-600 which was ace but I didn't use it for anything else!

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#17 Tikcus

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 08:15 PM

I do a lot of event shooting in poor lighting conditions, my go to lens is the XF35 F/1.4, on an X-T10, I can only talk about lens I've used (I do occasionally wish for the XF56 F/1.2)

 

I use the XF35 F/1.4 for most of my photography, it is the lens that lives on my camera - Outside portraits, street and everything else

I use the 18mm F/2 if i'm walking around a city want to get more buildings/cityscapes, landscapes etc (the 18mm F/2 is small enough to sit in my pocket when the 35 F/1.4 is on my camera

 

the 27mm F/2.8 is an interesting lens, optically there is nothing wrong with it, but I don't find either the 18 or 35 large when on the camera, the focal length sits between the two and doesn't get a huge amount of use as I find one of the other lenses just sits better with me, whether it is the lack of aperture ring, or that it is so close to the 35mm in length (a few steps forwards or back is the difference), but lacks its magic, idk, I suspect if I didn't have the XF35 F/1.4 the 27mm may have been my go to lens for everyday shooting; as you already own the 23mm the 27mm is a stop slower and a similar length personally I'd skip it.

 

the 60mm F/2.4 is a great lens (slow to focus when doing macro work), I use this lens a lot in the studio and have no issues with focusing speeds, I suspect a great deal of focal length cross over with the XF56 though; if I didn't own the XF60 the XF56 would be top of my shopping list, but as I generally use the XF35 F/1.4 for shallow DOF portraits outside, and the XF60 F/2.4 for studio work I can't justify it. If I owned the XF56 F/1.2 I'd be tempted to either wait for the XF80mm macro lens or look at a third party solution for macro work.


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#18 poster

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 09:12 PM

.

Edited by Picturer, 14 May 2017 - 11:11 AM.

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#19 SpikeHK

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 02:26 AM

I can second the XF 55-200. I just bough my X-T2 a week ago and went with the kit option (XF 18-55) + XF 55-200 and the vertical booster grip.
The lens has really good OIS and I have no issues using it handheld inside a dimly lit room at 200 with Auto ISO set to 3200 max (speeds around 1/20").
Amazing IQ and is amazingly sharp at both ends, regardless the aperture (that is my observation from real life shooting - I have not done any specific testing)

Regards

 

Nice, thanks for sharing your experience with this lens!



#20 SpikeHK

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 02:26 AM

Don't forget the focus peaking available on the xt2 and family. Try it with lenses you already have (you have to enable focus peaking and choose the colour in the menu) it's fantastic and you should find it easier than a dslr. I would never consider it with my d810, but have no qualms taking a manual lens out when taking pics of the family.

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Good point - I've only tried that feature out once or twice so far and need to spend more time with it, thanks.


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