I have been experimenting for the last few months with long lenses attached to my Fujifilm X cameras by means of adapters. The tests were encouraging as long as there were suitable subjects some distance away. Yet I had never gotten to grips with the long zoom made by Fujifilm themselves - now was the time.
Each manufacturer presents their material in a different way - some go for simple cases to protect their lenses and some go for quite elaborate hard cases. Fujifilm has packed the XF 100-400mm f:4.5-5.6 RLM OIS WR lens in a sturdy box, a cardboard cradle, and a cloth wrapping...I should advise investigating a Lowepro or Promaster Lens case before venturing out into the field - the lens is superbly finished and it would be a shame to nick it up unnecessarily.
Well, it is certainly big in comparison to the other Fujifilm lenses, but small when you consider the optics of full-frame DSLRs. This would be a great deal easier to haul on long wildlife trips - even with the substantial lens hood attached it is manageable. That's a standard-sized business card there in the zoom picture.
The lens is fitted with the usual controls - dealing with the stabilising system, zoom ring, zoom ring lock, and Automatic or manual aperture. There is one additional control switch that limits the focusing travel if you are only going to play with distant subjects.
The tripod foot is quite neat but substantial.
The surprises on the lens hood come in two forms; there is a button to release the hood gently, and there is s sliding panel on the underside. This is not the cover for the waist-gunner's position, though it looks like it - it is hatch to let you reach inside and turn polarising filters to best effect. Note from the shot of the inside of the lens hood that Fujifilm have even gone to the effort of ribbing it for flare reduction - a neat finishing touch.
But what of the operations? No more fumbling with a manual focus ring with this one - and no more hastily turning a manual aperture ring to stop down just before exposure. Oh sure, you can do it...but you lessen your chances of getting a really sharp shot, really fast. Adapters are all very well, but they are still adapters. It was a sheer pleasure to point and shoot in single-frame and watch it snap into focus.
Here are some shots taken in the open air - no polariser to darken skies. The camera body was the Fujifilm X-E2 with the latest firmware update and I can honestly say the autofocus speed was as good as I could expect. There is always a fuss about this function in sports shooting from the point of view that it is not as fast as a DSLR. Well, it's a lot faster than winding it manually, and not noisy while in operation.
I should still resort to focus trapping at a motor race to ensure that I was giving the mechanism the best opportunity to perform sharply on high-speed vehicles like this one...
Oh, how I wish The RAAF would save enough money to buy jet fuel and have an air show at PEARCE. I would be willing to sponsor a gallon of avgas myself.
Labels: Air Show, airplanes, Fujifilm, Motor Sport, Sports photography, telephoto, Wildlife, zoom