📷 Fuji advice: first/best lenses for X-T2

posted October 9th, 2017

I am coming for an advice here again. I am currently shooting primarily with Nikon D7200, despite having bought a SONY a6000 a couple of years back. I bought SONY specifically to avoid carrying the bulky Nikon DSLr with me at all times and when traveling, but after a couple of years I found that I am not thrilled when shooting with a6000. Not that I don't like the quality of the Sony, but as a user, I feel that many of the controls that I want to have under my fingertips are in the menus, and I am relying more on camera doing the job rather than on me making decisions.

So, currently, the plan is brewing in my mind to have a go at a Fuji X-T2 (after selling the Sony and a couple of other old cameras I have). It would be an expensive thing to buy, but I am more or less convinced by now that it would be a good move for me.

My question is about the lenses. I've read that the kit lens that comes with the Fuji is OK, but there is a better one 16-55 at constant F2.8. I have also read that the prime lenses from Fuji are great, particularly the 16mm 1.4 and a couple of others.

With the cropped sensor Nikon, I have two "go to" lenses - a 35mm prime Nikkor 1.8 and a Tamron 16-300 F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro 16-300mm, which is on the camera most of the time. I use zoom a lot and do like to have an all-in-one lens on the camera.

Most of the time, I do urban/nature kind of photography, but also kids and animals (often in low light). I do like portraits, but would not need to invest into a "designated" prime portrait lens.

Here is the bottom line: considering all this, what would you recommend to look into: Fuji X-T2 with the kit lens? Or skip the kit lens and get a better performing one? If so, which one? (one prime, one zoom? Which prime? Which zoom?)

Any advice would be very very very helpful! Since it would be a big investment, I wanted to be better informed.


posted October 10th, 2017
Hi Vera... I’m hoping someone gets back to you soon... I think @humphreyhippo has a Fuji, but not sure who else... if you don’t hear back from anyone I’ll ask a colleague at work who shoots w a Fuji... he’s on vacation right now so it will be next week at the earliest... although I’m pretty sure he’s just using the kit lens - or maybe only has the model with a fixed lens... I know he likes to travel light 🙂
posted October 10th, 2017
@northy Thanks! I've been reading on those quite bit too, I think my problem would be mainly that most of them are pretty good. but these are quite pricey so I do want to make an estimate of what I might be looking at in the future - I guess, I would start with one lens and then hopefully add something, but I don't want to pick something I would later regret or double.

So, any input from anyone actually using a Fuji X-mount lens would be great.

Have you posted a while ago that you were looking at X-T1? Did you get one back then? Did you go for something else?
posted October 10th, 2017
yeah... i did consider it for a while... but in the end didn't quite like the feel so i went with the olympus EM-5 instead... prior to that my mirrorless was the sony nex7 which i did not love - partly because of the user interface, and partly because of the limited lens options... in contrast, i quite like the olympus, and particularly love the fact that it is weather resistant and can be used out in the rain... the one downside is the lack of full wysiwyg function.. which i am still in denial about - i keep thinking i need to pore thru the various help sites to see if there is a setting that will correct this....
posted October 10th, 2017
@northy I am test-driving an Olympus kit on Saturday - our little camera shop has a "mirrorless showdown event" with representatives from Fuji, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic throughout the day with the new gear and advice (and hopefully discounts!!!!!). Olympus is giving out test-drive kits that you can take for an hour and then bring back. Not that I've considered it, but I think I shouldn't miss an opportunity to really look at other options before spending quite a bit of money on something.

What didn't you like about the feel of the X-T1?
posted October 10th, 2017
something about all those knobs and the boxy feel... i know it is meant to have the cool retro vibe, but it just didn't quite work for me... can't recall what else put me off or how i ended up with the olympus (although i expect it's all noted down in a thread somewhere here ;p)
posted October 10th, 2017
My Fuji is the X100 which is a fixed lens so can't help I'm afraid.
I think @jackie8 and @stevecameras are the only people I follow on here who shoot with Fuji and might be able to comment.

For what it's worth, I had a NEX-6 which drove me to distraction with the buried controls, but the A6300 I have now is a massive improvement with most options I use either on a dial or in the quick menu. It might be worth taking a look before selling your Sony gear.
posted October 10th, 2017
@ukandie1 would be a good source to ask. She's been using Fuji a while and quite likes them.
posted October 10th, 2017
Vera, a lot of controls can be customized on the A6000. I took a Creative Live course on my A6300 and learned so much. There is one for A6000, too. Might be a cheaper alternative for a stopgap.
posted October 10th, 2017
@taffy Thanks, Taffy!
posted October 10th, 2017
@randystreat Thanks, Kathy! I've been playing with the a6000 for two years now, and while I really like it and am impressed with the image quality and with what the camera can do, it still doesn't feel natural in my hands. I've played around with controls and dials from the beginning and still am not grabbing the Sony as my first choice when I am out of the door. The thing is, if I would continue using Sony as my go-to camera, I should be looking into something past my kit-lens now, but I don't want to invest into a new lens if I am not entirely sure about the camera.

Where did you take your course?
posted October 10th, 2017
@humphreyhippo Thanks! Don't have much Sony gear - that's actually the point why I am trying to see what my options are. I love Nikon, but don't carry it around because it is too big and bulky. And to rely on Sony more, I would need (a) better lens(es) beyond the kit one. But something is holding me back from investing into a new lens for a camera that I am not entirely enjoying using: in the two years I had Sony, I haven't fallen in love with TAKING pictures with it: while the pictures are great, something has been missing for me from the process itself. I've played with controls and read a ton on it, but still I don't get such a thrill out of it as I think I should :)
posted October 10th, 2017
In terms of "fun to shoot", my X100 wins hands down over anything I've ever shot with but it's not for everyone.
I think on the last couple of models, Sony have realised the user experience has been joyless and made efforts to improve. I replaced the Sony pancake kit lens with the Zeis 16-70mm (an amazon open box return bargain!). The image quality is great but it's not quite as pocketable as it was.
posted October 11th, 2017
Vera, I am the guy to help you. All of the Fuji lenses are superb. For portraits and general shooting the 56 F 1.2 is other worldly. It will fulfill your low light requirement. The 35 F 1.4 is (relatively) inexpensive and a wonderful lens. The 16 F 1.4 is completely amazing and has incredible close focusing capabilities - the less expensive 14 F 2.8 is also fantastic and very small and light. The pro zooms I have not used but I have read a lot about them and the results are on par with the incredible prime lenses. But they are quite heavy. The 18 - 55 might be the best option to start for you - I have never used this lens but it has good reviews. If you want a long lens I have used and am very satisfied with the 55-200 also. Another good option as a single lens is the 18 - 135. My most used lenses? The 35 F 1.4; 56 F 1.2; 16 F 1.4. If you have questions please feel free to email me at lasousa@me.com. While he is a bit strange, if you You Tube "The Angry Photographer" he gives intelligent if off-beat and honest reviews of all Fuji lenses and of the XT2. The body itself is fantastic and wonderfully ergonomic. I owned the XT1 and there are substantial improvements made including a better sensor and a joystick for focus point movement. Low light high ISO capabilities are very very good. Build quality is excellent with weather sealing. Some of the lenses are also weather sealed. Build quality on all but the consumer grade lenses (the silver plastic ones) is superb, largely metal. There is an aperture ring on the camera. Focus peaking is absolutely fantastic in the XT2. Dual card slots, an improvement over the XT1. The camera has all major adjustments in good places. Manual ISO dial like a film camera, manual shutter speed dial, manual aperture ring --- akin to a film camera. The viewfinder is big and bright. I can't say enough about this fantastic camera. Check out the review on the Art of Photography also. Last point, Fuji is CONSTANTLY upgrading the software of the camera, sometimes dramatically to improve it. Same with the lenses. To close, this camera is INCREDIBLE as are each and every one of the XF grade lenses. Lou.
posted October 11th, 2017
Oops, aperture ring is on the lenses not the camera. The tensioning on the aperture ring is sometimes not as tight as I would like but it's a minor niggle.
posted October 11th, 2017
I have used the Sony A6500 and sold it as well as the RX100 (kept that). The menu system on the Sonys I have used is cluttered and clunky. I image quality is good. Fuji image quality is just as good or better to me but a matter of taste. I also own the X100F. I second that it is an absolutely fantastic camera. Sometimes I wonder why I have any camera but the X100 - it is that good. If you would like to see samples of the Fuji X100 and Fuji colors, friend me on FB (Louis A. Sousa). I have a large series of street shots using the X100F from the Azores, shot in the last week. They are straight from the camera.
posted October 11th, 2017
See the people oriented street shots on my recent 365 posts. X100F.
posted October 11th, 2017
@pickerandagrinner Oh my, thank you very much for your response! I've heard a lot about the body being ergonomically well designed and intuitive, but it is always good to hear a feedback from a "real-life" person. In the last couple of days I have been trying to wrap my mind around the lens line-up and read so much that my family doesn't want to hear about Fuji, or lenses, or anything related to the topic anymore! I think I've decided to go with the kit lens for now - looks like it will be the best option for the "walk-around" kind of photography and it's hard to pass on the "bundle" that makes this lens much more affordable than when it is bought on its own. The primes look VERY attractive, but I think I will have to see and decide which one exactly would be my favorite focal length to "start" with - I do like the 35mm on my Nikon now and use it quite often, on the other hand, a more portrait-like lens might be also fun.

What caught my attention also was the 16-55 that has 2.8 aperture throughout. Although quite pricey, this might be a very good fit for doing indoor photography that involves cats and kids - they do move quite a bit and having a bit of zoom while keeping a wide aperture sounds very appealing. Have you had any experience with this one? But it's a lot of money - by the time I would be able to save up for it, the kids might be all grown up and the cats old and slow - the less expensive prime with a wider aperture might also be good by then :)

The 18-135 for travel also sounds very appealing, especially being weather-resistant. But I think at this point I am very much zoom-spoiled, having relied on the 18-300 Tamron on my Nikon for such a long time.
posted October 12th, 2017
Hi Vera, glad to help. I have not used the 16-55 but I understand it is a phenomenal lens but it is quite expensive. For starters the 18-55 will do just fine. Fuji is constantly adding lenses to the lineup. It just added a 35mm F2 that is very inexpensive and has gotten rave reviews. The 90 F 1.4 was rated on Photozine as one of the sharpest lenses they ever tested. The 56 F 1.2 would be great for portraits as it translates to about 85mm in 35mm format. Fuji makes a nice set of extension tubes that will allow you to do macro/closer-up and retain metering capabilities. Shooting a Fuji is different. To do shutter priority you put the lens on Auto and set shutter speed. To do aperture priority you do the opposite, shutter dial on A and set aperture on the lens. It is a great system. If you like to do long exposures, the camera can be set to expose on its own for up to 30 minutes! If you use the self timer no remote shutter is required. The viewfinder has an eye detection mode. If you are also using live view, when you raise the camera to your eye the live view shuts off to save battery power. Battery life is good. I recommend getting a second battery. I have had good luck with the less expensive Wasabi knock off batteries. Fuji just started advancing with flash. Until the latest flash its off camera flash ability was limited. If you do off camera flash an option is the cheap cactus flash system. It will allow you to power different makes of flash remotely, several at a time. The camera comes with a small flash -- it has no built in flash.

posted October 12th, 2017
The 18-135 is outstanding too, and it has VR.
posted October 12th, 2017
But I would start with the 18-55....
posted October 12th, 2017
posted October 12th, 2017

The king of strange. Sorry. Last post....!
posted October 13th, 2017
@pickerandagrinner THANK YOU! I am slowly turning into a theoretical Fuji expert. This was very helpful, and I agree - the guy is kind of strange, but kind of fun to listen to. Now I really can't wait till I get my hands on the new camera!
posted October 13th, 2017
Trust me, you will love it. Note the new 50 F 2.0 and 35 F 2.0. Relatively inexpensive and great lenses. You will find that the XT2 is at home with a nice prime lens on it. Look forward to hearing of your experience and seeing results. Again, email me at lasousa@me.com with any questions. I am pretty adept at using this camera.
posted October 16th, 2017
Sorry for the tardy reply, but I have not been on 365 in a while. Louis @pickerandagrinner has given you better advice than I ever could, and someone who's work I admire. I see that you have started with the XT2 and the kit lens, as far as kit lenses go it is steps above most kit lenses. I also have the 35mm F2, for my style of photography I find it a little tight and think I would be better with the 23mm, but having said that I have got some super shots with the 35mm, especially family candid's an area I have always struggled with. The newer prime lenses are weather resistant, lighter in build and weight, and have faster auto focus than their older siblings, but it is a pay off between that and if you want that bigger f-stop, more blur etc! I also have the Samyang 12mm, that I am 'so so' about, and splurged for the Fujix 50-140mm f2.8, which renders beautiful captures but is a beast of a lens when it comes to size and weight. I agree with Louis, the Xt2 really seems at its best with a prime lens. I am a total Fuji lover, I entered into the Fuji family via the X70 which is still my goto camera for street photography, what I really like about the Fuji cameras is the follow through from one camera to the next, even though the X70 and XT2 are totally different cameras they have the same basic lay out, so I can have a longer lens on my XT2, but still easily switch to my X70 for wider shots. I look forward to observing your journey with your new camera!
posted November 2nd, 2017
@vera365 Hi!

I think it just depends on what you want to shoot.

I have the 18-55mm f2.8 and it's great. Its wide open at 18mm and has a good optical stabiliser but the 16-55mm you mention is weather sealed and a constant f2.8 from end to end. So wider and faster by a little but with no stabiliser.

I also have the 10-20mm and it's a great wide angle lens. I shoot of lot of things on it. But I think there is a 14mm with some good reviews...and quite fast at f2.8.

The 16mm is f1.4 so very fast but not as wide as the 10mm or 14mm. So you have to choose how wide you want to go, and live with the slower apertures.

My last lens is the lovely 35mm f1.4 effectively a 50mm and it's shoots some very sharp and lovely images.

I think really, without being biased, most lenses by Fuji are very lovely including the all-rounder kit lens 18-55mm.

It depends on your budget, and what you want to shoot. If you need a specific focal length then that will dictate your choice. Sounds obvious saying that i'm sure :)

Whatever lens you by I think you will be happy with as they are made with great craftsmanship and quality.

Feel free to check out my profile to see what I've done, which may or may not help :)

posted November 2nd, 2017
@stevecameras Thanks, Steve! I am so far exploring the kit lens (16-55) and am very pleased with it. It does feel different than any lenses I've had before: sturdy and stable and quite able to do what I needed it to do so far. I have been drooling for the 18-55 with 2.8 as I do quite a bit of indoor kid/cat photography. The zoom option combined with the 2.8 sounds really good, but it's quite pricey. I will have to see what future X-masses will bring and go from there. Thanks for the advice!!!! You have great pictures in your project!
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