Eric L. Woods

The case for the “cheap” tele lens in the line up: FUJIFILM XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II

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One thing I learned a while ago is not to sleep on basic tele zooms in a lens lineup.

The first solid example was the Olympus 40-150mm. At less than $80 second hand all day every time I pull through Mount Olympus this is one of the first purchases. Part of my wife’s kit currently. Excellent IQ with great (80-300mm full-frame equivalent) reach while being extremely small, light, and inexpensive. Perfect for travel and zoo visits. Has created some of my favorite images.

These two (one while visiting the Bronx and one in a local zoo) won a work photo contest and were hung up in our offices for a couple of years.

Co-Op City, The Bronx

Butterfly house

This one of a couple in Central Park is one of my all-time candid street shots.

NYC - Archives, Central Park

Even did well in low light situations with a bit of determination like in this concert shot below.

100 Men In Black Annual Concert ft. William McDowell

It also does this.

Moon over trees.

A discontinued low cost used Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED is another budget winner.

Bulls Athletic Park

Bulls Athletic Park

Friday Night Lights

Another is the Nikon 55-300mm. Here are some of my favorites withthat inexpensive lens.

Duke Gardens

Duke Gardens

Recent shots.

Duke Gardens

Recent shots..

There are more lens examples, but suffice it to say there are some real winners on the cheap. Very versatile even able to provide nice subject isolation at the long end if you can get some distance between you and the subject.

The only weak point for all is low light situations handheld, especially with moving subjects. IS is not a miracle worker and flash is often not an option, and likely undesirable, with such focal lengths.

But a definite plus for all is portability due to low size and weight and low cost.

So how about Fujifilm. They have one too. The XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II.

Fujifilm 50-230mm

Based on my experience with basic Fujifilm expectations, the 15-45mm, and some reviews, including one from Ken Rockwell, I was expecting great things. Very reasonable new. By my luck, my local camera shop had one just in on trade for only $150. Cool.

To the testbed! (aka Duke Gardens)

FUJIFILM XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II

FUJIFILM XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II

FUJIFILM XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II

FUJIFILM XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II

Results?

Excellent.

  • Sharp.
  • Great colors.
  • Fast, silent, and accurate focusing.
  • Effective IS.
  • Unlike some others on the list this lens apes the general aesthetic of its more expensive siblings making for a nice looking lens.
  • The plastic used is also inoffensive to the touch. Only its light weight and plastic mount give its humble price point away.

While these lenses do have their limitations they also confirm once more that it is more about what you do with the gear than the gear itself. Ongoing album here.

Add the FUJIFILM XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II to the list. Another low-cost tele zoom winner.

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