The Fujifilm system cameras with interchangeable lenses are on the market since early 2012. Because they have their own Fuji mount, only Fujinon XF lenses will fit on these cameras. Fujifilm demonstrates its commitment by rapidly introducing a complete arsenal of lenses. It is the ambition of Fuji that at the end of 2013 a total number of 10 Fujinon X lenses are available.
The Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro appeared in late 2012 and can be used as either a short telephoto, portrait or macro lens. At this moment the Fujinon 60mm macro is the XF Fujinon lens with the longest focal length, until the Fujinon 55-200 mm will become available. We tested the Fuji 60mm Macro in combination with the Fujifilm X-E1, an impressive camera with an electronic viewfinder and the appearance and ease of use of a range-finder camera.
Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R macro review
Strictly speaking, this is not a macro lens, because the maximum magnification is 1:2, rather than 1:1. If you take into account the crop factor of 1.5, an image shot with the Fujinon 60mm macro at its closest focusing distance, will appear on a print almost the same as an image shot with a ‘real’ full frame 90mm macro lens at its shortest focusing distance.
The Fujinon XF 60mm macro lens is also a nice short telephoto or portrait lens. The field of view of this lens corresponds to the field of view of a 90mm lens on a camera with a full frame sensor.
Construction and design
The Fujinon XF 60mm macro lens is made of a combination of metal and high quality plastic, making it feel very solid and yet light. The large supplied hood is made of metal. Unlike most contemporary lenses, you don’t set the aperture on the camera, but you use a narrow ring on the lens instead, which is located close to the body. For photographers from the analogue era, this will sound familiar, since the aperture was set in this way by almost every camera brand. The zoom ring is nice and wide and runs beautifully smooth.
Some manufacturers provide data like MTF charts on their websites, based on the calculations of the design of a lens. On the Fuji site you will find the MTF charts shown below, which shows that there is little difference between Meridional and Sagittal MTF (~ horizontal and vertical resolution). That is an indication for a nice bokeh. Click on the image above to make your own opinion about the bokeh.
The electronic auto focus is of the “drive by wire” type: when the camera is off, you can turn the distance ring, but the set distance remains unchanged. If you use this lens in macro mode, you have to switch macro-mode on the camera. There appears a flower in the viewfinder. When the macro mode is not used, the focusing range remains limited, which enhances the tome the AF needs to focus. The focus range in macro mode is pretty long: from infinity to minimum focusing distance you have multiple strokes. This enables very accurate manual focusing. The electronic viewfinder of the Fujifilm X-E1 is useful if you want to focus manually when making macro images, since rangefinder cameras with an optical viewfinder, due to the parallax, make it almost impossible to focus an object nearby.The focus with the AF of the Fujifilm X-E1 is accurate: very reproducible and without back focus or front focus. In comparison with the AF of micro-43 cameras, but also compared to the Fujinon XF 18-55 mm lens, the AF of the Fujinon XF 60mm is clearly slower. If a subject is very close, that is most noticeable. In low light without using the AF auxiliary light, it took some effort to focus.
You can hear the AF motor when you focus the Fujifilm X 60mm lens. Using the same camera (Fujinon X-E1), but with a newer lens (Fujinon XF 18–55mm), AF is completely silent.
The Fujinon XF 60mm macro has no built-in image stabilization. For macro shots you will not miss the image stabilization that much. Image stabilization is less effective at very close range. And many macro shots are made using a (ring) flash or tripod.
Resolution Fujinon XF 60mm macro
The Fujinon 60mm delivers beautiful jpg files that are sharp outer edge to outer edge, from full aperture to aperture 11. See also the full resolution Fujinon XF 60mm sample images which you download from the Fuji site.
Sharpness is defined by the combined qualities of both camera and lens. Thanks to the special Fuji sensor without low-pass filter, the images taken with the 16-megapixel Fujifilm X-E1 and Fujinon XF 60mm macro in terms of sharpness correspond to images taken with a full frame sensor camera 20 + megapixels, such as the Canon 5D MK3. Read for example, the Fujinon X-E1 review by Frank Doorhof. The resolution we measured with Imatest in the corners remains at all apertures slightly behind the center resolution, but you will not see the difference with the naked. You could say it’s a subtle difference between very sharp in the corners and very sharp in the center.
Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R macro @ f/2.4
Also in terms of vignetting this lens scores well. From f/2.4 to f / 4 can in very uniformly illuminated subjects, such as a solid blue sky in both jpg and RAW files in a slight degree of vignetting encounter, but in the vast majority of situations, the vignetting completely negligible. Vignetting is afterwards software easy to correct, if you want.
Fuji applies a very effective in-camera correction for distortion, leading to beautiful files without visible distortion. In jpg files and RAW files you open in Photoshop or Lightroom, the distortion is so low that it is completely negligible. If you open Fuji RAW files (RAF) with a different RAW converter, you might encounter more than 2 % pincushion distortion. This can be corrected using software, if necessary.
The Fujinon XF 60mm macro belongs to the very best when you consider its beautiful background blur. By looking at it’s bokeh, you would not think such an image was shot with a camera with an APS-C sensor. The bokeh of a bright light source in the bacjground, will form perfectly round discs. Starting at f/5.6, the bokeh begins to adopt the angular shape of the aperture. Only on the outside of the bokeh disc there is a bright ring visible in the bokeh shots that we have made in the studio. At full aperture you see on the extreme edges cat eye bokeh due vignetting. In the two sample images that we show in this Fujinon XF 60mm macro review, you can assess the bokeh of this lens yourself.
Flare Fujinon XF 60mm macro
Although the individual lens elements by Fuji are coated to reduce internal reflections, you can still encounter flare and ghosting. A consistent use of the beautiful enclosed hood will reduce the risk of flare by a bright light source outside image. But in the extreme situation where you aim the lens towards a bright light source, you will get a reduced contrast around the light source and see some ghosting as well.
Lateral chromatic aberration, for some lenses visible in the form of red purple and green edges at sharp contrast transitions in the corners of the image, will not be found in images shot with Fujinon XF 60mm macro and the Fujifilm X-E1. Lateral chromatic aberration in both jpg files in Lightroom converted RAW files, is very low at all apertures.
Conclusion Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R macro review
- Very high image quality (resolution, distortion, chromatic aberration)
- Extremely durable construction, yet very light
- Beautiful bokeh
- Somewhat susceptible to flare
- AF is slow, particularly if subject is near
- No built-in image stabilization
The Fujinon XF 60mm macro lens feels good ergonomically and is very well built. The optical qualities are very good, indeed. In terms of image quality this lens belongs, thanks to the unique 16 megapixel Fuji sensor in the Fujifilm XE-1 camera, to the best lenses we’ve tested to date on a camera with an APS-C sensor. The quality of the bokeh is equal to the bokeh of a many of lenses on a camera with a full frame sensor. The combination of sharp macro images, portraits with a beautiful woolly background and an attractive price if you consider the image quality, make this lens a real must for all owners of a Fujifilm camera system.