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The humble (though honorable) XC 50-230mm f 4.5.-6.7


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In Victorian England ( or the equivalent of these times in any other country) much literature was actually written with references to the “ poor relations”, often making fun of those who had richer relatives which often were burdened with some form of support or other for these less than representatives members of their kin.


Often times the “ poor relations” were themselves required to “ keep up the appearances” by their rich relations in order not to bring shame on the family as a whole.


So they were, for example given old clothes by their rich family members, to be worn at family and public functions and often were asked to accompany their rich relations at their country house and perform some duties of servitude in return for the lodgings which they received.


Apparently also the Fuji family of lenses has some relations and, although with some reluctance, some of the Fuji-users might have acquired some of those but won’t admit it in public.


I am going to do the unthinkable and admit I own one of these poor relations,the humble, though honorable, XC 50-230mm f 4.5.-6.7.


I don’t use the longer lenses of any camera system all that much but there are occasions in which the picture calls for a longer lens that the 60mm.


At the time when I bought this lens Fuji didn’t offer much in that department ( and still doesn’t) other than the more expensive and marginally more luminous 55-200mm.


Several people had bought this lens in a cheap kit together with the fuji X system other poor relation, the XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 and the entry level cameras X-A1 or X-M1 and decided to rid themselves of the longer lens of the two.


I managed to acquire one new copy for €200 which is as cheap as inexpensive fried potatoes.


50mm f9 1/450






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To me this lens makes perfect sense if one wants to travel light and don't usually use telephoto but might want to use it sparingly. I'm tempted too, for the next tour in a zoo for example. Although it will probably end up resting in my bag while I shoot tourists using awkwards big zooms with my 50mn as usual :P

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I am quite sure this lens is way underestimated simply because of its low cost.


I have said this often, the relative small aperture is not a real problem in most situations with a mirroless and wouldn’t show in the evf at all (unlike what happens in camera with a mirror). The lens has great OIS and you can shoot in relatively low light without any particular problems or the aid of a mono or tripod.

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It's too cheap to be good, looks suspicious :P


While I still think that for someone who really is into telephoto, the faster and better built (and very well priced for what it is) 55-200 is the way to go, for the very occasional user or light backpacker the 50-230 is a hell of a deal.


Too good to be true might put off some people heh.

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Yes, exactly, camera snobbism has many shapes and forms and this, in my not so humble opinion, is one of them :) . My usual comment is that the proof of any pudding is in the eating and the results that I’ve seen are very good indeed.


Even If the 55-200 would have been a 2.8 lens at the same price I could bring myself to buy that lens. :rolleyes:

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Indeed, people often seem to think that a small maximum aperture is a measure for quality, but of course it doesn't have to be.

Good optics are good optics.


The only thing to watch out for is if you've got enough light.

But this is of course a practical 'issue' only, and mostly down to skill. The performance itself is a 100% Fujinon.


Bigger aperture doesn't make a lens better, just more versatile, but also heavier, larger and expensive etc.

Know what you've got and how to use it, then you can take on anything of any cost with this bargain.

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I also own this lens.  It went into promotion and I was trying to decide between the XC 50-230 and the XF 55-200.  The XC was lighter and had a longer reach, so when it was at about half it's usual price I had to get it.  I have not used it much at all yet.  Trip to the zoo is still pending, but I did some test shots out the window.  Not the best images, but, here they are:


@ 50mm - notice the water tower in the middle


17172411991_6587e13f9f_z.jpgFujifilm XC 50-230 @ 50mm by Marcelo Valente, on Flickr


@230mm - The water tower up close


16550600984_39bf65f7c1_z.jpgFujifilm XC 50-230 @ 230mm by Marcelo Valente, on Flickr




16550615644_81b19b725f_z.jpgFXE23336.jpg by Marcelo Valente, on Flickr


Guy at the pool (well...there were no better subjects at the time so he had to do.  When zooming in you can read the larger prints on the paper)


17172446951_8d6d661219_z.jpgEnjoying the sun by Marcelo Valente, on Flickr


Macro using it together with a raynox 250


17171402402_f764b19afc_z.jpgFXE23293.jpg by Marcelo Valente, on Flickr


I do need to test this lens out more.  It is just sitting in my bag most of the time.  But that was expected when I got it.


Last one @230  - Nice enough bokeh 


17085966769_4377ba42ce_z.jpgFXE23418.jpg by Marcelo Valente, on Flickr

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Guy at the pool (well...there were no better subjects at the time so he had to do. When zooming in you can read the larger prints on the paper)

It's quite good, imagine it as a painting the composition and perspective are interesting.


Always found teles boring when shooting horizontally but interesting from above anyway.


Also, while usually the centre of the frame is not the best place to put a subject it works in this case.

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  • 2 months later...

Fresh full moon, taken at 230mm handheld. Crop 100%. Waiting for 400mm...

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  • 2 weeks later...

I really dont doubt the image quality at all, I also believe that weight and size are Great.

My point is: f6,3 at the long end just does not give me enough creative "playground" - I had things like that on my Canon system and honestly I rather dislike them. Not and never for their image quality nor for the build quality (which is sub standard, but you get what you pay for).

No it is that very slow f number, which really spoils it for me.


Just my completely unscientific and highly individual 2 cent

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Ok, you are right, I should have explained the playground a bit:


To me having only a choice to select f numbers between 6,3 and 11 (because difraction takes its toll after f11), is a very limited choice. If I compare this to a good fixed lens - well, no real comparison, but then there is no 200 mm fixed lens in Fuji land anyway.

But even if you take the other zoom from Fuji you get more choices in terms of f numbers. For me and my style of shooting every additional f stop counts. Again, strictly my biased oppinion.


If that makes sense to you?

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diffraction takes its toll after F11 in all lenses? Regardless of focal length?


Are you sure that you can say this “ tout court”?


F11 in a the 10-24mm is not the same F11 in a 50- 230mm.......


The F number is a ratio between focal length and the diameter of the aperture and it is a simple number but F 11 in one lens is not F11 in another with regards to diffraction.


If at f11 you have a lot of diffraction in a wide angle  you won’t have the same amount of resolution loss due to diffraction in a tele because it is a much larger opening.


You can be biased and it is your right to be but your facts are not right.


You can easily close you aperture way more with this lens than with any other shorter lens! 


And, have you ever used it? If you, as I suspect, didn’t, do yourself a favor and check this out.




50-230mm  at 230 at f22 ( lots of diffraction?)







55-200 at 200 f8 ( No diffraction?)







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I am NOT a phd in physics, but I work long enough in the imaging indusry to know that difraction takes its toll around f11, if we talk APS-C. Your samples show nothing to me, really. Well, apart from the obvious depth of focus change. Scientific reviews show that difraction starts to show at about f11 (see photozone for example). If they are good they also say that f11 is still perfectly usable...


And there is one more thing: I dont claim to be right in a strict sense, I said it in my first post here. I just wanted to share why I - and only me - dont like "this kind of lens" and thus I am not in the mood to defense my position, since I am not offensive


Your milage may vary and thats a good thing!



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I think you might be under a misconception that f11 is an absolute value universally applicable, irrespectively for all cameras and all lenses and all sensors, but have it your way if you so wish but that is not the case.


The example above where given to show that the quality of the shot ( not the depth of field!) of the cheap 50-230 stopped down at 22  (plenty of diffraction according to your paradigm) at its maximum focal length was not far off the quality of the shot of the 55-200 at 200mm stopped down at ONLY f8 ( not yet any diffraction, always according to your paradigm).


If the “ diffraction” riddled image of the 50-230mm  going anywhere past f11 would have been so bad as you say it should get, at 22 should have been terrible and unusable. No?....No!


Click on the pictures, they will expand even more and THEN you tell me if the 50-230mm at 230mm, f 22, produces an unusable image!


Clearly, it isn’t! That is why I published for all to see the graphic and empiric examples given by the Fuji own entertaining lens evaluation system ( truthful, I hope, although one could suspect that fuji would naturally be interested in selling the more expensive of the two lenses)


However, be happy! I don’t have anything to gain from convincing you if you don ’t want to be convinced.






For the benefit of others who might want to ascertain whether this lens offers " enough playground” :blink: ( the only comparable lens the 55-200, would, however offer only one stop more “ playground”)  or not.


That’s how I understand the problem.


What happens to a 8 or 15 a 28 or 50mm, where diffraction ( which by the way starts immediately as you start closing the aperture, which also controls some aberrations, will be affecting resolution reducing the quality of an image at some stage) might very well start reducing resolution at values next to F11 ( ore even 8 for that matter!) but that is not the same in a longer lens where it might start above that value ( or for a larger format where it might even start below that value!)


Because diffraction is caused by physical size of the aperture which at some point becomes too small to transmit light in a straight line and bends parallel rays... but this is a relative phenomenon, not an absolute one.


there are lenses which, because of their focal length, are not made to not have a maximum aperture higher than 8 or even higher but can be stopped down to values somewhat past f11 because they are long lenses.


from wikipedia ( a little more scientific article than photozone) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffraction-limited_system


“ In a digital camera, diffraction effects interact with the effects of the regular pixel grid. The combined effect of the different parts of an optical system is determined by the convolution of the point spread functions (PSF). The point spread function of a diffraction limited lens is simply the Airy disc. The point spread function of the camera, otherwise called the instrument response function (IRF) can be approximated by a rectangle function, with a width equivalent to the pixel pitch. A more complete derivation of the modulation transfer function (derived from the PSF) of image sensors is given by Fliegel.[3] Whatever the exact instrument response function we may note that it is largely independent of the f-number of the lens. Thus at different f-numbers a camera may operate in three different regimes, as follows:

  1. in the case where the spread of the IRF is small with respect to the spread of the diffraction PSF, in which case the system may be said to be essentially diffraction limited (so long as the lens itself is diffraction limited).
  2. in the case where the spread of the diffraction PSF is small with respect to the IRF, in which case the system is instrument limited.
  3. in the case where the spread of the PSF and IRF are of the same order of magnitude, in which case both impact the available resolution of the system.

The spread of the diffraction-limited PSF is approximated by the diameter of the first null of the Airy disk,


where λ is the wavelength of the light and N is the f-number of the imaging optics. For f/8 and green (0.5 μm wavelength) light, d = 9.76 μm. This is of the same order of magnitude as the pixel size for the majority of commercially available 'full frame' (43mm sensor diagonal) cameras and so these will operate in regime 3 for f-numbers around 8 (few lenses are close to diffraction limited at f-numbers smaller than 8). Cameras with smaller sensors will tend to have smaller pixels, but their lenses will be designed for use at smaller f-numbers and it is likely that they will also operate in regime 3 for those f-numbers for which their lenses are diffraction limited...."



So, certainly f8 or 11 are limits for most lenses but it is more likely to be 8 for a wideangle and perhaps 16 for a tele.



But again, look at the picture at 230mm at 22, is it fuzzy? Click on the picture, it expands even more!







Large format film cameras are a good example ( although their use on film was possible because film is more forgiving for curved rays of light not traveling in a “ straight” line than a sensor is, that has to be said!)


At one time the majority of lenses ( starting at 135mm to way above 480mm) had a maximum aperture of 5.6 but some, apochromatic lenses had values of f 9 , their best operating values always exceeded f11 because they were long lenses with relative large apertures ( remember the F number is not an absolute dimension but it is a ratio you change one part of the ratio the other part has to change too, longer focal length at the same F value means a wider diameter ).


This lens 480mm, had a starting aperture number at 8.4 and closed until f66, do you really thing that couldn’t give diffraction acceptable images past F11?

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